Lost Library Email Form Lost Library Mailing List
Lost Library Home Page
By Shade

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and affiliates are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Rifts and Phase World are owned by Palladium. Other references belong to their respective owners.

3-D: Let’s Rock!

It had not been a good day for the forces of Evil. And now it was about to get a whole lot worse.

But mindful of the horrible punishment awaiting them if they returned in failure, the villainous pair were determined to try and defeat the intimidating armored figure opposing them, or at least find out more about his capabilities before having to retreat.

Hovering at what they believed to be a safe distance, about fifty feet above the street, the generals fell back to their tactic of attacking from a distance with their lethal supernatural abilities. The fact that this strategy hadn't worked before didn't deter them from using it again. Their initial fright at the sight of a Rune weapon was eclipsed (just barely) by their fear of their mistress's wrath. The sword was only dangerous if it could reach them, after all, but her grasp stretched across the dimensions.

Unfortunately for Metall'a's minions, Ishtar happened to be one of the Splugorth's latest models, or so was commonly believed. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call her the Asgardian Dwarves' final masterpiece before their secrets were stolen and perverted by the dimensional invaders. The sword itself had remained hidden for eons, a lifeless shell awaiting the proper rituals that would bind a helpless soul into the weapon's heart for all eternity. Even the entrapped goddess didn't know the true age of the ancient weapon. It had been old when she was first assimilated into it, and that had been untold ages ago. Time had little meaning to those it did not touch.

For what purpose had such a cruel yet hauntingly beautiful thing been intended? She had often wondered about that during those long stretches when her owner was not wielding her, when she was truly alone. Perhaps it was just a silly whimsy, but Ishtar felt sure that there had to be some greater destiny that they had yet to fulfill. At the very least it helped her stay sane, yet recently there had been more then a hint of truth to support her belief in a larger plan at work.

Since her creation, the sword had known many owners. A few had been good creatures of renown, but far too many had turned out to be inhuman monsters that had forced the proud spirit to cater to their sadistic whims. Each one had used her differently from the rest. Through some process that she still didn't understand, the powers accessible from the Rune Blade varied with the individual who possessed Ishtar. At least that was how it had been, until Ranma had come and freed the sword from her last master, an ancient Intelligence that was twisted and corrupt even by the loose standards of the Splugorth.

He was different, and not just because she loved him. Ranma was truly her first. Never before had the lonely soul residing within formed such a complete bond with her owner. He completed her, filling the dark emptiness and making the longing spirit whole once more. The boy, who was in truth more of a man then many she had met (both before and after her imprisonment), had unlocked the powers of healing and rejuvenation that had been buried so deeply within, that Ishtar had thought them long since lost to the ages.

In his hands Ishtar had finally become the weapon of Life the she was originally intended to be, and the sword would defend that cherished link between them at any cost. A link that not only shielded Ranma's mind, but also provided an early warning system that increased his combat effectiveness tenfold by keeping him one step ahead of his opponents.

A CosmoKnight might not be able to use the mystical "Force" one of his instructors had once told him about, but with Ishtar in hand he could certainly fake it. Small wonder that the Sploogies had put out such an obscene reward on his head.

So, when Malach'te and Jedi'te hurled a volley of Levin-bolts (small bluish-white torpedoes of pure magical fury) at Ranma, it came as quite a nasty surprise to see him twirl his sword in a defensive weave, that not only managed to parry every one of their attacks, but also sent the projectiles hurtling back to their points of origin.

-A short distance away

"Are you getting it all?"

The News 5 anchor looked as close to total ecstasy as a normal person can get (short of summoning the monster with two backs). What had been another boring day of noodle shops and long interviews with middle aged housewives had turned into the opportunity of a lifetime. First the famous Sailor Senshi, and now this! He could see the headlines now: "Japan's newest superhero: The Knight Hawk!" or some such junk that the public would eat up.

Never mind that they didn't even know who he was, just imagine the awards and accompanying pay raise for this brilliant stroke of journalistic luck!

"I'm getting it! I'm getting it! I just ain't believing it!"

The cameraman was entertaining similar fantasies. The tabloids were going to pay a fortune for his story. Heck, this might be enough to finally pay off the camera loan from that Nabiki girl.

"Well, now we know he's definitely been hanging around with the Jedi."

The Guardian slumped back, having long ago given up trying to comprehend the insanity of this complex timeline and just had decided to just keep accepting it on faith. He squinted a bit to get a better of look at Ranma's movements, it looked more like dancing then martial arts swordplay from here.

"Some of that foot work seems strangely familar."

"That's because he's using parts from MY fighting style!!!"

Now Shadow looked rather peeved. He turned toward Zora and asked the obvious question.

"There are only five people in the Multiverse who have ever used that particular style of sword fighting. Two are dead, one's an evil assassin scum and I know for sure that I didn't teach it to him, so who…"

He saw that "gleam" in her eye. The same one that she'd had every time some new insanity sprung up to add to the already chaotic nature of her Bet.

"… Oh, no…"

Shadow could do math as well as anyone else. Five minus four meant that there was only one possibility left. A moment later Zora confirmed his worst fears.

"Ranma deserved the best instructor."

"But why HIM?! That guy's even more reckless then I am!"

{"I wouldn't be so sure about that."}

"Your point?"

That seemed to silence him as he tried in vain to muster a counter-argument.

Seeing that Rowan seemed to know what was going on again (like always), the curious musician directed his query to him.

"What gives?"

"Ranma's using a modified Drow fighting stance, which also happens to be the same one that Shadow favors in combat."

"A Drow fighting stance?!"

Comprehension started to dawn. The Bard's home dimension was a backwater place, but it wasn't that out of touch with the other worlds. (1)

-Masaki Household

Washuu Hakubi was both intrigued and frustrated, a combination that spelled nothing but trouble for the poor soul who had attracted her interest (something a certain Tenchi Masaki had learned through first-hand experience).

These camera devices were so primitive! How was she supposed to get the scientific data she needed on that interesting specimen when the blasted things couldn't even register the infrared spectrum?

Her hyper-dimensional keyboard was already being put to work analyzing the scant information being provided by the broadcast. That fighting style was like nothing she had ever seen before, and there was no match to be found in a cross-reference against the Universal database either, something Washuu would have previously sworn was impossible. There was also that remarkable interaction with an extra-dimensional pocket of subspace, something that should be light-years beyond the inhabitants of this backward little planet. And then there was that sword! Without proper testing she couldn't know exactly how powerful it was, but she could make a reasonable estimate. If she was right (almost a given) then that weapon was almost as strong as Ryoko and Minagi's blades combined.

{Very interesting…}

It wasn't every day that the genius discovered something that might possibly surpass her masterpieces. Tenchi had been one. Could this be another?

{I'll have some fun finding out!!}

The spiky red haired scientist made a mental note to dispatch some of her new probes to Tokyo. It just wouldn't do to have her data on this interesting person remain so incomplete. A gleam came to her green eyes at the thought of all the samples she would need.

Once Ayeka saw that her younger sister was no longer in immediate danger, she calmed down enough to start paying attention to the rest of what was being broadcast. Specifically, the rather intimidating newcomer was the focus of her attention. She was already favorably inclined toward him, seeing as he'd just saved Sasami. For a moment, she even briefly considered that it might be Lord Tenchi beneath that dark armor.

{No! Lord Tenchi would never be so forceful… so… savage… so virile…}

At some point during this interesting line of thought her cheeks had turned beet red and her hands began to twiddle her fingers together aimlessly, as the princess's imagination placed her in Sasami's place with a fierce looking Tenchi in Jurai battle armor coming to her rescue.

-Juuban District

Being a true hero in modern times is often a thankless duty, where the hazards of the job usually outweigh the potential rewards involved. But there are some fringe benefits, like seeing the evil warlocks frantically doing their best to dodge their own magical missiles and looking like complete buffoons in the process.

"Look out!"

"Get out of my way!"

And while those two were busy on avoiding their own Levin-bolts, they wouldn't be able to muster up enough concentration to teleport…

Ranma was already moving as soon as he'd blocked the last one of their shots.

Jedi'te was the first to realize their peril.

"He set us up!"

Too late.

Eyecatch #3

(Ryouga Hibiki comes running on-screen, shouting his traditional battle cry.)

(Ryouga: "Ranma! Prepare to die!!")

(Ranma turns around and eases into a ready stance.)


(A large metal foot squashes Ryoga right before he can take a swing at his nemesis.)

(Ranma looks up to see a Triax Ultimax robot armor, the cockpit pops open to reveal a smiling Makoto-chan who waves down at him.)

(Ranma heaves a small sigh as the Ultimax lumbers to the side.)

(Ryoga, slightly battered but still angry, gets up and tries again.)

(Ryoga: "Die, Ranma!!!")

(Once again Ranma gets ready for a fight).


(Cutey Honey and Nuku-Nuku, in a modified Spider Walker (has a smiling kawaii cat face instead of the traditional skull), walk through to get a good view from the sidelines.)

(Ranma has a small sweatdrop on his head.)

(Now a rather dazed and bruised Ryouga staggers weakly to a sorta upright position.)

(Ryoga: I'm going to kill… *pauses as he looks up*… Oh, no, not again!")


(An AT-AT with Skuld at the helm has arrived.)

(Skuld: "Oopsie!")

(Ranma has a big sweatdrop on his head now.)

(Ranma: "Hey! How am I supposed to be a hero when you girls keep beating up all the villains?!!")

(Ryoga is now a crumpled mess as the giant war machine moves off.)

(Ryoga: "Why is this happening me?!!")


(Eva units 00 and 02 take a moment to wipe their feet.)

(Asuka: "Ewww… and I just had it washed, too.)

(Ranma slaps a hand to his forehead and sneaks away as the gathered girls get into an argument over which he's going to be riding home with.)

-Ristmoth System, 4 hours into the battle

<BGM: Return of the Jedi, Battle of Endor 2>

"Watch it Falcon! You've picked up a tail!"

"I see him. Get ready to deliver an industrial-strength wedgie, Hornet."

"Just leave it to me. On three."

The Imperial Fang closed in on the Rebel Starfighter with g-cannons blazing, its pilot totally focused on acquiring his next kill of the day. He never saw the other Black Eagle Starfighter sneaking up on him from behind.


So when his quarry suddenly made an abrupt climb with full afterburners on, he was still trying to keep his dogtail when the first laser blasts punched through his fighter's shields and penetrated past the armored engine housing into the delicate equipment maintaining the protective electromagnetic barrier around his ship's antimatter fuel supply.

In space, your first mistake is also usually your last one.

The conscripted pilot, fresh from the Imperial Academy, went out with a bang. One tiny insignificant death among the hundreds of thousands that took place that day.

-Back to Earth (relatively speaking)

As a dedicated martial artist, Ranma could jump unaided to a height of thirty feet. And that had been before his transformation. By the time they saw him coming, he was already too close.

Ranma felt a brief stab of guilt for actually enjoying the look of absolute terror on his target's face. Ishtar, on the other hand, had no such qualms. This was what she lived for, the total destruction of the forces of evil so similar to those that had enslaved her.

The silver blade glowed hungrily as it came cutting down, blasting through Jedi'te's force field as it were no more substantial then a soap bubble. Then it hit something more solid, though not by much, considering that the weapon was capable of cutting through high-grade duranium alloy like it was cotton candy.

"Eiieeaauugghh!!!" The blond general howled in inhuman agony as his arm dropped to the street, cleanly severed at the shoulder. The wound was cauterized almost instantly as the sword's magic went to work, inflicting additional damage to his corrupted flesh. Despite the incredible pain he was in, Jedi'te retained enough of his senses to realize he couldn't survive another blow like that. Using the last remaining reserves of his inner strength, the badly wounded villain dematerialized back to his home dimension just as he was about to be made a head shorter.

A split second later, the Rune sword slashed ineffectually through the empty space he'd been occupying.


[Damn! I almost had him too!]

And then there was one.

-Cosplay City

The Hayami household was glued to the television. After all, it's not every day that you get to see someone else fighting the big bad monsters for a change.

There had been a few bad moments when things had almost gotten out of hand, namely when the guy holding the camera tried to sneak a few shots beneath the Sailor Senshi's skirts as they high jumped every which way during the first few minutes of the battle.

Akakabu Hayami was still nursing a black eye where his wife Daiko had belted him a good one.

His son Chokei was in a similar position. Natsuko had given her boyfriend the patented "evil eye of a jealous significant other", along with a slap to the back of his head, to break the spell of the skimpy uniforms.

Grandfather Danbei and Professor Kabuto had just stared and drooled like the dirty old men that they were.

Honey Kisaragi, on the other hand, had remained silent… at least until the mysterious newcomer had shown up. After a few minutes of watching him in action, it was she could do to keep her quiet composure. It was almost scary how efficiently he dealt with those shadowy creatures. Then he'd produced that sword from thin air, and any uncertainties about making a visit to Tokyo vanished then and there.

Mayor Light would understand the necessity once it was explained to him. Youma and evildoers alike beware, Cutey Honey was coming to town!

-Furinkan High

Nabiki Tendo was not happy.

"Where is he?"

Her agents were the cleverest girls on campus, masters of secretive spying and schoolyard gossip. Right now, they cringed before the barely controlled wrath of their mistress as they reported their first failure.

"Um… we don't know."

"You… don't… know?"

Somehow she managed to loom over all of them, proving that Nabiki was indeed an heir to the Tendo side of the Anything Goes Style.

"He's not anywhere on campus. The last time Ranma Saotome was seen was right after the incident with Kuno on the field. We checked and he'snotthereanymore."

Near the end they started to babble in fear as Nabiki upped her financial aura. While not as physically imposing as a battle aura, it was more then enough to cow her fellow students.

"That was over thirty minutes ago ladies, and you know I pride myself on only having the latest up to the date information on every student here."

The little group began to eagerly nod their heads, anything to avert the other shoe from dropping.

"So go out and look again! He's just one guy! How hard can it be to find him?!"

Oh, if she only knew…

-500 miles north of Tokyo

Ryoga Hibiki, after much trial and hardships, was finally back on his native soil.

He'd had to leave China rather quickly, before the bodies of his latest victims were discovered. It was only a stroke of luck that had allowed him to learn that his hated nemesis also intended to return to Japan. The poor old man who'd been nice enough to tell him that had paid for his kindness with his life. His cursed body had new cravings now, needs that could only be satisfied by the pain and suffering of others. Their blood and death made him stronger, more powerful then he had ever dreamed imaginable. But still he hated his cursed form's looks, why did it have be so… so…

…So damn CUTE?!

Like everything that went wrong in his miserable life it had to be all Ranma's fault. If it rained, it was Ranma's fault. If he walked into the woman's side of the public bath, it was Ranma's fault. If he went berserk in his cursed form and started slaughtering innocent people, it was still Ranma's fault. Even the misery he'd suffered before he even met that accursed Saotome for the first time was somehow still Ranma's fault. If he ever bothered to sit down and actually think about it, he was sure he would eventually find a connection linking the two.

Onward the relentless monster in the guise of a man strode, seeking his archenemy.

"Damn you to everlasting hell, Saotome!!"

A giant sumo pig suddenly rose up in front of the ranting lost boy to block his way. Unknowingly, Ryouga had wandered onto the Unryu Fighting Pig Farm.

Katsunishiki grunted a warning to the stranger. The animal could smell the taint of bloodshed clinging to this one. It was a faint sickly sweet odor that would always mark the human to those who could sense such things.

Ryoga almost smiled, his face was so unused to that expression that it came out more like a mangled grimace. At least during those moments when he fought man or beast, he didn't have to think. He licked his parched lips.

"Fresh meat."

The pig was loyal and well trained. It would rather die then ever desert its post as defender of the farm.

Katsunishiki was big, he was strong, and he was brave. But that would not save him.

Luck was with Akari that day. She had gone to town that day with one of the piglets to get it treated by the local vet for a mild cold.

Unfortunately, her grandfather wasn't with her this time.

A loud agonized squeal rang out once before suddenly going silent.

It was not the first death that day, nor would it be the last.

-Saotome Residence

"Chi, Azusa, have either one of you ever heard of this "Kama Sutra" book before?"

Yohko Mano held up a rather plain little hardcover book, that looked rather old and only had the short title on its front.

"Can't say that I have, Yohko, though it does sound rather familiar for some reason. It's probably filled with recipes or something." The brown-haired, freckled manager was munching on another one of those cookies Mrs. Saotome had left out for them.

" Well, Aunty Nodoka said that we should study it until we know the contents by heart," Azusa, Devil Hunter in training, piped up as she set down yet another batch of study materials that they had been given as part of the Anything Goes Bridal Instruction.

Yohko sighed. Who would have suspected that the nice lady they'd first met was such a formidable taskmaster?! It was like training under Grandma all over again.

"In that case, I guess we should all take a look at it then…"

-Juuban District

After the retreat of Jedi'te, the battle between Ranma and Malach'te had quickly turned into a high speed game of tag… except the loser wouldn't survive being "it".

No sooner did the white-blond sorcerer materialize at one spot then he immediately released a flurry of red flaming bolts, before teleporting to another location where the process was repeated yet again.

While Ranma was able to deflect each attack with Ishtar's help, his opponent wouldn't remain in one place long enough for his partner to finish him off. So it was now a stalemate, and the Knight found himself in the unenviable position of having decide whether to up the ante by revealing more of his Forge granted abilities, or try one of his special techniques. Either one was probably going to result in some major property damage and possible civilian casualties, something he wanted to avoid at all costs.

{Got any ideas?}

[Why not use your normal strategy against teleporters?]

{Two reasons. First, using fusion blocks in this area would be a very bad thing. Second, I don't have enough of them with me anyway. They're for emergencies only.}

[Oh, right. I forgot how primitive this planet is. Well, there's always plan B.]

{Plan B?}

The goddess wasted little time filling him in on the specific details. Fortunately for Ranma's dignity, his helm completely hid his expression. Otherwise, his wide mouthed gape of astonishment would have been displayed to half the households in Japan. Outwardly, the only sign of his reaction was a slight pause in the middle of his pursuit of the slippery general.

{Let's do it.}

-<BGM: Saber Marionette J: Iza! Junjou ni, jinjou ni.>

At first it seemed that nothing had changed, as Malach'te continued to stay out of reach of the Rune sword and Ranma continued to pursue him. But in actuality, the general was being gradually herded right where they wanted him…

The enchanted blade came in a quick cross slash, once again too late to hit the already departed villain's foul flesh. The expected response came directly from behind, forcing Ranma to make an abrupt about face even as he brought Ishtar up to parry. Several black flakes scattered outward from his right arm where one of the blasts finally slipped through. Even as the Knight whirled to confront his tormenter, the white robed figure vanished in the shimmer of tiny multifaceted crystals.

{Just a couple more feet.}

Ranma was starting to see a pattern to the teleports, and if his guess was right then his opponent should be popping up right over there…

His overhand block caught the first three shots, and he was quick enough to be able to get out of the way of the last two blasts. Small curls of smoke arose from where the magic had burned deeply into the already much abused concrete.

The Knight could feel Ishtar's eagerness to end the evil mage's existence. A sentiment he wholeheartedly agreed with, but they had to be patient if her plan was going to work.

Everything hinged on if the villain remained in the pattern he had set. Otherwise, Ranma would probably be forced to destroy half of the remaining neighborhood in order to finish this fight.

Several shots struck his armor hard, but the young warrior took them without complaint, knowing that it was a necessary sacrifice. His attention was totally focused on Malach'te's position. A few hits were a small price to pay in order to end this.

There he was!

This time, instead of charging forward in a futile attempt to get a hit Ranma hopped back and pointed the sword not at Malach'te, but toward the fire hydrant he had chosen to reappear over.


Concentrating on staying as far away from the dangerous stranger and that deadly sword as possible, the general wasn't expecting an attack from another direction. So his surprise was complete when first a red metal hydrant slammed into his stomach from below, followed by hundreds of gallons of water, which at that volume and velocity hit him like a brick wall.

-Someplace else in the Juuban District

"You've both got your uniforms on inside out."

Sailor Pluto wanted some aspirin.

"Neptune, I believe those are Uranus's undergarments."

"So that's why they're so tight."


Scratch that, she wanted a lot of aspirin. The Senshi of Time silently vowed that she was going to take a long vacation when the current crisis was over.

Somehow everything finally got settled down and then the rest of the Outer Senshi were off to eliminate whatever new terrible menace had dared to enter their world.

-Masaki Household revisited

"Magnificent." Minagi was impressed. She had trained under her creator Yakage, and could recognize someone who was a true master of the sword on sight. That blade seemed to have become a natural extension of the fighter's arm. She had seen such a thing only three times before in her life. Once with Yakage, a swordmaster who had survived over 5,000 years through repeated cloning. Another time in a duel with Tenchi's Grandfather. And the last had been when she had been seen Washuu's record of Tenchi defeating Kagato and Yakage.

Her father had wanted Minagi to become the best, and she had challenged the greatest fighters in the Local Cluster in order to fulfill his dream. Now it seemed she had found a new challenge for her skills, one worthy of facing the sword that was Yakage's last gift to his daughter.

{I will make you proud, Father.}

-Hidey-ho, back to the Temple we go

Belldandy found herself being pulled in opposing directions by her feelings. The goddess wanted to help her younger sister, but at the same time she also didn't want to leave Keiichi alone and unprotected. She gave a helpless look in Urd's direction, a subtle (yet strangely powerful) plea for her help.

"Alright. I'm going, I'm going." Urd mock grumbled as she stepped into the television set, Father having decided to be lenient and giving her a reprieve from probation pending a future review by the higher powers.


"Yeah! Go get him!" Sasami had quickly gotten into the spirit of things and was rooting for the good guy to trash the bad guy really good. It was just like one of those bedtime stories that Ayeka or Tenchi would read to her. The little princess had quickly placed the Knight in the same category as the rest of her friends like Minagi and Ryo-ohki. She tended to trust her first impressions of people and those same feelings told her that this new person meant no harm to them, only to the forces of Evil.

Malach'te was in a bad spot, pinned to the upper wall of a fancy electronic goods store by the pressure of the redirected water geyser. The beating he was taking as a result of the intense water pressure made any sort of concentration practically impossible, and also kept his arms pinned helplessly to his sides. It seemed all over except for the clean up as Ranma started to slowly head over toward his neutralized foe, careful to maintain the focused state needed by Ishtar to direct the continued water flow.

Then a pair of long bronzed legs stepped out of one of the televisions in front of him followed by an even more stunning (and lightly clad) body.

That got his attention fast. Ranma had seen a lot of strange things in his lifetime, but this was new even to him. Maybe it was something like the Nightbane Mirror-Walk?

Unfortunately, during the brief slip in his concentration the geyser slipped from Ishtar's control, and his trapped opponent was free once more. Malach'te had only moments to act before his enemy figured out what had happened.

Realizing that he stood no chance in a direct confrontation, the evil general did what all nasty people do when confronted by a challenge beyond their abilities… he cheated.

A barbed purple javelin of dark power formed in one hand, as the life essence invested the last of its remaining energy reserves into a final weapon, which would ensure that it would have the last laugh. The effort nearly caused him to pass out. He had exhausted much of his power in a short span of time.

Perhaps it was not strong enough to slay the demon hounding him…

… but it was more then enough to kill one of them.

His viperish gaze focused on the little girl cheering his pursuer on. Yes, he would have his revenge on them all. They would suffer with that innocent's blood haunting them till they died. Somehow Malach'te found the strength to burst into evil laughter.

Ranma looked up back toward the general, then he turned his head to see what the maniac was looking at.

The cute blue haired girl with the two ponytails.

Sickening comprehension struck.

"You bastard!!"

It was an instinctive reaction beyond any conscious thought, one second he was holding the Rune weapon in hand, the next instant Ishtar was being hurled toward Malach'te.

"You fool! You're too late!!"

The villain's throw was fast and true.

Even as four feet of enchanted silver alloy plowed into his gut and through to the other side till the blade was buried hilt deep within his abdomen and pinned him back against the wall like some winged insect in a bug collection… Even as gouts of dark green blood spouted forth from the mortal wound… Even as the outraged soul inhabiting the weapon started to fry Malach'te from the inside out… that cursed missile was still heading straight toward Sasami.

Ranma found himself in a race against death. There was no time to think, no time to plan, no time to regret. It was just him, the girl, and that weapon speeding toward her.

Even moving at full speed it was going to be close. Too close.

Time seemed to slow down as he shot down the street like a Boom-gun round.

The expressions of horrified realization appeared on the Senshi's faces first. Jupiter even began to move in a vain attempt to either get the girl out of the way or block the spear herself. She was too far away and she'd never make it in time, but still, she tried anyway.

Sasami watched the javelin coming with the same look that little rabbits give to hunters with automatic rifles.


-Masaki Residence

"No! Azaka, Kamidake!!"

Even as the words left her throat Ayeka knew it wouldn't be in time. But she couldn't just sit here helplessly either, while that madman murdered her sister!

"Yes, ma'am!"

"Yes, ma'am."

Ryoko steeled herself for an extra long teleport. It was feat she'd never attempted before. Her range was normally within eyesight and even then hadn't gone beyond a few miles.

{Don't do it.}

[Washu?! Sasami's in trouble!! It's the only way!!!]

{Even you can't make it. You know I'm right, Ryoko.}

[Damn you Washu! I have to do something!! How can you be so heartless?!!]

{I'm just as worried as you are my dear, but I have some faith in that one.}

[You're trusting some guy in a metal suit with Sasami's life?!]

{Just as you trusted a simple schoolboy to rescue you from Kagato.}

[That has nothing to do with this!!]


{Oh man….}

This was going to hurt.

Ranma didn't even have enough time to raise his arms to block, when the spear hit his chest plate and kept right on going. Fiery pain registered from the point of entry, as first one rib, then a second, snapped under the impact. His flesh was considerably tougher then the average human's (or the average bulletproof vest) though, and the shaft's head quickly became lodged deep in muscle tissue, stopping far short of the armor protecting Ranma's back.

As injuries went, it looked much worse than it actually was. Sure, it would probably have incapacitated or possibly killed even a minor supernatural being, but he'd had worse. Getting eaten by a Demonshark… now that had been bad.

Bio-regeneration was already starting repair the damage, and had begun to eject the supernatural weapon from his body. Even the broken ribs would re-knit themselves back together in a few minutes. Still, the trickle of crimson dripping from his front, where the rest of the javelin stuck out, drew the attention of everyone else like a magnet.

"Red blood."

Sailor Venus didn't even realize she had spoken out loud or that her thoughts were running along similar lines to the others present. If this being was human, then what? How much of Sailor Pluto's warnings had been true and how much just myth and legend? Did they really want to fight someone who'd just saved their eggs from the basket?

Mercury took particular note of where the scarlet drops fell. She would get a sample for later analysis. Her suspicions about the truth of their rescuer would be confirmed one way or another.

Skuld took one look, turned green, and passed out. The sight of any sizable quantity of blood always did that to her. She was still young for a goddess and the last big war between Good and Evil had been long before her time.

Urd was still struggling with an inconvenient (not to mention embarrassing) predicament. Somehow or the other she seemed to have become entangled in what seemed to be every extension cord in the store's window after she popped out. For the moment her garments were still within the bounds of decency (for her anyway), but her struggling was making it more and more of an iffy thing.

-Masaki Household

"Oh dear."

"She appears to have fainted."

The two loyal guardians gently used their telekinetic powers to arrange their charge more comfortably on the couch.

-Juuban again

Malach'te had thought he'd known what pain was before. Now he was finding out what the word truly meant. The accursed blade was searing his innards to ash, its magic inhibiting his body's healing and keeping the wound open and bleeding. Worse, gravity was tugging his upper torso down onto the razor sharp edge, slowly tearing the cut open even farther. All the while, the spirit inhabiting the weapon struck out with an intangible force that set his nerves screaming in agony as it overloaded his neural pathways. The most horrible thing of all was that the vengeful Ishtar had frozen his vocal cords, making it impossible for the general to even scream.

The dying villain grasped the sword's handle in a vain attempt to pull it free of himself. A moment later he found out why that wasn't such a good idea. The surge of searing psychic energy nearly blew his arms off, leaving his hands blackened and curled into bony claws.

[How dare you hurt my Ranma!! Fry, you unholy piece of <big censor here>!!!]

{Ishtar! That's enough! Finish him!!}

A white glow started to form within the core of the weapon's silver blade in response to its owner's command.

The horrified Malach'te could only look down helplessly at the tremendous charge he sensed the sentient weapon was building up.

Then there was a blinding flash of light as Ishtar released the holy power she had called forth directly into his body. Malach'te was consumed in an instant, his head arching back in denial even as flesh and bone was reduced to dust.

A small thunderclap sounded as the life essence was banished back to the shifting darkness of the Negaverse, leaving the Rune weapon as pristine and untouched as it had been the day it was created.

With the death of its creator the summoned Psi-lance dissolved back into the nothingness it had been formed from, making it easier for both Ranma's body and armor to start fixing themselves. Within a minute two small pops signaled that his ribs had just reset themselves, and the hole torn in his armor had shrunk noticeably.

{Jeez, that stings! He just had to go and fight dirty! Jerk!!}

Without even bothering to look up Ranma held up his hand to catch the returning Rune weapon.

[Are you all right, Ranma?]

{I'm fine. We'd better see to those girls, though. They were getting worked over pretty rough by those creatures before I arrived. No telling how long they were fighting, or what kind of injuries they sustained. Those monsters threw everything but the kitchen sink at me.}

[How horrible! They're just children!! The poor dears must have been so frightened.]

Ranma was just glad that his partner's maternal instincts seemed to have been awakened. If she had seen those girls as women (and hence unwanted competition) things probably would have gotten ugly very quickly.

Turning to face the wide-eyed little girl he'd shielded earlier, Ranma bent to one knee in order to meet her on equal terms. Children had always been a wonder to him, perhaps because he'd never really had much of a childhood before the responsibilities thrust upon him by first his father and then later on by the Alliance and the Forge.

"Are you alright? Did those creatures harm you?"

Sasami silently shook her head. Awe shone in her eyes as she looked back at the helmet of the one who had protected her life with his own, trying to find the nonexistent eyeholes in it. Nor could she see any opening for the mouth or nose. Both areas were well armored, since such a feature was unnecessary for a CosmoKnight. It was like watching one of her sister's guardians speak, the words came from his direction but there was no indication of how it was being done.

Seeing that she was indeed uninjured, Ranma got up and turned toward the rest of the girls. The gathered Senshi looked rather nervous when the Knight strode toward them with sword still in hand. They hadn't realized just how big he really was until now. The armored figure towered over even Jupiter, and although he held his weapon in a non-threatening way, they had all witnessed its lethal cut.

Ranma really wished that he could reassure them of his intentions, but time was running short. The authorities would be showing up soon now that the danger was over, and he had no wish to still be here when they did arrive. Besides, he didn't have any clue as to who these girls were. He'd seen and heard of some people who liked to dress up for a fight, but why skimpy school uniforms?

A red rose chose that moment to become embedded in ground in front of him.

<Tuxedo Kamen's annoying theme music begins to play>

"Where the cause of justice is imperiled, so shall the forces of righteous come to protect the good and the innocent. Do not lose hope, Sailor Senshi, for Tuxedo Kamen has arrived to aid your struggles against this abomination."

A large sweat drop formed on the back of Ranma's helm. The one hanging from Ishtar's hilt matched it.

[You have got to be kidding me. That overdressed jackass should take a good look in the mirror before calling someone else an abomination!]

{I don't believe this, two poetic idiots in one day? Who does that clown think he is? Where the heck was this Tux-baka when the real threat was present?!}


"I think all that power is going to the Bard's head."

"I told you this was a bad idea!"



Eyecatch #4

(Mihoshi is dressed in white shirt and pants and holding small metallic cylinder in her hands.)

(The blue energy blade emerging from it reveals that she's holding a lightsaber.)

(Shampoo lands next on her right, outfitted in an Iczelion battle armor and produces a purple Beam Saber.)

(Sailor Venus lands on Mihoshi's left, a wave of her hand summons a yellow Psi-sword.)

(Devil Hunter Yohko comes running and stops next to Shampoo, her Soul Sword at ready.)

<All four proclaim>: "All for one and Ranma for all!"

(POV changes to see whom the four girls are facing.)

(Akane in her gi wielding an oversized wooden bokken is revealed. A very large sweat drop pops up on her head.)

(She silently forms the words: "You have got to be kidding me!".)

(Four slashes later Akane is just holding a small wooden stub in her hands.)

(Akane: "That's it! I quit!")

(She starts to stalk off only to be knocked off screen by the familiar "Ranma ½ with a twist" logo.)

-Somewhere deep in the Heart of the Trans-Galactic Empire

<BGM: Imperial March, The Phantom Menace Version (in full Dolby Surround Sound™)>

The first sign that trouble with a capital "T" was coming, was the sixteen Raptor Starfighters that screamed through space a few kilometers ahead of a mile-long Imperial Battlecruiser and it's fifteen smaller escort ships. The giant war machine looked like some giant archaic alien bladed weapon from the distant past, a deliberate choice meant to strike fear into the hearts of those who dared to resist the might of the Kreeghor. Although this choice in design left the vessel with several very obvious structural weak points, it was still quite an impressive sight to behold. Aside from its white running lights, the entire cruiser's hull was dark grayish blue-black, a far departure from the customary bright blood-red and absolutely hideous greenish-orange that were the Fleet's traditional colors. (2)

The infamous dark ship's registry was known and dreaded throughout the Empire and the Free Worlds.

INS 1027-NC443 "Dark Impaler".

Standing at the front of the bridge, Captain Jarenz gazed out into the dark void between the stars, the small flare of the capital defense patrols the only illumination visible nearby. He was a cold, hard man, and his subordinates moved with the extra caution that visceral fear gave them. The Ironclaw despised incompetence among his men and his preferred method of punishment ensured that there were never any repeat offenders.

An aide walked across the bridge, his stride controlled but with a nervous reluctance visible to the watchful observer. In the Empire, the old saying about "killing the messenger" was often taken at face value.

"My lord, we have just received word that the Rebels have launched an all out assault on our base in the Ristmoth system. Shall we prepare an intercept course?"

Bracing for an explosion, the petty officer started scoping out potential routes of escape… just in case.

Whatever reaction he had been expecting, it wasn't the amused chuckle that was his superior's reply.

"So, they've finally mustered enough of a backbone to begin their long delayed offensive against us."

"Ah… sir? Your orders?"

"Remain on course. They are not our concern. I have my orders from the Grand Admiral himself. The location and capture of Ranma Saotome is the only mission of any importance to us."

"But our base?! All the troops stationed there will be slaughtered without reinforcements!!"

A cool glance made the aide realize he had overstepped his bounds. But the Ironclaw demonstrated unexpected restraint as he returned to his contemplation of the stars.

"The Emperor has something special planned for the Rebellion. You would do well to learn your place in the grand scheme of things if you wish to continue serving the Empire."

The implied threat of that last statement was enough to send the trembling silhouette scurrying away.

Captain Jarenz tightened his bionic hand into an eager fist. Soon, he consoled himself. Soon he would accomplish what the others had only dreamed of. Then the ghosts that haunted him would finally be put to rest at last.

"It is only a matter of time now…"

The Dark side was no longer in check.

(1) Give yourself a pat on the back, if you figured it out before the Bard does.

(2) Don't ask… just don't ask. *Shudder*

-From the Journal of Erin Tarn

It has been many weeks since last I heard of my dear friend and I fear that the worst has befallen him. My contacts among the dimensional travelers have informed me that he has apparently vanished without a trace and is now the subject of one of the largest manhunts the Megaverse has ever seen. It seems that my friend has finally bitten off more then he can chew this time. The man I speak of is, of course, Ranma Saotome, quite possibly the most interesting and yet at the same time the most impossible young man I have ever met.

It seems strange to feel so strongly about him when he spent such a short time with my companions and me. There is some intangible quality to that young man that seems to draw others to him like moths to a flame. Ranma possesses a refreshing zest for life that remains undampened despite the worst that the Fates seem to keep throwing at him.

I first encountered the poor boy during that little mishap with a dimensional rift that landed me in the strange world known as Wormwood. Such an idealistic lad he was, brash, and yet possessing an innate sense of honesty and a code of honor that I found quite charming, as did the other females in my party. Yet Ranma also quickly proved his mettle as a formidable fighter when he helped us to fend off one of the Horde's raiding parties. By all rights any normal human should have been dead many times over after sustaining the amount of blaster fire he did. Amazingly enough, he came out of the fight with nary a scratch, though his raiment wasn't nearly as fortunate.

Saotome soon became a welcome addition to our traveling party and escorted us through some rather nasty territory. Suffice to say, within a week we finally managed to reach one of the world's free cities and regretfully parted ways. He was our very own knight-errant, right out of the tales of old, minus the shining armor. Ah, if I were only thirty years younger…

There was little hope of ever seeing him again, though I did invite him to visit me in the city of Lazlo if ever he should happen to journey there. As luck would have it, he did go to Lazlo during the Mechanoid crisis, although I wasn't present at the time and only learned of his appearance through second-hand accounts.

I suppose that I should have known better then to believe that our paths wouldn't cross again. The next time I saw that pigtail of his was at the Gathering of Heroes. It was hard to tell who was more surprised when we ran into each other, him or me. Once again he had just shown up where he was needed most, yet the only reason he would give for his presence was that "It's a martial artist's duty to help a just cause".

His aid in defeating the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse proved invaluable. I personally witnessed his battle with Pestilence, which only confirmed my earlier belief that Ranma was more than just the superb fighter he claimed to be. In the fight against the Demon and its minions, my friend revealed several amazing abilities that he used to send the monstrosities back to whatever Hellish plane had spawned them. Flight, incredible supernatural strength and stamina, reflexes that a Juicer would be envious of, a capacity for somehow surviving even the most grievous injury and the ability to rapidly discharge very powerful beams of energy from his hands at will. When I later confronted him with the evidence he finally capitulated to my inquiries as to who and what he really was.

I must admit, the truth came as quite a shock. Whatever I had been subconsciously expecting paled in comparison to the reality. I have promised Ranma that I will not reveal his secret, even though it pains me that his heroism will never be recognized by the rest of the world.

Something changed between us after that. Though I do not think he meant to distance himself, he did so nonetheless. There was a new sadness in his eyes after the fighting was over, but he hid it so well, that of the surviving heroes of the campaign only myself and the mysterious Katrina Sun noticed it. Then one night, during one of the many parties being held to celebrate our victory, he simply vanished. Though everyone searched the town he was nowhere to be found, I knew then that he had gone back to where he was most needed.

It would be nearly two years before I saw Ranma again…

-Ristmoth, 9 hours into the attack

After hard fighting that had claimed many lives on both sides, the way was finally clear. Alliance Battleships had established a solid perimeter for the vessels carrying their valuable ground troops to pass through. The occasional flash and cloud of superheated dust on the planet's surface arose from the continuing suppression of strategic planetary defenses and military bases. Careful precision was necessary for the orbital bombardment. The civilian population was already rising up against their former masters, and the fleet had no wish to hit friendly forces.

"The transports are preparing to make their drops. Escorts, take your positions."

The Untamed Stallion, along with her escorting squadron of fighters, was joined by several other older corvettes and half a dozen Assault Frigates along with their capital space patrols to form a protective screen for the convoy of slow and quite battered barges. The transports were an old design and had been mothballed ages ago by the Empire, but now they were pressed back into service by a Rebellion that desperately needed every functioning ship it could get.

With only light shields, a few nearly antique laser batteries, and practically no armor whatsoever, these ships were the equivalent of big, fat, sitting ducks for even the smallest and weakest Kreeghor vessel. Hence the need for the strong escort. By now, the remaining Imperial capital ships that could had already fled from the system, while the rest were now either expanding spheres of light and heat, or dark gutted hulks, depending on whether or not the ship's engines had been breached. But, despite the thorough sweep that Alliance forces had made, an occasional squadron of enemy fighters still managed to slip out from one of the hidden hangers on the planet's surface. Just one squadron would be more then enough to decimate the transports.

The anti-fighter defenses on the Untamed Stallion were the best in the fleet. Her fellow corvettes also mounted impressive deterrents as well. If by some chance they ran into something larger than just fighters, that was where the frigates would come in. But their abilities were about to be put to the test, as the planetary defense forces played their final and most lethal trump card.

"I'm detecting multiple launches coming from the planet's surface!"

A hundred hidden armored silos belched smoke and flame, as their contents climbed for the upper atmosphere and escape velocity.

"Missiles incoming!"

"Keep them away from the transports, at all costs!!"

"Activate the Defense Grid and prep point defense!"

The Rebel cruisers Vigilant and Liberty quickly moved into position to pound the previously concealed launchers into fine-grade powder. That just left the cruise missiles heading toward the fleet's transports as the only visible remaining threat for the escorts to deal with.

Sophisticated ECM disabled a few before they ever reached space, in an ironic twist sending the missiles back toward the base that had launched them. The faster escort fighters came within range of the deadly swarm first, taking their toll on the evasive smart bombs with energy cannons and rail guns. But there were simply too many of the missiles and not enough fighters, despite their best efforts at least half of them got through. There was no time for a second pass. Even as the pilots turned, the massive rockets altered their heading to keep them out of range as they continued to close on the helpless transports.

Then the corvettes began launching counter-volleys of their own, going for multiple fratricide. More explosions briefly lit the darkness of space, yet the remaining warheads still headed relentlessly toward their targets.

Now was the most dangerous time, as the escorts were forced into close range in order for their guns to come into play. Cruise missiles could cross the short distances quickly enough that there wouldn't be enough time for an unlucky vessel in its way to even think of evading. With few exceptions the ships of the convoy could not hope to survive a direct hit from even one of those gigantic warheads. It was a grueling trial of the crews' nerves and the gunners' accuracy. There was almost no margin for error and casualties started mounting almost immediately. In the blink of an eye one of the leading corvettes vanished in the white-hot flare of an antimatter explosion as a missile struck it head on.

Onboard the Untamed Stallion Commander Ayla was a shouting orders to the rest of the ship, her draconic nature evident, despite being shape-shifted into a human, in the sheer force behind her commands.

"You know the drill, ladies. Aim straight and shoot fast!"

From the comlink, there was a chorus of affirmatives from the various gunners manning the weapons turrets.

A score of enemy missiles died in the ensuing storm of point defense lasers, particle beams, plasma bursts, and hyper-velocity duranium rail gun rounds. But more were still coming, and the Assault Frigate Spirit nearly joined the first unfortunate escort in oblivion as its weak point defense was overwhelmed by over half a dozen of the guided warheads. The first missile was destroyed, as was the second, but the third and fourth ones got through and inflicted a savage punishment on her faltering shields. By some quirk of fate, the fifth warhead missed completely and was vaporized by the Untamed Stallion's guns as it came around for another attack. The sixth warhead punched through Spirit's weakened variable force field to explode violently against her hull, crippling the valiant escort vessel. The ship's lights went dark and the battered hulk was forced to use its remaining engine power to limp away.

Three of the corvettes took up new positions to cover the vector left open by the withdrawing frigate. They succeeded in stopping the missiles coming from that direction, but the escorts paid the ultimate price for their bravery. All three ships were nothing more then expanding clouds of superheated gas by the time the fleet's fighters came screaming back into the fight with full afterburners blazing fiery streaks behind the small craft.

Ten cruise missiles managed to evade the gunners' tracking systems, and the defenders were running out of time. In a few moments the warheads would reach the transports, and over a hundred thousand irreplaceable troops would be lost.

Commander Ayla realized that they had only one option left if the convoy was to have any chance at all. They were the only ship still between the warheads and the convoy. The missiles couldn't be allowed to get pass them, no matter what it took to stop them. Even though it might cost them their lives, death was something each and every member of the crew had accepted as a possibility that came with the job.

"Set our ECM to deception mode. Use Alliance transponder setting seven."

Tania winced but responded without hesitation.

"Copy, Commander. Reconfiguring ECM now."

The communications officer took a moment to whisper a short prayer in her native tongue. Setting seven meant that they would register to the missile guidance systems as a group of three Alliance Starcruisers. In theory, the command protocols of the warheads should override control and change the target priority to the more enticing false readings. Of course, if this worked then that would leave the Untamed Stallion with ten really big and very nasty smart bombs with anti-matter payloads aimed at it.

She decided to pray a little harder.


For some reason the Sailor Senshi weren't as glad to see their traditional rescuer as they normally would be. Perhaps it was due to the fact he was making a total fool of himself on national television. It might have something to do with his challenging someone who'd just wasted two of the Negaverse's finest military commanders just few minutes ago. Or it could be that he'd been late for the scheduled last minute rescue, which wasn't a good thing… especially for the ones who were supposed to be rescued. Either way, to say they were quite miffed with him would be quite an understatement.

Ranma rolled his eyes heavenward for a moment and then interrupted the cliché inspiration speech. "Lemme skip the preliminary stuff and cut to the chase scene. Are you by any chance an Alien Intelligence? A God? A Demon? Some powerful supernatural fiend I've probably never heard of? A mage with a bad taste in overpriced wedding garments? One of those master psychics that have lost more then a few marbles? Or are you packing any 30th century firearms? Carrying a weapon of considerable magical power by any chance?"

"Um… no."

"Then stop bothering me and go get a real job."

Tuxedo Kamen facefaulted. Unfortunately for him, he was leaning toward the wrong side of the roof at the time. The watching Senshi winced as he hit the pavement with an audible splat.

Ranma ignored his twitching form as he went to check on the unconscious Skuld. His fingers gently probed her for injuries with a deftness and thoroughness that rivaled an experienced battlefield medic.

{Hmmm, a light concussion, some bruises on her back and along her side, and a twisted ankle.}


Uh oh. Whenever she said something like that, trouble always followed sooner or later. He was almost afraid to find out what she found so interesting this time.

{What is it?}

[Her psychic energy level is nowhere even near a normal human's. In fact I'm pretty sure she's not even a mortal.]

This wasn't as bad as the malfunctioning thermal detonator, or the fairy ring incident, but it came close.

{What?! Are you telling me she's some kind of godling?!!}

[Bingo. This is looking less and less like that quiet vacation you kept promising. On the bright side, I haven't been this entertained in centuries!]

Ranma winced as the sword burst into telepathic laughter. With Ishtar as his partner, he never had to worry about his ego getting too inflated. She was always there to cut him down to size.

{I'm glad one of us is finding this situation funny. Now, are you going to heal her, or is there anything else you'd like me to know about?}

[Well, aside from the fact that those other girls are some of the sources of those magical emanations from last night, and that weirdo in the black tuxedo and hat seems to have recovered, nothing much.]

{… Ishtar!}

[Fine. Fine. Spoilsport.]

Resting the flat of the blade across the young goddess's chest, Ranma watched as a soft yellow light flowed from the sword into the girl's body. The most visible of the bruises shrunk and vanished, revealing unmarred skin. Although he couldn't see the rest of the effects of his partner's healing power, he did note with some relief that the girl's breathing was even and untroubled. Ishtar couldn't do anything about her fainting; that was one of those little medical mysteries like the common cold that had never been solved by magic or anything else even in the advanced society he'd come from. Skuld would have to come out of that one on her own.

He did his best to arrange her more comfortably on the ground before turning toward the nearest of the strangely dressed girls, which turned out to be Sailor Jupiter. She "eeped" in surprise at how fast he moved and took an involuntary step back. A certain thickheaded masked crusader of justice also misinterpreted Ranma's action rather badly.


Something hit Ranma in the back. It turned out to be a fancy walking cane and was about as effective on his Cosmic Armor as a piece of down. The sound of wood hitting something considerably harder then mere metal was rather annoying, though. He decided to just ignore it and hope that this weirdo came to his senses. Only a complete idiot would keep on attacking him.

"Get away from them!!"


[Well, he's got guts. No brains, but guts.]

-A few moments later


The cane was looking much the worse for wear. It was meant as more of a gimmick really, great for parrying attacks or pole-vaulting, but left something to be desired as a melee weapon. The cantrips that enchanted the wood were no match for Ranma's skin, let alone his armor.

"*Huff* I will *puff* defeat *gasp* you *wheeze*!"

Tuxedo Kamen resolved to get more exercise after this was all over. Normally all he had to do was toss a rose in, make a pretty speech, maybe make a few fancy moves with his cane and "presto", the crisis was over. Consequently he had no stamina to speak of. Only his pride was keeping him going this long. It didn't help his confidence any that his target didn't even seem to notice his best efforts.

"Those ribs seem to be only bruised, Miss… ah…? I don't believe I've caught your name yet."

"Mako… err, I mean Sailor Jupiter! Yes, that's right, it's Sailor Jupiter."

Ranma raised an eyebrow beneath his helm as his patient turned bright cherry red with embarrassment and laughed nervously.

"Okay… Hold still; this should only take a second."

Once again the Rune weapon's healing ability went to work. Almost immediately, Jupiter breathed easier as the pinching soreness eased around her midsection. Even the rest of her cuts and bruises didn't hurt as much as they had earlier. She wasn't afraid of this stranger anymore. His kindness just had to be genuine. He probably looked just like her old sempai underneath that tight armor.

"Thank you."

Ranma nodded in acknowledgement before going to see to the others. He totally missed the little hearts floating in the girl's eyes.

But a slightly exhausted caped crusader suddenly blocked his path.

"Hey you! Quit ignoring me!!"

"Huh? You're still here? And still dressed like that?"

That was the last straw. An outraged Tuxedo Kamen threw a wild punch toward the armored form that seemed to just keep on mocking him.

A moment later he was nursing severely bruised knuckles and doing his best not to scream from the pain. That action would be filed under the heading of "things you now know not to do".

"Knock it off. You're only hurting yourself, Tux-boy."

"Don't call me Tux-boy!"

Sailor Jupiter picked that moment to drag Tuxedo Kamen off in order to explain to him a concept known as "punctuality".

Shadow and Rowan exchanged looks, then turned to Zora.

"How much for a DVD of that scene?"

"50,000 yen per disc."

"We'll take ten."

-Furinkan High

Akane Tendo was angry. While this was not an unusual state for her to be in, the cause of her irritable state today was. Ranma Saotome this, Ranma Saotome that, she was getting sick of hearing his name on the lips of what seemed to be every student on campus. Even the boys were talking about him, though they were only concerned about a.) Finding a way to beat him by tomorrow morning or b.) Finding a way to become his buddies and benefit from it with the girls. The only exception to this was the Furinkan Martial Arts Club. They wanted to recruit Ranma so that they could finally trash their rival schools.

What was worse, they'd all turned to her for more information about him since Nabiki tended to charge too much. Akane had enjoyed being the most popular person in school and though she'd never admit it, being upstaged like that had hit both her vanity and pride rather hard. Consequently, any residual attraction she might have felt toward Ranma was now buried under a flood of outrage and annoyance at being practically forgotten by the entire school.

"Akane, my love!"


Well, almost the entire school.

Just wait till they got back to the dojo, then she'd show that showoff what a "true" martial artist could do! Turn down her offer to spar and fight her battles for her would he! Well, she'd have the last laugh!!



That was strange, why was there a storm suddenly brewing over the Juuban district? Today's forecast had said there'd be clear skies all day.


Ranma glanced up at the rapidly darkening sky with some concern. He could sense that the building storm wasn't entirely natural in origin. There was an almost electrical feeling in the air, as if every molecule had been supercharged with mystic potential. This didn't bode well. Already, he could feel his own power starting to flare up instinctively in response to the presence of so much excess psychic energy, despite his efforts to keep his power signature to a minimum. An occasional spark of static electricity would briefly snap into existence around Ranma, where his aura met the increasingly agitated atmosphere.

Either he was in the middle of a leyline storm again, or something or someone possessing as much potential psychic energy as all these girls combined was close by. And as far as he knew, this part of Japan didn't even have leylines.

Ranma was pretty sure that whatever it was wasn't like those diabolic monsters from before, figuring that he'd have gotten an early warning from his partner if that was so. That he wasn't starting to glow was also good sign. It meant that at least for the moment both parties were on the same polarity. If the other party were truly evil, his armor would have started to light up like a Christmas tree from their aura's negative charge. The electricity wasn't as promising. He could almost taste the hostility that was fueling it.

{Someone doesn't seem to like me very much.}

Something this big showing up so soon with a chip on its shoulder was more then just a coincidence, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what had probably attracted their attention. That ring he'd gotten from the Harpells must be on the fritz again. A magical artifact that didn't always work properly, most people would swear that was impossible. Of course, most people had never met the Harpells before, either.

{Now if I only knew how to take the damn thing off…}

Ranma tended to trust his feelings, another bit of wisdom from an old friend and teacher. Right now, those feelings were telling him that staying around to find out who was trying to find him would be a very bad idea. His hunters might not harbor any ill intentions toward the other people here, but Ranma got the impression that whatever was out there would not be so lenient with him. Fighting here wouldn't solve anything, and it would put innocent lives in jeopardy. Better to confront them at a time and place of his choosing. Hopefully, one where a peaceful settlement could be reached. While his injuries always healed fast, they still hurt. And despite sordid rumors to the contrary, he was not a masochist!

{Time to go.}

Slipping away shouldn't be too much of a problem. It looked like everyone else's attention was on the little squabble taking place in front of him. He'd put away Ishtar once she was done healing the girls. No sense in tempting fate by leaving her out where she might change her mind about them. A jealous Rune Weapon was not a pretty sight, especially when she could read his thoughts as clearly as a book with glass pages. For a moment, he almost considered retrieving her again. The sense of unrelenting loathing had been nearly overpowering and her abilities could come in handy if worst came to worst.

But he resisted the temptation, such an act might be viewed as provocation and Ranma was determined that if there was a fight, he wouldn't be the one that started it.

Much to his amusement, after he'd finished healing them, the girls wearing the colorful fuku had surrounded the poor chump in the formal eveningwear and were currently berating him within an inch of his life. Ranma had never seen a guy that wasn't already married look so whipped before. After this, he'd probably never be able to take that Tuxedo character seriously ever again.

Ranma was congratulating himself for his cleverness on having avoided a potentially sticky situation as he quietly walked away. Then a sultry voice stopped him in his tracks and brought the others' attention back to him.

"Hold it right there, buster."

A stunning platinum blonde blocked his escape. Some idle corner of Ranma's mind noted that it was the same woman who'd fallen out of the television. He also noticed that she seemed to be at least partly responsible for the magical saturation of the surrounding area. The small jolts of lightning that kept popping up around her as she approached him were a pretty definite confirmation of that.

No doubt about it, he was in trouble again.

-Tomobiki High

Somehow a television had been smuggled into class. A certain Shutaro Mendo might have had something to do with that, but there was no proof that could be traced back to him.

"What a babe!!"

The most lecherous boy in the universe soon regretted his comment, however true it might have been.

"Darling no baka!!!"

Hell hath no fury like an Oni scorned.



To be continued.

Part 3-E
Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005

Webmaster: Larry F
Last revision: May 21, 2007

Old Gray Wolf