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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-F: Why ask why?

-You Are So Screwed.

Unnoticed by Neptune, her artifact began to grow dark as the barely adequate forces of adversity went to work.


{Someone's being very sloppy.}

Urd glanced around curiously. Someone nearby was expending quite a bit of magical power, and if the amount of leakage she was picking up was any indication, they obviously weren't very good at it.

{Now where have I seen that style before?}

The identity of the culprit was right on the tip of her tongue when her attention was suddenly called back to the little drama unfolding in front of her. It looked like the final act was about to begin.

-You Think You Have Problems?

{I am not going to panic. It's nonproductive and a waste of energy. There has to be some kind of logical explanation for all of these phenomena.}

Sailor Mercury kept telling herself that as her VR visor hiccupped and finally started displaying something coherent.


That statement pretty much summed up her feelings when the nature of the data she was currently receiving became clear.

{This can't be right! There has to be some kind of mistake!! It's impossible!!!}

-You Ever Get That Sinking Feeling?

She still couldn't take her eyes off of him. Why did she feel that there was a connection between the two of them? This warm feeling coming from inside her heart was filling her entire body with a sense of… joy?

Who was he? What was he? And most importantly, why did his presence make her feel so safe and secure? She had only experienced anything remotely like this a long time ago, when she was being held in her father's arms as he rocked her to sleep.

Yet she was feeling the same sensation now, that complete certainty of being sheltered and knowing that no harm would come.

Sailor Saturn looked at him, and wondered…

-You're Where?

{This sucks.}

Being stuck in a quasi-dimensional pocket courtesy of an ancient martial arts technique was not very high on Ishtar's list of things she enjoyed doing. For one thing, it virtually cut off her awareness of the outside world. The sword intensely disliked this muffling of her senses, which included even the bond that linked her with her owner. She could still feel it in the back of her mind like a warm ember, but was otherwise "left in the dark", so to speak.

It didn't help matters any that gravity was nonexistent in here. Objects tended to just retain stationary positions in what she assumed was the middle. Even her sense of time was distorted, although given the nature of the surroundings that might be considered a blessing in disguise.

Because worst of all… It was so damn BORING!

She couldn't even have the satisfaction of chewing Saotome out while she was stuck in here. He had learned early on to tune out her many complaints. It helped that this was one of the few situations that dampened her telepathy down to a level that even an infant could block her sendings.

Not that Ranma's mental defenses were much better then an infant's, at least in her opinion. Honestly, how had that silly boy ever managed to survive so long without her?

{That over-inflated ego of his is going to be the death of him yet. I didn't sense anything really dangerous nearby, but still….}

The little tart of a goddess she'd dismissed as a threat almost immediately. It didn't take a genius to see what that one was looking for.

If Ranma couldn't win her over with that weird enhanced sex appeal of his, then she'd be surprised. That way he had with women was part of the reason why Ishtar tended to look down upon any female chasing her wielder. She knew that most of them just wanted him for his body. Even if it was a very nice body and even if it took an exceptional willpower to resist his semi-supernatural charm, that was still no excuse! Ishtar loved Ranma for who he was on the inside, not for his looks (pleasing though they might be). So naturally she got more then a little peeved whenever one of those temptresses tried to get their claws on him.


There had been the beginnings of a slightly disturbing reading at the very edges of her senses right before she had been returned here. But it had been very far away and the contact was too brief for her to confirm it.

{Well, it might have just been a fluke. And even if it does turn out to be dangerous, I'm sure that he wouldn't be crazy enough to confront it without me there… I hope.}

-You Dirty Rat!

Senbei smiled nastily as he snapped his fingers.

"Unhappy strike, number one."

Black tendrils of ectoplasm erupted forth from the face of Sailor Neptune's mirror and launched themselves at the surprised Senshi. Although their appearance was rather horrifying, they were actually quite harmless. The imp was more concerned with causing chaos then actual injury, not to mention the fact that he lacked the power to give his creations much substance anyway.

Having experienced this type of unexpected situation before, she naturally responded with all the calm and dignity one would expect from such a mature young lady.


Then again… maybe not.

Everything seemed to happen at once after that.

-Ristmoth, Governor Ryga's Palace

The remaining Imperial troops crouched nervously behind whatever cover they could find. They knew it was only a matter of time until the rebels finally broke through. The armored doors might look thick and solid, but they wouldn't last long against any real firepower. This was going to be their last stand. None of them held any illusions as to the fate the rebels had in mind for them. The problem with serving a huge evil empire that trampled the masses into the dirt, was that occasionally those masses clawed their way out and then pulled their oppressors down into the dirt and buried them in it.

Suddenly it grew quiet.

The constant background hum of energy discharges had ceased.

Soldiers clutched their Power Halberds and Pulse Rifles closer.

For a long moment eerie silence filled the building. No one dared to even breathe, afraid that it would shatter their temporary reprieve.

Then the sound of many footsteps moving toward the palace broke the illusion. Snipers stationed at the windows started to open fire. Bodies could be heard dropping on the grounds outside by the dozen.

The return fire from the attackers was overwhelming in its intensity. Snipers who survived the initial hailstorm of plasma bolts and laser beams became the recipients of mini-missiles and fusion grenades, as rebel forces dislodged them from their tenaciously held positions.

A dull red glow started to appear in the middle of the armored doors protecting the main entrance. The glowing area slowly grew from the size of a quarter to nearly twice the diameter of a normal man. The center went from dull blood red to bright cherry red, then to molten yellow orange, and finally to a blinding white.


Charging through the wreckage came the screaming hordes.

"For Freedom and Liberty! Death to the Empire!!"


{So it was lie after all! Damn him!}

For some reason this betrayal hurt far more then it should have even though she had been expecting it all along. There wasn't much comfort to be found in being proven right all the time. For a few precious moments, she had secretly hoped that for once her instincts were wrong. But now it was too late for regrets, all that remained were the bitter ashes of lost hope and a burning desire for vengeance.

"Dead Scream."

Sailor Pluto initiated her signature attack.

-Double Yikes!!


It was the equivalent of lighting a match in a room full of dynamite. To say that Sailor Uranus was angry would be the understatement of the century.

She was FURIOUS.

{This guy is HISTORY!}

"Space Sword Blaster!!"

-You couldn't figure it out earlier?!

She spotted the culprit just one moment too late.

{Senbei? That little..!! So this is all MARA's fault!!}

Urd rolled up her sleeves as she prepared to teach that no-good, two-bit imp a lesson.

"Lightning STRIK… Eek! Put me down!"

-Are You Confused Yet?

He didn't know what was going on. One second it seemed that everything would be all right, and then all hell had broken loose.

That girl, Sailor Neptune, was struggling against what looked like dark Jell-O. Ranma realized after a moment of confusion that it was ectoplasm, though he'd never seen it in that color before. The stuff was practically harmless, although it could be kinda disgusting for the unprepared.

The other two took one look and turned back toward him with grim expressions on their faces.

{Uh oh.}

Ranma knew a setup when he saw one. It was obvious that someone had just framed him. Unfortunately, there was no way for him to prove it right now, and simply proclaiming his innocence at this point was obviously not going to do any good.

{So much for talking my way out of this.}

The short-tempered blonde confirmed his suspicions about the sword when she shouted out some kind of command phrase and her blade fired an energy bolt at him.

Ranma couldn't make heads or tails of the "sphere" (for lack of a better term to describe it) that the other woman shot at him. It looked pretty nasty though, so it would probably be in his best interests to avoid it. That one called Sailor Pluto (?) looked really pissed off at him, and the unfairness of it all made the Knight want to scream with frustration.

Then Ranma saw that he wasn't the only one in danger here. What was that goddess doing?! Didn't she realize that those projectiles were going to…

{Oh, screw it! I can apologize to her later.}

With no time to lose The CosmoKnight grabbed the platinum blonde in one arm and slung her over his shoulder as he leaped out of the way of the incoming attack.

An explosion rocked the ground where he'd been standing just a moment earlier. Oddly enough, it didn't seem to cause much damage to the street. Which either meant that those were very weak attacks (not likely) or they were similar in nature to phase weapons in that they were meant for live targets (Quite probable *shudder*).

-Phaseworld Center, Level 2-B: Spacetown

"C'mon, We have to get going. Our contact is waiting in the Seel's Whails."

"The what?"

"Seel's Whails, it's a Spacer bar. Lotta freelancers and runners hang out there. Most of them are sympathetic to the Rebels, so it's as safe a place as any for us."

"If you say so."

Privately, Sun had her own doubts about that. This part of the city was only slightly rundown but she had the uncomfortable feeling that many pairs of eyes were watching their passage. Even though the streets were nearly empty of people there was a dangerous tension in the air. She rested a hand on her holdout blaster, its familiar presence on her hip was reassuring as always.

"Just keep a low profile and we should be able to avoid any trouble."

The guide just hoped that none of the rough and tumble types around here noticed his client. Her exotic beauty had not escaped his notice. Even in this interdimensional hub of the Multiverse, the woman stood out.

{Yes, she's quite a looker.}

He briefly found himself almost envying Saotome. But that only lasted until he saw that look in her eyes again. No sirree, he couldn't wait to part company with her. The sooner, the better!

-You'll be sorry!

Urd's shapely posterior wiggled in vain as she struggled to escape from her new position. Being carried over this barbarian's shoulder like the spoils of war was most embarrassing.

"Do you have any idea how undignified this is?!"

Beating her hands against the back of his armor proved equally fruitless. She might as well have been a sack full of groceries, for all he seemed to care.

{Oh no! My nails! And I just had them done too!}

"Would you settle down please? I'm a little busy at the moment!"

Ranma was having some trouble holding onto the scandalously clad woman while simultaneously jumping and dodging about as not one, but two infuriated opponents tried their damned best to make him very, very dead. Sadly, this was a situation that he was much too familiar with, having experienced variations of the same theme many, many times over the past couple of years.

Of course this was the first time that he found himself unable to fight back. These girls weren't really bad, they'd just been tricked into thinking he was the villain here. That observation still didn't help his situation any though.

In the course of most events there will occasionally be accidents.

When the event includes frantic evasive maneuvers, coupled with a handicap that was both soft and curved in all the right places, the odds of one of those accidents taking place tends to skyrocket into the stratosphere.


"Eek! You pervert!"

"Sorry about that!"

"Release your hostage! And stop molesting her!"

"Hostage?! You're the one who's trying to kill us! At least let me put her down first! And that was an accident!"

"Shut up! Space Sword Blaster!"

"Watch those hands buster!"

{Why do these things always happen to me?!}

-Are You Sure You Know What You're Doing?

"Stop it! You're making a mistake!"

"Pluto! Uranus! Wait! There's been some kind of misunderstanding!"

When Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus are the sole voices of reason in a conflict, it's time to start worrying.

The other Senshi prudently decided to take cover, as did Sasami and the now-awake and very confused Skuld.

The little goddess felt a lot better now, but why was everyone fighting again?!

Tuxedo Kamen produced a rose in one hand and watched the battle carefully, waiting for an opening.

-High Orbit Over Ristmoth

"Is everyone alright?"

Assorted affirmative replies came in as the bridge's emergency lights flickered wildly. There were many cuts and bruises, but, amazingly, no really serious injuries. It appeared that body armor and natural toughness had saved the day once again.

"I need a status report. Sammy, weapons and navigation. Tania, check the communications broadcast array and all decks and turrets. Ana, can we still cloak? And someone contact the engine room. I'm sure Silvia is pretty pissed about all the abuse her "wee l'il bairns" have taken."

"Yes, Ma'am."

The crew went about their tasks quickly and efficiently, despite their recent near brush with oblivion. It was simply part of the job.

"She can still cloak, but the grid is looking pretty unstable. I wouldn't recommend it short of a complete emergency. Our active stealth systems are pretty overloaded at the moment. We need time to let them cool down."


"We're at 85% of optimal power. Capacitors for the main guns are off-line and our shields are so thin that you could throw a spitball through them. Ship's navigation seems to have survived quite nicely, though… some luck seems to be finally going our way. Missiles and torpedoes are available, but the Reaper cannon is off-line. Secondary batteries are still functional, but it looks like they'll be only at half strength for little bit. Starboard turrets are down. Looks like numbers 3 and 6 are a total loss."

"Medical Teams have been dispatched. Yes Brandy, they're coming so please stop yelling at me! Commander, the crew manning turret 6 reports that they're fine; they just got tossed around a bit."


"Well… just a moment. Brandy! I told you they're on their way! Stop screaming already! What was that again?"


"Coming in now. Whoa, looks like Dr. Lotion is really going to be earning her pay this time!"


"Forty-eight crewmembers have reported injuries so far. Twelve of them are going to require hospitalization. Only two really serious cases though. Amanda and Ikeya."

"I'm sure the doctor will be thrilled."

Now the Commander hesitated. This was always the worst part about being in command.

"… Fatalities?"

There was a brief pause as Tania checked the incoming reports.

"Looks like we cheated the piper again, Ma'am."

Ayla let out a breath she didn't even know she had been holding.

{Thank the Goddess.}

"All right people, don't relax yet. We still have a job to do."

"Aye aye, Commander."

-You Were Warned About Days Like This.

"Dead Scream."

Ranma found himself forced to alter directions in midair once again. That Sailor Pluto seemed to have an uncanny knack for being able to correctly predict where he was going to touch down.

"World Shaking!"

So far he'd been able to avoid coming into contact with whatever it was they were shooting at him, but it hadn't been easy. No sooner did he manage to dodge one, then the other would launch her attack. The two of them were working as a team, keeping him off balance so that he couldn't retake the initiative.

{This is getting me nowhere! I need a plan, but… aw no, please don't tell me I'm grabbing what I think I'm grabbing!}

"You better not let me go, because the moment you do I'm gonna KILL you, Pervert!"

{Oh, joy.}

Correction, first he needed to deposit his unwilling passenger somewhere safe. Then he could worry about what to do with latest additions to the long line of people trying to kill him.

Well, it could have been worse.

They could have been trying to marry him instead.

-You're Despicable!

{This is GREAT! Explosions, a beautiful woman in peril, the Sailor Senshi, and lots of gratuitous violence! Who could ask for more?}

The News Anchor and his trusty sidekick were happier then pigs in manure. Even if they didn't know what was really going on.

On a related note, the cameraman was able to get an indecent shot of Urd's panties when she was hoisted over the Knight's shoulder.

This resulted in several million slaps being delivered to viewers nationwide by angry wives and girlfriends.

Plus one electrocution.

Keiichi Morisato could only cover his eyes and groan.

-High Ristmoth Orbit, Free World's Flagship

"Admiral Iblis, the Ristmoth system has been secured. All Imperial ships have been destroyed or have retreated from the sector. We've won, sir!"

"Don't get your hopes up just yet, Captain. We still have to capture this planet first."

"Yes, sir."

"Ensign, status of the troop landings?"

"Proceeding as planned, Admiral. The convoy's escorts suffered heavy losses though. We lost nine corvettes, and six other ships are out of commission."

"Did we lose any of the transports?"

"No sir. It appears that they were able to stop all of the missiles."

"Good. We can't afford to lose any of them before they hit the planet. Our resources are stretched thin enough as it is. High Command is taking an awfully big risk here."

"Sir, the first wave of transports will be landing in the capital city in twenty minutes."

-You Can't Be Serious?!

An opening finally presented itself.

Sailor Pluto was forced to abandon her next shot when it became clear that the Knight had somehow managed to maneuver himself directly between his two opponents. This made it impossible for either one of them to attack him without risking the chance of hitting the other.

The advantage only lasted a moment, as they both quickly moved to get out of each other's way. But a moment was all he really needed.

"Oof! Hey! You Jerk!!"

It was not exactly the most gentle of landings. Ranma was in a hurry, after all. At least she was on the ground and now safely out of the line of fire (he hoped).

Urd rubbed her tender bottom with one hand while shaking her fist at him with the other.

"Ohh, you're gonna get it!"

Now that he finally had full mobility again, it was time to think up a plan of action.

That took him about ten seconds, which was nine more then he normally needed.

{Okay, there's no way to calm them down. But I can make them even madder then they already are. Let's hope that certain universal principles hold true… Otherwise, they're probably going to be picking me off the street with ink blotters.}

Once he started on this path, there would be no going back. Did he really want to do this?

"Die, Monster!"

{I guess that answers my question.}

Ranma took a deep breath (don't ask me how) and unleashed his most devastating special attack, one so horrifying that it was only passed down through the Saotome line, and even then, only from father to son.

"You stupid, uncute tomboy!"


"He calls that a plan?!"

"I… believe so."

"Zora, I think your Ranma lost a few marbles when he came back to his home dimension."

"Always a method to the madness, there is."

"In other words, he's nuts."

-You're In For It Now!


She might dress like a man in her civilian form, but Haruka still had her feminine pride. Yet even though Uranus was seething with rage, she was still in control of herself.

Something more was needed to tip the scales.

"You're also a flat-chested maniac."

That did the trick.

Of all the things he could have picked, Ranma had to choose the one which she was most sensitive about.


A gigantic red-hot battle aura sprang up around Sailor Uranus. Nobody insulted her chest!! Nobody!!!

The sun hid its face behind clouds of darkest black. Lightning danced across the heavens, and vermin within a two-mile radius suddenly found that they had pressing business elsewhere.

{Uh oh. I may have overdone it a little bit.}


She came in swinging hard and fast. Any Amazon war leader would have been proud to call her one of her own at that moment.

As soon as he dodged the first thrust to his head, the Knight was forced to twist back and to the side as the lunge turned into a slash aimed for his abdomen. Her second stab came in unexpectedly low, in an attempt to sever one of his hamstrings while he was in such an awkward position, but it was thwarted by his armor. The attack did leave a deep cut in the ultra-hard material though, and that fact did not go unnoticed by anyone present.

Recovering quickly, Ranma was able to avoid Uranus's next attacks by shifting just enough to the left and right to prevent the blade from skewering him in the vitals.

It helped that her swings were beginning to get wilder and more frenzied with every miss. He continued to give ground freely to her furious assault, always making sure to stay close enough that the other Senshi after his hide couldn't use that strange attack of hers without hitting them both.

'If the enemy's forces are united, separate them.'

'All warfare is based on deception.'

'If your opponent is of base temper, seek to irritate them.'

The wisdom of Sun Tzu still held true thousands of years later. But his entire plan depended on the last two being correct as well. Timing would be everything. He would have only one shot; they wouldn't fall for this a second time.

-Do You See What I See?

Uranus's readings were nearly off the scale. She was actually glowing from all the battle energy radiating forth from her body!

Mercury used one hand to push her jaw back up into position.

The blue haired Senshi didn't even try to get a reading from Pluto. She knew it would only give her nightmares in the days to come.

The Time Guardian looked really angry. That was scary, especially since this was the strongest emotional reaction that Setsuna had ever shown!

{Is he insane? They're going to kill him!}

Once again she tried to scan the stranger, although his constant movement made that difficult.

{Strange… the jamming seems to have stopped.}

Not that it did much good. Whatever that armor was composed of, it wasn't anything that her computer could recognize. It also seemed to block any attempts to scan deeper. Infrared and ultraviolet sensor beams were absorbed into it without a trace.

{This can't be right!}

How could his power level be at practically zero?! Even youma and daemons had a level of energy that could be detected.

Yet his reading was as cold as ice…


Something about that last observation sent alarms ringing in her head. Why was this person trying so hard to intentionally keep Uranus in a burning rage while at the same time maintaining a personal power level that was almost on par with a corpse?

{Hot and cold… what's the connection?}


Then she saw it. As the Outer jumped into the air with her Space Sword held high, the Knight's right arm suddenly became a black void as every last bit of heat energy was expelled from it.

"Uranus, look out! It's a trap!!"

Too late.


Ranma's fist rocketed out into an uppercut.

"Hiryuu Shoten Ha!"


"I don't believe it. It actually worked?!"

"Looks like it."

"Told you so."

"Okay, so now how is he going to deal with Pluto?"

An uncomfortable silence descended.

Crickets decided to chirp in the background and were promptly devoured by several dozen woodland spirits who were in urgent need of some munchies.

"I thought so."

Shadow sighed wearily, that was the trouble with these heroes. They always forgot about those little details until it was too late.

-So Tell Me, What You Plan To Do About The Rest Of Them?

Ranma had been aiming for just the edge of Sailor Uranus's battle aura, so he only nicked it a little with the "Soul of Ice" technique. Of course, considering how much heat she was putting out, he had to pull his punch quite a bit short in order to keep the size of the resulting tornado down.


The twister was only a couple dozen meters high. But it was strong enough to pick up the unfortunate Outer and send her hurtling skyward like a helpless stray leaf. Through long practice and experience Ranma had learned how to direct where the Rising Dragon Ascension's victim(s) would land. Normally he used it to make sure his enemies wound up in the worst possible spots. This time he was trying to make sure that this woman didn't break anything when she hit the ground. Even magic could only go so far when it came to preventing damage from falling several stories.

How fortunate then that there was a truck lying on its side nearby, its cargo of leafy vegetables spilled out nice and high next to it. Apparently the driver had abandoned it sometime during the first battle, since the once fresh produce had grown rank in the daytime heat. It would certainly cushion a landing, but the smell…

{Oh well, beggars can't be choosy.}

It was good plan, all things considered.

Unfortunately there was still a hostile factor that Ranma failed to take into account.

"Heh, time for Unhappy Strike Two!"

-Well, You Tried.

Neptune, still struggling to get the slimy gunk off of her, just happened to pick that moment to look up.

Upon seeing her beloved about to come crashing down into the street, Neptune did the first thing that came to mind.

She jumped and tried to catch her.

But a sudden stray updraft threw her timing off.


Instead of catching Sailor Uranus, they collided in midair.

The two of them quickly discovered that ectoplasm is very sticky, right before they crashed into a small hill of stinky, rotten greens.

Their screams of outrage could be heard for miles around.

-You Can't Win Them All

Right after Senbei finished his latest act of mischief, an annoying tapping sensation started on his back.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

It just wouldn't stop, so the little imp turned around. A pair of feet met his eyes.

{Uh oh…}

He looked up.


Skuld looked down at him with a scary expression on her face. Her slightly dented Bug Masher Mark II was balanced on one shoulder.

Senbei pulled out a pair of old fashioned spectacles and put them on.

"You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?"

The young goddess's rebuttal was simple, but quite eloquent.


-Do You Have Any Last Words?

Ranma winced behind the safety of his armor. So much for his plan going the way it was supposed to. He had not been expecting the third girl to get in the way.

That had to have hurt.

But on the bright side, at least they wouldn't be after him for awhile. However he wouldn't want to be around when those two finally freed themselves from that gooey little mess they were in.

Two down, with only one left to worry about. Speaking of which…

{Where'd she go?!}

Somewhere in all the excitement he'd lost track of where Sailor Pluto was. He looked frantically around, but couldn't spot her anywhere.

Ranma didn't even try to kid himself into believing that she had actually left. He could still feel her presence, a pressure that weighed down heavily on the air itself.

Seeking a better position from which to defend himself, the Knight went from the street to the rooftops. From up there he'd have more maneuvering room and a better view of the surroundings.

Still he found no sign of her.

{I think I'm in trouble.}

-You think?

Mara froze where she was as the armored figure turned to look in her direction. But her barrier held, and he looked straight through her position without even seeing her.

She let out a small sigh of relief. That had been too close for comfort.

{It wouldn't do to spoil the game this early. I've got plans for you.}

A soft *bamf* behind her along with a hint of sulfur alerted Mara to the return of her servant.

"You've done well, Senbei. Remind me to reward you when we get back."

"… Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?"


She turned around, only to stare at the little imp in disbelief.

"What in the Nine Hells happened to you?!!"

Senbei was sporting the biggest, meanest looking bump on his head that she'd ever seen. It was obvious that her minion wasn't running with all of the lights on.

"I'm only twee and a half yea's old… bwebubwubweble…"

A large sweat drop appeared on the back of the demoness's head. Perhaps it was time to leave, before someone put two and two together.

-You Have Issues, Don't You?

Sailor Pluto has not survived this long by underestimating her opponents. It had quickly become clear that their regular special attacks weren't up to the task. Stronger measures were needed in order to destroy this threat.

With her Time Staff in hand, Setsuna started to gather the energy she needed to invoke the power of the Garnet Orb.

Each of the Outer Senshi possessed a unique talisman of power. Uranus had the Space Sword, Neptune's was the Aqua Mirror, and Saturn was the owner of the deadly Silence Glaive. But Pluto's artifact was perhaps the most unusual of them all.

Unlike the other talismans, the Orb was a sentient artifact and served as one of the Guardians of the Timegate. But most importantly, by channeling potential psychic energy through it, Pluto could amplify her abilities to a new level, allowing her access to the most dangerous Senshi attacks.

One of those was the forbidden "Time Protector", which halted the passage of time itself. But that wasn't the only one available to her. In a few seconds she would be ready to unleash an attack that made her Dead Scream look like one of Sailor Chibi-Usa's Pink Sugar Hearts.


"Oh no, please tell me she's not using that one."

Shadow and the Guardian exchanged worried looks. That attack had killed them each once before. Fortunately, they had gotten better afterwards. Death wasn't much fun, not unless you were lucky enough to get the cool chick with the ankh and a sense of humor.

"What's the attack roll?"

"Give me a sec, Bard."

Rowan swore softly when he got the result.

"Damn. This is not good."

"C'mon , how bad can it be?"

"A natural twenty ."

This time the curses came from several other throats as well. Everyone present knew what this meant. A critical strike, practically impossible to dodge.

"Well, it's only double damage… he can survive that."

The Bard tried to look on the bright side.

"Try damage x12 instead."

Rowan was quick to shoot his hopes down.


"Evil magical curse #34, victim takes triple damage from Rune Weapons. Since she's focusing it through the Garnet Orb, it still counts. Plus it's a surprise attack, so she automatically gets another bonus modifier of x2 to her damage roll."

"Oh, hell."


-Did You Have To Do That?!

It was time.

A crimson flare of raw temporal energy screamed forth from the head of the Time Staff. It took all of Pluto's concentration to keep from being caught in the backlash as the tidal wave of raw destruction spewed out. The Senshi of Time was in her element at that moment as she fought to master the wild power she had unleashed.

"Chrono Trigger!"

Sailor Pluto was also very good shot. After all, she'd had more then enough time to practice while awaiting the rebirth of the other Senshi.

Ranma never had a chance. Even as he turned to face the threat he knew it was already too late.

He only had a moment for one last meaningless thought.

{I survived the Mechanoids, the Four Horsemen, the Vampire Kingdoms, the Splugorth, and even the Transgalactic Empire, only to end up as the victim of a beautiful woman in a fuku? Damn it, looks like I owe Drizzt that round of drinks after all.}

And then there wasn't any time left even for that.


-To be continued…

Next time on Private Bet #10:

-Intrigue, mystery, and betrayal in the Phaseworld Universe
-More about Ranma's past from Erin Tarn
-Genma engaged Ranma to <???>?!
-Amazons about to come calling!
-Ryouga, killer at large!
-More villains, lots more villains!
-More Fiancées then you can shake a stick at!
-Big Freaking Explosions! (No, wait. That's in Chapter IV, my mistake!)
-Is that damn Chess game ever going to end?!
Plus: How many secret organizations are out there anyway?!

-Shade (Shooting little black pigs wearing bandannas just because I feel like it!)
Holy Knight of Mihoshi (Hail the Goddess of Coincidence!)
Ranger of the Crossover Fiancées.

Part 3-G
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