Finished: 2003-01-04

Standard disclaimer: I do not own anything in this fan fiction except
for the idea behind it and even that is mostly blatantly stolen from a
multitude of sources. And if you don't like that, then SUE ME! Uhm, why
are you all staring at me like that? No, it was a joke! Really! No,
don't take my computer, no, not my videogames, no, not my cat!!!
NOOOOOOOO!!!! *Sounds of a man being stripped of everything he own can
be heard. * (Does anyone know that sound effect BTW?)

Timelines: Everything in the canon Ranma ½ has happened in this fan
fiction with the exception of the Saffron incident. Only the Ranma ½
reference in this fan fiction will use a modified timeline. Any other
references will really just use the characters without any complex plots
and/or situations.

Age rating: If you can understand all the crap I'm spouting then you are
definitely old enough to read this fan fiction.

"Japanese"
*Thoughts*
~Sound effects~

Kenneth Lönnberg aka Macross_VF1 proudly presents:

Balance of Chaos

Chapter 4: Neither Bad nor Good

Part 3

*** - - - - ***

It took slightly less than 5 minutes for Ranma to reach his destination.
It was a big shrine in a slightly isolated place. A customary stonewall
surrounded the entire compound in an attempt to keep people out.
However, to Ranma such a wall was just a bonus. With a quick leap he
perched himself on the top of the wall, carefully looking around.

It didn't take him long to find the signals. In the kitchen he could
clearly see a girl with brown hair that could very well have been
Kasumi's twin and in the backyard young a girl in black hair was working
on some kind of robot. Besides the visible ones, there were two more
signals inside the house. One was nothing special, but the other had the
same strange signature as the two girls.

*Hmm, why did these people register on the scanner? * He thought to
himself. He flipped down the built in visor in his forehead sensor and
started going through the scanning process. *Nothing on the infrared,
heat or magnetic scans... Strange aura, but not conclusive evidence of
anything... Big energy stores...* He paused and flipped a mental switch
to identify energy types. The scanner quickly identified the type of
energy.

Mana.

He put the visor away and narrowed his eyes. "Deities..." he almost
growled out.

He turned to leave but a voice called out and stopped him.

"Hey, who are you?"

He turned back his head to see the black haired girl looking
suspiciously at him.

"No one you should be concerned of little girl." Ranma said, turning to
leave again. He didn't want to be anywhere near these deities,
especially the brown-haired one. The calm and peaceful ones was usually
the most dangerous ones in his experience.

Now if Ranma had known the girl, he would have known that he had just
put his foot in his mouth, big time.

"Oh no you don't. Neo-Skuld bomb!" The black-haired girl called out and
threw an object at Ranma.

Ranma did have his back turned to the girl when she threw the object,
but with battle-honed reflexes it was child's play to dodge it. He
casually back flipped from his point on the wall down into the yard.
While in the air, he turned and summoned his armour, making him fully
combat ready when he touched the ground.

The girl was readying another bomb to throw, but Ranma quickly took the
initiative by summoning a gun and firing at the bomb. The look on the
girls face when he shot the bomb out of her hand was priceless. Ranma
smiled evilly and cracked his knuckles.

"So that's how you want to play it? Oh well, if you want a beating that
much, I'll be happy to comply. Besides, it was a long time ago since I
had the chance to kill some deities. I think I'll enjoy this."

The girl's eyes widened, first at his deity comment and secondly when he
so happily declared her death. She didn't even had time to scream before
she found herself flying through the air with incredible pain in her
stomach. She landed some 10 meters back, almost instantly falling
unconscious.

Ranma crossed the distance to the girl with a small sonic boom following
him. Just as he connected his fist to his gut, he heard several gasps
from the house. It was quickly followed by two shouts of "Skuld!" He
turned his head to see the girl in brown hair and a guy that he had not
previously seen run towards this "Skuld"-girl.

*That's the third signal. * He thought. *Now where's the fou...* He
didn't have time to finish the thought as he quickly threw himself to
the side, dodging some kind of magic projectile.

He looked in the direction where the magic had came from and found the
fourth and final signal. It was an absolutely stunning woman with white
hair and she literally oozed the word sexy. This was something Ranma
could deal with. After having dealt with and killed Slaanesh, the god of
perverse pleasure, an abnormally sexy woman was easy to ignore. Of
course her trying to "fry his sorry carcass", as she put it, made it all
easier.

Ranma's previous evil smile turned into a maniacal grin and again he
charged using his suit's boosters, breaking the sound barrier once
again.

He punched the woman in the face, breaking her concentration and
dispelling the spell in the process. She fell to the ground nursing her
broken nose. Ranma held the gun only inches from her face, letting her
get a good look down the barrel of his gun. She gulped nervously and
froze.

"Please, give me a reason to kill you." Ranma said while grinning like a
mad man.

"Stop it!" The brown haired girl called out. "Why are you doing this?"

Ranma only continued to grin. "Why don't you wake the little brat and
ask her? Besides it's not very fun to kill someone unconscious."

Both the guy and the brown-haired girl flinched visibly to Ranma's
comment on 'fun'.

"Don't you dare touch her!" The white-haired woman growled while slowly
standing up.

Ranma snorted in contempt. "Like you can stop me."

"Hey I recognize you!" The guy exclaimed. "You helped the Sailor Senshi
a couple of weeks ago."

"Yeah, I did. What's it to you?"

"If you helped them, that would make you a good guy, right?"

Ranma's grin changed into a frown. "What is it with this dimension?
Doesn't anyone know more than black and white? Yes I did help the
Sailors, but only because for it proved to be most beneficial option
available for the moment."

The guy obviously wasn't expecting that answer. He hesitated a bit
before continuing. "Uhm, you know, these girls are goddesses..."

"I know that." Ranma cut him off.

Another unexpected answer. The guy looked very confused when he
continued "Why are you attacking them if you know that?"

"Isn't that obvious? I want to kill the friggin' bastards for attacking
me. Damn, how stupid can one get? " Ranma asked no one in particular,
his voice dripping with contempt.

The poor guy could probably not be more confused. "But, but, but..." He
stammered, searching for words but finding none.

Ranma decided to take pity on the babbling man and 'educate' him.
"Listen here you foolish Mon-Keigh. Gods are nothing but a bunch of
delusional hypocrites that think they are better than mortals with their
thrice-damned holier-than-thou attitude. The only problem is that
without mortals, or rather believers, they can't exist. A god without
believers is a dead god, to put it simple. Mortals create gods, not the
other way around." His grin returned in full force. "Besides, it's wrong
to talk in terms of gods and mortals, since they can be killed. I have
personally seen to the demise of at least a dozen gods."

As he spoke, the silver haired woman decided to take advantage of his
momentary distraction. She tensed and readied herself for another attack
and... "Why, how kind!" Ranma suddenly exclaimed, once again pressing
his gun dangerously close to her face, yet without watching what he was
doing. "So you want to help me reach another dozen? You only had to
ask." The silver haired woman froze up, sweating nervously. That gun was
huge!

Ranma was just about to press the trigger when the Kasumi look-alike
decided to speak up. Until now she had only attended the black-haired
girl. "Please stop this." She called out, tears pouring down her cheeks.

Ranma turned his head, his face displaying an almost bored expression.
"Give me one good reason." He said, his voice full of hate.

The brown-haired girl gulped. "I- I don't know why you hate us, but
please believe me when I say that we are not like that. Give me a chance
and I will prove it to you..."

"So you can backstab me? No thanks!" Ranma snorted. He summoned another
gun and trained it at the crying girl. As he was pulling the trigger, he
once again was interrupted, this time by the guy. "NO!" He yelled and
put himself in Ranma's line of fire, effectively blocking Ranma's view
of the girl.

Ranma raised an eyebrow. "And just what do you think you are doing?" He
asked in irritation.

"I will not let you hurt Belldandy!" The guy called out in defiance.

"Step aside boy, you don't know what you are dealing with here." Ranma
commanded. "They are considered illegal aliens since they and/or their
office has not decided to contact and/or formulate a treaty with the UN
ETSPP bureau yet." He paused to let that sink in. "And as an agent of
said bureau, I have the authority to remove these people from Earth
territory as they clearly represent a big threat. Of course, if I report
there were complications and I had to meet force with force then
everyone will consider the case closed. I like happy endings and short
reports." Ranma grinned evilly.

The guy hesitated but then a fire suddenly started burning in his eyes
as his determination returned. "I don't care!" He screamed. "I love
her!" The fire instantly vanished and was replaced with embarrassment as
he realized his own words.

"Oh is that so? Heh! You're quite pathetic aren't you?" Ranma started to
chuckle. "Of course, I've been that pathetic as well..." He said
cryptically. His guns faded away and he turned to leave. "Consider
yourself warned." He called over his shoulder. "You better register
yourself at the ETSPP bureau ASAP or tell your superiors to do it for
you. Otherwise I will not be held responsible for my actions." With that
he jumped over the wall and vanished from sight.

***

Nabiki looked at her watch again. It wasn't like Ranma was late or
anything, he still had five minutes left before he needed to show up.
However, even though she was loath to admit it, his presence was
reassuring and right now she could use some of that.

The reason for this was the contact, Mara. Nabiki had barely gotten her
ice cream before Mara knocked her on the shoulder and introduced herself
to the somewhat surprise Nabiki. Of course Nabiki had encountered
stranger things living in Nerima so someone showing up almost from thin
air was nothing special. After the introduction both girls had made some
small talk, mostly consisting of Mara asking questions about Ranma, some
of them quite personal, even going as far as suggesting Nabiki had 'done
the deed' with Ranma. The former Ice Queen of Furinkan wasn't even fazed
by those questions and they soon turned the entire conversation to a
game of verbal skills, each of them trying to outdo the other.

However, as much as Nabiki enjoyed bantering with a skilled 'opponent',
there was something in the back of her mind that told her something was
wrong with Mara. Yet at the same time she was also inexplicably drawn to
the other woman, like it was some perverse way of attraction. It was
strange really, because with the exception of her extravagant clothes
and peculiar facial tattoos, Mara didn't look any more special than your
average Joe, at least not to Nabiki. What really unnerved her were the
eyes though. It wasn't hard to imagine that Mara's steady and keen gaze
was very much how a predator would look upon a potential prey.

As if sensing her unease Mara slightly tilted her head and narrowed her
eyes at Nabiki. The appraising and almost condescending look somehow
irritated Nabiki. However before she could think further on the subject
Mara spoke up. "I'll be damned. You can feel me, right?"

Nabiki lost her irritation in a heartbeat at the unexpected question.
"Huh?" She replied intelligently.

"I meant exactly what I said, you can feel me." Mara repeated.

Nabiki raised an eyebrow. "Care to explain that in better detail?"

"You have a feeling of some sort that you don't get around other
people."

The other eyebrow came up. "That's correct actually. How did you know
that and more importantly why does your presence cause this?"

A small smile formed on Mara's lips. "I don't know the specifics of just
how it works but I do know that it is not many mortals that have the
ability. As for how I knew it, well it I didn't really. However I have
met other people with this ability and they always show a distinct
behaviour pattern. Of course I didn't expect it from you though. You are
really too devious for something like that."

"Thanks for the compliment." Nabiki replied with some sarcasm. "By the
way, what are you talking about mortals for? Don't tell me you're
immortal or something."

Mara's smile got wider, taking on an almost predatory quality. "You're
almost right. I just happen to be a demon."

Nabiki's eyes narrowed. "Demon?" She asked, disbelief evident in her
voice.

"Sure thing!" Mara exclaimed and struck a pose. "Demoness! First class!

Nabiki couldn't help laughing at the silly exclamation and besides she
had experienced magical curses and ki attacks. To accept the existence
of demons were not a hard thing to do consider all the insanity in
Nerima. "All right, I believe you. So I can feel demons then?"

"Correct." Mara smiled. "Although as I said, I have a hard time
understanding why. Holy or innocent people are the usual carriers of the
ability. Hell, if I didn't know better I would take you for another
demon."

Nabiki laughed some more. "Well then I understand why you called me
devious. I guess that's got to be a compliment coming from a demon."

"Yup! Sure you don't want to sign up for our side." The demoness asked
with an innocent look (As innocent as she could muster anyway) and held
forth a pen and something that looked like a contract.

"Not today. I happen to like my soul and all that." Nabiki politely
declined.

"Damn!" Mara mock-cursed. "Oh well, can't have everything." She finished
with a shrug.

"So you're a demon..." Nabiki continued. "Are you some kind of succubus
or something then." She asked.

Mara gave her a strange look. "No, but I do know a couple. Anyway, what
makes you think that?"

"The questions about Ranma." Nabiki stated.

Mara's eyes lit up in understanding and she began to chuckle. "Oh, no I
just happen to have a little personal interest in Ranma."

Nabiki only raised an eyebrow in response.

"C'mon you know what I'm talking about. I'm sure there is almost no girl
that wouldn't give both her arms to be with Ranma and that includes
hell. I mean even you have to be at least a little interested if he
lives up to his name?"

Now it was Nabiki's turn to chuckle. "Actually I have at least a partial
answer to that one."

Mara's eyes got wide. "Really! Tell me what you know! Please?" She
pleaded.

Nabiki only laughed harder. "Oh well, consider it a freebie." With a
smile she grabbed her purse and opened it. After digging around for a
few seconds she found a photo and presented it to Mara.

Mara quickly snatched the photo from Nabiki's hands. She looked it over
for a second or two and practically started drooling. "Awesome..." She
managed to get out despite her trance. She shook herself out of her
self-inflicted coma and stuffed the photo inside her clothes for
safekeeping. Which was just as well since Ranma entered the shop at that
moment.

He took a quick glance around, and then walked straight up to the table
where Nabiki and Mara were seated. He greeted Nabiki with a small nod
before turning his attention to the other girl. "Ah, you must be Mara."
He stretched out his right hand, a smile on his lips.

"Yup, that's me." Mara smiled back, took the offered hand and shook it
firmly. "I've heard a lot about you and I must say that it's a pleasure
to meet you in person." Mara almost purred seductively.

Ranma only chuckled. "Sorry, that doesn't work on me."

"I didn't expect it to." Mara shrugged. "By the way, Morrigan sends her
thanks. Your directions apparently were spot on."

"Glad to be of help." Ranma smiled sincerely. "Anyway are you ready to
go?" He asked Nabiki.

"Yeah I've paid for the ice cream already but tell me one thing first."
Nabiki answered.

"What?"

"Why are you in your armour?"

Ranma's smile instantly vanished and was replaced by a dark look. "I ran
into some hostiles."

Nabiki almost recoiled at his sudden change. *Damn, he's scary when he
does that. * She thought. Outwardly though she only raised an eyebrow.
"Really? Well, I'm glad I didn't have to follow then."

"It wasn't very dangerous actually, although I can understand your
relief. We gotta start that training of yours soon..." Ranma shrugged,
returning to his normal mood. "Anyway, it probably is prudent to have
the armour activated anyway, considering where we are going."

"Hey! We aren't that bad, you know. We take diplomatic envoys very
seriously." Mara protested.

Ranma smirked and put an arm around her shoulder. "Oh you're bad
alright. It's in your nature. Of course when one is the biggest baddie
on the block, one tends to like your kind."

To the side Nabiki rolled her eyes and sighed theatrically. "And here we
go again... Another ego trip as large as Mt. Fuji."

"Why Nabiki! I didn't know you cared." Ranma exclaimed in an overly
cheerful tone.

Mara only laughed. "C'mon you big 'baddie', we've got a show to attend
to." She said motioning for both Ranma and Nabiki to follow her as she
left the café.

She was still laughing at their antics when she opened a gateway to
hell.

***

A short while later

"Well, that went smoother than an XP-380 Kuat Drive Yards Railgun in
absolute vacuum." Ranma commented as he stepped out of the portal.

"Not that I know exactly what that means but yeah, it went very well.
From what you told me, I was half expecting to lose my soul at every
other minute." Nabiki continued. "Instead we were greeted by a literal
red carpet. Heck, I could get used to being pampered all the time."

"I told you we weren't that bad." Mara smirked, her head sticking out of
the portal.

"True enough." Ranma conceded. "However, I have enough experience to
know that you should never truly trust a demonic creature. Of course,
that only makes you more loveable."

"Now I think I've heard everything. A mortal calling me loveable?" Mara
stated in mock shock.

"Well, I'm not exactly your standard mortal, now am I?" Ranma grinned.
"Anyway, it was a pleasure working with you."

"The same to you. Of course if you want to, we could always start
working on another type of 'pleasure'." The demoness purred seductively.

"You know that doesn't work on me." Ranma laughed.

"Always worth a shot." Mara said with a shrug. "Anyway, I hope you two
don't mind if I drop by for a visit sometime in the near future?"

"Works for me." Nabiki answered. "And as for Ranma, well who cares about
what he want?" She finished with a smirk and a wink.

"True. Well, ciao!" Mara called out and got back into the portal before
it closed with a swirl of light.

Ranma turned to Nabiki. "So..." He began. "Doing anything special now?"'

Nabiki raised an eyebrow. "No I have nothing planned. Why are you
asking? Trying to get a date or something?" She finished with a smirk.

"Well if you want to..." Ranma grinned. "Nah, seriously if you haven't
anything special to do then how about I introduce you to the Sailor
Senshi?"

"The Sailor Senshi?!" Nabiki's eyes almost bugged out of her sockets,
not truly believing what she was hearing. All the moneymaking
opportunities she could think off...

As if sensing where her mind was heading, Ranma spoke up, effectively
derailing her train of thoughts. "Yes, the Sailor Senshi. I've recently
started training them as part of a deal we have. However, remember that
you are an agent of the UN ETSPP bureau now, so don't go back into your
old behaviour. You're not at Furinkan anymore." He admonished.

Nabiki felt a bit ashamed of her relapse into her mercenary ways.
Outwardly she didn't show anything though. "Don't worry about me.
Really, who do you take me for?" She feigned ignorance.

"Tendo Nabiki, former Ice Queen of Furinkan." Ranma grinned as he opened
a portal of his own and promptly stepped through it.

Nabiki was a bit stunned by his words by quickly collected herself.
"Hey! Who are you calling former?" She tried to retort as she followed
him through the portal.

***

A short while later, Ranma and Nabiki entered a rather big park, in...
well Nabiki didn't really know where they were since Ranma hadn't told
her. Besides it didn't really matter to her as soon as she saw them. The
Sailor Senshi.

Nabiki were not someone who idolized anyone or anything easily, instead
she was a firm believer that every person should think and live by his
or her own abilities. However, if there ever were a moment she would
make an exception to that rule it would be now. Sure their clothes were
actually a bit silly with those fukus and all, but somehow they had such
a powerful presence by just being there that she almost wanted to kneel
and worship them. Nabiki couldn't find words to describe the feeling of
standing in close proximity to these girls. They were an urban legend
for crying out loud!

She snapped out of her daze when Ranma chuckled. "What's so funny?" She
asked.

"You." Ranma answered. "Take a picture, it'll last longer." He finished
with a grin.

Now it was Nabiki's turn to laugh. "I should have seen that coming."

Ranma turned to the Senshi. "Don't worry you guys. She's with me."

The Senshi, who had been somewhat suspicious of the new girl, came
forward. Sailor Mars who still was suspicious spoke up. "And who are
you?" She asked, eyeing Nabiki.

Nabiki instantly recognized Mars' look. "I could ask the same from you."
She crossed her arms.

Before the situation could get any worse, Sailor Moon interrupted. "Stop
it Mars. Ranma took her here and I trust him." She frowned at the other
girl. However as she turned to Nabiki the frown disappeared and was
replaced with a smile that could melt almost anyone's heart. "Hi! I'm
Sailor Moon! Defender of love and justice!" She gushed and held out her
hand.

Nabiki sweatdropped and marvelled at the almost visible aura of
sweetness this girl radiated. Never the less she took the offered hand
and shook it firmly. "I'm Nabiki Tendo, Agent of the UN ETSPP and this
bonehead's partner." She smirked at Ranma.

Ranma looked indignant. "Hey! Only Chief can call me that."

Nabiki raised an eyebrow. "And why's that?"

"Because Chief is the chief." Ranma replied absently. "Anyway, I take it
you want more training." He said to the Senshi.

Several groans came from the girls. "Not really." Sailor Venus answered.
"I'm still sore from the last time."

Ranma only grinned. "No pain, no gain." He turned to Saturn. "Do you
know where the rest of the outers are?"

Saturn was about to answer no, when suddenly a portal opened up behind
Ranma. "Ah, that's probably them, or at least Pluto." Ranma said and
turned. However he never got to finish it as he heard three voices call
out behind him.

"World Shaking!"
"Deep Submerge!"
"Dead Scream!"

The combined blast of three Senshi slammed into Ranma's undefended back,
and he was rocketed in high speed through several trees, breaking them
as he touched them.

"Ranma!" Nabiki called out. She quickly pivoted facing the newcomers,
calling her gun from the subspace pocket. "Alright, you pussies, you
just messed with the wrong people." She yelled at the attackers.
Inwardly she was slightly shocked at her own words. *Where did that come
from? * She wondered. *Must be the gun. * She reasoned. However she got
not further in her musings, because a voice from the side interrupted
her thoughts.

"~Cough~ Damn, that hurt."

Ranma slowly stood up from the rubble. He had several shallow cuts, as
well as a couple deeper ones. His right arm was clearly dislocated and a
two-inch wide, one feet long broken branch penetrated his right side.
All in all, he looked rather gruesome, especially with the branch
sticking out of his side. He reached with his left arm and grabbed his
right. He took a breath and quickly put it back into its socket. His
scream of pain made the Senshi's hair stand on end.

"Gotta love the pain." He said in a hoarse voice.

"How are you?" Nabiki asked in concern, still aiming her gun at the
Senshi.

"I've been better. Of course it's not often I've had a ruptured spleen,
punctured lung, severe concussion and too many internal bleedings to
count at the same time and still been standing. But I'll manage. By the
way, your safety is still on. " Ranma replied absently. Nabiki eeped and
quickly remedied her mistake. Ranma however focused a smouldering glare
on Pluto.

"I like endurance training as much as the next guy, but what the HELL
ARE YOU DOING?" He practically screamed in rage at the end.

"You don't know?" Sailor Pluto asked in mock surprise. "Funny, I was
certain I saw you dealing with demons." She smirked evilly.

"Pluto what are you talking about?" Sailor Moon demanded.

"I have been monitoring him at every opportunity I've gotten. Imagine my
surprise when he, a supposed ally to us, attacked three goddesses and
followed a demon to hell, only to make a deal with Satan." The Senshi
gasped at this. "Well, I wasn't really surprised, after all, I've
suspected from day one that he would backstab us."

Moon turned to Ranma. "Is this true?"

Ranma shifted to alleviate the pain before answering. "As for attacking
three deities, following a demon to hell and making a deal with Satan,
it is all true." The Senshi tensed, preparing to attack.

"However..." Ranma continued. "Did you ever stop to consider WHY I did
all this?"

Pluto snorted. "Why should I? You just don't attack goddesses and deal
with demon-creatures."

Ranma only looked more pissed than before. "It is standard practice to
know the facts before accusing someone of a crime." He started counting
on his fingers" One. I attacked the goddesses since the damn bastards
attacked me first. Two. I followed the demon, and by the way, that
should be demoness since it was a she, since I had to make a deal with
the leader of hell. Three. The deal I made with hell was of a diplomatic
nature. In fact, I established an embassy, so that whenever an agent of
hell is on earth, or Midgard as they refer to it, the UN ETSPP bureau
knows about it. Four. The UN authorized me to make contact with hell
since they figured I could survive if anything went wrong with the
negotiations. Five. I happen to like hell. They may have some strange
behaviour, like hating all that lives and trying to start Ragnarok, but
they aren't hypocrites. Besides, I had to thaw up a little since I had
frostbite from being too close to a certain frigid old bitch." He spat.

The wasn't so confident anymore. If what Ranma just told them was true,
then she just had made a grave mistake. She could see the inners and
Sailor Saturn hesitating and she could feel Neptune and Uranus'
reluctance. She banished those thoughts. She had already made her move
and was now committed to finishing it. Besides, she just couldn't forget
that strand in time...

Ranma's pissed expression had by now turned into an evil smile. "Oh
yeah, you've made a mistake, a big one at that. I'm gonna kick your cute
little butts so hard, you're gonna have to sit and shit on the moon."

He got into a loose stance while Pluto, Uranus and Neptune tensed.

The only warning they got was Ranma's eyes changing colour from green to
red.

The three launched their attacks simultaneously as soon as they saw him
move. Yet even without his suit Ranma and injured on top of that, Ranma
was still really fast. He zigzagged through the attacks without a
scratch and he finished his charge by slamming into Uranus. A fist to
the gut made her double over in pain. Ranma followed up with a blow to
the back, effectively slamming Uranus into the ground. He picked her up
by her hair and threw her straight at Pluto. Sailor Pluto didn't have
time to dodge since she was preparing another dead scream and was pinned
by Uranus' limp body.

Meanwhile Neptune launched another attack. Ranma evaded by jumping high
and landing only inches from her. In sheer desperation she threw a punch
aimed at Ranma's face, which he easily evaded by leaning his head to the
left. He quickly jabbed her at her elbows making her loose all control
of her arms. Two more jabs, this time at the sides of her neck and she
found she couldn't control her body. She fell to her knees staring up in
horror at Ranma. She somehow found herself staring into his glowing red
eyes and before long blackness enveloped her mind.

Pluto could only watch as Ranma rendered Neptune helpless. If she didn't
know better that was some advanced shiatsu pressure points she had not
seen in a couple of thousand years. She frantically struggled to get
Uranus' body off of her but by the time she got up she couldn't find
Ranma.

"Guess who." She heard a whisper from behind.

She tried to whirl around but found herself restrained. She struggled
futilely until Ranma twisted her arm and dislocated her elbow. She bit
down a scream but could not prevent a tear from escaping. She could see
the inners and Saturn ready to take action but not willing since Nabiki
still had her gun aimed at them.

"Release me! She yelled despite the pain.

"Just shut up and listen." Ranma said while shifting his grip. With a
quick twist, he could easily snap her neck.

"I never have been your enemy, but if this keeps up that will change. As
for the supposed treason, you could always check with the bureau about
my assignment." He was in obvious pain from his wounds when he spoke. "I
will release you now Pluto, but know this, I won't be this nice if you
try something again."

He practically threw Sailor Pluto to the ground in front of the Senshi.
"What are you standing around for? Attack him when he's weakened!" She
almost pleaded.

"No." Moon answered and crossed her arms. "You have made a terrible
mistake Pluto. I order you to stand down."

"But..."

"NO!" Moon said forcefully. "This has gone far enough. If you don't
follow my orders, I will remove your powers as a Senshi."

Pluto looked in horror at Sailor Moon. Could she really take away a
Senshi's power? "Yes, my queen." The Senshi of Time replied weakly.

"It's nice to see someone with common sense around here." Ranma
commented. Moon blushed at the praise.

"Oh, but you're hurt!" She exclaimed as if seeing his wounds for the
first time.

"No shit, Sherlock." Ranma said absently. He was looking at the branch
that protruded one foot from his body. He suddenly grabbed it with both
hands and yanked hard. A blood-curdling scream followed.

He took a short look at the bloodied branch, and then threw it over his
shoulder. "Nice one." He commented absently. Blood flowed freely from
the gruesome hole.

Sailor Saturn came forward. "Here, let me help you." Ranma tried to
protest but she ignored him and applied her healing powers. A scream
that could have woke up the dead followed.

Saturn jumped back in fright. That certainly wasn't the normal reaction.
She could see Ranma kneeling and clutching his side. He was panting
heavily. "What happened?" She asked looking truly confused and somewhat
scared.

Ranma took a couple of deep breaths before he answered. "Sorry, but you
didn't gave me time to explain. Some types of accelerated healing just
don't work on me. I get intense pain instead. Don't worry about it, you
couldn't possibly know." He said with a weak smile. He stood up and
started limping to the house, a trail of blood forming behind him.
Hotaru was quickly was his side.

"What are you doing? The wounds will only get worse if you move around."

"Heh, why delay the inevitable." He said cryptically.

"I think he's delirious or something." Venus said.

"Maybe, but the fact remains that if I don't can't contact Washu-chan
you will face something that could destroy this planet with ease."

That stopped the girls. "What do you mean? And who is Washu-chan?"
Sailor Moon asked, looking truly worried.

"I'll tell you later. Now help me get to a phone." Ranma responded.

"But..."

Ranma spun around facing Moon, his movements becoming more and more
sluggish. "Look, I'm going to be dead in a few minutes, and believe me,
you don't want that to happen! Either you help me or get the hell out of
my way." He tried to show her away but he clearly was loosing his
strength and loosing it fast.

"Get him a phone." Came a voice from the side.

Sailor Moon whirled to face the speaker. "But..." She cut herself short
as she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun. Nabiki's gun. In
the ruckus they had forgotten about her.

"Just get him a damn phone! Can't you see he's dying?" She yelled.

"~Cough~ Damn straight." Ranma answered, his voice barely a whisper. He
suddenly vomited blood and collapsed on the ground.

Dismissing the gun, Nabiki ran over to him, not caring about the Senshi.
"Damn it Ranma! You're not going to die, you hear me?!" She yelled at
him.

Ranma grinned weakly. "Yeah, it kinda sucks doesn't it? Your first true
day on the job and it ends like this." He fiddled with something in his
clothes and managed to hand it to Nabiki. "Here, it's the number to
Washu. Just call her and get her here. She'll know what to do. I'm going
to switch form to preserve blood. Then I'm going to go unconscious."

Nabiki took the bloodied card from Ranma's fingers and true to his
words; he became a she and shut her eyes. Standing up, she deftly fished
her cell phone out of her clothes and dialled the number on the card.
The seconds it took for the phone to connect felt like hours, maybe even
days. "Is this Washu?" She spoke frantically into the phone when she
finally heard a voice answer...

***

It was a rather morose group of people that currently occupied the
Hikawa Shrine. Michiru and Haruka had been revived and their injuries
tended to and Setsuna's arm had been reset back to its normal position.
Still that was not making their mood any better. Usagi was beyond
pissed, and she had lectured them non-stop for almost two hours
straight. When most of her anger had been vented, she finally calmed
down enough to start heeding the moon cats' pleads of a through
explanation. And again she started, only this time her anger actually
made sense to Haruka, Michiru, Luna and Artemis since she indeed did
explain what had happened.

As it turned out, 30 seconds after Nabiki had reached 'Washu', a portal
reminiscent of Ranma's opened up on their position. Out came a young
redhead, no more than 13 years old, and she was absolutely furious. The
cold glare she gave them before she stepped into the portal together
with Nabiki and Ranma's unconscious body could have frozen hell over,
and it also held a promise of bodily harm. The intent was clear; she
would be back for a 'talk'.

Just as Usagi was beginning to wind down after another hour, the redhead
from earlier unexpectedly turned up in the doorway to the shrine. "Well,
well. Here you are... I've been 'dying' to talk with you." She said, her
voice full of contempt and menace.

Usagi gulped. How could such a small girl frighten her more than all of
their enemies put together? "How is he?" She asked, her natural
overwhelming concern managing to override the fear.

"He's stable. Although, I didn't expect him to make it through the first
hour." The girl replied. She focused her eyes on Setsuna, making the
Senshi of Pluto flinch. Then, in just a heartbeat, the redhead was in
front of Setsuna, delivering a mighty slap. "Do you have any idea of
what you almost managed to accomplish?!" The diminutive redhead almost
screamed in Setsuna's face.

Setsuna rubbed her cheek. Damn, that girl was strong. She shot a glare
at the girl before answering. "Only what I thought I had to do. Only I
was wrong about most of the reasons why had to it."

The girl snorted unladylike. "Most of the reasons?" She asked in
contempt. "Nabiki told me what happened and I find it hard to find even
one reason for this attack."

"Yes, most of the reasons. I admit that jumped to conclusions but that
still doesn't change one thing, the main reason for my attack actually."
Setsuna stated defiantly. "If he continues to live, he will destroy this
planet!"

The other Senshi gasped yet, the redhead only raised an eyebrow. "And
just how can you be so sure of that? Are you clairvoyant or something?"

"I don't need to answer that." The green haired Senshi spat back.

The girl narrowed her eyes for a moment, obviously searching for a
memory. "But of course!" She snapped her fingers. "You're Arianne. Still
using the time gate I see."

The Senshi's eyes almost bugged out of their sockets. She knew about the
time gate! Then the first thing the girl said filtered through their
minds.

"Arianne?" Usagi hesitantly asked for all of them.

The girl frowned. "Yes, Arianne. That's her name isn't it?"

"No, her name is Setsuna." Usagi answered. "Right, Setsuna?" She asked
and turned her attention to Setsuna, along with the other Senshi.

Setsuna on the other hand was finding her feet very interesting at the
moment. After a minute or two she finally gathered the courage to speak
up. "Yes, Arianne is actually my real name. It's my birth name really,
the one that my mother gave me 10387 years ago when I was born..." She
said in a whisper. She looked up at the redhead tears threatening to
fall any second. "H-how did you know that?" Setsuna managed to stammer
out.

"Because I've met your mother and I've met you as well." The young girl
answered, still frowning. Sure she was pissed at this girl but she was
not completely heartless.

"What?" The assembled Senshi gasped. "How old are you?" Usagi asked in
astonishment.

The girl turned and put on a cute smile. "Why only 12000 years. A small
thing like that is easy for the greatest genius in the universe to
accomplish!" She proceeded to cackle maniacally. Large sweatdrops
appeared on the back of everyone's heads.

"Miss Washu..." Ami began; guessing that this indeed was the Washu Ranma
had spoken of.

"Call me Washu-chan!" The redhead interrupted.

"Uhm, well... Washu-chan... You must have visited the Moon kingdom
then?"

Washu instantly turned serious. "Yes I most certainly have. Why do you
ask?"

"I was wondering... could you please tell us more about it?"

"Maybe later." Washu replied. "Although I can tell you that my main
reason for visiting was to see the fabled time gate. Boy was I
disappointed with that piece of crap." She shook her head at the memory.

"Piece of crap?" Setsuna asked, not truly believing what she heard.

"You heard me. It was originally built as a device to do archaeological
studies of the past, a time machine basically, but when it was completed
it was discovered that it also had the ability to show the future as
well. It's not very accurate though, since it's basically powered by the
magic element chaos."

"So you know magic then?" Ami cut in.

Washu shook her head. "Strictly speaking, no, I do not 'know' magic as
in casting spells and such. My forte is technology. However, I do know
some of the theory behind it. In any case, magic is a very random type
of energy, chaos especially so."

Setsuna frowned. "So what are you trying to say? That the time gate
can't be trusted?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying." Washu stated with a frown of her
own.

"Don't make me laugh." Setsuna snorted. "I've been using it for over
10000 years, and I'm telling you, I saw Ranma destroying this planet. I
just can't stand back and let something like that happen!"

Washu pinched her nose. "I do not question you on what you saw. However
have you stopped and considered just what led to that particular strand
in time?" She asked in a tired voice. Getting no response she continued.
"I have to admit that I cannot 100 % sure about this, but I'm still very
certain that what you saw is what would have happened if you had managed
to kill Ranma."

Setsuna looked at Washu like she had grown another head. "That's
impossible." She said in disbelief.

"Oh, it's possible alright." Washu smirked. "You see Ranma has a small
problem with dying. He gets back up."

She looked around, noting the disbelieving looks she got. "What I'm
about to tell you, will _not_ leave this room under _any_ circumstances,
not even telling Ranma, understood?" She said with a dark look. Getting
nods from the girls she continued. "This is only what Ranma has told me,
so I have not been able to verify it, but I trust him implicitly. You
see, Ranma may not age, but he is very much able to die. The problem is
that if he dies he is revived almost instantly."

"How can that be a problem?" Usagi asked.

Washu sighed sadly. "Because he goes berserk. Depending on the size of
the injury he has sustained, it takes everything between one to four
minutes from his revival for him to regain consciousness. And during
those crucial minutes he becomes an unstoppable killing machine,
slaughtering everything in his path, often destroying a continent or two
in the process. He also told me that a number of planets have been
obliterated as a consequence of his berserker rage."

The Senshi looked quite pale after that revelation. "You can see what
I'm getting at." Washu shook her head. "I can't even begin to imagine
how he feels, knowing that he is responsible for the deaths of millions,
maybe even billions of people, yet having no recollection of it and no
ability to stop it."

Haruka, Michiru and especially Setsuna felt like disappearing from the
face of the earth because of the overwhelming shame. By trying to defend
earth, they could very well have caused its destruction. The bitter
irony in that, didn't escape them. Of course there always was the chance
that Washu might have lied to them, but somehow none of them felt it to
be very likely.

For Setsuna, Washu's revelation was particularly devastating. Almost her
entire life had consisted of the time gates. It had become almost like a
trusted friend to Setsuna. Always being there and never failing her. And
now it was possible that her 'friend' was nothing more than an
unreliable 'backstabber'. The very thought was ridiculous, yet at the
same time it could not be ignored. Just what if, what if there was
another thing that she had not been shown or been shown incorrectly? The
consequences of something like that could be far reaching, possibly even
affecting Crystal Tokyo. She didn't even dare think of it.

Just as she was finished her reverie, she saw Washu opening a portal.
"Wait!" She called out, suspecting that the young girl was leaving.

Washu turned, eyeing Setsuna with disgust. "And just what do you want?"

Setsuna could help but fidget under the harsh glare. "I want to, no need
to come with you."

An eyebrow went up. "Haven't you done enough damage in one day?"

Setsuna bit her lip. Her pride didn't allow it but... *To hell with
pride! * She admonished herself. "I... I need to apologize..." She said
in a whisper.

Washu's other eyebrow came up. "Apologize?" She asked incredulously.

"Why I think it's a _great_ idea!" Usagi spoke up, laying special
emphasis on great. "I won't allow her to come back until she has
reconciled with Ranma."

Setsuna winced, understanding exactly what Usagi was trying to say.
Apparently so did Washu since she sighed. "Damn it then. Follow me." She
said over her shoulder, not bothering to look back, just as she
disappeared through the portal.

Setsuna took a brief look around. The looks she got varied immensely,
from suspicion to encouragement. Yet it was Usagi's face that told her
all she needed to know. Apologize or I will never again respect you.
Setsuna took a deep breath, steeled herself and followed...

***

Ranma walked. Why he was walking, he did not know. Neither did he know
anything about where he was walking. He didn't have a destination. He
just walked.

As he walked he could feel emotions surging through him. Some where of
happiness, other of anger, and yet other of sadness. He smiled, got mad
and he cried. Yet he did not stop. He just walked.

Suddenly he stopped. He was happy right now, but why he did not know...
No, that was not right. He did know. His wife. His daughter. He could
not help smiling.

But there was something wrong. Something wrong with his wife and
daughter. His wife daughter. His wifedaughter. He frowned. They had
merged in a blurry image and he could no longer distinguish them from
each other.

Suddenly the image cleared and he could see... Slaanesh. No, that was
not right. It was not Slaanesh. It was... himself, or rather herself.
His other form. He frowned.

He took a closer look at himself/herself/Slaanesh. How could he be
Slaanesh? That was ridiculous. Yet it felt... not as wrong as he thought
it would.

He looked her over. Something was wrong. Wrong with her. Wrong. Wrong!
WRONG!!! Something was so utterly wrong about her that he wanted to
scream, though he could not for the life of him figure it out.

Just as he was about to give up he finally noticed what was wrong. Her
eyes. They were blue.

*** - - - - ***

And that, my ladies and gentlemen, concludes chapter 4 of Balance of
Chaos.

Lots of things have happened and as is normal, few answers are given and
more questions are raised. Just why were Ranma so hostile towards the
Norns? Why was Mara so nice? How come Ranma is an unstoppable killing
machine when dead? Could Washu be right about the time gates? And
finally, what was that on the end? Some questions will be answered in
chapter 5: Black nor White, but I assure you, most of them will not be
answered until the very end.

Dang, the entire chapter 4 was the hardest thing I've ever written, not
to mention the biggest. The story is finally starting to get somewhere
interesting, though there are still big secrets that need to be revealed
before the final chapter. That however will take some time. I plan on
working on my other stories for a while now so Balance of Chaos will be
"off duty" a while. In any case, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I
hope you will continue to read it until the very end.

If you wish to contact me then do so at:
kenneth@gon.nu or kenneth.lonnberg@bodenonline.com

My works will be available at:
My own page, The MegaRoad - http://www.angelfire.com/anime4/macvf1fanfic
My fanfiction.net account -
http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=301246

And when they get around to update/accept my fics, these sites will also
feature my fics:
Lady Cosmo's Fanfic Library - http://ladycosmos.anifics.com/
Ranchan & co. Crossing bridges - http://tannim.anifics.com/