Sailor Ranko - Thrice in a Millennium
Chapter 17: Reunion
By Rebecca Ann Heineman
I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me or make me go postal.
"I've got the radar telemetry. They back up your claims perfectly."
"Are you sure this will work?"
Mr. Anzai, a tall, sharply dressed and very expensive lawyer placed his hands on his desk and held a smug look. He was reeking in confidence. Behind him, were dozens of awards, signed photos of him standing next to Japanese celebrities and politicians and a katana with a placard of gratitude. His office was immaculate and the furniture was made of the finest handcrafted redwood. "With all the facts I have and evidence at my disposal, it's an open and shut case. Unless Nabiki Tendo magically turned twenty before she had those contracts signed, I can get them invalidated on those grounds alone."
"And what about the Sailor Senshi? Do they have any claims they could use to cause me trouble?" Hiro, the former head of the Sailor Moon Fan Club asked nervously.
"That's why I'm certain you've got a rock solid case. I wouldn't have taken it unless I was sure of victory." He typed a few keys on the computer keyboard on his desk and a document with images of the Sailor Senshi appeared on his giant LCD screen, another testament to the man's wealth. "None of these girls except for the one called Sailor Pluto look like they were twenty years old or older. And for any of them to issue a legally binding challenge, they have to identify themselves in court. No super-hero would risk blowing their secret identity, even for money. So, unless they are willing to let the whole world know who they really are, they'll keep out of this."
His tone went from smugness, to serious business. "As my client, I need you to be on your best behavior from now on. No talking to the press, no public statements and no interference with the operations of the firm. Let Ms. Tendo dig her own grave. Under your leadership, all the works your firm have done have been respectful of the Sailor Senshi, and that will win over public opinion to your side. We cannot allow Ms. Tendo to gain favor from the judge on those grounds. That Kuno incident is the only issue that harms our case."
"I had no idea that guy was going to go on national TV and proclaim that book as fact."
"And that's what I'm going to argue in case that's brought up in court. Since my interview with him, there's no problem for me to make a strong case to support your claims. He was rather delusional and from what I've gathered from my sources, he's already on shaky ground due to his family's eccentricity. He's a non-issue." He waved a hand dismissively. "You founded the firm. You raised the funds for the firm and by the law, you should control the firm. That little stunt by Sailor Sun is cause for extortion. Now, a probable public backlash prevents me from bringing a case against her, but Ms. Tendo was responsible for causing Ms. Sun to harass you as she did. Extortion carries a heavy fine and a long prison sentence, and once I prove that Ms. Tendo had no legal basis on taking responsibility for the firm or Ms. Sun's actions forced you to sign that contract, it will be invalidated and Ms. Tendo will be behind bars." With a evil twinkle in his eye, he added, "or worse."
"I can see why you came highly recommended."
Mr. Anzai reclined in his leather office chair with his hands behind his head, totally relaxed and playfully thought about what to do with the money he was going to earn from this case. "It's just me against an egotistical high school student who somehow made contact with the Sailor Senshi. Since the law is on our side, she doesn't stand a chance."
For the first time since signing over his company to a teenager, Hiro smiled.
The skies above the Bayankala mountains in China were crystal clear and tall peaks dotted the landscape for kilometers in every direction. The pilot changed his heading and flew between two tall cliffs, narrowly missing one of them. He slowly turned the wheel and a few kilometers ahead lay a tiny airport with a landing strip made of dirt. He reached over and activated the intercom. "Please buckle your seat-belts, we'll be landing shortly." He flicked the switch to deactivate the speakers behind him when the switch popped off in his hand with a small snap. He shrugged, tossed the broken plastic aside and said, "oops."
Akane and Ukyou exchanged nervous glances when they heard the pilot's boo boo. The plane was tiny, only large enough for five passengers and a pilot. The copilot's seat and the other two passenger seats were filled with boxes marked 'Fragile' and 'This Side Up' and the arrows were pointing downward. The empty space in the back of the plane was filled with boxes, bales, a barrel and other assorted cargo. Two chickens roamed free next to the broken crate they had emerged from. The plane vibrated and the noise of the engines buzzed as if they were powered by bumblebees. Akane reached down to her lap and found one half of the seat belt buckled to the remains of the other half. That half, was shredded and connected to the buckle, not the seat. In frustration, the girl tossed the useless seat belt away.
Ukyou attempted to buckle her seat-belt, only to find that the catch wouldn't hold. She pushed the two ends together harder only to cause the cheap buckle to disintegrate in her hands. A spring popped out and bounced off the roof of the cabin. Ukyou's gaze followed the spring as it ricocheted around and disappeared somewhere in the back. Ukyou crossed her arms as if the act would offer any protection in a crash. And the way the plane was lurching, that crash was about to occur momentarily. She turned her head to face her traveling companion. "Akane, could you transform in a plane?"
Producing her transformation pen from nowhere, she anxiously replied. "I don't know. Maybe, but I don't know what good it will do."
Ukyou had a look of hope in her eyes and tried to remember how it felt to teleport. Ranma had taken her to a hospital that way, but she was too preoccupied with staying alive, that she couldn't recall everything clearly. A part of her knew exactly what to do, what words to say and how to focus her magic. Pity, it was only wishful thinking on her part. Then again, she was sitting next to a Sailor Senshi and who knew what tricks they had hidden in their gloves. "Well, can you do that flashy thingy that Ranma Honey does?"
Akane flinched at the casual way Ukyou used the word 'Honey', but decided to let it slip, for now. She grew envious, then resentful. "No, all I have is one attack spell. That jerk got all the good stuff."
"What good stuff, Sugar?" Ukyou asked, trying to keep her mind off the way the plane pulled up out of a dive.
"Not much, only that he can teleport by himself, shoot laser beams and nuke a city." The plane shuddered and tilted to the left, causing Akane to hold on again and in surprise, a box flew out of nowhere and knocked her pen out of her hand. She fumbled a moment, trying to catch it when Ukyou snatched it from flying into the back and held it tight against her chest.
Pulling the wheel back, the pilot happily exclaimed, "Bonzai!" He was having far too much fun, much to his passengers dismay.
Akane and Ukyou gripped their seats tight. Akane's armrests were crushed by her iron grip and she held onto the remains since there wasn't anything else left to hold on to. Ukyou tensed up and directed her attention to the lunatic behind the controls. "Man, that guy's nuts." The plane leveled out and started to descend in a more controlled manner. As the flight smoothed out, she added. "But then, you'd have to be to fly here."
"Where exactly are we going?"
"We're landing... I hope... at an airstrip just south of Mount Kensei. It's pretty close to where Ranchan picked up his curse. It just so happens to be near where they took Konatsu."
Ukyou held up Akane's artifact tightly in her grasp. She gazed at the golden shine the pen gave off. She could almost see flames shimmering within. For some reason, Ukyou wanted to hold it above her and say something, she knew the words. It beckoned her, called her. Grasping it tightly, she closed her eyes and felt the power within herself welling up, taking her, freeing her. Planets, stars, the cosmos, were all there, channeling their power through her. It was beyond the most powerful feeling she had ever experienced, imagined or could have even conceived. And among all the celestial bodies, one called out to her, louder than the others. She tried to focus on it, but it faded away in a blur, only to be replaced with a sharp pain coming from her scalp.
"Are you okay?" Akane almost screamed as she yanked Ukyou back down into her seat as the plane bumped again into turbulence. Keeping her in place, the plane shuddered and the Tendo closed her eyes in fright. "Hold on!"
"No worries!" said the pilot in a bored manner. He was relaxing at the controls and acted if the plane coming apart at the seams was a daily encounter. "We'll be landing... Now." In sync with his last word, the sound of tires coming in contact with soft earth came from below. Instantly, the plane stabilized as it slowed down.
"Ouch!" Ukyou rubbed her head with her free hand. "What happened?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing. And by the way, do you mind?" Akane held out her hand expectantly.
"Oh, yeah, sorry." She sheepishly offered the pen back. As Akane pulled on it, the chef held it for a second, reluctant to give it up. After the second tug, she let it go and Akane made it vanish into thin air. Ukyou patted the top of her head, feeling for where she had hurt herself. "I hope that doesn't leave a mark."
"What happened to you? You kind of zoned out." She gestured with her thumb toward the cockpit. "Then that crackpot hit a bump and up you went."
"A bump? More like he's playing bumper cars with this thing." She rubbed her hand on her head gently. A wave of calm came over the tall girl, and her hand emitted a yellow glow. A few seconds later, she felt fine.
Akane's eyes bugged out. That wasn't any ki manipulation she had even seen, and she had seen quite a few of them. That glow looked exactly like Hotaru's and that was magical in nature. Almost stuttering, she asked, "how did you?"
"How did I what, Sugar?" Ukyou nonchalantly put her hand down and looked around her seat for anything that could have fallen from her pockets. She was completely oblivious to how incredible her power was as far as Akane was concerned.
"That..." Akane bit her lip, not knowing what to say. How could she explain that Ukyou appeared to have healed herself with Hotaru's special power? Could it be that Ukyou was a Senshi? The thought crossed Akane's mind, but that was impossible. She'd know about it, wouldn't she? She had to talk to the others when she got back to Japan about this. It was just too weird, even for someone from Nerima. With a jerk, the plane turned to the right as it taxied off the runway, making a creaking noise not unlike the sound of a wing about to snap from massive metal fatigue.
"Oh, that." Ukyou stared at her hand. "I've been able to do that for over a week now. Ever since you, Ranchan and everyone helped me. I've never been able to tell you how much I appreciated that." She opened and closed her healed hand, marveling at how flawless it was. She gave a smile of genuine gratitude.
"But..." The Tendo sat there open mouthed, not understanding the scope of Ukyou's gift. "You can heal people?"
"Yeah, but nothing big you know, I can fix little things, like scratches and bruises. I know it made Ko-chan feel better after we got a little rowdy with our training. All I know is that it comes and goes and it's really getting on my nerves." Thoughts of Sailor Mercury's dire predictions clouded her mind, and she immediately pushed them away. She had to be in China and thinking about dying wasn't on her to-do list today. "Anyways, I think it's time we get out of this death trap. Don't you agree?"
"No kidding." Akane reached behind her seat to grab her backpack.
The pilot turned off his engine, and it kept running for a moment, spitting out smoke and backfiring. Once it stopped making popping sounds, he turned to his two passengers with a smile. "Here we are, the Bayankala mountains." The pilot pulled the brake lever which came off in his hand. He tossed the useless lever aside and he reached over to the door and instead of pulling the lever on it, he pulled the door itself, opening it with little effort. "I hope you fly with me again."
Ukyou softly spoke to her friend. "If we do find Ranchan, do you think he'd mind giving us a lift home?"
Akane nodded back. "I'd insist on it."
They grabbed all of their things and quickly disembarked the plane, resisting the urge to bow down and worship the ground. The moment they were outside, they picked up the pace to get as far away from the plane as they could without running. Akane shook her head. "Honestly, you'd think he could have landed the plane without screaming, 'Bonzai'?"
Ukyou adjusted the straps on her backpack. She took her giant spatula and firmly attached it to her back and she was ready to get to the next leg of their journey. "Who'd of thought that it'd be some crazed Japanese pilot who'd fly people into the middle of China? C'mon, I gotta find Ko-chan. Something's telling me we gotta hurry."
Akane checked her backpack and walked with Ukyou alongside her. Both women took fives steps before stopping together. They looked at each other, then back toward the plane. An uneasy moment passed, then both shrugged and they continued on their way to the single room shack that passed for the airport terminal.
"Where to now?"
Ukyou pulled out her travel list and checked the next entry. "We've got to walk a kilometer into town, and there's we can hire a guide who'll take us to Jusenkyo. However, according to Shampoo's father's map, we've got to go north instead of south.
"North sounds better to me. As long as we don't go near those springs, the better."
"You said it Sugar, I ain't planing on picking up a curse while I'm here. Are you sure Ranchan doesn't want us to pick up some Nannichuan while we're here?"
Akane glared at Ukyou as if she just insulted her mother's honor. Speaking slowing and coldly, she answered in a tone that left no room for argument. "Positive."
Ukyou shook her head in dismay. Only a few months ago, Ranma would have almost killed someone for a dive into the Spring of Drowned Man. It was amazing how things can do an one eighty and now Ranma would almost kill anyone who got any of that water anywhere near him. C'est la vie, sighed Ukyou. Looking back at the instructions, she noted the direction and the road. She pointed toward the town nearby. "That's where we're going. It won't take long to get there."
"Good, because I'm getting tired and it's getting dark."
"Let's find out if there's a hotel here. I could use a bit of rest too." The chef yawned. "I had no idea that traveling was so tiring."
Akane glanced back at the tiny plane, "or terrifying."
"Amen to that."
Back at the plane, the pilot waved to three men who were approaching. He climbed back into the aircraft and started to toss out the boxes, crates and bags of rice out door. In a few minutes, he had everything unloaded except for one last item, a large heavy barrel filled with rice wine. He gripped the side of the barrel and tried to move it. It wouldn't budge. He shoved the barrel using his shoulders and it still wouldn't move. Sighing, he exited the plane and went to check on the cargo he had already dropped off.
Ten seconds after the pilot had left, the lid of the barrel popped open and a little black pig popped out. "Bwee!" It landed on the ground and lazily walked in a circle three times before it fell over with a huge smile on its face. A white duck jumped out of the barrel as well and it spread its wings, and flew straight into the roof of the aircraft and hit the ceiling with a loud clang. X's formed in its eyes as it flopped unconscious on the floor.
A red haired girl was the final occupant of the barrel and she stood up wearing a goofy grin. She giggled as she held her hand to her chest and played with a non-existent brooch. "Tee hee! I'm Sailor Moon!" She lifted herself out of the barrel only to fall forward and land face first on the floor next to the pig and duck. Laughing at some unheard joke, she rolled around until she went straight out the door, fell outside and ended up lying face up on the grass.
"What the?" The pilot watched in dismay as a young girl collapsed next to his plane. His face clenched in anger. "Get away from there!"
He marched up to his plane and stood between it and the girl on the ground. The small twin engine aircraft that was mint condition possibly fifty years ago but was more like a refugee from a junkyard. Despite its condition, it was the man's pride and joy and he rubbed the wing lovingly. "There, there, she didn't hurt you did she?" He looked down at the drunk girl and his face changed from love to hate. He bent down and tried to grab the red-haired girl by the collar of her Chinese shirt to drag her away from his treasured plane. Just before he was about to make contact, the girl rolled to the side. He reached again and missed. He tried a third time to grab her and he missed. He suddenly realized that this girl was on his plane and he grew angrier. "Hey! You're a stowaway! Nobody rides for free! You pay me!" He tried to grab her again, and he still couldn't get a grip on her.
A noise from inside the plane distracted the pilot and he went inside to find an almost empty barrel, a spinning piglet and a dead duck. He turned back to the sleeping girl and then spotted the men who were almost at the cargo. He glanced at the barrel, and then his watch and cursed. "Fine, I don't have time for this. You're taking the rap." He picked up the now light weight barrel and placed it with the rest of the unloaded cargo. "I think your dinner would be better off with me." With that, he slammed the door shut. The engines started and the plane began to taxi down the runway.
"Yeah, Mom, all the girl's wear these... Zzzz..." Droned Ranko, peacefully sleeping off the beverage she drank. She turned over to avoid the rear of the plane from bumping into her as it rolled away. "It's so manly..."
A blast of air from the engines woke Ranko up. Her eyes blinked and she yawned and stretched, and her smile only got wider. The plane's engines roared louder, startling the girl and she jumped up into a combat stance, then wobbled for a moment as the alcohol worked its dark magic on her balance. Some semblance of reason came into her mind as the memories of her traveling companions came back to her full force. She slurred out their names. "Ryyyoga? Mooouuusse? Where are you two?" She spun around, looking in all directions and spotted the barrel they had travelled in. She relaxed her stance and approached the barrel with a slight stagger in her step. "There you are."
Slowly, she lurched over to the rim of the barrel and peered inside. "Hey, porky! Come out, come out, wherever... you... uh, oh..." There was nothing in the barrel except a cloth bag, soaked in sake, that contained their clothes. "Where'd you go, Pork Butt? Hic." Ranko held her hand to her face in a ladylike fashion to cover up her hiccup. "Excuse me."
She pulled the bag out of the barrel and wrung it to get most of the sake out. She opened the bag and quickly closed it after almost behing overwhelmed by the alcoholic vapors. When the world stopped spinning, she slowly panned her head to get an idea of where she was.
She was in a hill with a flat top that had an airstrip. About five hundred meters away were two people, women probably, walking away from her toward a small hut next to a tall pole that had a wind sock billowing in a light breeze. It was a bit cold and all around her were giant craggy mountains made of rough black stone with the tips covered in snow. Everywhere, green grass covered the ground. The air was crisp and clean and it smelled like spring. Next to her was a pile of cargo and beyond it were three Chinese men who looked really angry and were coming in fast. Ranko recognized that look. It was the same look that she and her father got when something bad happened and she got the blame. Now, it appeared to be a good time to execute that famed Saotome Fast Break Technique of running like hell.
She didn't get very far. She took a step and tripped, falling flat on her face. Rolling over, she was able to gaze as the dusky sky and saw a plane whiz by overhead. "Flying! Whee!" She pulled out her transformation pen and cried out. "Sun Star Power! Make Up!" In a flash, she transformed into Sailor Sun and she closed her eyes and focused on flying, paying attention to the plane that caught her attention. In her mind's eye she saw the inside of the plane, a happy pilot, a duck in a crate and a pig in a box. Uh, oh, that's not good.
"Where did she go?" Came a voice from the other side of the cargo.
Another voice replied. "She's hiding back there."
A man came around and saw Sailor Sun. He stopped and looked around for the girl he was after. He didn't see her, but this oddly dressed girl was probably involved. "Who's she? Is she a friend of hers?"
The other two men appeared and noticed her strange clothes. "I'd be careful with her, she might be one of them."
"I don't care. You! What did you do with my sake?" shouted an angry Chinese man as he looked into the barrel and wasn't happy with what he saw inside, or for that matter, what wasn't inside. "You're going to pay for that!"
"Tee hee," giggled Sun. "I'm Sailor Moon! I don't have to pay for nothin'! Hee hee!"
"She's plastered," said another Chinese man "Now we know what happened to our sake.".
"She's cute," said the third. "I wonder if she's single?"
"Do you think she's one of them Amazons?" asked the second.
"She's dressed kooky enough to be one." The third man looked in the barrel and sighed. "She drank all the sake!"
"Well, she's going to pay for it. Come here." He reached over to grab her arm to help her up when she raised her arm and pulled it down as if she yanked on an unseen cord.
"Sun Beam Transport!" In a bright flash of yellow-orange light, she disappeared.
"What the heck?" cried out the startled man as he jumped back in fright. "It's just my luck. She's one of those Amazons."
"It looks like I'll have to lodge a complaint about this. Those broads have been getting away with too much as it is."
His companions nodded and they picked up their cargo and placed it on the cart they had brought with them.
Somewhere, high above the airstrip, a lone pilot hummed a merry tune as he held a lever in place. The plane shuddered and rocked as it climbed higher. He turned to the east and kept the plane level as best as he could, and planned a course home. Beside him, was a small crate that once held a chicken, but now held a groggy, tipsy duck. Between the seats was a black piglet, with its legs tied together with a black and yellow bandanna. The pig snored, completely ignorant of the fate that awaited it. The pilot glanced at his dinner with a happy feeling since he was going to eat well tonight. Shall it be sweet and sour duck for the main course, or roast pig? The choices were almost endless. He thoughtfully wondered if it was better to sell them and use the money to repair his aircraft, but decided that his baby wouldn't let him down after all these years of neglect. He could do one more load before taking it in to get the frayed control line replaced.
A bright flash came from the back of the plane, startling the pilot. He nearly dropped the lever that was keeping the throttle from shutting down the engine. He listened carefully and heard the motor making its usual sputtering sound since he was too lazy to replace the two spark plugs that were misfiring from time to time. He turned around and gasped. On the floor, in the cargo area, was a red haired girl wearing a really pretty dress and her legs were facing him. His nose developed a drop of blood as he kept his eyes on what appeared to be her panties. He shook his head to see if it was a dream. Nope, she was still there and she was lifting her arms up, then putting them down so her body looked like the shape of the letter T. A small giggle came from the girl and she was amusing herself. "I'm flying!"
Indeed, thought the pilot. He checked the autopilot and was about to turn it on when he saw that the switch to enable it has long since fallen off. "Drat," he cursed. There wasn't any way he could go back there right now and check on his uninvited guest. He pondered the problem for a moment and an idea hit him. He jammed the lever into the throttle and slowly removed his hand from it. It stayed in place. He took his seat belt ribbon and tied it to the wheel so it wouldn't move. Carefully getting out of the seat, he moved the box with the duck into his seat and slid it under the wheel to keep it motionless. He stood back for a moment and the plane stayed on course. With that, he quickly darted to the back to see if the girl could use some tender loving care from an old pervert.
He stood over the girl and she ignored him. She was move focused on playing with her hands, making shadow puppets, than anything else that was around her. He took off his pilot's cap and bowed to her. "Hello there, pretty lady."
That woke her up somewhat. She jumped up and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. "Not today you ol' freak!" Her free hand made a fist and she was about to punch the living daylights out of him when she blinked her eyes a few times and regained focus. "Wait, you're not him. Oh, yeah, he ain't around anymore, I think." Confusion was evident on the Senshi's face as she tried to figure out just where she was and who she was threatening to beat into a bloody pulp. Slowly, she felt a bit of vertigo as the world seemed to be tilting to the right. She let go of the man and placed her hands on the low ceiling to try to steady herself.
"No, no, no!" The pilot crawled for a step, then got up as best as he could to get back to the controls. As soon as he was in the cockpit, He found that the duck had woken up and had escaped the crate. Without his weight, the box was too light to keep the wheel steady. He grabbed the wheel and turned it to the left. The plane slowed its list but it kept tilting to the right. Panicked, he turned the wheel farther but the seat belt blocked his motion. A quack came from below the seat and the horrified pilot saw that the duck was pecking the foot pedals that controlled the tail. "Stop that!"
"Hey, Porky! Whatcha doing there?" Sailor Sun picked up P-Chan who slid from the front of the plane to where she was as it pitched upward. "Tell ya what, I'll get you to Jusenkyo in a jiffy. Wouldn't you like that? I'll fix ya right up, Here, I'll show ya." She raised her arm to prepare her spell, only to have her fist clang against the roof. Unsteadly, she tried again to move her arm into position, only to find she couldn't stay still long enough to focus her magic. She felt dizzy and she remembered that it was getting dark. She place her free hand against the wall and closed her eyes to focus on her teleportation target. She saw the Tendo's home, her apartment in Juuban, the restaurant where she worked and there, she saw a large wok being used to prepare some beef teriyaki. She opened her eyes just as P-Chan was about to throw up. "Oops, I ain't taking you there. I know!" She burped and giggled and staggered toward the cockpit.
The pilot hurriedly grabbed the duck crate and it fell apart in his hand. With one hand on the wheel, he used his free hand to slide off the wood shards until the seat was empty of the larger pieces. He slid back into his seat and shoved the wheel forward to correct the pitch, hoping he was in time to prevent a stall. He yelped in pain as the duck on the floor clamped his bill on the pilot's left shin.
Grimicing in pain, he untied the seat belt and threw it aside, only to hear a high pitched voice scream. "Ouch!"
Sailor Sun rubbed her eye. "Watch where you're throwin' that, will ya?"
"Who in the heck are you? How did you get here?"
Sailor Sun stared straight ahead. "Boy, that's really big."
The pilot looked out the front windshield and gasped at the huge peak that was straight ahead. He jerked the wheel to the left putting the plane in a violent turn and it missed the mountain by a few meters.
Shoved against the window, Sun saw below a familiar mist shrouded valley. There was over one hundred pools, and over a thousand bamboo poles dotting the floor and a wave of fear encompassed the girl. There it was. The place where everything began. The one spot in the world where once, she wanted to return to, and now wanted to avoid for the rest of her life. Clarity formed in the girl's mind. She held P-Chan tight. "I'll pay you back, Ryoga."
As the man fought with the controls, Sun looked around for her other travelling companion. "Mousse! Where are you? We're here!"
"My name isn't Mousse. It's Juro." He adjusted the throttle and kept the plane steady. "Is that your pig? Who was that other girl? Is she a friend of yours?"
"Oh, was she flat chested, strong as an ox and twice as ugly?" Sun wobbled in her chair as the alcohol got a second wind and played pachinko with her brain. "That's Akane all right and P-Chan here, is her widdle piggy."
"You and your friend owe me some money for sneaking on my plane. Cough it up or when I land, I'm calling the cops."
Sailor Sun stiffened. "Okay, if that's the way you wanna play it." She reached down and grabbed Mousse the duck who just poked his head out from under the pilot's seat. "This is where I get off." She grabbed the door and popped it open.
"Wait!" The pilot tried to stop her, but it was too late. The girl and her animals disappeared into the icy cold wind outside. The door slammed shut from the air pressure and he shook his head in fright. "I don't have a skydiving license. I hope they don't pin this on me."
Moments ago, Ukyou felt a tremor and turned to Akane. Akane felt the same feeling and both girls looked in the direction they were drawn to. The terminal shack blocked the view since they had already walked to the far side of it when the urge to turn around hit them. They hurriedly ran around the building to see three men loading boxes onto a large cart. The feeling had already vanished, so the men weren't keeping their attention anymore. Akane opened her mind and used her enhanced senses to find anything out of the ordinary. She came up empty.
Ukyou did the same, and she picked up a magic signature nearby. There was a familiarity to it. Happily, she exclaimed. "Ranchan!" She ran forward, leaving Akane behind.
"Hey, wait! Where are you going?"
Ukyou turned her head around and smiled back at the standing Tendo. "Can't you feel it? It's Ranchan!"
"He's here?" Akane sprinted after the taller girl and the two raced toward the men who were almost done loading their cargo.
The first man groaned at the approach of the two women. "Now what?" He looked at his two friends who shrugged in reply. He turned to face the women. "What do you want?"
Akane ignored the man and jumped over him, landing on the other side of the cart and tried to find her missing husband.
Ukyou stopped where Sailor Sun had teleported from and could clearly see on the ground a faint after image of a Sailor Senshi. Concentrating, she focused on the residual magic and confirmed her suspicions. "She was here."
"Great, more Amazons." the second man stood in front of the barrel hoping these two Amazons didn't want to finish the job their friend had started. There was still enough sake in the barrel to take care of the bar's needs until another barrel could be flown in. A careful look made him question his assumption that they were from the village near the Valley of Sorrow. These women appeared to be Japanese. He asked in a slow voice. "You speak Chinese?"
"Huh?" Akane answered, baffled at the man's words.
In what little Chinese she learned in school, Ukyou replied, "little." She pointed to the ground and asked, "girl? Red?"
"She disappeared." The third man answered.
Ukyou fumbled with understanding the word. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a Chinese - Japanese dictionary. She turned the page to the word Senshi and pointed at the kanji, and said in Chinese, "Senshi."
Warrior? The three men were puzzled she would ask that, but then the Amazons were warrior women. The first man nodded and timidly replied, not knowing what this woman with a spatula was going to do if she got angry. The rumors of the Amazons and their habits were enough to give anyone in the area a healthy fear of them. "Amazon?"
Akane knew that word, Nyuchezu. Hanging around Cologne and Shampoo was enough to pick up certain Chinese words and that word spelled trouble. She produced her transformation pen and hid under the men's cart. She called out her phrase. "Io Lumina Power, Make Up!" A light show later, Sailor Io remained.
"Yikes!" The three men jumped back as a Sailor Senshi emerged from under their cart. Even though she was in a different color, her uniform was identical to the girl who disappeared except the newcomer was dressed in yellow while the other one sported a red outfit. Beads of sweat formed on each of their brows.
Sailor Io produced a ball of lava in her hand to make a point. "Where's Ranma?"
The men looked at each other for a few seconds, then in a flash, they disappeared by running off in three separate directions.
Io thought about following one of them, but decided against it because Ukyou was more interested in a patch of grass than pursuing anyone. Then, she saw what had Ukyou's attention, a magical aura exactly like that of a Sailor Senshi; a red-haired Sailor Senshi. Strange, she hadn't noticed it before, but there it was, plain as day. "He was here, wasn't he?" With a flick of her wrist, she made her lava ball vanish.
"Sure looks that way, Sugar. But what was she doing lying here?"
Io's attention was drawn to a cloth sack, sitting on the cart. It had a ki aura about it, very faint, but it was there. She opened the bag and pulled out Chinese cotton shirt, one that Ranma liked to wear. It reeked of alcohol and the bag was saturated with her husband's ki. She glanced over to the other source of the smell and found Ukyou standing over the barrel and looking inside. As both women looked in they spoke in unison. "Well, I'll be."
Io was fuming. "He was in the plane!"
"Was he following us?" Ukyou asked incredulously.
"If he was, I'm going to belt him." Io held over her shoulder a large mallet. Ukyou, likewise produced one from nowhere. Io held the shaft of her mallet tight. "I get first crack at him."
"I just want to know, where is he now?" Ukyou's senses directed her gaze skyward, In the distance, a small plane approached. She stood there as the plane got closer. She could hear the engine roar become louder until it was almost flying overhead.
Just as it was about to pass over her, something fell out. The shape grew larger and larger then it separated into three pieces. The largest of them cried out, "wheeeee, I'm flying!" One hundred meters away, three craters formed, each containing a Jusenkyo curse victim.
"I think we found him." Ukyou said dryly.
"Honestly." Io approached the largest crater, and inside was her female Senshi husband, fast asleep. She looked at her mallet. She looked at Sailor Sun. She looked at the mallet again.
A loud crack echoed among the distant valleys. "Feel better?" Ukyou asked.
Io clapped her hands together to banish any wood splinters she may have gotten. "Lots." She walked away from the crater that contained her husband who had a mallet imbedded in her skull.
Wham! Io watched Ukyou clap her hands together as well. The yellow skirted Senshi asked. "How about you?"
Ukyou smiled. "Yep, I can see why you do it. It really does make me feel better."
Sun lay at the bottom of the crater, sporting two large lumps on her head.
"What do we do now?"
"Not much right now." Ukyou sniffed the air. "Wow, what the heck was she drinking? She stinks."
Io read the side of the barrel. "Sake? She was in a barrel of sake? Idiot. You'd think she'd learn by now."
"What are you talkin' about?"
"Last year, we were in a production of Romeo and Juliet, and she drank something and it got her drunk."
"You and Ranchan? Which one of you played Juliet?"
Io growled. "I did."
Sun stirred from her place at the bottom of the crater. She could have sworn she heard Akane's voice. That was impossible, wasn't it? She was somewhere in China and... She looked at her hands and they were covered in gloves. She was transformed. How did that happen? That's right, Bacon Breath and Duck Boy were right here and Jusenkyo was right over there. I gotta hurry, she continued her train of thought. I don't have much time. She jumped out of the crater and ran over to P-Chan. She scooped him and ran over to Mousse's pit. She held both animals tight under one arm and just as the sun dropped behind a mountain peak, she shouted. "Sun Beam Transport!" In a flash of light, she disappeared.
Io and Ukyou shouted, "Ranma!" "Ranchan!" a second after she vanished into thin air.
Sailor Io clenched her fists. "Why that idiot! Where does he think he's going?"
Ukyou tried to sense where the red head vanished to, but couldn't. "I dunno. Where'd she go in such a hurry?"
"What was she doing on the plane? That's what I want to know." Io frowned. She thought that Ranma had finally trusted her. He let her fight Shampoo without him overseeing her. They fought youma together and now, was he watching over her, afraid that she couldn't fight her own battles? And wasn't there something she was supposed to say to him? She'd been travelling for almost a day with Ukyou, devoting her attention to rescuing Konatsu that something had slipped her mind, but what? Detransforming, she decided that for now, she needed her rest. "Let's go to the hotel. If he wants to show up, let him."
"Akane?" Ukyou wondered. "Didn't Ranma say something that he can't teleport at night?"
"Yeah, but he's getting better at it. He'd better not be using that to peek at me." She put the Chinese shirt back in the bag and put the bag into her backpack.
Ukyou's eyebrows raised in surprise. Weren't they married? A husband can peek as his wife all he wanted. A ray of hope gleamed in the tall girl's eye. "C'mon, I need to get some sleep too."
Rei scowled as she swept the dust away from under the main entrance of the Hikawa shrine. Yuuichiro wasn't the target of her ire, no, he was doing his best at getting rid of the latest unwanted visitor.
He and Rei's Grandfather escorted out the young man who held a bouquet of roses. As soon as they returned, Rei pointed to a tree and hiding behind it was a short balding old man. Grandfather smiled at the man and playfully asked, "are those for me?"
"Uh, no." The old lecher replied, looking around for any sign of a Sailor Senshi.
"Are you waiting for someone?" He winked, winked, nudged, nudged, and he said no more.
"Yes, I am." He took a step back as Yuuichiro came closer to him. "Wait! Don't! Ouch!"
"Dude," Yuuichiro slurred in his surfer slang. "There ain't no Sailor girls here. Just the kamis and us and we're a lot nastier." He easily lifted the creep by the scruff of the neck and walked down the steps to the base of the hill, where he gently put the man down without harming him.
"Be a pal." The man pleaded. "I heard that the Senshi come here often, it says so right here." He held out a book titled 'Meet Sailor Mars: Fire'. "It says that she's seen around here a lot."
"Beat it." Getting a boot to the rear, the old man flew into the sky. "Man, I really need to work on my form. Hey, Rei!"
The priest in training ran back up the stairs and nearly collapsed in exhaustion. He held himself up on the pillar of the main archway for a moment to catch his breath. "Hey, don't you take martial arts lessons?"
"Sometimes. Why?" Rei asked suspiciously. She walked down the step from the front of the shrine and began to sweep the walkway. "It's kind of private."
"Well, I was thinkin' if there was room in the class for one more."
"I doubt it. Ranko is a bit picky as to who she takes on as students. Besides, if you've got any ideas like those perverts, I'd get rid of them right now."
"Wadda ya mean?"
Sighing, Rei went over to his backpack which was badly hidden behind a bush and yanked out a few roses.
Rei crossed her arms, barely holding back her anger. "How could you?"
The shrine maiden tossed the roses into a nearby trash can, much to Yuuichiro's dismay. He whispered, "they're for you."
Rei didn't hear him. She walked back toward the shrine when a tuckered voice called out her name, "Rei!"
"Ami? Rei spun around. This was late in the evening and Ami usually was home studying or attending cram school. For her to be here at this hour meant something bad was happening. "Is everything okay?"
"It's better than okay. Let's talk."
Rei's Grandfather appeared next to Yuuichiro, "Don't worry, you'll get your chance, but right now, I need you to help me over here." The two men walked away from the shrine, with Yuuichiro feeling sullen.
The two girls went in the opposite direction, and shortly entered the main meeting room where they usually had their Senshi meetings. Ami glanced back the way they came. "Does your Grandfather know about us?"
"I don't ask, and neither does he. What's going on? Is there something going on? I did a fire reading this morning and I got some weird vibes, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just something about Minako's volleyball game, but that Kodachi is pretty weird to begin with, so it wasn't worth calling anybody."
"No, nothing's wrong, well, there is." Ami fumbled for words.
Rei crossed her arms and stood with her fingers tapping her elbows. "Which is it? Is there something wrong or not?"
"It's about Ukyou."
Rei's heart sank. "How is she doing? I heard about her problem. Is she okay?"
"Well," Ami smiled. She told her what she thought.
Rei stood there for a moment, silent. She slowly moved her right hand and gently placed it on her face. "Please don't tell me you mentioned this to Usagi."
"No I haven't. You're the first one. What do you think?"
"What do I think? Why don't was just raffle off transformation pens? How about we put one in cereal boxes? Why not just leave a bag of them outside and let everyone become a magical girl? Ami, it was a huge risk for us letting Akane join us."
"Rei, don't you remember what Akane did for us? We couldn't have defeated Jadeite without her help. I know that only planetary Princesses were to be bestowed our powers, but Sailor Sun proved that commoners could be given powers too." Rei stood back, ashamed of herself. Ami remained steadfast. "She died to become a Senshi. Akane almost died too. If anyone deserved to be Sailor Senshi, it was those two."
Rei sighed. "Why Ukyou? I know she's hurting because of us, but how does that make you want to her to be one of us?"
"Do you remember what happened, with the Godzillas?"
Rei rubbed her back instinctively. It was not an experience she wanted to relive ever again. "Yeah."
"She killed one of them."
"The army killed lots of them. I don't see us giving pens to them."
"No." Ami waved her hands. "She killed one of the big ones, with Saturn's Glaive."
Rei's eyes blinked. "She did?"
"She saved Saturn's and Pluto's life and almost died doing it."
"W... Why didn't you tell me about that?" Rei felt really bad.
"There was a lot of things that happened that night. But I do know that Ukyou, as well as her friends Shampoo and Konatsu fought like Senshi. From what's happening to Ukyou, I don't think it's a choice anymore. I think she's turning into a Senshi."
"Turning into a Senshi? How can that be? Hotaru's healed a lot of people and I've never heard of anybody manifesting powers."
"There's something more going on. You're right, by all means Ukyou should be a normal girl. But she isn't. It's as if we awakened something that was already there. I want to do the test."
"Test? What test?"
"I found it when I was doing research on Ukyou's condition. When a daughter of a royal house was born, they gave her a test to see if she was accepted by their guardian planet. If she was, she was deemed the Senshi of that world. We all had to take the test."
Rei racked her brain and couldn't recall anything about a test from her past life, but then, her past life was only visible to her as fragmented images and faint memories. "What is this test?"
"That, is where the Moon Princess comes in."
It was late at night at the Cat Cafe. Shampoo's father was checking the storeroom when he heard a noise upstairs. Silently, he crept up the stairs and peered into the dark dining area. There was no one to be seen. He peeked over the opening that seperated the dining area from the kitchen and the kitchen area too was devoid of any life. He stood still and formed a soul of ice, hoping to avoid detection from the intruder.
A minute passed in silence. He tip toed toward the archway that led to the back of the restaurant. The corridor was dark. Only the upper floor had a light on and that's where he was planning to go to retire for the evening. Waiting at the base of the stairs, he listened for anything out of the ordinary. He heard a truck drive by. Then a pedestrian walked by. Silenced followed. He sighed in relief and as he was about to take a step upstairs, a loud clang came from the Elder's bedroom.
Grabbing a butcher knife, he quietly approached the door to Cologne's bedroom. Normally, he wouldn't venture inside, but someone else was violating the sanctity of the Elder and it was his duty to protect it. He grabbed the doorknob and threw open the door. He flicked on the light, only to find his knife knocked out of his hand by a flying tobacco pipe. "Who's in there?" He challenged.
A rolled up scroll flew through the air and knocked him out cold. Inside the room, Happosai relaxed his combat stance. "Oh, it's just you." He went to the doorway and looked around. "Hmm, it seems that she's not around. Good." He went back to his work, picking the lock on a magically enhanced chest. A few moments later, a click was heard and the box opened up revealing a treasure trove of jewelry and artifacts. "It's gotta be in here somewhere."
Half an hour later, the floor was covered with assorted magical items, organized into piles. One was stacked with jewelry of high value, another of things magical in nature, another was scrolls, another contained books and the last one had Shampoo's underwear. Cologne's underwear was kept safe and sound in her dresser drawer, covered with wards courtesy of a tiny pervert.
"Where is it?" Happosai was angry. "It's not here." He searched the room again, and this time, nothing new was found. "There's only one place it could be." Reaching over to the pile of magical items, he produced the Nan-Ban mirror. "I see she fixed you." Happosai rubbed his hands in glee at his good luck. "It's as good as mine again."
Somewhere in the forest outside of Furinkan High, a lanky kid sat in a clearing with a heavy downpour drenching him. He didn't mind that the rain was only centered on him and it was not raining anywhere else in all of Tokyo. Sitting under his umbrella, he watched Happosai ransack Cologne's bedroom. "Hee hee." He laughed. "I'll have him bring me all that when he's done." A lightning bolt shot out from the sky, and Gosenkugi's umbrella disintegrated. The young man fell over unconscious. Despite the rain, the Demonicon was completely dry.
Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and keeps me from opening your mail.
Rebecca Ann Heineman
July 30th, 2007