Disclaimer: The characters of Ranma 1/2 belong to Rumiko Takahashi. The characters of Sailor Moon belong to Naoko Takeuchi. This is an alternate universe based on the combination of both. This won't make us any money, so please, don't waste your time.
Authors' Note: This is the second and final revision of our story. It can be found at the following sites in different stages of revision:
Nighthawk's Fanfiction: First Draft
The Sword of Destiny's Homepage: Incomplete First Revision and Second Revision
Fan Fiction. Net: Second Revision Only
Lord Dragonbane and Count Stacko
Story concept and idea by: Tomas "Nighthawk" Megerson
(Part of the Uncles Challenge)
Chapter Five: Confrontation Complications Part II
"How… how did you know it was me?" Hotaru gasped, confused.
"What do you mean Hotaru?" Ranma asked with a grin. "While I like your outfit, I have to say, it doesn't do much to hide your identity."
"But there's supposed to be a disguise field that does that," Hotaru complained.
"Really?" Ranma replied in surprise, realizing that she was serious. "Well, it must not be working then, because I can definitely tell who you are. You should really change clothes though. You'll probably attract a lot of attention like that."
"Umm… okay," Hotaru agreed, worried about the situation. In a flare of light, she was back in her gym clothes, smiling when Ranma applauded.
"Shall we get back to our practice?" He asked as they moved back to what was left of the table.
"I don't think so Uncle Ranma," Hotaru sighed as she gathered her books, "It's almost time for dinner."
"Okay," Ranma said understandingly. After she changed to her school uniform, he walked her home.
"How does this look on me?" Usagi asked Minako, who was going through a sales rack looking for clothes. Minako dutifully turned around, then burst into a giggle fit when she saw Usagi's outfit. "What? What's so funny!?"
"I'm sorry Usagi-chan, but apple green overalls just don't look right with an orange dress shirt," Minako said, trying to hold back the giggles. "Why don't you try the red overalls, or maybe that blue shirt?"
"Hey, maybe I can get all four of them," Usagi laughed happily, grabbing all of the clothes and rushing back into the dressing room to try them on. Minako shook her head and went back to her shopping. She had just found what she was looking for when she heard screams form outside the store. Muttering in annoyance, she went to the window then gasped when she saw what was going on in the sporting goods store across from the boutique.
From where she was standing she saw two people slumped against the counter in pools of blood and two creatures that looked like they were made out of knives chasing a crowd down the main passage of the mall. With a sigh, she put her clothes on the counter and went to get Usagi.
"What is it?" Usagi asked when Minako knocked on the door to the dressing room.
"We need to go Usagi," Minako replied seriously. "Some left over daemon eggs must have hatched because there are two daemons attacking people outside."
"Daemons!" Usagi gasped in anger and put her clothes next to Minako's selections. "I'll get them for disturbing my shopping." Taking out her locket, she transformed and stormed out without waiting for Minako, who took the video tape out of the machine connected to the security cameras then transformed and followed her leader, shaking her head.
"What are the results Lieutenant?" Commander Geurig asked the engineer impatiently. "Are they as high as expected?"
"Higher sir," Lieutenant Wanstaltig replied in an awed tone. "The average is 417.34, though many are higher."
"Excellent, continue harv…" An alarm sounded on the lieutenant's board and interrupted him. "What is it?"
"A Mana surge has been detected nearby, sir, registering 8… 85476.47…" The engineer's tone rose in amazement at the magnitude of the energy pulse. "Correction, two simultaneous surges, directed toward two biologics."
"What kind of weapon can focus and direct that much wild energy?" Commander Geurig demanded. "And why would anyone use it on simple biologics? That is enough power to destroy a drone."
"They weren't destroyed sir," Wanstaltig said, sounding surprised. "Both biologics are still alive."
"That's impossible lieutenant," Geurig barked in disbelief. "That is well above the safe exposure limit…" Another alarm sounded, and the two aliens watched in shock as one of the drones was destroyed by a burst of energy from one of the humans they were discussing.
"Is there any way to drain the rest of our subjects in thirty seconds?" The alien commander asked his shock obvious. When the engineer simply shook his head, he sighed. "Very well then, transmit all of the collected energies and stow your equipment. We're leaving."
Sailor Moon rounded the corner at the end of the main passage, and then stopped in her tracks when she saw the number of people who were lying on the floor unconscious. Movement caught her eye and she gasped at the sight of several people in strange uniforms who were preoccupied with a large machine they were dismantling. As she took the scene in, she became angry about being ignored.
"Hey, what are you dweebmeisters doing?!" she yelled, getting even angrier when they ignored her. "What did you do to these people?"
The last parts of the machine were disconnected, and with a loud rush of air, they disappeared, along with half of the people in uniform, leaving two of them. As Sailor Venus started toward them, they drew weapons and started backing away. Sailor Venus stopped in surprise, looking at Sailor Moon for instructions, when she looked away from them, the two men made a run for the exit.
"Hey, you can't just leave!" Sailor Moon shouted as Sailor Venus prepared another attack. "We want to talk to you!" As they ran, one of the men whirled around and dropped to one knee aiming at Sailor Venus. Sailor Moon tried to shout a warning, but it was too late, as Sailor Venus was engulfed in a ball of intense blue light and knocked backwards through a display window. As Sailor Moon ran to help her friend, the two men ran out the mall exit and disappeared.
Worried about her friend, Sailor Moon sighed in relief when she saw Minako struggling out of a pile of clothing and clothes racks. It was only when she was standing up, that she saw the condition of her clothes. With a yelp of surprise, Minako grabbed the scraps of singed cloth that were all that preserved her modesty, and ran back to the shop where they had been shopping. Sailor Moon followed her and arrived as Minako came out of the changing room wearing the pedal pushers and dress shirt she'd picked out.
"What happened to you Mina-chan?" Usagi asked after she transformed. "What if someone saw you?"
"I didn't transform on purpose Usagi," Minako grumbled as she put the remains of her clothes in a bag and rang up the clothes she was wearing.
"Do you mean that gun made you transform? How?!"
"I don't know," Minako replied, ringing up Usagi's clothes and bagging them. "I'll have to ask Luna and Artemis tonight when we get home. Let's get out of here." Usagi nodded and followed her friend out of the mall.
"We're home!" Hotaru said as she and Ranma came into the house just ahead of a rainstorm that had blown up as they were walking home.
"Welcome back," Michiru said, smiling at Hotaru's enthusiasm. "Did you get your homework done?"
"Yes Michiru-mama," Hotaru replied with a long-suffering sigh, then grinned. "Uncle Ranma is teaching me martial arts."
"He is?" Michiru asked in concern, looking at Hotaru for signs of weakness. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"I'm not teaching her anything strenuous right now," Ranma reassured her, ruffling Hotaru's hair. "Just basic techniques and strengthening exercises is all."
"Go wash up Hotaru," Haruka said, coming into the room. "I'm sure dinner is almost ready." Hotaru agreed reluctantly and left the rest of them in the kitchen.
"I can understand your concern ladies," Ranma said, taking a seat at the kitchen table and smiling at Hotaru's guardians. "I'm being very cautious about what we're dong until I find out exactly what's wrong with her. How long has she been like this?"
"Most of her life," Haruka replied, sitting down opposite him. "Ever since she was a baby in fact."
"Do they have any idea what caused it?"
"Not really, though she could have been injured in the lab accident that killed her father."
"I see," Ranma murmured, thinking furiously. "I think I'll have to miss dinner tonight."
"Hotaru will be very disappointed," Michiru said warningly. "Are you sure you won't reconsider?"
"I need to go talk to someone," Ranma sighed. "Tell Hotaru I'll be back tomorrow morning to take her to that amusement park we talked about on the way home today." Haruka nodded and Ranma left, shifting to the rooftops almost immediately. Ten minutes later, he was in Nerima, ringing the doorbell at an average looking house. A couple minutes later, he sighed in relief as the door was opened by a miniature whirlwind.
"Ranma Saotome, you delinquent, what are you doing at my house?!" Miss Hinako demanded, pulling a coin out of her pocket. "Why haven't you been at school?"
"Sorry Miss H, I had a family emergency," Ranma said with a solemn expression. "My brother-in-law died recently and I've had to take care of my niece."
"Oh, how sad," she gasped, near tears. "How is she?" She put the coin away.
"As well as can be expected, though she does have a problem you might be able to help me with."
"I need to know what Happosai did to you that allow you to use the chi you drain from people." Ranma said in a rush.
"What…why?" she replied in confusion.
"Because my niece is very sick," Ranma explained seriously. "Her father died in a lab accident, and she was injured at the same time."
"What's wrong, do you know?"
"The doctors can't really tell," Ranma sighed remembering that her guardians didn't know. "If she sits quietly and doesn't do anything that requires physical exertion she's fine, but that means she can't play or do anything children her age normally do."
"How terrible!" his teacher sobbed. "How can I help?"
"Teach me the pressure points that make you able to absorb and use external chi," he said soberly.
"I don't know…" Miss Hinako said uncertainly.
"I'll even bring her here so you can meet her," Ranma blurted out.
"Okay, if you'll bring her here, I will give her the first treatment and show you how to continue it."
"Thank you Miss Hinako, is tomorrow too early?"
"Wow, you are in a hurry," she laughed. "Tomorrow would be fine, around six o'clock in the evening okay?"
"Fine, we'll be here."
"I will see you tomorrow then," Miss Hinako said, nodding. "I also hope to see you in class on Monday Ranma. Even if you don't think so, you need an education to survive in life." Ranma nodded, silently agreeing, in spite of the fact that he was rich now. He reached his next stop in a short time and smiled at the welcome Ukyou gave him.
"Hi Ranma-honey, sorry about jumping to conclusions earlier," she said apologetically. "How is that little girl?"
"Okay now," Ranma sighed, taking his usual seat at the counter. "I'm taking her to Disneyland tomorrow."
"How…how can you afford that?" she gasped. "Those tickets cost a lot, and you never have any money."
"I did some work recently that just got paid for," Ranma replied evasively. "The reason I came over was to ask you to help me out with something. I need you to pass a message on to Akane and Shampoo."
"Why ask me?" Ukyou asked in surprise. "Why don't you tell them yourself?"
"Because, I don't have time to argue with them today," Ranma growled. "I have to be back in Juuban tonight before eight. Besides that, I think I can trust you to pass this message on clearly."
"Okay, what is it?"
"I don't want any of you to say anything about Hotaru to anybody," Ranma said grimly. "I want her existence kept a secret for as long as possible, and if I find out one of you told someone about it, I won't ever want to see that person again. Understand?"
"Uhh…okay Ranma-honey, if that's what you want,' Ukyou replied nervously. "But what's this all about? Why are you so worried about people finding out about her?"
"My life is completely insane Ukyou," Ranma said seriously. "I don't want her getting caught up in the insanity if I can help it. I love her too much."
"She's a lucky kid Ranma," Ukyou said a little jealously. "I'll pass your message on. As for me, they'll have to kill me before they get it out of me."
"I doubt it will come to that, but thanks U-chan, I appreciate it." Ranma gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and left a very confused girl behind.
"Luna, where are you?" Usagi said as she closed her bedroom door behind Minako. "We've got a big problem."
"What is it Usagi?" Luna asked as she came out from under Usagi's bed.
"Some Dweeboids shot Minako at the mall today and it forced her out of her Senshi form."
"Impossible," Luna hissed in denial. "Nothing can force a Senshi out of her transformation unwillingly. Your Senshi forms are powered by Mana from your home worlds."
"But if they cut off that Mana, wouldn't it force us back to normal?" Minako asked, seeing a possible explanation.
"Of course, but the only way they could do that is if they shielded you from it or made you evil somehow."
"What do you mean?" Usagi said, confused. "Why would making her evil block the energy?"
"It was a safety precaution in case the Negaverse captured one of you," Luna explained. "In the event that you were brainwashed and became evil, we didn't want to be faced with our own weapons, so part of the spell which summons your powers, blocks them if you become evil."
"And if I was just shielded?" Minako said, nervous about the way this conversation was going. "What would happen then?"
"I don't know if it's possible," Luna muttered. "But it would be almost exactly the same as if you became evil, in fact that would be the easiest way to do it, the shielding would block your Mana source, and stop it from getting to you."
"Well, that should be easy to find out," Minako said, pulling her henshin rod out of subspace. "Venus Star Power!" She closed her eyes expectantly waiting for her transformation, and then sighed in defeat as nothing happened. "I can feel the power there, but there's something in the way."
"Usagi, call the others," Luna said urgently. "They need to know about this as quickly as possible. Maybe Sailor Mercury can tell us about this situation as well. I want to know if we can fix the problem." Usagi nodded and called all of the Senshi on their communicators. Everyone agreed to meet the next day except for Hotaru who complained loudly.
"But I've got a date with Uncle Ranma!"
"Who?" Usagi asked in surprise, echoed by most of the Senshi.
"Ranma Saotome," Haruka explained, pausing when the Senshi expressed their surprise. "We found out this week that Hotaru's maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather are still alive."
"But where does that hunk Ranma fit in?" Makoto demanded excitedly.
"As Hotaru said, he's her uncle," Michiru replied calmly. "On her mother's side I think."
"This meeting is very important Hotaru-chan," Usagi said gently, going back to the main issue. "It shouldn't take too long, and then you can still spend time with your uncle."
"Oh Okay..." Hotaru said grumpily, and then brightened. "Can Chibi-Usa come with us if Uncle Ranma says its okay?"
"If she wants," Usagi said smiling as she watched her daughter nodding eagerly. "Why don't you ask her tomorrow?" Everyone signed off, and Usagi lay down on her bed with a sigh.
"Is Ranma Saotome really Hotaru's uncle?" Chibi-Usa asked in surprise.
"That's what Haruka and Michiru said," Luna replied confusedly.
"Cool, maybe he can teach us some of those moves he uses to beat up that creep Kuno." Usagi stared as Chibi-Usa pretended to beat up an invisible opponent.
"He may not really be able to do all of that stuff you know," she suggested gently as Chibi-Usa kept shadow boxing. "Special effects are really good these days."
"Nope, they have a notice at the beginning of every show that all of the moves are real." Usagi stared, then yawned and decided to do her chores after a short nap.
"Hi Uncle Ranma," Hotaru said as he came into the house that night. "Are we really going to Disneyland?" Ranma smiled at her eager expression and nodded.
"Yes we are Hotaru," he laughed as she danced around him. After a very short time, she was tired and he sat down next to he in concern. "Are you okay?"
"Just a little tired," she sighed, smiling weakly. "I hate this."
"I know of a way for you to get better," Ranma started softly, "or at least stronger than you are right now."
"How?" Michiru asked in surprise as she heard his comment. "The doctors don't even know what's wrong."
"I know someone who was in a similar condition when she was younger, but an acupressure treatment she had helped her by boosting her energy reserves."
"I don't know about this," Haruka said uncertainly. "Are you sure this treatment won't just make Hotaru worse? We don't know what's really causing her problem after all."
"Actually what the treatment does is help the patient use energy from sources outside their body," Ranma explained. "She would be able to absorb energy from the environment and use it as if it was naturally hers."
"Is that possible?" Michiru gasped in shock.
"It's not only possible, but if you approve she can start her treatment tomorrow."
"I don't know…" Haruka said, avoiding Hotaru's pleading look. "Are there any side effects?"
"Not really," Ranma said, chuckling when he remembered the effect it had on Miss Hinako. "It might make Hotaru taller, but the main effect is the higher vitality she'll have."
"Taller?!" Hotaru gasped, and then turned her pleading gaze on her guardians. Michiru sighed and looked at Haruka who threw her a confused look of her own.
"If that is so, then I see no reason why not," Michiru finally said. "But if Hotaru starts getting worse, it stops okay?" Ranma and Hotaru nodded solemnly then turned to Haruka.
"Fine by me," Haruka said uncomfortably. "Just be careful. If any side effects start showing up, I want us to be told immediately."
"Of course," Ranma agreed quickly. "Both of your conditions are extremely reasonable."
"Can we please be excused?" Hotaru asked, looking happier than ever. "Uncle Ranma and I need to plan our trip to Disneyland." Haruka nodded, and the young girl almost dragged Ranma out of the room. Michiru dropped down onto the couch next to her lover, with a sigh and rested her head on her shoulder.
"Are we doing the right thing?" Haruka said after they sat in silence for several minutes.
"I don't know," Michiru replied softly. "But Ranma cares too much for Hotaru to do anything that would hurt her."
"Maybe, but he hardly knows her," Haruka sighed. "I just hope this is a good idea. I'd never forgive myself if something happened to her." Michiru nodded and the couple sat in silence for several minutes before they got up and went to bed.
The next morning, Hotaru woke up as Ranma began his morning workout and watched silently as he slowly progressed through pattern after pattern and started glowing with the energy that built up. Finally he sank into the lotus position and the glowing energy slowly faded away, absorbed into his body.
"Uncle Ranma, can you teach me how to do that?" Ranma smiled and turned to his niece.
"Of course Hotaru, I would be honored to teach you," he chuckled, reacting to her desperate expression. "Maybe we'll start this afternoon."
"Can Chibi-Usa join us too?"
"She's my best friend," Hotaru explained. "If it's okay, I'd like her to come to Disneyland with us too. She'd love to meet you."
"I don't see why not," Ranma agreed, smiling when she let out a cheer. "It's time for breakfast though."
"But Michiru-mama isn't up yet," Hotaru said after listening for a few moments.
"That's okay," Ranma said with a wink. "Let's surprise them." Hotaru giggled and followed him as he went down to the kitchen.
Michiru drifted awake and smiled when she smelled something good cooking. Wondering what Haruka was cooking, she rolled over and gasped when she found herself looking at Haruka's equally startled eyes.
"If you're not cooking breakfast, then who is?" they both blurted in unison, and then swiveled to look at the door when they heard a soft knock. "Who is it?"
"It's Hotaru, I have breakfast for you," their ward said brightly. "May I come in?"
"Come in," Michiru said, looking at Haruka in confusion.
"Who made all of that?" Haruka asked amazed at the food on the large tray Hotaru carried in. "Did you?"
"Nope, but I helped Uncle Ranma with most of it," Hotaru replied, and then giggled. "He's cool, he changed into a girl accidentally and didn't even slow down at all."
"Must be used to it," Haruka said philosophically. "He has been like this for a year or so, from what you said."
"That's what the books say, but I haven't actually talked to him about it." With a grin, she turned and ran out of the room. Haruka sighed and dished a plate for Michiru, then one for herself. After some hesitation and a little surprise, the two young women ate their breakfast in companionable silence. After finishing, they went about getting ready for the day. Once her preparations were finished, Michiru carried the tray down and smiled when she heard Hotaru giggle in the kitchen.
"…That's why Ryoga and I seem like we don't like each other," Ranma said as they washed the dishes. "After that missed challenge, there's been a lot of bad misunderstandings and stuff, but we can still put that aside if we need to."
"Did it really take Uncle Ryoga four days to get to the field behind his house?" Hotaru asked in disbelief as she dried a plate. "Why would it take him that long?"
"I told you before, Ryoga has a terrible sense of direction," Ranma explained with a laugh. "He can take as long as a week to arrive somewhere important. If it isn't that important he can disappear for months on end." Hotaru stared at him in disbelief then jumped when Michiru cleared her throat.
"Surely you are exaggerating Ryoga's difficulty Ranma," Michiru said with a doubtful expression. "How could it have taken four days to reach a field that was behind his own house?"
"That's something you'll have to ask Ryoga the next time you see him Michiru-san," Ranma replied with a shrug. "All I can tell you is what I saw. I waited for him for three days before I gave up, and he keeps telling me I should have waited because he showed up on the fourth day."
"Oh my," Michiru gasped in shock. "How odd."
"What's odd?" Haruka asked as she came into the room.
"Nothing really important Haruka-papa," Hotaru said solemnly. "Uncle Ryoga just gets lost very easily."
"Oh, okay," Haruka said with a shrug after Michiru nodded. "We'll need to get going soon though. We want to be at Cherry Hill on time so that you two don't miss out on too much."
"Okay Haruka-papa, Uncle Ranma can take me, and wait until we've talked to the others," Hotaru suggested.
"Won't you be bored, waiting, Ranma?"
"Nah, Hotaru said the priest there is a martial artist, so maybe I'll spar with him," Ranma replied. "If nothing else, I can go for a peaceful walk; something I haven't done for a long time."
"Okay, let's go then," Haruka said, taking her jacket out of the closet. Ranma and Hotaru went out the door first and Haruka turned around in time to see him pick her up and jump to a nearby rooftop. While she and Michiru watched in shock, Ranma jumped from rooftop to rooftop quickly vanishing from sight. Shaking her head in amazement, Haruka unlocked Michiru's door and went around to her side of the car.
Ranma landed and set Hotaru on her feet at the top of the shrine steps, then followed her toward the priest's home, ignoring the girls who were staring at him. Hotaru knocked on the door to what was obviously a dojo, then slipped off her shoes and went in Ranma followed her.
"Why hello Hotaru-chan," an old short man said with a welcoming smile. "Who's your friend? Isn't he a little old for you?"
"He's not my friend Grandpa Hino, he's my uncle," Hotaru explained with a giggle. The old man looked Ranma over closely, and then shrugged.
"Hello young man, what would your name be?"
"Uh, Ranma Saotome sir," Ranma replied, a little uncomfortable.
"Not… not the Ranma Saotome that's on television all the time by any chance?" Mr. Hino asked in surprise.
"I suppose so; I haven't really watched the show that much."
"Well, well, this is an honor."
"Grandpa Hino, where's Rei?"
"In her bedroom I think, Hotaru."
"Okay, see you later Uncle Ranma."
"See ya, Hotaru-chan." Hotaru left, and Ranma turned back to Mr. Hino. "So you've seen my show huh? I guess you wouldn't want to spar then."
"On the contrary, I want to see if those notices they are always showing are true."
"Hello Hotaru-chan, how are you feeling today?" Rei said as the young girl came into her room. "Where are Haruka and Michiru?"
"They'll be here in a little bit," Hotaru giggled. "Uncle Ranma blew them away getting here."
"Ranma?" Makoto said coming into the room. "He's here?!" Hotaru nodded solemnly and then giggled more at the dreamy look Makoto got in her eyes. "Where is he?"
"In the dojo with Grandpa Hino," Hotaru replied grinning. Makoto turned and was on her way the dojo when Haruka and Michiru came in closely followed by Mamoru, Usagi, Chibi-Usa, and the cats. Once everyone was seated, Rei got straight to the point.
"So what was so urgent that you had to call a meeting?"
"We got attacked at the mall by some weird guys with guns," Usagi replied.
"So why didn't you just go to the police?" Haruka asked reasonably. "It sounds like an armed robbery to me, which is not our job."
"It wasn't a robbery," Minako said somberly, "or at least not the kind the police could do anything about. Have any of you seen the news lately, anything unusual?"
"Just that disease at the…" Makoto began, and then stopped, realizing Minako's point.
"That isn't a disease that has forty people in the hospital, unconscious," Usagi told everyone. "That was the creeps who attacked us."
"What happened?" Chibi-Usa asked nervously. "Did they shoot them?"
"We don't know," Minako answered, looking around nervously. "They were already on the ground when we got there. We tried to stop the weirdoes but before we could do anything, they shot at us."
"Good thing they missed," Makoto said, and then noticed Usagi flash a look at Minako. "They did miss didn't they? I mean neither of you is in a coma."
"Ami, could you please scan Minako's aura?" Luna asked, ignoring Makoto's question. Ami drew her computer from her pocket and pointed it toward Minako, then blinked at the readings she got.
"What?!" Makoto demanded.
"I'm picking up two fields," Ami replied. "One registered as a type four shield. The other looks like the aura of a Negaverse general."
"Can you see anything on the other side of the shield?" Artemis demanded.
"I'll have to transform," Ami said, summoning her henshin rod. After Haruka and Makoto had closed the doors and curtains, she transformed and then activated her visor. "Okay, I'm picking up a faint aura inside the shield that matches readings I've gotten from Minako before, though it is weaker."
"That's a relief," Artemis sighed.
"What's going on?" Haruka asked urgently.
"One of those Dweebmeisters shot Minako," Usagi explained. "Luna thinks it did something to trigger a safety feature in the magic that makes us Senshi."
"What kind of safety feature?" Makoto said, worriedly.
"If one of you were to become evil, the magic would generate a type four shield around you, sealing off your powers."
"But Minako isn't evil," Usagi protested. "Bedsides lots of us have done bad things, and we still have our powers."
"But you were never evil," Artemis finished for her. "Neither is Minako for that matter, but that aura outside her shield is so strong, I doubt that Central can detect her aura. Luckily for her, the shield came up in time to protect her form that blast."
"What would have happened if it hadn't come up?" Minako asked nervously.
"You would have died," Luna sighed wearily, as she sat looking over Ami's shoulder. "Your soul would have been blasted out of your body with out even leaving a mark."
"How is that possible?" Rei said in disbelief. "Anything that strong has to leave a mark."
"Not if the beam was pure soul energy," Luna replied, drawing a gasp from the Senshi. "At a guess that was what they took from those people, especially since the authorities think it is a disease. Having dangerously low levels of soul energy would cause coma in almost anyone, and weapons that use soul energy could easily displace your spirit, killing you instantly."
"So what do we do?" Makoto asked in worry. "We can't just let them drain people's soul energy."
"No, but it will be dangerous, especially for you to fight them," Artemis explained. "If they shot you with the same weapon they used on Minako you could be, for want of a better word, deactivated just like she was. If and when you do fight these people, you'll need to be very careful."
"So what…" Haruka began, and then turned to Ami when her computer gave off a shrill whistle. "What's that?"
"A massive soul energy discharge close by," Ami replied, analyzing the reading. "Similar to the blast that hit Minako, but…"
"Those Dweebs are attacking the shrine?" Rei growled. "We'll see about that!" She charged out of the room followed by everyone else except Ami, who changed out of her uniform and then followed her friends.
"Not bad for a kid," Grandpa Hino coughed as he and Ranma dropped to the mat after fifteen minutes of sparring.
"You're not so bad yourself."
"Where did you learn all of those moves?" the old man asked curiously. "I thought I recognized the style a time or two, but then it changed."
"We'll most of it is stuff my Pop taught me," Ranma explained. "The rest I picked up to defeat new attacks and styles that people have been throwing at me, especially chi attacks."
"What do you mean chi 'attacks'?" Mr. Hino said in surprise. "How can chi be useful in an attack except to strengthen a blow?"
"It's hard to describe," Ranma admitted. "You sort of pull your entire chi in, and then push it at your target."
"What?! How would that do anything?"
"I…Maybe it would be better if I showed you," Ranma decided. "Do you have any straw dummies set up?"
"Of course," Mr. Hino replied, leading Ranma around to the back of the dojo. After a short period of concentration, Ranma nodded and motioned for the old man to stand back. Summoning a small amount of chi, he sent it flying at the dummy, smiling when it blew the dummy apart.
"What…How…how did you do that?!"
"Like this," Ranma sent another blast at the next dummy, a little stronger this time. Grandpa Hino gaped as the second dummy exploded into dust, then went to inspect the pieces.
"It's smoldering,' he muttered, examining the stake that had been holding the dummy up. As he turned toward Ranma, they both heard angry voices approaching and looked to see what was going on. Ranma looked around the corner and saw nine girls coming toward him with fire in their eyes so he ducked around the corner and started making plans. He was about to go into action when a familiar voice stopped him.
"Uncle Ranma?" Hotaru said in surprise. "What happened to the dummies?"
"Umm…the young man was just demonstrating some techniques we were discussing," Mr. Hino said defensively in response to a look Rei sent him.
"Techniques?" Makoto demanded. "What kind of techniques can do that to a straw dummy? They look like a bomb went off inside them."
"It was just a chi blast," Ranma muttered.
"A chi blast?" Rei said in disbelief. "I thought those were just a myth grandpa."
"Some myth," Minako said pointing at what was left of the dummies.
"Not that we don't believe you," Ami said as she joined the group, keeping her computer hidden, "but could you do it one more time? I think we'd all like to see this for ourselves."
"I suppose," Ranma shrugged, concentrating again. As he drew the chi into himself, Ami's computer registered a massive soul energy build up. Then he let off the third and largest chi blast, vaporizing the last dummy.
"Wow Uncle Ranma, that was cool," Hotaru laughed happily. "Could you teach me how to do that?"
"Sure thing, but only when your feeling better," he said softly. "This kind of thing could be dangerous if you're in a weakened condition like you are right now."
"Oh…okay," she sighed disappointed.
"How can you do things like that?" Haruka asked, still amazed by the display of power. "It's like magic."
"No, just inner strength," Ranma admitted. "It's dependant on your strength of will and in my case confidence, though any strong, focused emotion will do, but enough of that. Are you done with your talk Hotaru? We need to get going soon."
Hotaru directed a pleading look at Michiru who nodded, then at Chibi-Usa who walked over to her.
"Uncle Ranma said you could come to Disneyland with us if you want," Hotaru whispered to her friend. "Will you come?"
"Sure," Chibi-Usa laughed. "You didn't expect me to say no did you?" Hotaru shook her head giggling and both little girls ran over to Ranma.
"We'll be back around seven tonight," Ranma told Haruka and Michiru. "Hotaru's first treatment is at six in Nerima, but we'll be back in time for dinner." Haruka nodded and the two girls followed him away form the group, and down the steps.
"What treatment is he talking about?" Usagi asked once they were out of sight.
"Something that might help Hotaru get better or at least stronger," Michiru explained. "Some kind of acupressure technique." Grandpa Hino nodded and walked away toward the shrine.
"That's great," Makoto said enthusiastically. "Maybe she'll be cured."
"Don't get your hopes up," Artemis cautioned, coming out of the bushes. "I don't think acupressure can heal the damage she sustained fighting Mistress Nine."
"Don't be such a pessimist," Usagi grumbled. "I for one hope she is cured, then you won't be so smug." The other Senshi nodded their agreement and went back to Rei's room.
Once they were at the bottom of the shrine steps, Ranma pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and dialed a number. After a short conversation, he smiled and sat down to wait.
"Uncle Ranma, the train station is about a ten minute walk away, shouldn't we get going?" Hotaru asked, confused by his actions.
"We're not taking the train Hotaru-chan," Ranma chuckled
"Then how are we going to get to Disneyland Ranma-san?" Chibi-Usa said curiously.
"By car," Ranma explained. "It should be here in five more minutes." Hotaru and Chibi-Usa stared at him then jumped when they heard the car coming. They gaped at the car that pulled up, then ran, and opened the door when Ranma motioned for them to get in. They climbed in, and Ranma got in the passenger side. When he saw the driver, he smiled.
"Hello Miss Yamagiri, this is a surprise."
"Well sir, I thought you might not want too many people to know about this trip," she replied. "And since I couldn't guarantee anyone else's silence, I decided to drive you myself."
"And is this your car?"
"Oh no sir, as per your instructions I bought this car in your name yesterday."
"Well, we need to find a driver we can trust," Ranma sighed. "We'll need to put a lawyer on retainer too. I've seen enough tabloids to know that there are people who will try to get famous by messing with me. I also need you to invest some of my money."
"Of course, I'll get on it as soon as I've dropped you off at the park," Miss Yamagiri acknowledged. "When would you like to be picked up?"
"Around five I think," Ranma said after a moments thought. "I'll call you if anything changes." She nodded as they pulled onto the freeway. A short time later, they came to a stop outside the gate and Miss Yamagiri gave Ranma three tickets and a card.
"Your platinum visa card sir," she explained, also handing him a slip of paper. "Here is the pin so that you can get cash and here are the documents you requested."
"Thanks…what is your given name if I may ask?"
"Oh…It's…its Michiko sir."
"Thank you Michiko-san, I'll need to have a meeting with you and that lawyer to sort out some personal business. Would you organize it for five tomorrow? I have to go to school tomorrow. And call me Ranma."
"Yes, Ranma-san, I'll get to it right away."
Ryoga knocked on the Tendo's gate and smiled at Kasumi when she answered. "May I speak to Akane?"
"She's in the dojo Ryoga, I think she's talking to Ukyou."
"Thanks." He walked toward the dojo, and then froze when he heard Akane yelling.
"What do you mean or else Ukyou?!"
"Just what I said Akane," Ukyou said in a much calmer tone. "Ranma said you'd better not tell anyone about what happened the last time you met him or else he wants nothing more to do with you. Ever."
Rage boiled up in Ryoga as he thought about what he'd just heard. "Ranma you fiend! How dare you threaten Akane," he muttered to himself. "And through Ukyou! Are you too much of a coward to face her yourself?!" Turning on his heal, he ran and jumped over the wall, racing straight toward Juuban…and Ranma.
To be continued...