Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; well, I don't own the ones that are from the actual series Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon. I own everybody that I made up. This isn't for profit... so don't sue me.
Surgeon General's Warning: Studies have shown that attempting to turn yourself into a magical girl with magically enhanced spring water from China may be hazardous to your health. In the event that you do find magically enhanced spring water, you are to immediately send a sample to the author of this story.
Author's Notes: Well, I messed around with the timeline a little bit when I wrote this and I thought that everyone should know. In this weird screwed up timeline, the events with the locking ladle occur after the battle with Saffron and the failed wedding attempt. Strange, ne? But hey, that's what I wanted to do, so I did it.
The Earth Guardian
By Stendec Hitarumonwa
The ice cold rain fell from the black sky in thick sheets, drenching all who were still on the darkened streets that made up the city of Tokyo, in Juuban district to be exact. One lonely figure, a teenage girl with blazing red hair, meandered slowly along the wet avenue from Nerima with a large backpack and an umbrella with numerous holes throughout the broad surface, barely stopping any water at all.
She sighed, her breath nearly visible in the almost freezing temperatures the storm had brought. Why? She thought to herself. Why can't I have a normal life? What did I ever do to anyone to deserve such a miserable existence? A single tear traversed her emotionless face, adding a shimmering line to her reddened cheek. I don't even have a family any more. Pops, no, Genma kicked me out of the Saotome clan. Akane didn't care either; she even nodded while Genma told me to leave. Another tear followed the shimmering trail down her reddened cheek. It's all Herb's fault. If it weren't for him, I'd be back home, no, back at the Tendo's home. I'd be sleeping right now, but instead I'm wandering in the cold and the rain. The petite girl sat down on a bench, noticing that she was in the middle of a park. More tears came as she thought about the past few days.
Ranma's body screamed in protest as she jumped through the air yet again, and screamed in pain as Herb once again hit her back down to the ground, smashing her through a boulder and several feet into the hard rock that serves as the ground. "Why do you keep getting up?" Herb asked, smashing Ranma's broken body with another ball of energy, sending it deeper into the rock face. "Haven't you realized that you aren't going to beat me?"
"Ranma Saotome don't lose." Ranma said, barely audible to herself much less to Herb. A small trickle of blood came out of her mouth as she spoke. "I... I'm gunna beat ya. You should be the one givin' up." She tried to stand again but her body wouldn't have it, staying planted firmly in her crater. Her eyes pointed upwards just in time to watch a merciless Herb destroy the Pot of Liberation in his hand, laughing all the while. I...I lost. were Ranma's last thoughts as she slipped into unconsciousness.
She hung her head in shame as she sat in the Tendo living room. "I'm sorry dad, I failed." A tear threatened to fall down her cheek but she fought it off. "Herb was just too strong. Well, since I didn't have enough energy after battling Saffron. Herb even defeated Ryoga and me together. At least I'm still alive. I didn't see for myself but I was told that Ryoga... that... well, that Herb murdered him."
The large man sat in though for several moments, occasionally blinking as he stared at the small girl sitting before him. "I am not your father." Genma's eyes were cold and filled with repulsion as he stared at his child, a look that he also shared with rabid dogs and beggars. "My son died a short time ago in the heat of battle." He said in the most commanding voice he could manage, using his battle aura to make himself appear larger and more foreboding. "You are a stranger to me." He held up one of his oafish arms and pointed at the door. "Leave this honorable household and never show your face here again." All the while Akane, Nabiki, and Soun were nodding their heads in agreement. Kasumi was the only one who was civil to Ranma.
Ranma sighed as the downpour dragged on, increasing ever so slightly as the storm's center moved overhead. It seemed that even the weather was in on the plot to make her life as miserable as possible. She sighed again and stood up, continuing on her journey to nowhere. No family, no home, my best friend died, and the only other people I'd even start to consider my friends only view me as an object, a prize in some sick contest to get married. The occasional tear that had fallen from her eyelid now a steady stream down her cheek. My life is crap.
As Ranma walked along she didn't notice the sickly dark green aura that was forming around her shivering body, oozing out of her skin as if it was some unwanted poison. In fact, it was very similar to the aura that Ryoga used much of the time before he died at Herb's hands. I shouldn't even exist. Ranma sobbed to herself. Not as if anybody would miss me if I were dead. Why not? Why not just end it right here? It'd be really easy.
Ranma sat down on another bench, this time setting her soaked and heavy backpack down on the ground beside her. After sighing yet again, she closed her eyes and assumed the locust position. She noticed her aura of depression and nodded. I'm a worthless little girl. The aura increased tenfold, now completely enveloping the small park she sat in with its dark energy. I wasn't strong enough, and now I'll never be strong enough again. The aura increased one hundredfold, spreading itself all over Tokyo, and some of the region beyond. Always holding myself back, until it was too late. She clenched her fists and the sickly aura twisted in on itself, pulled together by an unseen force until it formed a seemingly endless column of dark green light, if you could call it light, about a meter across, with Ranma in the middle. Ranma Saotome... he never lost, never. Now I'm just Ranma. I lost, and it cost me my family, my friends, my life, if you could call what I had a life.
Why? A voice asked from deep within her mind. Why did it cost you your life? You're still here aren't you?
Ranma sighed to herself, adding more energy to the green column. She could feel the energy arcing through the air inside the pillar of light like lightning, lightning made of pure darkness. I can't go on like this. She argued with herself. All I ever was, all I stood for, was a 'Man Amongst Men'. I'm not even a man now, much less a man amongst men.
I thought that Ranma never loses. The voice came back, staying strong till the end. It seems like you're about to lose again, surrender.
I'm not surrendering! Ranma thought back at the voice, starting to reverse the polarity of some of her aura, bringing about a chain reaction that would destroy her. I'm just ending things on my terms!
You're surrendering. Your wish for death is giving up the fight against whatever is making your life hell. The voice retorted, its tone, if a thought could have a tone, very harsh. It's truly saddening to throw away as much potential as you have.
Ranma stopped to think as she felt the explosion start above her, giving off only cold and a feeling of emptiness. "The voice, or whatever it is, is right." She admitted softly, her voice choked with tears. "Killing myself is just giving up. Is that what I want?" Ranma shook her head, her pigtail flailing about wildly. No. I won't give up. Ranma Sa- Ranma don't lose. The sickly exploding column of emotion disappeared instantaneously, only the gaping hole punched into a dark cloud above revealing that it ever existed.
It was a peaceful morning in Juuban as the sun rose lazily from the horizon, the golden rays slowly bathing the park in light. The storm from the past night had left, only an occasional puddle on the paved path remaining as evidence of its actions. Ranma sat up slowly as the first light of day slowly passed over the bench she slept on, blinking and pulling the hair away from her deep blue eyes. The grass shone with sparkling dew and in a pond at the far end of the park Ranma could see a fish jump. Well, time to face the rest of my life.
The girl flipped to her feet, grabbed her pack, and started walking again. Always walking. She still hung her head in depression, but now it was controlled. The feelings caused by her ex-father no longer dominated her, she wouldn't let them. First things first. Ranma thought to herself. I need a place to stay. I can't make a name for myself if I don't have a place to call my own. At least I have the good ol' feminine charm to flaunt. She sighed. Then again, if it weren't for that 'feminine charm' I'd be back at the Tendo's, eating Kasumi's cooking and wondering how many times Akane would pound me today.
Ranma continued to walk along in silence. An hour passed, then another. She lost track of time as she wandered the streets of Juuban. Something pulled her there, told her she needed to be in Juuban, but why she didn't know. A bell ringing in the distance let her know that it was noon; at least, that's what she thought it meant. Half a day gone, and nothing to show for it. For what seemed to be the hundredth time in less than twenty-four hours, she sighed. At least no one is bothering me.
The red haired girl was walking down a street filled with various restaurants when she saw the sign. "Help Wanted" it proclaimed in big bold letters. Upon further examination, Ranma discovered that the restaurant in question, the L'endroit de Nourriture, was searching for a waitress. Well, this looks promising. Ranma thought, somewhat happier than a moment ago. I don't really want to be a waitress, but I know I can get good tips, and I'm not exactly equipped to be a waiter. She sighed to herself, swallowed, and pushed through the overly ornamental door.
"I'll be right with you." A rather pleasant, if highly accented, feminine voice rang from what Ranma assumed to be the kitchen. "I just need to finish up a take out order. Just have a seat somewhere."
Ranma took the opportunity to survey the demure building's interior. The walls were painted a light cream color, with a sponge-like texture. Various paintings were hung around the room, including a particularly extravagant rendering of the Eiffel Tower. The tables were all free standing and made of oak with intricate patterns of ebony embedded in their surfaces. Around each of the tables stood roughly four chairs, all done in the same style as the exquisite tables. Ranma also noted the soothing music that was playing in the background, most likely also French in origin. The place was rather empty, especially given the current time of day, but the sign also said it had only opened yesterday, so that was to be expected. Quickly finding the nearest available table Ranma pulled out a chair and sat down.
The redhead looked up from the table in time to see a middle-aged woman, perhaps in her early forties, walk from the back, smiling brightly. She was wearing a simple bright blue dress that worked well with her black hair and gave off a motherly sense. "Hello. My name is Joan Fleur. Well then, what can I do for you young lady?"
Ranma flinched slightly as the woman called her a 'young lady'. Stupid curse. "Hello. My name is Ranma. I kinda noticed your sign askin' for a waitress, and I really need a job. I thought that I could work for you or somethin'."
"I really have to admit, that was fast." Joan joked as she pulled out the chair opposite of Ranma and sat down. "I only put up that sign ten minutes ago. Anyway, back to the discussion at hand. First off, have you had any prior experience as a waitress?"
"A little." Ranma replied, thinking back to the countless hours she served at the Nekohanten and Uuchan's, not to mention that one time on the trip to Nerima when she had to work as a waitress to pay off her ex-father's debt at a bar. "Well, more than a little. More like over one hundred hours experience, though I was goaded into most of it."
"That's very good." The older woman replied happily, studying the redhead before her in closer detail. "Having work experience is better than any class you can get. As for my next question, where do you live?"
Why'd it have to be that question? Ranma's growing enthusiasm was killed by that question, knocking her back down to despair. "I don't currently have a home." Might as well get the whole story out of the way. "My former father disowned me because I lost a fight, which is why my name is simply Ranma and nothing more."
"I see." Joan said quietly, her voice empty of the happiness it had moments before, to be replaced with a blend of disappointment and concern. "I know it may not be any of my business but may I ask why he would disown you because of simply losing a fight?"
"It's complicated I guess." Ranma said, trying to hide the sadness that was attempting to overcome her voice. Stupid old panda. Well, unfortunately I gotta start lying about stuff. "Back when I was only four or five, don't remember which, he signed a contract stating that he would make me the 'world's best fighter', or he would commit seppuku. When I lost the fight his shame was unbearable, but I suppose it was easier for him to kick me out then go through with what he promised to do."
Joan sat in though for a moment, the only sound in the small building the music that seemed to come from all the walls. She looked into the girls sad eyes, an expression she knew all too well. "I've made my decision." She smiled again, her contagious happiness returning to her voice. "From what you've said you could really use a job and a place to stay. Now I won't give you the job outright. You need to prove yourself first; just as any employee would need to. However, if you do a good job being a waitress I'll give you the job and let you stay in a spare apartment upstairs. Though you will get less money than you normally would, I suppose the tips a pretty young girl like yourself will get is bound to counteract it."
"Thank you. Wow." Ranma stated bluntly, falling back slightly in her chair. Definitely wasn't expecting that. It's just... too easy; there must be a catch. "Um... I'm shocked. Really, I don't know what to say. Why are you doing this for me?"
"Why?" Joan smiled at her, a perfect row of teeth that seemed too white to be real gleaming in the soft light. "Let's just say that I know how you feel. Is there anything else?"
"Well, there is something I need to say, but it's kinda anticlimactic." Ranma said, smiling back weakly. "Could you point me to the bathroom?"
"You're right. That really is quite anticlimactic." Joan laughed. "It's in the back, I'll have to show you where since the door doesn't have a sign." She stood up and started walking towards the hallway she came from, Ranma following her cautiously. "Ranma, I was wondering. Would you like to try out for that position right now, after you clean up of course?"
This is WAY too convenient. "Um, sure." Ranma replied weakly, still expecting a demon to jump out of a dark corner to attack her, or some other equally despisable life form. "Not like I have anything else to do. Wait, did you say get cleaned up?"
"Yes I did." Joan said, walking through a door into a demure little bathroom. Ranma followed close behind. "Your hair is a mess in that pigtail and your face has dirt on it. Now take a nice bath and I'll get you some clean clothes to wear." She walked from the room into the hallway, locking the door behind her.
"Well then." Ranma said to herself, looking around nervously. "This is just way too convenient. My second day of wandering and I already find a place where I can get a job, not only that but if I get the job I also get a place to live. And the lady seems really nice." Ranma set down her pack in a corner, then stripped off her muddy red shirt and equally muddy black pants, leaving her standing in just her boxers. She looked at herself in a mirror, a tear falling down her cheek. I wasn't strong enough. Now I'm going to be like this the rest of my life... just a weak little girl.
No, you're not. The voice from yesterday night said, rising up from its corner of her mind. Just because you're a girl doesn't mean you're pathetic. You're anything but pathetic. You're the world's best fighter.
I am not. Ranma shot back, yelling at the voice, trying to get it to leave her alone. If I'm the world's best fighter, then why is it I'm a girl right now? Why is it that moron Herb was able to defeat me?
You were still recovering from your battle against Saffron. The voice reminded her, coming back stronger than it was before. You used almost all of your energy to save Akane's life, and then that moron Herb attacked you when you were weak. He knew he couldn't beat you at your strongest.
Ranma sighed. I guess. She took off her boxers and put them with her other clothes and her pack. You know... you're right. I'm the best there is. In fact, girls aren't weak. That's just a dumb idea given to me by po- by my ex-father. I mean, look at Cologne. Ranma started the bathtub filling and dumped a conveniently placed tub of cold water over herself. She grabbed a bar of soap and started scrubbing up. I'll show that stupid panda. I'll become the best there is. Grabbing her pigtail in one hand, she unbraided it and proceeded to work some peach-smelling shampoo into her fiery red locks.
Joan smiled to herself, humming along with the music that filled the small restaurant. Ranma seems like such a nice girl. She continued to dig through her closet, looking for some of her old clothes that would fit the young girl who was currently in the bathroom. I trust my instincts about people, and I can only sense good and love in her. I don't know why anyone would disown such a sweet girl. Her father must have been a monster... like mine was. She sighed, finally finding a small maroon dress, somewhat similar to the blue one she was wearing. She pulled it out of the closet and sat in on her bed next to a clean set of underwear. Well, I can still make sure that she has a home. I remember after I was thrown out, how hard it was. I won't let anyone else go through that pain.
As Ranma sat, soaking in the hot bath water, she heard the door of the bathroom open, only to close again almost immediately. That must have been Joan with some clothes. Spreading her senses, she felt that the bathroom was empty. Well, better get out before I become a prune. The petite girl stood up and opened the sliding wooden door that obscured the rest of the bathroom from view. "That felt good." She admitted aloud, stepping out of the tub and grabbing a towel to dry herself. "I guess I really did need a good soaking."
Ranma walked over to where she sat her clothes and had to fight down a retching noise. Just great. She thought, looking down at the clothes that Joan had provided. Where before sat a muddy shirt, pants, and less-muddy boxers now sat a clean set of underwear, girl's underwear, and a dress. The dress was actually very nice. It was a deep crimson with emerald stitching on the back that formed a great dragon. There was even orange stitching to represent flames coming from the dragon's mouth. It looked like a very expensive piece of clothing. Well, I guess I've gotta either wear this stuff or go naked. And I highly doubt that Joan would approve of the second choice.
Ranma slowly pulled up the girl's underwear, and then hesitated with the bra. Why does everyone try to get me to wear one of these things? She looked at herself in the mirror again and sighed. I guess I should wear it. I really am a girl now, might as well look the part. I also need to make a good impression on Joan. Ranma put on the bra and then slipped into dress, which was the perfect size for her small frame. She was about to put her hair back into her trademark pigtail when she stopped to look in the mirror again; staring back at her was a beautiful teenage girl, not just beautiful, drop dead gorgeous. It hit the redhead yet again that she was a girl now, a girl forever. I guess it never really sinks in. I keep hoping that I'll look in the mirror and I'll see a tall black-haired boy with a cocky grin. But I'll never see that again... never. Ranma sighed and walked out of the bathroom, her hair falling loosely around her head.
Pluto stood in the timeless rift in the fabric of creation that held the Gates of Time, the all-seeing eye that helped her alter the future as she saw fit. Pluto smiled contentedly, almost all of the possible futures that Gates predicted included the formation of Crystal Tokyo. Her plans would pay off. Now she just had to settle down and watch as the approaching chaos storm caused the Earth to drop into another ice age, and from that ice age would rise Crystal Tokyo.
"It's finally going to happen." She said aloud, her voice echoing through the micro world. "If I'm right the Gates will shut themselves down as a precautionary measure in approximately two minutes, but it is too late to change the course now. Crystal Tokyo will live."
Pluto turned her gaze back to the view screen of the Gates. That's when it happened. The small, insignificant line of the ambient Earth energy scanner shot up and off the display. There was a rippling through the timelines, and when the ripple passed only a single outcome heralded Crystal Tokyo. Then the Gates closed themselves.
"No." she said quietly, staring at the blackened display. "I didn't just see that. It's impossible. Nothing could alter it... the timelines were all but locked." Sailor Pluto, arguably the most powerful of the senshi, fell to her knees and cried. After a minute, she stood up, the cold look of a murderer in her eyes. "I will find the cause of this, and I will destroy it." She looked back to the Gates once, shook her head, and disappeared with a pop.
Ranma sat down at a table near the hallway, absentmindedly tugging at her bra as Joan locked the door to the restaurant, the last customer having left only moments ago. I still don't understand why anyone would wanna eat snails. The redhead thought as she waited for the elder woman to join her. I guess it's a French thing.
"Having a pretty young waitress is sure good for business." Joan joked as she sat down next to Ranma, smiling contentedly. "You did a good job today Ranma, I'm very happy with you. You'll get the job. And as I promised you'll also be allowed to live in the spare apartment above the restaurant, though I'm afraid you'll have to share that single bathroom with me."
"Thank you." Ranma said weakly, though her smile was threatening to become wider than her head. I have a home again. "Sharing a bathroom won't be a problem, I'm sure. I don't know how I can thank you enough."
"You can start by registering for school." Joan replied casually, looking Ranma in the eye. "I did some digging today and I found out that you're not registered for high school. You need an education. Besides, it'll give you a chance to meet a bunch of young men."
"Mrs. Fleur!!!" Ranma almost yelled, her cheeks becoming a mix of pink from blush and green from disgust. Just when I thought she was a pretty much nice person.
"Sorry Ranma." The elder said quietly while holding back a giggle, and not doing a very good job of it. "And just call me auntie. Mrs. Fleur sounds too formal. Now I'm going to cook dinner, you should go upstairs and check out your apartment. I took the liberty of putting your pack in there while you were taking your bath."
"Yes auntie." Ranma said cheerfully, though her cheeks were still slightly pink from Joan's previous comment. "I'll think about what you said about school. Just not what you said about the boys." Definitely not what you meant about the boys. Ranma added silently. With that, she stood up and walked down the hallway, turning right and walking up a narrow flight of stairs to the second floor.
It was a rather nice apartment, Ranma decided, upon inspection of the suite. The walls were done in a nice neutral red tone, almost pink, but dark enough Ranma could still live with it, and with the same sponge-like texture of the lower floor. The French paintings were missing, replaced with various paintings of landscapes. In all, a very soothing décor. There was a small hallway off the living room that Ranma assumed led to the bedroom. There was also an open door to what appeared to be a very small office.
"What to do?" Ranma thought as she plopped herself down on the crimson leather couch. It, along with everything else in the building, seemed like it would be really expensive. In fact, the TV in her living room must have been at least sixty inches. There was also a computer in the office, but Ranma didn't know anything about them. She looked up at a clock to discover it was only 5:23 in the afternoon. Dang this place closes early. "Well then, there's still time left to explore the area." Ranma flipped onto her feet and walked out of the room.
Ranma walked along the busy mall, pulling at her dress occasionally. I'll never get used to these things. She mentally declared while she walked. The mall was quite big, in fact, Ranma was sure it was the biggest mall she had ever been to. There seemed to be a store for everything along the narrow paths that crisscrossed the area. It still wasn't enough, and Ranma soon lost interest. She turned around and was about to start walking back to her new home when she heard a scream. Quickly abandoning her boredom, she jumped onto the roof of a nearby "Gap", causing several nosebleeds, and ran towards the disturbance.
It wasn't long until she was at the intersection, and the cause of the disturbance was very easy to see. There was a large tentacled monster in the middle of the pathway, a blonde haired girl in a fuku wrapped in one of its slimy green appendages. Ranma also took notice that there were three other girls in similar fukus around the beast, apparently trying to attack it, but they were too busy dodging. Looks like it's time for some Anything Goes Monster Slayin'. Ranma thought to herself as she jumped from the roof of the five story building she was on to the ground, landing as softly as a feather on the pavement below.
The monster was winning. It was winning quite easily. That's when Ranma joined the fight, her massive blue aura flaring wildly. I'm not going to hold myself back ever again. "Moku Takabisha!" Ranma yelled at the top of her lungs, charging a bright blue ball in her open hands as she dodged a tentacle at amigarkuen speed. Rapidly closing in on the monster, she jumped, and when directly above it released the tremendous blast of energy. The blast literally erased the beast from existence, not even leaving a gooey residue. Flipping in mid air Ranma caught the blonde haired girl as she fell, the tentacle holding her having dissolved the moment the energy blast ripped through the creature's hide. Ranma landed gracefully in the middle of a shallow crater her blast created.
"Excuse me miss, but who are you?" the girl in the blue variation of the fuku asked, frequently checking the display on a miniature computer she held in her right hand. "That attack wasn't magical, at least not by my readings. It shouldn't have worked against the youma."
"My name is Ranma." The redhead replied, letting go of the blonde when she had regained her balance. "Sorry 'bout this. I don't feel like answering any questions right now." She turned around and started to walk, like that'd work.
The blue fuku'ed girl, along with the girl in the red variation of the fuku, moved to block her path. The blue one spoke again, this time sounding slightly impatient. "I understand that you wouldn't want to talk about something like that. I'm sure most people regard you as dangerous because you can, perhaps a freak. You can help us."
"I don't think you understand." Ranma said quietly, appearing calm except for a slightly flickering aura that began to surround her. "I said I don't want to answer questions. And if I don't want to do something, I don't do it. Now I'm leaving. If you follow me I will take it personally." Umi Sen Ken! Ranma mentally commanded, activating one of the sealed techniques she learned from her father and becoming effectively invisible. At least I got somethin' good outta the old fool. With that, she leapt onto a nearby roof and started to hop towards home.
Sailor Mercury was not a happy camper. A girl with bright red hair fell five stories without a scratch, something she would have trouble with even with her senshi powers. Then that same girl proceeded to release an attack with more power than any of the scouts had, well, except for Sailor Saturn. Not only that, when they tried to question the girl she simply disappeared. Even the Mercury computer couldn't trace her location. After a minute she gave up and led the way back to the shrine they used as their headquarters.
"Who do you think that was?" asked Usagi, who had just powered down from being Sailor Moon. She turned around to face Mercury and somehow managed to trip herself, landing on her butt. "Oww!!! That girl was strong."
Sailor Mercury closed her eyes and willed herself to power down, being careful to make sure she didn't reveal her identity to anyone, though they were in a protected location. "I don't know. The Mercury computer wasn't able to get a good reading either; at least I don't think it was. According to its readout, that blast was made out of chi, or life energy. But not even martial arts masters have the energy levels to use an attack like that, it's simply not possible. No, I suspect that she was somehow jamming the computer's sensor array."
"Call us when you find something out." Sailor Venus said, jumping onto a fence that ran around the shrine. "I've gotta go home. My mom needs me to help her with something. Don't remember what." With that, Sailor Venus jumped away from the shrine, and the rest of the gathered team decided to take the cue and leave as well, leaving Rei sitting alone next to the building she lives in.
Author's Notes: Well, that's it for now. If you're seeing this that most likely means that you read the story. Well? What are you waiting for? Send me comments and critiques. works if you don't have time to talk to me on MSN Messenger ).