Disclaimer: At the time of printing I do not currently possess the copyrights for Ranma ½, Sailor Moon, or Shaman King. Please don't kill me. I'll give you candy! Lots of candy! Candy is good… You can't prove I did anything! The sheep are lying! No one saw me! Everyone else is doing it!
Surgeon General's Warning: All your base are belong to us.
Author's Notes: Really sorry about the delay in writing this everyone. Time got away from me, and then there's school weighing me down, and my computer died when I was like 75 done with this chapter. So, I've split the story for it into two chapters and rewritten it. This chapter is only about 5,000 words. The next one will be 10,000 to 15,000 words though, I hope. Anyway, here it is in all its glory.
The Earth Guardian
It was a pleasant morning in the region of Tokyo known as Juuban District. The sky was light blue with a single cloud floating slowly past and birds were singing their songs cheerily. Joan Fleur smiled to herself as she made her morning rounds, stopping by the market to buy fresh produce for her restaurant, talking to friends, and checking for any new styles at her favorite clothing stores. Really is a nice day. She thought as she unlocked the back door of her small business and entered quietly. And Ranma seems like such a sweet girl, I hope I can help her get back on her feet.
Joan sighed. Well, first things first. After she wakes up we can go get her registered for school and get her some new clothes. Those rags she came in with are pathetic. She smiled, almost giggling. I love shopping.
The petite girl with red hair who was sleeping in the bed awoke instantly and sat upright, a bright blue aura surrounding her frame. It wasn't the sunlight now streaming into her open window that caused her to stir, no, it was the annoying buzzing emanating from the clock that sat on her end table. She sat there for maybe a whole minute before she realized what the disturbance was and lowered her guard, lazily reaching over and hitting a button on top of the clock to silence the machine. Another day. Ranma thought to herself. I've got a home now, a nice home from what I've seen, and I've got a job. Life is good. Well, for now.
Ranma stretched and rolled lazily out of bed, noticing for the first time a full-length mirror that was placed in her bedroom. It was very ornate, made of the same dark wood that seemed ever visible no matter where her head was turned. The uppermost section was covered with an intricate carving of a dragon, breathing its fire down the right side, its tail falling lazily down the left. She gazed in upon her reflection and sighed at the red haired girl staring back. Life isn't that good. I'm a girl now. And this time I won't be able to change back.
"Ranma!" a voice rang from downstairs, its cheeriness seeming to infect everything it touched with its sound. "I put your clothes in your dresser for you yesterday. Now… would you please take a bath and get dressed? There are some things we need to do this morning."
"Hai!" Ranma yelled back cheerily, smiling as she recalled the lucky events that had transpired the previous day. Joan's a really nice woman. She walked out of her bedroom and into the near-pink living room, and then out the door to the staircase. There were many paintings hung in the narrow space, many of them featuring lakes and waterfalls, though a few of theme had a rather magnificent castle as their subject. One such painting was entitled "Fleur Manor" in small Japanese kanji, what Ranma assumed to be the French for it above in bigger print.
She knocked first, and upon hearing no response, entered the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She hadn't been paying attention the day before, but the bathroom was furnished in a style very similar to that of her bedroom. Dark wood was almost everywhere in the small room, though it was conspicuously absent from around the bath shower mix. She sighed and stripped off her clothes, yet again finding herself naked in front of the mirror. At least I'm a good looking girl. She looked up and down her reflection critically, spinning around once or twice. Definitely better than that stupid tomboy. A tear formed in Ranma's eye and slowly traced a path down her cheek. Akane. I… I love you. Why? Why couldn't you stand up for me? Just once? A tear fell down her other cheek, mirroring the path of the first one.
Ranma shook her head and walked over to the bath, noticing that it too was very ornamental. Its handles looked like they were made out of crystal, though Ranma couldn't be sure. She turned on the hot water and waited for the tub to fill itself, studying the rack of shampoos and soaps. There were all kinds of shampoos, ranging from simple scentless ones in gray bottles, to flowery smelling ones that were guaranteed to "moisturize and renew". She grabbed a bottle that proclaimed itself to be "Blushin' Apple", along with a bar of soap, and set them at the bath's side. She also grabbed a bottle of bubble bath from the shelf, deciding to add some to the gathering water. In a few more minutes the bath was ready and she shut off the stream of water, slowly slipping her body into the hot, perfumed mix of bubbles and water. She sighed again, though this time due to the relaxing feeling of the bath as the warm water worked its magic on her sore body.
Setsuna shook her head as she slowly sipped her coffee, watching a particularly stupid teenage boy collide rather violently with a metal light pole while walking along and attempting to ask out a pink haired girl wearing a Juuban High girl's uniform. I've been here for over four hours, and I still haven't figured out what caused the disturbance. She set her coffee down on the table and stared up at the cloudy sky, a frown upon her face. I must ensure the future of Crystal Tokyo. But how? She got a small wad of bills out of her purse and set them on the table, getting up and walking away from the nice little open-air café that sat inside one of the many parks to dot the region.
Ranma stood up and stepped out of the bath and onto a conveniently placed mat, using her left foot to flip the switch and drain the tub. She closed her eyes and focused, her blue aura rising silently and drying her almost instantly. Now that's a useful technique. Glad I thought of it. She walked over and looked at her reflection in the mirror again, this time smiling at the girl who stared back at her. "I will do it. I will be the best. I'll show Genma how wrong he was." She smiled and put her clothes back on, unlocking the door and walking out.
Ranma looked at the paintings again as she traversed the narrow flight of stairs that lead to her apartment and a door that she assumed was Joan's apartment. There was a rather magnificent one that Ranma didn't see on her way down. It pictured what Ranma was sure must have been an angel sitting on a post and crying while looking up at the moon. "Beautiful." Ranma said before she continued on her journey up the stairs.
Quickly traversing the living room found her once again in her bedroom, the room that she had only been in once before. It's not home yet… but it will be, I hope. She walked over to her dresser and examined it. At the bottom were three drawers, all of them in the same old wood that filled the room. The drawers were ornate, carvings of nature scenes and mythical creatures like pixies decorated them. Above the drawers were to large fold out doors. Ranma opened them to reveal a rather small assortment of clothes hanging inside the spacious compartment. She picked through the clothes, finding all the outfits she had ever worn in her girl form, including all the dresses, blouses, skirts, and any other feminine wear. Conspicuously absent were her red chinese shirts and black pants. I guess she's trying to get me to not be a tomboy or something.
Ranma grumbled and closed the doors, focusing on the drawers below. The first one was empty, as was the second. Ranma opened the third drawer and blanched. Inside were a single pair of panties and a single bra. Yep. Definitely trying to get me to be more girly. Lucky for her she's giving me a home. Can't complain. She sighed dejectedly and retrieved the objects from the drawer, sliding it shut again with a quiet crack of wood hitting wood. With another sigh she stepped into the panties and pulled them up, following that by sliding the bra over her arms and fastening the clasp, holding it firmly in place upon her chest.
The worst part is they're actually comfy, and I have to admit my back wasn't nearly as sore as usual for girl form last night. Ranma declared sullenly while gazing at her reflection in the full-length mirror. Well, best just get it over with. With that she turned around and opened the large wooden doors to reveal her somewhat small, and annoyingly feminine, clothing collection. She carefully appraised each hanging item and then selected what she deemed to be the least girly there, ending up with a simple white blouse and emerald green pleated skirt.
Ranma slipped on the clothes and peaked at her reflection in the mirror, a rather beautiful girl dressed for a casual day to be spent with friends timidly looking back. With yet another depression-filled sigh Ranma closed the dresser doors and left her bedroom. She didn't bother to stop as she walked through the near-pink living room and to the staircase, barely remembering to close the door behind her. Her skirt twirled about her legs as she walked in a manor she found very annoying, as a result she quickened her pace, though that only succeeded in making her walk more feminine.
Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs she turned left and walked down the short hallway into the main area of the restaurant, where Joan was sitting and eating a rather large sandwich. Much to Ranma's relief Joan's mouth was quite normal in size, unlike the last group of French people she was unfortunate enough to meet. The sandwich, however, was anything but normal size. It appeared to be two feet long and taller than a human mouth could open, though Joan was having no problems with it. "'Morning auntie."
"Good morning Ranma." Joan said after swallowing the contents of her mouth, smiling cheerily at the younger girl. "I'm happy to see that it would appear you found your clothes just fine, nice outfit by the way. Anyway, I thought we could start out today by going to get you registered to attend school at Juuban High."
"Um, I guess." Ranma replied rather plainly. The room hung in silence for about a minute when Ranma's stomach interrupted by making a loud gurgling noise, at which Joan burst out laughing.
"Sorry Ranma." Joan said, still laughing a little bit. "I guess I should make you a sandwich or something then?"
"Thanks auntie." Ranma answered, also laughing a bit. "Maybe I am a little hungry. Well, scratch that, a lot hungry."
The older woman stood up from the table and sat her napkin across her plate. "Well, follow me please Ranma." She then started walking towards the hallway. "You should learn the restaurant's recipes sooner or later."
"I'm coming!" rang Mizuno Ami's voice as she quickly traversed the halls of her home towards the front door. She opened the door to reveal a yawning Setsuna. "What brings you here?"
"I need some information." Setsuna replied through her yawn. "Something has caused the timelines to shift drastically, and due to the approaching chaos storm I can't use the Gates to figure out why."
Well this is a twist, the Time Queen asking someone for info. "Everything has been normal lately. Almost normal anyway, just yesterday we discovered an anomaly. A girl who is really powerful, she took down a youma with one hit. And I mean took down, not even the usual goo was left."
Setsuna seemed to think about it for a minute, a frown developing on her face. "Where does this girl live?" she demanded.
Ami frowned. "Um, about that. We don't know. She disappeared, quite literally. It might have been a teleportation technique but I don't think so. The Mercury Computer wasn't able to track her."
"What do you mean wasn't able to track her? Did she block it? What information was the computer able to recover about her?"
"Not much I'm afraid. And what it did tell me makes no sense. According to the computer readouts the girl used an amplified chi emission to destroy it. No one has that much life energy though. For that matter, only master martial artists have the control, and even they have trouble with small blasts."
"I see. This is unacceptable. I must find her. Thank you for your help Ami." With that, Setsuna turned around and left, teleporting away a moment after.
Ranma looked at the school building and sighed, it looked normal. Well, not normal to Ranma. There weren't any holes in the walls and rubble or anything like at Furinken, though that only made the girl warm up to the idea more. Finally, a place where I won't have to fight… I hope. "So this is it huh? Better than my last school."
"I'm sure you'll love it here Ranma. I've heard that it's one of the better schools in this area, though it's also about the only school in this area." Joan answered, smiling cheerily. "Come on then, time to get you registered."
Joan led Ranma forwards and through the front doors of the school. Wow, clean inside too. Ranma thought as she scanned the halls of the institution. She continued to follow Joan and soon found herself in a small office room with a single desk covered with papers and a computer.
"Ah, Mrs. Fleur. Right on time I see, let us hope your daughter has your punctuality." The very snobbish woman behind the desk said in an instantly annoying voice. She was wearing huge thick glasses that made her eyes appear to be huge, misshapen masses, and a green dress that was quite possibly the ugliest thing Ranma had ever seen in her life.
"She's not my daughter, Mitsuki. If you haven't noticed, we don't even look anything alike." Joan snapped, showing a coldness that Ranma didn't think possible of her. "I trust you have completed the proper paperwork as I requested of you?"
"Yes, yes, of course." Mitsuki replied, though not nearly as snobbishly as before. "New student Ranma, no last name, previous full name Ranma Saotome. Last school Furinken high, which explains why her record has her as male… they're always screwing stuff up at Nerima." She then grabbed a manila envelope from the top of a particularly large stack of papers and handed it to Ranma. "In here is your schedule, supplies you will need, a copy of the school's policies and rules, and other various information you should find useful. Now if you two will excuse me I'm very busy right now, so if you could kindly see yourselves out I can get on with my business."
Joan smiled again. "Thank you for your assistance. Now come on Ranma, let's go. We've gotta get you a wardrobe."
Ranma sighed. Wardrobe. I know what that means. As much as she hated the idea of increasing her collection of feminine clothing she didn't object and followed the older woman from the small office and out of the school. "What kind of 'wardrobe' do you have in mind?" she asked, trying to sound cheerful.
"Well," Joan replied, looking Ranma over once and smiling. "You do have some nice clothes right now, but you need some formal clothes, and a lot more casual stuff. Not to mention you need a few copies of the school uniform. What you probably need most right now is underwear."
Ranma paled at that. I'm not liking this. "Um… auntie. I have underwear, a bunch of it. It was in my pack along with my other clothes."
"No." Joan corrected. "You have lots of boys underwear. I'm not trying to say what your previous parents taught you is wrong. I just want to help you be a better woman. Besides, you'll find that panties are more comfortable anyway."
"I guess." Ranma admitted, finding a particularly high interest in the sidewalk at the moment. "So, how much is this stuff going to cost me? I know I don't have any money right now so I'll be in your debt for a while."
"This shopping trip is on me." Joan said sweetly, smiling at Ranma. "Don't worry about the money, I have a bit saved up. Now we best hurry, the crowds will hit the mall soon and I'd rather get our shopping done before then."
"Master Yoshi Saito step forward." The booming voice commanded the only other occupant of the large study. The call sounded even more menacing as it reverberated off the cold hard stone surfaces and books. His footsteps were hollow and sharp as he moved towards the large wooden desk. "You have been charged with causing unnecessary pain and suffering in the life of one Saotome Ranma. Because of you she has been removed from her family and has experienced great emotional trauma. How do you plead?"
The man in question, Yoshi Saito, bowed his head and sighed, absentmindedly using one of his thick hands to brush his lengthy brown hair from his eyes. "Guilty." He said dejectedly. "I am sorry that I have failed you my Lord." Deep blue eyes met nothing as they stared into the back of the red plush chair his superior was sitting in, and his moustache quivered as he licked his lips, waiting for the response.
"You are sentenced to expulsion from the Brethren." The cold, booming voice replied without a hint of feeling. "May you feel the loneliness that you have caused Saotome Ranma. Mr. Saito, you have one hour to clear your desk and leave the premises."
Yoshi walked calmly through the dimly lit hallway back towards the small cubicle in Room 328 on the fifth floor of the sprawling complex that was up until this time, his. Was it always this dark in here? He asked himself, looking at a ceiling light that was flashing at a particularly irregular interval. Yes, it was. I just never noticed it. He shook his head and continued onwards, taking a moment to rip a badge from his shirt and throw it into a nearby trash bin. Those fools. Without me this operation wouldn't have gone as well as it did.
He walked through the open doorway and turned left to face his cubicle. I remember when I first got the door cubicle. I was thrilled, it meant promotion. He sat down in his chair and looked around at the makeshift lab/office space. On one side was a standard computer and some papers and a file cabinet. The other side held several beakers, test tubes, Bunsen burners, and other equipment, along with several artifacts he had been studying. Memories… so many memories. They're all shit! He grabbed his pack from under the desk and started throwing just about everything that wasn't bolted down into it rather carelessly. When he was done the only thing remaining at his desk was the test tube holder that was firmly secured and a few Bunsen burners. "Goodbye everyone." he said loudly and turned around, leaving behind his desk, his past, and what had been his family.
A lone figure sat atop a tall stone plateau that crowned the surrounding rocky outcroppings like a blackened funeral pyre. His sand-colored cloak blew lazily in the wind, as did his unruly blackish-brown hair. His frame seemed to radiate power into his surroundings, an effect magnified by the way the rain seemed to flow around him and leave him quite dry.
There was a flash of deep purple and a tall man enveloped in a black trench coat appeared kneeling before him, his dark crimson hair refusing to bow to the wind and remaining perfectly still. "Lord Zeke, I have watched the young Master as you have requested of me. I have to report that he was fired, not five minutes prior to this moment. What do you wish of me?"
"Very good Zephri." Zeke replied, smiling in a rather unsettling way. "Our plans can be progressed now. The Artifact will soon be brought into play."
"If I may, my Lord. What makes you think that he will use the Artifact?" Zephri asked quietly, daring to look at Zeke's face but only for a second.
"He will use it because he wants revenge." Zeke answered calmly, looking at the horizon. "Continue to watch him and tell me when the first Artifact is activated."
"As you wish my Lord." Zephri bowed deeper and disappeared in another flash of deep purple light, leaving Zeke once again alone atop the cold stone pyre.
"I actually have to wear this?" Ranma whined from within the confines of the tiny dressing room that lay at the back of the small clothing boutique. "I mean… honestly. At school?"
"Come out and let me see Ranma, it can't be that bad." Joan answered, sighing impatiently. She definitely needs lessons in femininity. "Yes, you have to wear it at school. It is the uniform."
Ranma sighed and opened the door, walking out into the light of the shop and revealing her current clothing. It was the Juuban High girl's uniform, and, much to the redhead's annoyance, looked quite flattering on her petite form. "I still don't like it." she proclaimed, tugging on the hem of the skirt. "I mean, how am I supposed to fight in a get-up like this?"
"The Sailor Scouts don't seem to have much trouble." Joan teased, smiling from her seat. "Besides, you shouldn't have to fight anyway. Well, you might have to fight the boys off you."
"Auntie!" Ranma almost yelled, flushing at the thoughts of events that she knew were in her future. She flushed a bit more when she realized that there might be another person like Kuno. "Honestly. I wish ya wouldn't tease me like that."
"Sorry Ranma, it's just so fun I can't help it." The older woman replied, looking over Ranma. "Well, this uniform seems like the right size. Let's get a few of them and then we can go get a bite to eat."
"I guess." Ranma said quietly, looking at her reflection in the mirror attached to the outside of the changing room. The redhead that was looking back looked like a normal school girl. I hate this. "Finally, we get to the food."
"First thing you've approved of today." Joan smirked, smiling sweetly at the younger girl. "Well, I know of a nice place to eat that's not too far from here. It serves American food, but it's still pretty good."
Sailor Pluto stood atop a store at the large mall and waited for the "event" she planned to take place. I hate having to do it this way, but I need to find that girl. An energy rift began to take form in the courtyard below and she frowned. If only I didn't need to use bait.
Ranma smiled as she walked along the sidewalk with Joan. Sure, may have to put up with the dresses and stuff, but Joan is really nice. Something was bothering her though; it had started only a minute before. A disturbance in things, though she couldn't place it. It was as if the energy in the air was trying to warn her, to get her attention. Her smile turned to a kind of mellow frown as the feeling grew stronger. Something is going to happen, I know it. That's when the ground began to shake.
The redhead instantly shifted her feet on the ground to achieve a more stable stance and caught Joan as she stumbled, helping her to a better position also. That's not right. Ranma closed her eyes and sent out her aura, keeping it invisible and spreading it as far as she could manage without seriously draining herself. Bingo. She thought to herself as she "felt" a rather large empty area in the courtyard they just passed. We have us a monster.
"Stay here." Ranma commanded as she turned around. "People may be in danger, that was no natural earthquake." Joan started to protest but Ranma was already gone, running towards the source of the disturbance.
Pluto was amazed. Not three seconds after the portal manifested itself she felt an incredibly strong energy field pass over almost all of Tokyo and "lock on" to the exact location of the wormhole. The response time was much faster than the best the Sailor Scouts ever reached. I guess I will see this mystery girl now.
She teleported from her rooftop location to a tree in the clearing of the portal for a better view, watching with even greater amazement as a rather ordinary looking teenage girl stormed in and looked at the exact location of the wormhole, even though it hadn't physically manifested yet. She fell out of the tree when the girl calmly turned her head asked her "Are you going to help or just sit there and watch?"
"Are you going to help or just sit there and watch?" Ranma asked calmly, looking at the girl sitting in the tree behind her. Stupid scouts. They're toying with me. "You're one of those Sailor Scouts everyone praises so much, so get down here and help!"
Ranma was going to laugh at the girl for falling out of the tree but she didn't have time, mostly due to the gigantic lava monster that had just appeared from the wormhole. Well, shit. "Mouko Takabisha!" Ranma cried out, charging a ball of energy in her hands and throwing it at the abomination.
The blast impacted on the surface and destroyed a fairly large chunk, only to have the area ooze back into existence. Uh oh. Er… wait! Duh. Heat. What move do I have that uses heat? She started the attack procedure, taunting the monstrous wad of magma. It walked after her, well, flowed. Its giant pillars that functioned as legs didn't seem to move as it came closer.
Slowly but surely she led the monster around in a spiral, though be it a very large one. That's right creep. Just a few more steps. Ranma crouched down and used the Soul of Ice to create a cold body of air around her fist. "Hiryuu Shoten Ha!"
Sailor Pluto was dusting off her skirt while watching the girl fight, smirking a bit. What does she think she's doing? Toying with it like that. She was about to yawn when she noticed something, then again, a tornado is pretty hard to miss, especially when it is sucking you in with hurricane strength winds. She was able to resist the immense pull, but it was still unnerving to her that the swirling column of air was summoned so easily by the girl.
As the monster flew into the air Ranma crouched lower and started to form a deep blue ball of energy in her palm, the cold power of the Soul of Ice charging it. "Aisu Sogekihei!" The ball contracted into a compact orb and flew out of her hands so fast it left a streak in the air. It connected rather noisily with the now flying monstrosity and started to hiss violently, only to disappear a moment later. Ranma was about to start charging another ball when the creature simply exploded, raining hot magma upon the cement below. Luckily she was able to jump out of the way, pulling Sailor Pluto from the location of the twister in the process.
"I thought you people were supposed to be good fighters or somethin'." Ranma remarked as she released her grip on the startled Pluto and proceeded to dust herself off. "All you did was stand by and let me take care of it."
"I wanted to see what you are capable." Pluto explained, looking over Ranma's form and attempting to scan her aura, a task she was failing miserably at. "Word is that you're a hard girl to track."
"I guess I am." Ranma replied, looking coldly at the Sailor Scout. "And it's going to stay that way." Ranma smirked and faded slowly from view, leaving Pluto alone in the clearing. "Goodbye." her voice rang, seemingly coming from everywhere.
"Well, shit." Pluto said, before doing the same and disappearing from view. She reappeared in her small apartment, detransformed, and sat down on the couch. "Well, at least I know she's powerful now. I just don't know anything else." She sighed loudly. "This isn't good."
Yoshi Saito looked around at his small apartment, scanning it for security vulnerabilities in the way the Brethren had taught him, mentally taking notes on places he can place hidden cameras and planning the layout of his lab equipment. It was rather run down, but Yoshi thought he should be commended for finding an apartment so quickly, having been extricated from the Brethren housing community only two hours prior.
The apartment, as sleazy as it was, actually did fit his purpose quite well. A deep burgundy counter ran around most of the miniscule living room, and though previous occupants most likely didn't approve of it, Yoshi found the ledge perfect for setting up his laboratory. Within a minute or two he had the contents of his large pack of lab equipment scattered about the counter, a particularly large and ancient looking orb with three flattened sides sitting on its pedestal in the center of the largest section of the platform. A computer monitor with a built-in keyboard was sitting just to the left, with several cords plugged into the back of the round device's pedestal.
"Now maybe I can get some work done, without those fools watching my every move." He said boldly as he pulled up a wooden chair and turned on the blackened old screen. Artifact Initializing… the green text proclaimed as it blinked at him from its perch in the center of the screen.
"The waters are turbulent again." The old woman said calmly as she looked out the dusty window of the small cottage. Deep wrinkles adorned her face and her cheeks hung lazily from her face, giving her the appearance of a particularly old and wizened person whom all should respect. "The coming of another shall pass before the moon passes from the sky."
"What makes you so sure?" her companion, an equally old and wizened man, asked. His face was not as ravaged of time, though his eyes held the same deep and ever gazing look. "The River has seen many periods like these, and they had not come out the same."
"I can feel his presence." She replied, turning around and looking at the picture of a young man with brown hair that hung on the wall near a bookshelf. The man in the picture was smiling, headphones slung around his neck. "Yoh Asakura will rise again. Thank everything for we are saved."
"I hope you are right." The man sighed, looking at the picture of a similar young man on the other side of the bookshelf. "For if you are not, that means nothing can stop Zeke."End Chapter Two
Author's Notes: Well, that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed it. Anyway. Comments and critiques are always appreciated. I do actually read them you know. Again, sorry for the delay.
Glossary Stuff: Aisu Sogekihei – Ice Sniper