Chapter 8

Disclaimer: I don't own this series or any other series. I am just floating an idea. I am making no money, nor plan to, off this venture. If you think of suing me over this, then grow up.

I would like to first personally thank all of those reviewing my stories. I enjoy reading your comments, and try to correct the grammatical errors I miss with my final read-through as well as my spell checkers. The suggestions you all make will help make this story better for everyone to enjoy, as well as allow my to fix some plot holes I may unintentionally leave. If you find any, let me know, and I will correct them and repost the chapters.

Please feel free to review, and make comments. If you find a spelling or wordage mistake, feel free to let me know. Thank you.

Note: If you see something that may be offensive, let me know via message, and I will remove it and repost. I understand that some of the descriptions of the pokégirls might be offensive to some people, and I have tried to remove or reword them.

Mamoru looked on as the Tamer went off down the road, smirk on his face as well as that of his Alpha. "That was sadly too easy."

"Why did you even bother with that arrogant little shit?" grumbled Ranko.

He found himself nearly chuckling madly at that sentence. It was not hard for him to see the humor in the statement. "Because my dear pet," he said smoothly, knowing it would only anger the former male, "I have things I need to do, and that worthless 'little shit' as you called him will help me with that."

"Oh, and how will that happen, oh wise and arrogant asshole?" asked Ranko, sarcasm dripping from her voice like venom.

Mamoru was tempted to activate the collar, show his 'pet' where she stood once again on the totem pole of power, but he figured he'd let her have her few moments. He'd make her pay for it in the bedroom later on. "Saotome is an enemy that is highly unpredictable and extremely powerful target," he said, leaning against a nearby tree. "He is someone who killed Chardin with his bare hands and techniques most fighting-types would sell their free will for. Any test we can offer that will provide us further depth of knowledge about his abilities and so forth are worth it.

"Especially when it isn't our asses on the line."

"But I thought that's why the Deadly Four were going after him," said Ranko.

"In part," he said with a smirk. "After all, they aren't my resources; what do I care if they get balled or offed? In that matter, Happosai foots the bill."

Ranko stared at him for a moment, before her eyes went wide. "You're making a move to get on the Four; you're clearing out those losers, and planning to remake it to your own satisfaction."

Mamoru snorted at that, shaking his head. "How sad that you think so small and so short term. Though I suppose it can't be helped; given your father and your … former lifestyle.

"Maybe I should just put you in a Level Five Cycle," he mused, enjoying the look of fear on Ranko's face. "Maybe having your mind wiped will allow a useful thought to surface."

She wanted to attack him, rip into him, and litter the ground with his blood and flesh. But she knew if she acted, if she considered those thoughts for too long, if the intent was ever at a certain point, her collar would shock her once again. She didn't even know what the energy levels would be; Mamoru altered them at intervals so she couldn't get used to them.

Chuckling, Mamoru began to walk back towards the vehicle they had used to meet the 'recruit'. "There are strategies and plots afoot that I wouldn't trust your pea brain to keep secret, let alone not betray me in."

It was the truth in all things, and the best conspiracies had only one person who truly knew what was going on.

Happosai was a powerful man, a man who created Trauma, who was even rumored to be related to the creator Sukebe.

But Mamoru didn't believe for a moment that there was nothing going on behind the scenes, that Happosai was just a man after money and power. There was a goal, some hidden plan only known to the man himself and the pokégirls under his harem.

And if Mamoru expected to topple the man, he needed to weaken the man on as many fronts as possible. The Deadly Four were supposed to be the top, those who were second only to the Trauma leader. It was a common goal for any tamer within Trauma to want to be part of that team.

It was a farce. There was no grand team, merely four high-level assassins who would only work well together if Happosai was watching over them. They hadn't gotten to that level by performing missions, by following the Team Trauma banner into fights. They had been hired and promoted as such because they were skilled, they were deadly, and they got as good as they gave from Happosai.

They also happened to be—in Mamoru's opinion—a very efficient smokescreen. The rumors that circulated about their treatments as near-royalty inspired the rest of the sheep to tow the line and be good little drones, or attempt risky and unsanctioned acts to impress the bosses, in hopes of rising higher in the food chains.

But what did the boss do? What was Happosai's base of power? How did the ancient letch keep the Four from trying to kill and usurp his power? Lostech? Legendary Pokégirls? Blackmail?

No; the leader had something else in mind, some plan that would grant him even more power, Mamoru was certain of that. To that effect, what happened to the rest of the Trauma Team, including the Four, was of no real importance to him. If he felt he could get similar results from Balling the whole lot of them, he'd do it as well.

There was a 't' in team, but no 'team' in Happosai. Even Sukebe didn't have a platoon of males working for him, trusting his creations more than those of free will who'd turn on him in a heartbeat.

And thus the brilliance of the smokescreen. After all, if Happosai could keep the Four in line, keep them from rebelling against his wishes, what chance did even a mid-grade Trauma member have against him? No, better to bide your time, climb the ranks, and get him when there was but one step between your level and his.

In all likelihood, it had been Sextome's plan as well, meant to be supplemented by his former Trio: take out the Four, assume their ranks, and then take down Happosai himself with three loyal minions near your level to help you out.

And all the time, the only watching of the Old Man was to make certain he still existed to be defeated. They never wondered how he 'created' several things Taro used with his serums, yet never tempted the beast to attack his source. They never wondered what Happosai offered Chardin to secure his services, a now dead sociopath that enjoyed feasting like a cannibal?

Trauma members spent more time thinking with their dicks and ego than their brains. Not him, not Mamoru though. No, he was planning to do things his own way. It was why he had searched for the girls who possessed an unknown gene sequence he had found in Usagi when he acquired the girl that nearly matched his own. It was why he even conned the Trauma duo of Haruka and Michiru to help him gather the rest he could find. It was why he experimented with the most powerful gene sequence outside of his own—found oddly in Usagi—and created a series of clones based off his and her DNA.

I'll have to remember to deal with the escaped two when time allows; can't very well leave my mistakes running about to be used on me.

But all in due time, let them integrate with Saotome for now. There are many ways they can be of use to me, even if they truly think they are his.

Until then, let Happosai deplete his own forces against Saotome, let him lose strength against this force, and let me make my own plans to take Happosai's true power for myself.

Smirking, the man headed into his vehicle. "Come along my dear slut," he said, enjoying the taunting of his former partner, "I have other things to do."

Ranko growled deeply, before making her own way into the vehicle. Laugh it up asshole; one day your time will come, and I'll be chuckling at your failures, Princess.

Hope springs eternal, even for the truly damned.

He was back. After wallowing in his own grief, Ranma Saotome was finally back in action, living his life.

And to the ire of the Tamer students, as well as his pokégirls, this wasn't always a good thing.

"Owie," muttered Shinji, as he landed painfully on his back, slightly hoping for some brain damage to take him away to that sweet place called Heaven, away from sadistic trainers. He wasn't quite sure he'd survive till the end of the course at this rate. Maybe I should start making my will.

"Not bad," said Ranma, grabbing the young man by his shirt, and lifting him back to his unsteady feet. "Your form is still a little sloppy, but you haven't gotten too bad while I was away."

"Thank you, Sensei," Shinji said, trying not to wince as he stepped back into line with the others. Oh yes, he was going to need one of Maya's grand massages after this day.

Ranma just smiled, as he studied the others, each also wincing slightly as their own light injuries. Nothing that a few glasses of Kasumi's milk can't fix. He had been a bit worried that his time trying to come to grips with what had occurred would have cost them some time, a needed edge against Team Trauma and punks like them. But it appeared that even if they hadn't made huge leaps forward with him away, they didn't lose any ground either. "I gotta say this though; you guys are coming along pretty well."

The others could only smile at this point.

"So I guess that means we can stop with the light stuff."

They had never wished him so dead at this point.

Pantyhose Taro: second member of the Deadly Four, made his way across the forests of the world, homing in on a target he knew to be perhaps the greatest challenge he could hope for, aside from the leader of Team Trauma, Happosai.

A man who defeated Sextome and his idiotic Terrible Trio, without the aid of pokégirls; truly this guy had a spark of power.

A man who defeated Chardin without pokégirls, carving up the weakest member of the Deadly Four like he was a piece of paper, as well as that foul Alpha the cannibalistic fool kept; his worth grew in Taro's eyes.

A man who defeated an Anima; the man was a challenge that could not be refused any longer. The skills and power needed to accomplish so much nearly had Taro wanting to race towards him with all his speed.

Taro nearly drooled at such a prospect of a fight against Saotome. Blood gift? Talent? Skill? He didn't know why this boy could do what he did.

It made him want to fight him all the more. And like any grand fight, he needed to savor every moment, even if it meant the fight needed to be postponed while he walked to the Tendo Ranch.

Pantyhose Taro: wanted in connections with the deaths of several Fighting Arena leaders, bodies so broken that identification had to be made by DNA tests. Wanted in questioning for the attacks on several rich families, many who had personal armies to protect them, both of which were found dead and only had their identities confirmed by DNA tests. Wanted in questioning for a long list of tamers who had 'disappeared' with little to no trace remaining of them, and only rumors that he had been in the area to connect him to their disappearance.

He wasn't a man who lost, and there were no survivors when you went looking for the losers. Man, pokégirl; it didn't matter. He was a conqueror, his pokégirls left no survivors as well, not from a man who took 'survival of the fittest' to the extreme. This was a man who embodied the Law of Nature. If you were weak, you had no place in this world, and he made sure that you left it. He spent his days working to that end, ensuring that he was the most fit to survive, that his body had no weakness.

"Curse his luck," muttered Taro. "To think someone like him was challenged by that Anima," he finished. He had been wanting to take on such a pokégirl ever since word reached him of its existence. Imagine; a fighting pokégirl so strong, none had defeated her. She would make the perfect addition to his harem, the sixth pokégirl. Hell, he might just clone her and replace the whole lot.

But she was defeated, and returned once more to the shadows she lived in, only popping up by chance. And despite his fighting skills, despite his power, she had yet to challenge him. Why? Why did she avoid him when he was just the sort of challenge she seemed to seek?

He still had one shining light: the one person ever to defeat an Anima. Oh, how glorious it would be to defeat a man who took down the mightiest pokégirl of them all, one who was only shy of a Legendary by the fact she was still considered more myth than fact. Perhaps his defeat would even call her out once more to challenge him.

"Oh yes, this mission will be well worth the delays in working on my serum," he missed, grabbing his hip flask, and taking a swig of his energy drink.

Yes, soon he would see if Saotome deserved to remain in this world.

Kiima sat on the roof, looking out over the training grounds. She had been up there for some time, ignoring the calls of the others, as she seemed to stare off into space.

But her mind was far from vacant at this point.

Chardin was one of the Deadly Four. He had to be here on orders. That nut wouldn't act so openly otherwise.

She knew very little about the Deadly Four, and what she did know had come from the loud chatterings Sextome had about them, usually followed by his boasts to the Trio that soon he would take his place in the group or they would defeat them all and claim Trauma for themselves.

It was also why he knew so much about it: Genma Sextome was one of the Four. But while a member, he was also Happosai's right hand man. It seemed to have been the man's goals all along, and he rarely went on missions anymore, unless his Master 'desired' it. Part of her wondered if the attack on the prison had been Sextome, wanting to deliver his new 'daughter' to Happosai to further secure his position. She had no idea if his skills had declined any since he was 'promoted', but she did know he had some deal with Happosai that he could not be challenged for his role or title without said Master's permission.

With Chardin gone that left three others; three more monsters for Trauma to release on them. The only question was: which of the two would it be? She was certain it would not be Sextome; the fat fool would rather wait in obscurity, his main goal to stay alive and keep Happosai happy enough not to be sent out. And they would not come together; animosity in the group made it more likely they would kill each other if not the target. From what she knew, the Four had never been sent out together, only as one man teams who never worked well with others. There was even a rumor that they often times killed Trauma members assigned to them just for shits and giggles.

Who were the other two left to be sent? Sextome talked enough about them after taming, talked as if he was on some grand destiny, as if his fate had been revealed to him. It was an arrogance he was well known for, and one that allowed his enemies to learn a great deal if they knew when to listen in.

"Well I guess someone told him wrong," she said with a smirk. She couldn't help but imagine what 'her' face was like now. Oh, she so hoped she could gloat if she ever met 'her' again. That image alone would make a great many people enjoy life to the fullest.

But for the moment, she needed to get back to figuring out who were the other two members were. Kiima knew some things about them. But the problem was she didn't know which related to whom, and what ranking they were. Happosai ranked them, she knew that much—once again Sextome boasting he would take the Number One position from his Old Man. But she had no idea their names or their ranking of the others aside from Genma.

"He'll send Number Three," she muttered concluding Chardin had been Number Four, "if he'll accept." She had no doubt that there was a certain level of command in Happosai's organization, but he usually sent people who actually wanted the job and who could accomplish it with the most efficiency. And she had more than often heard Trauma members complain that they were still too low on the Totem Pole to refuse a mission.

So then the question was not who would avenge Chardin—the other members wouldn't give a shit about his death, but who would desire to fight her Master next?

In the real world, she seemed to be meditating.

But unlike her body, Hild's mind was far from dormant.

"You had him face an Anima," said a voice coming from an ice-colored flame.

"He needed to be set upon the proper path," said the Legendary Pokégirl, her astral form surrounded by differing colors of fire, each one representing a Legendary Pokégirl who was meeting with her in the Astral Plane.

"He could have ended up destroyed by the encounter," said a metal-colored fire.

"But he didn't," said a black ball of fire. "And the Anima has yet to take a life. That argument holds no merit."

"Correct," said a ball of sun-colored fire. "She has produced a new fighting spirit in all those she has faced. There was only a danger of us being wrong about him."

Hild cocked an eyebrow at that. "So one of you brought him here?"

A gentle laugh seemed to come from a light purple colored fire. "My dear, did you really think he fell from the sky by happenstance?"

"I thought I would have known," admitted Hild. "Usually such powers being used would draw my attention at the very least. May I ask which one of you did this?"

"You could," said the lone figure in the shifting void aside from Hild. "But we will not answer."

She bit back her first retort. "But this does sound like something you would have a hand in, Evangelion."

"The how is not important," said an emerald colored fire. "We must only concern ourselves with the why."

Hild bit back a growl, hating the fact she was being left uninformed, and on purpose no less. "I should know the details of the operation."

"We cannot risk such being in the open, as you are," said the purple fire. "The less in the open, the less likely our gambit will be discovered."

"Are you saying I am a security risk?" demanded Hild.

"We are saying we cannot afford even the chance of discovery," said the emerald fire. "Our enemy even now makes moves we cannot observe nor influence."

"The boy was brought here to save this world," said the sun-colored flame. "We must ensure to that end he fulfills his role."

"Do not take such risks again Hild without our counsel," said the blue flame, as they began to fade, leaving only Hild and Evangelion.

"So then, my dear Lilith, or do you prefer Evangelion," growled Hild, barely turning her face to spot the younger Legendary, calling her first the name of her long dead Tamer, "why would me knowing how the boy was brought here be a secret?"

"Why would we reveal that his being here is anything but an accident? He is just one of many named Ranma Saotome that we could have chosen. The fact he is here is just as much chance as anything. But to reveal there are powers here who could send him home..."

Hild sighed. It wasn't much but it was an answer. "If he knew, he would desire to return home sooner than later, and mess up this plan you have need of him for."

The white Legendary smirked, as she began to fade away from the Astral Plane. "And here I had thought the Anima was correct in saying you were a dense dumb bitch."

Hild could only stare at the spot the figure had vanished from. "Oh I am so going to reduce you from rare to extinct when I find your ass."

"Are you sure about this?" asked Nabiki, sitting in her office, looking towards Kiima, who was perched on the window sill.

The Phoenix nodded. "One of them will be here soon, depending on what is needed. I wouldn't be surprised if one was already on the way."

"Any idea who?" asked Nabiki, not liking the idea of another high ranking member of Team Trauma that might be on their way to kill them. It seemed at times that only dumb luck was keeping them safe. And she was not in the mood to roll the dice once more.

"Probably the serum one," she said. "The other will be near the Dragon reserves for some time, I believe there are some festivals he likes to attend, and it is the time of year for … that sort of thing."

Nabiki nodded, having a good idea what was being implied by saying he 'attended them', meaning he likely went scouting for new girls to take. "What do you know about this serum guy?"

Kiima just stared out into the deep blue sky, the sounds of the Tamer training sessions going on in the background. "Not much, never got a name. But Sextome swore the guy was messing with Blood Gifts, trying to make them. I think this mystical serum he always chatted about was a way to have blood gifts other than being born with them, judging by how Sextome boasted about what he would do with it."

The Cheshire could only nod. "I'll inform Ranma about this, as well as Father and Doctor Mihoff. They might have some clues we can use against this new threat."

"Tell them to look for either severely destroyed bodies or a trail of missing tamers," she said, as she prepared to dart off to get some practice in herself. "I know that much about the guy."

Nabiki just shook her head as Kiima left. "Great, missing or dead tamers; our luck he'll come through an area filled with Buzzbreasts."

"So we can only wait?" asked Ranma, looking at the assembled people.

"There is little information on this guy," said Dr. Mihoff. "Team Trauma members who are known, end up becoming a liability. If we knew who he was, the guy would have been balled pretty much the second afterwards any legitimate and undeniable proof surfaced."

"Very true," said Soun. "Chardin, who we now know was one, doesn't have any proven ties to them. What has been discovered makes him appear to be nothing more than a lone Tamer gone mad. The UEG can't go any further with the case, since no evidence has appeared that Chardin was anything other than a loner. We have no leads to any other members of Team Trauma."

"Okay then," said Nabiki, "what about some rouge tamer wanted for some major crimes, or maybe for questioning about them?"

"It's a long list, I'm afraid," said Rosie. "As you already know, many Tamers are not even close to being the best of human morals. In some leagues, any death is written off as an accident in the field."


The group looked towards Ranma, as he sat in his seat, staring off. "Rivals?" asked Nabiki.

The pigtailed Tamer nodded in response. "Well, if everyone that's been after me was a rival of mine in my world, why would that change now?"

"So who are these rivals?" asked Jack.

"Well; we've already dealt with Ryoga, Mousse, and Kuno," he said. "Chardin was one. Do any of you know a guy called Copycat Ken?"

Soun chuckled at hearing that name. "I seriously doubt he will be a threat. Copycat Ken is a Titto Pokégirl Tamer. His family line also contains a bunch of the Titto pokégirls, so he has some body shifting abilities."

"It's a good thing too," smirked Jack. "The guy is popular for his 'How To Tame' videos, based on the safest way to tame certain pokégirls; something he achieves by having his Tittos transform into the pokégirl in question."

"I don't get it," said Ranma, wondering what was so funny about the one rival whose analog here seemed to be the least threatening.

"Well," said Soun, chuckling slightly, "the videos, while supposed to be serious, are actually quite humorous. He'll inform you of what safety procedures you need to undertake before beginning to tame. The problem is he often forgets half of them, and the transformed Titto is usually upset that he can't remember her name, calls her the wrong name, or any number of things that basically means he gets a new hole torn into his ass."

"Ah," Ranma nodded, now understanding a bit about what the analog went through.

"Anyone else?" asked Jack.

Ranma scratched the back of his neck. "Not really rivals, more like some strong guys I fought. There was Happosai, Pantyhose Taro, Herb of the Musk Dynasty, Saffron of the Phoenix Tribe, maybe a few Amazon Elders, Principal Kuno, the Gambling King," he started, before he continued naming every challenger he had ever faced since arriving at the Tendo Dojo in his world. "Oh, and a Dojo Destroyer, not sure what his name was … might not have ever got the thing," he muttered, trying to remember the guy.

The silence from the others drew his focus back to them. "What?" he asked, seeing their shocked faces.

"That's a lot of people," muttered Rosie.

"How did you stay sane?" asked Jack.

"I want to know how the hell he stayed healthy," said Nabiki.

Soun could only nod. Even in its heyday, the Tendo Ranch received a challenger about once every three to four days, more often when League battles were approaching. It sounded almost like Ranma had a battle about once a day if not more often.

Blinking, the good doctor smirked as he clapped his hands and stood up. "Well, I'll make some inquiries about those people to some secure friends of mine. We'll either learn some possible Trauma members of the Fatal Four or end up getting some of their lower ranks on a watch list; works for me either way.

"Who knows, my source might have a leak and then they'll all be balled," he finished with a smile.

Soun just coughed into his fist, trying to restore his usual presence and not let people dwell too much on what the good doctor's idea was 'for the greater good'. "Well then, I do believe you have students to contend with, Ranma. Looks like you need to ensure they are at top form for just in case."

"Oh yeah," said the pigtailed boy as he stood up. "They're all coming along nicely—still have to remind Shinji to stop apologizing—I'm just surprised they're picking it up so fast."

"Well, you are a pretty good Sensei," Soun remarked.

"It could also be that every person on this planet has at least zero-point-zero-one percent Poké-DNA in their systems," muttered Rosie, her mind considering possible ideas for the strange abilities of the Tamers to assimilate the style and lessons Ranma was imparting to them. "As such, they should be able to assimilate new techniques and training methods easily, depending on which gene sequences contain Poké-DNA."

Ranma just slowly nodded, pretending to understand what she was saying.

Taking pity on her Tamer, Nabiki waited until Rosie left before whispering to him. "She means thanks to having some Pokégirls in their bloodline; they can do it as quickly as you teach them because it's in their blood."

"Ah," said Ranma with a smile, as he turned to head back to teaching his students. "Why can't people just say that?" he wondered.

In front of the entrance to the Tendo Ranch stood a figure, a teenage boy with a smile, a backpack, and a dream to become a Pokégirl Master: Ash Sexum.

"Peeka!" said the Peekabu standing next to him, her yellow fur shining in the sunshine as she stared with the same awe her Tamer was showing at finally arriving at their destination.

"That's right Peekabu," he said with quiet reverence. "We made it!"


Ash blinked. To tell the truth, when he heard about the new Master at the Tendo Ranch, he had decided to come immediately and see not only how he stacked against such a Tamer, but see what he could learn while he was here, on his route to his dream.

He had not given any thought to what he would do when he got there. "Um … no clue."

"Pee," sighed the Peekabu.

"I guess we could knock and see if we could come in at least," Ash admitted.

"Such genius," came the sarcastic reply of a female voice he was very familiar with—and not one he wanted to ever hear again. "Why one day, you might even be able to tie your own shoes instead of using those Velcro-things you always wear."

Growling, even as Peekabu began charging up, he turned slightly. "Mason," he snarled, trying to keep his anger in check. "What the hell are you doing here?"

Mason, his long time rival/nemesis sneered at him. "Why would I tell you squat, you'd never be able to comprehend how we adults think."

"We're the same age, asshole."

"My Master is mentally decades wiser than you will ever be," sneered Mason's Alpha, a Dark Lady named Miranda.

"Peeee-kaaaa!" growled Peekabu, preparing to unleash an attack at the offending duo. Only Team Rocket usually got her this worked up. But for these two, she would always make an exception.

"Just try it, you wild reject!" growled Miranda, power gathering in her hands.

"What is going on here?" came a yell from the Gates.

The quartet stopped their face-off to turn towards the now open gates. It appeared that their fight was over for the moment.

"I don't know what your story is," said Soun Tendo, glaring at the four before him, "but there will be none of this either in front of these gates or inside the Ranch, is that understood? If you have a problem, deal with it in the Arena!"

"Fine," said the smirking Mason. He did plan to at least challenge the Ranch Defender. The fact he got to also deal his usual beating to Sexum was icing on the cake as far as he was concerned. And here he had been feeling a bit bored lately. My oh my, my life just keeps getting better.

Ash growled, but calmed himself after Peekabu put her hand on his shoulder, not wanting her Master to lose his quest after coming so far. She would be hurt to see him lose what he seemed to want so much.

Turning to face the man, Ash bowed, trying to put as much respect as he could into both his tone and his demeanor. "I wish to meet with the Defender of the ranch sir, in order to both battle him and talk with him," he said, trying to recall what the proper way to request such a meeting was. The last thing he wanted was to be turned away because he forgot to bow enough; some trainers had been turned away from challenges for less.

"I'm here to challenge this shithole," commented Mason, not showing any emotion other than a slight contempt-filled glare at the man before him. It was obvious this wasn't the guy he'd come to fight, what did he care if the guy was pissed at him.

"I see," said Soun, narrowing his eyes at the boy. Well, it has been a while since anyone challenged Ranma… "You both may enter.

"But be warned, I may not be the Defender of this ranch anymore, but my word is still law all the same. Break the rules and your asses will be out of here faster than a newbie running from a Widow," he said, voice hard and unyielding.

"Yeah, yeah," snorted Mason as he moved forward.

"Thank you sir," said the smiling Ash, as he and Peekabu walked in, once again bowing to the man.

As the entered, Soun could only shake his head at the boys. They represented the best and the worst of the tamers he saw nowadays. One filled with dreams, hope, and an earnest heart. The other filled with ego, arrogance, and a desire to be superior to all.

"As if we don't have enough trouble," he sighed as he closed the gates. But at least things were getting back to normal.

As expected however, the initial meet-and-challenge to the Ranch Defender and his two Alphas had not gone over well. When Ranma had met them, he decided to take both challenges.

It still upset him that he couldn't fight, but he understood playing by the rules.

However, the chat had not gone so well.

Usa's fist slammed into the metal column, creating a weak reverberation effect.

"That utter bitch," she hissed, not even noticing the good sized dent she had put into the beam.

"Tell me your real feelings," sneered Nabiki.

"I'm going to rip that bitch's face off and smear her bloodied carcass over the walls," growled the angry pokégirl.

"I'd suggest you calm down a bit," cautioned Nabiki. "She wants you angry when you select the team; she wants you not questioning yourself, giving into your rage."

"What makes you so fucking smart?" growled Usa, preparing to turn her anger towards a closer target.

"Because she's like you," snorted Nabiki.

Her anger disappeared at that comment.

"If you don't know that your Tamer is the greatest by now, then obviously I need to inform Master that you've lost quality." She ducked quickly to the side, allowing her to miss Usa's punch that had been aimed at her face.

"See, you can't even tell who your real enemies are now," said Nabiki, as she dodged two follow-up kicks. "You're fighting angry and mad, feeling insulted, and playing right into her game.

"She has power over you now."

"NO ONE HAS POWER OVER ME BUT MY MASTER!" yelled Usa, power beginning to arc over her form as her anger began to fuel her abilities.

"The make her pay for the insult on the battlefield," said Nabiki calmly.

Usa began to glare at her, panting in anger and hatred for both the other Dark Lady and her co-Alpha. The black-haired bitch had dared insult her Master Ranma by saying he was a weak Tamer, that she was a pathetic Dark Lady because she hadn't taken the sole position of total Alpha for the entire harem.

Oh, that floozie was going to get it, Usa promised herself that. She'd grind that pretender into the dirt and kick that bitch's Master square in the balls for even daring to bring his pathetic excuse for a team to the Tendo Ranch for a challenge. Filth like him wasn't even fit to be fought by her Master Ranma; they weren't even worthy of being a footrest for her Master after a muddy hike.

"Make her suffer in the arena," said Nabiki, her mask slowly being replaced by a sly smile. "Make her Master suffer for being a weak Tamer and thinking such a weak Dark Lady deserved to be an Alpha, let alone his."

Truthfully, Nabiki wouldn't care if Usa got her leather-clad rear handed to her on a silver platter. The pokégirl was annoying, demanding, pushy, condescending; basically a constant thorn in Nabiki's side. Personally, she wanted to see the pink-haired witch constantly taken down a peg or five every day. Of course, that might be the cut in nookie-time speaking as well as having had to work with the arrogant Dark Lady for a while.

In reality, she knew they worked well together in maintaining the two teams, keeping the harem running smoothly, if for nothing else than to justify their Master's faith in the two.

And if Usa allowed her rage to consume her, then she would become careless, and becoming careless could spell a loss against the irritating reminder of why some pokégirls killed their Tamers. The brat was little better than half the so-called challengers to the Ranch.

Mason was nothing more than a Team Trauma wannabe, like a lot of the abusive Tamers out there. He thought only of himself, discarding pokégirls like they were socks, keeping or grabbing whatever ones he thought would help him achieve his goals. If ever there was a stereotypical man who embodied the darker aspects of this world, Mason nearly fit it.

The fact his Dark Lady had immediately insulted Usa upon seeing the pink-haired pokégirl was the whole reason Usa had declared she would be the Alpha of the team to face Mason.

That suited Nabiki just fine. Ash looked like the type of Tamer that Ranma reached out to, and she wanted him to see the brighter side of their world through Ash as well. That was something Usa wouldn't be able to do, her darker nature not only demanding she win, but embarrass Ash in the interim. And the last thing she or Ranma wanted was to destroy the fighting spirit of such a Tamer, let alone corrupt it.

Mason however…

Usa's eyes narrowed for a bit, her mind quick at work. "Embarrass them … in the arena," she said, almost as if she was testing out those words.

"No … not just embarrass them," she muttered, walking away from Nabiki, "I need to make sure this is a loss they will never forget, never live down," she said as she left the room, a developing cackle soon escaping her lungs as she disappeared around the corner of the doorway.

Nabiki just sighed as she looked at the dented column. "Well, I hope Akane is ready for some repair work," she mused. Her own competitiveness was urging her to see if she could dent the column like Usa had.

The more logical side reminded her that she had a match tomorrow and couldn't risk breaking her hand or brining the roof down on her head; both of which would hamper her chances of being used tomorrow.

"I just hope Kasumi didn't put those two anywhere near each other in the dorms," she sighed. That was just asking for trouble.

Kasumi hadn't put them near each other, Dr. Mihoff did wanting to help ease Kasumi's burden as she prepared his favorite dinner for the night and thinking there were no issues he needed to address.

He was wrong.

The two trainers stared off against each other once again, as was their Alphas.

"So Ash," sneered Mason, "ready to have your ass kicked tomorrow?"

Ash just snorted. "I should be asking you the same thing."

"My Master can never lose!" proclaimed Mason's Dark Lady.

Shaking his head, Ash decided to ignore the fool. He simply saw Pokégirls as a way to gain power. He didn't see the reality behind it. He had his match, and as much as he wanted to personally kick Mason in the balls, he was too happy to give a damn about what the dark Tamer had to say or how he planned to act. "Yeah, you keep thinking that," said Ash as he entered his room with Peekabu and shut the door. That alone would piss off Mason—he always wanted to have the last word.


Blinking, he looked over at the confused face of his own Alpha as he shut the door. "I'm not going to let a moron like him get to me, Peekabu," he said with a smile, pulling the wild electric mouse-girl into his arms. "Guys like him are always going to be out there. He'll learn a good lesson tomorrow when Saotome beats the hell out of him."

"Pee-peeka!" cheered the pokégirl.

Ash just nodded. "And did you see the look his Alpha Dark Lady gave them?" he said with a smirk. "You just know she's planning to make it as humiliating for him as possible. No way is Mason ever going to forget this loss. Hell, it'll be worth putting up with the high and mighty asshole staying across from me for the night just to see him lose so badly!"

Peekabu nodded, before she adopted a thoughtful pose. "Bu, pee, peekabu?"

Ash blinked. "Well, it doesn't matter if I win or lose," he said with a smile.


"Well, think about it," said Ash. "We have a Tamer here who is everything I want to be. He respects his pokégirls and teaches others to do the same. He teaches people to be true partners with their pokégirls.

"I wouldn't mind losing, because it shows me just how far I still have to go to become a Pokégirl Master, and that I was right," he said a bit quieter, as he pulled her deeper into their hug. "I'm right that we're at our strongest when we work together. Who knows, maybe he'll give us a few lessons if we impress him."

Peekabu just nodded as she leaned into her Master. She liked seeing him happy and full of hope like this. He was always a better lover when he was like that.

She just hoped that Saotome lived up to the image her Master had of him.

Mason Crowill sneered as his screen displayed some of the battle data available about Saotome and his pokégirls. He didn't know what the pink-haired Dark Lady was planning, but he was confident any team she put together would be taken down by his own team.

"He might be a skilled fighter, but he hasn't had many battles depending solely on his pokégirls," commented his Alpha, the Dark Lady Miranda.

Mason only nodded. "The most practice he's got was from his trash students and the occasional newbie wanting to make a name for themselves; pathetic," he snorted. "The asshole should be paying me to duel him in a Pokébattle."

"But think of the fame," cooed Miranda, as she kneeled before her Master. "A man who has defeated so many of the infamous on this world, to be taken down by you; it will propel you to stardom."

"That does sound quite nice, doesn't it?" he mused, his right hand going to her head and playing with her dark tresses. "It'll finally reveal to all those fools in the world just how strong I truly am."

"Perhaps it will even lead to your fondest desire?" she said with a purr, as she crawled into his lap.

His sneer grew at that. Power, control, whatever he wanted, whatever he felt he was due. Maybe he'd get an invite from Trauma. They had lost quite a few members lately and you never knew where a possible recruiter might be. He would finally be recognized for all that he had become, all that he had achieved. Hell, maybe he'd start his own Team organization. After all, Trauma seemed to be getting weaker and he could see vultures circling that organization.

And now only one thing was standing in his way: a strong man with weak skills. "By the time we're finished Miranda, they'll have to put his pokégirls down just to ease their suffering," he chuckled, as his hand yanked her head up to his face. "Now then, time to show your skills to your Master."

In her office, Usa worked quietly, her mind observing the choices she could use as well as possible strategies she could discover. Mason's files were readily available on the Battle Data Network, at least the ones where he battled officially, including a few that were 'non-sanctioned matches'.

But she already had part of her plan in play; she had the who would be in the team. She had already selected a group to be her Team against Mason, a team that when they defeated him would assure the fool never forgot just how badly he lost that day. Sure, not all of them were in her group that she was Alpha over, but even Nabiki—weak ass kitten she was—would agree to help her with this plan. She just needed to make sure tonight that the girls she chose could stand again the powerhouses Mason used.

"The prick probably has one or two that he's pulled out of Storage just for this match," she said. "He wants to add my Master to his trophies, but he won't be stupid and assume it'll be easy like those other fools," she murmured, looking into the footage.

Really, she was used to just powering her way through any obstacles, the mental games were more of towards the Weak Kitten's skills than her own.

But she would begrudgingly admit that Nabiki's idea was holding a warm space in her cold heart. She had no doubt that any team she assembled could take the fools down, her Master was the best at training pokégirls, and her own enhancements made her beyond what any regular Dark Lady could ever hope to be.

But to mentally defeat the fools, not just physically show them their betters… That was a treat she wanted to prepare to perfection.

And she would do it to, thanks to simple, weak … pokékits.

Ranma paused on his way to a late-night soak as an eerie laugh filled the hallways. "Why do I feel the sudden need to run away?" he asked no one in particular.

"You get used to it," said Shinji as he walked by, having just finished his own bath.