When Angels Fall
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As Sailor Uranus hit the street once again, she concluded one simple fact: that even a magical sailor fuku didn't prevent hitting concrete at speeds in excess of 70 kph from really, really hurting.
The battle was not going well for the Sailor Suited Defenders of Love and Justice. Exactly one week after the disappearance of their leader: Sailor Moon: a.k.a. Usagi Tsukino, a new enemy had appeared. They were calling themselves the Dim Empire.
So far, they were not fighting as old enemies had. The leader was calling himself King Dim, his seven generals beside him, as his forces began to overwhelm the Senshi.
His goal appeared simple. Since transcending to Sailor Cosmos, he decided that only such a powerful figure as Sailor Moon would be his queen in the empire he was forging. As such, he came to Earth to collect his bride.
Naturally, the Senshi would not allow such a thing, even if said desired female was currently missing.
Also naturally, the enemy that Sailor Pluto had once again missed with her all seeing Gates of Time was quickly kicking the Senshi's fuku-clad butts.
"I fail to see why you persist in fighting what is destiny? Simply hand my new queen to me, and I shall spare you," said King Dim, his generals surrounding him on all sides to prevent a stray attack from hitting their lord.
Sailor Saturn was forcing herself to stand, as the horde of warriors had stopped their assault, as their king seemed to gloat. As she leaned heavily on her pole arm, she tried to stand proud. "Even if we knew where she was, what makes you think she'd ever consent to what you demand?"
King Dim sighed. "If she values your lives and those on this miserable rock, she would see the great benefits of being my wife." He looked towards the Senshi. "Perhaps killing some of her warriors will suffice in bringing my wayward bride out. Kill the blond ones."
His warriors advanced one step, stopping, seeming to freeze.
King Dim grew angry. "What are you waiting for? KILL THEM!"
Unfortunately for him, his horde of evil warriors dropped to the ground, often not with their limbs and heads attached.
As he and his generals gasped, five figures faded into view, standing between them and the fallen horde, each wearing a brown cloak that covered their faces as well as their bodies. "Gee," said the tallest one who stood in the middle, "if those were the best cannon fodder you had, then you're really fucked."
The generals drew their weapons, stopping only because their king raised his hand, preventing them from charging the challengers. "Who dares stand against me?"
The middle figure straightened his stance. "We are the Lunar Guard. And as for Sailor Moon, she's..." He bowed, allowing a new walking figure to slowly fade into view.
"S-s-s-s-sailor Moon," gasped Sailor Mars.
While the rest had entered their Super forms, Sailor Moon as currently in her normal form, much to the fear of the Senshi, Tuxedo Mask, and Chibi-Moon.
"Ah," said King Dim with as much confidence as he could fill his voice with. "My Queen has arrived."
Sailor Moon shook her head, standing now between the Lunar Guard, who had parted for her to stand between them. "Why would I waste my time with one such as you?" she asked, using a tone that none of the Senshi could associate with either of the forms they knew their leader to take.
King Dim growled. "You would dare send this world to oblivion by refusing me?"
She raised her gaze, her eyes no longer conveying hope and love, but ice cold anger. "And you believe that you will be leaving this battle alive? No, you shall all die here today; your guards by the hands of my guard, and you by my own hands."
Several of the Senshi paled, wondering what had happened to their leader.
King Dim laughed, until Sailor Moon nodded her head. Before he knew it, his generals all dropped to the ground, shortly after the Lunar Guard blurred. As he stared at the now dead corpses of his trusted fighters, he paled, trying to back away.
Unfortunately, Sailor Moon was quicker, grabbing him by his throat and hoisting him into the air. "If you are trying to teleport away, you'll find I am blocking that. You see, I'm not going to take the chance that you'll come back and try this again. After all, I have over six billion people to protect from you."
Dim tried to speak, to beg for his life, to beg for the time to prepare to take her again.
Sailor Moon didn't give him the opportunity. She pulled back one hand, and thrust it through King Dim's chest. "Goodbye," she said, "and may your next life have be more towards the side of good. SOUL SHOCKER REVISED: SOUL EXPLOSION!" As she said it, a ring of light travelled up her arm into the part embedded through the enemy's chest. Once inside him, his body began to glow, before it exploded.
Thus, the Dim Empire was no more; its ruler now spread out across the Juuban street.
As the Senshi tried to wrap their minds around what Sailor Moon had just done—after all, she had offered no poses, no speeches, and no second chances—none were able to find a voice to call out to their leader and future Queen, as once again, she and the Lunar Guard faded from view.
"What the hell was that?" asked Sailor Neptune, finding it hard to remain composed.
Sailor Mercury could only shake her head. "I don't know, but the Mercury computer confirmed it was Sailor Moon. She was just... The Mercury Computer registered power at 3000x what she was listed as when she achieved the level of Sailor Cosmos." She left it unsaid that the computer also determined that she had equal levels of both positive and negative energy; each identified as belonging to the Ginzuishou and the Jakokusuishou. How did Sailor Moon get the Black Light Gem?
"Can I help you?" Kasumi came to the door, and seeing a young woman with hair done in twin tails, wondered if perhaps a new fiancée had come calling. After all, it had only been three weeks since the last one , and things had been so boring lately.
The woman bowed. "Hello, my name is Usagi Tsukino, and I was wondering if perhaps Nodoka Saotome and Nabiki Tendo were currently in? I need to speak with them both about urgent business."
Kasumi stared for a second; usually the new fiancées weren't this...formal. "Oh yes, we just sat down for lunch. Unfortunately, neither my Father nor Uncle Saotome is here at the moment."
Usagi bowed. "Thank you, I hate to intrude, but I do not need to see those two. May I come in?"
Kasumi nodded, already liking this woman.
On a roof across from the porch, five figures stood.
"I hate this," said a female voice as she lowered her hood, revealing red hair and blue eyes, her hair done in a pigtail. "We should be in there with her."
"I know, Ranko," said the tallest, as he lowered his hood, revealing short cut blond hair with blue eyes. "But Mother wished to conclude these arrangements on her own, and you know how much she feels the need to do this."
Ranko nodded. "I know, Raiden, but she shouldn't have to face them on her own. Dad told us about these people. We should be there protecting her!"
A second woman lowered her hood, known as Ryoko; her hair slightly pink, her eyes blue. "And what would we accomplish? Mother has been grieving harder than any of us these last few days. This is a chapter she needs to finish. We will get to deal with them eventually, but as Father's mate, she must do this, to help heal her own scars."
A male figured lowered his hood, revealing blue eyes and black hair, known as Tenma. "Ranko, we know how...edgy...you are, we all are."
"Damn straight," said the final figure, lowering his hood to reveal strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, cut short as well, known as Keitaro.
Ranko snorted. "I say we should find those bastards now and kill them, before they can hurt anymore people."
Raiden nodded. "Then? We need to make it look in all possible ways that their deaths were unavoidable...but most importantly, that they were all not our fault." He went over to his sister, placing his hand on her shoulder. "We all want to kill those bastards for what they did. But...for now, we'll let Mother dictate our actions. For now, she needs us, so revenge can wait...for a few days."
That did little to placate Ranko, who began pacing. She wanted revenge, but didn't want to chance the one parent she had left dying as well.
Thus, with a heavy and damaged heart, she stayed, watching the view of the dining area from their perch, wondering if the woman whom they could call Grandmother would be more upset that her son was dead, or that she had only five grandchildren.
"Thank you for the tea, Ms. Tendo," said Usagi, sitting across from Nodoka and Nabiki, Akane to her left.
"My pleasure," said Kasumi, sitting across from Akane.
"So," began Nabiki, "what can we do for you."
Usagi reached into her jacket, pulling out a large red gem. "This ruby should be about ¥56.8 million. This should cover any debts owed to this family by Ranma Saotome, as well as cover the rental fee for the dojo this Saturday."
Nabiki took the gem, studying it, and finding no flaws in it. While not usually how she was paid, with all the magical princes and martial artists who came by the dojo, she learned enough about gems to spot any flaws. "Okay and why would you pay Saotome's debts? Are you another fiancée?"
"Great, another one," growled Akane. "I bet the pervert is going to love this."
Usagi delivered a cold glare at the Tendo girl. "No... this is not for a marriage, and I am not a fiancée. And I would suggest you grow up, little girl. Throwing around such slander could get you...disciplined. And I guarantee that many who would take offense to your words would not be so kind as to warn you before separating your head from your shoulders." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Or perhaps you would rather wait until Saffron returns, and tries to kill you again."
Akane paled. "H-h-h-how do you know of Saffron?"
Usagi smirked. "Unlike you, I prefer to know before judging. Now, be silent and let the adults talk."
Akane tried to growl, but was silenced by Nabiki's hand. "Threatening my sister is not a way to earn good grace with us."
Usagi smiled. "Well, neither is demeaning those I care for. Now, we shall either discuss this, or I will move on to other pastures. I'm certain others would love my offer, Nabiki."
The Ice Queen remained expressionless, but nodded. "Then why are you here?"
Usagi nodded, sipping her tea before continuing. "I am here to pay off his debts, and arrange for a meeting of all interested parties Saturday for a funeral for Ranma."
Nodoka tried to appear calm. Since her son's disappearance, she had worried about him, but the constant reassurance of her husband kept her from fearing the worst. "But why would we throw him a funeral. Is he not still alive training for a fight?"
Usagi shook her head. "I have no clue what lies the dishonorable panda has told you, but one week ago, two fools named Tatewaki Kuno and Happosai misused an ancient magical artefact, and sent myself, your son, and a beast of unimaginable power into a place called the Null Point Prison. It is a world comparable to Eden, but meant as a war zone." She set down her tea, staring into the near empty cup. "You see, the device was made by a race with few skills, to send whatever horrors they could not defeat to this place, where the magic would summon a champion to kill it. But since those bastards sent a good being into it, the magic summoned a creature of evil to kill him."
She looked up to the face of Nabiki. "Since Ranma was both good and a nexus of chaos, it looked for someone who was evil and a nexus of order. But such things don't exist, as even warlords and dictators are chaos, bowing to their own whims rather than any normal order. I was chosen as a representative of order, as the beast was chosen as one of evil. In this world, for every day that passed here, one hundred years passed there.
"After 300 years, we were able to open a portal to leave, but the creature tried to follow." A tear began to fall down her face. "Ranma...he held it inside the wormhole as we escaped. But the wormhole collapsed, and he and the creature..."
She shook her head. "Ranma is dead." She tossed a necklace at Nodoka. "He gave me this...in case he didn't make it."
Nodoka didn't need to open it, she already recognized it. It was a present she had given Ranma last month when he turned seventeen: it was a locket with her picture in it, as well as the last picture she had taken with him before the training trip. "My son..."
"Wait!" said Akane, "how could he escape with you if he died?"
Usagi smirked. "Did you think that a single man and woman would hold onto lost and often unrequited love for three centuries?"
Akane growled. "You...you...you PERVERTS!"
Her tirade was cut short as Usagi seemed to teleport over to her, burying her fist in the Tendo School heir's gut. "I see what I told you failed to stick." Removing her fist, Usagi resumed her seat, as Akane bent over the table, trying to catch her breath. "And to finish my answer, we had five children."
"Grandbabies?" asked Nodoka, only to receive a scoff from Usagi.
"So, I tell you your son died, was sentenced to death by two idiots who have plagued this house for over a year, listen while this little girl whom your son once loved calls him names, and all you can respond to is that you have grandchildren?" Seeing Nodoka look at her with clueless eyes, as if that was the right answer, Usagi shook her head. "Well then, I guess they will be taking my last name. At least it will save them from the dishonor the panda had brought upon the Saotome name."
"My husband is an honorable man," said Nodoka, her voice now turning ice cold.
Usagi smirked. "Explain to me how whoring out your son on false promises is honorable? How is it honorable to toss a child into a pit of starving cats while he is bound with fish products, until he is past screaming for his mother, and the cats drive him mad? How is it honorable to make multiple promises for his hand in marriage for as little as a bowl of rice, a fish, and two pickles? How is it honorable to trick your child into signing a contract that if they meet some ill defined term as being a 'man among men' that they'll have to kill themselves?"
Usagi stared at Nodoka, her eyes cold as death. "Here is how it will go down, Mrs. Saotome. We will have the funeral Saturday, my children and I will then be the ones to dispense justice to the Kuno clan as well as the founder of this school. Any assaults on any of our persons will be met with either deadly force or with an act that will cripple the attacker. I will leave it up to my children if they have any desire to keep in contact with any of you. Frankly, I would rather never have any of these people—you included—cross my path again. If they try and force the issue, death will be something they call for when we are finished with them."
Standing up and smoothing her outfit out, she bowed to Nabiki. "The funeral will begin at 3PM. Also, I will stop by later tomorrow. If possible, I would like a photo album of any and all photos you have stored of my mate. It would be nice to have solid photos to look at. Good day."
Before Nodoka could try and shame her into recanting her statements, Usagi faded from sight.