Black Moon - Eclipse of the Sun
Chizuko flew overhead, as Sailor Sun and Sailor Io roof hopped
toward Rei's shrine. She soared, and banked. Except for the
strange colors, the sky reminded the bird of solar flares, and
flying through stellar winds kicked up by the sun.
With eyes honed to find dangerous sunspots, the bird watched over
her mistress. Or was that Master? It was very confusing. It was so
much easier when Chizuko had first met Angwyn. She had befriending
the lost creature, which was freezing in the cold of space.
Chizuko had to laugh at that. It was far colder here on Earth than
that day in the Sun's corona. But with magical aid, the bird could
live outside of the Sun. Its natural form was hardly physical,
more pure energy, radiant and bright. But it had seen such amazing
sights. It almost wasn't believed that life could exist away from
the Radiant. It had shocked Chizuko's people when they had
discovered that life thrived out in the cold void named Nephrim,
which meant death and despair. But Angwyn had managed to visit for
a few short hours at great expense of power, to prove that she
Chizuko started to circle lower, as they approached the shrine.
Already, it had spotted Sailors Mars and Mercury. They waved to
Chizuko, and the approaching pair.
"Well, finally. You two might get a week off, but some of us still
had work to do," Sailor Mars said with a grin.
"Rei! They're newlyweds! They deserve their time," Sailor Mercury
said with a bit of outrage.
"Ami, I was teasing. You really need to get a better sense of
humor, you know that?" Sailor Mars replied. She had a frustrated
look on her face.
Sailor Mercury blinked, and then smiled. "Oh. Sorry."
"That's all right, Ami. How have guys been doing?" Sailor sun, nee
Ranma Saotome asked. Chizuko landed on a tree nearby.
"Oh, not too bad. We've been hunting the last of the youma that
Jadeite had created. By the way, I want to welcome you two back.
It's good to see you guys," Sailor Mercury responded. "We are
going to be scouting out Jadeite's dimension again today. We're
also bringing something special with us. Everyone else is tied up,
and we thought that you two would want to help."
"Sure, Ami. Ready when you are," Sailor Io, nee Akane Saotome,
said with grin. This was her first mission as one of the Sailor
Senshi. It didn't sound that exciting though.
"Here are the portal controls," Sailor Mercury said, showing what
appeared to be three large wristwatches with buttons and LCD
screens. She explained how to use them quickly, and then resumed
the conversation. "We just want to check to make sure we didn't
miss anyone, and take care to make sure that no youma are using
Jadeite's base. Some of the new ones he made were fairly smart.
We'll have to clear them out some day, but first we need to get
rid of the ones stranded here on Earth. Grab a backpack and let's
get started. Any questions?"
The three Senshi shook their heads, and Sailor Mercury gave them
their 'watches'. She rapidly entered some instructions, and a
portal opened, showing the desolate realm of Jadeite. The four
girls stepped through, followed by a hawk. Chizuko pumped her
wings, gaining altitude quickly, With a birds eye view she looked
down at the ruins of Jadeite's dreams. The fortress was still
formidable, but showed no signs of life. His gardens, with their
strange fruits, had wilted without care. Soon everything would be
The rest of them started to scout out the remainder of the area,
making sure that no one was left behind. Thousands of people had
been kidnapped by Jadeite, and some had been missed on the first
rescue mission. They had come back several times, and found a few
people that were still missing. They were pretty sure that they
had everyone now, but there were still a few areas that needed to
be scouted out.
Two hours later, they had finally checked out the last complex.
"Well, it looks like we're done finally. Except hunting for the
youma that have run into the surrounding desolation. We'll just
have to check on Jadeite's fortress every few weeks to make sure
they don't move in and try to set up home," Sailor Mercury said.
Sailor Io nodded, "That's pretty smart. Don't want a repeat of the
Chizuko glided to a nearby resting perch, and spoke up. "I think
I've spotted an encampment of youma, about ten miles into the
Sailor Sun looked up in surprise. "Really? How many?"
"Only a dozen or so, Mistress. But it looks like a battle raged
near there. Is it possible the youma fought among themselves, and
these are the survivors?" Chizuko asked.
Everyone looked over at Sailor Mercury. "It's possible. There
might have been a struggle to see who would be in charge. We can't
leave them though. We'll have to wipe them out on the next visit,"
Sailor Mercury said.
"Why wait? I say we go take them out right now," Sailor Mars said.
She made a dramatic pose, like she was getting ready to fight
right then and there.
"Because the only one of us that has any real power is Sailor Sun.
Do you really want to go and fight a dozen youma by being just
pretty?" Sailor Mercury scolded. "You all know that we are cut off
from our planets."
Sailor Mars shook her head in frustration and opened her mouth,
but was cut off by Sailor Sun. "Why don't I charge you guys up,
and then we go deal with the problem? 'Sides, Akane looks like she
wants to try out her new powers," Sailor Sun replied.
Sailor Mercury blinked, and then nodded sagely. "That would work.
We haven't tried that before."
Sailor Sun held out her hand palm up and then motioned the others
to clasp her hand. Slowly Sailor Sun focused on releasing the
energy into them, just like she had when they blasted Jadeite.
Soon the other senshi felt charged and ready to continue. All too
quickly, they were trotting through the afternoon heat, keeping to
the shade of outcroppings.
Chizuko led them to a jutting overlook, where they could make
their plans. All of them could feel the evil emanating from below.
Sailor Io wrinkled her forehead in distaste. They waited and
counted the youma, making sure how many there were. They were
positive that there were at least thirteen left. Making some
impromptu plans, they sprang into action.
Working in pairs, they started to blast the strongest of youma.
Four, including the leader, died before they could even figure out
what was happening. After that, it ended up taking about fifteen
minutes to finish the fight.
"Hey, Akane, just let yourself flow with your new powers. It'll
come naturally," Sailor Sun said over her shoulder.
Sailor Io focussed, and then released with a shout of 'Fiery Ice
Shard' her new attack. It was aptly named, being a large shard of
ice that exploded in a burst of fire. "Wow, that's much more
powerful than even your ki attacks, Ranma." Akane said, letting
her get distracted for just a moment. She was nearly paid a costly
lesson, but managed to duck at the last moment.
"Hey, ixnay on the names you two. The disguise fields don't work
if you shout your names around," Sailor Mars said as she ducked a
blow, and then blasted the youma.
The battle ended soon after words. They split up and searched the
encampment. Unfortunately, they found the remains of two people,
drained hideously. Sailor Io clasped a hand to her mouth, and
Sailor Mars yelled, "Damn youma. They were just food to them.
Nothing but cows being led to the slaughter."
"Come on. Let's get out of here. I think we've seen enough,"
Sailor Mercury said, dragging them away from the bodies. She
looked quite sick.
"We can't leave them here, Ami. They need a proper burial or rite.
It isn't right to leave them," Sailor Mars said. She shook herself
free, and went back in. Carefully she wrapped the dried bodies up
in some cloth from the encampment, and then dragged them out into
the open. Sailor Sun helped as best she could.
Sailor Mars took a moment to compose her thoughts. The other
Sailor Senshi had recovered their composure, and bowed their heads
in respect. Sailor Mars started to chant a short pray for the
departed. She might not be a full priestess, but she could do some
rites when called upon.
Waiting a few minutes, Sailor Mercury pulled out packages and
handed them to everyone. "Now for the last part of the mission.
This is an inhospitable world, and we could terra-form it. It
might take a long time, but look what you could have! An empty
world, just waiting to spring to life." Sailor Mercury seemed to
be enrapt on the idea. "Maybe someday, we'll be able to send
people here to help with over crowding on Earth!"
"Wow, who thought of that?" Sailor Io asked.
"Would you believe that Usagi did? She just hated looking at this
place, and seeing it so barren and lifeless. She made a comment
that she wished that it could at least have grass," Sailor Mercury
"Yeah, she was all upset until Ami told her that you could change
a world and make it livable. She seemed to think it's a great
idea, and named the world Solitude. So we're going to try. Let's
spread the seeds as wide a possible. We want to put them in or
next to water, right Ami?" Sailor Mars said.
"That's right! Let's do it, and then meet back here in fifteen
minutes," Sailor Mercury said.
They split up into pairs, and did their assigned tasks quickly. In
almost no time they were back together. Though Sailor Sun did
cheat a little, using Chizuko to take her package and spreading it
"So what are we spreading around?" Sailor Io asked when they got
"Ferns, grasses, lichens, and molds mostly. I also slipped in some
acorns. They should do fine in this area, I think," Sailor Mercury
replied. "Well, I think we're done with this mission. Unless
anyone has something they have to do?" Sailor Mercury asked the
group. They all started to shake their heads.
"Mistress, I haven't had the chance to look at this place's sun.
It would only take about a half an hour. May I please?" Chizuko
asked, preening itself.
Sailor Sun looked over at Sailor Mercury. "I'm sorry, we really
can't stay that long, Chizuko. Maybe next time," Sailor Mercury
"Hey, Ami, couldn't Akane and I stick around to wait for Chizuko?
We could use our portal controllers and head back then. You
wouldn't have to wait then!" Sailor Sun said.
"I don't know Ranma. We're not supposed to be here with less than
four of us. The youma can be too dangerous," Sailor Mercury
"Somehow I think that Akane and I'll be fine. After all, we lived
here for a month with hundreds of youma running around. What do
you think, Akane?" Sailor Sun asked.
"Really, we'll be fine Ami. And besides, it's only a half an hour.
What could happen?" Akane asked.
"Besides, I kind of want to visit the cave we lived in the last
time. It's kind of a special place," Sailor Sun pleaded.
"Oh, ok. But if you aren't back in an hour, we'll bring all of the
senshi to track you down. Got that?" Sailor Mercury said sternly.
"Sure!" the two newest sailors chorused. Chizuko leaped into the
air, rising out of sight quickly.
With a few taps of her fingers, Sailor Mercury opened a portal
back to Earth. She and Sailor Mars stepped through, carefully
carrying the bodies of the two dead people. With a snap, the
"Well, Akane? Do you want to go to our cave?" Sailor Sun asked.
"Sure Ranma," She responded as they trotted slightly to the south.
In about fifteen minutes, they had found the entrance to the
filthy cave that they had been forced to live in for over a month.
They both wrinkled their noses at the smell. "Ugh, let me purify
it with my fire, all right?" Sailor Sun said. She clapped her
hands, and released a beam of heat, vaporizing the grime in the
cave, and causing the rocks to glow slightly. In the other cave,
she heated to water to boiling temperature.
"Ranma, why did you want to come here?" Sailor Io asked.
Sailor Sun shushed her for just a second, and then untransformed.
Using the water in the second cave, she switched back to her
proper gender. Smiling at Sailor Io, he stepped outside where they
had practiced for hours upon hours. Taking her cue from her
husband, Akane also untransformed.
"Because I wanted to leave a mark here," Ranma said. Very
carefully, he started to carve a large heart in bas relief on the
rock face. He used his ki to explode very small amounts of the
rock. In a few minutes, he signed his and Akane's name in the
heart. "Do you like it?" Ranma asked.
"Oh, Ranma, it's perfect. We do have so many good memories here
don't we? Which is really strange, considering how hard we were
trying to get home," Akane said.
Ranma enclosed her in a light hug, and kissed her, silencing any
further talking. They were still preoccupied when they heard the
cry of a hawk in the air. With impish grins, they transformed
again. Sailor Sun sent a flare of energy into the air to attract
Chizuko, who promptly landed.
"It's a little barren, Mistress. But there are beings like me
there. Unfortunately they didn't trust me, so I didn't get the
chance to talk to them much. They said they would have to talk to
their thinkers before I came back," Chizuko said.
"Well, at least that's something. It was quite odd to find out
that there were creatures living on the sun, you know that? Neat,
but different," Sailor Sun said. "Are we ready then? Let's go
home." She tapped the keys that would open a portal home. The
controller beeped a few times, and then buzzed. She tried again,
with the same results.
"That's odd. What does 'no link established' mean any ways?"
Sailor Sun asked. Electronics was never her strength. Actually,
anything smacking of academics wasn't really her strong point.
Sailor Io tried with her controller, which also beeped a few times
and then buzzed.
"This isn't funny Ranma. How are we going to get home?" Io asked.
A hint of panic had crept into her voice.
"I . . . don't know. Let's head back to Jadeite's fortress. Maybe
some machine there is stopping the controllers," Sailor Sun said
"Ranma, would you know what it looks like?" Sailor Io fumed.
"Don't worry, Sailor Io. I'm sure that I can be of assistance. I
am fairly conversant with technology, having learned much from the
first Sailor Sun," Chizuko said.
With that the three intrepid adventurers headed back to the
fortress. It didn't take long for them to discover that no machine
was stopping them from getting back.
Chizuko did have better news it seemed. "It looks like the portal
machine is down or being fixed. The spatial beacon that Jadeite
planted still seems to be working though. So we could use his
device to send us home. But it doesn't have enough energy for all
of us, unfortunately," Chizuko said finally.
Sailor Sun snickered. "So why don't I charge it up with my power?
If there's one thing I've got, it's a lot of power. Might as well
use it for something other than blasting the bad guys."
Chizuko blinked, and then nodded. "That is a very good idea. With
a few hours of effort, you should be able to charge the entire
castle for months. But prolonged use of your higher phase powers
is detrimental to your health, Mistress."
"It is?" Sailor Sun yelped. She made a warding gesture against
"Unfortunately, your Solar Flare power and the greater variant
used against the Dark Kingdom's fleet are quite dangerous. Angwyn
didn't survive her use of her higher phase powers. But she knew
that, and was willing to lay down her life to save the kingdom."
Chizuko bowed its head in memory.
"Why is it so dangerous?" Sailor Io asked.
"The metaphasic technology that allows Sailor Sun to tap into the
geo life force of the Sun was considered dangerously unstable.
Angwyn's whole life was dedicated to learning how to tap that
power safely. In many ways, it is like the other Sailor Senshi's
connection to their worlds, but far less stable. The first phase
powers were easily accessed, but provided a glimpse of the many
magnitudes that existed beyond," Chizuko chatted amiably along.
"They were on par with the powers that could be accessed by the
Sailor Senshi. The second phase power was about twice as powerful,
but accurate control eluded her. Continued leakage occurred that
sterilized Angwyn. It was quite devastating to her when she found
"So that was the power that she used to wipe out that fleet huh?"
Sailor Sun asked hopefully.
"No, that was an experimental phase three power level. That power
was used knowing it would kill her. It caused an area of space
millions of kilometers wide to be heated to one million degrees.
She shouldn't have felt anything when it went off," Chizuko moped.
"Do you mind Mistress? I really don't feel like continuing this
conversation right now."
"Um, sure. Can I charge up the machine so we can go home? I really
don't feel like staying here any longer," Sailor Sun said. She
looked over at Sailor Io worriedly.
"Don't worry Ranma. We'll figure out someway of fixing this. You
need to go see a doctor though. Just to see if you've already hurt
yourself," Sailor Io smiled, trying to reassure the shorter girl.
Chizuko led them to the platform that brought Sailor Sun and Akane
here so long ago. They toiled for about an hour, setting up the
necessary components to be ready to receive a charge. Sailor Sun
didn't want to worry the others, but the rest of the group should
have made it here by now. Something was wrong, dreadfully wrong.
The hawk quickly finished the settings, and then set Sailor Sun to
charge the facility while it modified Sailor Io's portal
controller to be able to control this facility remotely. It took
about an hour to charge it sufficiently.
Sailor Sun was incredibly bored by then. Bored and worried. They
set the coordinates for Tokyo, and jumped through. The portal
yawned close behind them, on an empty world where life was just
starting to take hold.
The shadowy figure on a throne frowned. This energy was familiar,
but slightly different. Was it Sailor Moon? It shouldn't be
possible. The only Sailor Senshi now active would be Pluto. It
wouldn't matter, one of his minions would be sent to eradicate her
once and for all. His eyes sparkled for just a second, and it
almost seemed that the upside down black moon symbol on his
forehead glowed a dark red. There was no doubt about his eyes
though. They did glow, showing the evil hidden in the human form.
Pluto had made her fatal mistake. Now the gates of time would
finally be his. The future would be molded to his whims. And here
he was sure that Pluto would be the cunning one, hiding until it
was an opportune time to strike back. She had made a fatal mistake
too early in the game.
Black shadows swirled around him. One of the shadows separated
itself from the mass of darkness. It resolved itself into an
almost skeletal shape. Its eyes glowed red. "What is your bidding,
master?" it said in a sibilant whisper.
"Hunt for Sailor Pluto. Bring her body to me, so that I may have
the key to time," the figure on the throne crooned. Its eyes of
fire closed for just a second. "She is hiding in Nerima. You know
what to do."
"Yes, master," it hissed in response.
Genma was startled out of his sleep by a bright light appearing
next to him. He turned over and blinked. His son was glowing where
he lay. Genma scratched his head with his Panda claws for a
second. Wasn't he a boy when he went to bed? And when did she get
Ranma sat straight up, and gasped. She clutched her head, moaning
in agony. Ranma felt suddenly crowded in her own head. Hearing a
familiar growling she looked up and then read the sign the panda
wielded... 'What's going on?'
"Akane!" Ranma yelled, bouncing out of bed. She charged over to
her old room, then slammed the door open, just in time to see
Akane stagger towards the door, holding to the desk for support.
She was dressed as she had been earlier in the day.
"I'm all right, Ranma. What happened?" Akane asked.
Genma growled a sound that the rest of the household had figured
out meant as 'yeah'.
"I don't know. This is really odd," Ranma muttered. "We're back at
the Tendo's, though."
"Hey, Akane, what happened to your hair? Isn't that a little
short, even for you?" Nabiki asked from the door.
"Ranma, how could you let that principal do that to your fianc'ee?
Have you no shame?" Soun wept from right behind Nabiki.
Ranma focussed on Soun for just a moment? "Fianc'ee?" She had a
Soun started to bawl, bemoaning the injustice of such an
ungrateful boy. The panda started to pat him on the back in a
Nabiki sighed, "Yeah, the girl you're holding. My little sister,
remember?" Ranma was acting even goofier than normal. Heck, Ranma
was even holding Akane like she cared about her.
Akane shook her head momentarily, trying to shake away some
memories that agreed with what Nabiki said. "Nabiki, are you all
right? Ranma and I have been married for over a week," Akane said
Silence reigned for a full minute. Finally, Soun broke the
silence. "Akane, are you feeling well?"
"Dad! Ranma and I wanted to get married. Even if the others blew
up the wedding, we're still married. See?" Akane said, as she held
up her wedding ring.
This was too much for everyone except for Kasumi. As a group, they
fainted with expressions of disbelief on their faces. Kasumi
summed it up quite nicely with her response, "Oh my heavens! How
Akane and Ranma just looked at each other in surprise. What was
going on? Soon everyone was dragged down to living room, and
awakened. Nabiki awoke first.
"I could have sworn I just had a nightmare," Nabiki mused to
"Nabiki! I can't believe you. Why can't you accept that Ranma and
I got married," Akane cried out. Ranma just watched owlishly.
"I'll believe it when I see the papers, little sister," Nabiki
said with a grin. She didn't know what was going on, but it was
probably some scam like that time they pretended to be married to
Ranma squinted at Nabiki for a moment, and then pulled out her
wallet, "Ok. Here you go. I've got my pocket photocopy right
here," Ranma said nonchalantly.
Nabiki blinked so hard that you could hear it. She snatched the
small piece of paper out of Ranma's hands, and started to read it
furiously. "Oh, shit. This looks real." She paused just a second.
"But the date is wrong. It's for the day before the wedding,"
Nabiki said as she smiled.
Akane put her hand on Ranma's shoulder, "Of course it is, it was
the 'wedding insurance'... remember?" Akane giggled for a second
and then continued on, "See, it has both of our signature stamps
on it. It shows Akane Saotome now on my inkan!"
Genma and Soun materialized behind Nabiki with an audible 'pop'.
"It looks real, Saotome. Finally our houses are joined. Oh happy
days!" Soun said, starting to dance with the panda. The panda
started exploding party favors and waving signs around,
proclaiming his joy.
"Well, I'm going to bed. We still have school tomorrow, you know,"
Nabiki said with a smirk. She'd stay up just long enough to watch
Ranma get kicked out of Akane's room. No way was she going to be
fooled by Ranma of all people.
Soun started weeping again, "Saotome, let us celebrate."
The panda nodded his head vigorously. Together, they walked out
into the night, looking for a bar.
"You two should go to bed. It's late you know," Kasumi chided,
shuffling the two up the stairs.
"Just a second, Akane. I've got to go get my stuff out of my old
room and get some hot water," Ranma said as he trotted down the
"Sure Ranma. I'm going to change for bed," Akane said over her
Ranma reappeared in the hall with her stuff in a big pile.
Carefully, she slid open the door to Akane's room, and slipped in.
She reappeared, and went into the bathroom. Ranma finally went
into Akane's room, and closed the door. Nabiki smirked again. Good
acting at least, she thought. She waited a moment for sounds of
fighting or screaming. When it didn't occur she headed into her
own room, unpacking her microphone as she strained to hear sounds
through the wall.
Nabiki waited a few more seconds, and then slid a microphone over
to Akane's windows on a fishing pole to listen in on the couple's
conversation. She'd have her proof that they weren't married any
"Huh, that was a little weird. All of my stuff was back in my
pop's old room. And odd ending to an odd day, I guess," Ranma said
"Well, we'll deal with that in the morning. We're newlyweds,
remember? Right now I have other plans," Akane purred.
"Hmm, I think I know what you're planning," Ranma replied softly.
Nabiki couldn't believe what she was hearing. This was impossible.
What she heard next shocked her. In a few moments, she turned off
the microphone. Not that she needed to have it to hear what was
going on in the next room. Akane was enthusiastic, to put it
Nabiki just stared at the wall that separated her room from
Akane's. How very strange.
Kasumi was humming a nice little tune when she heard yells of
combat from outside. She stuck her head out of the kitchen to
watch Ranma and Akane fly through the air, trading blows faster
than she could make out. "How nice! It looks like Akane decided to
take father Saotome's place this morning," Kasumi said with a
small smile, heading back to her beloved kitchen.
Nabiki grumbled, and sat down at her normal place. She glanced
around trying to spot where her father was. She was distracted for
a moment by Akane yelling at Ranma, telling him that they were
going to be late. Then the last night's events crashed into her
psyche when she saw Akane. "'Morning Akane. I've got to get to
school early today. I'll see you then," Nabiki said, stuffing some
rice in her before dashing out the front door, passing her sister.
"Uh, bye Nabiki. See you in a while," Akane called, suppressing a
shiver down her spine. "Ranma! We need to get to school as fast a
possible. Nabiki just left," Akane shouted.
"Uh, oh," Ranma said as he dashed up the stairs. In record time,
they both reappeared ready for school. They dashed out the front
"Ranma, I think we want to get to school as fast as possible,"
Akane said in between breaths.
"Right! Let's hit the roof tops then." And with that, they both
leaped up and onto the roofs. "Umm, Akane. Why are we going to
Furinkan High School? We've been going to Juuban High for a while
now, " Ranma continued to speak as they dashed to school.
"I'm not sure. It just feels right. I think we should start
looking for answers there. I want to know why everything is weird,
and what happened to the other senshi." Akane replied.
Distance was eaten quickly, and they cleared the fence just in
time to hear Kuno yell, "What? Akane Tendo declares she is married
to Ranma Saotome? Never shall I let this travesty stand. So swears
Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High School!" Thunder
rumbled off in the distance. "Saotome has gone too far this time.
I shall hold back nothing!"
Kuno then spun towards the gate and spotted Ranma instantly. He
charged Ranma from fifty feet away in a berserk fury. Ranma
thought for a second then gathered his ki into his hands. Waiting
until Kuno raised his hands to strike at him, he unleashed his ki
blast, destroying the bokken.
Kuno stopped and stared in surprise at Ranma and then the handle
of his bokken. "How dare you use foul sorcery to destroy my
weapon, Saotome," Kuno cried out.
"Sorcery? Kuno have you gotten your eyes examined? That was pure
martial arts. Just because you can't do one, doesn't mean that
it's magic," Ranma snorted. Now Ranma remembered why they moved
back to Juuban.
"Disgusting lair! I shall return and defeat you even with your
sorcery and fell magics!" Kuno said loudly. Ranma just shook his
head. At least some things never changed.
Akane was shaking her head when she felt an attack from behind.
With a loud clang, a huge combat spatula connected to the back of
her head. Akane grunted, and then staggered. "Oww."
"How dare you try and steal Ranma-honey, Akane? My claim's as
strong as yours is. His father took my dowry. Ranma is mine! I
thought you understood that? He's mine!" Ukyo cried out, tears in
her eyes. She stopped yelling for a second, mostly because Akane
wasn't on the ground moaning in pain. As a matter of fact, she was
glowing brightly, hands clenched tightly.
"Ukyo, how dare you? Attacking someone from behind!" Akane yelled,
showing herself to be much more angry than hurt.
"I don't need to attack you from behind. Let's settle this once
and for all. Winner takes all!" Ukyo yelled, a frantic tone to her
voice. It had been a bad week for her. Ranma hadn't talked to her
or even come over to Uchan's.
"Ukyo, don't make me . . .. " Akane pleaded in vain, and Ukyo
swung her weapon again. Ukyo swung her spatula like it weighed
nothing, using it like a great swordsman uses the finest of
But all of the attacks were to no avail. Not one hit connected or
even came close. "Fine Ukyo, winner takes all," Akane replied
finally. Then she went on the offensive. Sixteen blows to each of
Ukyo's hands, disarming her in the blink of an eye. Then a snatch
to grab the spatula before it hit the ground. Finally, she rained
three blows to Ukyo's head with her own weapon.
Ukyo stood there stunned with the rest of the crowd, who all made
sounds of 'ooh,' 'ah,' and finally one comment voiced by Nabiki,
Ukyo then slumped to the ground, unconscious before she hit the
dirt. Her spatula landed on the ground next to her.
Akane brushed her hands off, and then turned to Ranma. A
mischievous grin crossed her face. She took three quick steps, and
grabbed Ranma's head. To the utter amazement of everyone but
Ranma, Akane kissed him full on the lips.
Kuno fainted dead away with a shocked expression on his face.
Nabiki just stared at her younger sister. Things just weren't
adding up. This was not her sister. Could it be another case of
possession? Like the cursed killer doll from that resort, maybe?
Akane finally broke the kiss, and then turned to the crowd, "Does
anyone else have a problem with my marriage?" Akane said firmly,
with just a hint of the pain that she would cause anyone who dared
Not a sound could be heard except for the birds chirping in the
background. Either they were too frightened, or like Nabiki, too
smart to say anything right now.
With that, the couple walked hand in hand into the school. The
doors closed softly behind them, leaving pandemonium behind.
Ranma was walking pretty much wherever Akane pulled him. He had
this huge silly grin on his face. A palm tree frond hitting him in
the face snapped him out of it finally. He shook his head to clear
it up, and then glanced around. He shuddered involuntarily. The
school office spread out in front of him in all the glory of
"What's up Akane?" Ranma asked.
"I'm going to check our records, and see if they've got them
transferred over to Juuban High School. Hopefully that will help
us figure out what's going on," Akane said distractedly. Ranma
nodded his agreement.
They waited a few minutes for the lady behind the counter that
looked like a small grass hut. Finally she came back. "I'm sorry
Ms. Tendo, but your records haven't been transferred over to
Juuban High School. It is quite irregular to transfer in the
middle of the year. I'm sure it won't be approved," the older lady
said with a trace of resentment.
"Don't you mean its been months since they were transferred,
ma'am?" Akane asked pleasantly.
"Of course not. You've been here, and I never heard a request to
have your records sent there. You had an almost perfect
attendance, until you were kidnapped a few weeks ago." She clucked
her disapproval. Children these days and their pranks.
"Well, I need them transferred now. Ranma and I are going to be
moving shortly, and we need our paperwork to follow us," Akane
The office lady's eyes bugged out. "My goodness. You should be
married before you move out. It's not proper."
Akane proudly showed off her wedding ring. "We are, thank you!
It's Akane Saotome now."
"Well, I still don't think we are going to be able to transfer you
right now. This is highly irregular." The lady glared at them.
Ranma vented some of his frustration in a huge sigh. He looked
around to see if he could spot something, anything that could be
used to get them transferred. His eyes lit upon the office of the
principal. A wide grin split his face. In a booming voice, he
said, "Well, if we can't transfer, then I'll guess we'll have to
stay here. I hope I don't get into too many more fights today. And
I just know that I'm not going to make it on time tomorrow."
On cue, the door opened. "What's dis de be talking about? Ranma
Saotome needing to be transferred? We's gotta get them paperwork
through yesterday, Mrs. Takshi. I's don't want none of them types
in my school. You know the kine." Principal Kuno bounded into the
outer office, wearing his typical Hawaiian floral shirt, and
carrying his shears. "Don't worry, paperworks all done, and you
can be out of here today. Hey Akane, nice haircut lil wahine'. Da
big kahune' approves. You can transfer too." Principal Kuno beamed
Ranma and Akane walked out, managing not to break out into
laughter. They let the door close behind them, and then collapsed
in a fit of laughter. "Sucker. That was too easy," Ranma managed
to say between fits of laughter. Akane could only nod her head in
After finally catching their breath, they stood up in
preparation leave. Ranma looked quizzically at Akane. "So, where
are we going to go?" Ranma asked.
Akane rolled her eyes in disparagement. "I think we need to
catch a bus to Juuban High School. What were you thinking?" Akane
asked. Honestly, if it didn't relate to a fight, Ranma was always
expecting her to do the thinking.
"The same, of course. I just wanted to see if we were
thinking the same thing," Ranma said with a mirthful grin. With
that they tore off down the hallway.
Nabiki stepped out around the corner just as they went out of
sight. "So what's in Juuban? And why do they have to go there?"
Nabiki muttered to herself. Another mystery to solve. At least she
knew where they were going. Nabiki spun on her heel, and walked to
the payphone in the foyer. She slipped some yen into the machine,
and dialed a number she had on a slip of paper. Reaching into her
pocket, she pulled out Ranma's copy of the wedding certificate.
"Clerk's office," a male voice answered.
"Hello, is this the clerk's office of marriage licenses?" Nabiki
"Yes, ma'am. The line isn't too long right now. We can fit you in
if you wanted to come right over," the nasally voice said over the
"I'm calling to check the authenticity of a marriage license. I
think someone's trying to play a joke on me. I have the ID number
on the supposed marriage certificate," Nabiki said smoothly.
The voice sighed, and then replied, "One moment please. The number
please?" Nabiki answered with the number.
"Now this is odd. It appears that the record does exist, but
appears to be damaged. Let me try to check it from the archive.
One moment please," He said finally. Minutes later, he came back
on the line, and spoke up. "It appears that we'll need to contact
the couple. Do you happen to know a Ranma, last name unknown? I'm
afraid the only thing we have on the girl is her last name. It
looks to be a Miss Tendo. Are you a friend of either of these
people, or did I give you the information you needed?" He asked,
patiently waiting for a reply.
Nabiki let her eyes almost close, focusing on nothing. "His name
is Ranma Saotome. The girl is named Akane Tendo," Nabiki finally
answered. Her mind was awhirl. Akane and Ranma hadn't known about
the wedding until the morning of the wedding day. So they couldn't
have sneaked out to get the paperwork done. "Does it say who
filled out the paperwork or who was the witness?" she finally
"Um, sure one moment. Now that's odd, it says that I prepared it.
I don't remember. I'm sure I would remember a name like Ranma."
The sound of humming filled the phone for a few seconds. "Ah, luck
is with us Miss. I've got a name on one of the witnesses. She must
be a sister. One Nabiki Tendo. Do you know her or how to contact
her?" he asked.
"Are you absolutely sure of that?" Nabiki felt a strange sense of
deja vu strike her. Looking closely at the document, in the corner
where witnesses signed. There was her distinctive stamp, in
miniature. How could she have missed it? It was like her eyes just
washed over that section of the certificate.
"Of course ma'am. Thank you for your help, we'll be contacting the
Saotome's for further clarification," the man said, before hanging
"I know I didn't sign this. So how come I feel like I did, I just
can't remember the time?" Nabiki wondered out loud.
"Nabiki Tendo! Hast thou discovered how the scoundrel Saotome has
forced Akane to lie, and say these horrid, terrible things?" a
familiar upperclassman asked suddenly from behind her. Kuno
frowned slightly. Nabiki must be working very hard, she didn't
even notice him until he started to talk.
"No, Kuno baby, not yet. But I'm going to find out. And nothing is
going to stop me," Nabiki said determinedly. And with that, she
started to walk down the hall at a fast clip.
"Meethinks many oddities be afoot. Couldst it be a spirit, angry
and restive? Or as they might say, something wicked this way
comes," Kuno tried to rhyme. Unfortunately, his sense of melodrama
was on the spot.
The shadow searched in vain. How could any of them hide so well?
It was almost as if they just disappeared, only to spring into
existence at the strangest of times. The entire night had been
spent in a futile search of this area of Tokyo. Bare glimmerings
of power wafted here and there.
Despite the shadow's effort, nothing concrete had come to light to
uncover the Senshi of Time had been found. "Damn her to the
periphery of time," it muttered. It burned for revenge long
Its master would not brook failure. So it would stay here until
summoned, or die at the master's feet. It had garnered special
abilities, especially for hunting the elusive mistress of time.
The shadow had thought to seek out the strange energies around the
high school. But that had proven fruitless too. The shade stared
at the school from the shade of the trees.
It knew of a different way to bring its quarry to it. A dangerous
path, but worth the price, if it would slay Pluto. The shadow
would gleefully trade its life for one good chance at slaying its
ancient and hated foe. It was a spiteful thing, only half alive
and not really there. "Yes, it's time to play. Won't you come out,
Sailor Pluto?" the thing chuckled darkly.
A small breeze started to drift from the trees. Softly it sang of
a hurt kitten, pitifully crying for help. The lure set, the shadow
waited for its prey. In a few short minutes, a girl at the edge of
the school wandered its way. The girl followed the sounds deeper
and deeper into the woods. The shadows were finally dark enough.
Yuka had time for one short scream, as darkness engulfed her. She
collapsed in a heap of writhing, ebony smoke. She tried to scream
one more time. Instantly, the smoke swirled around her head,
gaining entrance into its victim's mouth. The last of the inky
blackness disappeared between her lips.
Yuka stiffened, and then jerked on the roots of the trees.
Suddenly she relaxed. With careful movements, the girl stood up,
then made her way back to Nerima High School. It was time to make
Laughing and playing an elaborate game of high-speed tag, Ranma
and Akane exited the school with all of their locker items. Ranma
jerked to a halt suddenly. Akane plowed right into him, knocking
them both over into the wet grass. Ranma instantly shifted into
his cursed form.
"Watch it, you clumsy tomboy. Didn't you feel that?" Ranma yelled
"Ranma! You jackass! You should talk about being clumsy. You were
the one who tripped me," Akane yelled right back. Didn't she
realize how much it hurt when she really called her a tomboy? She
pulled back her arm in preparation to strike at her significant
"Akane, not now. Don't you feel it? It's like a cold breeze in
your spine," Ranma whispered fiercely.
Akane stopped herself for just a second, and focused on that
awareness that warned of danger and wrongness. Her eyes snapped
open, and then searched the yard. "Where is it Ranma?" she asked
"I don't know. Some youma can possess people, hiding until they
strike. Jadeite used some in his invasion," Ranma whispered back.
She blinked to her feet, taking an unassertive stance that was
incredibly deceptive. With a calm glance, she assessed everyone
near her for signs of possession. Clouds covered the Sun, as a
storm appeared to be on its way.
Akane looked around, also trying to spot anything out of the
ordinary. She just about jumped out of her skin, when a cheerful
voice piped up behind her. "Hi, Akane. You sure made everyone
excited this morning," Yuka said, smiling easily. Yuka looked like
she had just tumbled in the grass. Her hair was messed, and she
had a few grass stains on her skirt.
"Oh, hi Yuka. Uh, something's come up. Ranma and I are moving out.
Mostly we're moving out to get away from the craziness of Nerima.
So this is going to be our last day at Nerima High. I hope you're
not upset that I'm leaving?" Akane asked. Yuka was one of her best
"Why would I be upset? I mean you stole all of the attention of
all of the boys, and then ignored them. You're the one who is
always getting kidnapped. And you've got the best guys always
hanging around you. I'm not upset, I'M FURIOUS!" Yuka screamed,
eyes turning into black orbs. Yuka struck out, an incredibly fast
and strong blow for a girl that had never studied martial arts in
It almost caught Akane off guard for just a moment, but months of
surviving in the most dangerous world had taught Akane a thing or
two. So she was surprised when her nose shattered, and the follow
up blow caught her in her solar plexus. Akane was positive that
Yuka had missed. She was still thinking that as she tried to get
her breath back. Akane collapsed to her knees in shock and pain.
"Akane! Aw, crud. Not Yuka," Ranma said, and then leaped to the
attack. He didn't hold back, using enough force to bend steel.
Blows rained down on the unsuspecting girl. She should have at
least felt the first hit. After over a hundred hits, Ranma started
to worry. Not even Jadeite's youma were this tough. It was like he
was hitting vapor.
Yuka laughed, and then struck back. Ranma wasn't going to fall for
whatever Yuka had done to Akane. She dodged and avoided all of the
blows. At least that's what she thought. Sickening impacts started
to strike home.
Ranma couldn't believe her eyes. She could see the blows missing.
Her skin was telling a different story though. Blows strong enough
to crush cars started to hammer her. Yuka laughed again, a
maniacal song of discordance.
All of a sudden, Yuka grabbed the air next to Ranma, and then
lifted her hands as if she had grabbed Ranma by the throat.
Stunned, Ranma lifted into the air, struggling for breath. Spots
danced in her eyes. Out of the corner of her eye, she finally
spotted the true battle. Something that was not Yuka's shadow, had
grabbed Ranma's shadow and was throttling it.
Skeletal hands gripped tighter. Ranma could feel something
grinding, starting to twist her neck to an unnatural angle.
"Leave her be, demon! None shall harm the pigtailed girl while
Tatewaki Kuno yet has breath. Strike! Strike! Strike!" Kuno
yelled. He attacked enthusiastically, fully certain of his
righteousness. His blows started to rip her clothing, but no
damage was inflicted other than that.
Yuka sneered, and with strength that any giant would have been
proud of, hurled Ranma directly at Akane. Akane had just a moment
to react as she was standing back up. Her arms came up, and
cushioned the blow. Both of them slammed through a wall, ending up
in a classroom.
"So, the stick boy has decided to come out and play. Are you
really that willing to die for you delusions, Blue Blunder?" Yuka
taunted, smiling tightly. She spun lightly to face him. Suddenly,
Kuno gulped. Something disconcerted him about those solid black
orbs. It was if he was staring at an ancient and terrible evil.
Ranma groaned as Akane slowly scrambled to her feet. Akane glanced
around to see the students fleeing as fast as possible. With a
newly familiar snap of her wrist, Akane summoned her henshin rod.
"Io Lumina Power, Make Up!" Akane cried, activating her
transformation. A swirl of light blasted into existence. In the
span of a moment, Sailor Io stood ready for battle.
"Akane. Attack its shadow. That's its weakness," Ranma coughed
hoarsely, eyes unfocussed.
Akane looked back and forth for a moment. Her gaze was dragged
back to Kuno with the snapping sound of wood. "Don't worry, Ranma.
I'll be right back." And with that Sailor Io leaped into the fray.
Yuka was searching around with a wide smile. It had worked
beautifully. She could feel the energy appear suddenly, almost on
top of her. Sailor Pluto would be hers. Casually, with the short
broken end of Kuno's bokken, she broke both of Kuno's arms and
then stabbed him with the jagged edge of the wooden sword. Kuno
fell to the ground, trying to clutch his hip.
"So finally you show yourself, Sailor Pluto! My master has need of
something that you have. Please, do resist. It will make it so
much more pleasurable. For me," the creature that controlled Yuka
snarled, turning towards the threat. Surprise showed on its face
for just a second.
"I think you have me confused with someone else. I am Sailor Io,
and I'm going to hurt you for harming these people. Fiery Ice
Shards!" Sailor Io yelled, thrusting her hands out, launching her
attack at the shadow.
"Who? What? NO!" Yuka managed to scream, before miming a hit that
never actually struck her body. Yuka staggered as Sailor Io
focused her ki into her hands. Waiting until the last second, she
unleashed her full speed attack against the shadow on the wall.
It shredded under the onslaught. Yuka seemed to almost dance to
hits that never struck her. Finally she collapsed as the shadow
disintegrated. Yuka lay on the ground, without any shadow at all.
Sailor Io glanced around at the crowd that had gathered at a
healthy distance. She then leaped to the roof, and then
disappeared in a flash. She landed in a tree on the far side,
reverting back to her normal form. She then dashed back to Ranma,
to check on her.
"Oh, Ranma. We need to get you to a hospital," Akane murmured,
carefully brushing the red bangs out of her eyes.
Ranma peeked her eyes open for just a second. "Just get me
someplace private, so I can transform. I'll be better in minutes,"
Ranma said, trying to grin. "You got it, huh?" Sudden coughs
gripped the smaller girl, speckling Akane's blouse with blood.
"I think we'd better hurry, Ranma," Akane said carefully helping
Ranma to her feet. Looking around for a moment, Akane gently
carried the almost unconscious Ranma into the girl's restroom.
With a little bit of coaxing, she managed to get Ranma to
transform into Sailor Sun and then set in a stall.
Akane waited anxious minutes for Sailor Sun to awaken. She cleaned
herself up as best as possible. A scream pierced the air, scaring
Akane for just a moment.
"What am I doing in the girl's room?" Ranma yelled. This was one
of his most frequent nightmares. He had never hated pink quite so
much in his life.
"Great, Ranma! Now we've got to get out of here before someone
comes to investigate. Let's get out of here," Akane said heading
for the door after opening the stall.
Ranma muttered curses as she reverted herself to her cursed form
and following her wife. She felt like her life had been put into a
blender and turned on puree. Luckily, no one spotted the sometime
girl exiting the bathroom.
Nabiki watched Kuno being put in the ambulance with cool
detachment. The paramedics were still checking on Yuka, who was
crying. Nabiki still couldn't believe what she had seen. Yuka, one
of the nicest and least dangerous girls at Furinkan High, almost
killed Tatewaki Kuno. Now Kuno might not be the best fighter in
the school, but Yuka shouldn't have even been able to even touch
Kuno. Much less hurt him
Nabiki noticed Akane and Ranma walking out and looking around.
"Well, you two managed to miss the excitement. Where were you?"
Nabiki jibed them with a grin.
Akane spoke up with an expression like she was trying to hide
something. "I, uh, pulled Ranma to safety after Yuka beat her up.
We're all better now though. Really!"
Nabiki squinted at Akane for a second. "What do you mean? You guys
fought her too?"
"Yeah! She kind of beat us both up before Kuno showed up," Akane
said with a nervous titter.
"Hey, I was about to take her out. No way was I going to lose to a
girl like Yuka!" Ranma puffed up like a threatened animal.
"So let me get this right. Yuka defeated Ranma, Kuno and you? And
then someone I didn't recognize popped up out of nowhere and
defeated her? Sounds like you'll have some serious competition in
the hero department Ranma," Nabiki snickered loudly.
"Hmpf. Like I ever really lose," Ranma grumbled.
"So you didn't see who the girl who defeated Yuka?" Akane asked
"Sure I did. I just don't know who she is," Nabiki said, glancing
to the side as the ambulance took off. Yuka seemed to have calmed
down for just a moment. Nabiki stared at the girl for just a
moment. Something seemed to be missing. Where was her shadow?
"Uh, we got to go Nabiki. See you later. Bye, bye," Akane said,
dragging Ranma off at a fast pace.
Nabiki stared at the retreating forms for a second. How come she
had the feeling she had just missed an important clue?
Usagi groaned, and shifted the buckets in her hands. She'd been
caught sleeping in class again. It was so unfair. She'd been
dreaming of being a wonderful and happy princess. Even Mamoru had
been there, in a dashing suit, dancing with her under the Earthlit
Earthlit sky? Now that was a bit odd. Usagi closed her eyes,
trying to remember her dream again. Yes, there was the Earth,
hanging low in the sky, just behind the palace walls. So what did
"Usagi! Quit that day dreaming right now. Or are you wanting a
detention, young lady?" Ms. Fuchiwari said icily, closing the door
"No ma'am. I was trying to recall something from my, uh, er, ah .
. ." Usagi started to sweat as she tried to avoid talking about
"Usagi, I think you need to talk to your counselor. Maybe he can
convince you of the importance of being attentive in class. God
knows I can't," the teacher said with a scowl. She pointed
imperiously in the direction of the office.
"Yes, teacher," Usagi had the presence of mind to look sorry. She
started to walk to the office section of the school after dropping
off her buckets. Glancing around, she spotted the time. Only an
hour till lunch. Then she could meet up with the rest of the
group. Maybe they would go see a movie later, or to the arcade
again. There was a new romance movie out. Usagi started to hum to
herself. It was just too nice of a day to stay upset over
"I said I was sorry. It just popped out. You're not a clumsy
tomboy," Ranma yelled rounding the corner. Silently he added to
himself, she just acts like it sometimes. He kept his eyes out for
any sudden ki manifestations. Or flying objects. Or fists. That's
why he didn't spot the girl in front of him.
"Really Ranma? Ranma, look out!" Akane yelled suddenly.
"Huh? What? WHOA!" Ranma tried to dodge before colliding with the
blond haired girl. Now this shouldn't be taken to mean that Ranma
wasn't capable. Years of martial arts training kicked in, moving
his body to the best of its abilities. With anyone else, it would
have been enough. But Usagi reacted exactly wrong, moving at just
the wrong time in the wrong direction. In other words, she reacted
Two bodies slammed into each other, skidding across the floor.
Each reacted to the crash in their typical fashion.
"Uh, sorry about that," Ranma started to say. He tried to untangle
himself from the compromising looking position.
He was interrupted Usagi, who started to cry up a storm.
"Waaaaaaah!" the blonde yowled.
"Look Usagi, I'm really sorry. Please don't cry," Ranma tried to
soothe her, failing miserably. "Hey, how 'bout I treat you to some
ice cream?" He said finally. He tried to keep his expression as
innocent as possible.
Instantly, Usagi perked up. "Sure! Who are you? You're sure
dreamy," Usagi said suddenly. You could almost see valentine
shaped hearts appear in her eyes. She clasped her hands, and held
them right next to her jaw. She looked incredibly adorable all of
"Huh?" Ranma jumped up suddenly. "What do you mean?" He was
suddenly amazingly nervous.
Ranma's progress changed trajectory, as a very, very angry Akane
hit him with an uppercut. His flight was cut a tad short as his
head impacted into the concrete ceiling. He stuck to the ceiling
for a moment, and then collapsed into a boneless heap at Akane's
"Ranma, we're married now. I am not going to let these
'misunderstandings' happen anymore. Do you understand me?" Akane
said loudly, looking directly at Usagi and Ranma. Ranma nodded as
best he could. She wasn't prepared for the blonde girl's response.
"Oh, how romantic. Hello, my name is Usagi Tsukino. Pleased to
meet you," Usagi said, bowing as she stood up. Somehow this all
Akane stared, and then responded. "Er, hello Usagi. My name is
Akane Ten . . . Saotome. This is my husband, Ranma Saotome. Sorry
for the problem," Akane said, flustered. She gave a little curtsy.
Ranma finally stood up himself, and bowed a bit.
"Wow, you're really are married? That is so neat. So are you new
students?" Usagi asked in her best cute act. New friends!
"Besides, I didn't get hurt a bit. I don't know how though."
"Yes. We, um, just transferred from Furinkan High," Ranma said. He
shared a quick look of confusion with his wife. "I broke our fall.
I'm a martial artist."
Usagi's eyes widened. "Is it true that you have to take martial
arts at Furinkan? There are so many stories about the weirdoes who
go there," Usagi said in a slightly scared voice.
"Uh, not really. Just some overly inflated egos, and some really
good martial artists," Akane said, trying to calm Usagi down. She
sighed to herself. Usagi didn't seem to remember either of them.
This was bad with a capital 'B'.
"Oh. Ok," Usagi said. She opened up door to the office, and
politely held it for the couple.
Things were starting to unravel for her enemy, the green haired
women thought to herself. Setsuna held her staff, keeping herself
out of time. With just the right push, Ranma and Akane would be
able to discover who was behind these temporal changes.
And maybe if they were lucky, even awaken the other sailors too.
But something would have to be done to reinforce their true
memories. Sailor Pluto thought for just a moment. Just a small
nudge, to guide the errant Sailor Sun to rescue her predecessor's
A small smile formed on her lips. Yes, that would be just perfect.
A picture can speak more eloquently than a novel. Especially if
the person you're trying to inform doesn't like to read.
Sailor Pluto raised her staff high, and started to spin it ever so
slightly. Carefully, she released the energy. One slow burst at a
time, so little that it was scarcely perceptible. Her machinations
caused a miniscule change in time. So small, even she couldn't
feel it occur. Her enemy wouldn't either.
After all, what can one picture do, anyway?
"Class, I would like to welcome our new students today. This is
Ranma Saotome and Akane Saotome. Please, tell us about
yourselves," the teacher said, smiling encouragingly.
"Sure. I'm Ranma Saotome and I'm a martial artist. Pleased to meet
you," Ranma said and then smiled.
"And I'm Akane Saotome. I'm a martial artist too. We're moving
into the area," Akane said bowing slightly.
"Are you related? Saotome isn't exactly common, now is it?" the
Akane stared at Ranma for a moment, blushing. Ranma blushed a bit
too. Simultaneously, they responded, "We're married actually."
"Oh. Well no funny stuff while you are in class. Please take your
seats, and we'll get back to the course materials," the teacher
said, waving the pair to their seats.
Akane ended up sitting next to Usagi, just like she had before.
Ranma ended up a few rows back. The rest of the class passed
Usagi sat under her tree, eating her lunch. Ami, Minako, and
Makoto sat with her, eating their own lunches. "You wouldn't
believe this hunk who just transferred guys. He's some sort of
martial artist, and he's so-o-o handsome," Usagi chatted amiably.
Makoto rolled her eyes. "Oh, sure. And you've fallen for him
already?" she said.
"No way. He's taken all ready," Usagi whispered conspiratorially.
"Usagi! So is she cute?" Makoto asked.
"She kind of scares me a bit. She hit him so hard he bounced off
of the ceiling," Usagi said seriously, nodding her head at the
incredulous looks of her friends.
"Well he deserved it. Ranma is always getting into these
misunderstandings. I have to watch him like a hawk," Akane said as
she walked up with her lunch box.
"But it's not my fault," Ranma whined a bit as he followed Akane
up to the group. "My pop stole that cart that one time, and
Shampoo probably still considers me her husband. I picked you,
"Hello, I'm Akane, and this is Ranma," Akane said with a smile.
She ruffled Ranma's hair affectionately. She whispered to Ranma,
"I know silly." Ranma felt reassured and sat down, starting to eat
The girls made their round of introductions. Usagi and Minako
watched in morbid fascination as Ranma started to inhale his food.
Makoto glanced over Akane's shoulder at a group of boys walking
up. She frowned for just a second. These guys had given her some
problems when she first showed up at school.
"Are you Ranma Saotome?" the leader said, setting himself in an
aggressive stance. He was fairly average looking, with an unruly
mess of brown hair, cut just a bit shorter than Ranma's hair. He
was, of course, wearing a Juuban high school uniform.
"Uh, yeah. Why do you want to know?" Ranma said, carefully
checking where they stood, and how he would have to attack to
defeat them all.
"We've heard you're some sort of undefeated hot shot martial
artist. At least that's what we've heard from Furinkan. I'm Sota
Jinkan, head of the karate club here," he said. He set himself in
a casual fighting stance. "I think your reputation is exaggerated.
No one is as good as they say you are. I'm challenging you to back
up your reputation."
"Uh, sure. Give me a second," Ranma said, and then turned back to
his food. He sighed deeply, and then attacked his food with
blinding speed. In mere moments, all of his food disappeared.
Ranma closed his lunch box, and then stood up. "All right, I'm
ready. Any rules?" he asked nonchalantly.
"First one to either give up or is knocked out, loses," Sota said,
watching Ranma carefully. This guy could be incredibly fast. His
friends backed up, giving them plenty of room. Akane and the girls
backed up too.
Akane got a frustrated look on her face. "Don't take too long
Ranma. We need to get back to class." She really couldn't believe
that Ranma was getting in another fight. She sighed finally. It
really wasn't his fault. He did have a reputation to protect.
"Sure!" Ranma said. He looked up at the clock tower checking how
much time he had left. Sota, seeing an opening, charged in a fast
and furious attack pattern.
He couldn't believe his eyes as Ranma dodged all of his attacks
for over two minutes. Ranma then bounced off of Sota's head and
landed lightly behind him. Ranma spun, and then tapped Sota on the
back of his head, all in the blink of an eye.
Ranma grinned. "Do you surrender?"
Sota glared for just a moment, and then dropped his hands. "Yeah.
You're good all right," Sota said. He would just have to train to
be faster. No way was he going to be shown up in his own school,
in front of his friends.
"You're not bad yourself. Got some potential, just need to work on
your speed a bit," Ranma said. He glanced up at the tower as the
bell tolled, warning that lunch was over. "Well, gotta go."
Grabbing his book bag, Ranma dashed behind Akane back into the
school. They were almost to their next class when Ranma spotted
something. He stopped for just a moment, staring at the art
display. Most of the pictures were of favored anime characters,
still lifes, and the occasional portraits.
What had caught his attention was a breathtaking rendition of a
hawk, up against the sun. Its feathers glinted an almost coppery
or bronze color. Ranma put his hand up to the glass.
"Chizuko," Ranma breathed. What had happened to sun-bird? And why
hadn't he remembered before now? He would have to talk to Akane
"Hey, Usagi. Ready for your ice cream?" Ranma said as he and Akane
met up with Usagi. Makoto and Minako followed behind, carrying
their book bags.
"I'm always ready for ice cream. And it's a nice way to get to
know new friends," Usagi said. She giggled for just a moment as
visions of ice cream danced in her head.
"Do you mind if we tag along, Ranma? We know a great ice cream
parlor just up the street," Minako said, smiling.
Ranma glanced over at Akane quickly. She elbowed him, and then
replied for him, "Sure thing. It would be nice to get to know you
And with that they walked down the road, in a small bunch. Ranma
ended up next to Akane and Minako. Makoto chatted with Usagi about
her latest culinary triumph. Minako and Akane kept up the small
talk as they walked down the street. At least until a street
washer drove by and splashed those closest to the street, Usagi
Usagi had a very clear view of Ranma as he seemed to shrink, and
his hair changed color. Usagi stopped and just stared at Ranma's
back. Ranma on the other hand had a much different reaction.
"Hey, there are people walking here you know. What is it with
water and getting me wet!" Ranma yelled at the truck, shaking her
fist at it as it drove down the road. It ignored her as only heavy
machinery can, flashing lights as it turned the corner.
"What? That's not possible," Usagi whispered to herself. Her eyes
grew very big. This sort of thing doesn't happen to a normal girl
Minako and Makato stared at the girl that had just appeared in
their midst. Makoto glared at Ranma. "Who are you, and where did
Ranma go?" Makoto demanded. Minako nodded her agreement. Usagi
just clutched her hands to her face, trying to hide her fear.
Ranma's head snapped to the side to stare at Makoto. An uneasy
smile plastered itself to redhead's face. She glanced over at
Minako and Usagi and saw the terror in the blonde's eyes. Ranma
slumped her shoulders forward, and sighed. Akane watched Ranma
with a bit of concern, but didn't step in to help out. This was
something that Ranma had to deal with.
"I am Ranma. Sorry about this," Ranma said dejectedly.
"Yeah right. Tell us another good one," Minako said, snickering.
"Ask her. She must have seen it," Ranma said, pointing at Usagi.
Makoto looked at Usagi while she was about to take the smaller
girl to task, when she really noticed Usagi's expression. "What?
She can't be Ranma. Ranma's taller, and has black hair." Usagi
nodded her head vigorously. "You saw Ranma turn into this girl?"
Usagi nodded her head again. "That's not possible." Usagi again
nodded her head.
"I saw it, Mako honey. Ranma really turned into this girl," Usagi
said, not quite as frightened anymore.
Minako glared daggers at the smaller girl. "How did this happen?"
Ranma sighed and started into his patented reply. "My pop dragged
me to China, where we both fell into these cursed springs. He fell
into the pool of the drowned panda. I fell into the pool of the
drowned girl. Now when I'm splashed with cold water I turn into a
girl. Hot water turns me back into a guy."
"You really expect me to believe that?" Makoto said with disbelief
written on her face, in bold typeface.
"It's easy enough to prove. All I need is hot water. Come on, I
still owe Usagi some ice cream," Ranma said continuing to walk to
the ice cream parlor. That lost the last of Usagi's worries. She
followed quickly, Minako and Makoto just a few steps behind.
Akane reached over and took Ranma's hand. She whispered to him,
"You did all right there. I'm sure they'll accept you when they
see you switch back." She squeezed Ranma's hand to offer some
Ranma smiled back, trying to put up a brave front. If there was
any group whose reactions he really cared about, it was these
Usagi attacked her triple scoop ice cream banana split, with
chocolate sprinkles on top. Ranma just snickered, remembering the
many times that Usagi had ordered ice cream at this very place.
The waiter finished giving everyone else her orders. Varied
confections of ice cream, and one glass of hot water. "Watch
carefully, Makoto. Nothing up my sleeve!" Ranma said with a touch
of humor in her voice. She poured the hot water on her head.
Minako and Makoto watched in fascination as the color deepened
into black, and Ranma's face shifted subtly.
They both stared for just a moment, and then Makoto snickered.
"Good thing Ami isn't here. She'd be wanting to take you over to
the hospital to see what makes you tick," the tall girl said with
Minako thought for just a second, and then smiled. "She would,
wouldn't she? After she finished fainting. Magic might blow up her
view of the world for a little while," Minako said.
Akane smiled, and then asked Makoto, "Do you ever get the feeling
that you've met someone before. Even when you couldn't have?
"Deja vu? Yeah. I had a bad case when I saw you two at lunch
today," Makoto said, twirling her spoon for just a second.
"Yeah, me too," Minako said. Usagi chimed in that she had felt it
too. "Wow, that's pretty exciting. I wonder if we shared a past
life or something?" Minako asked.
"Um, maybe. Have you tried to think back about it?" Akane asked.
Ranma stared at the girls intently. They seemed to concentrate for
a few moments.
"Nope, nothing. Dang it. Nothing ever exciting ever happens to
me," Usagi bemoaned. The other girls agreed.
"Oh, my gosh. Look at the time. I've got to go. I've got to get to
the park! Mamoru is going to be there any minute!" Usagi exclaimed
suddenly. Stuffing one last bite into her mouth, she dashed out of
Minako and Makoto sighed, both of them with sad and vaguely upset
frowns mirrored on their faces. "She'll never learn, will she?"
Makoto finally said.
"Nope, not likely. Even after her father found out about them, and
forbid her from talking to him. She still goes to the park to meet
him," Minako sighed.
Ranma and Akane glanced at each other. What was this. "Hey guys!
Me and Akane have to go apartment hunting yet today. See you
tomorrow?" Ranma said finally, breaking the silence.
"Sure! See you tomorrow," Minako said. She smiled as she gathered
her bag, and walked with everyone else out the door.
"That didn't work out so well, did it?" Akane finally broke the
silence, as she and Ranma continued their walk.
"Nope. So now what?" Ranma asked.
"Well, let's see if the place that we picked a couple of days ago
is still willing to rent to us. After that, we need to head back
to the dojo. Good thing tomorrow is a short day, so we can try to
move some of the stuff," Akane said.
"We've gotta figure out what happened to Chizuko too. I think he,
uh she might be back at Sailor Sun's space station. At least I
think so," Ranma said. He scratched his head in consternation.
"But only the other sailors can teleport. How are we going get
there without them?" Akane asked.
"I don't know for sure. Sailor Sun could kinda teleport herself.
It had to be in sunshine though," Ranma said, sighing a bit.
"Well, shall we try it out? It has got to beat riding the train
back to Nerima. I sort of wish we didn't have to go back," Akane
said, tossing her head in frustration. She had a terrible feeling
about going home.
"Me too. Well, why not? Come on!" Ranma said leaping nimbly to the
"The apartment first Ranma! Then we can go running around the
solar system later," Akane cried out as she followed him.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry," Ranma said, changing direction.
"Well, it's not too bad. Just a little small," Ranma said.
Akane agreed, and nodded her head. It was pretty close to some
take out joints. Perfectly situated, even if she wouldn't admit
that to Ranma.
Their new home lay in all its glory. One main room, and a kitchen,
with a very small bathroom. It was on the top floor, about ten
blocks from Juuban High School. Also, as a bonus to the highly
trained martial artists, it wasn't that far from Mr. Myagi's dojo.
"Well, shall we go to the roof?" Ranma asked.
Akane nodded her agreement. They stepped out onto the tiny
balcony, and leaped straight up and flipped onto the roof. They
both reached into subspace and pulled out their henshin sticks.
One quick transformation later, and Sailor Sun and Io stood ready.
"Do you think you can do it, Ranma?" Sailor Io asked.
"I think so. I can sorta remember. I've just gotta figure out how
to do it with you," Sailor Sun said, concentrating on her ancient
memories. She held out her hands for Sailor Io, and held them
"Light Speed Sun Beam Transport!" Sailor Sun cried out. A beam of
light struck the roof, encompassing them both. Sailor Io's nerves
screamed, as it seemed she was being torn apart. She struggled for
just a moment, and then the pain subsided.
A streak of light flew into the void, heading for the Sun. Long
minutes later they revolved into a beam that struck the ancient
space station. Both figures appeared, and then staggered in one of
the windowed rooms.
Sailor Io released Sailor Sun's hands. Sun reached up and rubbed
her temple. She turned away for just a second, fighting the wave
of memories. She managed to push them away for just a few moments.
Staggering deeper into the space station, Sailor Sun headed toward
the secret passage. Moving the bronze statue of a hawk through its
pattern, she opened the passageway.
They crept down the stairs again, back into the secret study of
the first Sailor Sun. The same globes radiated light, and
illuminated Chizuko trapped in her stasis field again. Sailor Sun
raised her hand to deactivate the field, and then paused. This
didn't seem to be quite right. She circled it for just a second,
and then put her hand on a panel on the desk. Light flashed again,
Ancient machines whirred to life, swinging specially designed
lenses toward Sailor Sun. Lights flashed in an intricate pattern,
striking Sailor Sun's eyes for just a moment.
After the lights finished flashing, Sailor Sun collapsed as if she
were a marionette with her strings cut.
"Ranma!" Sailor Io cried out, reaching her husband instantly.
There was no response. Sailor Sun's eyes stared blankly into
Clouds started to swirl in black mass of darkness. Lightning
flashed, bringing light to the sudden darkness. Soon the clouds
encompassed all of Tokyo, bringing a sudden night to the
afternoon. Lightning struck the ground near Tokyo Tower.
A small figure staggered as if it had gone from running, to
walking suddenly. Rain started spatter on the ground, dampening
the pink hair of a young, junior high age girl that hadn't been
there just moments previously. She shook for just a moment, and
then whipped out an umbrella out of nowhere. With determination,
she stepped into the night.
Usagi huddled in the lee of the tree she was next to, trying to
stay out of the rain. Her eyes sparkled, giving evidence that she
was almost crying. She tried to look out into the sudden deluge
that had struck the city. She searched intently with her eyes into
But no, he was already gone. And Usagi needed to be home soon.
"Oh, Mamoru. Why don't they see that we love each other? It
doesn't matter that I'm in high school, and that you're in
college," Usagi said softly, crying into the darkness.
It wasn't fair. It was just so, well, right when they were
together. Why couldn't daddy let her choose her own love? Usagi
let loose a sob, and ran into the darkness, heading back to the
hated lights of her home.
Again, a throne of darkness, surrounded by shadows. The figure on
the throne watched a screen that seemed to have no physical
substance. It showed a news reporter, in front of a school. The
lights lit his face in eerie hues.
"So who is this Sailor Io? And how does she figure into this
tapestry we weave?" he said finally. "Obviously, the time hag
failed to find and defeat Sailor Pluto. She is more cunning than I
would have thought. Curse her. With her gone, I can restore the
future to its proper path, destroying the Crystal Millennium
before it is even born," the figure raged impotently. With a wave
of his hand, he banished the screen. He gnashed his teeth, and
then carefully pulled out a black crystal. He hadn't realized the
power of the gate of time last time he confronted the Sailor
Senshi. He wouldn't make that mistake again.
"So be it. I can feel the gates of time opening again. This time I
must not fail. Come dark powers, reach back in time to the time
before the kingdom of the moon. Bring to this time a H'rogth, time
reaper and despoiler," he intoned softly, eyes glowing red.
Darkness gathered in a pool, lit by a sickly green glow.
A figure started to appear, hunched over and hideous, its six arms
gathered underneath its carapace. Two powerful legs stretched,
raising the figure to an incredible height of fifteen feet. All
eight of its eyes glowed malevolently. "What is your bidding?"
"Bring to me the dead, bleeding body of Sailor Pluto. Let nothing
stop you," he cried out.
"Of course, master." The monster disappeared suddenly, wasting no