The follow story is a work of fan fiction using characters that are copyrighted and/or trademarked. The purpose of this story is for fan enjoyment only free of charge. All original content is protected by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

oOOOo

Michael "TheZorch" Haney's

"Maho Shoujo Ranma"

oOOOo

Chapter Three

"The Thrawl in the Basement"

BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! SMASH!

Ranma opened his eyes and groaned like a bear being woken up too early from its hibernation, he was usually a morning person but now he lived on his own and that meant he had to do things for himself like getting the bath ready and making breakfast. As he sat up his out stretched arm dragged the remains of his clock to the floor. Dammit, he cursed inwardly. That was the second clock he'd demolished in one week. He was in a world where magic was everywhere but they still couldn't make a clock that wouldn't fall apart when he hits the snooze button. Ok ... punches the snooze button.

He yawned massively as he went from his bedroom to the living area slash half-kitchen. The smell of miso soup wafted into his nostrils. He was on the first floor of the girl's dorm closest to the front door. The move from the apartment he was given by the Prime Minster's office was Tsunami's idea. There had been some minor protest from some of the girls about having a boy staying in the same building but he publicly promised he wouldn't try to peek in at them. He could remember seeing a lot of disappointed faces that day. Geeze, and girls call us guys hentai.

Hold on, rewind! Miso soup!?

His keen ears picked up the distinctive noise of something boiling and realized the smell wasn't coming from the other rooms but from his kitchenette. Rounding the corner he stopped in surprise, the pretty young blue haired girl he remembered saving and who came to visit him in the hospital was at his stove busily making breakfast. There were other items on the small nearby table also.

"Uh," he muttered as Sasami noticed him standing there.

"Ranma-neiichan, ohaiyo," she greeted him with a warm and gentle smile. Though she was a little girl, she reminded Ranma so much of Kasumi and how she was always so very gentle hearted and kind. Sasami was like that though she did a slight temper but nothing at all like Akane. She was far too young for him but she was cute. One day she'd make a great girlfriend and eventually a wonderful wife for some lucky guy, he was sure of it.

"Ohaiyo, uh, how did you get in here Sasami-chan?" he asked her. Tsunami-sensei had explained the doors to the rooms were keyed to the people who were staying in them and only them, which is one reason why the girls didn't put up as much a fuss about him staying here as they did. There were ways to get around those locks for emergencies though.

The blue haired little girl winked at him, "That ... is a secret."

"You magic hacked the lock," he accused with a knowing smile, during the short time he knew the sweet little girl he learned she was very proficient at magic. Probably one of the best in the school. While she was a sweetheart most of the time she had a mischievous side to her that loved to play pranks. Ayeka and Ryoko were usually her primary targets. Ranma learned that those two were rivals for her brother's affections. Tenchi attended a Magitech school on the other side of town.

Sasami hung her head, embarrassed and pleaded, "Please don't tell Tsunami-sensei."

Ranma took a seat at the small table next to the kitchenette. It was a western style table rather than the more traditional Japanese style low table he was used to at Tendo-ke. He took in the bountiful feast that had been laid out on the table before him, rice, pickles, freshly cook fish on skewers, and there was the Miso soup with chunk of tofu on the stove. Did she get up extra early just to make me breakfast?

"You didn't have to do all this," he told her, his mouth starting to water. "But thanks, I won't tell on you."

Sasami put on a pair of oven mitts and moved the steaming pot of soup to the table. She quickly made Ranma and herself a bowl of rice and added in the Miso and tofu mix. "This is your first official day of regular classes after your private sessions with Tsunami-sensei and Washu-sensei," she told him. "So I thought I'd make you breakfast to celebrate." She smiled warmly filling the room with her happy aura.

If only she were my age, Ranma thought as he returned her smile. He tried the Miso and rice mix a bit tentatively at first then immediately tore into it. The little girl giggled, happy to see he liked her cooking and started on her own bowl.

"That was really good," Ranma complimented her when he was finally done after about three helpings of soup. He never thought he'd ever meet anyone who could best Kasumi in the kitchen.

Sasami blushed furiously, "Arigato."

She helped Ranma clear the table and put the dishes into the sink. The enchantments in the sink immediately went to work cleaning them. At least that was one chore he wouldn't have to do on his own, he thought with a sigh. Sasami left after giving him a gentle peck on the cheek and ran off with her book bag in hand. With her gone Ranma went to the furo and got a quick shower. Tsunami and Washu-sensei had both told him that it was likely he'd never be cured of his curse. He didn't quite understand everything they said, but they believed his curse was created by something called the Old Ones. They didn't exactly sound like a friendly bunch to him.

oOOOo

Ranma looked at his class schedule as he walked through the halls of Furinken Academy. He still wasn't used to the strange looks he got from the girls. Many were still skeptical of his magical abilities while others seemed to welcome his presence. It was pretty clear whom in his class was for and against him right off the bat. Ayeka had been one of the most vocal students against his attendance, but that wasn't much of a surprise considering who her mother was. Ryoko was somewhat indifferent at the idea yet he did notice her looking at him from time to time. The other girls in the so-called Cutie Squad all accepted him without question. He saved Sasami and Misao after all, and a few of the other girls liked him because of that. He'd been to three classes so far, most were regular non-magic electives like language and mathematics, the next one though was a class he had been looking forward to. Basics of Offensive Magic and Magical Defense.

The class's teacher was a real firebrand. At first Ranma mistook her for a student when Sasami warned him not to talk to Inverse-sensei like she was a kid. She looked kind of like his own cursed form except for the fact that she wasn't quite as well endowed. She had Akane's temper though, which he discovered very quickly when one of the students fell asleep in class.

"EXPLOSION ARRAY!"

CRASH!

BOOM!

"AAAHHHHH!"

THUD!

"Usagi-san, DON'T FALL ASLEEP IN MY CLASS!"

During his one week stint of private sessions with Tsunami-sensei and Washu-sensei Ranma learned a lot about magic and how it worked in this world. You didn't memorize spells or magic words like in those Harry Potter books. Words and gestured did help when trying to focus on making the magic do what you want correctly, thus the reason why they were called a Focus. A Focus could be a word, a group of words, a hand gesture or even an object, it reinforced the image in your mind of what you wanted the magic to do. This was something first graders learned at a very young age, but he was from another world and didn't have the benefit of that education thus he was given a week of private classes to help him prepare.

All of this made him wonder, since magic flowed through him like ki or chakra then wasn't it possible for him to use magic in his martial arts? He'd never tried it before, wasn't entirely sure it was possible until those private lessons but now he was certain it just might work. Lina-sensei had taken the class out to the combat range, rows upon rows of target ranges where students learned to fire off different attack spells. The targets were large cider block walls with red bullseye patterns drawn on them. The class was lined up at one of the rows.

"Ok, Kiriko-san, please show us a basic fireball." ordered the short, redheaded teacher.

Kiriko was a tall, top heavy blond girl with a real rich bitch attitude. She was one of the few girls who adamantly didn't want Ranma around but eventually decided to just partially tolerate his presence. A very lovely purple haired girl stood behind her, she was named Yuna and was one of the many who openly welcomed him. Ranma could still hear the blond, odongo haired airhead grumbling about how over the top Lina-sensei can get sometimes. He made a note "not" to fall asleep during her class. That Explosion Array looked painful.

"Fireball!" Kiriko launched a small sphere of red flame that splashed against the cider blocks with a loud bang.

"Not bad," Lina-sensei complimented her. "Ok, who's next?"

"Me, Lina-sensei!" another red head shouted. She was named Asuka Langley Souryu. She was German according to what Ranma had been told and magic ran very powerfully in her family. She wasn't a very tall girl but she was pretty and her personality also reminded Ranma a lot of Akane. It was really starting to make him feel a bit depressed thinking about it.

"Ok, show us your stuff," Lina-sensei waved towards the target down the field. Asuka closed her eyes, raised her hands and began to make a pattern in the air with her fingers. She didn't say any words as her Focus, she finished the pattern and stabbed her finger towards the target. A red sphere shot from her finger and impacted the wall with a loud boom and a visible shock wave.

"Pretty good," Lina-sensei admitted to her and the rest of the class. "Though I wouldn't expect anything less from a Souryu." Asuka puffed up her chest at that, her family was well known as one of the most powerful, magically speaking, in most of Germany. As Asuka walked back to join the rest of the students Lina's eye caught her newest student. With a rye smile she called out to him.

"Ranma, get up here and lets see what you can do," she called to him. Ranma was about to protest being picked so soon and out of order with the way the rest of the students were lined up but Lina-sensei called him again and with a resigned look on his face he stepped forward.

"Does it gotta be a fireball or can it be something else?" he asked the red headed teacher. He wanted to try something, he was very curious to see if it would world. Based on what he'd been taught by Tsunami-sensei and Washu-sensei he didn't see any reason why it wouldn't.

"We're using fireball because its the easiest to master, but if you want to try something else go right ahead." Lina-sensei told him and stepped away. She'd been skeptical at first of the idea of a boy who could use magic, but when Tsunami-sensei admitted him into the school she had no choice but to believe. Her full attention was on him, she wanted to see the miracle boy at work for herself, not to prove that what she was told was true but to actually see it and be a part of history in the making. As Ranma closed his eyes she could sense his magical aura rising in strength. He's very strong magically, his mana levels are huge, she thought to herself. The power kept going up and up and Lina-sensei started to get a little nervous. Just how much power was he going to let loose?

Ranma focused hard on the flow of mana through his body in a similar way to how he called on his ki. It took a little more effort to make his mana come to his call but when it did boy did it ever flow. He formed the thoughts in his mind, concentrated on what he wanted the magic to do and moved his body into the position he would use as a Focus.

"Moko ..."

"What sort of spell is that?" Kirko asked as she watched him. She too could feel his power level rising and was astonished.

"... Taka ..."

A ball of blue light manifested in his hands which he held by his waist in a position similar to that seen in popular fighting games. The light became brighter and it gave off a sound like a live wire hissing and crackling. An unseen, unfelt breeze began to ruffle Ranma's hair and clothing as the ball of light grew even brighter with every second.

"... bisha!"

The girls screamed as Ranma unleashed a blinding bright blast of light from his hands. The sound of the mana charge was deafening. Everyone quickly hit the dirt and covered their heads as the first shock wave of heat reached them. A loud sound like a clap of thunder amplified a few hundred times blasted over the school yard and shattered windows. The windows, of course, reformed themselves in an instant. Students from other classes came to the restored windows and looked out towards the practice field. Lina-sensei was the first to see what was left of the target range when the dust began to clear. The cinder block wall was totally gone. In its place was a blasted out crater over eight feet wide and perhaps three feet deep belching out black smoke.

Ranma turned to his teacher and scratched the back of his head nervously. "Uh, I think I used a little too much on that one," he said.

"No shit Sherlock!" Hino Rei, another of his fellow students, snapped at him pointing at the obliterated target range. Usagi saw the look in her friend's eyes though, she could see the envy and some curiosity in them.

oOOOo

The rest of Ranma's first day was certainly something new for him. No random martial arts challenges, no crazy wannabe samurai, no old freak stealing bloomers from the girl's locker room, and best of all no Hinako-sensei to drain him dry. Well, there was the chewing out he got from Lina-sensei but overall he got the impression that his teacher was impressed. He picked up a few more admirers after that display of power in the school yard. Almost the entire school had seen what he did and they could all see the aftermath. There was no longer any doubt among the girls that his abilities were indeed very real.

At lunch time he got to meet the rest of the girls whom the students all called "The Cutie Squad", and he had to admit this gaggle of little girls was rightly named. He already knew Sasami and Misao who were both definitely cute, but there was Chiyo-chan who was just plain adorable and very friendly. Ayanami Rei was around fourteen, he guessed, and very pretty. She was old enough for him to date had he been interested in that sort of thing, and here lately he'd actually been thinking of going out with a girl for the first time in ... well ... forever. Hoshino Ruri was about Sasami-chan's age, she had a kind of ethereal beauty to her which made her seem older than she actually was. She was also somewhat withdrawn and quiet like Rei, but given time he was sure she'd open up a little more. There were many other cute little girls who were all a part of this exclusive club of uber-cute little girls, but they didn't have time to introduce themselves to him. All he knew was that they were all adorable, and when they grew up they were going to be absolutely beautiful. Like the one everyone called Chibi-Usa, or the adorable little Iris who was an exchange student from France.

It took Ranma all day to get over his cuteness overload. A fair number of those preteen beauty queens, soon to be gorgeous babes in a few years, were giving him strange looks. He'd seen those looks before and hoped there wouldn't be trouble. The last thing he needed was for an army of little girls with magical powers to start fighting over him. With his last class out of the way he was finally able to head back to the dorm. Luckily for him Sasami and Misao were the only two members of the Cutie Squad who lived in his dorm building.

He was relaxing on his couch watching some TV when a knock came from his door. He opened it to find a very nervous looking Sasami peering up at him. Behind her were some of the girls he knew from his classes today. Kiriko was an excessively buxom blond with a chip on her shoulder and a large bank account which made her think she was better than everyone else, but at least she didn't act like Kodachi. Ryoko's cyan air looked like she'd stuck her finger in a light socket without turning it off, and though she acted tough most of the time Ranma has seen her softer side when talking to Sasami and Misao. When Ranma first met Mizuno Ami his heart almost skipped a beat. She looked so much like Akane yet was so much more beautiful than she was at the same time. A part of him hoped she didn't notice his reaction but the blush on her face told him otherwise. That had been several days ago when he started his private lessons before he was put with the rest of the student body. He remembered that she was a member of the Sailor Senshi ROTC and could transform into a magic girl or something like that. She was the only one among them who was actually friendly with him.

"Sasami, what's up?" he asked nervously looking at the other three women with her.

"We ... we ... we have to go into the basement," said Sasami.

"And?" he waited.

"We're afraid of the basement, ok!" all five girls yelled at once and he promptly facefaultered.

Ranma didn't really mind helping the girls out, but he thought they'd be a little braver than this. Here were four girls proficient at magic and they were afraid of going into the basement. He'd never actually been to this part of the dorm building so the girls had to lead the way. Ryoko was the one in the lead, she seemed less afraid, Ami held something in her head she was looking at intently, Kiriko was bringing up the rear while Sasami and Misao keep a tight grip on both of Ranma's arms. They reached the door leading a flight of stone stairs which lead downwards towards an inky black void below the dorm building.

The basement was more like a cellar, a very big, dark cellar. It was cold, damp, and dark down here. There was little in the way of lighting except for a few incandescent lights which looked to be almost a century old. Ranma could see in the gloom what looked like old wine racks, some of which still had bottles in them, and an assortment of things he'd never even seen before. Ryoko clicked on a large dry-cell battery torch lamp and lead the way through a virtual maze of stone corridors and ramps which lead deeper in the cellar. The sounds of life from upstairs, foot steps, radios, and general noise slowly faded away leaving behind an eerie, unnerving quiet.

"The storage room is just this way," Ryoko said over her shoulder as they rounded a corner and stopped before a heavy looking wooden door. She grabbed the iron ring that served as a door knob and struggled to open the door but it wouldn't budge. Ranma gently shrugged away from the two little girls clinging to him for dear life, went over to the door, and pressed on it with one hand without much effect. With a loud tooth grinding creak the door opened wide and banged against the inner wall. The sound echoed through the rest of the deep cellar hollowly.

"Show off," Ryoko groused, her face blushing as she passed him through the doorway. The storage room was rather large, about the size of four or five average sized dorm rooms and was packed to the rafters with stuff. In the gloom of Ryoko's torch lamp Ranma could make our furniture which looked be over one hundred years old, framed paintings which looked even older, and all sorts of other stuff he had to clue what they could be.

"What are we looking for?" he started rummaging through the piles of stuff finding a treasure trove of things both ancient and modern.

"A ... A ... A silver tea service in an ornate wooden box," Sasami named off the first item.

Ranma saw a wooden box with ornate carvings on it. It was varnished red and looked very old. He picked it up and looked inside after opening its clasps. He'd found the their first item, inside was an ornate silver tea service.

"Found it!" he cheered, his voice echoing down the hallway loudly.

"Shhhh!" the girls all shushed him and looked at the open door timidly.

Ranma rolled his eyes, "There's nothing down here but us."

"This cellar connects to the old sewers underneath the city and there's been rumors that Thrawl have been seen down there." Kiriko told him in a whisper. Sasami and Misao gasped and latched onto him again almost making him drop the box with the tea service. Ami look a bit pale and was waving the small item in her hand as if scanning with it.

"There isn't any right now, thank goodness." she said closing the item up and slipped it into her pocket.

At first he couldn't place the name "Thrawl", but then he remembered what he learned while studying under Tsunami-sensei. It was his third day studying under her privately to get him ready to join the other students. That day had been an outing to one of the local museums.

oOOOo

Quietly she lead him through several rooms filled with artwork from many different eras of Japan's ancient past and artwork from other nations and cultures. They passed into the natural history section. Here they passed large displays of dinosaur fossils and dioramas of prehistoric times. She stopped before the entrance to a dark room which was isolated from the rest of the natural history section, the doorway was decorated with black obsidian rock. Beyond the doorway was a gloomy room lit by a faint ambient light.

She beckoned for him to follow her and he did. He felt that he could trust Tsunami-sensei, but for the first time he was actually feeling fear. Something within him told him that he shouldn't go in there, but he trusted his teacher and followed behind her. When they stopped a bright light from above illuminated a large glass enclosed display in the center of the dark room. What Ranma had seen there nearly made him scream in terror for the first time in his entire life.

"It" was dead, obviously, because it didn't move yet in death it still looked menacing. Horrific was actually the true description for what it looked like. The thing had a body that was insect like with six legs covered in razor sharp spines and curved hook-like blades. A long scorpion like tail rose up from behind with two sharp barbs on the end. Its head was elongated and flat with a huge mouth full of razor sharp mouth parts and a pair of large, bladed mandibles. Its glistening body was all black, except for the eyes, the thing's big multi-faceted eyes were a sickly yellow.

"That is a Thrawl," Tsunami told him.

He pointed at the thing behind the glass and swallowed hard. "So this is those things you were telling me about, from that war a long time ago." he replied.

Tsunami nodded and moved to stand next to him. "Most of the world was destroyed and humanity almost became extincts because of them." She turned away and want to the other side of the display.

"Sadly, they are still among us." she added.

Ranma's mouth fell open. "I thought they were all killed and that's why you got this thing with the furies and all causing problems." he said.

Tsunami shook her head and explained, "No, Ranma, they weren't all killed. I told you the Thrawl were defeated but not killed off. Some survived and hid themselves in the deep places of the Earth to wait for when the time was right to come to the surface again to wage war on us again."

"You think that time is coming," it hadn't been a question from Ranma, it was more of a statement. He hadn't known her for every long but he knew when she getting serious about something and Tsunami-sensei was being deadly serious right now.

"There have been reports of increased activity," she said. "Mostly rumors, but the number of first hand sightings of Thrawl scouts in the wild is increasing. This one for instance, it was killed at the outskirts of city about three months ago."

Ranma looked at the thing with a shocked expression. Well that explains why it looks so well preserved, he thought.

Then, he asked the question, "Why are you telling me this?"

Tsunami-sensei came back around to stand in front of him and put her hands on his shoulders. "Because I believe that before the end you will play an important role in all of this, Ranma-kun. A very important role indeed."

oOOOo

Sasami and Misao's vice-like grips on his arms brought him back from his memories. Kiriko and Ryoko saw Ranma's expression change to one of grim determination and drew the two little girls closer to him. Kiriko almost smiled at that, seeing him being so protected of the two little cuties of the dorm won some brownie points with her. It was the same with Ryoko.

"Let's get the hell out of here," he said quietly and lead the girls towards the door.

Ryoko lead the way with the torch lamp again through the seemly endless stone corridors of the cellar. After what Ranma guessed to be an hour of wandering they came to a large room that intersected with three other corridors. Here there was large boxes and other items stacks nearly to the ceiling. Ranma wondered exactly how much crap did the school have stored down here. Considering how long the school had apparently been in existence that could be a lot of stuff.

"We didn't come this way before," Kiriko pointed out and turned to Ryoko. "I though you said you knew the way in and out."

"I said I've been down here only once before," Ryoko quietly grouse at her putting enthuses on the word "only".

"Ara," Ami gasped in a manner that reminded Ranma so much of Kasumi.

"Uh, are you saying we're lost?" Ranma asked and the two girls clinging to him for dear life start shaking like leaves in a gale.

Ryoko started to open her mouth, looked down one corridor with a hopeful expression on her face then frowned and turned the other way. This repeated a few times before she finally slumped her shoulders and admitted that she didn't know where they were.

Ami took the device from her pocket again and looked at it intently. "Oh no, I can't connect to the campus Wi-Fi network to look up the map of the catacombs off the Intranet." she said. It was all Greek to Ranma, he'd heard Ami was something of a technology buff but what she just said went right over his head.

Kiriko threw up her hands, "This is wonderful, we're lost."

"Hey, gimme a break, at least I got us to the right storage room." Ryoko growled at her.

"But we need to get back out!" Kiriko shouted at her. Ranma and the little girls wince at how loudly the blond's voice echoed throughout the place.

Ranma sighed, "Well, if there's anything down here it knows we're here now."

"I'm scared," Sasami whispered silently at Ranma's side. He gently patted her head and began to focus his senses or the environment around him.

"Me too," Misao added in an almost imperceptible voice that Ranma's sensitive hearing picked up easily.

"So am I," Ami said edging just a little close towards Ranma.

"That way," Ranma pointed towards the corridor to the right.

The two older girls looked at him. "How do you know? This is you're first time down here."

"Yeah, but the air coming from that way is less musty." he explained and headed that way with the two little girls latched onto his sides. All this time he was still carrying the stuff they got from the storage room they visited. The corridor lead into another smaller four way crossroads. Ranma found an old backpack, made sure there weren't any spiders hiding in it, and stuff it full of the stuff he'd been carrying and strapped it on. Then, he swept the two little girls up into his arms and they each wrapped their arms around his neck.

"Which way now, Mr. Bloodhound?" Ryoko asked him sarcastically.

He shot her a withering glance and let his senses scan the room. He turned to the corridor on the left and lead the way through three more rooms filled with boxes and piles of stuff until they came to a huge chamber lined with crates of all sizes.

"Damn, Nabiki could make a fortune off this place on eBay back in my home universe." Ranma commented looking at the clutter in the place.

"Your universe still has an eBay?" Ami asked him with a surprised look. "Our eBay went out of business because of their unfair business practices, people stopped using them. Now uBid has taken their place." Ranma did a Spock maneuver on that one.

Ryoko shined her light around and said, "I recognize this room. I've been here before, about a year ago."

"Do you remember the way out?" Kiriko asked her pointedly.

"I think so," Ryoko replied though she didn't sound convincing.

"You think so," Kiriko put her hands on her hips and grunted.

"Can we just get out of here?" Ranma interrupted them knowing this could easily turn into a fight and he'd seen Ryoko and that one Ayeka girl have some nasty fights. And he thought his iinazuke often had some bad fights, but those two girls took the cake.

"Please," Ami and the two little girls whispered in unison.

Ryoko pointed down the corridor which went through the center of the big room. "That way,"

They continued through the huge room for about ten minutes when a sound echoed to their ears. The little girls screamed and Ranma fell into a fighting stance when a tower of piled up large boxes collapsed blocking the path. In the gloom of Ryoko's torch lamp Ranma detected movement but he couldn't tell what "it" looked like or even how big it was.

"We aren't alone," he warned.

He nearly face faltered as the two older girls fell in behind him with Sasami and Misao. "Its a Thrawl," Kiriko said in a frightened tone. Ami didn't hide, she pulled a small pen like thing from her pocket which was topped with some type of ornament. He'd never seen a Henshin Pin so he wasn't exactly sure what it was he was looking at.

"Let it come!" Ryoko snarled but kept herself hidden behind Ranma and he could the uncertain look on her face.

"I don't wanna be a flesh eating zombie! WAH!!!" Sasami sobbed.

Ranma blink-blinked, "Zombie? Flesh eating?"

Ryoko groaned and berated him, "Didn't you read the three chapters we got for homework in our magical defense class? BAKA!"

"You ... do homework?" Kiriko gave the cyan haired girl a sidelong glance.

"Shut up!" Ryoko grouched back at her. "Anybody who dies from the sting of a Thrawl comes back as a flesh eating zombie."

"During the great war it was said that whole armies of the undead used to roam the world because of the Thrawl." Ami added.

Ranma has never seen a "real" zombie before, but he played plenty of Dead Rising at Hiroshi's place to know they weren't to be taken lightly. He's also seen a lot of zombie movies from America at Hiroshi's place, the guy was a zombie movie fanatic, so he imagined what it would be life to face an army of the undead. He didn't like the prospect any. His senses detected movement again and he heard a sound in the rubble getting closer.

Ranma brought up his hands and concentrated on drawing his ki and mana together. "Moko ..."

"You're not gonna shoot that off down here?!" Ryoko yelled at him in shock as the energy ball formed in his hands.

"... Taka ..."

"WAIT!" Before he could stop her, Sasami darted away towards the fallen boxes. She stopped at edge of the mess and knelt down.

"Sasami-chan," Kiriko and Ami called to the little girl.

"Its ok," Sasami said over her shoulder and stood up to face them. In the gloom Ranma could just make out something small and dark in the little girl's arms.

"Is that what I think it is?" Ryoko asked turning the light to shine on the thing in the little girl's arms.

Sasami raised a hand in front of her face, "Hey, that's bright!" What Ranma could see of the thing in Sasami's arms before Ryoko moved the light told him it definitely wasn't a Thrawl. Thrawl weren't furry, they didn't have long hind legs nor big furry ears.

"Its a Cabbit," Misao cooed and went over to her friend who was gently petting the little creature.

"Oh, its so cute!" Ami smiled patting the little creature on the head.

"A what?" Ranma said questioningly.

"Oh, he's adorable." Kiriko said going over to the girls.

Ryoko lifted the creature's hind leg and said, "Look again."

"Oh wow, he's a girl!" Sasami cheered and hugged the thing to her chest.

"Miya!" the little creature let out happily.

"I haven't seen a real Cabbit in years, I wonder how it got down here?" Kiriko wondered while giving the tiny half-cat, half-rabbit thing a good scratch below her chin. The little thing seemed to like it.

"She's so thin, the poor thing is starved." Sasami worried.

"Uh, were did Ranma-kun go?" Misao asked looking back where Ranma had been standing only to see he was gone.

"Ranma?!" Kiriko and Ami yelled into the gloom.

"Ca ... ca ... ca ... cat!" came a cry from the ceiling. The girls looked up and saw Ranma hanging from the wooden reinforcing crossbeams on the ceiling. He was looking down at them with a wide eyed expression of absolute terror.

Ryoko nearly doubled over with laughter. "Oh this is classic, the great and powerful boy who can use magic is scared shitless by a Cabbit!"

"Ranma-kun, this isn't a cat, she's a Cabbit." Sasami tried to explain.

"N ... not ... not a cat?" Ranma stuttered.

"They're chimera," Ami told him. "They were very popular as pets years ago but it turned out to be a fad so a lot of them ended up becoming homeless."

"Well, this one has a home now." Sasami said petting the little creature.

Ranma came down off the ceiling but didn't come much closer. "Are you sure its not a c .. c ... cat?"

"Yes," Kiriko replied.

"I'm going to call you Ryu-Ohki," Sasami held up the little Cabbit. Apparently she like the name, let out a cheery "Miya" and began wagging her little cotton ball tail.

"It sounds like a c .. c .. cat!" Ranma shouted from the ceiling again.

Ryoko ran her hand down her face, "Oh good grief!"

oOOOo

To be continued ...

Notes

Sorry for the long delay on this one. I'm trying to get my stories update as fast as I can but I don't have a lot of free time anymore. I won't be abandoning my stories though, as long as there are people to read them I will continue to update them.