I do not own Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon, or Kamen Rider Ryuki. Those belong to their respective creators and not me. Got it? Good. Let's get reading!
Knights of the Silver Millennium
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Chapter 6: Monkey Business
It had been a long road of recovery for Nabiki. After so long of just being on the outside looking in on the chaos of Nerima, or being protected by one of the martial artists there (i.e. Ranma), it was something pretty terrifying to actually being attacked by a freaky monster which stole your soul for a brief time. The first few nights were terrible for the middle Tendo daughter. She couldn't sleep because of nightmares and she absolutely refused to come out of her room. It took Kasumi's own motherly touch to finally get Nabiki out and to the dinner table anyway. She had been jumpy at any small noise and she wouldn't stray far from Ranma or at least make sure he was within sight, much to Akane's displeasure, but she really couldn't do anything about it. Kasumi was very strict about that. Nabiki didn't need the extra stress. Soon, Nabiki had recovered and was actually preparing for school after a long absence. Luckily, her lackeys had been keeping things running and delivering the work she missed.
As she was getting ready, Nabiki was thinking over a few details. Being attacked like that was absolutely terrifying and she felt helpless and small. She hated that feeling. The last time she felt that was when her mother died and her father just broke. Everything was sprawling out of control until she took charge and started making sure that she and her sisters wouldn't go hungry or have to live on the streets. It was somewhat satisfying. She felt safe in control. Nothing happened without her having a hand in it or at least knowing about it so she could. Sure, lots of people hated her when she did some of her less then likable activities, but that was her burden to bear.
Then she was attacked.
Her entire world of security and control collapsed around her. She had been tricked and played for a fool by that...thing. Then it attacked her. She didn't know why, and she didn't know what it did. She was dropped into that black void of helplessness once again and she didn't know what to do. The next thing Nabiki remembered after that was seeing the white armor of the Celestial Knight Lunar that a number of the girls at school were going ga-ga over. He had rescued her from the monster and fixed whatever it did. He didn't say two words to her before he picked her up and hoisted her to a more open space away from the battle. He then vanished again, leaving her alone before Ranma came and began to take her home.Nabiki frowned slightly to herself. 'It was either him or someone who hadn't heard of me. As connected as I am then the latter isn't very likely.'
Nabiki had no problems admitting that. Of all the people she knew in her life, Ranma was probably the only person who would rescue her from something like that. Despite all the crap she put him through during his stay he would still rescue her when she needed it.she sighed inwardly as she fixed her hair. 'Well, not for a week or two anyway.'
In the rest of the Tendo household, Ranma was chewing away at his breakfast with Draco coiled up on the table next to him. Kasumi was humming pleasantly while Soun was busy reading the paper. Genma was unconscious after Ranma knocked him out for trying to steal his food. Akane was across the table from Ranma with her eyes narrowed at him.
"What are you glaring at me for?" Ranma finally asked, getting fed up with Akane's glare.
"I'm trying to figure out what you did to my sister!" Akane frowned.
Akane's temper had been just as bad as ever, especially after Kat and Leo had lived with them for a while. The twins had showed her up in her two favorite fields: cooking and martial arts. She didn't take too kindly to it and promptly blamed Ranma for even letting them stay. She came to that odd conclusion after seeing him get along with the two of them so well.
"Are you still stewing on that?" Draco blinked. "That was weeks ago!"
"I'm not going to let this pervert get away with hurting my sister!" Akane growled.
"I didn't do anything to her!" Ranma shouted. "All I did was save her from that gray monster!"
"Yeah right!" Akane snorted. "That's the worst excuse yet!"
Apparently, Akane didn't believe that the Star Beasts were real. She believed in the Knights, the Senshi, and anything the Senshi fought, and all the crazy stuff that went on in Nerima, but she didn't seem to believe anything Ranma told her about Star Beasts since she had never seen one. She was even near some attack sites from Star Beasts but she had just assumed Ranma had gotten into another fight with some new rival.
Draco sighed as he shook his head. Akane seemed determined to prove Ranma was a pervert, even if it came to making up evidence in her mind. These fights happened regularly and right in front of Genma and Soun. Despite this, the two fathers were still determined to make Ranma marry her. This action caused the small dragon to question the sanity of the two several times.
This was the scene that Nabiki had walked into when she finally came downstairs. She sighed in agitation at seeing Ranma and Akane fighting yet again. Akane was yet again accusing Ranma of doing something wrong and Ranma's denials were going in one ear and right out the other. It reminded Nabiki of Kuno several times. Maybe him and Akane were destined for each other after all.
"Good Morning, Nabiki," Kasumi smiled pleasantly.
"Morning," Nabiki yawned.
She made her way over to the table and sat beside Akane before getting some breakfast. She started eating in her usual fashion as everyone else had their own morning rituals.
"How you feeling, Nabiki?" asked Ranma.
"Pretty good," Nabiki shrugged. "All things considered anyway."
"That's good to hear," Ranma smiled. "Wasn't the same without you."
Nabiki smiled slightly at the comments. It seemed that Ranma could say something without sticking his foot in his mouth every once in a while. In fact, Nabiki had been noticing that Ranma was slowly changing. He was starting to say nice things and he was beginning to mature. Sure, his foot sometimes went into his mouth as usual and he was ever the martial arts nut, but...he just seemed to take things seriously outside the martial arts. School apparently wasn't one of those things though, but his daily situations were. He seemed to begin to show annoyance and almost anger with a number of the people who keep fighting him, but was able to restrain himself. She had joked about it before, but maybe Draco actually was a good influence on Ranma.
"Stop flirting with my sister!" Akane cried loudly.
Ranma felt his temper boiling again and opened his mouth to send a retort. However, before he could get a word out he felt something wrap around his wrist. Looking down, he saw Draco ready to sink his teeth into Ranma's skin for the umpteenth time. He was also glaring pointedly at Ranma.
Heaving a frustrated sigh, Ranma finished his breakfast at a rapid pace and stood up. Draco remained around his wrist to keep reminding him to hold his mouth in check.
"Whatever you say, Akane," Ranma sighed. "I'm going to get ready for school."
With that, everyone watched the pigtailed martial artist leave the room. Kasumi smiled at Ranma's growing maturity while Nabiki felt that her earlier notion of Draco being a good influence on Ranma was being proven right before her eyes. Akane on the other hand felt like she was being blown off and started to fume again. Soun just continued to read his paper while Genma remained unconscious.
The schoolyard was as busy as ever as Ranma walked in. He half-expected to see Kuno charging in to fight him. In that case, it was understandably surprising when he was nowhere in sight. All he could see were gaggles of girls all mooning over something that they all found to be very interesting.
"RANMA!" someone shouted.
Expecting a fight, Ranma turned to see Hiroshi and Daisuke running towards him with stupid grins on their faces. Ranma relaxed his stance and walked over to his two friends.
"Hey, guys," he greeted. "Wassup?"
"You won't believe it!" Daisuke grinned. "We are the hottest thing since Boy Bands to the girls!"
"Huh?" Ranma blinked.
"It's true!" Hiroshi nodded furiously. "The girls are all giggling over posters of us in our...'school club clothes',"
"You mean when we're Kni...,"Ranma began, but found his mouth covered with the hands of his friends.
"Shhh!" Daisuke hissed. "Do you want to give away our secret?! If we get found out we'll get mobbed and unlike you, we can't roof hop!"
"Sure," Ranma nodded as he got his friends' hands away. "So...we're popular with the girls like the Sailor Senshi are with boys?"
"At least!" Hiroshi laughed. "This is like a dream come true!"
"Yeah," Ranma shrugged. "The only thing is that no one can know."
"Huh?" both boys gaped.
Pointing to the dragon design on his shirt, Ranma began to explain, "Well, our advisor mentioned once that the Knights weren't allowed to reveal their faces to anyone except their Queen or the one they planned to marry. Leo and Kat were exceptions because they were our allies."
"Oh cool," Hiroshi grinned. "It's like some kind of story!"
'You don't know the half of it,' Draco snickered to Ranma, who just barely managed to hold in a grin. If they thought that little fact was amusing, wait until they got the entire Silver Millennium story.
"Yeah," Daisuke agreed with his friend. "Well, we'd better get inside before the rest of the girls get here. I heard that almost all the girls are a fan of one of the Knights. It's almost like a war is brewing to me."
Things had gone a little silent at that notion. All three boys had gotten ideas in their heads about girls dressed for war all fighting each other to prove which Knights was best. They were even donned in colors that matched their Knight. It sent a shiver down their spines until Hiroshi asked a question that would remain on their minds for the rest of the day.
"So...which one of us do you think is the most popular?" he asked.
Daisuke and Ranma were silent as they contemplated that question.
The day progressed without any major catastrophe and soon the students were just glad that the school was still standing and there wasn't any massive property damage for a change. Some of the students who were heading home decided to go to the arcade. Three of these students in particular were Akane, Yuka, and Sayuri.
"Oooh, I just can't get enough of these posters!" Yuka squealed as she held up a poster of the five known Knights, courtesy of Nabiki and her associates. Akane frowned at the declaration.
"I know what you mean," Sayuri giggled as she ogled her own poster of Zeus. "I hope more of them show up!"
"I don't!" Akane growled. "I don't see why all the girls are going all stupid about them."
"How about because they're brave?" asked Yuka. "How about because they've been saving people? How about because they are just so mysterious and those bodysuits just accent them the right way?"
"Yeah, Akane," Sayuri added. "Besides, I heard that a few of them were in the area where Nabiki got attacked. I bet they helped Ranma save her."
"Yeah, right!" Akane snorted. "There's no way that monsters are attacking! Ranma made that up to get away with molesting my sister! That pervert!"
Both Yuka and Sayuri sighed. Ever since the wedding disaster, Akane had snapped straight back to her 'all boys are perverts' persona. It was probably because the boys were even more determined to try and win her, even if they couldn't actually fight her anymore. Kuno was downright scary with some of his attempts. Both girls thought that Ranma really may have been the one for her, but Akane absolutely refused to let any guy get close to her. That usually led to abuse for Ranma whenever he tried to do something nice. Both Yuka and Sayuri knew that if Akane didn't change her attitude soon then Ranma was just going to get fed up and forget about her.
"Akane, just what do you hate so much about the Knights anyway?" asked Sayuri tiredly
"Okay, here's a list," Akane replied as she turned to face her friends. "Lunar is just a phony poser like Kuno, Kronos is a bully, Zeus looks like a flashy loser, Poseidon is useless, and Aries is a coward for using a gun!"
"Uhh..Akane? How do you know that?" asked Yuka with a raised eyebrow.
"I can tell from reading their moves!" Akane stated proudly. "I am a martial artist, remember?"
Both girls nodded just to keep her from going on a rant. Both girls really were Akane's friend, but they weren't blind to what was going on around Nerima. Akane may have been a martial artist but she was near the bottom of the barrel compared to Ranma and all his other rivals and fiancées. She couldn't even keep up with Leo and Kat when they were around. The only reason Akane could keep up with them was because they were either chasing her after she had been kidnapped, or they let her hit them because they didn't believe in hitting women. Well, Mousse came from a tribe of warrior women so it was easier for him, and Ranma seemed to be growing up slightly because he wasn't saying as much derogatory things about women. The others just cared too much or didn't see Akane as worth it.
The girls let the conversation die as they continued on. They were all looking forward to some fun with video games before they had to go home and begin on their homework.
Inside the dark prison of the Shishin, Suzaku was all alone and watched the high school kids heading for the arcade. She smirked as she heard the arrogance in Akane's voice as she denied the existence of the Star Beasts.
"You don't believe in Star Beasts, eh?" she laughed. "Well then, let me make a believer out of you."
She snapped her fingers and several small lights appeared around the crystal before vanishing again. All she had to do now was wait.
The three girls had turned the corner and spied the arcade down the road. As they began walking towards it, screams erupted from within the building. At first the three girls had no idea what was happening but that was soon answered when the people inside came running out like their lives depended on it. The reason of the widespread panic quickly followed.
It looked somewhat humanoid but it was vague. It resembled an ant more than anything. It was covered in gray armor that didn't stop except for where the joints were. It had four arms that no one could mistake for fakes. Its feet had two long toes with thick feet that resembled tree trunks. It had an insect abdomen sticking out of its butt. Its head caught the most attention, however. It looked most like an ant and had the mandibles to prove it. Its eyes were large and green with little hexagons making it up. A pair of antennae was sticking from its head that were waving wildly. The creature was also making snarling sounds mixed with clicks.
"What is that?!" Yuka cried.
"Eeew!" Sayuri screamed.
"I can take it!" Akane announced (over)confidently as she took a stance.
"What?" Yuka scremed. "Akane! Are you crazy!? You can't fight that!"
"I can so!" Akane shouted back. "It's nothing!"
The clicking noises from the monster increased before it seemed to triple. Yuka and Sayuri weren't sure what was going on before two more shadows covered them. Turning around, they felt their screams die in their throats. Two more of the ant monsters were standing behind them and were coming closer with their mandibles clicking madly. Seeing the monsters stepping closer made the terror jump to higher levels before their screams came back with a vengeance.
About a block away were three boys whose duty it was to fight monsters like those ants were heading to the arcade as well. They were also talking the whole way.
"I saw almost every girl had at least one poster of a single Knight," Hiroshi spoke put with a grin
"Class 2-C had a picture of Poseidon on their front door," Daisuke snickered. "Beat that!"
"Lunar was posted in the teachers' lounge," Ranma spoke up.
"Huh?!" Hiroshi and Diauske gaped. Lunar had older women gunning after him? They had to admit that a number of the female teachers in Furinkan were good looking. It was obviously some kind of rule that the principal had made up.
"I had to take Hinako there because she needed a nap," Ranma snickered. "She tuckered herself out after having a tantrum over a student hiding pocky that wouldn't share."
"When was this?" asked Daisuke. "We have the same class together."
"Lunch," Ranma replied. "You two were outside counting how many girls had either Poseidon or Aries posters."
Suddenly, the trio heard the screams and rushed over to check. There, they saw a trio of ant-like Star Beast and in their grasps was…
"Yuka!" Daisuke shouted.
"Sayuri!" Hiroshi yelled.
Ranma, upon seeing Akane trying (trying being the operative word here) to fight one of the Ant Star Beasts on her, just groaned and rolled his eyes, "Stupid Tomboy." He took his deck out of his pocket as Daisuke and Hiroshi did the same. Draco reappeared and slithered off Ranma's arm.
"I'm not gonna get caught this time," the minute dragon grumbled.
"Poseidon Knight Power…" Daisuke called, summoning his belt.
"Aries Knight Power…" Hiroshi called summoning his belt.
"Lunar Knight Power…" Ranma called summoning his belt.
"HENSHIN!" the three boys yelled together as they slid the decks into the belts. In their respective flashes of light they were now clad in their suits of armor.
"Let's go!" Lunar shouted, drawing his sword. Poseidon gripped his axe and Aries already had his gun in hand. The two latter Knights nodded in agreement to their 'leader' and went to the rescue.
The Ant Star Beasts holding Sayuri and Yuka were immediately shot in the back. Caught by surprise, they released their quarry and both girls fell to the ground. One of the Knights quickly approached them and helped the two girls up. It was Poseidon.
"You two okay?" he asked. The two girls didn't say anything. They just stared.
"A…Celestial…" Yuka began, not believing her eyes.
"Knight…" Sayuri added, her mouth hanging.
"Um, right," Poseidon said awkwardly. "You two better get out of here. Things are gonna get a bit ugly." He checked to see that the Star Beasts were still a bit preoccupied with Aries shooting at them. "Go on! Get!" The girls retreated hastily.
Akane threw her fist but when it made contact with the thing's chest, she quickly withdrew it. That had hurt! Of course, there was no way she was going to admit that so she decided to throw another punch but then Lunar appeared and kicked it away.
"Hey!" Akane shouted angrily, "That was mine!"
"Miss, I suggest you leave now," Lunar urged, but Akane was still stubborn as always.
"No way! No way am I gonna let a pervert like you hog all the glory! I'm going to beat this thing! Not you! I can prove I'm the best!"
Lunar rolled his eyes. He had no time to argue with Akane but she was needed to be rescued…again. The Star Beast clicked its mandibles and went on the attack again but at the time Lunar drew a card, opened up his rapier, slid the card inside, and pressed it closed again.
Without looking, Lunar caught his lance and stabbed it at the Ant Star Beast, sending it staggering back.
"Miss," Lunar growled, "I won't repeat myself again," He tried to control his anger, "Leave. Now."
Akane fumed again at Lunar. Just who the heck did this guy think he was? Just because he had a flashy outfit and weird cards he thought that he was better than her? She was about to argue some more, but the Ant Star Beast got back to his feet and charged at Lunar for a second attempt. Lunar figured that this would be a good enough distraction to start fighting with the Star Beast and not Akane. Swiftly turning around, he began to slash at the Ant Star Beast, making it cry out as it staggered back.
Aries had his hands full with the single Star Beast that he had picked out. He kept his eyes trained on it as he shot at it to keep it away from the girls. The Star Beast backed off a little before it hissed angrily at him. It went on the offensive as it went onto all sixes and began scrambling towards the Knight of Mars. Aries was slightly surprised but his reflexes were still good. Reaching to his belt, he drew a new card before slipping it into his gun chamber.
Aries hefted his Ram Cannon at the Star Beast and took aim. Without even blinking, he fired a large artillery shell at the Star Beast. His aim was true as it made contact with the target and exploded, sending the Star Beast several feet away. It landed in a smoking heap, still alive, but not quite ready to fight again.
Over at the corner of a building, Yuka and Sayuri had just managed to get Akane to hide with them so they could watch the fight. Akane reluctantly agreed, but saw this as a chance to see their fighting styles and train to beat them and prove who the 'true' martial artist was.
"Oooooh," Yuka sighed dreamily. "This is like a dream come true. We were saved by Knights in shining armor!"
"Oh where can I get one of those?" Sayuri asked while looking at Aries. She wasn't talking about his cannon.
Akane just frowned slightly. What was it about these Knights that made the other girls turn to mush? Sure they looked pretty cool when they fought and their suits did accent them pretty well when she took the time to look.
'What am I thinking?!' Akane shouted to herself. 'I have to pay attention to how these costumed dorks fight. Not how good they look!'
Poseidon's battle was moving at a rapid pace. The Ant Star Beast that he was fighting was proving to be clumsy compared to his quick reflexes. The Star Beast swung at Poseidon but missed by a mile. The Knight of Neptune rolled under the attack and stood back up while slashing at the Star Beast's back with his axe. While it was stumbling away, he drew a new card from his belt and slid it into the chamber in his axe before shutting it and putting it on his belt.
Poseidon's arms were quickly donned in large gauntlets styled after tiger claws. Taking his chance, he charged straight at the Star Beast again before slashing away at it. It gave off another hiss before Poseidon used a forward jab and pushed it back near it's smoking comrade.
Back with the girls, Yuka and Sayuri were still awestruck with seeing the Knights do battle against the Star Beasts. Akane was still somewhat miffed that they seemed so much better than her but she contented herself with just watching to see how their moves worked.
"Me-yow," Yuka purred.
"I know what you mean," Sayura agreed.
"He's not fighting fair!" Akane frowned. "He hit from behind!"
If any of the Knights or the girls had heard her, they didn't show it. The Knights just continued on fighting. Lunar gripped the handle of his lance as the Ant Star Beast he was fighting was getting back to its feet. Without waiting for it to get its senses back, Lunar charged forward with a jousting lunge and sent it sprawling again. It landed in between his two comrades. The three Celestial Knights grouped together a fair distance away from them.
"I think they've had just about enough," Poseidon commented, seeing the state of the three Star Beasts.
"Still, I guess it's high time to end it," Aries added, turning to Lunar.
"A good plan," Lunar nodded before reaching to his belt. "Gentlemen, draw!"
All three Knights grabbed a new card and brought them to their weapons. Poseidon slid his into his axe, Lunar placed his in his sword, and Aries loaded his into his gun.
A roar, a neigh, and a bleat caught the observers' attention. All three were confused where the sounds had come from until the thundering of hooves and paws could be heard coming closer to the scene of the battle. Yuka, Sayuri, and Akane's eyes widened to the size of saucers as the witnessed Rammerhead, Wildstrype and Stallionstar charging towards their masters.
The three Star Beasts didn't let anything stop them as they heeded their masters' call. While they were approaching, the three Knights who had summoned them prepared themselves to unleash their final attacks.
Poseidon began first as he leaped up into the air with his claws ready to strike. Wildstrype likewise leaped into the air with his paw ready to strike. The Knight and Star Beast came together in the air and Wildstrype hit Poseidon. The force of the blow sent Poseidon forward to his targeted Ant Star Beast with his claws at the ready.
"Raging Tiger Claw!"
Poseidon flashed right past the Star Beast with his claws flashing for a moment before he skidded to a stop. The Ant Star Beast hissed before cuts could be witnessed appearing in its armor. Before the eyes of the shocked girls, the Ant Star Beast fell apart at the waist before exploding in a haze of fire.
"Beat that," Poseidon smirked.
Lunar took that as a challenge as he felt Stallionstar coming closer. When the white horse had come close enough, Lunar jumped straight up into the air before coming back down just as Stallionstar was under him. Landing comfortably on his back, Lunar readied his lance as his horse started picking up speed.
The two partners became a white blur as they came closer to their opponent. The Ant Star Beast didn't have enough in it to dodge and the white blur collided into him and caused him to explode. Out of the haze came Lunar and Stallionstar as they came to a slow trot before stopping.
"Next?" Lunar dared Aries.
The Knight of Mars knew it was his turn as his Star Beast sat in front of him and revealed its numerous firearms that were aimed at the final Ant Star Beast. Attaching his gun to the indentation in Rammerhead's back, Aries prepared his assault.
A veritable storm of bullets and missiles came launching from the red and bronze Star Beast. The Ant Star Beast was pelted with the armaments, creating explosions which made the previous two seem somewhat tame. The barrage didn't last long though. After about a few seconds of shooting, Aries let go of the trigger of his gun and pull it out of Rammerhead. When the flames subsided, the last Ant Star Beast was nowhere to be seen.
"Hey," Aries blinked. "Where are the cores?"
Poseidon and Lunar looked to the flames where their own Ant Star Beasts had stood and noticed that their red friend was right. Unlike other Star Beasts, whose cores would appear after their bodies were destroyed, the Ant Star Beasts they had destroyed did not yield one.
"You're right," Poseidon observed while scratching his head, "Shouldn't the cores appear after they go boom?"
Lunar was in deep thought. He would need to consult with Draco later. "Come on," he said to his comrades, "We're done here."
"Hold on!" the three Celestial Knights heard and turned their attention towards the three girls.
'I thought they all went away,' Lunar thought in irritation. He became increasingly irritated as he was seeing Aries and Poseidon dusting off their armor to face the girls. 'Idiots.' He then saw the girls and focused on Akane. She had a deep frown on her face. 'And here we go…'
Yuka was the first to speak as she exclaimed, "That was totally awesome!"
"Can I have your autograph?" Sayuri said as she held up a pen and paper, "I'm Sayuri, by the way."
"I'm Yuka," Yuka introduced herself giddily.
"Sure," Poseidon said, liking the attention as he took the pen and paper and began to sign his Knight name. He then passed it over to Aries, "Here you go, pal." Aries signed his name and handed the paper and pen to Sayuri and she hugged it to her chest.
Akane and Lunar were facing off, glaring at one another. She pointed at him accusingly, "I know what you're trying to do! There's no use hiding!" Lunar tilted his head questioningly. She continued, "You're just a glory hog with a fancy outfit and fancy weapons and moves! You're not a real martial artist!"
Lunar was about to retort angrily, but composed himself. Doing so would only make her suspect him but this was Akane and she was known to have a thick-skull and a thinner grasp of reality these days. It was better to be safe rather than sorry though. He crossed his arms and listened quietly to her ridiculous speech as he prepared his rebuttal.
"And why do you need to wear a helmet? Are you ashamed or something?" Akane challenged, "Well, speak up!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Lunar said cynically, "Were you saying something important? I think I must've tuned you out because of the unbearable screeching." Sayuri, Yuka, Aries and Poseidon backed away, knowing that Akane was going to explode.
Akane fumed and yelled as she threw her fist at him. He didn't even dodge as he allowed the fist to collide into his helmet. Akane immediately pulled her hand back and shook it in pain. That armor was hard!
'Stupid tomboy,' Lunar thought with a smirk. "Guys, let's go." Poseidon and Aries nodded as they followed their 'leader' and left the scene. Akane was fuming, yelling at them.
"You're not so tough! Without that armor you're nothing but posers! You hear me? Nothing!" She was still nursing her hand.
"She's right, you know," Aries whispered to Lunar. "Well, maybe except for you."
"Shouldn't you check on her?" Poseidon asked Lunar as well. "She is your fiancée."
Lunar snorted, "All I know is that I'm gonna get a hell of an earful when I get home."
Ranma wasn't wrong either. When he got home Akane was already there nursing her bruised hand. Akane wasn't in the mood to talk since she had to be helped by a boy, but the fathers were more than willing to rant in her place. The second Ranma was in their sights they pounced at him.
"Boy! How dare you leave your fiancée alone to face those beasts?!" Genma bellowed.
"How could you put my little girl at risk like that!?" Soun added in his waterfall of tears.
As the resulting bellowing and crying came from the fathers, Kasumi looked up from where she was helping Akane tend to her swollen hand. The youngest Tendo had been in a huff ever since she came home and would constantly grumble about 'glory hogging knights' and the like. Kasumi instantly knew what she was talking about. Akane had met a few of the Knights and they had done something she couldn't. Akane only grumbled and fumed this much when she had been upstaged.
Kasumi almost frowned as she thought of how her baby sister was filling up with so much anger. It had been piling up since the brief time that the twins, Kat and Leo, had lived with them. The two of them were very good at things Akane prided herself in. Since they wouldn't take her temper tantrums, she couldn't get rid of her anger. They would even defend Ranma so the anger just kept piling up. With the Celestial Knights coming onto the scene and doing things even the martial artists might have trouble doing, Akane was just getting angrier and it was beginning to affect her to the point of becoming slightly irrational. She was looking for any kind of release, be it pounding Ranma, or...hitting something (or someone) else.
Ranma held in his own anger at his father and Soun's whining and bellowing about how he should have protected Akane continued.
"How could I even know she was attacked?" Ranma growled, keeping up his appearance of ignorance to the situation. If his father found out about his Knight abilities then he would sell him out in a heartbeat. "I wasn't even there!"
"You and Akane should always be together!" Genma bellowed back. "She's your fiancée!"
"I don't want to be around that pervert!" Akane shouted at the fathers, who feigned deafness at her cries.
Ranma growled while heaving a sigh. Why did he even try to argue back? The fathers never seemed to listen to him and Akane was always raging or throwing some kind of tantrum so she couldn't hear him either. Not a whole lot of people listened to him when he thought about it. Getting up, Ranma started heading to the door.
"Where are you going, boy?" Genma frowned. "We aren't done yet!"
"I know how it's going to go, Pop," Ranma sighed at the doorframe. "You and Mr. Tendo are going to harp on me about honor for a while and then start whining about uniting the schools. Then Akane and I will start fighting about it while you two assume we're the perfect couple. Then Akane will throw a fit over me calling her a name and she'll punt me across the district. I'd rather avoid that if I could."
Everyone in the room was feeling a little stunned at Ranma's words and was still stunned as he left the room. The pigtailed martial artist walked outside before leaping to the roof and heaving a calming breath. He looked up to the stars, sensing the number of hidden Star Beasts looking back down before asking his question.
"What is going on with me?" he asked. "I've never acted like that before."
"It's called maturity, Ranma," a new voice replied.
Ranma looked down to see Draco slithering up to him. How he got to the roof without help was anyone's guess.
"You're beginning to see just how silly all this nonsense about uniting the schools and such is," the small dragon explained. "My best guess is the responsibility of being a Knight and the experiences that go along with it are beginning to help you mature somewhat. That and a few words of wisdom from Leo, remember?"
"Hmm," Ranma sighed. Draco may have a point, but there was something else that he needed to talk to the little dragon about. "The Star Beasts me, Hiroshi, and Daisuke fought today didn't have cores when we destroyed them. What was with that?"
"Hmm," Draco pondered. "That's an easy question to answer. Those Star Beasts were Soljants. They don't have cores to begin with. Simply put, they are just an extension of the real Star Beast: the Soljant Queen."
"A Queen?" Ranma asked. "How many of those Soljants can she make?"
"Too many to be healthy for us," Draco shivered. "The good news is that she can only make so many of them."
"And just how many can she make?" Ranma asked, knowing that he wasn't going to like the answer.
"An army," Draco replied simply.
Ranma felt the air suddenly become cooler. The image of him and the other Knights having to face down an army of Soljants was not something he wanted in his mind at the moment. He had a feeling beforehand that the worst was yet to come. Now he was sure of it.
Being a Knight sucked some days.
A new day had come and Ranma was on his way to school again. While he was walking on the fence, Akane was on the ground, silently ignoring him. Ranma had managed to keep his mouth shut during breakfast despite numerous attempts by Genma to get a rise out of him. Draco's little warnings about that were beginning to pay off. The tiny dragon was again with Ranma in the form of a dragon picture on his shirt.
Both of them came up the school gates, but before they could actually get inside, Hiroshi and Daisuke cut them off.
"Hey!" Akane frowned. "Let me through."
"I don't think that would be a good idea until we can explain a few things," Daisuke panted, showing that he had been running.
"What is it?" Ranma asked, feeling that something had been going on under his nose again.
"Well," Hiroshi began. "It's not so much for you Ranma than it is for Akane."
"Okay," Akane nodded. "What is it?"
"All the girls really hate you right now," Daisuke blurted out.
"What?!" Ranma and Akane gaped.
"Well, Yuka and Sayuri came in with the autographs of Celestial Knights Aries and Poseidon," Hiroshi explained, hiding his pride. "All the girls wanted to see it and hear how they had gotten it. Yuka and Sayuri told the whole story. Well, when it got to the point where Akane tried to pick a fight with Lunar, the girls started getting mad."
"Hey! He made fun of me!" Akane cried in her defense.
"But you insulted him first, right?" asked Daisuke. He didn't have to since he had been witness to the entire event, but he had to act dumb for the sake of appearances.
"But he stole my fight with that monster!" Akane cried again.
"That's no reason to insult the guy," Hiroshi grimaced. "He was just doing his job."
Akane was about to make an angry retort when the four students found themselves surrounded by a large group of girls with their own angry looks on their faces. Akane started getting a sinking feeling in her stomach. She didn't like the looks she was receiving from the group.
"Akane Tendo," a spokesperson called while stepping out of the masses. "We would like you to come with us."
Akane tried to say no but found herself grabbed by the arms and dragged off towards the school. Ranma, Hiroshi and Daisuke blinked as they watched her get taken away. She kept trying to shout and scream at them but they weren't listening to her. When the mob had gone inside the school, Daisuke turned to Ranma.
"Shouldn't you have tried to help her?" he asked. "She is your fiancée."
"She brought this on herself," Ranma sighed, shaking his head. "She has to grow up sometime."
Draco's head came out of the dragon picture he was posing as and said, "That girl has to know that actions come with consequences."
"Trifle not with angry fangirls," Hiroshi agreed.
"Well, we all should go and watch the 'slaughter'," Daisuke suggested, "Might be fun."
"To see the tomboy getting what's coming to her?" Ranma shrugged, "Yeah, it would be fun. Let's go, guys." Ranma ran up ahead, followed by his two friends/fellow Knights.
Akane was on top of a stage that had been erected for two reasons. One: was that she was going to be forced to explain her antagonism towards the Knights. And two: it was safer up there. There was a microphone in front of her and looking at her were the angry glares of nearly every girl in school. Akane didn't like this because this was a situation she couldn't fight her way out of. Boys were one thing but girls with no prior knowledge of martial arts were something else. She would blame this on Ranma, as usual, but currently she did not have that luxury.
Meanwhile, Ranma was explaining to Hiroshi and Daisuke of what Draco had told them and they were surprised. Hiroshi spoke up, "That would mean the Queen is gigantic, right?"
Daisuke shuddered at the mental image, "I wouldn't want to fight it alone."
"Try an entire army," Ranma supplied.
"Not helping, Ranma," Daisuke hissed, "I sure wish Leo and Kat were around. They could be a lot of help right now."
"They have their own mission too," Ranma stated firmly, "They can't help us even if they wanted to."
"And without them, the Beast Spirits would be running amuck," Hiroshi added. "Ranma, have you heard anything from them?"
Ranma shrugged and said, "Got a letter from them awhile back. Says they're doing fine right now."
Meanwhile, Akane was being yelled at by the mob of angry fangirls and was at a loss for words. She looked pleadingly at Yuka and Sayuri but then remembered they were the ones who started this mess. She felt a bit betrayed by her friends.
Nabiki, of course, knew about the whole thing. She was replaying the incident in her head when Akane had to explain just why she had tried to hurt the Celestial Knight Lunar. When she tried saying that he was a glory hog that stole her fight with the monster, the fangirls didn't take it too well. Apparently the fangirls saw it as Lunar's responsibility to fight the monsters. Akane's punishment was to be shunned by almost every girl in school. The only girls who stuck by her side were Yuka and Sayuri, but Akane was feeling a little betrayed and was a little reluctant to talk to them. Nabiki just hoped that this would teach her sister to think before she acted.
At the moment Nabiki was sitting in her class while listening to her teacher continue his lecture. She already knew the subject since she had her lackeys make detailed notes and point out possible future subjects. She paid them well to keep her informed to the last detail. Not seeing any real need to pay attention at the moment, Nabiki began to let her mind drift. She began to think of happier times where she didn't have to be an Ice Queen to keep her family going; a time when her mother was still alive.
Nabiki was only four years old and playing out in the backyard. Kasumi was playing with her dolls and Akane was toddling around like children her age did. Nabiki herself was busy playing patty-cake with someone people thought was an imaginary friend. To Nabiki though, he was her best friend in the whole world.
"Patty-cake, patty-cake, bakers man," she sang as she slapped the hands of her friend. "Bake me a cke as fast as you can."
"Kasumi! Nabiki! Akane!" Kimiko Tendo called as she stepped into the open air. "Dinnertime!"
"Okay mama!" the three girls replied as they dropped what they were doing and headed for the house.
Nabiki stiopped as her sisters went inside. She turned back to her friend and saw him sitting near the pond. A bright smile came across the little girl's face as she waved to him.
"Bye-bye Armbuster!" she smiled. "I'll be back after dinner!"
Nabiki sighed as she returned to the real world. She took a brief glance at the teacher's lesson and still found it to be something she already knew. Allowing herself to tune out again, she wondered just when the day would end.
Inside their prison, the Shishin watched Furinkan High School. Suzaku was the only one showing interest while the other three males were having their doubts about their target.
"Suzaku," Seiryu spoke. "What you're planning is a risky move. There a number of things that could go wrong."
"True," Suzaku nodded. "but imagine the spoils if it works. A small army of new Star Beasts and a greater chance of finding one of the Saint Beasts."
"She has a point," Genbu nodded. "This is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to do! Just do a sweep and get what we want. The Knights and Senshi won't have a chance of stopping us this time!"
"People from Queen Beryl to the Witches 5 have said similar things before they were proven marvelously wrong," Byakko spoke up. "Do not repeat their mistake."
"Agreed," Seiryu nodded before turning to his female companion. "This is the only chance you'll have at a plan like this."
"One chance is all I'll need," Suzaku purred. "You boys just sit back and relax while I bring in a haul of new Star Beasts."
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Usagi?" Ami asked uncertainly as she and her fellow Inners walked the streets of Nerima.
"Why not, Ami-chan?" asked Usagi as she lead the way. "I want to see Ran-chan and all we know is that he lives in this district. All we have to do is find him."
"Do you have any idea where we could find him?" Rei asked plainly, knowing that Usagi hadn't thought her little plan through.
"Uh..." Usagi stopped to think about it. She was silent for a few moments before sweatdropping. "Ah ha ha ha ha, I have no idea."
Despite knowing that was the case, the girls sweatdropped just the same. The girls weren't quite sure what the next step they could take would be, until Minako suddenly got a bright idea.
"Hey, school hasn't been let out that long so let's ask around at Furinkan High," she explained. "Hotaru mentioned he went to school around here and that's the closest high school. I'm sure that he goes there. We can ask around to see if anyone knows him."
"Wow," Makoto blinked. "That's actually a pretty good idea."
"It is," Ami agreed. "Furinkan High is pretty close to here. It shouldn't take long at all to get there."
"Yipee!" Usagi cheered. "I'm gonna get to see Ran-chan again!"
"You aren't the only one!" Makoto smiled. "I want to see what Sempai has learned since we saw each other."
What Makoto hadn't been so forward about was the fact that if he was willing to teach her, she and him could work out in a dojo. He would demonstrate all his new moves, with his rippling muscles, fine body, firm butt...
"Mako-chan!" Usagi shouted, snapping Makoto out of her daydream. "Daydreaming are we?"
"N-no!" Makoto denied with a blush. "Of course not!"
"She's dreaming about Ranma," Minako giggled. "Not that I can blame her. He is really hunky, isn't he?"
"Can't you keep the fantasies to yourself?" asked Raye. "He has enough girl problems as it is. We would just freak him out if you went boy crazy on him."
"Sorry," Minako frowned cutely.
"Well," Makoto began. "If we're going to Furinkan, then we'd better get moving. Who knows how many students are left."
"Right!" Usagi agreed. She then turned to the direction she was walking in and pointed forward. "Let's go!"
Despite the school day finally being over, there were still lots of students left at Furinkan. They were all joining in on the activity of making the various fan clubs that were dedicated to the Knights. It was amazing since the boys and girls were making two sets of clubs for them. The girls had set up their clubs so they could pine after their mysterious heroes and coordinate their efforts in trying to find out who they were and snag them for a boyfriend. Obviously, a number of girls had no clue that their Knights were closer than they thought.
The boys, on the other hand, made their clubs as to have the Knights as their role models. To them, the Knights were men who would stand in the face of adversity and protect innocent people from danger and various monsters. The boys would discuss what they found to make the Knights worth being their role models and what made them so cool. They would also sit in and try to figure out just why the girls were going wild over them. It was their hopes that if they could figure it out then they might be able to get a girlfriend for themselves.
One who was profiting from this was none other than Nabiki. Representatives from all the clubs were going to her, asking for posters or pictures of the Knights for the various purposes of the clubs. Nabiki did not disappoint as she had a lot of the posters printed and ready for distribution, but no actual photos. However, she did have an idea where she could get some photos of Lunar. The only problem was trying to get him to admit it. That and she kind of owed him her life.
'Oh well,' she sighed inwardly as she took another order. 'I'll think of something.'
Meanwhile, Ranma was lounging in his classroom next to Hiroshi and Daisuke. Their room was being used by a number of boys who wanted to use it as their club room for their preferred Knight, The Knight of Saturn, Kronos. It didn't really bother Hiroshi or Daisuke, since they didn't care what the boys thought of them. Ranma didn't care either way. He was actually finding it funny that they were talking about Ryoga so highly. He just didn't want to hear what people were saying about his Lunar persona.
When he thought about it, he didn't see much of Ryoga or Mousse after Kat and Leo had left. They didn't even come to challenge him or anything. Maybe they were taking a vacation for a change or training their Knight abilities.
Ranma really didn't want to think about it at the moment. The issue of the Soljants and their Queen was still stuck on his mind. He wasn't used to fighting opponents that were huge. One of the few experiences that he had was with the Yamato-no-Orochi when they had to get the moss off of it to save Shinnosuke from death. If the Soljant Queen was any bigger, then he was going to need help. Ryoga and Mousse would definitely be an asset in that fight. Hiroshi and Daisuke would have to rely on their Knight abilities to help them survive.
Some days it REALLY sucked to be one of the Knights.
Ryoga huffed as he walked down the streets of Nerima. he had been travelling for days, trying to find Ranma so he could challenge him. Of course, Ryoga thought that he was somewhere in Italy since the last thing he had seen was a bunch of bulls running at him which went to explain why he was haggard.
"Damn it," he growled. "Just where are you Ranma?"
"Hey there!" a new voice called.
Ryoga blinked before he turned to face who had called. He found himself looking at a group of five girls that he could have sworn he recognized, but couldn't recall for the life of him. Two of them were blondes, but one of them had her hair done up in two ponytails. The third girl had short blue hair while the tallest had brown hair done up in a single ponytail. The last girl had long black hair that was left untied.
"Wow," Ryoga blinked. "A Japanese-speaking person all the way out here in Italy. Boy, am I lucky."
The girls walked up to Ryoga while the Lost Boy was examining them. The blonde with the ponytails stepped forward with a small smile on her face.
"Hey there," she smiled. "We're looking for Furinkan High. Do you know where it is?"
"Uh," Ryoga blinked. He scratched his head for a moment as he tried to think of an answer. Not many people asked him for directions and he really didn't want to get them wrong and inconvenience these nice girls. "Well, it's in the Nerima district of Japan."
"Huh?" blinked the black-haired girl. "But we know that. We're in Nerima right now."
"We are?" Ryoga blinked. "You mean this isn't Italy?"
"No," the brunette replied. "This is Nerima."
"Oh," Ryoga blinked. He then shook his head. "Well, all I really know is that it's one of the taller buildings. Kind of official looking you know? I think it has a sign out front too. It's hard to miss sometimes."
"I see," the blunette nodded. She then smiled in a demure, yet bright way. "Thank you for your help."
The girls began to continue walking past Ryoga. The Lost Boy thought about it for a moment before he turned to see them walking away. Quickly making a decision about his next course of action, he dashed to catch up with the girls before he lost them and got lost himself.
"Wait!" he called, getting the girls to turn around. He came to a stop before his nervousness started coming up as he began poking his fingers together. "Um...do...do you think...that I could come with you? I'm looking for Furinkan High too."
"Sure!" the ponytailed blonde smiled. "The more the merrier! Follow us!"
Ryoga nodded shyly as he kept the girls firmly in his sights. He didn't want to lose them and end up lost again. He's had that happen enough to last him a lifetime.
Mousse had just finished fastening the delivery box to his bike at the Cat Cafe. They had just gotten an order for a large bowl of ramen to be delivered to Furinkan High. Since Shampoo was off trying to find Ranma so she could try to convince him to take her out on a date, it was up to the myopic hidden-weapons master to take the order to the person who had ordered it.
"Curse you, Saotome," he muttered. "Even if we are Knights, I shall not give up my quest to marry Shampoo!"
"Quit stalling, boy!" Cologne shouted from inside the cafe. "You have a delivery to make!"
Mousse growled as he mounted his bicycle. He knew the old ghoul would have seen him if he was still long enough. Leaping onto his bike, he took off for the high school. He knew the way well enough. He had gone there enough times trying to fight Ranma or following Shampoo who was trying to woo Ranma.
Mousse grumbled at the thought that Shampoo desired Ranma more than him. He just couldn't understand why Shampoo wanted Ranma so badly. Sure, there was the whole Kiss of Marriage law, but Shampoo was going above and beyond most methods the other Amazon women used to catch wayward husbands. It may have something to do with defeating the dragon prince Herb and the phoenix god Saffron, but Mousse would have guessed that other Amazons would have given up by now.
Even though Mousse couldn't imagine why Ranma didn't want Shampoo, he had to admit that his rival was tough. To be able to defeat his opponents like the Musk prince and Phoenix leader was quite the accomplishment. Being able to get through the numerous tricks that the other fiancées or rivals used to try and marry or kill him (even if luck was a major factor) was something that the myopic boy could respect. Mousse may not have gotten along with Ranma most of the time, but he respected the pigtailed martial artist's abilities. He was an all right guy when Mousse took the time to think about it. When Mousse had become a Knight, he decided that claiming Shampoo from Saotome could wait. Well, unless there was a prime opportunity. These Star Beasts that Draco had spoke off sounded incredibly dangerous.
As Mousse continued pedaling, he saw Furinkan High appearing in the distance. There was something odd about it when Mousse got a good look at it. He stopped to check his glasses and put them back on as he peered at the building. He could see a dark cloud beginning to appear over the school.
"How weird," he commented before going on his way.
Mousse couldn't help but feel that something big was going to happen.
Within their prison, the Shishin were keeping their eyes glued on the crystal which sat in thee centre of the room. Suzaku could be heard snickering as she stood up from her throne.
"Now it begins!" she laughed loudly.
A bright light appeared into the crystal before it vanished again.
"SCREEEEEE!" a high pitch scream echoed through the air.
Ranma was immediately out of his desk and at the window to see what had made the sound. Hiroshi and Daisuke were right behind him, wanting to see what was happening. The rest of the students were also heading to thee window to see what was happening. When they did get a good look at what was happening, they immediately wished that they hadn't.
It appeared to be a giant insect covered in dark gray armor. It had six long legs which ended with sharp tips that were leaving gouges in the ground. It had a large abdomen that had spikes jutting out of it. The head of the creature was similar to an ant, but it had deep green eyes and an emerald imbedded in-between those eyes. The most terrifying thing about it though, was the fact that it was currently walking right toward the school.
"The Soljant Queen," Hiroshi spoke under his breath.
"Yeah," Daisuke nodded. "It is big."
"Quit talking and come on!" Ranma frowned as he and his two friends darted out of the classroom.
It was time for the Celestial Knights to make their appearance at Furinkan High.
"What was that?!" cried Usagi in fear.
"It was this way!" Ryoga shouted before he ran in the direction of the sound.
"Ryoga! Wait!" Minako cried as she tried to follow him. Unfortunately, when Ryoga went around a corner, Minako lost him. Even in the midst of an emergency, Ryoga's sense of direction had gotten him lost yet again.
"Where'd he go?" asked Rei as she and the others caught up the the second blonde of their group.
"I don't know," Minako blinked. "He just vanished."
"I think whatever made that screech is more important at the moment," Ami spoke up. "We should try to see what made it."
"Ami's right guys!" Makoto agreed. "We can find Ryoga later. This might be one of those Star Beasts causing trouble again!"
Ranma, Hiroshi and Daisuke found a quiet place with no one around so they could transform. They checked to see the Soljant Queen approaching the school and with grim determination they removed their card cases from their pockets.
"Ready, guys?" Ranma asked.
"Ready when you are," Hiroshi replied.
"Yeah, what he said," Daisuke nodded.
"Lunar Knight Power…"
"Aries Knight Power…"
"Poseidon Knight Power…"
Their belts were summoned around their waists as they prepared.
"HENSHIN!" they called out as one before sliding in their card cases. Bright lights erupted from their belts and then faded to reveal the trio of Celestial Knights.
Lunar's chest began to glow before Draco flung himself onto the ground. He turned to face the three Knights in front of him.
"I'll keep an eye on the students," He spoke. "You guys go do your thing!"
"Right! Let's go!" Lunar commanded as he led his comrades towards the big Star Beast. They didn't notice, however, that they had been seen. Nabiki was only there to collect a debt from someone when she saw Ranma, Hiroshi and Daisuke transform. It just confirmed her suspicion since that incident.
'I'm gonna be rich!' she thought giddily to herself.
"Woah!" Mousse cried as he finally got a good look at the Soljant Queen. "Holy cow! Where did that thing come from?"
"WHERE THE HELL AM I!?" a new voice roared.
"Ryoga?" Mousse blinked as he tried to spot his fellow martial artist. He didn't have to wait long as a public restroom wall exploded and the lost boy cane charging out. He looked around and noticed Mousse staring at him.
"Mousse!" he cried, dashing over to the Chinese boy. "I think there's a giant Star Beast somewhere around here!"
"I know," Mousse nodded. "We can see it from here."
Mousse pointed over to Furinkan High and Ryoga followed the direction. His jaw dropped as he saw the gray mass of the Soljant Queen treading closer.
"Woah!" he gaped. He then turned back to Mousse. "I think we know what we need to do!"
"Are you two going to chat or transform and help us fight or what?" asked a new voice.
Both boys turned to a wall which was next to them and found Celestial Knights Lunar, Aries, and Poseidon standing on the top.
"Well, we were going to do that before a Knight of the Moon decided to interrupt us," Mousse grumbled as he drew his deck and dismounted.
"Right," Ryoga nodded as he grabbed his deck.
"Zeus Knight Power..."
"Kronos Knight Power!..."
The familiar silver belts appeared around their wasits, waiting to complete the transformation so that they could take their Knight personas.
"HENSHIN!" they both called before snapping the decks into place.
Tin flashes of green and purple light flared before Celestial Knights Zeus and Kronos were standing where Mousse and Ryoga were.
"Now let's go!" Lunar sighed.
The other Knights nodded in agreement before they leaped towards the battle. It was definitely going to be one to remember.
The students of Furinkan were getting pretty scared as they watched the Soljant Queen striding towards them. It was a very intimidating sight, and definitely not one for people who were afraid of insects. Three people had fainted already/
"SKREEEEEEE!" The Soljant Queen screeched as it closed in on its prey. A number of students screamed in fear.
"Halt!" a masculine voice roared, causing the Queen to stop in its tracks. The students turned to the source of the voice while the Queen had to turn around to do it.
All the students were shocked to see five armored figures in different colored armor standing at the front gate with their weapons draws. Their line started with the purple one then continued in the order of blue, white, red, and green.
"We shall not permit you to advance any further, corrupted one!" Lunar shouted, glad that Kuno's rants were being put to good use for a change. No one would even think that Ranma Saotome would speak like that.
"Oh?" the clicking voice of the Soljant Queen snorted, surprising everyone. "And who do you think you are to stop me?"
"I'll tell you," Lunar snickered. "I am the warrior of the shining kingdom, Celestial Knight Lunar!" He finished by pointing his sword at the Star Beast.
"Warrior of the immortal fires, Celestial Knight Aries!" he struck a pose while pointing his gun.
"Warrior of the endless oceans, Celestial Knight Poseidon!" the Knight of Neptune finished by taking a slight crouching pose while raising his axe.
"Warrior of the silent darkness, Celestial Knight Kronos!" he slashed his scythe in an X formation.
"Warrior of the raging thunder, Celestial Knight Zeus!" he took a stance familiar to a boxer as he raised his shield.
"We are the Celestial Knights!" Lunar roared. "It is our sworn duty to fight evil in the name of honor and justice. By the code of the Royal Knights…."
"We will destroy you!" the all finished, pointing their weapons.
"KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" came a thunderous cry in response. However, it wasn't the Soljant Queen. She was busy trying to get her hearing back after that certain cry. No, it was the girls of Furinkan who gave off the united squeal.
"Oh my God! They're here!"
"I must be dreaming!"
"Where's my camera?"
"They're so hunky!"
"Now that's an entrance," Poseidon grinned under his helmet.
"Well, Leo did have a habit of quoting a speech and so did the Senshi," Aries added.
"I almost thought it sounded stupid," Zeus said, adding in his own opinion, "In a good way, of course."
"Whatever," Kronos grunted. "Let's squash this bug!"
"First thing you said all day that I can agree with," Lunar nodded before he set his sights on the massive Star Beasts. "Celestial Knights, CHARGE!"
With united cry for battle, the 5 Knights dashed towards their enemy.
The Sojant Quen wasn't about to take this attack lying down. Acting quickly, she turned her abdomen towards the Knights and began concentrating her energy. Green bolts of energy rippled through her body before her abdomen opened to reveal a large organic chamber. Inside were numerous large eggs.
"Are those…?" began Zeus.
"Holy crap!" cried Aries.
"To battle, my children!" the Soljant Queen cried.
The eggs began to quiver and shake before they burst, revealing fully grown Soljants, looking ready for a fight. There were enough of them to fill the schoolyard. They all gave a united screech before charging at the Knights with their arms raised.
"I got this!" Aries snickered as he drew a card and slid it into his gun. "Shoot Vent!"
Aries' Ram Cannon appeared in his hands as he took aim at the army of Soljants in front of him and the other Knights. He took careful aim while his comrades stuck to the sides so they wouldn't get caught in the crossfire.
"Fire in the hole!" Aries cried before he fired.
The artillery shell was launched through the air and straight at the advancing Soljants. The resulting explosion sent several Soljants flying from the impact, and made a few explode on their own. The minions were confused by the sudden explosions.
"Let's go guys!" Lunar called.
The other four Knights raced forward with their leader towards the recovering army of Soljants. They knew that this battle was not going to be won easily.
Lunar, armed with his lance, and Poseidon, armed with his claws, charged at several Soljants coming straight at them. The Moon Knight started to swing his lance, slamming them away before running them through. Using the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken, he struck several Soljants at once, killing them. Poseidon was going wild, like a tiger, as he slashed wildly with his claws, tearing the Soljants apart. It was a bit unnerving to see him let go and massacre them but he was doing it to protect the school.
Zeus ducked under a swipe before going into a reverse roundhouse, smashing a Soljant away. He then threw his whip, lashing at the Soljants coming at him. He even managed to behead the Soljants surrounding him by using his whip. Apparently, the length of his whip was sharp to cut through their necks.
"BWEEEEEE!!!" Boarbomder cried as it ran over several Soljants, flattening them to the ground as Kronos was there to decapitate or dismember them with his scythe. He threw his fists, smashing holes into their chests with his enhanced phenomenal strength before Boarbomber impaled and gorged Soljants on its tusks.
The 5 Knights were then forced back to back. No matter how many they destroyed, more of them kept coming. The Soljant Queen was keeping up the supply of her 'children' to destroy the Knights. She may not be fighting them with overwhelming power, but overwhelming numbers was good enough. Sooner or later, the Knights would exhaust themselves and then…they would die!
"Okay, not good!" Aries said as he shot at the Soljants.
"We need help! Why did Mimic and Draco have to go!?" Poseidon cried out as his claws slashed through a Soljant.
"Stop whining!" Zeus growled. "We can handle it!"
"But for how long?" Kronos asked. "If we can't get to the Queen, we can't beat these things and there are just too many of them."
"Fight anyway!" Lunar said firmly. He had written back to both Advent Knight twins, promising he would see them again and he would see them again. It was a promise between honorable warriors.
Meanwhile, Nabiki was hiding in a bush with a camera, taking pictures of the fight despite the danger. After finding out the Knights' secret identities, she thought it may be profitable to take some pictures of the battle and then sell them. She did not notice a Soljant coming up behind her. When she heard the mandibles clicking, her heartbeat quickened and she froze. Her face paled. She turned and saw it hovering over her. She then screamed.
The Knights heard Nabiki's scream, which Lunar recognized, "Nabiki!" She was in danger but with the horde of Soljant's in their way, they could not get to her in time! Lunar leapt over the Soljants but then a few leapt up and grabbed him. He struggled against them as the other Knights fought through the horde to get to their leader.
Nabiki did not know what to do. 'Am I gonna die here? Oh, no! Somebody…anybody…help me, please!' The Soljant struck down with its claws but then a fast blur got in its way and grabbed Nabiki before leaping away in a flash. The Soljant sent bush leaves flying but looked confused as its target had just vanished.
"NABIKI!" Lunar cried in shock. He didn't get time to move before more Soljant jumped him. He fought back as hard as he could, but the odds weren't helping.
"Jupiter Supreme Thunder Crash!" a new voice cried.
Thunderbolts rained down from the sky and fried a number of the Soljants. Not all of them, but enough to give the Knights some breathing space. They all looked up to see five familiar-looking girls wearing fukus on the top of the school.
"You boys looked like you needed some help," the odango-haired leader smiled.
"Sure could, Sailor Moon," Lunar grinned. "We've got a real infestation!"
"We can squash them!" Sailor Venus smiled.
"After all...," Sailor Mars grinned.
"We pride ourselves as exterminators," Sailor Jupiter finished.
"We won't let a single one hurt these innocent people!" nodded Sailor Mercury.
"For even attempting such a crime, in the name of the Moon," Sailor Moon began.
"We will punish you!" the gathered Senshi finished.
"YAHOO!" the gathered boys of Furinkan cheered as the girls of their dreams leaped into the fray. It was a good day to be a student at Furinkan.
Meanwhile, Nabiki felt herself being carried away by something big before being gently placed on the ground behind the school. She could still hear the sounds of battle as the Knights and Senshi did battle with the Soljant Queen and her minions. All of that took second place however as she was looking at the Star Beast which had saved her.
It was a gorilla, which was obvious. It was bulky with long arms which were muscle bound as it was hunched over and dragging the knuckles of those arms. The forearms made it look like it was wearing gauntlets. The rest of the armor was covering every inch of him and his face was gorilla-like with pure white eyes. As Nabiki took in the image of this Star Beast, she felt stirring echoes in her mind. It took a moment for her to finally speak.
"...A...Armbuster?" she asked timidly.
The gray gorilla nodded. He then slowly raised his arm so not to scare Nabiki and showed her his palm. The middle Tendo daughter like wise raised her own and the two pressed their palms together. Nabiki's hand was small against the massive hand that the Monkey Star Beast, Armbuster owned.
"You've grown," Nabiki smiled. Armbuster nodded with a look which said 'so have you'.
Nabiki was beginning to feel warmth in her chest. After her attack, Nabiki began experiencing fear again. Something that she wasn't used to. Now, seeing this face from her childhood which had ended for too soon, she felt the loneliness which she'd ignored beginning to seep away. She then hugged the simian Star Beast.
"I've missed you," she said, crying. The Star Beast gently hugged the girl back, happy to be with his old friend. They then separated.
Draco, Ranma's small dragon friend, was in the back of the school too. He had decided to hide someplace safe until the fighting ceased. That was when he came upon Armbuster and Nabiki. At first he though the Star Beast was attacking the girl but when he saw the two hug, he realized that this thing was not hostile. Draco's eyes then widened when he saw a mark glowing above the girl's heart.
"Another Knight!" he said quickly before crawling towards the two. Both turned to see him as they heard his voice.
"Draco?" Nabiki blinked at the diminutive dragon, "What are you doing back here?"
"To welcome you, Nabiki Tendo, into the ranks of the Celestial Knights!"
"Say what!?" Nabiki said, shocked. Did she hear right? This couldn't happen to her! It was the sort of thing that happened to Ranma, not her!
Draco then summoned up a brown rectangular case and handed it to the girl. Nabiki stared at it. "There's a Contract card inside to bond with a Star Beast and I think your monkey friend here is just perfect."
Nabiki took out the card and inspected it before she held it out in front of her. A bright light shone from it and bathed Armbuster, changing him before her eyes. Armbuster's gauntlets turned to a deep brown while his forearms turned silver. His chest became brown with silver highlights as did his legs. His eyes turned a deep blue while his head turned brown save for his face, which became silver. Nabiki looked to the card she held in her hand and saw an image of Armbuster with his name on it as well. Looking to the brown case in her hands, she slipped the card in. In a flash, a gold monkey image over the symbol of Earth appeared on the cover.
"I think you'd better get going," Draco commented. "The others are going to need all the help they can get."
"Nnn," Nabiki sighed, knowing Draco was right, but feeling stupid for what she was about to do. "Gaia Knight Power!"
A silver belt appeared around her waist with the slot waiting for her deck, "Henshin!"
Nabiki snapped the deck into place and was engulfed by light.
The battle was hitting somewhat of a standstill. With the Senshi lending a hand, the waves of Soljants were much more manageable. Unfortunately, the Soljant Queen was safe and sound as she kept pumping out more and more Soljants.
"Cripes!" Aries cried as he shot another Soljant. "I thought there was a limit to how many she can make!"
"I think it's because we keep destroying them that the Queen is able to replace them," Mercury commented before freezing a number of Soljants. "She has a certain capacity and can never fill it if we keep destroying the Soljants."
"Waagh!" Moon cried as she dodged an attack from another Soljant. "Tuxedo Kamen, where are you?"
"He's not here," a new female voice called. "Will I do?"
A large shadow fell across the battle from the top of the school which belonged to a rather large ape. Sitting on Armbuster's shoulder almost like they were lounging was a brand new Celestial Knight. This Knight was obviously female judging from the curves that her bodysuit revealed. Her armor was mainly brown with a silver trim. The chestplate had a silver trim which looked very elegant. Her arms had brown gauntlets which went up her arms almost like gloves since they were hugging her arms so tightly. Her wrists had silver studded bracelets which matched the ones on her boots. Her helmet was mainly brown with a bit of silver that looked almost like hair sticking up from the sides. Her helmet had mouth guard which was silver with a black visor and a sapphire embedded in the forehead. On her back was a sizable hammer which was flat on the front, but had two hands clasped together on the back.
"Who is that?" asked Mars incredulously.
"Beast me," Kronos shrugged before he slammed his fist into a Soljant's face.
"Great," Ranma muttered as he sliced another Soljant. "Another mallet-happy tomboy."
"Better learn to keep your foot out of your mouth, Lunar," the new Knight teased from her position. "And for the record my name is Gaia, not 'mallet-happy tomboy'."
Lunar froze at the comment as he looked at the brown Knight. He had heard her voice before and Lunar knew exactly where. The only problem was overcoming the sheer amount of shock that was invading his mind at such a subject.
"Let's go, Armbuster," Gaia ordered while her ape gave a grunt and a nod.
Armbuster leaped off the top of the building and dropped to the ground inches from the Soljant Queen. The dust from the impact was kicked up and Gaia took advantage of it almost immediately. Reaching to her belt, she slipped out a card which had a different hammer depicted on it. The hands on her current weapon snapped open before she slipped the card inside and closed them again.
"Strike Vent!" the weapon called.
Gaia reached up and clasped the handle of a double-headed hammer which was brown and silver. She looked to the Soljant Queen and leaped off Armbuster's shoulder towards her opponent. The Soljant Queen had no time to move before the heavy weapon came crashing down on her head.
"SKREEEEEE!!" the Queen shrieked in pain as the attack landed.
The Soljants immediately stiffened as they heard the scream of their ruler. As one, they immediately turned to the one who had attacked their Queen and screeched in outrage. Their march turned away from destroying the Knights and Senshi to just destroying the Knight who had just attacked their Queen.
"Stop them!" Lunar cried as he and the other Knights charged to fight the Soljants again.
"You heard the man!" Jupiter grinned as she and the other Senshi raced in to help.
Gaia either ignored the approaching insects or was too busy fighting the Queen to notice. Armbuster was beginning to take an active role as he went about grappling with the Soljant Queen to try and keep her abdomen shut so she couldn't send out more Soljants. Gaia kept on pounding away at the Queen's head as it tried to use its legs and pinchers to cut the female Knight in two.
"Woah!" Gaia cried as she leaped back to avoid being pierced by a leg. "Okay, better do something about that."
She reached to her belt a second time and drew another card. This one depicted Armbuster hovering over a target as if he was falling. Opening the slot in her initial hammer, Gaia slipped the card inside.
"Drop Vent!" the scanner cried.
Armbuster gave off a simian shriek before leaping straight up into the air. He hovered for a minute before coming back down like two tons of bricks. He crashed hard onto the Soljant Queen's abdomen and crushed it under his sheer weight. The Queen screeched in pain and outrage as her means of making soldiers was now gone. Gaia smirked underneath her helmet as she drew a third card. This one was depicting her monkey emblem with brown surrounding out.
"Yah!" Lunar growled as he used a downward slash to destroy a Soljant. He looked to see the Soljant Queen's crushed abdomen and grinned. No more Soljants would be able to come out of that thing for a while. With that in mind, he drew a card which had his horse symbol surrounded by white.
"Alright!" Poseidon grinned as he watched Armbuster smash the Queen a good blow. He gripped his newly drawn card which had his tiger symbol on it with light blue surrounding it.
"About time someone did it," Zeus grumbled before drawing a card with his rat symbol surrounded by green.
"Finally!" Kronos sighed as he watched the Queen get dealt crippling damage. He was growing tired of the fight as he drew a card depicting his boar symbol surrounded by purple.
"Time to end this!" Aries snapped while drawing a card which had his ram symbol surrounded by red on it.
"Final Vent!" was the united cry of the Knights' scanners. The air became filled with animalistic noises as the Knights' contracted Star Beasts came to unleash their ultimate attacks.
"Meteor Joust!" Lunar cried as he and Stallionstar ripped through a line of Soljants, making them explode on contact.
"Tusk Strike!" Kronos bellowed as he held his naginata while slicing through Soljants as Boarbomber slammed them to him with his tusks.
"Storm Spin!" Zeus cried as he held his whip out before Scavenger sent his spinning like a top. Every Soljant he touched was shredded before exploding.
"Armageddon Shot!" Aries roared before he pulled the trigger to his gun which was equipped to the fully armed Rammerhead. Missiles and bullets flew as numerous Soljants were destroyed by the assault.
"Raging Tiger Claw!" Poseidon roared as Wildstrype launched him through the air. The Knight of Neptune flashed right past several Soljants before coming to a stop. His arms had been in a blur before stopping. The Soljants themselves likewise stopped moving before they immediately fell apart. They exploded shortly afterwards.
Armbuster charged at the Soljant Queen and gripped it around the middle while holding it up. Gaia leaped straight up into the air and met the apex of her jump several feet above both Star Beasts. She looked down and reared back her hammer. Energy raced into it which made the head several times bigger. She started coming back down, aiming to bash the Queen's head in.
"Ape Apocalypse!" she cried before bringing the enlarged hammer down on the Queen's head. The body was slammed into the dirt as Armbuster let go. The Queen let out one last screech before she too exploded in a ball of fire.
The smoke and dust began to clear as the last Soljant was destroyed. The Senshi and Students looked on in amazement at not only the power the Knights wielded, but also the abilities of the newest Knight. The smoke cleared around her and the orb of energy which was the Soljant Queen's power was hovering in the middle of a blackened crater. Gaia acted quickly and drew a new card which depicted a seal and slid it into the hammer on her back.
"Seal Vent!" was what the hammer called before Armbuster started beating his chest as he drew the orb into his body.
All was silent as the Senshi and Knights took a moment to catch her breath. Gaia found that her hands were shaking from the adrenaline that was running though her system.
"That was totally awesome!" a student cheered from his viewing post on one of the balconies of Furinkan. The other students got their wits back and began cheering loud and long. A number of the students were also coming out the front doors to congratulate the Knights and Senshi on their latest victory. Lunar just shook his head and was about to turn and leave before he felt someone grip hi shoulder. He turned to see Gaia looking at him. She leaned in close and began whispering in his ear.
"Any money we make from this appearance, I'll take off your debt if you participate, Saotome," she spoke softly, which made Lunar's eyes widen in shock. There was no doubt about it now. That was definitely Nabiki underneath that brown armor.
"Excuse me!" called a hopeful student who Gaia recognized as one of her lackeys. "Can we get a picture of all of you? It will only take a minute!"
"Sure," Lunar sighed, seeing Poseidon and Aries dusting off their armor again. He turned to the Senshi who were watching with some slight discomfort. "You girls want to join us?"
"Sure!" Sailor Moon chirped happily. She was always happy to receive praise for her actions. The other Senshi knew that this would give her a swelled head for a while, but it would do her self-esteem as a Senshi wonders.
"That was very impressive Suzaku," Genbu chortled. He was upset that the plan failed, but he couldn't help but tease his teammate about this.
"Shut up!" Suzaku hissed.
"This is why we didn't want a large scale operation," Byakko sighed. "There are too many random factors involved. That one attack drew the attention of not just all the Knights, but almost all the Senshi, and even brought in a new Knight."
"Indeed," Seiryu sighed deeply. "We have also lost a powerful Star Beast in the process."
Suzaku huffed and leaned into her throne. This was not a good day for her.
By the next day of school, pictures and posters of the Knights and Senshi after their battle with the Soljants were making their rounds at school. All the boys wanted pictures of Gaia just as badly as the girls wanted pics of the other male Knights. Akane was most likely the only person not enjoying the news as she and her sister ate out underneath a tree in the schoolyard.
"What is so great about this floozy?" Akane sighed. "She's hanging around with those nutjobs. I bet she's just as crazy as the rest of them!"
Nabiki resisted the urge to growl and smack her sister upside the head. Her disrespect for people who were either better than her or didn't like her was on par with Ranma's foot-in-mouth. Retaining her composed look, she decided to play her part and talk to her sister.
"Gee, I dunno, Akane," she grinned. "Maybe it's because they saved almost everyone in school? Maybe it is because they stuck around to make sure that everyone was okay? Even you can't deny they exist now that they and the monsters have shown themselves on a scale like this."
Akane just huffed and slouched in her seat. She knew she couldn't really say nor do anything about it. Didn't mean she had to like it though. The other girls were still ignoring her save for Yuka and Sayuri and she didn't want to risk extending her sentence.
In a restaurant somewhere in the USA, a black haired girl who wore a bow in her hair was surfing the internet on her computer when she clicked on a picture link she'd received in her E-mail. What came out was a picture of the Inner Sailor Senshi along with the Celestial Knights. When she saw Gaia, she grinned.
"Looks like Horsie's got a new friend," she said.
"Onee-chan, is that Lunar-tachi and the Senshi?" her brother, a boy with auburn hair tied into a braid, asked as he looked over her shoulder at the picture on the monitor screen. "Sugoi, another Knight!"
"We may have to pay them a visit one day, otouto-chan."
On a plane just getting ready to leave Narita International Airport for a flight to America, there was a beautiful green-haired woman who was the picture of calm, but her insides were churning. Granted, she could have teleported to the place where she wanted to go, but going the long way helped calm her nerves.
"Soon," she whispered to herself. "I will be with my first family again."
To Be Continued...
A/N: All right! Another Knight appears on the scene. I hope no one is mad at me for making Nabiki a Knight. If you are then please don't flame me for it.