Ranma Lord of the Sith

Part 4

Deal with the Devil.

++++++++++++++

Ranma Saotome sat in the dojo
meditating. His face a frown of
thoughtfulness as he considered his
situation. There was a lot to work out
in this new place, and he wasn't used to
staying in one place very long.

Genma was fat and happy at the
moment, enjoying his slacking off. Ranma
found this idea comforting. If the old
man became too weak, he would finally
have a good reason to get rid of him.
Still, he needed him for more than
expanding his own skills for a little
while longer at least. Akane and Kasumi
were still new to him, and he needed
time to cement his hold on them a little
more.

Soun and Genma's pathetic friendship
would serve as an excuse to hang around.
The bumbling fools would try to unite
their pathetic excuse for a school, and
allow him more time to do as he pleased.
As long as the elder Saotome was around,
he had all the time he needed. Putting
the idiots' personal plans off for a
while was a good way to do that.

He had other concerns though. Nabiki
Tendo was the next problem to pop into
his mind. The girl's power was pathetic,
miniscule even. She had no potential for
any kind of training. Still, she had
shown her mind to be surprisingly
strong. She could be useful, but she
could also be dangerous. He would need
to think long and hard on her. "Maybe I
should just be rid of her, but not just
yet." Akane and Kasumi might not like
that much. Not that he cared much, but
it wasn't time yet to push them quite
that far. If he rid himself of her, he
would have to do it discreetly.

Tofu. The most dangerous part of the
equation in his mind. He had to be rid
of the man. There was no question about
that at all. Still, he had to consider
his options carefully. He knew nothing
about the man so far, but that could be
fixed easily enough. He knew the man was
no Jedi, but how aware of his own power
was he? How dangerous was he really? It
was something he had to deal with now,
or it would become a very risky
situation for him. He frowned and sighed
as he relaxed his mind a bit more.

The battle between the Shanishi and
Beryl could become something of a tool
for him. He would have to tread
carefully, but his best option had
already appeared for him. In a short
time, he would go to deal with part of
that little issue, but he still had time
first.

Playing Jedi for the Shanishi was
somewhat disturbing, but not unheard of.
He didn't like the idea much, but was
pleased with the opportunities it could
offer him. Now, he just had to make sure
they continued to trust him. That could
take some work, but if his plans worked
out, he could work out something without
much trouble at all.

A dark smile formed on his face as
he looked up at the clock that sat on
the wall. "It's time."

++++++++++++

"Boy! Where are you going?" said
Genma as his son strolled towards the
door of the home with a cloth draped
over his arm.

"Out, I won't be back until later,"
responded Ranma calmly.

"Ranma-sempai? Are you leaving?"
asked Kasumi as she stepped out of the
kitchen with her maddening grin on her
face.

He smirked at the title slightly and
nodded. "Don't wait for me, I'll see you
this evening Kasumi."

The girl nodded and went back into
the kitchen without another word.

Genma blinked at the exchange and
turned towards the boy again. "What's
this about boy?"

"It's nothing to concern yourself
about, just some...training," replied
Ranma as he smirked at the man.

Genma's face became somewhat dazed
for a moment and he nodded. "Oh, well.
I'd better not catch you slacking off
boy!"

Ranma shook his head. "Just keep
slacking off yourself, and I won't have
anything to worry about old man."

Genma had already turned away, his
mind telling him that there was nothing
interesting going on with his son.
Surely a game of Shogi with Soun would
allow for more interest that the lazy
boy would.

Ranma chuckled as he stepped
outside. He still enjoyed doing that to
the old man. It was pathetic how easy it
was.

A light rain started to fall as he
walked through the streets. The sky was
growing dark, not only because of the
sun falling, but also the storm that was
brewing on the horizon. He smiled to
himself as he walked towards Juban, into
the dark clouds in the distance.

+++++++++++++

Beryl stood on the rooftop in Juban.
She stared out into the city with a cold
scowl on her face. The sun had gone
down, and Nephrite stood at her side,
along with two large and ugly Youma. It
was raining, but neither one appeared
wet.

The man cursed under his breath as
he glared into the darkness below.
"She's late."

"You had best hope that is all she
is Nephrite," said Beryl calmly.

The man turned to face her and
nodded for a moment. "She told me she
would be here. You know how
unreliable..."

"Unreliable? If what you told me was
true, and it had better be, then she has
been here for some time now," said the
Dark Queen as she leveled her gaze on
her General for a moment.

Thunder crashed and the pair turned
to face a shadowy figure that was
silhouetted against the darkness for a
split second. It was gone again as the
shadows returned after the blast of
light, the rumble hit them and they
continued to stare as the figure
appeared again, seeming to melt from the
darkness in front of them.

Nephrite growled and stepped back.
It was her, he could feel it. The cold
darkness that swirled around her,
unhidden, as it was the night before. He
had felt it when she had him in her grip
for the briefest of moments. It was
unmistakable. She was dressed
differently now, instead of a cape, she
wore a hooded robe that covered her
completely.

Beryl stepped forward fearlessly as
she stared at the girl for a moment. "I
should destroy you for bringing me out
here."

The girl's chin shifted as her lips
turned into a cold smile, it was the
only part of her skin either one of them
could see.

Beryl snarled as she felt the icy
power close around her throat. She
pushed it back with her own power, but
it was a losing battle. "You destroy me?
Don't be foolish. Not even Metallia's
power can destroy me, even in death, I
live on."

Beryl found herself chuckling as she
clutched at her throat for a moment. Her
eyes bored into the girl's hood,
challenging her icily. She had no fear;
it was as if she could not fear her.

Ranma released her and looked up at
them, revealing only a little more of
her face under the hood. The lightning
crashed again and she walked in front of
them, back and fourth while looking the
pair up and down. "You are not as strong
as you once were Beryl. These Shanishi
will destroy you."

"Ha! Those pathetic weaklings are
nothing! Their powers deluded by the
passage of time!"

"Only their experience is diluted,
not their power. In time, you will see
to correcting that yourself."

"What?" snarled Beryl angrily.

"What is it you seek Beryl?" asked
the girl coldly as she stared forward
with her piercing blue eyes.

"I will rule all," she snarled
hatefully. "I will become forever!"

"Pathetic, you're as shallow and
stupid as you always were. I have no
reason to help you." Ranma started to
turn away and smirked.

She could feel the waves of anger
flowing off of both of them. Hatred and
murderous intent. Neither of them was
stupid enough to attack though.

"You will stand with is in victory,
the entire planet would be my gift to
you!" said Beryl through her teeth.

"I have foreseen only death for you,
not victory. Your promise is hollow,
although..." The girl turned to face
Beryl and stepped towards her again. "I
may still have a use for you."

"What do you mean?" she asked
carefully.

"You're a fool to believe that your
lies are not transparent Beryl. You
would never allow for a force like me to
stand. Sooner or later, we would be
opposed."

The woman scowled at this and turned
her head away.

"My master knew this, as do I.
You're foolish to believe you can lie to
us. I should destroy you now, and be
done with it. However, you may be useful
to me, and the Shanishi are irritatingly
strong."

Beryl kept her eyes on the girl,
both of her Youma guards moved in
agitation. Nephrite was surprisingly
indifferent now, and said nothing. He
stood off to the side with his arms
crossed in front of his chest.

"I will help you, to destroy these
women. You lost all hope when they
discovered the Jedi Ranma."

"What?" said Beryl in shock.

"There is another, who opposes me
here," said the girl calmly. "The Jedi
Knight, Ranma Saotome. He cannot
interfere with the battle directly, but
he has chosen to protect the Princess
Serenity. That is something you have no
hope of defeating. You need me."

"And you need us," said Beryl with a
smirk forming on her face.

"Don't be foolish, my patience is
limitless, as is my power. You're just a
convenience," replied Ranma with a small
chuckle.

The woman's face fell, her fangs
protruding over her lips as she worked
her clawed fingers in agitation. "You
are not as strong as you think you are
Sith. Your master was foolish to believe
that he was."

"My master survived, did you?"
replied Ranma coldly.

Beryl hissed in undisguised hatred.
"He lied to us! Betrayed us for his own
ends."

"Of course he did, did you really
think he would help you to rule his
galaxy?" replied the redhead coolly.

Beryl snorted in disgust. "He
assured us victory, not thousands of
years in darkness."

"Fool, don't you realize? My master
didn't lie. Victory was yours, you just
weren't prepared for the price of
victory." Ranma turned her back to the
pair and chuckled. "Ah, I can feel your
rage. You know it's true don't you? My
master gave you what you asked for, and
you hate him more for that than anything
else."

"You are going to help us?" snarled
Nephrite as he grew impatient.

Ranma turned to face him, anger
flashing on her features as another bolt
struck the ground in the distance. The
thunder rumbled, drowning out the man's
chokes as he struggled for his life.
"Yes, I will help you. As disgusting as
you are, you are more desirable than
those weak little girls. Give me what I
need, and I will ensure victory." She
smirked again as she released the man
and he fell on his face gasping for
breath. "My victory," she added
mentally.

"Very well. For now, we shall be
allies, together, we will destroy these
new Shanishi," said Beryl with a small
chuckle. "You'll destroy that Jedi for
us at least. Even if you survive that,
with the power of the Silver Imperium
Crystal, you won't stand against me,"
she thought to herself.

"Very well," said Ranma as she
walked up to the woman and smirked. "So
it shall be, for now, I shall help you."

+++++++++++++++

Ono Tofu sat on the edge of his bed.
He hadn't gotten a good night of sleep
in a week. Sweat covered his brow as he
stared down at the floor and gasped for
breath. "That dream..." he muttered
under his breath. It had grown less and
less clear over time.

One thing remained despairingly
clear though. "Kasumi..." He staggered
to his feet and staggered over to the
sink. He stared into his reflection, his
face was unshaven and his eyes were
bloodshot. "What's happening to me?"

He sighed and splashed his face,
desperately trying to clear his mind.
The swirl of emotion was too much
though, and he felt tears run down his
cheeks mixed in with the tap. "I know I
have to help her...but I don't know
what's wrong!"

He looked up into the mirror again
and frowned. His reflection had changed.
His jaw hung down as he stared into the
eyes of the boy he had seen on the
street. He shook his head in confusion
and started to step back.

The reflection reached out and
grabbed his shoulders. "You can't save
her Tofu. Don't you know she's mine?"

"What?" he muttered.

"Think you can kill her?" asked the
boy with a wild and crazed look in his
eyes. "You'll never save her, and it's
your only choice."

A feminine voice from behind him
spoke up. "Maybe there's still hope?"

The boy's image vanished and Tofu
tried to turn and see who had spoken to
him. He couldn't do it and looked at the
mirror again. This time it was a young
girl, she was pretty with long violet
hair flowing down her back. He could
only see up to her waist and she frowned
at him. "Perhaps it not so dark as seem?
Hope?"

The girl's image faded into a
rotting body. It was dressed in a
tattered and dirty white robe, with its
long dark hair flowing down its head.
Two empty sockets stared back at him.
Slowly, the image faded away into his
own body. "There is no hope."

+++++++++++++

Ono Tofu jumped upright in his bed.
His sheets were soaked and he screamed
out loud as the rush of reality hit him
again. He sat there gasping for breath.
He couldn't move, fearful that he might
be trapped in another dream again.

His visions were getting worse, and
more disturbing. "I've got to go talk to
Kasumi," he muttered under his breath.
"This is more than a dream."

He flopped back down onto his bed,
ignoring the cold wet sensation across
his back. He swallowed a few times as he
regained his breath and then sat up
again. "I've got to find out what's
going on...this is...too much."

His bare feet touched the tile floor
and he staggered to his feet,
deliberately avoiding the mirror this
time. He sat down at the small table and
turned on the small coffee machine that
was set in the middle of it.

Slowly he turned his head and
frowned. The curtains were blowing in
the wind, the window was open. The storm
outside was just starting and the wind
was becoming more violent. He stood up
and walked towards the open window. "I
didn't leave that open." He turned and
walked into the clinic, searching around
with terror gripping his heart.

A chill ran down his spine and he
turned to glance around the room.
"What's going on here?"

It was glaring at him from one of
the doorways of the clinic. He paused
and turned his head in confusion. The
thing was standing there like some kind
of statue.

"What?"

"The master...she doesn't want your
power. It is strange," said the thing
without moving.

"Who are you? What do you want?" he
muttered as he stepped back.

"Kill you..." hissed the thing as
its eyes started to glow. It's lips
turned into a cruel smile as it started
to move forward. "Kiiillll youuuuu..."

Tofu stepped back and stumbled
across the counter as he backed into it.


The thing reached for him with its
claws and snarled with hatred. "Your
life! It ends now!"

Without thinking, Tofu's almost
forgotten training kicked in. He ducked
under the strike and lashed out with his
foot, kicking the thing in its chest.

It stepped back and grunted under
the force, but appeared to be unharmed.

"What the?" he muttered in horror as
it started to reach for him again. This
time his attack was more deliberate, his
hands lashing out to block and strike
out at it with his fingers.

Six spots were struck on the thing's
body. It chuckled as it ignored the
shiatsu points that had been struck.
"Weak, you cannot defeat me!"

Tofu screamed in terror and defiance
as he dove into the thing and tackled it
to the ground. He rolled away and made
it to his feet first, stopping long
enough to kick it in the teeth as it
rose from the ground.

The creature shook it's head and
spit out several of its teeth, ignoring
the pain that it should be feeling.
"You'll pay for that."

Tofu started to run, but felt
something stop him. It was a force
pulling his power from his body. "I
should have done this from the start,"
said the thing.

"You're not really here," gasped
Tofu as he turned to look at the thing.
"This is just...a puppet..."

The creature was holding some sort
of crystal in its claws. It was starting
to glow with his internal energy. Tofu
felt his world fading away slowly. "No!
I can't die! Kasumi..."

"Heh. Kasumi?" said the thing as it
suddenly stopped draining him. "What do
you know of this Kasumi?"

Tofu's eyes narrowed as he felt his
strength return slightly.

"Tell me, and I might let you live.
This time that is."

The man's face contorted into
defiance. "He's my brother."

"A pity, I thought you might have
been more useful than I'd thought. Oh
well," the thing reached forward with
the crystal again, the dark power
pulling at Tofu once again.

"No!" snarled the doctor as he
lashed out again, he stumbled back
against one of the operating trays.

"You're strong to resist, it's
almost a pity," said the creature.

Tofu spun around from leaning over
the tray. He screamed and collapsed on
the ground. Finally, he was out cold.

The creature's arm fell, the crystal
clattering against the ground. "I've
failed! Forgive me master!" it managed
to gurgle despite the huge wound in it's
throat. Its neck was nearly sliced in
half. It slumped down to the ground and
landed face first on the tile as it
began to crumble away into dust.

Tofu merely lay there, a scalpel in
his hand.

++++++++++++

On a nearby rooftop, a figure stood
glaring at the building. Her hood
covering her features as she stared at
it hatefully. "Beryl's creatures are
pathetically weak. This is useless." She
turned away and vanished into the
streets.

++++++++++++++

Akane frowned as she stood off
against Ranma in the dojo. Her arms and
legs worked to their limits, and the boy
merely brushed her strongest blows aside
as if they were nothing. "Damn you!"

"If you could, you would," he
replied calmly.

Akane snarled hatefully and stepped
back into a defensive stance.

"Enough of this Akane, you're
pathetic," snorted Ranma as he turned
away.

"I'll show you who's pathetic!"
snarled the girl as she charged again.
Her arms pushed forward and the boy in
front of her vanished from sight.
Something hit the dojo wall in front of
her with enough force to crack the
wooden wall.

"Good, but you still lack focus, or
control," said Ranma calmly as he
frowned at her and punched her in the
back of her head.

The girl's entire body exploded with
pain from the strike. She screamed in
anger and rage as she writhed on the
ground.

Ranma stood over her, watching
calmly. He looked up to see Kasumi
walking into the room. "Good morning,"
he said with a small nod.

"Good Morning Ranma-sempai," said
the girl as she gave him an
acknowledging nod. She kept moving,
going about her own business for the
morning.

"Sempai?" grumbled Akane as she
staggered to her feet and looked at her
sister for a moment.

"Yes, Sempai," replied Ranma as he
started walking out of the room.

Akane's anger jumped suddenly and
she charged after him. "You bastard!
What have you done to my sister?" She
gasped in shock as she suddenly found
herself pushed back by an unseen force.
She was sprawled across the ground, and
the boy's foot was across her throat
before she could move.

"What I do is none of your
business," he said calmly. "You belong
to me Akane Tendo, not the other way
around. You'd best remember that."

The girl's mouth worked open and
closed, she couldn't speak. Fear was the
overpowering emotion she was feeling
now. His foot slowly pushed down on her
throat, and she felt the strain of her
windpipe desperately trying to hold
itself together under the force he was
applying.

"Maybe I should just be rid of you
now, and be done with it?" he mused out
loud.

The girl simply lay there helpless.
Her arms and legs were free, but she
found herself unable to do anything to
stop him.

He stood there on her neck, simply
looking at her with an odd expression on
his face for a long moment. "Maybe."

Akane closed her eyes and waited.
Finally, just before she passed out from
the lack of air, he pressure was gone.
She gasped and lay there with her eyes
squeezed shut.

Ranma left the room with a cold
smirk on his face as he went off to find
breakfast.

Just outside the door, Kasumi Tendo
merely watched the scene play out, just
outside Akane's field of vision. Her
expression was calm, and revealed no
emotion. She frowned to herself as the
boy released her and shook her head.
This oddly disappointed her. It wasn't
something she could explain either. In
her mind, she thought she should be
angry with him for attacking her family
that way.

Any thoughts on the matter were
quickly pushed aside as she continued
her work. The laundry wasn't going to do
itself after all.

++++++++++++++

Nabiki sat at the table, a cold
scowl on her face as she looked at her
younger sister. She was oddly silent,
and sat next to Ranma. Neither of them
seemed to acknowledge the other's
presence. They simply sat next to each
other. She didn't put much thought into
the fact that Kasumi was sitting on
Ranma's right side. It was her usual
spot at the table after all.

"Something is going on here, but I'm
not sure what," she thought to herself
as she ate slowly. Occasionally he would
glance at her, her attention would shift
away when he did this. She didn't think
he'd noticed her watching them.

She was wrong of course, Ranma could
feel her eyes on him. It was bothering
him slightly and he hadn't yet decided
on a course of action. He doubted if she
would fare as well against one of those
youma as Tofu had. Still, he decided to
wait it out for now, and keep an eye on
her. She may still prove herself useful.
He doubted it, but one never knew.

His cold smirk returned to his face
as Akane stood up and looked at him.
"We'll be late if we don't leave."

He nodded and joined her as she
walked out of the room towards the door.
"You coming? It'll be harder for you to
stare at me all day if you aren't with
us."

Nabiki jumped slightly at his words,
but quickly replaced her surprise with a
mask of indifference. "Like you're worth
staring at."

Ranma shook his head and started
walking after his fiancee again.

++++++++++++++

Next Time: Return to School.