You can guess the crossover. Ranma won't wear a fuku, and also no tuxedo. He won't be some re-incarnation. He is just... Ranma. I want to avoid numerous stuff that became the norm in these crossovers but that actually is pretty stupid. I also will make it clear that while Ranma and the Senshi learn new techniques, I won't sink to the insane levels of the canon, where it became an absurd arms race in the later parts of both series. It's a common weakness in anime series that the power level increases to ridiculous levels. (In my opinion, DBZ is the worst offender in that regard in the anime world) I will try to stay on Earth and try to give everything a bit more realistic feeling (as much as it as it is possible) but don't worry... hilarity will still ensure!

Needless to say that I will slaughter the canon of both series, but I guess you expected this. Also I don't have any rights to both series, but I guess you know that, too.

It had taken more far too long to write this, but RL things constantly interfere. Due to the schedule I had to write this chapter, I'm sorry if it sometimes doesn't merge together perfectly. I heard that I didn't spotlight Ranma and Ami enough, but that's a problem only solved once the next chapter is done, as the one following that one will feature both of them prominently.

Warning that Ranma and Ami do a bit of "exploration" in this one, although I tried to keep it clean (sadly no adult-chapter for you this time at aff net).

Note that specific notes are at the end of the chapter, to avoid spoilers.


Chapter 15: The Music-Connection, Part I

Jadeite stood before the throne of Queen Beryl, looking very pleased with himself. It had been a mere day ago that Nephrite had fallen and Jadeite had enjoyed every single second since then, as it included an elevation of his own position. Besides that, he also was ready to report to his queen on his big project.

"Well, Jadeite? Are you ready to proceed with your big plan?" Beryl asked him impatiently.

"Yes, Queen Beryl. Right at the moment, our... hot music... is being delivered to the stores in masses. I have no doubt that it will sell like nothing else after all the advertisement we made and the hidden manipulation signals will ensure that everyone can't get enough of hearing it," Jadeite reported, quite pleased with himself.

Beryl allowed herself a rare smile of satisfaction. "You have done well so far, Jadeite. Your plan of keeping these bothersome Senshi in the dark until it already is too late promises rich reward."

"Thank you, my queen," Jadeite replied, almost glowing with pride.

"I trust that everything has been prepared on this side as well?" Beryl asked further.

Jadeite nodded. "Yes. Our energy tanks are all ready to receive the harvest right from the source and store it. Your loyal servant Tethys reports, that they are ready when the hour comes."

"Then proceed as planned, Jadeite, and our great Master will soon reawaken."

o

At the same time, Ranma's great-grandfather Isamu Nakamura was on the phone, speaking with his contact.

"Yes, Hino-san, everything that you have reported to me reinforces my belief that my great-grandson is more than ready to become my successor. From what you have told me I can see he is a young man of good heart who won't hesitate to fight for the good cause and he already has made contact with the forces of darkness."

Isamu then listened to what the elder Hino further had to say.

"I understand you have to keep various things silent, since you have given a vow of secrecy, but what you have already told me is very impressive. I plan to invite him here next week, directly after the start of the summer leave, to finally reveal the legacy of the Shadow Hunter to him."

Isamu listened to what else Hino-san had to say.

"You want to try and arrange that I get more information about his allies? This can't hurt, after all we fight on the same side. You have done a lot to help me. You have done well in helping the side of the light. I thank you, Hino-san, and that we hopefully can soon meet in person."

Hanging up the phone, Isamu slowly went to the open doors of the family room, which led to a wooden balcony. His cane made small clicking noises on the wooden floor until he finally had reached outside, overlooking the fields and woods of the area far outside of Tokyo, with his house in a rural, small village far away from all the stress of the big city. It wasn't a big house, but after the modest gains in his work life, this was the best he could afford, and it suited him well. It looked so peaceful with night having settled, only the distant light pollution from Tokyo interrupting the picture.

Sitting down in a reed chair, his thoughts returned to his great-grandson.

Ranma had surely led an interesting life and he understood why Nodoka had felt it better to not mention this curse to him. Yet, since he had witnessed magic numerous times, it didn't shock him. He just felt sorry for Ranma that he had to live with something this embarrassing, although after some of the more horrible curses he had witnessed in his active time as Shadow Hunter, the boy had gotten a mostly harmless curse. Just changing genders was very innocent compared to things like getting turned inside-out while still living or having all your bones turned to liquid and dying a horrible death. He had witnessed these things and some still gave him the occasional nightmare.

However, what Hino-san had told him - and what Nodoka for good reason, at least she thought so, had not told him - was giving him hope.

The boy - no, more like a young man - was already following the call, without even knowing. Although now knowing the reason why he had re-connected to his legacy now of all times dampened his mood a little. The mere idea that he'd carried around such a dangerous demon for almost ten years was frightening, especially since he hadn't been aware of it. If not for his advanced age, he'd have been tempted to go and strangle Genma Saotome with his own hands. The circumstances of the demon's destruction were a bit unusual, but he was glad it was gone and the infernal book destroyed as well. Only with the demon leaving Ranma's body was the taint gone and the boy able to re-connect to his destiny.

To think that the connection got cut because a demon entered his body, he thought in disbelief, good thing that his good heart prevented this monster from taking over.

That Ranma was actively following the call and had already risen up against the dark forces with these rather unusual allies had then reinforced his impression that this young man would take on the never-ending battle against the dark forces without hesitation, if asked. Granted, the girls at whose side he was fighting looked more like something out of erotic writings by the way they dressed, but he had little right to judge them, considering what some of the women of his profession in some countries wear.

He however knew without doubt that the Senshi were fighting for the same cause, their actions spoke for themselves, even though from what he got, these girl were not very good at it yet.

Leaning back, Isamu Nakamura took a deep breath.

Yes, at the beginning of the summer holidays next week, he would extend an invitation to Ranma. He deserved to know the truth and decide himself, if he accepted the legacy.


... next day, morning...

Walking to school at the Wednesday morning was quite a somber affair.

Everyone still had not gotten over how easily they had lost at Monday evening. It was that regardless how much they had tried, even their best hadn't been good enough to stop the Dark Kingdom from taking Nephrite with them. That they hadn't made a difference, that it would have been the same as if they hadn't come at all, was sobering and showed that their successes up to now were not enough to keep up once things would get really serious.

Pluto had been surprisingly understanding. She had told them that she'd feared something like that would happen sooner or later, adding that this was a hard lesson she wished on no one, but which would teach them to take the whole thing very serious. The message had sunk in and the girls were no longer complaining, now that they'd seen where being unskilled and underpowered had led to. Each of them had vowed to try and always give their best, even Usagi.

Meeting Pluto had also brought up the strange chain that Venus had conjured and which she now always had access to, even when not transformed.

Of course the golden chain looked goofy, with the links being shaped like hearts, but Pluto had said that it actually is a very powerful magical weapon. It was only breakable by very strong magic and could be easily repaired. Also, it could be charged with Venus' magic. Minako however had balked when Pluto said it was called the 'Love-Me Chain', finding the name embarrassing and insisted that she would just call it a chain. Pluto had added that every Senshi had a personal weapon, pointing out her staff and Ceres' sickle, but that only with time they would find out how to access them.

Khu-Lon had been positively surprised that the girls were now putting every ounce of effort into their training, but the confrontation with Ranma had been even more interesting.

Ranma had almost demanded that his training had to begin very soon, saying that he hated being unable to help and that he needed these techniques, as he had experienced first hand. The elder surprisingly had not been angry and instead complimented him on this insight, saying he had just again proven why he could be trusted with these secrets. She added that they would start with the serious training shortly after the beginning of the summer holidays, with Xian-Pu then free of school obligations and able to take care of the girls' training full-time.

Ami shook her head, returning to the present.

They had just met up with Akane, Naru and Usagi on the way to school. Neither of them had said much, but it was clear that Usagi still felt bad over the events two days ago. She was not used to failing like that and it showed. Akane on the other hand seemed to take things much better. Perhaps after everything that had happened in her life, it took more to get her off-balance.

Looking to Ranma, Ami had to admit that he took it rather well, although she had noticed an increase in the severity of the training his father gave him. It had forced her to remind him that he shouldn't overdo it, or she would to have to tell his mother that he again was in danger of neglecting his grades. The threat alone had been enough to make him promise to keep it in check.

Finally arriving at school, they noticed right away that some kind of new fad was going around the student population.

The number of students, boys and girls alike, who either were wearing headphones for portable CD players or listening from some mobile player someone had carried in their book bag was surprisingly high. Walking further into the school yard towards the doors, they could clearly hear it was some kind of music they were all gaga over.

"Seems that we missed another big thing coming out," Usagi noticed. Ever since becoming Sailor Moon she didn't have as much time for pop culture as she used to have.

There was a group of girls close to the door, listening to the music coming from a portable CD player. Naru approached them. "Excuse me, what is this?"

"What, you don't know? It was all over radio and TV!" one of the girls asked, looking at Naru as if she had grown a second head.

"We were really busy," Usagi added.

The girl looked at Usagi in disbelief, knowing her reputation and she seemed to doubt that Usagi was busy. Shaking her head she showed them the cover. "It's the first single from the new star, J. Stone, although everyone knows that's just his artist name."

They had to admit, the cover was... colorful. It looked like a store full of paint had exploded. In the middle stood a man who seemed to be in his early thirties, holding a mike and singing with all the strength he could. 'May our Strength combine' was the title pasted in huge, yellow letters above him. All five of them tried hard not to gag at the sight of the cover. Even Usagi pulled a fine line between sexy and not-sexy, and this clearly was on the wrong side of the line for her.

"He surely looks...enthusiastic," Usagi said carefully, not wanting to show what she really thought.

"Enthusiastic? Just listen to it!" Then without warning, the girl ramped up the volume.

Their ears all of a sudden were assaulted with something that could only be called music in the broadest sense. While the other students seemed to like it, they didn't like it at all. It sounded to them like a cacophony of clashing sounds that made their ears hurt. All five of them didn't stay to hear more, running into the school building to escape from it.

"What was this junk? I got a headache from it as soon as I heard it!" Ranma gasped, once they were inside the building and outside of hearing range.

"I guess that's what is called music these days," Akane answered not very helpfully, while using a finger in trying to clear her right ear.

Ami shook her head, some echos of the noise still in her ears. "I felt like my ears were bleeding. What is wrong with classical music? I for my part enjoy it very much."

"Not everyone has got taste..." Naru said, then saw Makoto coming from the other end of the corridor. "Where did you come from?"

Makoto wasn't even out of breath, despite obviously having run quite a distance. "From the back entrance. There was some crazy noise at the front entrance and I didn't want any trouble. Not after that little mess with Minako on the way here."

"What did happen now?" Ami asked, dreading what now could have happened.

Mokoto shook her head. "Nothing too bad, Minko just stumbled over Artemis and fell flat onto her face. I felt it better to leave when Artemis was clawing up her skirt to show his displeasure."

Usagi rolled her eyes when hearing this. The girl knew with dead certainty that Artemis would go to Luna after this incident to 'keep her company', meaning she wouldn't see much of her feline advisor for the rest of the day. In her imagination she had a good idea what these two were doing when together, but it was none of her business. She just hoped that Luna wouldn't get knocked up, since her parents wouldn't like a litter of kittens at all.

Right then, Ami said her good-byes and went to her own classroom. Sometimes they forgot that Ami was in a different classroom from them, considering how much time they spent together. Ranma especially had to remind himself of this fact regularly, although he had no problem with it, since he knew he would see her during lunch break and after school. Knowing they probably won't see Minako until lunch break they left for their first class of the day as well, even if only to escape that infernal music outside.

Soon everything returned to be a normal day of school a few days before summer break.

All of them busied themselves in the classroom before first period would start and soon forgot the incident at the front door. Naru was just sitting at her desk, being bored and looking around the half-filled classroom for anything to distract her. Her wandering eyes finally spotted something unusual and for a few moments she thought that there was a new student in class, before a second look made her realise who it actually was.

Getting up, she approached him. "You look quite... different, Umino."

Said boy looked up from his laptop. The heavy, thick glasses were gone; replaced by thin glasses in an aluminium frame. "Oh, hello Naru. You.. you noticed?"

Naru was surprised how different Umino looked with his new glasses. His old glasses had helped to scare away most people and made him look like a class-A idiot. Now however he looked like your average teenage boy - a bit on the weak side - but otherwise nothing remained from his nerdy looks. How much of a difference new glasses could make.

"It's hard to not notice it," she commented, while looking at him from several angles. "You took my advice?"

Umino pushed the glasses up his nose, before answering "Yes... it was so strange. He asked me where I got my old glasses from and then yelled at my parents over the phone for almost five minutes, before I got these. They are really light and I can see much better now."

Naru was reminded that Umino's parents had to be huge idiots to do something like this. "Uhm, you also do look quite good with them."

"Oh, really?"

Thankfully, Naru was spared from an awkward situation when the teacher entered right then and everyone scrambled to their seats.

She couldn't help but to wonder what had her made say this. Sure, Umino did look better without these ridiculous glasses, but he still was just an average guy. Then again, she was not like Usagi, who would only have eyes for Mr. Universe. But still, Umino? The geek they knew for years now? Naru wondered why she saw him different now. Had she really just seen the ridiculous glasses all the time?

If I go on like this, I get a headache, she finally told herself, before returning her attention to the lesson.


...Saotome house, after school...

School was fairly uneventful and it didn't seem take long before it was over and everyone went home. Since today was not a training day, it meant that Ami was walking with Ranma to his house, where they would get the homework out of the way.

Homework was something that Ranma still didn't like, but having Ami helping him was compensation enough. Her presence also was a great motivator to try and give his very best - which sadly still wasn't much on occasion, much to his embarrassment. However, she didn't seem to mind and even seemed to find enjoyment in helping him to overcome these problems. He actually missed her when she was busy with training.

This day was nothing out of the ordinary; and it being familiar was an odd comfort for them.

However, they went on full alert when they saw Ranma's father outside in the garden, avoiding the open sliding doors of the family room. That could only mean that his wife was being the host for other women - nothing else would make Genma Saotome act like this. Not that they couldn't understand this behavior, they themselves would do the same thing. For Ranma it was one of the few things he didn't like about his mother and Ami was dead-sure that her mother was in the house as well, since she had a free day.

"Pop, how bad is it? Should we go somewhere else?" Ranma directly asked him, not beating around the bush.

"Not too bad. No photos, they are just exchanging gossip and all that," he said, while constantly eying the door. "I think it's safe to stay in the garden. Just stay quiet." That said, he went to a place near the fence, which was in the shadow, and tried to shut out the world (he was taking a nap).

Ranma shook his head. Even though his father was changing, there were some thing that would never change. At least he was no longer wearing that stupid gi all the time. After getting one stare too many, Genma had moved to wearing something more normal - not that it made a difference with his transformation, since his clothes vanished when he turned panda and - thankfully - reappeared when he turned back to human. Ranma didn't even want to imagine how that worked and just thanked the gods for sparing him the sight (which he had seen too often during the training trip).

"I guess we'll do all the work outside at the garden table. I for my part won't go in there. I'm brave, not stupid," Ranma finally decided.

Ami understood him all too well. She had been present at something like that once, when her mother had met with her friends in their apartment, and the experience had made her avoid such things in the future. It was one thing to do the same thing with her friends, but something different to be on the sidelines and be the object of the discussion. No thanks, she didn't want a repeat performance.

Taking pains to stay quiet, they started their work, whispering when needed.

Through the open doors, they could hear the occasional bits from the conversation inside, which as Genma had said, mostly was gossip, social stuff and other things of that kind. It only strengthened their resolve to not get noticed in the first place or they would be in for a very boring afternoon. From what they were hearing, Nodoka again had Mrs. Mizuno and Mrs. Tsukino as guests.

"What do you think they are talking about?" Ranma wondered, while watching Ami showing him the Kanji he'd written wrong.

"You don't want to know. I witnessed one of these and I don't to do so again," Ami said with a slight annoyance in her voice and Ranma left it at that.

Inside was actually not quite as bad as the two teenagers imagined.

"I have to say, I see a big improvement in Usagi. I would not have believed that she would get up on time or do her school work, even though her grades are still not satisfying. It must be your daughter, Saeiko. She's rubbing off on her and I think that's a good thing," Ikuko said to her friend.

"Considering how often over the previous years you despaired over her, this says something," Saeko told her, while watching Nodoka refilling their tea cups. "For my part I wouldn't have thought mere months ago that Ami would end up with such a full social life. So many friends, an actual boyfriend and even finding an interest in sports. Who would have thought?"

If they only knew the real reason... Nodoka thought, while pouring the tea.

There was one drawback to being in the know... it was how guilty you felt when keeping things secret from your friends, especially when said friends are the parents of the secrets. She felt quite guilty for keeping this quiet and couldn't even imagine how hard this had to be on the girls. Lying to those you love surely was no fun.

"Shouldn't we have heard them by now? After all, school's out for some time," Saeko asked, when looking at the clock.

"I guess the dears don't want to disturb us and enjoy the good weather outside," Nodoka lied through her teeth. She knew Ranma would stay far away, since he disliked being present at such things, and this by proxy meant Ami would stay away, too.

"How thoughtful of them, I wish my own son would be like this. You remember the last time we were at our house?" Ikuko remembered, shuddering at the humiliating memory of how Shingo had behaved.

Nodoka was glad that the topic went to something else. "I still can't believe how rude your son had been. I thought he would know better by now."

"I thought so as well. Usagi, despite all her faults, is much better behaved." Ikuko then looked to Saeko Mizuno. "Saeko, dear, is something wrong that you again look at the clock?"

Saeko shook her head. "Oh... it's just that Kaizo wrote that he tries to get home as soon as he can. I even left a message home in case he arrives."

"I wonder what he'll say once he meets my son?" Nodoka wondered.

The answer was lost when suddenly loud voices drew their attention to the garden.

A few minutes earlier, Ami and Ranma had been busy with homework. Or better, Ami was busy with helping Ranma, since she knew she could finish her own work in mere minutes. It was a bit inconvenient that since they were in different homerooms, they never had the same homework. However, Ami didn't mind. She had to do the same thing with the girls, since they didn't share a class with her. It helped to keep her mind sharp and as well gave her an excuse to stay longer at Ranma's home.

Ranma had long lost any feeling of embarrassment at letting Ami help him. He had accepted that school stuff was like a school of martial arts where he was a beginner and Ami a black belt. So there was nothing shameful in accepting her help, especially since she seemed to enjoy it. It was a contrast. From what Ami had told him and what he had witnessed at the beginning, she had been repulsed by learning and school stuff thanks to how it had led her to a lonely life. But now... now she seemed to have regained her love for it.

"...and that's how you put the calculation of the triangle to good use," Ami right then finished her explanation.

"Hadn't thought that calculating a triangle could be this useful during a fight," Ranma honestly said at her clear and useful explanation. "These things come so easy to you... I sometimes feel kind of dumb."

"Don't!... I mean, don't do that. Remember that while I'm very intellectual, I'm almost entirely hopeless in a fight. We are opposite extremes," Ami quickly said. "Both of us have a LOT to learn."

"I would not say hopeless. For someone who had not until recently fought, it wasn't bad," Ranma told her and then enjoyed her cute blushing that followed.

"It certainly helps that I'm hard to hurt," she reluctantly admitted.

"Do you know you look cute when you are doing that?" Ranma teased a bit more, causing Ami's face to become a little redder.

"P-please, I can't help it!" she stammered.

Deciding that he'd teased her enough, Ranma held Ami close, allowing her to calm down. "That's one of these things I like about you... You are so honest."

Ami was reminded of why she liked Ranma so much, beside the fact that he looked good: he was a good friend. Not friend as in boyfriend but friend as in friend. While the upgrade to boyfriend had its advantages, she liked him for the fact that he had never made fun of her and did see Ami the girl and not just Ami Mizuno, top student. However, him holding her also showed an advantage of Ranma the boyfriend - she now felt very warm around her heart.

Ranma on the other hand had grown more secure around her. While he had been somewhat clusy at the start with how to express himself to her, he seemed to have learned fast. Enjoying being at her side had certainly helped.

"I just hope my old man doesn't wake up. I really don't want him see us right now," Ranma said, looking to where his father was sleeping near the fence.

"I wouldn't do this in the presence of my parents, either. Good thing we are alone..."

"The letters were not wrong. He is very close to you, Ami-chan."

"AKH!" they both gasped and quickly jumped apart, before looking to where the voice came from.

The was a man standing in the garden who... actually didn't look all that extraordinary. He looked more casual than most men with his blue jeans and leather jacket, but otherwise there wasn't anything to set him apart from the masses of people Ranma met every day, making him wonder who this could be. Ami on the other hand did recognise the man, causing her blush to return full force at being caught by him of all people in such a position.

"FATHER! You are embarrassing me!" she wailed in mortification.

That's her father? Ranma slightly recoiled, worrying that he didn't make a good first impression on the father of his girlfriend.

It seemed that Ami's father was not concerned by that outburst and embraced her. "I honestly don't care. For me you will always be my little Ami." That of course only rose Ami's embarrassment even further and her face became as red as a tomato.

Ranma watched the scene, before noticing that Genma had woken up and stood beside him. "Pop, thanks for not being like that," he told him, while feeling sorry for Ami.

"I'm thankful for that as well..." Genma dryly commented, thanking all heavens he wasn't this over-emotional. He would never show such an open display of affection.

"KAIZO!"

Ami's father finally let go of his daughter and instead was promptly embraced by his wife. Everyone thanked all goodness that at least they had the decency too keep making out at a minimum due to the audience. The two teenagers tuned it out, until Ami's father turned to Ranma.

"So this is the boy you told me about over the phone and in your letters. Guess I'll have to do my fatherly duty..."

"Kaizo, be nice. I told you he is very honorable and would never hurt Ami," Saeko reminded her husband.

Ranma for his part was at a loss what to do. This was Ami's father, who very well could tell him to stay away from her. This was one situation for which he was not prepared for or had any idea how to deal with. Freezing up, he couldn't do anything but to look uncomfortably to the man. Kaizo Mizuno looked as if one good hit could fell him, but this wasn't a situation that could be solved in a fight.

"Oh, just look at this. He does the best to look afraid of me!" Ami's father then called, causing Genma to smack Ranma on the back of his head.

"Boy, don't embarrass the family like this," Genma warned his son, only to get a hard look from Nodoka in return.

"If I remember right, you outright groveled and went to your knees when you met my parents. Not that it worked, since they threw you out of the house," she reminded her husband, causing him to back off.

Kaizo looked at Ranma some moments longer, before his eyes softened. "Don't look at me like this. I won't threaten you with violence, since I doubt I could even hit you. And just watching you two I could easily see how good you are for her. Last time I was home, Ami's only friends were books."

"Father!" Ami again protested.

"Dear, you have to admit that it is true. Look how much more happy you are now. You can't deny it," her mother reminded her.

"But... I... Please not in front of everyone else!" Ami stammered, while finally hiding behind Ranma just to be out of sight.

Her father chuckled. "Ok, I think I fulfilled my fatherly duty of embarrassing you. Honestly, I have nothing against it, he seems to be a fine young man who would never hurt you. As long as I don't become a grandfather too soon I won't make problems."

Both teenagers now were red in the face. "Ami, does your father love to do that?" Ranma whispered to her.

Ami sighed. "Yes... He loves to embarrass the hell out of me on his first day back. It's all meant in fun and he knows when to stop. I love him dearly, still, I start to get too old for this."

"Strange enough, I wish my old man had been like this," Ranma said in surprise, earing himself a headshake from Ami.

"Trust me, you don't," Ami said, then looked to her mother. "You knew he was coming," she accused her.

Seako looked a little guilty. "I wanted it to be a surprise for you. Sorry that you father is his usual, energetic self."

Watching these exchanges, Ranma wondered if that was how normal families worked and interacted. He never had one, after all. First the training trip, then his mother's guilt making her extra attentive to him, while his father was just becoming more approachable. In a way he envied Ami a little for having grown up with two loving parents,


...at night...

That's hopeless! Ranma silently groaned.

It was ridiculous. He'd woken up in the middle of the night and the cause of it had been an especially intense dream... one that of course featured Ami. It had started somewhat cheesy with their wedding. However, the wedding night that followed was very graphical and made Ranma wonder how he even conjured these images. What had started with plain vanilla lovemaking had turned to experimenting with other body orifices and him turning into a girl to 'put more variety into it'.

He'd woken up when Ami in the dream had used a strap-on to enter her.

Of course these intense dreams had had an effect on him and he was now sporting a very hard and almost painful erection. Regardless how hard he tried, it didn't go away and he was unable to return to sleep, even fearing how painful it could be to roll onto his front in this condition. Turning girl was also out, since Ranma knew it wouldn't reduce his arousal - not after seeing himself as a girl and Ami doing a sixty-nine in the dream.

Where did I get these ideas from? Ranma wondered. Maybe her old man mentioning something about her virtue did it.

However, for now the problem at hand was more important. Ranma had a pretty good idea that he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep or get rid of it until his body would get what it wanted. Up until now, he'd managed to avoid doing this. He'd never admit that he was a bit embarrassed at the idea of masturbating to release pent-up arousal. And up to now he never needed to, since by the time he woke up, he'd already climaxed from the dreams, regardless if boy or girl, and both genders creating a mess.

Up until now, that is.

He knew he now had no choice but to finally do it and was mighty glad he was male, since this was more familiar to him. He probably would have been too embarrassed about masturbating as a girl. He knew he would most likely get too curious and try it in due time, but not right now. Right now years of repressed sexuality needed to be addressed.

Pulling down his boxers, Ranma looked at his hard manhood.

Let's see the best way to do that... It wasn't that he hadn't touched it while it was hard in the past, just that he had never done anything further than that. The books that Ami had made him read about sexuality had had schematics of how men and women masturbate in them - it had been hard for him to read that book to the end.

Shaking his head, Ranma felt he should better get over with it.

Spitting into his hand, he carefully moistened his appendage - no way he'd try that dry - before taking hold of it. That action alone had felt better than anticipated - his member right now seemed to be very sensitive. He caught himself wondering how it would feel with it actually being inside Ami.

Concentration! he warned himself, being a bit worried how easily his thoughts went to that mental picture.

However, it wasn't that easy. With each stroke, Ranma felt intense need for more flood him, and his thoughts wandered very quickly. He imagined Ami in her birthday suit; both of them sharing a furo; exploring every inch of her... and more. Without noticing, these thoughts made him masturbate heavily until suddenly...

"Oh, AH!" It all exploded out of him and he felt the pressure leave him, being replaced by a deep satisfaction, accompanied by the idea doing this while inside Ami.

Trying to regain his breath, Ranma looked at the mess he'd created. "Man, looks like I need a new muscle shirt... Still, it was worth it."

He actually now wondered why he hadn't one this earlier, considering how good it felt.

o

After turning around for the upteenth time in her bed, Ami had to admit defeat.

I won't get any sleep this way, she silently groaned.

She had been woken up in the middle of the night by a very intense dream. While such dreams by now were normal to her, this one had been the most intense one up to now. Indeed, it was so intense that she was incredibly riled up and - as loathe as she was to say it - also incredibly horny. Trying to ignore it had not helped and only made the sensation between her legs worse, while threatening to soak her panties.

The dream had indeed been powerful. It had started quite romantically with their wedding, before it turned very graphical in the following wedding night. After lots of regular lovemaking at first, things became very hot. Ami had never before imagined Ranma in her dreams putting it into her rear hole. And him turning girl, them doing very... interesting things was very arousing. She'd woken up when she'd used at strap-on in her dream to enter girl-Ranma.

I must be a closet pervert if I dream things like that, she thought, staring into her shadowed room.

Up until now Ami had resisted the temptation to ease the sexual tension she felt with masturbation. She was no stranger to it, having experimented with it in her early teenage years, but it had been years since then, since she felt that she was a good girl and good girls do not masturbate. Too bad her body had a different opinion and forced her to re-consider.

It wasn't that she was a prude, her style of life simply had caused her to have such a low-key sexual drive that it seemed non-existent. Of course that had also meant her body was now catching up on years of sexual neglect; forcing her to literally take matters into her own hands if she wanted to ease the constantly growing itch between her legs.

I still feel a bit dirty doing this... she silently sighed, while carefully peeling off her panties.

Gently feeling around she discovered just how wet she had become. Her sex also had become quite swollen and warm, showing her need. Grabbing some tissues from her nightstand, she put these under herself to prevent soaking the bed in what would follow. She carefully traced her finger down the cleft, shuddering when this alone felt much better than expected. She wondered if that was her body telling her that it was about time she did this.

Putting her fingers to work she quickly discovered that it was true. Even inserting just one finger made her arch her back and it only took her a minute to have a first orgasm. However, her body screamed for more and she slowly started to really enjoy her fingers exploring the isodes of her private area. Of course she only partly noticed, since her mind was busy conjuring Ranma in a number of interesting ways. She saw him nude, proudly presenting his rock-hard manhood to her; them both naked and kissing while he poked her with it; allowing her to touch it; and of course...

"Oh! Ah1 Ohh!" she grunted and arched her back sharply at her third climax, which finally spent all of her arousal.

Taking some deep breaths while calming down, Ami was surprised how... animalistic she'd gotten while getting this out of her system. Right now she couldn't care less about being a good girl, not after feeling how good this had been.

I know it's not proper, but I have to wonder what it would be with Ranma, she wondered, while wiping her sex clean with a tissue.


...two days later, Ucchan's Okonomiyaki...

Wiping the counter, Ukyo looked at her well-filled restaurant. She knew this meant her finances were secure. It seemed that the good reputation of her okonomiyaki had spread and she by now had a group of regular customers. This at least was something that had went right since her move to Tokyo, as everything else had been a huge disappointment.

Her father would be of no help, telling her outright that her plan had been stupid and that she now had to live with her decision and having put all her savings into this restaurant. Granted, it wasn't as if she would be in any financial trouble, but it also meant she was forced to stay, which in turn meant being confronted with her short-sightedness every day in form of seeing Ranma being happy together with his friends.

Worse, she had no one to blame but herself.

I should stop doing that. I only get depressed from it, she berated herself.

After all, she recently had tried to move on, mainly by trying to completely ignore Ranma and concentrate on school and her work. It was not exactly working, but it at least distracted her. She was mighty glad no one from her old neighborhood could see her now, as they would laugh at her for her lack of foresight.

"Hey, why is a mailbox blocking the entrance?"

Looking up when hearing the complaint, Ukyo saw that indeed, there was a mailbox standing in the sliding doors, which were open because of the warm weather. She had no idea where that thing came from, especially since it hadn't been there a minute earlier, but she had no use for something disrupting her business, so it had to go. Taking her big battle spatula off her back she approached the offending mailbox, intent on pushing it out of the way.

She had little trouble to flip the mailbox out of the entrance, but she wasn't prepared for what happened when it landed.

"Ooof." Ukyo blinked when hearing the mailbox groan. "Ukyo, darling, that was mean to treat me like this!"

"Oh no..." Ukyo groaned, knowing this voice only too well. "I told you to get lost."

"I could never let you out of my sight." With these words, someone crawled out of the dented mailbox. It looked like a girl with long, brown hair and wearing an offensively pink seifuku school uniform. However, Ukyo wasn't fooled in the slightest by the outfit, even without her own experience with cross-dressing. After all, she knew this person.

"Tsubasa, why won't you get it into your head that I can't stand you?" she heatedly asked.

She had wished to never see this person again. Tsubasa Kurenai was a grade-A weirdo with a serious screw loose. The fact she thought of him as crazy was not rooted in the fact that Tsubasa was a boy who liked to wear girl clothes - preferably school uniforms - and had yet attended an all-boys school. Since she had pretended to be a boy and visited said school as well, she had no right to throw the first stone on that issue. No, she thought of him as crazy because he was an annoying and downright infuriating stalker.

Directly after their very first meeting he had constantly claimed their destiny was to be together, despite everyone thinking she was a boy at the time, thus cementing Tsubasa's image as a crazy homosexual. That of course had been the last thing Ukyo had needed. That time at an all-boys school had given her insights no girl her age should have. Some of the memories still managed to get her horrifically embarrassed. Getting a reminder of why that time had been hard on her was the last thing she needed.

"You don't mean that. You just need to discover that you really want it," Tsubasa told her, completely oblivious to her anger.

"Maybe you are blind. You obviously thought I'm a boy when meeting me. But as you can see..." she pointed at her breasts which were quite noticeable in her tight shirt "...this is not the case, so finally give it up."

"Of course I knew that right from the start. What do you take me for? Why do you think you caught my eye in the first place? A girl daring the way of the opposite... oohhh..." Tsubasa told her, dreamily.

He knew right from the start? In a way it made sense, considering the way he dressed he was bound to see through it right away. However, it didn't make her feel better. "Regardless, I want you to leave. NOW!"

Tsubasa suddenly looked jealous. "Why? WHY? Don't tell me there's another man in your life now!"

Ukyo felt like talking against a wall and her customers started to get too curious. Tsubasa causing a scene was bad for business. She needed to get rid of this pest fast. Sure, she could simply whack him with her spatula, but that wouldn't look too great in front of so many customers and it wouldn't solve her problem of him simply coming back the next day.

Coincidence thankfully helped her right then. "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

Looking to her left, Ukyo saw a teenage boy of her own age approaching, whose most prominent characteristics were the fact that he was carrying a huge backpack and an umbrella around. She had no idea who he was - which was no wonder since she hadn't yet lived in Minato when Ryoga had had his disastrous confrontation at the local school and the following unintended nudist outing. She was oblivious to the whispers of the people who either did recognise him or made the connection from what they had heard.

Tsubasa saw him as well and in his strange logic came to the only possible conclusion. "YOU! You ugly won't have a chance!"

Ryoga, who had just arrived and asked for directions, wondered who this girl was, what the hell she was talking about and what her problem was. "Look, I have no idea who you are nor what your beef with me is..."

He didn't get further when Tsubasa was in his face. "I won't let you. Not someone as dumb and ugly as you."

Now Ryoga started to get annoyed. "What are you talking about and what gives you the right to call me dumb?"

However, Tsubasa was completely ignoring his words. "Someone like you is not suited for a girl."

"Now listen... You are damn lucky you are a girl, or I would..."

"Girl?" Finally these words seemed to have come through. "Oh no, I just like to dress up..." And as if having something to prove, he opened the front of the uniform to reveal a male chest.

Ryoga recoiled in disgust. In Ryoga-logic, all the previous words now made sense - even though standard logic would come to a very different conclusion. In Ryoga-logic, Tsubasa's words and actions meant that the cross-dresser was saying that he, Rayoga, was gay. There were few things that could rile up the lost boy even worse than Ranma Saotome, but that was one of these things.

"YOU BASTARD!"

What followed was too painful to be described in words. Needless to say, Ukyo almost felt sorry for Tsubasa... but just almost. She had no idea who that boy was, but the brutal beating he was dishing out would certainly scare Tsubasa away from ever coming near her again. She was sure the whole thing was just a huge misunderstanding, but she wouldn't complain.

"Mercy! Mercy!" Tsubasa cried, while finally managing to run away, his seifuku reduced to mere rags hanging down from his body, which in turn had been transformed into a mass of bruises.

Ryoga however didn't see any reason for mercy and chased him down the street until both of them vanished from view.

Shaking her head, Ukyo walked back inside. She didn't have any idea who that boy had been, but he'd done her a favor and gotten rid of that annoying pest before he could do any damage. Just listening to her customers however gave her a better idea - at least she thought so. According to them, the boy was some kind of violent pervert who'd gotten a really bad reputation in this neighborhood. She didn't know about the perverted part, but the violent thing seemed to be true.

Well, no matter. At least both of them are now gone, she shrugged it off, while returning her attention to the next okonomiyaki.


...at the same time...

OK, you can do that. Take a deep breath and just act as you always do, Makoto reminded herself, before deflating. No, that would be us not speaking to each other. Need to be a bit more aggressive but not too much... Gods, I hadn't thought this would be so difficult.

Standing in front of the Neko-Hanten at the late afternoon, Makoto was unsure how to approach the issue at hand.

During the previous days, she had asked Xian-Pu numerous things about Mu-Tsu and learned as much as the girl was comfortable to tell her about the boy. It sounded as if she was chasing a hopeless case. Mu-Tsu seemed to have set his sights on Xian-Pu since age six and had become increasingly irrational about it. His home life was a disaster with his parents hating each other for almost ten years now and him resenting the women who were trying to keep the old structures alive, which hadn't made him popular with the warriors of the tribe.

It seemed he associated female warriors with being power-hungry, arrogant and badly behaved. That explained why he hadn't spoken to them if he associated them with these traits, since he obviously saw them as female warriors. That was something she hoped to set him right on. In a way it was sad how his view on women got soured by these experiences.

"Why don't you come in?"

Pulled out of her thoughts, Makoto saw Khu-Lon standing in front of her. "Uh..eh..." she tried to find an excuse.

The elder shook her head. "Watching you stand there for ten minutes, I think you should just approach him. And don't look at me this way, I of course know. You and Xian-Pu were hardly secretive and I hope you get him to finally stop this stupidity as it becomes rather sad to witness."

"If you think so..." She became aware how the predestians were starting to look strangely at her and decided to better get in.

"STAY STILL SO THAT I CAN RIP YOU APART!"

Quickly jumping to the side, both of them were greeted with the bizzare sight of a teenage boy in what looked like a ruined seifuku uniform running by, screaming in fear and pleading for mercy while he was chased by another teenage boy carrying a big backpack and trying to hit him with an umbrella of all things. He was screaming in anger. The strange pair quickly vanished around a corner and out of sight - although they still heard them.

"What in all names was that about?" Makoto wondered.

"Trust me, sometimes ignorance is bliss," Khu-Lon reminded her, while guiding her inside.

There was not much going on inside. Xian-Pu was out on deliveries and there were only few patrons at the moment. The elder went back to the kitchen and Makoto was left with looking for Mu-Tsu. It didn't take too long to find him returning to the counter from delivering an order to a table. He ignored her while starting to write down things into the inventory book.

Gathering her courage, she approached him. "Excuse me."

He continued to ignore her.

"Hey, I'm talking to you!"

Still nothing, he didn't even acknowledge her presence.

Makoto was about to shout, when Mu-tsu got a cane onto the head, which finally made him look up and protest in pain, only to be confronted with the elder. "This has gone on long enough! It is embarrassing to see you act like this!" she harshly told him.

"And what should I say? There is nothing of any importance I have to share with them," Mu-Tsu defiantly said, earning him another hit onto the head.

"How about decent human behavior? You did not even bother to get these girls known and just used your stereotypes onto them," the elder harshly reminded him.

Mu-Tsu seemed defiant for a few more moments, before deflating. It was made worse when Xian-Pu returned from her deliveries right at that moment. She just took one look at the whole situation, before telling him right away that she was taking over the counter and he should better fix whatever mess he had caused. Minutes later both of them sat at a table in uncomfortable silence.

It was Makoto who finally broke the silence. "All right, why are you treating us so coldly? We've done nothing to you. Don't tell me you think we are like...them." She said the last thing with some distaste, having grown to dislike certain parts of the warriors of Joketsuzoku after hearing how even the consequences of their barbarism hadn't gotten the message through to a good number of them.

"I..." It seemed that he only now got the idea that he'd acted like a complete ass. "Did I really...?"

"You either outright ignore us or give us looks as if we are the dirt on the road. Not to speak of your vow of silence. You tell me how hostile this is," Mokoto challenged him, crossing her arms before waiting for an answer.

Mu-Tsu seemed to deflate even further when realising that he'd acted like a complete ass. "Now I've really done it..."

"Look, I understand that you come from really difficult circumstances and that many in your home village treated you like shit, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And when Shampoo told me how you became so unhealthily fixated onto her..."

"Xian-Pu," he corrected automatically, "...she was the first girl who actually treated me like a human being and not like a better slave or just avoided me. So you understand why I worshiped the ground she walks on?"

"You speak in past tense, yet you are here," Makoto observed.

Mu-Tsu sighed. "Please don't tell her, but the older I got the more clear it became that she doesn't like me that way. I also know now that I have no chance anyway, since her social status means she's completely out of my reach."

"So why still doing it anyway?" Makoto asked, wondering what the answer would be.

"Pride. I would have lost significant face in the eyes of the other men, had I given up," he explained, cleaning his glasses while he did so. "Do you know how hard it was to push her away like this in order to save face? Maybe... maybe far away from home is not too bad."

"Does that mean you stop acting as if you've taken a vow of silence?" she asked further.

"Now that I see how I just made myself look like an idiot... And now that I think about it, you all are so different from the girls in the village."

Makoto had to quickly douse the hope that flared up inside her. Just because Mu-Tsu had finally stopped acting like an ass didn't mean he'd instantly fall for her. That only happened in cheap romance novels. And judging how bad his love life had been, he more needed a friend instead of a girlfriend. Anything more would only come with time, but she would be patient.

From the counter, Xian-Pu and Khu-Lon watched the two talking.

"You see? He was not as bad as you thought and I think he now finally is about to find something to make him forget that old crush on you," Khu-Lon told Xian-Pu.

"Strange, now I feel a little as if I have lost something..." Xian-Pu said, while watching them interact. "All of a sudden I wish he would have been so casual with me."

"What's in the past should stay there. Don't let this eat you up. Also, it would never have worked out, remember your social status," she reminded her great-granddaughter.

Xian-Pu shook her head. "Great-Grandmother, you know that if the current state of affairs goes on for some more years, there won't be a village left for me to have a position in."

Watching her then walk into the kitchen, Khu-Lon sighed. How true... Our society is self-destructing, ripped apart by the schism between progressives and conservatives and men and women, and there is nothing we are doing about it. A wonder there wasn't widespread violence yet.

All of a sudden she felt so damn old.

o

At the same time, Jadeite reported to his queen.

"What is your report, Jadeite?" she questioned.

"My queen, everything is going exactly as planned. Our music is a smash hit and by now millions are listening to it. I am only waiting for your command to proceed with the second phase of the plan," he reported to her, very pleased with himself.

Beryl looked thoughtfully into her crystal ball. "You have done well so far, Jadeite. At first I had been a little skeptical, but now your plan is about to bear fruit. Proceed and please our great Master!"

"As you wish, my queen!" he saluted and then vanished from the throne room.

Jadeite reappeared inside a factory, where machines were busy with producing thousands of CDs. Youma disguised as human workers were busily milling around. Jadeite couldn't help but to be very pleased with seeing all this. The whole plan was coming together nicely, with no trouble from the Senshi. True, it had been a gamble, but flying under the radar until it would be far too late for them to make a difference in the end seemed the right way to do it.

"ATTENTION!" he called. "PHASE TWO OF THE PLAN IS TO START! SO MOVE IT!"

At once, several Youma manned some consoles and activated some machinery that was hidden deep inside the building. On the roof of the factory, several big satellite dishes were moved into position and the signal was broadcast to activate the draining abilities of the music. The effects didn't take long to manifest when thin lines of energy, invisible to the naked eye, were attracted towards them.

Inside, Jadeite looked pleased when the first life-energy, drawn to the antennas collecting it, flowed down the conduits which led into the portal directly into the storage tanks in the Dark Kingdom. It was working; the energy was collected directly from the many stupid people listening to the junk they called music. Individually, it wouldn't be noticeable apart from them becoming a bit sleepy, but taken together...

These stupid girls won't even notice until it is far too late. Let's see who's laughing now, he thought.


...Tsukino home, the following day...

The atmosphere in the Tsukino house was explosive - and it wasn't because of one of Usagi's bad character traits, which on occasion tended to drive the family into despair. The reason was something completely different.

"Shingo, for the last time, turn down this damn noise!" Usagi shouted, standing in front of the door to Shingo's room, loud music filling the corridor.

Usagi didn't look all too happy. In the past days she had developed an annoying headache which always was worse when she was near someone playing this infernal music from J. Stone. Since it had become a hit with the youth, it made her school days a new kind of torture. At least she wasn't alone in her suffering, since all of her friends couldn't stand that new music and didn't feel that well when hearing it.

To her bad luck however, Shingo had turned into a huge fan of J. Stone.

She knew her shouting only made her pounding headache worse, but she was at the end with her patience and by now so agitated that she gave a damn onto niceties. She also wasn't alone in her annoyance. Akane openly complained she hated the music and had decided to either leave the house as often as possible or locked herself up in her room under the roof. Her parents meanwhile were starting to look ready to tell Shingo to get rid of the music. Hearing the same music almost the entire day was wearing their nerves thin. Luna had started the habit of hiding under her bed, complaining that she couldn't stand this screetching anymore, if not outright missing from the house until the evening.

To think of it, all of her friends hated J. Stone's music. They all thought of it as horrible and they couldn't understand what was supposed to be so great about it.

"That's none of your concern!" Shingo shouted back through the closed door, although it sounded rather half-hearted, as if he wasn't trying that hard.

Needless to say Usagi didn't take that well. "Ooohhh, I feel ready to just barge in and throw his stereo out of the window!"

"Not only you, dear..." he mother said.

Ikuko didn't look well. She hadn't been sleeping well recently, complaining that something was constantly grinding on her nerves, and it had become worse since yesterday. Come to think of it, her father didn't look that well, either. It was as if the whole family was sick or something like that. Maybe with exception of Shingo, but she barely saw him these days, just heard his annoying music.

"Shingo, this is your last warning! We have enough of this! Either turn it off, or suffer the consequences!" Ikuko threatened, her patience finally at its end. There was no reply. "All right, you asked for it."

Usagi was surprised, she had always felt that her parents was coddling Shingo, so it was unusual to her that their mother was now actually going through with her threat. With interest she watched her actually opening the door and walking in. To her great relief the music ceased seconds later when Ikuko turned off the stereo. Looking in she saw that her mother had confiscated the CD and was now looking at Shingo with irritation, since he hadn't even bothered to get up from his bed, on which he was lazing around.

"And what do you think you are doing, young man?" Ikuko sharply asked her son.

"I don't feel like getting up," Shingo told her, unconcerned, although he did appear more lethargic than anything else..

As much as Usagi would have enjoyed seeing Shingo getting it, she knew better and left before she'd witness something she'd regret later. This meant she retreated to the one room that was the farthest away: Akane's room under the roof. There was little surprise in seeing Luna there as well, enjoying Akane caressing her. The mooncat had fled upstairs earlier, when Shingo had cranked up the volume even more.

"Is it finally over?" Luna asked, still shaking. Her sensitive feline ears had reacted very badly to the constant attack onto them.

"Yes, Mom confiscated it," Usagi said, causing everyone present to sigh in relief.

"How can anyone listen to junk like this?" Akane growled. She didn't look that good due to a lack of sleep and her mood wasn't good since her sensei had canceled their training, saying she right now wasn't in any condition for it.

"I have no idea. Back on the Moon we had trend music as well, but never something that bad," Luna said, while scratching her ears, as if trying to get them back into working order.

"Well, I don't get why almost everyone else thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread," Akane replied, while shaking her head in disbelief.

All three of them let out a derisive snort. It seemed the youth had gone gaga over this shitty music, while they and their friends found it painful to even listen to it. The previous days had made them annoyed enough to wish J. Stone would go to hell. At least now they would finally get the peace they needed so much.


...Monday, July 17th...

"And now the local news. The first single of the new talent J. Stone has become a smash hit in the country. Riot-like scenes played out in from of music stores."

Teenagers were listening to the music, looking a bit tired. Unseeing, thin lines of life-energy leave their bodies through their ears, floating out of the window.

"Critics say that the music has become like a drug. A spokesman of the company said that this is this usual reply to a new popular trend."

Over the city of Tokyo, millions of thin strands of life-energy connected to big streams, flowing through the sky towards their ultimate destination.

"And in other news, the region around Tokyo recently has seen an upturn in cases of exhaustion and sleepiness. The public is in no danger, but city officials are concerned about the impact this could have on the economy."

Finding its destination, the streams of energy vanished into the big satellite dishes of a factory building.

o

Blue lightning arched between the banks of glowing glass orbs which were pulsing with energy and held in place by green, vine-like growth. Each orb was as big as a car and there were hundreds of them in the huge hall that was situated at the lowest part of the Dark Kingdom. Pulsing energy lines led into the walls, whose lighting systems were working on full power. Youma were busy with installing new orbs as fast as they could, seeing that there were only few left that were empty, but were starting to run out of space.

Far above on a balcony, Queen Beryl was watching the proceedings with satisfaction. "Report, Tethys, how is the storage proceeding?" she questioned her personal servant, one of her most trusted subjects.

A Youma walked up beside her. However, she didn't look like one. Instead she looked completely human. Pale skin, long black hair and a nice face, wearing a blue dress that only went to her knees. Nothing that would indicate her nature.

"Things are going well, your majesty. Indeed, we are actually starting to run out of space for more storage tanks. Once all of these tanks are full, we can use half of it to awaken our great Master, while the other half can contribute to future operations, finally lifting the restrictions we were working under," she reported to her queen.

"Very good, I have to give it to Jadeite that his plan was a full success so far." She then took a closer look at Tethys. "Is there any special reason why you prefer your human form? I see you in it an awful lot."

Tethys hesitated for a moment, her face coloring a light red when she finally answered. "I don't exactly like some parts of my new form. I do prefer having a mouth."

Beryl shook her head. She should have known. Tethys' Youma form was lacking a mouth and nose in the face (although she could still speak without problem) and that had to be a big hit on the ego for someone who was beautiful as a human. However, it was not her problem how her subjects would spend their time, as long as they would do exactly as told.

Right then a Youma from the construction crew appeared. "We have reached the maximum, all space is used up. If the energy flow goes on like this, all tanks will be full in ten hours," he reported, then teleported back downstairs.

"Tethys, make sure that everything goes smoothly," Beryl commanded. "Jadeite!"

Jadeite appeared behind her. "Yes, your majesty?"

"Jadeite, I have to commend you. Your plan has been a complete success! Our energy reserves are nearly back to full capacity. You have done very well! Excellent work! You will be well rewarded," she told him, a very pleased smile appearing on her lips.

Jadeite couldn't help but to smirk in triumph. After the sacking of Nephrite, this was the topping on his success. He now was in a really good standing with Queen Beryl. "I thank you, your majesty, for the trust you put into my project."

"I have to say I am a little disappointed in the Senshi that they did not discover our operation. I think I expected too much of them. Now that our stores are full, we have no more need for the facilities in the city, especially since after the music degrades, it will be useless anyway. So use them to get rid of these brats as you see fit."

"So I have your approval to start the third phase of the plan?" Jadeite asked her.

"Yes. If you succeed, good. If not... well, we can not have everything. You still have done an enormous service for our great Master," Beryl told him.

"I like hearing that," Jadeite told her with a sinister smile.

o

"Is it just me, or does everyone look like they missed several nights of sleep?" Minako wondered aloud during lunch break at school.

The day had indeed been unusually quiet, quieter than expected with the summer holidays only two days away. They at first had not paid any attention to it, but they now couldn't ignore it any longer. The other students did look a bit sleepy and tired. This was in sharp contrast to Friday, where everyone had been normal. Everyone also seemed to have lost a little of their skin color over the weekend.

"Maybe some kind of sickness going around? I heard of something like that in the local news. Sadly that doesn't stop J. Stone," Naru said with a sigh, pointing at some students listening to the horrible music. By now they were sick of it.

Ami didn't bother to comment about the music any longer. "Good that we haven't caught it. My mother says it's like... Ranma, is something wrong?"

Ranma at first didn't answer. He had been on the edge for the whole day, something had been disturbing him. It was not as if he sensed danger, just an undercurrent of something being wrong and it was nagging at him the entire time. It had made him nervous and he was wondering what the matter was. It was as if there was something he was supposed to know and the feeling became stronger by the minute.

"Don't know... I feel as if something is wrong, but I can't put my finger onto it," he said in frustration, wondering what he had forgotten.

By mere coincidence, someone listening to J. Stone walked by and they covered their ears in pain from the music. It was then, when Ranma noticed something was different. The tired-looking student appeared normal to the naked eye, but after all the training, Ranma felt that there had to be more. Just on a hunch, he concentrated to watch the student's life energies... and stopped dead in his tracks at what he saw.

"Ranma?" the girls wondered, when seeing his strange behavior.

"This can't be happening..." he gasped, ignoring the girls and their protests while he ran to the stairs of the fire escape, which would lead him to the roof of the school building.

This can't be happening! he fanatically thought, hoping against all reason that he was wrong. Using the skill of seeing life-energies, which his old man had taught him some time ago - and what he had neglected to do recently - had shown him something very disturbing. Genma would slap him left and right for neglecting such a basic skill just because he had forgotten.

Finally he reached the roof, from where he had a good view of the surrounding city. Trying to calm down, he concentrated onto what his father had taught him. The more he concentrated however, the more his unease grew - as if he would regret knowing the truth.

Pulling himself together, he looked up... and froze in terror.

Ranma was no coward. He actually was a very brave person. But right at that moment only his discipline stopped him from screaming in terror. He'd seen the draining of life energy before, but nothing like this. All over the city thin tendrils of life-energy, countless ones, rose into the air, merging into thick strands which in return merged into huge rivers of life-energy, which all flowed off into one direction.

"It IS happening..." he choked out, having lost all calmness for the moment.

to be continued...

Next Episode:

"The Music-Connection, Part II"

Notes:

Again sorry if there wasn't as much about Ranma and Ami, but they right now are in a phase of stability, which will only change after the start of the summer holidays. I also hope the night scenes were tasteful enough.

As for Tsubasa, I found him to be so ridiculous, I wanted to deal with him in a permanent way. It also gave me a chance to show ryoga again, who by now is sort of a running gag in the story.

Also again, sorry if some parts don't mesh together perfectly. This chapter had a troubled production history.