Princess of the Moon
By Cory D. Rose
In the last twenty-four hours Gendo had learned a great deal of information. Stealing that box from the archive had been just the tip of the iceberg. He hadn't slept at all since opening the box. His table was covered in dozens of folders, each one labeled with a name and a picture of a young girl. He couldn't help but wonder why no one had ever done anything with this information though. It was as if everyone that knew about the box had forgotten about it.
He'd been in government long enough to know that an opportunity like this came along only once in a lifetime and even then one had to be extremely lucky. He also knew that he could sense someone working to keep the information from falling into the wrong hands. Running a hand through his hair, he adjusted his little glasses, and grabbed the folder that surprised him far more than the others. It was labeled 'Saotome (Masaki), Ranma.
That was one name he hadn't expected to find in the box. That his personal project was apart of the group of girls that his new employer wanted might cause problems down the line. He'd already decided that he would withhold Ranma's name from Masato Sanjouin. Another surprise was that the file wasn't as big as the others, as if the information was hard to find.
Or someone had removed it before he got there. He recalled that the box's seal had been broken before he arrived. As if, someone had been careless or gotten to the box before him. Once again he opened the file and read through the six sheets of information and half a dozen pictures. Whoever had collected the information had managed to dig up a few things that were supposed to be buried. Like the fact that Genma had sold Ranma into slavery a couple of times over the years in an attempt to break the boy.
Instead, it only made the boy stronger and angrier than ever. Those slavers had been removed from existence on Gendo's orders within days of Ranma's escape. Neither Genma nor Ranma were aware of just how many plans hinged on Ranma's training. Shaking his head, Gendo read about the curse and the theories that the writer had come up with to try and explain the thing.
Chinese magic curse was actually listed, forth line down from the top, and mentioned that if the Sailor Scouts Magic was real then the curse just might be as well. It almost made the man laugh at how close the suggestion was. Hardly anyone believed in magic anymore except those that witnessed it first hand. With a sigh he sat the file to the side. Picking up a picture of Sailor Starfire, Ranma, and a picture from his own collection of the male Ranma, he had to admit that all three could have been related.
Making the connection on the Scouts identities had been quite easy as well. Ranma stood out quite a bit with that red hair, but the blonde haired girl, Usagi, stood out even more and didn't have any idea what she was doing. She had transformed in full view of several homeless people who were actually undercover operatives on the lookout for crime.
Seeing a girl standing in an alley twirling naked in the middle of a light show did draw a bit of attention. This was how they identified Ami Mizuno and Rei Hino as well. Though the two of them were a little more careful when they transformed. It was still a very noticeable light show.
According to the Threat Assessment, the girls were fighting some kind of alien invading army of some kind that used terrorist tactics. One fighter that could take on multiple defenseless targets. The girls, if trained right, could be used for a great many things besides these alien things. Ranma was even their leader and had a devastating attack power.
He quickly flipped through the rest of the folders before setting the pictures out on the table. Four pictures of the Scouts with a picture of them in regular clothes right below it. Strangely enough the faces of the Scouts didn't photograph very well now that he saw them side-by-side. It wasn't really noticeable when you looked at them one by one, he just couldn't recall any details when he thought about them.
His mind just didn't seem to hold onto their looks. Instead he noticed their bodies and the clothing they wore. Starfire, Moon, Mercury, and Mars. All planets, all part of the inner solar system, except for Venus and Jupiter. Did that mean that more of the girls would show eventually? Each of the files suggested just that and that if the girls could be recruited by the government if need be. Gendo thought the idea was a waste of time when he could just enslave them to his will and have them do what ever he wanted them to do.
If there was supposed to be a magical girl connected to each of the planets, he would have to find them as well. Sailor Moon suggested the there may be girls to represent each moon around a planet as well. Forming small and large teams of magical girls based on planets. He couldn't help imagining what all those girls would look like arrayed around him on the ground as his slaves.
It would be glorious.
Ranma, of course, would be first, as that was the boy's whole role in life. The rest of the girls would be put to better uses than fighting aliens in the park until he had all his plans set up. Sanjouin would have to wait a day or two until this was done. Ranma came first, then his mother, and then his brother. He nodded to himself. Genma had outlived his usefulness and it was time to do something about him as well.
He yawned and realized he's been working non-stop for quite some time. He would have to put his plans off for at least twelve hours, but he had plenty of time, so it didn't matter. It was now nearly thirty hours without any kind of rest as well. He used a bit of his power to stave of his growing need for sleep just a little longer and stepped outside. As with so many things, this tiny mistake would prove to be a problem within the next few days.
Ranma was just finishing his early morning exercises. Her two new techniques were really pushing her limits like crazy. Even as she turned to look at Ami as the girl sat down on the grass beside her, she could feel every muscle in her body protesting the move. It didn't help that she was wearing a loose pair of pants and a sleeveless shirt and that it was sticking to her like glue. Or that she currently weighed about four hundred pounds due to her weight technique.
"Hey Ami." Ranma said. "How's things going in Juuban?"
The blue haired girl pulled out her mini computer. "Pretty good. We've managed to take down three Youma in the last few days. One right after another."
Ami nodded. "They were a bit of a pain, but without you there Usagi had to step up and pull her weight a little more. Though she has been a bit irritable over it."
Ranma laughed as she relaxed next to Ami. "Sorry I haven't been there. Things have been rather hectic for the last few days."
"Rei hasn't mentioned you since Grandpa Hino tossed you out, but I think she's worried about you."
"I've been training mostly and haven't had time to even contact anyone. Found this old master that's been willing to show me a few things."
Pulling out a list, Ami marked a few things off, much to Ranma's amusement. "What about a place to live? I might be able to let you stay at my place for a few nights at least." Ami offered.
"Well I've almost found this nice place to stay actually. It's almost as peaceful as the Shrine and a great place to train when I need to really focus."
"I was going to ask about that as well. Also, how's your mother doing? You mentioned her the other day."
"Pretty good actually. There's this jerk that's trying to harm her though and Genma already tried, so things have been busy."
Ami fidgeted a little. "Um, I haven't mentioned this to the others yet, but the authorities have been looking into our backgrounds."
This was a bit of a shock for Ranma. "Already?"
"Yes, but I haven't been able to track down if there is only one group. Or more than one involved in the investigation. So far I know the government has a couple of people watching us, but that's all."
"They're pretty good if I haven't noticed them. I watch for things like that." Ranma muttered under her breath.
"I'm pretty sure they know who we are by now. We haven't been very careful hiding our identities."
"Yeah, changing in public isn't exactly high security." Ranma mused and lay back. "Right now I don't think we need to worry about them though. Government always works slowly. It could months before they even try anything."
"Still, we need to be on our guard and stick together, we are a team. At least I thought so."
Ranma picked up the hint, it was a little blatant, in what she was saying. By themselves, they were easier targets than if they were together. "I'll be back in Juuban within the next week or two I think."
"You may want to come back a little sooner."
"Um…I have been a little busy." Ranma giggled a little. She was so used to going to school for a short while and then moving on that she hadn't really taken school that seriously. It might be a good idea to head back though, just to finish the school year at least.
Light started to gleam off of Ami's glasses. Ranma wasn't sure when she put them on either. "They want to know when you're coming back. You did enroll there for a reason."
This just made the red head laugh a little more. "Um…"
"Fighting is one thing Ranma, but you need a good education."
"I'll give them a call today or tomorrow."
"The principle would like that." It wasn't a hint this time. It was a direct order from the genius.
"Of…course." Ranma resisted the urge to start performing the old man's Crouch of the Wild Tiger technique. The only reason he didn't give in was that he suddenly sensed something weird. Snapping to the side she stared at a nearby bush as it rustled.
"There's something over there."
Ami used her mini computer to perform a quick scan. "I am picking up something."
She shook her head. "No, these reading don't look anything like what we usually deal with."
Ranma stared at the bush. "The hair in the back of my neck is standing up. That only happens when I encounter something truly dangerous."
"Do you want to fight it?"
"Maybe, but first I want to know what it is." Ranma said as she slowly came to her feet and started walking towards the bush. The plant suddenly started moving and three cats stepped out to glare at him. Ranma stopped in shock as she noticed something odd about the cats.
They were skin and bone with little tufts of hair here and there. Ranma also wondered about the large wings and oversized claws on their feet. All three of them started hissing at her and flexing muscles. Spreading their wings wide, they bent down and hissed evilly.
"Ranma, now that I can get a direct scan on them I'm picking up dark magic of some kind. The computer doesn't recognize it though."
"So this isn't one of the usual guys? Ranma muttered. "Just how many jerks are we fighting these days?"
"Way too many." Ami admitted. "Even now the computer can't get a complete reading on them. I've never seen magic quite like this."
Ranma kept an eye on the things as they inched forward sniffing the air, their tails twitching from side to side as they closed in. "Lets back…"
"More in coming." Ami snapped as she reached up to touch her earring. A blue visor lowered over her eyes. Ranma wondered when his friend had learned to use the computer when she wasn't transformed, but didn't have time to ask.
"Eighteen….twenty…thirty total." Came Ami's clipped response as her fingers flew over the tiny keyboard.
"Blast." Ranma hissed. "They're too many people around to just transform. She glanced down at her bracers and saw that they were glowing. "We need to find a safe place to transform."
"There are probably people watching us right now." Ami reminded her.
"I know. That means we have to be sneaky."
Ami glanced around, keeping an eye on the cat things and their surroundings. "In the trees over there."
"It'll have to do." Ranma said as they sprinted away from the cat things.
The little monsters all hissed and started chasing after the girls. One of them crouched down and vanished from sight as the others followed. Even as they passed the first tree Ranma had her bracers crossed in front of her as she called out her transformation phrase. She exploded into light as her uniform wrapped around her and she bounced off a couple of trees. She landed on the ground as Starfire.
Half a second later Sailor Mercury landed next to her. "The things are following us."
Starfire's eyes narrowed as she looked to the trees as the little monsters swarmed towards them every direction. "These things are smarter than I thought they would be."
"They seem to be following simple tactics."
The red head nodded, the jewel in her tiara started to glow. She broke into a run, sending out several blasts of magic. Five of the cat things exploded the instant she finished her attack. The force of the blasts nearly sent her flying off her feet.
Holding her hands out, Mercury did a little spin and sent super cold bursts of water raining down on the little monsters. Several dropped out of the air around her, but she couldn't keep it up and had to dive out of the way as they dive-bombed her.
Starfire turned and booted one of them across the city, slapped three more out of the air by their tails, and smacked a sixth into the ground at her feet. She wasn't very surprised to see the things recover almost instantly. "What the hell are these things?"
With about a dozen of them left, they could only watch as the things settled into the trees around them and started hissing, their eyes glowing as they hid in shadows. The two Scouts looked around and realized that they could see more than a dozen eyes. Frowning, Ami pulled her computer out again and made another scan.
Starfire just wanted to blast the things from existence. "I don't like this."
Suddenly Mercury cursed. "Every time we hit one of them with magic, they absorb it and split off into more than one cat, there must be at least a hundred here by now."
"So we just created all these extras?"
Mercury nodded. "We need to find another way."
"How about if we call the others in?"
"I've already done that, but they are still half an hour away. We are in a completely different district here."
Starfire just nodded and realized that it was just them.
Suddenly the cats all rose up into the air and dove at the girls. The cats opened their mouths and breathed out a beam of black energy that struck both girls. They cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground as their legs gave out. Then as fast as it happened the pain just went away. Mercury jumped to her feet and brought her computer up for a scan.
Only to have it fall to pieces in her hand. She just stood there gaping at the destruction of her most prized possession. Then she noticed that Starfire was still on the ground and appeared to be unconscious. "Starfire!"
Kneeling down she quickly found a pulse and made sure her friend wasn't injured in any noticeable way. She glanced mournfully at her computer and wondered if she could get it fixed fast enough to take some readings. She was practically useless without the thing. Then Starfire groaned and stat up holding her head.
"I've got such a headache." Ranma froze up as Mercury suddenly hugged her and sighed in relief. "Um…"
"I thought you were hurt."
"I'm fine, I think." She admitted, though a bit dizzy. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure, those cat things have vanished though."
Staggering to her feet Starfire assessed her body. "Everything seems to be in working order…"
A red blur came flying into the trees and tackled Starfire. Mercury only had a second to blink before she realized that Ito had arrived and tackled the red head. Once they come to a stop Ito latched on to Starfire's head and starts purring loudly.
"I thought you died for a second there!" Ito cried bursting into tears. "I thought you were dead!"
Purr Rub Purr
"I'm fine! Stop that!"
Rub Purr Rub
"Starfire." Mercury said.
"What? I've got cat problems here." She muttered.
As far as Gendo could tell the girls were like magical weapons of mass destruction, but just bright enough to think for themselves. Witness repots stated that while their attacks could rip monsters to pieces, they only did minor damage to their surroundings. Walls were occasionally found with burn marks and a random cloudbank popped up here and there, but their powers rarely did a lot of actual damage.
This allowed the police to pretend the girls didn't exist.
All their powers seemed to be based off of elemental abilities, but restricted to certain styles and shapes for some reason. One could throw fireballs after moving in a little dance motion and pointing her fingers at the target. She seemed to be one of the more powerful ones too. Another girl threw around fog and cold air and appeared to be the one that guided the group's plans. She was also the weakest of the girls and would be the easiest to take down.
Then the blonde one. The brainless monkey that had an uncanny knack for blasting monsters into ash with an attack that no one could identify. This would have sounded better if she wasn't throwing around a charged up Frisbee while posing and giggling. He figured that all her power was in her magic weapon and not the girl herself. He would have to find a use for her after he broke the other girls, maybe as a janitor or something.
Getting up he wandered over to his bar and waved his hand. A glass of amber liquid appeared on the counter. He took several seconds to saver the drink before downing it in a second. He didn't gasp like most would and calmly put the cup back down. The Scouts were going to be quite useful to him over the next few weeks.
The only one he couldn't quite pin down was his pawn, Ranma. His pets hadn't found the boy, no girl, yet, but he knew it would only be a matter of time. Once he knew where the 'girl' was, he could take steps to make her life quite interesting. He would have to break the girl of course, there was no way he would let someone with Ranma's training just waltz around without a leash of some kind.
Not while the girl could punch through a reinforced concrete wall with her bare hands anyway. He was also beginning to realize that the files weren't intact. That meant he would have to take a little more time to get the correct information. Frowning, he considered everything he knew and tried to look at it from a different angle. The girls were experienced enough to fight off some quite deadly enemies. That meant he would have to consider his every move.
He would need to dig up some special equipment of his plans were going to work. A little while later he wandered down into his basement. Like Nodoka, he had a basement full of items collected over the years. Unlike Nodoka, he didn't have it stored in any kind of order. Just tossed wherever it landed around the room.
The back wall was covered in boxes piled to the ceiling. He knew what was in most of the boxes, mostly. There were a few boxes lost in the room that he hadn't ever looked through before. After about ten minutes of moving boxes he pulled a small case out of a box and wiped the dust off.
He remembered magically locking the box several years ago as he took it over to a counter. Channeling a bit of magic into the lock, he opened it to reveal a few pieces of jewelry. Two rings, a pair of bracelets, and a small amulet. After taking the amulet out he put the box away and put everything back the way it was.
A scratching noise caught his attention as he was examining the amulet. Looking up at a small window he saw that one of his pets was back. The window opened with a wave of his hand and the winged cat flew over to him and landed on his shoulder. It meowed a few times and Gendo nodded.
"I see. Good job, I want you to keep an eye on her until you find where she lives. It's one of the few things that haven't been found yet."
It meowed and quickly left the house. The telepathic conversation with the thing had revealed the whole battle and that Ranma was now marked in a way that would allow for easy tracking. Surprisingly Ranma had a bad reaction to what was normally a light show.
He would have to look into it, but it would have to wait until he had a plan in place for the other girls. There was no way he would allow them to just show up and ruin his plans. The amulet would come in hand with nearly all the girls. He still wasn't sure about Moon though. Her power didn't seem to be element based. That meant he would have to examine her to find out what she was using.
He conjured anther glass of wine as he contemplated the amulet.
Hanging off Ranma's shoulder, Ito purred as loudly as she could. Ranma did her best to ignore the cat as she de-transformed. Ranma had something more important to worry about now. "Ami?"
His friend was holding pieces of her computer in her hands with a look of complete shock on her face. She sniffled a little and nudged a piece closer to another one, but they just fell apart. Ranma could understand a little, but the genius had been like this for close to ten minutes now. Every few seconds Ami would whimper and twitch.
"Um, is there anything I can do to help?"
"Can you fix it?" She asked in a hollow voice.
"Not a clue." Ranma admitted.
"Then shut up!" She yelled, blushed, and twitched. Mercury was looking a little wild eyed as she struggled not to cry.
Ito coughed. "Ami, it's possible that transforming back into your Mercury form will fix it. It's all based on the magic that you use, even the equipment. That's how Sailor Moon's tiara turns into energy and back to a solid when she uses it."
Looking hopeful, Ami quickly transformed, but the computer stayed the same. She sighed in defeat after her third try. "I…don't know what to do."
"Maybe it chose now to break for a reason. A Scout's powers are rather fluid and you are the only one to learn a new attack in the last couple of months." Ito muttered aloud. "Maybe that means that your equipment is altering a bit. I recall that happening to a couple of the Outer Planet Scouts at one point. They needed extra magical fire power and eventually their powers responded to that need."
Ami sighed. "I have no way to check that sort of thing now."
"Just go to Control."
"I thought Luna was the only one that could get down there?"
"Control was set up about a year ago when it was realized that Beryl was awakening. I'm not sure who set it up, but we all have access to it when we need it." Ito explained. "Luna just tends to be a little strict at times."
"Luna gave her the original mini computer, is it possible that she has extras?"
Ito shrugged, nearly slippingoff Ranma's shoulder, and gasped as she tried to find a better position to hang from.
"Get your claws out of my back. This shirt is one of my favorite ones and I don't' have many of them."
Blushing, Ito nodded and relaxed her claws. "Ah, right, sorry."
Ranma sighed in relief and Ito pretended to lick her claws while smirking. About twenty minutes later, after getting off the tram, they made their way into Juban. Ami was still mourning the loss of her computer as they walked to the arcade. They wandered over to the Sailor V video game and Ito had Ranma tap out a sequence on the control pad.
They quickly slipped into a small access door next to the game that they couldn't remember seeing before. Ito explained that as a Mau cat they could just use a small hatch below the game, which they could slide down, but the Scouts themselves had to use the stairs to get down to Control.
Ranma nodded, only half listening to the cat blabber on about things. She was starting to get worried about Ami as they went down the stairs. The girl didn't' seem to be paying attention to what was going on around them anymore. "Things will work out."
"I feel naked without my computer." She muttered.
Blushing a little, Ranma tried not to think about Ami naked and shook her head. "Don't give up hope just yet."
"We're here." Ranma explained as she pushed open a door at the bottom of the small stair well and they entered the computer room. The hair on the back of Ranma's neck stood up almost instantly. She was instantly on alert. "Wha…"
"You can feel the magic and power pulsing away in here." Ami gasped. "Is this place safe?"
Ito nodded as she jumped down and made her way over to a terminal. "Perfectly safe." She transformed into her human form, adjusted her red dress, and sat down. "I'm going to see if there's some information in here regarding your computer Ami."
The blue haired girl nodded.
Lifting two fingers, Ito started pecking at the keys. "This shouldn't take to long."
Ami glared at Ito's hands as if they were committing some kind of sacrilege right there on the keyboard. Ranma on the other hand just looked around room and appeared to be a little bored as she wandered over to an open space and started doing one-armed pushups to pass the time. A little while later Ito finally finished with the computer as information started to scroll across the screen.
"Okay, Ami, please place the pieces to the computer on the scanner over there and we can see what happened." Ito instructed. They watched as each piece of the computer seemed to glow and digitize itself before vanishing.
The two of them watched as the computer analyzed the information for several minutes. They ignored Ranma as she started doing handstand pushups. However, Ami had to resist the urge to giggle as Ranma's breasts thumped her in the chin a couple of times. Then the computer beeped and more information appeared on the screen.
"Just as I thought." Ito said. "The computer has out lived its usefulness and was about to change to something else when the process was interrupted."
"So it had to do with that Ice Fog I created a few days ago?"
"Yep, as your power increased so does your equipment. Every now and then the uniform will change to reflect changes as well, though not to much."
Ami nodded. "I recall reading something about that a few months back. The computer didn't give much information on when it would happen though."
"Magic grows as you mature and age, so the timing tends to vary."
"What about my computer?"
"I've never heard of a power up like this being interrupted before. So I'm not sure what you need to do to fix it." Ito admitted, but quickly started scanning reference links.
This just made Ami sit down in a nearby chair and start thinking. Ranma quickly bounced to her feet with a grunt and took a second to adjust her shirt. "You need change into your Mercury form and concentrate on the power up. The magic will take it from there."
They both turned to look at her.
Ranma shrugged. "I have no idea how I know, I just do. It seems obvious to me for some reason. As if I've done something like it myself."
"I think that just might work." Ito admitted.
All three looked around.
"Who?" Ito asked.
"I'm Central Control." The voice said.
"The one Luna talks about?"
"Why haven't you talked to us before now?" Ami asked, frowning a little more. She didn't like strange people popping up out of nowhere.
"Luna is the only one that ever accesses the computer. I was observing you to see who you were and why you were there. It's good to see you again Sailor Sun."
Ranma growled. "Call me Starfire."
"Ah, I forgot you changed the name. My apologies."
The red head nodded. "Any other advice?"
"When Mercury transforms she needs to picture what she wants the new computer to be like. She can get an updated hand held version, or something more up to date if she wants."
"Give it a go Ami." Ranma said.
Pulling her Pen out of stuff space Ami quickly transformed in a burst of deep blue light. She did as instructed and focused on what she wanted and felt the flow of magic change just a little during the transformation. She posed just as it finished and looked down at her left wrist.
"A bracelet/glove?" Ranma asked. She sounded a bit confused.
"I wanted something a little more advanced." Mercury explained as he flipped the four-inch screen up. Holding her hands up in a typing position an illusionary keyboard appeared below her fingers. She typed for several seconds to test the new set up. "It works great. This way I can get my work done and not have to worry about losing the hand held. This one will stay with me permanently."
"What about when you're not transformed?" Ito asked.
"That's why it's a bracelet. That will stay where it is when I change back. I was going to have it all set into a bracer, but that would have made typing nearly impossible, this way I can scan and record things as fast as before."
"Excellent work." Central Control said.
Ranma nodded and gave her friend a smile. "I wish my problem was as easy to fix."
"You'll figure it out eventually Ranma." Ito said. "I'm pretty sure that you just need to grow into your full power before you can do anything about your curse."
"I hope you're right Ito."
Holding her hand towards Ranma, Mercury quickly scanned Ranma. Her visor lowered as the scan started. "Ranma, that beam seems to have left quite a bit of energy behind."
Mercury nodded. "I think it marked you in some way."
"I'm being tracked?"
"Confirmed." Central Control said. "This is old magic, ancient arcane magic that hasn't been used in millennia."
"You recognize it?" Ito asked.
"My computers do. The scanners here are more sensitive than the ones Mercury uses. The magic used on Ranma is known as Manna Manipulation Magic. There seems to be more information available, but it's been classified by an outside source."
"I've run into that more than once as well." Mercury grumbled. "There are things we aren't supposed to know just yet. I just hope it doesn't cause us problems down the line."
"Thanks Control." Ranma said. "We need to get out of here if I'm being tracked." Anyone know of a way to get rid of the energy?"
The girls shook their heads and Control was silent, so Ranma shrugged it off. "I'll fight anyone that comes along. Right now I'm in the mood for some ice cream." She smirked. "And isn't it lucky we're near a café."
Getting into and out of places was harder than most people thought. Pluto had a certain reputation for being able to go, do, or see anything she wanted to with the Time Gate. It wasn't quite that easy. Sure the Gate could be used like that, but it took years of practice. Back in the days of the Moon Kingdom a Guardian of the Gate would never have to do more than twenty years and that included time off for rest.
Pluto had been on the job for much longer than that though. Closer to ten thousand years. So she had developed a few skills that earlier Guardians had never considered or even attempted. She didn't watch the time stream as let the Gate itself guide her to the potential problems.
So she wasn't very surprised when the alarm she set up went off while she was asleep. With a start, her bloodshot eyes snapped open and it took her a second to realize that she was splayed out over the whole bed. Sitting up slowly, she groaned and took a second to remember what century it was and got out of bed.
Tripping over a loose sheet on the floor, she fell over and had to take a second to climb back to her feet. Once she was back on her feet she staggered out of her room, grabbing up her staff on the way, she made her way through a door, and out into the smoky plain that made up the land around the gate.
The Gate alarm stopped as she approached and shifted into display mode, showing her a scene. The government was now aware of the girls. Pluto sighed and thought about her timetable. They were nearly three years ahead of schedule. She didn't want the girls to know about her until the time was right though. So she would have to hinder these people while she could.
They gave a little rumble as she thought this. She ignored it and tapped the gate with her staff and concentrated. The image shifted until several images appeared. With a thought she stepped through into a records room and a wave of magic swept away from the staff as she looked around.
Seconds later she was in front of a filing cabinet. She tapped it with her staff and a wisp of smoke rose into the air. With that done she made six more stops, even to the super secret underground room below the Diet building that no one was supposed to know about, and destroyed specific sections of the files. She couldn't destroy them completely or people would know that something was going on.
Once that was done she made one last stop she made sure she was there to watch as Gendo take the box. Once that was done she headed back to the Gate and made sure the Plan was still working. Ranma's addition was still making massive changes to a lot of minor points in history, but the main timeline was still intact and growing stronger by the day.
Pluto was a bit amazed that the impact that Ranma's first incarnation, Princess Ranko had made on the time line.
After spending half an hour messing with her new computer and eating ice cream, Ami excused her self and headed home. Ranma had really had to resist teasing the poor girl. Losing that computer had really thrown her for a loop. Her instincts kept pointing out little things like Ami having a 'Geek-o-gasm' right there at the table.
Of course Ito headed out without eating anything. She still had several things to accomplish for her own mission. She was sure that the Masaki house would be theirs within the week. Once that was done they just had to remodel the thing to suit their needs. Old houses were perfect for that so long as you weren't lazy.
Ito even thought they could use old Moon Kingdom tech to get the place set up for the whole group. A place to train and relax whenever they needed it. They wouldn't have to put up with over protective parents either. Ranma was still sore about being thrown out of the Shrine. She and Rei had just started to get along with each other and then she's no longer welcome. After paying her bill, she winced, and then handed over the cash.
Several minutes later she was heading down the street. She noticed that several dozen people were wandering around, even teenagers. Her body was really starting to feel the strain as well. She would be glad when she could head back to her camp and get a few hours rest. It had been quite some time since she was this tired.
New techniques always tired her out though.
"Ranma!" Rei ran up and gave her quick hug.
Ranma froze for a second. "Hey Rei, what's up?"
"Where you been? I was worried." She glared at the red head.
"Looking for a new place to live mostly. I should know where I'm staying in a week though." Ranma explained as they started walking down the street.
"Grandpa isn't quite as mad as he was."
"You still can't live there anymore though." She explained.
"I figured as much."
We've also had a couple of Youma pop up while you were gone. The Baka took care of them though." Rei said with a little giggle.
"Now Usagi packs quite a punch." Ranma said.
"True, but she's still a Baka."
Ranma nodded. "She can be, but don't write her off completely. That disc of hers slices through Youma like a hot knife through butter."
"Ami mentioned that you haven't been going to school." Rei said, changing the subject. Ranma just shrugged and answered.
"I haven't, finding a place to live is more important that knowing which emperor executed an entire village because he stubbed his toe."
"Is there anything I can do to help? I feel a little guilty about you living on the streets now. Usagi did say she might be able to let you live at her place for a little while."
Ranma shook her head. "I've lived on the road a good portion of my life Rei. So living out of my tent for a couple of weeks is easy. I still have all my equipment and money to buy food, so I'm not worried. It's not that big of a deal."
"If you say so."
"You know that Ami managed to create a new attack with her powers?"
Rei nodded. "Why?"
"I want you and Usagi to try and do the same. It'll help you get stronger and keep up with Ami."
"What about you?"
"I've been working on my body. I've managed to get control of those power surges that were causing problems. Now I just have to perfect a couple of new techniques and I can move on to my own powers."
"Ah, I had been wondering about those."
They walked along in silence for several minutes before Rei managed to work up enough nerve to continue talking. "Um, I had a vision yesterday."
"What did you see?"
"It was a bit confusing, but there was this guy, wearing a black version of your clothing running around fighting both us and the bad guys. He had a strange inverted quarter moon on his forehead too."
Rei nodded. She couldn't seem to tell Ranma that the man seemed to be Ranma's male version. Not after Ranma told her about being a man trapped in the body of a girl because of a magical curse. She didn't want to get Ranma's hopes up only to have them dashed. She had a feeling that such a thing would be very bad.
"What else did you see?"
"He seemed to know quite a few techniques and had blood on his hands. It made me very nervous and a little jumpy." Rei admitted.
"We might have to look into that. Did the guy have any marks or scars that could be used to identify him other than the thing on his forehead?"
"Just black hair pulled back in a pony tail."
Ranma frowned. "I'm not sure what to think."
"And a killer body…" Rei giggled a little.
Ranma tripped and fell over.
Minako Aino had recently returned from her trip to England. She'd spent over a year there going to school. She had also spent most of it fighting crime as the super hero Sailor V. Right now as she walked down the street she was tired, emotionally. England had pretty much drained her enthusiasm.
Even her cat adviser, Artemis, a white cat was tired after every thing that had happened in England. They still weren't sure why the attacks had happened there either. Artemis spent weeks trying to figure out why they chose England as the first place to attack and he hadn't been able to find much of anything. A few clues pointed to Stonehenge, but nothing ever stood out enough to confirm it.
Now Artemis said the Enemy was working in Japan. She sighed as she turned and glanced at the setting sun. According to Artemis there were several girls with powers like hers running around fighting them as well. Thinking of England brought her a lot of pain. Shaking her head, she kept walking down the street.
Earlier she sensed something dark in the area, but she hadn't been able to pin point it. Her magic compact wasn't helping as much as it usually did. It was pointing her into every alley she went by as she walked. It was so useless that she was starting to wonder if it was working against her for some reason.
It hadn't ever failed her before, but now it was acting weird and she couldn't figure out why. She took a second to run a hand through her long blonde hair as she stopped in front of yet another alley and glanced at the compact. It shimmered and showed her another picture of sleeping cats, dogs, and even rats. This was becoming irritating.
The alleys always turned out to be empty when she checked them. Except for the occasional trashcan and half eaten food. Stepping into the alley she carefully started to look around once more. As with the others there wasn't any thing wrong as far as she could tell. She looked up as Artemis jumped from a nearby can and landed on her shoulder.
"Artie, find anything."
The white cat shook his head as he hung off her shoulder lazily. "Not at thing."
"I think the Compact is broken."
"I checked it out earlier and its working fine." Artemis said. "I did notice that these alleys are way to clean. Even the walls look scrubbed and washed. Very little dust and all the cans are lined up in neat little rows."
Minako blinked a few times and noticed just that. "I hadn't even thought of that."
"I'm not sure what's going on, but we may need to let the other team know about it. This is suspicious."
She shook her head. "I'm not ready just yet."
"You will have to talk to them eventually."
"I'm used to working alone." She insisted, looking at a nearby puddle of water.
"I won't push Mina, but we can't ignore them forever."
She shrugged as she walked the rest of the way down the alley. Then she stopped as she found a strange sight in front of her. An Animal Control van was backed into a small section of the alley. Several men in white jump suits were carefully picking up several dogs laid out on the ground.
"What in the world?"
One of the men turned to look at her. "Be careful there, we aren't sure what's wrong the dogs, but they may be sick."
"With what? Any idea?" She asked, thinking of the police techniques she learned while in England.
"No clue, we're finding these things all over the place lately. It's baffling. Now please move on." He ordered her.
Nodding, she moved off. "So, there's that answered."
"I saw a power sprayer in the van too. They're the ones spraying down the alley ways." Artemis told her.
"Now that I think about it, there have been a lot of vans like all over the city lately. I think mom even mentioned something about it on the news a few days ago."
Artemis sighed. "This is different than England. At least there we had Katerina to bounce ideas off of."
This just made Minako frown.
Artemis cringed. "Sorry, didn't mean to bring up 'that'."
"It's alright. I'll get over it eventually." She muttered darkly.
Artemis hoped it was soon. She did tend to bounce back from things quicker than normal people, but she wasn't the usual fun loving person he was used to. He watched as she pulled the compact out again and flipped it open. They watched as it showed them something new.
"A Monster." Minako crowed happily.
"So the Enemy really is here." The cat muttered.
"Looks female, a little small too."
"She was here within the last fifteen minutes or so."
The blonde nodded and grinned. "The game is afloat."
"Whatever." She grinned. "Let's kick some booty."
She moved the compact around and it sent an almost invisible beam of light in the direction she had to follow. Breaking into a fast walk, she started tracking her prey down. They came across another Animal Control van about two blocks down. After that they found an alleyway full of unconscious cats and dogs. Artemis jumped down and started to look around.
"There!" Minako yelled and jumped up to grab onto a fire escape.
Artemis looked up to see the monster standing on the edge of the roof. Its eyes glowed for a second before it moved out of sight. Minako raced up the metal stairs and hopped up on the roof using the athletic skill she rarely demonstrated.
"Who might you be weakling human?" The monster growled.
"I'll put a foot to you."
"Huh?" The Youma muttered.
"I think you meant 'stop'." Artemis said as he finished climbing to the roof.
"Whatever." She grinned. "Crescent Moon Power! Transform!"
For a brief second the roof of the building is flooded with light as the compact lights up and fills Minako's body with energy. As it dies down Minako is in her Sailor V uniform, a short blue skirt edged in red, shoulder pads, a basic sailor out fit, and oversized red glasses. Her blonde hair swirls around her as she smirks at the Youma.
Vespa analyzes the situation for several seconds before she pivots around and races away from Sailor V. There was no way she wanted to fight a Sailor Scout after every thing she had survived so far. She would also have to contact Jade, but that would have to wait.
She reached the end of the roof and power jumped, launching into the sky, and landing on a roof several hundred feet away. Sailor V quickly followed, though she didn't have Vespa's distance, she made up for it in speed and acrobatic jumps. Using ledges, light poles, and even cars as they raced along.
They even managed to startle several groups of people out for the evening. All of them recognized Sailor V instantly. People quickly noticed what she was following and started to cheer her on as she ran. Minako noticed, but didn't have time to stop and say anything to the people as she ran. Within minutes they were half a mile away and still going.
"Come here you baka!" She yelled.
Ranma's head snapped around as she felt a rush of energy several miles away. She tried to analyze it, but it was too vague. Frowning, she considered chasing it down, but she could already tell that it was moving away from her location. It would take too long to track it down.
It wasn't evil either. The energy was familiar, but nothing like Usagi, Ami, or Rei used. Just similar. Something deep in her mind tugged at her, but she couldn't grab onto it. Since it wasn't evil she put it out of her mind for the moment. She did make a note to tell Ito and Luna about it though. There was a good chance they would know what it was.
She had to finish dinner after all.
Cursing as she ran, Vespa tried to take several short cuts through construction sites and even an underground tunnel, but Sailor V kept on her tail through it all. Vespa was sure would have to stop and fight the girl if she didn't find a way to get away soon. She didn't have the energy reserves for a long fight though.
She was well aware who Sailor V was and didn't want to have anything to do with the girl that single handedly took down the Dark Network in England. Queen Beryl hadn't been very happy with their failure either. Shaking her head, Vespa landed and raced into an alley. Seconds later Sailor V landed and sauntered into the alley.
"Come out and face me monster." She calls out as she held up a boomerang.
Stepping out from behind some trash cans, Vespa crouched down, and forms a ball of magic in her hand. "This has gone on long enough. Die!"
She hurled the ball of magic just as Sailor V threw the boomerang. It sliced through the magic attack and made it explode several feet from the blonde fighter. The boomerang circled back and Sailor V caught it just as the dust from the explosion started to settle. She frowned as she realized that Vespa isn't there anymore.
Kicking a trashcan in frustration she hopped onto the fence to get a better look. She spotted the monster racing around the edge of a building on the other side of the fence. Launching into the air, she quickly raced after her attacker. Seconds later a white cat races through the alley, hopped the fence, and raced after Sailor V. He was moving so fast that he was barely a blur of motion.
With the chase on again V launched to the top of a nearby light pole. "Crescent Beam! Crescent Beam! Crescent Beam!"
Three bright yellow beams of light fire from her finger. The first attack misses Vespa by only inches, causing her to skid to a halt. The second and third hit her in side though and send her tumbling. Sailor V quickly landed and raced over. She skidded to a halt right next to the monster just in time to see it smirk and fade away.
"It's a fake!?" She yelled and her eyes narrowed for a second. "She never left the alley."
"She's long gone by now Sailor V." Artemis says as he finally catches up.
She felt like kicking a trashcan again and raced back to the alley. As expected, it's completely empty, and there's no sign the Youma was ever there.
"Get the compact out and try and use it to scan for the Youma."
Nodding, Sailor V yanked it out and flipped it open. It glows for a second and gives her a confusing reading. "I don't' understand this."
"What's it say?"
"It's showing an old run down house and blowing dust on the floor."
Artemis jumps to her shoulder for a look. "What in the world does that mean?"
"I think this one got away."
The cat nodded. "We'll have to keep our eyes open for her now that we know she exists. These things never give up. So she's bound to attack some animals again."
Glancing around, Sailor V transformed back into Minako with a sigh. "I hate it when they get away. I wish Ace was here."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I just got used to having him around."
"I know. Let's head home, I bet your parents are worried about you."
Nodding, Minako headed for the train station. She figured it would take her half an hour to get home at least.
After retrieving the amulet, Gendo headed back upstairs and spent about an hour going over the thing to make sure it was still in working order. Even taking a few minutes to cast a couple of spells to test out the device, which started to glow after the spells were cast. Sure they were just a couple of low power spells, but they tested the amulet perfectly.
Once he had that done, he took several minutes to turn it into a cloak clasp. He didn't really like the amulet design and if he was going to be effective, the amulet needed to be ready at all times. Not hidden under his shirt on a chain. The Sailor Scouts were going to be in for one hell of a surprise when they met him. They didn't stand a chance.
Then there was the other benefit, Ranma would be at his mercy. He glanced up just as his cell phone rang. "Hello?"
"This is Masato."
"Have you managed to get what I wanted?"
"Yes, but the files are a little incomplete. Someone tampered with them before I got to them."
"Do they hold what I need?"
"Bring them to Juuban Park. I'll meet you there and show you to a place where we can talk in private."
"No problem, I'll be there in about thirty minutes." Gendo said as he hung up.
He hadn't been expecting to hear from him this soon, but he wasn't to surprised either. Men like Masato tended to be impatient when working with others. Gendo had gotten used to work with the type after years in the government. Getting up, he quickly rounded up everything. He pulled on a pair of white gloves and a dark jacket before heading outside.
Twenty minutes later he sauntered into the park and looked around. At first the place appeared to be deserted, but then he spotted Masato some distance away. He was standing by a sickly group of trees and staring right at him. Gendo resisted the urge to shiver and made his way over to the man. "You didn't say exactly where."
Masato shrugged. "You can't find this place unless you are a powerful mage. I've hidden it with magic."
Intrigued, Gendo nodded. "Lead the way."
"You have the information?"
Gendo patted his pocket. "Right here, I shrank it."
The man looked surprised for a second. "Interesting."
Silently they walked into the trees and Gendo quickly lost his bearings as they passed through beams of light filtering through the trees. He wasn't sure how long they walked, but it had to have been ten minutes before the path opened up to reveal a large two-story manor house. It didn't have the scary look that he expected. Instead it looked perfectly normal except for a large skylight that covered a large portion of the roof.
He could feel magical power throughout the entire area. Even the red Ferrari sitting next to the house pulsed with magic. There was more to this guy than he thought there was. A few seconds later they entered the house. The long haired Dark Kingdom General led his guest into the living room.
Gendo quickly reaches into his coat and pulls out the file folders and un-shrinks them. He sets them on the table. "Here's what I was able to find on such short notice."
Nephrite picks up a folder. "You said that someone had tampered with the information before you arrived?"
"Yep, though I'm not sure how much was changed. According to one of my sources Mercury here is a student at Juuban High. An Ami Mizuno or Akiko Takaho."
"You aren't sure?" Nephrite growled. "What are you trying to pull? I wanted accurate information. This isn't accurate."
"It's the best that I have."
Nephrite slammed a book on the table. "There's your payment. Now get out."
Gendo quickly grabbed the book and put it away. "Thank you."
Seconds later Gendo found himself standing at the edge of the trees. He wasn't sure how he arrived there. Pulling out a small note pad he decided that he would have to take a closer look at Masato Sanjouin. The man might get in the way of his plans eventually.
With a little hop off the top of a nearby gate, Sailor V landed on the top of the wall and looked around. Her long blonde hair was a little frazzled from the two mile run over the rooftops, but she ignored that. Instead her senses were telling her that she was close to the Youma she was tracking.
Artemis was still several blocks behind her, but he had explained how she could follow the dark energy generated by a Youma. The trick only worked if the trail was only a few minutes old. Even after she figured it out she had problems following the trail. It seemed to double back on itself several times before it even left the area.
V's eyes narrowed as she scanned the ground with her special glasses. The trail was a little stronger than before, but it was dissipating faster than she expected it to. She moved along the wall and used the glasses to look at everything around her. It only took her a few seconds to find a stronger trace and it led right into a house just down the street. A run down house that didn't have anyone living there.
Two jumps and she was standing in front of the house. The glasses were showing a very strong reading leading right through one of the windows on the side. She grinned as she tiptoed over to the window and carefully glanced inside. The Youma was sitting on the floor holding a small crystal in its hand.
She could see several other crystals piled next to the wall a few feet away. All of them were giving off a gentle glow. Just as she was about to make her presence known, she saw something that sent her diving behind a nearby bush. A blob of water was rising out of a hole next to the wall, but it wasn't acting like water.
Instead it seemed to be writhing around and growing in size. This quickly formed into a female form made out of water. Once that stabilized, it shifted again, this time into a human male with blonde hair and a glint in his eye. Sailor V hadn't seen anything like this before. She could feel the dark energy rolling off the guy as he headed for the door of the house.
For a second she wondered if she the Dark Network was active here in Japan. It was bad enough when she ended up following it across three continents over the last couple of years. Then she shook her head. The energy this guy was giving off was completely different than what she remembered.
As the man entered the abandoned house she snuck after him as soon as he was out of sight. A small thump nearly made her jump out of her skin and she spun around ready for a fight. Only to find Artemis laid out on his back gasping for air beside the wall.
"M…ade it, fin…aly." He gasped out.
V sighed. Artemis could almost keep up with her when she was transformed, but it always took a lot out of him. He'd complained more than once about the hour-long chases across this city or that over the last several months.
"Weeeeeeezzzzeeeee…" Artemis gasped. "I'm about to h…ack up a lung here. I swear…"
"The enemy is here Artie, be quiet." She hissed.
Artemis rolled to his feet and nodded tiredly. "Go get'em."
She quickly made her way over to the door and found that the guy hadn't closed it completely. Moving closer she could hear him talking to the Youma. Something here just wasn't right and she couldn't figure it out. Katerina was always good at figuring this stuff out for her. V shook her head and focused on the Youma inside.
"…managed to get quite a bit of energy Vespa."
"Yes Master, though it's getting a lot harder to do so."
"What happened." Jedite sneered angrily.
"A Scout, Sailor V, chased me down earlier. It's why I came here instead of the usual place."
Jedite nodded. "That's what you were supposed to do. Are you sure it was her?"
"I've heard about her from the other Youma who survived the Dark Network's collapse." Vespa admitted.
Sailor V was a bit surprised that they knew who she was. Frowning she glanced at the white cat, who sweatdropped after a few seconds, then motioned for her to get to work.
"What did she look like? Are you absolutely sure it was her?"
"Her outfit was a little different than the others. A blue skirt, red glasses, a red chest bow, and long blonde hair tied with a red band."
"That sounds like the brainless blonde."
"No sir, I'm aware of her as well. She took down several Youma last week. She has a lot of raw power, but no skill. This Sailor V is better trained than I expected and nearly captured me. I was amazed at how fast she could run. It reminded me of the red headed one."
"Anything else?" Jedite snapped.
"If she is working alone we might be able to take her down. The scouts have a lot of energy at their disposal as well. Capturing her could net us a thousand time the energy we've grabbed so far."
Vespa nodded just as she spotted something behind Jedite. With a snarl she jumped past Jedite before the man could do anything and slashed her claws through the door. The door fell to pieces, revealing Sailor V as she jumped back. "Master! It's her!"
Turning around in surprise, Jedite's eyes narrowed as he noticed Sailor V. "That's the pest that took down General Calcite's Dark Network in Europe alright." Jedite hadn't expected her to show up in Japan and he started to rework his plans on the spot. "Kill her!"
"Yes Master!" Vespa yelled. She didn't want to fight, but she couldn't disobey her Master. Opening her mouth she fired a beam of dark energy at V.
Casually flipping to the side Sailor V pointed her finger at the Youma. "CRESCENT BEAM!"
The Youma dodged, letting the beam blast a whole clear through the house, shattering the front wall. Just as V landed she used her momentum to race forward and throw a Rolling Screw Sailor V Punch. The swirling winds blew Vespa off her feet.
Just as she was rolling to land on her feet another Crescent Beam went right through her chest. Vespa cried out as her body collapsed into a pile of dust. With a determined look in her eyes Sailor V slowly turned to stare at Jedite and gave him a little grin.
He was shocked that that Vespa went down that fast. Then he recalled that Calcite had complained endlessly about this girl's ability to do the impossible. To thwart his every plan, no matter how much time he put into it. He growled and wondered once again why he could never seem to get the job done right.
The girl shot forward in a blur of motion. Old reflexes took over as he caught her fist with his off hand, leaned down, and blasted her in the stomach. The blonde cried out as she impacted against the wall about twenty feet away. With a groan she slid down and gasped for air.
"Sailor V." Jedite growled. "Don't presume that I'll do down that easily."
She rose to her feet with one arm holding her stomach. Minako hadn't taken a blow like that in a long time. Most enemies tended to use a distraction and run away instead of fight her directly. Youma were predictable, the leaders tended to be cowards. "Who…" She gasped.
"That's none of your concern. Leave me alone and I'll leave this place." Jedite offered. Sure he was lying, but she was just a girl.
"As if I'd let someone like you go." V said as she finally managed to get her breath back and brought her hand up. "Crescent Beam!"
Jedite twisted out of the way, but it just nicked his shoulder. His form wavered and shifted back into Jade, spilling water on the floor. She snarled and fired two quick blasts of energy at Sailor V. At the same time a tendril of water raced across the floor and absorbed the crystals sitting against the wall. Jade started glowing instantly.
"I'll take you down one blast at a time girl."
"What are you?" V asked as she dodged.
"I'll kill you!"
Author's notes: Well there's what I've managed to get done after about six months of work. Not much, but I figured it was time to post what I had done. I've had to force almost every word of this as well, which is why it's taken so long to finish. I've got about five more scenes I was planning to post with this, but they'll go into the next chapter.
Feedback and Reviews would be appreciated.