Fated Pasts, Chaotic Future
A Ranma ½ and Sailor Senshi crossover Fanfic
Written by: Konsaki
This Fanfic was inspired by and uses source material from 'Lines of Destiny', a dead Fanfic created by Louis-Philippe Giroux. If you would like to read the story he created up till it drops off, there are copies on Ranmafics dot com.
Grey blue eyes snapped open to view flashes of ground and sky blurring by. Senses screamed at him, only confirming what his eyes blatantly declared as truth. Dozens of impulses blazed by in an instant, more than a decade of training brought to the forefront as muscles tensed and jerked limbs around, throwing Ranma's unexpected and wild flight into a slightly more controlled spinning sideways fall. The immediate concern that he had any control over taken care of, Ranma took full stock of his situation and damage. 'Jaw, ribs and back bruised', he counted out, grimacing as his muscles pulled to control the spin, 'that bastard's going down when I get back there!'
Another flash of grey passed by as his trajectory angled downward with the effects of gravity.
"Come on", Ranma growled as he darted his arms outward towards the roof he was passing over. Spinning through the air, he made a split second decision to gamble everything on one arm versus trying a two handed grab; stretching his left hand out as far as it would go. Another flash of grey came into sight, leading him into a straight on view of a television antenna sticking up out of the building.
Instinct churned through infinite calculations, training making up the difference, as the martial artist moved his arm slightly and adjusted the predicted grip just so. The instant the metal tip of the antenna touched skin; Ranma locked down with an iron grip.
"Alright", the whooping cry of success echoed out across the rooftop only to be quickly followed by an equally loud "Shit" as the metal bent, warped and then snapped under his inertia. Pulling the snapped metal bit up to his face, Ranma cursed once more before accepting that the mishap had at least done one thing for the airborne martial artist; it had slowed down his spin to a manageable level.
On the other hand, it had also slowed his forward motion, leading Ranma to be less airborne each second; the next twist towards the ground showing that he was headed towards a busy street below. 'This gets better and better', he groused silently as his eyes flicked over the vehicles passing below, trying to predict the point of impact.
Twisting about, adjusting his spin slightly, Ranma prepared for the tricky landing ahead of him. Inside his mind, doubts were screaming against the hastily made preparations; fear of failure fighting confidence in his abilities. Pushing the internal struggle aside, the raven haired youth came to the point of no return.
Coiling his legs, the martial artist forced as much reinforcing ki into his extremities to help absorb the impact. Making one final revolution in his spin, Ranma saw his target; a light blue sedan in the outside lane. All the pieces in place, time seemed to shoot forward in speed as Ranma's bare feet made impact on the metal trunk of the sedan.
The sounds of metal collapsing under the unusual pressure placed upon it crunched out into the air. The left rear shocks and springs compressed downward due to the same noise causing weight. Ranma felt his feet pressing into the corner of the vehicle even as the vehicles own momentum started to drag his feet out from under him the moment he touched down. A slight gap opening in the pedestrians walking along the sidewalk parallel to the street and the alleyway beyond them…
Gritting his teeth, Ranma kicked off with all his strength; throwing him into a headlong dive through the narrow gap, twisting in midair to fit. The dirty white blur shooting past caused screams and yells of shock in his wake, befitting the sounds of screeching tires on the road even farther back. Blue orbs witnessed the scene as his body made one twist, showing him the street and shaken civilians… right before Newton's first law came into effect once more, with Ranma slamming back-first into a stationary object.
"What was that?"
Hearing the question from the elder female, Hotaru quickly looked around the street before grimacing. Reaching out, the smaller girl pulled Akane by the hand towards a nearby alley while explaining, "I can't tell you out here."
Blinking at the strength of the girl's tug, Akane followed along behind the hurrying teen. Once they entered the path between the two stores, the martial artist noticed her newfound sister pull the source of the chiming out from somewhere. Hotaru opened up the object, making it look like an odd looking compact kit, and examined it with a frown, causing Akane to ask, "What's that and what's going on?"
"It's an alert signal", Hotaru explained, examining the simple display before frowning slightly, "Sailor Moon is calling for help."
Hearing the heroine's name Akane couldn't help but echo it in a surprised cry, "Sailor Moon?" Then it hit her, 'Of course Hotaru knows Sailor Moon, being Sailor Saturn!' Shaking her head, she dispelled the shock to focus on the situation at hand, "What's happening where she needs our help?"
"I don't know", Hotaru stated, chewing on her lip in worry and indecision before recognizing what the other female had said. Giving her head a quick shake, Hotaru reached out and grasped Akane's hands emphatically, "You can't be seriously thinking about fighting with the Senshi, are you!" Seeing the beginnings of a 'yes' motion, Hotaru powered on with a violent shake of her head as she jumped forward to envelope the taller girl in a strong hug, "No! I don't want to lose you after finally getting you back!"
Any ire the martial artist might have generated evaporated instantly in those actions as she quickly wrapped her own arms around her younger sister. "But I'm a martial artist…", she tried to defend her choice, even while feeling the ground figuratively crumble beneath her position.
"It won't do much without magic", the younger teen countered, relishing in the feeling of the hug and noting how similar but different it felt from her adopted parents'. "If you had your spells, it would be one thing, but…"
Looking down at the dark hair with a slight violet sheen, Akane frowned slightly as she thought about that fact of her past life and realized the smaller female had a valid point. Kanma had trained for over a decade to reach the third circle, longer than Akane had in her family's martial arts. She also noted that almost every spell Kanma had cast, barring the easiest low level spells, were used with his weapon as a focus. Without that, she would have even less chance to successfully cast in this life, especially in the heat of battle.
Akane let out a long breath, running a plan through her head before vocalizing it, "How about this, I'll try to summon… Mjollnir. If I can summon it without any problems, then I fight. If not…"
Just hearing that brought flashes of her sibling's war hammer to the forefront of Hotaru's mind, reminding her of the vast importance it held to her brother in the past. Pushing back, the girl gave a quick nod, agreeing to the quick test, "Alright… but if you can't…" She left the rest unsaid, giving her reincarnated sibling the go ahead.
Akane just nodded in silence, already concentrating on the named weapon and the long unused magical techniques required for summoning it. If anything, dredging up the knowledge was the easy part out of the entire process; her hands already hanging before her to start the casting. It was only when she tried to draw on the actual magic to complete the summoning that her current state of practice truly showed. Then, something snapped…
Hotaru watched with urgent anticipation, both waiting for the result and also dealing with the increasing worry for her friends. She didn't wait long, her elder sibling's movements halting as a furrow of concentration crossed Akane's brow while her lips opened to whisper something lost in the sounds of the city save for three recognizable words, "Mjollnir, to me!"
A flash of light and jerking wave of power jarred both girls a moment later; leaving a motionless martial artist and a relic war hammer hanging in the air as if time stood still. Watching in awe, Hotaru observed the weapon as memories once more ran though her mind in remembrance. So lost in these dreams, the girl was unable to react when time seemed to resume violently; Akane and the relic falling to the ground in a noisy cacophony.
Rushing over to the downed girl, Hotaru grabbed hold of her elder sibling's shoulder to shake it while crying out, "Akane! Are you okay!"
"Great", Ranma growled out as she continued to try and extract herself from the pile of soft drinks she found herself in, "Just great…" The sounds of cans rattled around the alley as she pushed up into a sitting position. Just a second later, Ranma cried out in surprise, shielding her face with a hand against the jets of cola spraying up from yet another exploding can.
"That's it", the redhead screamed out, kicking out with her legs to clear the cans from her, only to cause more to start spewing their beverages into the air, "His ass is mine!" Growling and seething in heated fury, Ranma kicked out one last time before flipping up to her feet; heedless of the scattering, spraying cans around her.
Taking a quick look around, Ranma found herself in an alleyway between two buildings. Sensing movement, the redhead turned to the side to find a man pushing himself up against one of the walls of the alley, staring at her while now trying to remain rigidly still. The martial artist winced slightly at seeing the terror in his eyes and how he stiffened even more when their eyes met; only to wince again once she realized the truck he had been trying to slide behind happened to be an opened delivery truck with drink logos stamped on the side.
Swallowing her rage, Ranma bowed her head quickly, muttering a quick, "Sorry about that…"
The man's jaw opened and closed a bit before he finally waved a hand warily, "N-no p-p-problem…"
Wincing once more at the reaction she received, Ranma turned towards the entrance of the alley to find a small crowd of pedestrians watching. Some were frowning at her, some whispering and pointing subtly while a few were openly gawking at the young woman.
'Not getting out through there', Ranma thought before turning her eyes upward. Spotting an outside stairwell attached to one of the buildings, she nodded in acceptance of the plan. Muttering another quick apology, she coiled her legs before springing a good ten meters into the air only to boost her body up even farther with another amazing leap from one of the railings attached to the stairwell only to bounce off the side of the opposite building. This went on, with the crowd watching in rapture until the martial artist cleared the edge of one of the structures and disappeared from sight.
Once she felt the gravely rooftop beneath her feet, Ranma ran a hand through her damp and sticky bangs. "Damn… why'd it have to be cola…", she complained as she shook her hand out into the air. Shaking her head quickly to dismiss the issue, she focused her eyes off into the near distance from where dust clouds and small flashes of light could be seen over the blocking buildings. "Whatever", the redhead growled out, pounding a fist into the palm of her hand, "I'll just take it out on his hide!"
Hardening her eyes, Ranma quickly nodded before quickly running up to the edge of the roof and making a soaring leap across the gapping street below. Crossing the divide, she touched down on the target apartment complex only to continue to sprint forward, flicking steel blue eyes towards the bent antenna as she rushed by. Giving a quick derisive snort towards the less than useful object, she made a quick hop to the next roof over before coming to a halt near the coming edge. Kneeling down at the slightly raised ledge that ran along the roof, Ranma narrowed her eyes as she viewed the scene below.
"Hiaa", Venus screamed out, swinging the golden chain attached to her arm through the air. Dirt and dust kicked up where it slammed into the ground, the target having vacated the area an instant before.
Bright flashes flared to her left, leaving the air with the strong stench of ionization as Jupiter added her own shots into fray. Not a second later, a beam of light beamed nearby before arching back towards its origin. Using the covering attacks of her teammates, Venus wrenched in her chain while sprinting to the side, scanning the battlefield which used to be her school's sports yard.
Long brunette hair waved behind Jupiter as she continued circling around; throwing her arms out with bursts of arcing electricity all the while. Moon continued concentrating on flinging her quickest attack out, managing less to hit the constantly evading man and more just keeping him constantly moving. Twitching her head to the side, the Venus spied their last available teammate on hand; the silent blue colored girl kneeling near a trashcan, a transparent blue visor covering the top half of her face while fingers danced over a microcomputer in her hands.
Spotting Athorm's grey clad form flipping away from yet another burst of electricity, the Venusian reincarnation threw her arm forward once more; chain darting towards her mobile opponent like a snake slithering through the air. Venus smirked as her timing couldn't have been more perfect, as Athorm's hands touched down into a handstand from his flip just as the long length of golden hearts coiled around the gunmetal vambrace on his left arm.
Before she could set her stance for the follow-up, the silver haired male thrust off from the ground to hang meters into the air; giving him the freedom he needed to counter the expected yank Venus was about to send down the connecting line of golden magic. Right as the blonde started to shift her weight back; Athorm reached forward with his free hand to grasp the shackling chain between the two, carefully hiding the smirk growing on his lips.
Venus's own smirk of success quickly shot away into surprise as she jerked hard; Athorm yanking with his right at the very same time while in midair. Everything went according to her plan; all but the speed the enemy shot towards her, the combined forces flinging the man way too fast for her to capitalize on the effort. As Athorm's massive form closed in, his body coiling for something, the Venusian Senshi chose the safer option; bailing out to the side in a desperate lunge.
Jupiter watched from the other side of the field as her friend dove out of the way, leaving the grey clothed enemy to fly over the position Venus had just held a moment before. Still amazed at the situation at hand, Jupiter failed to realize just what Athorm had planned before it was too late. Even as her eyes widened in realization, the airborne male seemed to slice through the chain connecting him to Venus with a swift knife-hand; the now disconnected coils around his left arm dissipating into golden flecks of mana.
From here position, the Jovian had a clear spine chilling view as Athorm finally touched ground only to kick off violently, rocketing straight towards their only non-mobile asset. Mind screaming commands as feverously as it could, Jupiter opened her mouth and inhaled, somehow knowing that it would already be too little and too late but hoping otherwise.
Moon never even got that far, having only just retrieved her tiara out of the air from its last use. She saw Venus' dive and Athorm's escape but never recognized the change in the man's tactics until Jupiter's voice rang across the yard.
"N-Not so loud…"
Blinking in confusion, Hotaru watched as Akane's eyes fluttered open only to close tight once more with a groan. "Are you okay", the younger girl asked in a much more subdued voice, hand still resting on the fallen female.
"Yeah, I'm… I'm fine", Akane replied, pushing her body up to sit with her back against one of the walls of the alleyway, "Just feels like my head's going to explode…"
"It looks like it already did", the younger girl commented with a blink. Noticing Akane's confused look, Hotaru shook her head and pointed a herself with a finger, "You nose is bleeding…" Face showing even more concern, she asked again, "Are you sure you're okay?"
Pulling back fingers from her upper lip to see the wet red on the tips, Akane quirked a brow, "I think so…" Frowning, brown eyes continued to stare at the blood until suddenly her demeanor shifted. "Gah, I'm an idiot", she groaned out, placing a hand to her forehead.
This reaction had Hotaru scrunching her face in confusion, tying to decipher her elder reincarnated sibling's behavior, condition and sanity, "What are you talking about?"
"I don't… It just hit me", Akane tried to explain, stumbling over her own tongue as her mind tried to go in two directions at once, "My… Kanma's… the memories; it was over-casting…"
"What? You're not making any sense, Akane", Hotaru complained, looking into the elder girl's brown eyes to see if they looked 'right'. Knowing that the downed female had complained about a headache just a little while before, Hotaru made a quick guess that it might be what was causing Akane's confusing speech and acted on it. It only took a moment of concentration, placing a hand on the mumbling female's forehead and ebbing out some power, for Hotaru to see a very visible change in Akane.
Feeling a cool warmth soothing washing over her, soothing her stressed mind, Akane let out a contented sigh before the warmed slowly faded as Hotaru lifted her hand away. While her brain was still trying to process two different viewpoints at once, Akane's mind was able to see them more clearly with the haze of pain lifted; leading her to say, "What was… the healing, never mind." The recovering young woman flashed a smile towards her younger companion, "Thanks, my head feels a lot better now, Hotaru-chan."
The sense of accomplishment and praise had the young girl smiling as well before she returned back to the confused expression to ask, "What were you trying to say before I healed you? Something about overcastting and memories… it didn't make much sense."
At this, the sitting martial artist's smile faded towards a look of minor exasperation, "Don't I know it. I've got some of Kanma's memories thanks to Rei… but it's like…" Frowning, Akane tried to come up with a workable analogy to explain her predicament, "It's like playing shogi but the names are only on a few of the tiles… and they only appear during play…" Sighing, she shook her head in further exasperation, "Nnn… that doesn't sound right…"
"No… I understand, I think…", Hotaru responded, brow furrowed and head cocked slightly, "Can you explain what happened or…"
"Just give me a second…", Akane requested, shaking her head to clear it once more before looking towards the kneeling girl, "Okay… all I know is that I had to 'overcast' to summon Mjollnir and that's why I… feinted."
"That's it", the kneeling girl asked, clearly expecting more than that for an explanation.
Akane just shrugged slightly, "Other than the fact that I… er, Kanma had it happen in the past when he was beginning his magic training… yeah, that's about it." There was a momentary pause before she reluctantly added, "I'll probably 'remember' more later, but… considering just summoning Mjollnir caused this… I should probably sit this one out."
Hotaru just blinked at that, confusion flashing across her face, "What?"
Indicating the communicator still held in Hotaru's left hand, Akane said, "You know… not go with you to help out… If I need magic, I won't be much help if I can't do anything without feinting…" Quirking an edge of her lips down as she reached out to the fallen hammer, she added, "I'll be ready next time though."
Pulling the communicator before her, Hotaru was reminded of the full situation at hand; her visage firming right before casting a worried look to the sitting woman, "I… I need to go… they need me. Are you going to be okay?"
Akane just smiled slightly, a hand waving away the worry, "I'm fine, if only for the bruising of my ego." Her lips drew into a serious line a moment later though as she pulled herself up to her feet, "You be careful out there, alright."
Putting the small compact looking devise away, Hotaru pulled out a small rod with an ornament, "Right." Seconds later the smaller girl thrust her hand into the air and, in a flash of violet light during which silence seemed to roll over the alley, Sailor Saturn replaced the girl standing there moments ago.
The dark haired martial artist just watched in mild awe, both having seen the transformation dozens of times in the past but now seeing it for the first time now. Mentally shaking herself out of it, Akane flashed a grin towards the Senshi who was nervously looking towards her, as if looking for approval. "Alright! Give that monster a good kick for me, okay? I'll see you when you're done."
"Right", Saturn smiled back with a nod, quickly setting up for her departure. "See you later", she offered as parting words, leaping from coiled legs to bounce off the walls of the alleyway; disappearing over the roof edge after a few bounds.
Akane's grin drooped towards discontent when she lost sight of the girl, lowering her eyes from the sky to the large war hammer held near weightlessly in her hands. 'I might not be able to help this time' she thought with vitriol, 'but I'll sure as hell be ready next time!'
With that unsaid promise, the martial artist noticed her still reddened fingers gripping the weapon focus. Realizing how she must look, alone and bloody while wielding a hammer that was almost as tall as she was, Akane cursed, "Damn…"
"…that's got to hurt", Ranma muttered to herself with a wince, looking down from her rooftop perch.
Just moments before, she watched Venus' attempt with her chain go wrong and Athorm's rush to capitalize on the gained swing in the fight. Ranma heard Jupiter's yell, but watched as the silvery haired man's energy charged fist slammed right into Mercury's face; culminating in a spectacular explosion. Sympathy flowed from the redhead as she watched Mercury bounce along the ground like a ragdoll, sliding to a stop a few meters from the exterior wall of the school.
Still watching the action below, Ranma prepped herself to jump down into the fray as she saw Athorm continuing forward after the immobile Senshi. Just before she leapt down and before the powerful male could get more than halfway, massive jets of fire rained down from above as Mars joined the fray, enveloping Athorm and the ground beneath him.
'Damn, I can feel it from here', Ranma swore silently, tracking the area of scorched earth with attentive blue eyes. Within the raging flames, she could see the shadow of the man within; then suddenly it was gone.
"What the…", Ranma exclaimed in confusion, jerking her vision around the area in search of her opponent. She found him a second later, halfway across the open field patting down smoldering spots on his armor. Blinking in surprise, Ranma replayed what she saw in her mind, from the immolation to finding him standing that far away. Instinctively, the redhead compared it to her own hand to hand experience with him.
Then, it clicked and a grin flashed across her lips, "That's how he did it!"
Standing tall with her hands on her hips, Ranma nodded triumphantly, 'Alright! Now all I've got to do is transform, then its beatdown time!' Nodding, she reached out with her right arm, transformation focus in hand, and said…
"The hell am I doing!"
Looking down at the pen like object crowned with the symbol for Terra in her hands, Ranma blinked in confusion. 'Transform! What am I thinking', she asked herself, still looking at the artifact she held.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, a countering voice spoke up, 'Why not? It's just a way to kick his ass!'
A quick look down at the maneuvering colors of the girls' uniforms below gave Ranma her quick reply, 'I don't want them to think I'm joining them or anything.'
The retorting voice came back just as quickly with just two names, 'Ryoga and Mousse.' Memories rolled in his mind; both martial artists teaming up with Ranma to perform a specific task, beating Herb or Saffron, only to continue trying to 'kill' him soon after they beat the current opponent.
Seeing the point but not wanting to concede, Ranma threw her last complaint out, knowing it was also her weakest, 'But it's girly…'
'And when's that gotten in the way of winning before?'
That final counter had Ranma silent for a few seconds before looking down at the Senshi below who were still engaged with the male antagonist; all save two. Moon was off on the far side of the field kneeling over Mercury who lay still on the ground; even as Jupiter, Mars and Venus continued to coordinate their attacks with moderate effectiveness. Still considering whether or not to follow through, Ranma stood there silent and still as the battle waged on below; Athorm trying to work his way closer to the injured Senshi while the others battled him away.
The seconds ticked by as flashes of magic flared up from below. The stalemate the three active Senshi desperately kept up held… all the way until the grey clad male's form flickered from view once more to appear right behind Jupiter. Whether by sheer skill, instinct or luck, the ponytailed Senshi made a mad, desperate block but was still sent flying through the air from the power of Athorm's explosive kick.
"Damn it", Ranma cursed loudly as she threw her hand skyward, words of power rolling out into the air...
"Shit", Jupiter cursed, rapidity twisting her arms up to block even as she jerked around a one-eighty. An instant later, fire flashed through her arms, the force of the explosion blowing the Jovian into the air with a pained cry. Ripping her eyes open through the pain, Jupiter maneuvered her body to roll back with the landing, trying to keep her arms from taking too much of the impact.
Jupiter only had a split second glance towards her opponent, but the brunette could tell that Athorm was on the move, trying to keep up the pressure by incapacitating her… or worse. Gouts of flame flared into existence soon after, with the sounds of chains slapping against hard packed dirt joining in; both indications that her friends were trying to cover for her. Mercifully, Jupiter's hang time came to an end with her back finally touching ground, allowing her to roll backwards over a shoulder to regain her footing. Sight of the fight returned to the emerald eyed warrior; her still stinging arms snapping up before her even as her vision locked onto the closing Athorm.
Wind rushing through spiky silver hair, blood pounding through his veins, the raw emotions on the target's face; all part of the rush Athorm got from the thrum of battle. Gleaming white showed through curled lips as he grinned in anticipation, his arms already starting to channel their energy as he jogged and jerked passed the flames and chains to the recovering Senshi of Jupiter. 'Soon, one more down and three left to go', ran through his head as he started planning his next moves out in advance.
Nowhere in Athorm's strategy did it plan for an orb of golden energy to slam into his side, the following explosion blowing the wind out of him while sending his body across the ground in an uncontrolled roll.
Blinking the flash from her vision, Jupiter's eyes widened as she jerked her head around to see Terra falling from the sky only to burst off running as soon as she touched down on the damaged school grounds. Nearby, Venus and Mars seemed to be in the same trance like state, turning their own gazes towards the surprise reinforcement.
Seeing the stares from the three color clad girls, Terra snapped, "Quit gawkin' and get him!" She followed actions to her words, throwing forward a hand to let lose another golden bolt of energy towards the grey clad male. Before it could reach its target though, Athorm had hauled himself back on his feet only to wrench his body out of the orb's path; ignoring the small explosion it caused behind him to instead snarl towards the new arrival.
"By the void", Athorm cursed loudly, avoiding a burst of lightning shot in his direction, "I had forgotten just how many of you blasted Senshi there were."
"Enough to take you down", Venus cried out, forcing the man to barely dodge a thin lance of bright light shot from her free hand.
Firing off her own fiery attack, Mars chimed in, "That's right, jerk! You're going to pay for what you did to Mercury!"
As if it was some sort of rallying cry, the three of the four who had fought multiple campaigns against dark foes amped up their attacks towards Athorm; Terra joining in just because it made tactical sense. Athorm found himself even harder pressed than before in the fight; his full dodges were now deteriorating into near misses and glancing blows which were slowly adding up.
The four continued their attacks, yelling battle cries into the air with each fling of energy until it all screeched to a slamming halt.
All four felt their nerves spike, their senses on full alert; eight eyes searching frantically for their target. One moment, he was before them about to be engulfed in a double strike of lighting and golden energy; the next, he vanished into the ether.
A few seconds ticked by in chilling silence; then as if of one mind, Jupiter and Terra dove into Mars and Venus, driving the pair away from each other. Not a moment later, the expanded area between the split up Senshi exploded in a grand inferno; the shockwave blasting scalding heat out across the nearby school grounds.
Throwing herself off the golden clad girl she had just saved, Terra rolled along the ground before jerking her head skyward. Slashing her vision across the skyline, the redhead suddenly locked onto Athorm's form. Terra's eyes widened, her feet already moving even as she warned, "The roof! Look out!"
The other three Senshi quickly scrambled from their respective spots, though not completely successful; another explosion's shockwave catching Mars in her escape, flinging her body to tumble across the ground. Feeling the blistering heat flash across her back, the raven haired girl forced herself back up off the ground, the effort causing her to wince with pain.
Nearby, Venus jerked her hand upward, pointing her fingers out like a toy gun while squinting down the 'sights' of her thumb. Orange energy charged in her index finger just as she cried out sharply, "Crescent Beam!" As with a little bit earlier in the fight, a lance of blinding orange light shot from her hand; the strength between the two held nothing in common though, this one being much more powerful than the one's before.
Athorm, hands holding another swirling orb of red and blue energy, barely noticed the difference; opting to abandon the attack and ground in favor of evading the incoming shaft of light. His form seemed to shift into an afterimage just as the lance vaporized the edge of the roof… and tore straight through the gut of the swiftly fading image.
"Shit", Terra cursed, jerking her view around to scan the rooftop once more even as the other three scanned lower. Pissed that he had even gained the high ground in the first place, the redhead coiled her legs, "I'm going up!" Before any of the others could say anything, Terra shot into the air towards the rooftops.
Grey blue eyes continued to scan the high ground, even more area opening to her sight as she rocketed upwards upwards. Her velocity took her to and past the edge of the roof, shooting her dozens of meters higher than the five story building; a calculated risk but necessary, Terra trusting her years of training to keep her safe in the air.
It was due to the aerial view that she noticed the flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye; jerking her body around even she instinctively readied herself to land on the closing rooftop below. Just as she twisted around in the air, her eyes flashed wide in realization of what was happening…
Athorm stood atop his new vantage point, sneering down at his targets as a great swirling mass of blue and red hovered in his hands held high above him. Glaring down at the targets below, Athorm growled out words in a rich baritone, his words echoing out as he threw the attack towards the two unaware Senshi below…
"Blaze Ether Shock!"
Rooftops flashed by as Saturn sprinted across the Juuban skyline. The gaps between buildings, even the streets slicing out the blocks, were nothing more than short hops to the transformed girl as she sped forward; the school her sisters-in-arms attended in sight. Seeing the haze of dust surrounding the school buildings Saturn tried to push even faster, worry for her friends foremost in her mind.
Just as her foot touched down on the last building between her and the schoolyard an explosion rocketed through the air, gaining the violet clad Senshi's full attention. Jerking her gaze to one end of the yard below, Saturn saw Mars tumble across the ground away from a great cloud of dust. Seeing the red clad girl swiftly regain her footing, Saturn took a second to scan the full length of the schoolyard; spotting Moon crouched over a prone Mercury.
A moment of indecision washed over the young teen before she saw a flash of orange light shoot into the sky. Hearing Venus' accompanying battlecry calling out Saturn's decision was quickly made, 'The others are okay for now; I need to help Mercury!' Using a streetlight near the school as a stepping stone, the girl flew across the street into the battle zone. Saturn hit the ground running, the need to reach the downed female pushing her on as fast as she could move. She made it no more than two steps before feeling a massive power buildup soon followed by a strong male voice rolling out into the air.
Jerking her head up even as she continued towards Mercury and Moon, Saturn couldn't keep her eyes from flashing wide in surprise as she saw the swirling blue and red orb falling towards the earth below.
Time seemed to dilate for the girl as her view pulled back, showing both the ball of destructive energy and the two Senshi right in its path. Furrowing her brow, Saturn's grip on the Silence Glaive tightened as she focused her will. Spinning it in a swift flourish, the young Senshi slammed the butt of the shaft to the ground, jerking to a halt even as she forced energy through the weapon focus.
Screaming those words into the air, Saturn felt the mana flow through her weapon and continue out towards Moon and Mercury. Invisible shapes flickered into existence directly in the path of destruction; Saturn able to see them because they were her will manifest. The formation had barely cohered before the orb of energy smashed into it even as Saturn flooded more mana into the structure. All hell broke loose an instant later as flames exploded out blocking the view of Moon and Mercury, a cloud of dust kicked up by the concussive blast hung in the air like a dirty fog even as the flames dissipated.
The dust quickly cleared enough to show scorched earth all around the area, only a small patch of untouched ground was surrounding two Senshi inside. Letting out a breath of relief she didn't know she was holding Saturn shifted her gaze upward to lock her fierce violet eyes on a figure dressed in grey, who was just as intently staring straight back.
Hefting the glaive into a defensive stance, Saturn aimed the long elaborate blade directly at the one who dared attack her friends…
Before Saturn could go any further, a blue and red blur plowed into the man, knocking both out of view even as the sounds of running feet grew closer. Her focus snapped back as three forms rushed past, each Senshi leaping towards the rooftop, Mars yelling, "Moon, come on! Leave Mercury to Saturn!"
It was only when Saturn's knees hit the ground next to the unconscious Mercury that Moon looked up, determination filling her blue eyes. Placing her hands on the blue clad Senshi's forehead and cheek, Saturn felt the draw of power as she turned her healing abilities towards her injured comrade in arms.
"How is she", Moon pointedly asked, her tone strong but urgent.
Relying on the rudimentary feedback her healing ability had, Saturn quickly replied, "She's just knocked out. Give me a few minutes…"
Moon took a second to process Saturn's statement before nodding and standing up. "Just make sure she's okay", she directed before following the rest of her team by leaping to the top of the building and out of sight.
Silence soon filled the area, an eerie absence of life filling the void of battle. Thankfully, it was broken a few moments later by a groan coming up from a slowly awakening Mercury. Seeing the blue clad Senshi's eyes flicker open and close a few times, Saturn questioned, "How are you feeling?"
"Like I got in between Usagi and a sundae", Mercury ground out while wincing at the light from the sun above. Noticing the broken shards of which used to be her visor she asked, "What happened?"
"I don't know", Saturn replied, still holding her healing hands on the injured girl's forehead. Looking into Mercury's eyes, she frowned, "I think you have a concussion though…"
Mercury closed her eyes once more as she let out another groan at hearing that, "Wonderful…"
Terra couldn't help but grin victoriously at the face Athorm made as his body folded around her leg; her swift switch roundhouse kick viciously smashing into his unprotected abdomen. With the adrenaline flowing through her veins, the sight was almost done in slow motion for her, allowing Terra to savor every contortion of pain and surprise which washed across his face. Soon enough though, time snapped back to normal, Athorm's body flying across the roof as an inevitable conclusion to the short encounter of his body and her leg.
Watching her opponent bounce along into an unguided roll, the magical girl couldn't help but fire off, "How'd you like that, asshole?"
Finally rolling to a stop, the silver haired man held still for a second before pushing himself with his hands with a groan of obvious discomfort. Finding his feet, Athorm looked towards the ready redhead and wryly replied, "Not as much as you did, obviously…"
"Damn right", she exclaimed with a slight movement forward, "and there's more where that came from!"
Shifting his gaze from her own eyes to someplace behind her, Terra realized what he was looking at when she heard heels clipping on the concrete roof to her rear. "While that might be", the grey clad man started to reply, moving into a guarded stance, "I fear the time has come to say farewell…"
"Damn straight", Jupiter called out, moving in line with Terra with the others quickly following suit, "'cause you're going down!"
"While I might be defeated right now, today won't see my end", Athorm stated with the weight of complete confidence behind his words, though he did nod slightly towards the sailor suited fighters, "but I do concede that didn't think I'd need to do this!" Firing off the last word, he extended his left arm and snapped his fingers in a loud crack.
All four Senshi tensed for the expected attack to fly out, hoping to be able to leap out of its path in time. When no ray, ball or flare of energy came forth, all four females suffered a moment of confusion. Confusion quickly washed away when Athorm smirked in amusement, "Till next time…"
Terra's eyes flashed wide as the man vanished before her, similarly but unlike the trick she'd seen him use just moments before during the fight. One second he was there and the next he wasn't, without the distortion effects of the earlier technique. "Damn it", she cried out, jerking her head around to scan the skyline.
"What just happened", Mars questioned as she and the others did the same.
"He tricked us; that's what", Terra replied through gritted teeth.
Hearing a pair of boots land down onto the roof nearby, all four Senshi jerked about to orient on it. Each falling into a combat stance on instinct, they were all gifted with the vision of Moon's surprised look before she tripped and fell forward onto the hard concrete. As Venus, Mars and Jupiter grimaced or sighed at their leader's mistake, Terra turned back to searching the surrounding buildings.
"Itetete…", Moon groaned out a she regained her feet while rubbing the bridge of her nose. Noticing the empty building, she asked out, "What happened? Where did he go?"
"I don't know", Venus replied, eyeing Terra out of the corner of her vision. "He just disappeared…"
"Damn it", Terra cursed once more, clenching a fist for emphasis; "I still owed him a good ass kicking!"
That drew agreeing nods from Jupiter and Mars while the two blonds chose to give slightly nervous chuckles. Moon blinked after a second, looking straight at the blue and gold clad Senshi to ask, "Um… Not that I'm complaining… but why are you here? I thought you didn't want anything to do with us."
This question seemed to ring true with the other three girls, who looked towards the redhead with mutters of questioning agreement. Not expecting the question, having just ran on autopilot for the fight, Terra cringed back slightly as she desperately tried to work up a believable cover story, "Ah… um… well, I saw Ranma…" Kicking herself mentally, she continued with the ad hoc story, "He could barely stand after the crash, so he told me about… a strong guy he was fighting."
"So… you came to avenge Ranma", Mars asked, confused as too many things about why Terra was here, but trying to fill in the gaps.
Nodding quickly, Terra ran with it, "Exactly! Plus, a strong guy like that is good training!"
"Was Ranma okay", Venus asked, glancing in the direction which he was sent flying… and Terra came from, though Venus didn't know that.
"Ah…", the redhead stalled, trying to think of a plausible excuse as to why 'Ranma' didn't come right back while keeping it from sounding like she was weak. "He… he crashed into a rack of spices… which… got into his eyes, blinding him! Yeah, he couldn't see after that." Giving a dismissing hand wave at the gaping looks she received from the other Senshi, she finished by stating, "Don't worry, he'll be fine once he washes it all out. This isn't the first time it's happened."
Looking like she might grow one of those sweat-drops that manga characters get, Venus haltingly replied, "If… if you say so…" Terra blinked as she saw the others looking similar.
Before things could get much farther, the sounds of more booted feet touching down on the roof sounded into the air in two groups a few seconds apart. To one side, Saturn was looking towards slightly wobbly Mercury while on the other, three more set down. "What's going on? Where's the monster", Uranus asked out while glancing about, the teal haired Senshi standing close by doing the same.
"I'm not picking up his signature", Mercury responded warily, thankful he wasn't at the moment.
"Great… I was looking forward to a good fight, too", the shorthaired blonde pouted, crossing her arms under her chest-bow.
"Whatever…", Terra dismissed, taking a step few steps toward the only male of the group who stood silently a few meters away. Terra had been looking towards her once sibling since he landed on the rooftop, but finally acknowledged him, "Took you long enough to get here, Endy. Come on, we need to talk." The armor clad male blinked at the abruptness even as Terra walked past him and stepped to the roof's edge.
"Wait", Moon called out, "We want to talk to you as well!"
Terra stood silently for a moment, looking out across the city, before turning her head to lock eyes with Endymion. Another moment passed before the tall male spoke out, "Moon, we need to talk… alone… Please, just give us some time to sort things out."
Biting her lip a bit, Moon looked between her literal betrothed and his reincarnated sister… Letting out a slight sigh, she nodded before looking towards Terra, "Alright… We'll leave you alone. Just… Thanks for helping."
"Yeah, yeah", Terra waved it off, "I had my reasons. It doesn't mean I'm joining you guys or anything, though." Having said that, the redhead jerked her head towards a rooftop in the distance; motioning Endymion to move before leaping in the indicated route.
"I'll see you soon", the armored prince stated before pushing off the rooftop himself.
Silence held the rooftop for a moment before Uranus spoke up once more, "So… what exactly happened here? What happened to the monster? Did you kill it?"
Moon scratched the side of her head while Jupiter and Mars looked annoyed. Venus wound up speaking up first, "Well, you see… what happened was…"
It didn't take long before Terra finally halted atop a rather large apartment building only a few blocks away from the school she just left. Turning about, she watched the armored male finish his own leap from the prior rooftop, his boots clapping on the smooth cement surface beneath their feet.
After a few moments of silence between the two, the light breeze blowing his cape and her hair about a bit, Endymion let out a cough into his fist.
"I'm not who you think I am", Terra flatly stated, averting her eyes while tucking her bright red hair behind an ear.
Seeing the behavioral tick his sister held in the previous life playing out across the redhead before him, Endymion quirked his brow slightly, "We already told you; you're Terra… What you're wearing sort of proves the point."
Giving the Terran prince an irritated look, Terra shot back, "I know that! Akana already gave me an earful about it..."
"Akana already gave you an earful", Endymion repeated in confusion, "But you 'are' Akana… How..."
"It's complicated", Terra cut in, waving her hand as if cutting through the words, "but it's sort'a part of…" Shaking her head, she growled a bit, "We'll get to that later. Let me get out of this cheerleading getup first!" Closing her eyes, she willed the Senshi transformation away; a quick flash of light covering the transformation back to her civilian form. Opening her eyes once more, she was privy to Endymion's flushed face and averted gaze. "What's up?"
Coughing in embarrassment, he motioned towards her with a hand while pointedly keeping his gaze averted, "Um… y-your top…"
Looking down, the redhead found her gi top loosely open, showing a vast amount of cleavage while still keeping her assets mostly covered. "Whatever", Ranma grumbled while trying the top tighter, though still loose on her smaller female frame. "There, it's safe now", she mockingly told the other occupant of the roof with a smirk.
"I'm surprised you're so… carefree about it", Endymion dryly commented while he de-transformed as well.
"You get used to it after a while", she replied with a shrug before shaking her head once more, "We're getting off track here…"
"How is that", Mamoru asked, "You're Akana and Terra… you admit it, so how are you not who I think you are…"
"That's not the problem... at least not what I'm talking about right now. I'm talking about this", Ranma stated with a wave of her hand over her body.
Looking over the redhead in the karate-gi, Mamoru quirked his brow in confusion, "I'm not following…"
"I'm not Tendo Ranko, she doesn't exist! I made her up to trick my mom a couple years ago because…", Ranma started to explain before stalling out, "Never mind why; she's fake, made up, nonexistent!"
Looking into her steely blue eyes, Mamoru tried to figure out exactly what his reincarnated sister was pulling… and failed miserably, "What the hell are you talking about?"
Sighing in exasperation, Ranma tried to focus her thoughts on what she wanted to say next, causing a break for the breeze to whip through the air. "Look, it's a long complicated story, alright", she started up, trying to explain the cut down explanation to follow, "but I'm not Ranko, okay. There never was a Tendo Ranko." Seeing him nod, if not in understanding then in point acceptance if only to hear the rest, Ranma took a breath, "The truth is… I'm Saotome Ranma."
A moment passed as she let Mamoru have a chance to absorb her words, though the expected rebuttal turned out to be a very confused, "Huh?"
"Yeah, I usually get that", Ranma nodded in agreement, "but it's true."
"But that doesn't make any sense!"
Throwing her hands up, she cried out, "And reincarnated sisters from long dead empires do?"
"Yes, they do", Mamoru loudly responded before thinking about the words actually being said, "Well, at least in this situation it does…" Looking towards the redhead who just crossed her arms under her chest, he ran a hand through his hair. "Fine… so, how exactly do… How is it you're Ranma, 'cause I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed 'those' on him…", he stated with a gesture towards her upper torso.
"Yeah, I found them pretty hard to ignore when I first got them, too. You get used to them", Ranma replied with a shrug. Getting back on track, she brought up, "Okay, how about this. This morning you ran into Ranma… literally."
"Yeah", Mamoru hesitantly agreed, wondering where she was going with this and how she knew, "What about it?"
"You asked him… 'Me' about Jusenkyo", she continued, ignoring his own responding question. "Well, instead of meeting up on that rooftop, we'll talk about it here." Seeing Mamoru blink a few times, Ranma kept going, "See, Jusenkyo is a cursed training ground… or at least that's what it is now. Long story short, whoever or whatever falls into one of the pools there turns into whatever drowned in that pool last. Hot water cures the curse while cold water turns the curse back on."
"So… You're saying that…", Mamoru started up, trying to wrap his mind around the prospect.
"That I fell into the 'spring of drowned girl'", Ranma finished up for him, though she shook her head soon after. "It's a little more complicated than that though…"
"I'd say it was already complicated", Mamoru groused with a snort, "What you're saying is pretty hard to believe already." Seeing the annoyed look growing on the girl's face, he forestalled her with a raised hand, "Reincarnation is pretty easy to believe since I've experienced it along with the other Senshi… I've yet to come across anything like what you're saying, but I'm not calling you a liar… just that it's hard to believe."
Grimacing a little at the situation, Ranma took a full breath before nodding in favor of a decision, "Fine." Grabbing one of his hands, she tugged him towards the stairway attached to the roof while grumbling to herself, "Should have done this from the start."
"Wait, where are we going", Mamoru confusedly asked to the leading redhead, not really putting up any resistance since they would have gone down to the street eventually anyways.
Not turning her head, Ranma continued to pull him down the stairs while responding, "I'm going to show you the damn curse so you can quit saying 'It's hard to believe'." Snorting, she added, "Really wondering how you can deal with reincarnation, magic and monsters while having trouble believing in a gender curse…"
Not really having a valid response to that, Mamoru kept his mouth shut as they finished making their way down to the street. Once they reached the stairwell entrance, though, he asked, "Where to now?"
Looking up and down the street quickly, Ranma pointed off to the right before pulling him along, "This way."
Looking in that direction, he saw an arcade a couple buildings down, though he wondered exactly why an arcade would 'show' a curse. He did feel a little embarrassed at all the looks he and Ranma got as she pulled him along. 'Probably looks like we're on a date or something', the thought ran through his head, just adding to the mixed feelings flowing through him.
His confusion grew even as the gi clad girl passed by all the games filling the ground floor and headed to the back, coming to a stop and activating the elevator. Looking at her with a raised brow, she just rolled her eyes as the elevator doors finally opened and she pulled him in. It was a quick ride up to the third floor of the establishment, where he finally figured out where she was taking him…
"Uh… Ranko… are you sure about this", he asked nervously even as she pulled him ever closer in a straight line towards her intended destination.
"Just shut up", Ranma ordered back even as she pushed open the door to the small men's restroom. "You! Scram", she ordered once more, only this time it was towards the surprised twenty something male washing his hands. Moving out of the retreating man's way so he could leave, she pulled Mamoru in and made sure to keep hold of his hand. "Okay, again… Hot water removes curse, cold brings it back", she repeated.
Mamoru's eyes shot wide as Ranma put actions to word, twisting the knobs on the sink and running the same hand through the different temperature streams. The hand his held changed with the switching bodies of its owner, even as Mamoru's jaw worked its muscles without a clear word coming out. Finally, he shook his head violently and cried out, "How? That's…"
"Magic", a now very male Saotome Ranma responded dryly, "I know." Slipping his hand out of the still taller male's, he asked, "So, believe me now?"
"Yeah…", Mamoru nodded, still shocked with the situation, "Kind of hard not to…"
"Alright, at least that's done with", Ranma stated with a nod; pushing around Mamoru to leave the restroom.
Shaking himself out of his stupor, Mamoru quickly followed the now black haired male to the elevator before asking in a hushed but agitated tone, "What do you mean 'done with'? I'm more confused now than when we started!"
"I'm talking about the curse and how you wouldn't believe me", Ranma responded while entering the elevator and pressing the ground floor button.
"So you're not leaving it at this", Mamoru questioned with a raised brow.
Giving the taller man a dry look, the martial artist quipped, "Sure, why not. I mean, I've only got like a thousand more… No! I'm not leaving it at this!" Exiting the now opened elevator doors, he took a breath before added, "I just don't know what to ask now…"
Nodding in understanding, Mamoru followed him out of the arcade and back to the street. Once outside, he asked, "So… how long have you had it? You know; the curse…"
"I got it back around when I turned sixteen", the pigtailed fighter answered before chuckling, "Normally, I'd tell you it was my old man's fault for not knowing a lick of Chinese but now… Now, I'm not so sure… probably would have happened no matter what caused it."
"Something Akana said…", he responded with a dismissing gesture.
Looking at the martial artist with confusion, Mamoru spoke out, "You said something about that before… why do you keep talking like Akana's another person…"
Letting out a quick sigh, Ranma just responded with, "It all comes back to Jusenkyo…" Knowing this would take a bit to explain, he jerked his head towards an alley they were passing and moved into it, Mamoru following along. "It's kinda hard to explain, since she… I… we don't know exactly what happened for sure, but we've got a good guess."
Seeing a 'go on' gesture, the martial artist sighed once more while leaning against a wall, "You remember the end of the kingdom?"
"Bits and pieces…"
"Remember me… Akana heading out with that prince from Saturn… Kanma?"
Looking up in thought, Mamoru drew out, "I think so… something about the Phoenix?"
"Yeah, I… Akana was escorting him to see Saffron to check up on something...", Ranma explained, omitting the weapons as a nonissue, "Well… Jusenkyo isn't too far from where the Phoenix hang out and as luck would have it, Kanma n' me… Akana… whatever, both of them were chased there when the nimrod 'generals' decided to defect to Beryl's side and tried to kill us." Shaking his head sadly, Ranma amended his last statement, "Well, not tried, since I know at least I died."
"You're… that can't…", Mamoru tried to defend the royal bodyguards even knowing their actions in this life.
Giving off a nod, the martial artist agreed, "Yeah, that's pretty much the thoughts I had at the time, too. Barely put up any defense even as they tried to slice and blast us both to bits." Growling, Ranma unconsciously placed a hand were the sword pierced his flesh in the prior life, "Drew it out up until Zoisite managed to skewer me with his damn sword. Then… Well, then, Akana fell into the damn spring and died. That's where things get complicated."
"That's a lot to take in", Mamoru stated, running a hand through his hair while letting out a breath.
"You're telling me", Ranma chuckled slightly, "I'm the one living the damn experience." Shaking his head, he continued on the explanation, "Anyways, from what I can figure out, whatever caused the reincarnation didn't work correctly since Jusenkyo was messing around with it. Akana thinks only half our… soul, I guess, got reincarnated and that was me."
"And once you fell into the spring, you gained the other half", Mamoru ventured.
"Pretty much", Ranma agreed, though with a shake of his head, "course, nothing about Akana, Senshi or reincarnation came up until you tricked me into…"
"Sorry about that", Mamoru said out of reflex.
Ranma just waved it off, "Don't worry about it, would have probably happened one way or another anyways."
After a moment of silence between the two, Mamoru started up a question, not sure as to how to say it, "So… Akana's in your head? I mean…"
"No… No, she's not 'stuck' in my head or some separate person", Ranma answered.
Confused once more, the taller male questioned, "But earlier you were talking like she was…"
"It's complicated", Ranma responded, though Mamoru chimed in sync with the second word. "Yeah, yeah", the martial artist said with a dismissing wave, "Well, when you've got sixteen years of life as a guy and then get part of your soul added back into ya due to a crazy cursed pool, it ain't simple." Shrugging, he continued, "So, instead of going crazy, my mind created a… buffer, I guess, and used Akana's personality for it until my brain can take it all in."
"I'm guessing that's a work in progress…"
"You can say that again…", Ranma agreed with a roll of his eyes.
"So… she's not… well, trapped in your head… and you're really Akana… my sister", Mamoru hesitantly asked out.
"And here we come to another fun topic", Ranma quipped under his breath before raising his voice to a normal level, "Look, I've… accepted that I'm going to turn into a girl for the rest of my life… and since I'm Akana reincarnated, it sorta makes me your sister, but I'm not a girl in this life…" Gesturing towards his male body, he stated, "Sixteen years as a guy, can't and won't throw that away; especially since I'm married with a wife."
"That said…", Ranma continued with a grin, "Ever since I was a kid, I've wondered what it would be like to have a brother and I'm thinking it ain't too late now…"
Blinking a moment as he absorbed all that, Mamoru's lips pulled up into his own grin, "Well, I guess I can handle a little brother who happens to be my little sister sometimes…"
Hearing the absurdity in the conversation, even knowing full well the topic made sense, both of the reincarnated siblings shared a good chuckle. When they settled down some, Ranma looked out onto the street and noticed a clock hanging in a window across the way, "Damn… I need to get back to see what's going on at the school…"
"Yeah, I've got to go too…", Mamoru agreed solemnly as he moved towards the alley entrance.
"One last thing", Ranma spoke out, stalling the taller male, "Keep all of this to yourself."
Locking eyes with the martial artist, Mamoru scrunched his brow, "But the girls need to know."
"No, they don't", the shorter teen stated flatly, crossing his arms, "I've already told them that I'm not joining them and they don't need to know all this. If we happen to cross paths… Well, I'm going to do my own thing…"
"If that's what you want, I guess", Mamoru replied, though looking a little forlorn. A slight smirk grew on his face, though, as he gave a quick wave before heading out, "I'll see you around… little brother."
End of Chapter 11
- Noticed a couple comments on how I didn't do a seamless intro for Athorm. This comes from many reasons, the major one being that I couldn't write one that didn't seem cliché or trite after I wrote it. Since I couldn't write an intro I liked, I didn't; which made the start of the conflict that more jarring and let the readers fill in the gaps with their own imagination… at least until I get around to a scene where Ranma explains what happened, though probably won't get into too much detail.
- There were some concerns that I made Ranma too weak at the start of the fight. Well, looking back at all the manga fights for Ranma and you'll notice that he either outclasses his opponent right off the bat or he gets his ass handed to him; at least for the start of the fight or until the rematch. Athorm is no different, as he comes with a few tricks Ranma hasn't encountered before and partly because I needed him blown out of the schoolyard for the beginning of this chapter.
- Some of you have read LoD already and are probably going to comment on Akane being too weak and not rushing towards the fight. To this, I have to say that two years of experience over her manga/anime self plus the added years of Kanma starting to filter in bring a little more… responsibility, I guess, to her. She's still going to try and push herself when she can, but at least she's conscious of her own limitations as well and knows when to hang back.
- Lastly, I'd like to once more thank the guys over at Fukufics dot com for their C&C before I pushed this chapter out. If you haven't gone there yet, it's a good gang of folks there and you get to preread fics as they're being made.