Away to Neverland
The Beast still holds sway over my Beloved One.
Though I continually quest for her favor, driven by her fair, pale skin, her ruby red lips, her shimmering, dark hair, the Beast is swift to turn me aside, bringing my Beloved One back into the misery of her servitude.
But I will not submit, and I will not forever be turned aside. As the crashing tide, which eats away at the cliff little by little, tumbling stone into the murky depths, so shall I wear away the chains binding you to The Beast.
My dearest Beloved, Konatsu. I come for you.
Ranma woke peacefully, and spent a moment reflecting on the fact that, really, he was just passing out far too much.
Then a cough from the side interrupted his thoughts. Turning, he noted that Patchouli was much more composed, now.
"That last... ability?" She asked, pointedly.
"Technique." Ranma grunted in response, shifting as he rose from the bed, stretching his neck. "I think it was invented for mining, really. Most of what it gets used for is to blow holes through things that get in the way, right?"
"In short, then... this is one more ability that just anyone can learn to perform?" Patchouli asked, delicately.
Ranma actually paused in thought for a moment, not certain of the sidden level of interest, then shrugged.
"Assuming you're skilled enough." He said. "And you can survive bein' beaten on by rocks bigger than you are for a couple weeks straight, yeah."
"I see. I believe that will be all, then." Patchouli said, rising from her own seat, notes complete. "... I'll leave you your privacy, then. I believe Remilia will be paying her own visit, later. If the combined efforts of fatigue and blood loss have not ended you, perhaps we will speak again in the morning?"
"Haah? Maybe. No promises, mind." Ranma grunted.
A long few moments of silence passed, as Patchouli left, and Ranma stared out at the horizon, sun slowly lowering. Then he turned, mind made up.
"Hey... you, ice fairy." He called, catching Cirno's attention. "Nobody cares if you come and go, right?"
"Eh... I dunno. I don't think they'll let me back in if I leave, though. Stingy." She grumbled.
"Yeah, fine. But now's as good a time as any, right? Just, when you go... I need you to do me a favor. Take this with you, all right?"
"I can't tell you, right now. You'll just have to trust that I have a reason, all right? Take this, and go, okay."
"Geeze... fine." Cirno said, floating out of the window.
Ranma leaned back into the wall and sighed.
No helping it. The only way he could think of, would be that.
The sun had long since set.
It was time for the nocturnal hunters to seek their prey.
And so, Remilia's hand stretched out to the door...
Was that... the sound of a motor?
The vampire had barely enough time to throw herself out of the way as the door erupted in splinters, and a howling, dark-haired young man on a motorcycle passed in a blur of full speed.
The noise Remilia let loose, as it tore down the hall, savaging the carpet beneath its tires, was half enraged snarl and half childish laughter of interest.
Was that the game?
The fox was on the loose. Like any good bloodhound, it was time to give chase.
She tore through the halls after her quarry, as carpeting changed to tiles, to wood, and to stone, changing from one place to another as the run dragged on.
Its top speed was higher, but he could barely handle the corners of the sometimes very twisty passages and hallways. By contrast, though she wasn't as swift in a straight run, it was no trouble to keep on his tail, stench of the scared prey filling the air...
... That wasn't quite right?
The cycle turned through a kitchen, alarming a number of maids that had been getting into the sweets as it roared through. Remilia noted, mind distracted, that punishments would be in order for them.
Later, of course. It could only be later, as the cycle had turned, taking up the stairs at a speed...
It couldn't be. Was he really? ... He was~
The glass of the window above the highest point of the stair shattered, as the cycle passed through, Remilia not far behind, and dropped down to a large rooftop pavilion below...
Where the front and rear tire both burst at once, sending the machine skidding across the floor through broken glass.
The game was up.
Remilia could only smile toothily, as she approached, the scent of her prey's blood wafting freely on the air...
... the smile faded as the man scrabbled backwards, away from her, drawing a pistol and leveling it her way with shaking hands.
"... What is this? Who are you, then?" She wondered aloud, curiously.
"What are you... monster... demon!" He rasped, continuing to retreat at her approach.
"Devil." Remilia corrected, dryly. The smile returned. "Isn't this an interesting trick, though? Bait the hound away with a scrap of meat, while the fox runs free? I wonder... I hope that isn't all he has to offer."
"Stay b-back!" The man ordered, tip of his pistol wobbling.
Remilia's grin widened, but she did not halt her advance. And there was only so much room, even in a large space such as this. Eventually, there was nowhere left to backpedal to, just a short banister, and a long drop.
He fired, and a neat little hole appeared, blossoming red in Remilia's chest.
Her advance did not halt.
"It's lucky... I am a light eater." She said, freely. "Those who I feed upon... they only very seldom die from it. But, it's unfortunate for you... my dear sister must eat as well, yes?"
The pistol fired once more. And again, and again still, until only sharp clicks rang out as a desperate cry in the face of inevitability.
A scream rang out through the night, sharp and shrill.
Elsewhere, making a break for the wall, presence concealed beneath not just the Umi-Sen-Ken, but every ninja trick he had ever stolen, Ranma shuddered.
It wasn't like this was his fault, right?
If he'd just left the guy in stuff-space, then sooner or later, that Yukari was probably going to eat him.
And it wasn't like he could set him free outside, without getting outside himself.
It was really the best offer he could give. Let the guy have a fighting chance at escape, even if there wasn't really anything in the way of explanation.
Maybe the deck was stacked against him a bit.
That was just how life went, Ranma reflected, leaping over the wall, stolen and utilized silk bedsheet fluttering slightly in the wind.
The palm-strike, when it came, was like a sharp shock of reality, slamming him back to the cruel earth as blood poured freely from the corner of his mouth.
"... Sorry about this." Meiling said aloud, standing on the wall and looking down at him, heaving himself up from the ground on the inside of the wall. "But as Gatekeeper, just as I'm supposed to keep people from coming in whenever they want, I have to do what I can to keep the lady's guests from leaving before she's ready."
"... Feh." Ranma grunted, spitting a mouthful of blood aside, as the fairy hissed in his ear. "That what you call a gate-guard? It's more like a prison warden."
"You could call it that, I guess." she admitted with a shrug. "One way or another, though... you aren't getting out of here so easily, I'm afraid."
"Had to try, right?"
"I suppose you felt so." She allowed, cracking her knuckles. "So... do you intend to keep trying?"
... He couldn't. Right now, she was probably the only one who knew where he was. But any minute now, that maid could search the grounds. If a fight began in earnest, she wouldn't even need to, but... he couldn't fight. Time was against him.
"You know, there's something that... well, it's not really a saying. But I don't doubt that any member of Anything Goes would agree with me on it. 'If at first, you don't succeed... cheat'."
Meiling tensed, but Ranma was already swirling the sheets up, around himself, and over...
And without hesitation, or a moments thought about the attempt, he and the fairy disappeared.
The sheet drifted slowly down to the ground, and Meiling stared at it for a few long moments. It wasn't long before Sakuya appeared, a long knife in hand, glimmering in the moonlight.
"Milady's guest is no longer present in the house or grounds." She noted, darkly.
"Looks like." Meiling admitted.
"He got away from you."
"I didn't think he would be stupid enough to try what he did." She admitted, again.
"... Do you believe that absolves you of guilt?"
Meiling's smile went toothy.
"Guilt? Ah, adorable little Head Maid. Are you going to punish me, I wonder?"
There was a quiet sound, of blades leaving their sheathes, and battle was joined.
Who wants an extra-short chapter, eh?
And I said there would be a Koa focus chapter.
I am a liar.