Disclaimer: I do not own, or claim to own and of the below characters, as they are owned by peoples far greater than myself.
Authors Notes: Well first off, I must apologize for the delay in posting. It is my hope that people enjoy the story regardless of the wait. Hopefully the next chapter will take less time.
As always I enjoy feedback about how the characters are portrayed, the flow of dialogue, and anything that is pointed out.
This chapter has been beta read, but any mistakes are my own. Also minor changes have been done to chapter 3 to tighten the dialogue between Minako and Ukyo. Hopefully it's better now.
Also to Fuchsin not signed in- I would be happy to answer any question you might have but I can't find any account with the name Fuchsin. If you send me a pm I will answer.
Haruka glanced around the ward which she found herself in. It looked like any other place in Tokyo. Lots of buildings, streets, people; nothing unusual really.
"Are you sure we shouldn't wait for the others, Haruka?" Michiru asked her lover quietly. Michiru would have been willing to wait until Sunday when the other scouts would be free to assist in the search for the gnarled pervert.
"You heard what Pluto said, didn't you? We have no idea why he's here, other than to cause and bring as much trouble as possible. He could leave any day before Sunday." Haruka was more than a little bitter about the old man. Perhaps it was the groping, or perhaps it was the theft of her undergarment, regardless Haruka was out for blood. "I'm not about to let him get away with what he did … might do to others." Even now Haruka accepted the Princess' rules about fighting. Only in the defense of others, and never in revenge, was fighting allowed. Though Haruka thought it might have been a different story if Usagi had been the one groped. And even if Usagi had still been feeling forgiving, it was likely Mamoru would have led the scouts as a lynch mob to find Happosai.
Michiru nodded. While she wasn't entirely convinced that this was the best course of action, it was obviously important to Haruka, and for reasons Michiru could empathize with. "Just remember, he's still human, no matter what he can do. Usagi would… not like it if Happosai were killed." Usagi would be more than unhappy, even if it was likely that the princess would forgive her friends almost anything.
"I know." Haruka ground out, but then her rather annoyed grimace turned a bit feral. "But a few World Shakings wouldn't matter much." Haruka really hadn't forgiven yesterday's actions one bit. No she hadn't.
Hotaru glanced nervously down the street after two of her adoptive parents. Hotaru knew that she'd be late for school from this excursion. Actually, considering the time, even if she took the train back right this moment, she'd arrive an hour late. But this was more important than that. What had happened yesterday had bothered Hotaru for many reasons.
Her helplessness at protecting her adoptive family was her largest concern. There was also the lesser, and more hidden, concern that she might be next. Of course, as any Nerimian could have told her, those fears were mostly groundless. Happosai for all his flaws, evils, and all around nastiness, never bothered children under a certain age. And Hotaru, despite her psychological age, was physically still a little too young for Happosai to bother.
Hotaru looked around the corner again and noticed her current observed, not spied upon, subjects had escaped. Dashing around the corner, Hotaru looked around for them. It was at this point a loud yell was heard from her left.
"I can't be a delinquent!" Was all Hotaru heard, before something crashed into her and bowled her over.
"Owww." Cried the young girl, that was now on top of Hotaru's body, rubbing her head. The girl was dressed oddly for a child, and had clearly been running without paying attention to where she was going. The young girl blushed crimson when she realized her current landing place was Hotaru's rather hurt looking form. The girl jumped off and bowed. "I'm so sorry." The young school girl looked nervously at Hotaru and bowed again. "I was running late and I didn't see you."
Hotaru blinked and sat up slowly. Crashing into the ground after being nearly tackled by a pintsized locomotive was definitely not pleasant. "It's ok, just ahh watch where you're going next time, ok?" Hotaru couldn't find it in her self to berate the young child before her.
The young child nodded eagerly. "My name's Ninomiya Hinako, I'm so sorry." Hinako repeated her earlier apology and bowed again ever so cutely. Hotaru glanced down the street and grimaced as she could no longer see her guardians.
Hinako dusted herself off and glanced at her wrist watch. Starting to sniffle the young girl started to wail, "Noooo, now I'll never make it. I can't be late, what sort of example would I be if I was late." Hinako sniffed. "I'd be a delinquent that's what, no one would ever respect me again, especially Saotome-san." Hotaru assumed Saotome was probably a boy Hinako had a crush on.
The senshi of silence had been planning on slipping off, but the distraught child tugged on her heart strings. "We can still make it can't we? I'll go with you and explain why you're late, ok?"
Hinako nodded eagerly. "You will?" Seeing Hotaru's confirmation, the young girl beamed. "If I was showing a transfer student around, no one would question me. Of course I'd be late, if I was giving a tour of the building." Hinako's expression began to look a little lost in thought.
"Ahh, I don't think I would fit in at your school, I'm the wrong age." As much as Hotaru knew she was sometimes mistaken for an elementary school child, she was still in late middle school. Well her records claimed as such. It was a confusing business due to the year off due to reincarnation, and the Mistress Nine affair. Should she be in high school or middle school? Or maybe preschool, since her current body was less than a year old? Regardless Hotaru was quite happy being a middle school student and disliked being mistaken for younger.
Hinako was already dragging her along down the street. "No, see you won't look a bit out of place." Hotaru allowed herself to be dragged along as a young child's excuse for being late. Hopefully the child's teacher was an understanding person.
In Nerima there are many unusual sites, even by the standards of a ward that housed the last bastion of some of the most obscure martial art styles. In any other city or ward, the site of a young man walking along the top of a chain link fence would have provoked staring, or at least comment.
Here in Nerima, it was an everyday occurrence. Beside Ranma walked Akane, on the sidewalk below. Neither was in any hurry to reach the school, as for once, they had left early enough to arrive in plenty of time. Ranma was in his own world at the moment.
It had bothered him talking about V-chan like that. It was probably the reason that he had never mentioned it in the two years he had been at the Dojo. Well that, and the fact that he wasn't the sort to talk about that sort of thing.
That entire last day in London had left a bitter taste in Ranma's mouth.
Just thinking about V-chan caused him to compare Akane to his old friend. He shook his head, another thing he didn't dwell on.
Akane glanced at Ranma for what seemed the hundredth time since leaving the Tendo Dojo. Ranma had been acting quiet since last night. Trying to pinpoint the exact time had lead Akane to the conclusion that something had happened before dinner, but after arriving home.
In normal circumstances, Akane might have been a bit suspicious of Ranma's uncharacteristic silence. But there was nothing else. He wasn't running off anywhere, nor was he suddenly babbling strange excuses. None of his other fiancées dropped by recently either. He was just quiet, and that honestly bothered Akane more than anything else.
A quiet Ranma didn't exist in her view of him. Well, other then that one time with the curse of silence, or that weird Silence Game Martial Arts contest Ranma had gotten into. But other than those rare times, he was normally loud and energetic.
Finally, having enough, she kicked the fence. Ranma moved his arms to redistribute his weight and avoid falling into the river below. "What was that for tomboy?"
Akane grimaced at the nickname but decided to ignore it, for now at least. "Stop being so moody, it's not like you. If there's a problem, deal with it, or at least tell someone." Akane knew that the odds of Ranma actually telling someone about a problem was extremely unlikely at the best of times. And things were still a bit strained from the latest event in their lives. How was Akane supposed to know there was a ring of flatulence that couldn't be removed except by certain unusual methods? He didn't have to try to kiss that older woman.
"I'm not moody, I'm just thinking 'bout some stuff."
"Which is why you've barely said a word all day. And don't think I didn't notice how quickly your morning spar ended."
"Pops was just being lazy." Akane wasn't so sure about that. Judging from the way Genma had been nursing his arm afterwards, the fight had been a little more vehement then normal.
"Right. Well if you're worried about those rumours, well don't be. It'll blow over soon enough. Short of one of the Senshi actually coming by, I don't think we'll ever know the truth." Akane wasn't entirely sure she believed it. Ranma helped one of the Senshi? Well if anyone could, it was Ranma. But it still sounded so unbelievable.
"Why would one of those fakes know anything about V-chan?"
"Fine, Sailor V isn't Sailor Venus. But they should know something about her." Actually ,like most people, Akane was pretty sure Sailor V had become Venus. Even the names were pretty similar. But trying to convince Ranma of that was hopeless.
"You think they would?" Akane glanced up at Ranma's thoughtful expression. "Maybe I should go meet up with one of them or something. Even if they don't, they should be decent fighters. Kind of; even if they are fakes." Akane kicked the fence causing Ranma to fall into the river on the other side of the fence. "Gahh."
"Jerk!" It wasn't that Akane was jealous or anything. Just because Ranma would actually consider sparring with the Senshi, and not her.
It took a little over half an hour for Hinako to lead Hotaru to the school in question. It had been a long and rather twisted route hampered by odd sights and sounds. No wonder the young girl had been convinced she'd be late.
Hotaru's first reaction to arriving at the large high school was confusion. "Are you sure we're at the right place? This high school is meant for older children…" Hotaru tried to look circumspectly at Hinako. Hinako didn't look or sound like a child genius, or someone who was 16.
Hinako turned and looked at Hotaru looking peeved. "But I DO go to this school. Why does everyone keep asking me that? I know I look a little young but I definitely teach here." The young Hinako glanced around the abandoned yard. "Everyone's inside. Remember you're the transfer student… Ahh what was your name again?" Hinako look curiously up at Hotaru.
"Hotaru Tomoe. But are you sure you…did you say teach?" The odd part of what Hinako had said finally caught up to Hotaru. But before the Senshi of silence could ask any more questions, Hinako pulled Hotaru forward. At which point the purple haired senshi saw a large stuffed lion morosely making his way across the field.
Hinako simply waved with one hand and said "Good morning Orihara-sensei."
The lion turned and looked at Hinako and her abducted new friend, and shook his head. From this angle, Hotaru could see a middle aged balding man in the suit. "It's Saotome's fault. Before him, the principal never visited. Before him neither did the other martial artists, not often at least." This last was spoken as a curse. "Why? Why did my peaceful life have to end like that?" The rather odd man began gesturing to the heavens.
Hotaru allowed herself to be half dragged, half led into the school in her state of confusion. "Who was that man? Is he a teacher here?" Teachers at Hotaru's school never dressed up like that.
"Yep, that's Orihara, he's the gym teacher." In a stage whisper Hinako stated. "He's not very good at it. Most of the students are better than him" Hotaru just nodded her head absently, as she saw a large wood plank patched hole in the wall. It looked suspiciously human shaped too. "Ignore that." Hotaru nodded again. Was that a pig tail shaped part near the head on that hole? Surely pigtails couldn't go through walls like that. It was clearly some sort of stunt.
"It's Hinako-sensei, clean up the desks." A voice from inside the classroom down the hallway called out. Suddenly a colophony of desks being dragged into place was heard from inside a nearby classroom. Then silence.
Hinako pointed to the classroom where the noise had come from. "That's my room over there."
Hotaru just nodded...again, there was very little about this school that made sense. Hinako burst out, "I bet that was a super secret signal for something. Oh my students love me; I bet there's a surprise party… maybe a surprise cake." The gleeful child nearly jerked Hotaru off her feet in her rush to reach the class room. Upon entering the class room, Hinako let loose a sigh of disappointment and scuffed the floor with a small kick. There was no cake.
Hotaru looked around the strange classroom she had been forced into. The students looked normal, for all but a few, were sweating heavily and looking nervously at the clock. Hinako noticed the looks and quickly burst out, "I know everyone's sad about my being late, but I'm not a delinquent. I had a valid reason; this is our new Transfer student." Hinako gestured towards Hotaru.
The entire situation felt so unreal that all Hotaru could do was wave and smile tentatively. Had she fallen asleep on the train, or merely wandered into some strange other worldly place? A youth from the middle of the room asked rudely "So basically you were late and grabbed her to use an excuse? Right?"
Hinako nodded her head quickly. "That's it exactly," her eyes widened, as she realized what she was admitting to. "I mean no, she's a transfer student."
"For how long?" The youth grinned broadly.
"A day." Hinako mumbled, and fidgeted with her hands. "Anyways, we have lessons to start with. This is Hotaru Tomoe." The class greeted the young Senshi loudly. "You can sit beside Tendo-san." Hinako pointed to a young girl near the front who looked almost uncannily like Ami.
After Hotaru was practically forced into her new seat, the young teacher began trying to teach. It was perhaps the cutest and oddest thing Hotaru had ever seen. The child teacher scribbled all over the board about things like 'this is really important for the test', 'this is really, really, really important', and all sorts of other odd things beside some basic English verbs.
The Ami look-a-like leaned over closer to Hotaru "Sorry about this, Hinako-sensei is a bit odd. If you want, you can probably slip away after this class. None of the other teachers should mind. And if anyone asks why you aren't in uniform, just tell them Ninomiya-sensei brought you here. They won't bother you after that."
A louder male voice came from behind them "Only because they know the Principal likes her, and she scares the hell out of the normal teachers." Hotaru glanced behind her. It was the pig tailed youth that had mouthed back to Hinako earlier.
"Name's Ranma Saotome, Pleased to meet you." He nodded slightly from his spot a row back and a few seats over.
If it had been any teacher other than Hinako-sensei, it was likely that the talking would have been easily noticed. But as the teacher was currently starting to draw a kitten on the board, the conversation passed unnoticed.
"Ranma ,stop bothering the new girl. My name is Akane Tendo. Pleased to meet you." Akane glared at the pigtailed youth before smiling at Hotaru.
Saotome-san rolled his eyes. "Sheesh just because one or two transfer students…"
"There were nine. I counted." Akane interrupted bitterly.
"Fine. Just because a couple of transfer students were engaged to me, isn't any reason to think I'm engaged to this one." The youth suddenly looked worried. "I mean, your family doesn't have any old promises with a panda or a guy named Genma involving marriage, right? Right?" At Hotaru's lack of response, the black haired youth seemed to get more and more agitated.
"Nnno. I don't think so." Hotaru finally answered. Why someone would ask such a question was beyond her, but for some reason her words put both students at ease.
"No strange family martial artists that were defeated by either me or my pops, and you're here for revenge?" Hotaru shook her head. "Cursed objects that need breaking?" Again Hotaru shook her head. "Anything magical about you or your family?" Hotaru paused in shock before shaking her head. It was the first time she'd ever been asked anything close to whether or not she was a magical girl.
Saotome-san continued talking, "See, nothing to worry about Akane. She just had some bad luck running into Hinako-sensei before school." The pig tailed youth grinned and relaxed back in his seat only to notice a small pint sized teacher glaring at him from across the room.
"No talking in class." The glare continued from the tiny locomotive.
"We're just letting the new kid know a few things. Don't want her freaking out 'cause you kidnapped her." The youth grinned cockily at the teacher.
"I didn't kidnap her, she volunteered." Hinako pouted at the accusation.
The rest of the class looked away. As long as the police didn't get involved, which they never did, none of the students would question their teacher. "Really she did!" Hinako jumped up and down.
Hinako drew a small coin from her pocket and made some gestures with it "No delinquents talking in class." Saotome-san jumped onto the roof.
"Gahh. Watch where' you're pointing that thing." Hotaru took a moment just to make sure she was seeing correctly. Yes the ordinary looking Ranma was now holding onto the light fixture and pressing himself flat against the ceiling of the room.
At this point, Hotaru nearly decided to write the entire day off as indigestion. Clearly that last helping of rice at dinner had not gone down well. Young men simply didn't cling to ceilings like that.
Then students sitting near the seat that Saotome-san had been in until recently began toppling over from exhaustion. Hinako also grew a good many feet, and turned into what could only be described as a voluptuous teacher as the energy from the students was absorbed through her coin. Hotaru stared at the once little girl, slowly realizing that Hinako just might be a demon.
Happosai was enjoying a leisurely respite from yesterday's brief scuffle with that hooligan Pantyhose. Of course Happosai's ideas of leisure activities include such things as panty raids.
Which was why, most likely, the hoard of angry housewives was following him. Happosai only wished it was the weekend when the cute office women would also have their laundry available. But one had to make due with what one had. Truly Happosai's life was the epitome of hardship, or was that causing hardship? Happosai shrugged his aged shoulders, it wasn't important.
"Hahahaha, what a haul." He cackled gleefully. It was at this point he felt something, almost like that one time back in… Happosai quickly threw his haul out of the way as he dodged a large blue orb of destruction that made its way towards him.
Only to watch in growing horror as an orange blast of magic torn his hard won haul to dust. "Nooooo, my pretties." Oh what had such a poor old man such as himself done to deserve such a thing? Actually, he could think of a few minor indiscretions, but surely the pretties hadn't done anything to deserve such harsh treatment?
Turning around he saw the vile perpetrators of the crime. Both of them posed in a way that looked more alluring than scary. The lead one in yellow yelled out. "Surrender now and I won't hurt you too much, I mean I… promise not to hurt you." The last part was bitten out by the blond woman. Clearly this was not an outcome she wanted.
"Ahh, vile criminals, you ruined my pretties. You must be the vile panty thieves that I've heard so much about, destroying my wondrous haul." He gestured harshly towards the duo. Normally Happosai didn't really fight woman, but if they were anything like Setsu-chan, well they would obviously have nice pretties. "I'll just have to replace them with yours." His tiny paws began to make groping motions and his eyes gleamed.
The blue haired girl glared at him, and the girl with the underdeveloped chest (not that there was anything wrong with this in Happosai's mind) smirked happily when she found out that he wasn't coming quietly. Springing into action Happosai leapt towards the duo "Sweeto!"
The five inner senshi were also in the nearby area, though for entirely different reasons. Ami had pointed out that the best way to avoid any unpleasantness with Happosai was to go before the situation got any worse.
Even if that meant skipping school. This was something Ami had fretted about the entire train ride down. Surely the teacher wouldn't cover anything too important. To make sure she didn't miss anything, Ami promised herself to read the entire math textbook before the exam in a month's time. Which she would have done normally, but this time it would be more important to do so.
Minako had more important things to worry about. Such as: what to say to the man whose son she had known. After last night Minako had finally realized something important. That it wasn't her fault. Sure, if she hadn't been there Ranma wouldn't have come, but it was always Ranma's choice.
While the others talked about the mysterious Happosai, Minako relived the long months that she had known the youth in London. The fights, the arguments, and above all, the friendship. Maybe it was that time was making the heart grow rose colored glasses, but from her memories, Ranma had been a friend in his own way.
The Tendo Dojo had been surprisingly easy to find. It even had an address in the phone book stating Tendo's School of Anything Goes Martial Arts. Why Genma had waited all this time was likely due to the difficulty of finding out the location of the Sailor Scouts. It was only after one too many large scale fights that news media over seas began reporting on the mysterious Sailor Scouts. Or at least that was Rei's opinion as to why it had taken so long.
"Mina, remember we're all here, not matter what happens. We're not leaving until Saotome-san understands what really happened." Usagi's optimistic viewpoint never failed to bolster Minako's flagging spirit.
"Thanks Usagi, I'll keep that in mind." Minako grinned at her fellow blond haired friend.
Makoto put her hand on Minako's shoulder. "And don't worry about any fighting; we'll take care of it. You just get to Genma, alright?" The scouts had drawn one thing from Setsuna's presentation, that Happosai was deadly. So too were most practitioners of Anything Goes. Going into a school of unknown number of enemies might be dangerous, but it was the best path open to them.
Ducking into a nearby ally only a block away from the Dojo, the inner senshi transformed into their uniforms. Sailor Venus took a moment to consider which uniform to use. But she finally decided on her Venus form. Really everyone knew that Sailor V was Sailor Venus, and wearing the old uniform might bring back unpleasant memories for Genma. Actually it brought back unpleasant memories for Minako too.
Despite the earlier comradery the group became quiet as they approached the foreboding gates of the Tendo Dojo. Minako noticed a small sign that stated that all challengers were to enter around back. Clearly the school didn't like people knowing how badly they destroyed their opponents. Taking a deep breath Minako pushed open the gates and called out "Hello, I would like to speak to Genma Saotome."
The inside of the yard was very traditional. The scouts fanned out slightly expecting an attack or at least acknowledgment any second. "One moment, please." A young woman's voice came from the house. The rest of the scouts, save Minako and Usagi, tensed up and looked around for anything untoward.
Finally, a young brown haired woman opened the door, took one look at the group, and gave a slight squeak before dashing back into the house. Minako called after her "Please wait, we just want to talk. We're not here to fight." The group approached the door the young woman had briefly appeared in. The scouts shared a glance not sure whether they should show themselves in or wait a while longer.
Usagi simply opened the door blithely and walked right in. "Hello, miss, our friend would like to speak with you. Please." Never one to be too concerned about politeness, Usagi just ignored the conventions and entered the house's foyer.
"Meatball head, you don't just walk into someone else's house like that."
Usagi was quick to defend herself. "Unless they're an enemy."
"Well if they weren't, now they might be."
Then, before Usagi could protest further, the young woman from before reappeared in front of the scouts, holding a large collection of manga and posters, "Oh, I'm so sorry for the wait. I simply had to grab a few things." Her cheeks were slightly red from exertion.
"It's no problem." Usagi smiled. "Uh forgive the intrusion." Usagi quickly apologized. Even if this was a possible headquarters of evil doers, it never failed to be polite.
"Oh, it's quite alright. We have many people who barge in here regularly, and not one of them is sorry about the mess they make." The young woman looked only mildly put off at the mention of the previous guests. "My name is Kasumi Tendo, I am honored to meet your acquaintance." The young woman bowed slightly to the scouts while still clutching the assortment of books and sailor scout paraphernalia. Kasumi then looked thoughtful. "But I'm assuming you're not here to speak to me, this visit has something to do with Ranma, doesn't it?"
Minako nodded slightly. Clearly this girl, despite her lack of aggression, knew what had happened in London. "Yes. I was hoping to speak to Genma about what happened. I'm guess you heard about it?"
"Yes, Ranma told me the other day." Kasumi gave a beatific smile, belying the rather earth shattering nature of her statement.
"Ranma? Excuse me, but what did you say?" Minako asked quietly, as she refused to believe she'd heard right.
Kasumi looked thoughtful and then said apologetically "I'm sorry, I should have been aware that it was a private matter, but Ranma was willing to talk about it, and it was such a long time ago, that I had assumed it wouldn't matter. He didn't say anything about who you were under the mask or anything. I would assume that to be a secret. But I won't repeat the story if you don't want me to." Kasumi looked a bit distressed by the thought of her inadvertent prying into her hero's life. It had been rather personal.
"He-He's dead. He died years ago." Minako's confusion was obvious across her face. Never, had she even hoped, or allowed herself to hope that her rival was alive. "Ranma died over 4 years ago, in London."
"No, why would you think that?" Kasumi looked a bit confused by that. "I saw him just this morning; he's currently at Furriken High School." Kasumi pursed her lips in thought and nodded slightly to herself. "He told me about what happened in London, and I'm sure he'd love to see you again. I had assumed you came to visit him. But I'm sure he had no idea you thought he was dead."
The other scouts glanced at Minako looking a mixture of concern and hope. Usagi in particular decided to cross her fingers.
"Saotome, Ranma Saotome, heir of the Saotome Branch of the Anything Goes School of Martial arts." Minako repeated, wanting to be sure that it was the right Ranma. But inside, she felt something long gone, stirring.
"Yes. Though grandfather Happosai recently named him heir of the Main Branch. But yes, that is the Ranma I'm speaking about."
Not bothering to hear anymore Minako took off. Turning around she hopped over the fence and dashed down the street using all of the magical supplementation her suit could provide. If that girl was speaking the truth… Well, Minako wasn't sure what she would do. But regardless, that jerk let her think he was dead. The only question was how would he pay for it? A slap, or a kiss? Minako wasn't sure, but she hoped to find out.
Kasumi watched as Ranma's friend took off. The other scouts turned to follow, but as much as Kasumi wanted the apparent misunderstanding cleared up, she had to ask the other scouts something; as many of the visitors to the dojo only made a single appearance and never returned. "Excuse me, but if it wouldn't be too much trouble, could you please sign a few things? I've watched every Sailor Scout episode and read every chapter. I'm a huge fan of yours, Sailor Moon." Kasumi reached out and grasped Sailor Moon's hand.
Sailor Moon gave an embarrassed laugh. "I'm sorry, but we really have to go." After taking a look at Kasumi's face, the Senshi quickly changed her mind. "I mean of course."
The other senshi looked annoyed, but Kasumi quickly corralled them into signing a few dozen posters, books, and other memorabilia. Living in a household full of super powered humans, and nearly daily destruction, had given Kasumi a few useful skills. Namely the ability to request things in such a way that no one could ever refuse and not feel like they had done something unforgivable.
It was quickly becoming the happiest day of Kasumi's life. The only way it could have been better would have been if Dr. Tofu got over his silly act and asked her out properly. But such a thing was unlikely to say the least, so Kasumi contented herself to the knowledge that she'd soon have signed books by most of the Sailor Scouts. Noticing that Sailor Mars was edging towards the door Kasumi quickly snagged the girl and gave her a few more books to sign.
Hotaru wasn't quite sure what to make of this school. She had seen a young child teacher turn into a full grown woman in seconds, only to turn back into a young child again, after just missing Ranma with some sort of energy blast. Hinako had then proceeded to continue her 'lesson'. This, in Hotaru's mind, wasn't so much a lesson, as much as Hinako playing games and forcing everyone to read their texts.
No one even seemed to comment on the half drained students. The drained students had eventually managed to drag themselves back into their seats to start studying. This entire school was beyond bizarre. If people had fled the room, Hotaru might have tried killing the demon, but everyone took it as par for the course of an average day.
Since the demon teacher didn't seem to be doing any real harm, Hotaru decided to wait before killing it. Just to be sure.
Ranma on the other hand, was just as unusual. As, after getting into another argument with Tendo-san, Ranma had finally been drained only to get back up moments later and grudgingly pay attention to the now grown up teacher. Most humans when they were drained stayed down for a while like the boys from earlier.
The new grown up version of Hinako, which stayed around this time, wasn't nearly so bad at teaching. In fact if Hotaru hadn't seen the shifts back and forth, she would have assumed Hinako-sensei to be a normal teacher.
After Hinako finally concluded her lesson and left the room for the next teacher to arrive, Tendo-san looked over and asked quietly. "Now's your chance if you want to leave. I'm guessing you're not here voluntarily."
"Oh well, I was thinking of staying a bit longer, if that's all right." Since Saturn couldn't catch up to her parents, the best she could do was stay and observe this rather unusual school. "What happened earlier? It was like all of those students were drained of energy."
Saotome-san shrugged, like it was completely normal. "Oh that, well technically it's some sort of health regime, allowing her to drain energy from others."
"Health regime?" Hotaru had heard stories about the Doom Tree needing energy to heal itself, but none of the enemies she had heard about were so brazen as to drain energy in front of an entire class of students. Most worked a lot more covertly till forced to show their hand.
"Yeah, well that's what the old lech calls it." Seeing Hotaru's uncomprehending look, "Happosai, little wrinkled gnome that yells sweeto."
Hotaru blanched. That name definitely struck a bell. Saotome-san nodded and continued "Thought you'd know him. Anyways, he taught it to her back in the day, and the only way to stop it is to… well touch her."
"Which you aren't going to do again, right?" It was half threat, half question from the irate looking Tendo-san.
"Oh course not." Saotome-san blushed in embarrassment. "Not after how much time it took last time. I mean, sure, it would be nice to stop her draining technique." He then shrugged.
"What you mean, a nice time stopping her attack?" Tendo-san glared at the pigtailed youth, and he quickly tried to backpedal.
But it was too late for Saotome, and the two quickly descended into bickering that resulted in books and other objects, being thrown at the pigtailed youth.
Perhaps it said something about Hotaru, but she was shortly able to tune the two students out like the rest of the class.
During the following classes Hotaru wondered if she had imagined the entire thing. There wasn't anything unusual about the other classes. As lunch approached, Hotaru realized something rather important. As she hadn't been planning on spending the entire day in Nerima, she hadn't brought a lunch.
It was at this point a young voice declared. "Where's your lunch?" It was Hinako who, look curiously over Hotaru's shoulder.
"Ummm well." Hotaru tried to think of a reason. "I forgot it. I certainly wasn't trying to skip school and follow my parents." Hotaru watched as the young teacher nodded eagerly believing the amazingly skillful lie. Hotaru almost felt bad about it..
"Oh, well you can share mine. It wouldn't do for the transfer student to go hungry on my watch." Hinako gestured proudly to her chest.
Hotaru cautiously accepted the offer, wanting to learn more about the rather odd demon that was masquerading as a school teacher.
Ranma was still thinking about yesterday when lunch rolled around. The new girl's presence had derailed his train of thought, but she was pretty forgettable. Well, now that he knew she wasn't there because of him, she was forgettable.
Glancing into his lunch Ranma blanched and slowly closed it. Clearly someone had been helping Kasumi this morning judging by the smell and texture of the food. Now the only question was how to get some lunch without letting a certain someone realize he was going to throw away the lunch she'd helped prepare.
Akane was glancing back at him so it wasn't like he could just pretend he had eaten it. Hmm this posed a problem, what he really needed right now was a distraction.
"Look! It's Sailor Venus." And there it was. Taking advantage of the sudden commotion at the window, Ranma discreetly tossed the bento into a nearby trash. As he did so, he quietly nabbed a bit of Daisuke's food. The guy owed it to him for that stunt last time Ranma was trapped as a girl.
"I bet she's here for Ranma." Ranma perked up as his name was mentioned.
"No way. I heard he only knew Sailor V." A few of Ranma's classmates were talking loudly by the window and pointing outside.
Another person chimed in. "They're the same person. Only Ranma would think something idiotic like that. Wait, don't tell him I said that."
Ranma just rolled his eyes. It seemed that one of the imposters was outside of his school. Rising to his feet, he noticed the new girl looking over at him. "Don't worry about it. Stranger things happen here daily than some fake scout coming by." Time to move away from the desk, as he had clearly finished his lunch. Ranma was almost grateful to the fake for showing up.
"Ranma, you jerk. Get down here this instant." A loud voice came from the courtyard and echoed in the room, sounding vaguely familiar. "You said you could never lose, well what about London?" Ranma paused for a second, as the voice and the words connected.
Ranma leapt to the window. "That wasn't a loss, I won! What fight were you looking at tomboy?" There was no mistaking it, that voice, that way of insinuating that Ranma might actually lose. If this wasn't fate then… Was that Sailor Kodachi?
Minako glanced around the school courtyard for any sign of her one time friend. Despite the stares she was getting, she belted out her voice as loudly as she could, trying to get him to come out. While it was extremely unlikely Ranma was alive, Minako couldn't not try to see if it was true. It was stupid to get her hopes up.
"You said you could never lose, well what about London?" Her voice cracked unintentionally at the last part. She waited for a sign, anything that he was alive. From the stares she was getting, the whole school had to be aware of her by now.
Still standing proudly Minako waited until a loud voice came from the second floor. Looking up she saw a youth with black hair. The pigtail was new, but the face made the identity obvious. "Ranma you're alive!"
Ranma hopped lithely out of the window and in only a few bounds was looking at her closely. "Ranma, why didn't you tell me? I thought you were dead." She nearly grabbed him but despite the evidence she didn't want to find it was all an illusion. She held herself back, wanting to know for sure if it was Ranma. The entire thing seemed like a dream come true.
Ranma cocked his head and looked closely at her, as tough inspecting for minute flaws. Was there something wrong with her? Why wasn't he saying anything? "Nope you've almost got it right. But V-chan was much less cute, and wasn't this wishy washy. If you're going to copy someone you should do it better." He shrugged. "Anyways since you know about London, I'm guessing V-chan told you. So where is she? I haven't seen her in ages."
Minako's jaw dropped slightly. Not only was he unconcerned about everything, he didn't even recognize her. "You jerk. I've spent 5 years thinking you were dead and that it was my fault. I thought Denburites' youma gutted you, and then your father said you were dead!"
Ranma paused. "That does kind of sound like my pops, but you don't look anything like that tomboy. Well other then the hair, but hers was shorter, and more golden. Try some better dye next time." Turning around, he began walking nonchalantly away. "Come back with V-chan, or when you have a better costume."
"Die Ranma!" Instead of using a newer technique, Minako called on the first one that came to mind. Maybe it was similar situation, but regardless. "V Crescent Shower!" Large beams of light hammered into the ground where the pigtailed brat had been standing. Had, being the key word. Unlike all those years before, Ranma dodged most of the beams only to find an angry face waiting for him with a punch where he had dodged to. "Sailor V Punch!"
The punch actually hit Ranma, and he grimaced as he leapt back. Before Minako could continue her righteous furry Ranma spoke up. "V-chan? Wow V-chan sorry about that I didn't recognize you. You look way different then you used to."
Minako paused. "Now you remember?" Her fury from before quickly deflated. It made sense in a rather odd way that Ranma would only remember her by fighting.
"Well yeah, I mean I can't see you teaching anyone else those techniques, and they are pretty unique. Oh, and sorry about calling you Sailor Kodachi, it's just with that whip and stuff… well, certain things come to mind." Minako wasn't sure what he was babbling about, but regardless, it seemed like he recognized her.
"Jerk. Why didn't you look for me earlier?" Minako's eyes started to tear up.
Ranma waved his hands quickly. "It's not that I didn't, it's that I couldn't. I couldn't even move for a month, and by that time I was ok, you had retired, and I was in India." From most people this would have seemed like a horrible excuse, but then again this was Ranma.
"I was only two wards over."
"Well how was I supposed to know you switched names. And costumes. It's not like it was obvious or anything." Minako had only one response to this; she hurled herself towards Ranma and grabbed him.
Ranma looked uncomfortable, but Minako ignored this as she clung to him, having finally found him after 5 years.
Happsoai watched as the two cute lovers talked. Quickly filling in the blanks, he came to a rough understanding of what had gone on between the two previously. He had already snatched two pairs of pretties from the other two scouts. But how to net a fourth for his collection? Hearing the approaching magical girls whose pretties he had saved, he decided it was time for his apprentice to help out.
Grinning maniacally, Happosai bounded towards his student and the next scout whose pretties Happosai would 'save'.
Ranma wasn't sure what to think. On one hand, his best friend V-chan was here. On the other hand, V-chan was a kind of attractive girl. This could only mean that things were going to go horribly wrong.
"I mean how could I lose, sure I might not have been able to finish off those first few Youma we fought." But Ranma decided to let what ever was going to happen happen. One of his oldest friends was currently crying against his chest.
'There were 14." Minako sniffed.
"Ok. The first dozen or so fights, but of course I won the rematch at the Mansion." Ranma conceded the point graciously, mainly because he was willing to admit that his younger self had been pretty bad at fighting. It was almost embarrassing to think about how bad he had been even two or three years ago, let alone five years.
Feeling a sudden cold splash of water, Ranma looked over and saw his least favorite person in the world. "Ranma what? Who are you?" Minako let go of him and backed up. Ranma glanced down. Yeah, those two additions kind of made it obvious that she wasn't male any more.
"Ahh Ranko my dear, sorry about ruining your glorious vengeance." The aged martial arts master Happosai grinned viciously at Ranma's discomfort while holding an empty bucket of water. Ranma had been planning on telling V-chan, eventually. But a minute wasn't enough time to recap five years. And really he had been too busy trying to convince her he was alive.
Ranma sputtered "What vengeance?" This didn't sound good.
Happosai just shook his head sadly. "Oh have it your way. Justice against the foul murderer of your brother." Ranma paused for only one fatal second as the pure absurdity of the statement made itself known to him.
Minako on the other hand gasped and asked in a quavering voice "You mean?" Ranma might not have been the best people person, but he was pretty sure that was a horrified look on V-chan's face.
"Exactly. This is Ranko Saotome, Ranma's twin sister!" Happosai yelled out, drawing gasps from the onlookers.
"I always thought Saotome liked the girl's uniform too much."
"Remember that one match he had with that cute girl over who could sell the most food?"
Ranma couldn't stand it anymore. "No! I'm Ranma! And I'm a guy." A few sharp glares silenced the audience.
Happosai sniffed and muttered loudly enough for V-chan and the rest of the eager listeners to hear, "Oh I know you changed your name to honor your horribly murdered brother, but you'll always be Ranko to me." Ranma tried to throttle the wrinkled gnome, but Happosai just dodged the strike.
"You, You, You…" Minako looked to be searching for a vile enough word to describe what she thought Ranko was, but failed miserably. "I thought Ranma was alive."
"You've got it all wrong!" Ranma tried to protest, turning her attention away from the larger threat. Happosai quickly capitalized on Ranma's inattention to latch onto her head preventing her from making any more denials.
"I know I was supposed to let you play with her a little longer, but I must avenge my fallen student." Ranma tried to grab the lech, but Happosai was a little too fast, and Ranma didn't have any distractions at the moment. "You take care of those two, like a nice apprentice." Ranma glanced behind him in time to see a large blue orb of energy hurtling towards him. His life officially sucked right now.
Both Haruka and Michiru were in no mood to talk at the moment. The demon (there was no way he was possibly human) had ducked into a schoolyard. The duo were fast on its miserable little tail.
Having been lead on a chase through several alleys, more changing rooms than either had ever visited in a month, and what seemed to be every bathing house in the entire ward; both were looking the worse for wear. They saw the horrible thing find its apprentice, who looked to be tormenting Sailor Venus, judging by her tear stained face.
As such, Michiru didn't hesitate to unleash a Deep Submerge aimed at both master and apprentice.
The blast slammed into the apprentice, sending him flying away from Venus and towards the school. Strangely enough the students didn't flee, they just backed far enough away so as to not be caught in the cross fire.
"Michiru?" Haruka looked over at the apprentice.
"Fine, I'll take the girl. Just make sure you settle things with that demon." Michiru took off after the red haired apprentice of the monster.
Ranma really wasn't having a good day. Her body impacted into the side of the hill hard, creating a large impression. Dragging herself to her feet, Ranma was kind of glad V-chan didn't have that sort of fire power five years ago. In front of him was Sailor Water Sr., and it looked like she had a bone to pick. Actually, judging by the way her uniform was moving, she had been recently fighting the old lech.
"Look, I don't really want fight." Ranma tried to get rid of the fake sailor scout quickly. "So lets just save some time and you leave me alone. I mean you're going to lose."
But it seemed that Sailor Water Sr. wasn't interested in listening to reason. "In the name of Justice I can't allow you to continue. By choosing to follow your evil master you have no one to blame but yourself. Deep Submerge." Another large orb of water shot out forcing Ranma to fight. Out of the corner of his eye he could see V-chan and Sailor Tomboy yellow skirt fighting Happosai. It wouldn't be long before Happosai reached V-chan and pulled one of his patented moves. Which bothered Ranma more than he was willing to admit.
"Fine, you want a fight, you've got one." He just had to beat Sailor Water Sr. fast enough to reach V-chan, and convince her of the truth.
Back in the classroom, Hotaru watched as two of her adopted parents started fighting Saotome-san and the horrible gnome from earlier. Her new classmates didn't seem the least surprised.
"Has anyone seen Nabiki? I want to place some money on the Senshi." One of the students spoke up after fishing around in his wallet.
An older looking girl answered holding open a small book. "I'm taking bets for her."
"Why are you betting on the sailor scouts? I put my money one Ranma, no way he can lose." Another student asked quizzically.
"But these are the sailor scouts. They've killed demons, and Ranma's only human." The girl with her wallet pointed out.
A few classmates broke off arguing the various stats of the fighters involved while most just continued to eat their lunch and watch. Tendo-san, unlike the others, looked unsettled. "I'm the only one he calls tomboy…"
Hotaru tugged on Tendo-san's sleeve. "Excuse me, but why is no one trying to leave, or do something?"
Tendo-san turned and nodded absently, "This happens fairly often actually." Her expression soured. "I hope that jerk doesn't tear down the school this time." Watching the fight, Tendo-san seemed to grow more and more agitated before finally grabbing a desk and hurling it out the window. The desk impacted near Michiru and her pigtailed opponent. "Jerk!" Tendo-san yelled, and then stormed from the room followed by two other girls.
Another classmate immediately laid down money on half the school being demolished, before high tailing it out of the room.
"Ohhh delinquents have come from other schools to beat Saotome-san." Hinako had once again reappeared beside Hotaru. The young child teacher was peering out the window worriedly "Maybe I should get a teacher or something."
Half the class became quiet and stared at the pint sized kid. Hinako blinked and blushed "Oh right. I'm a teacher. I guess I should probably do something right?"
Sailor Moon and the rest of the senshi were making their way as fast as they could to the school. "Why did you agree to sign all those books?" Sailor Mars was currently more than a little irritated at the moment, and her voice showed it.
"You agreed too." Usagi sniffled slightly. Her poor wrist would never be the same.
"Only because… she asked." Rei had to admit there was really no reason to have done it, but at the time she had been unable to refuse Kasumi the small favor. Still, it was clearly Usagi's fault. "I have essay tests coming up, I need to be able to write." And at this moment her wrist felt akin to jelly.
Makoto who was in the lead glanced back and spoke up, "Quiet you two. We're here." Reaching the school, it looked like the entire autograph thing had been a diversion. An old man was fighting off both Haruka and Minako. While a little ways over, Michiru was fighting a red haired girl. Though, it looked like the red haired girl was going to be victorious shortly.
"Makoto, you and Rei help Michiru. Me and Ami will go help Minako and Haruka." For once Usagi was acting like a leader. It was a change that only really seemed to come up during important times. Regardless the other scouts followed their instructions. Even Rei for her grumbling, followed the orders without a word.
Ranma was getting a bit tired from Sailor Water Sr. Sure she wasn't good at fighting, but she kept moving, preventing Ranma from getting closer to V-chan, or ending the fight for good. Every time Ranma approached she found large blasts of energy waiting for her, and even if she did manage to hit the Sailor Scout, well those suits were damn powerful. Maybe not at Ryouga's level, but still pretty strong. And Ranma didn't want to kill her opponent, just get by the Fake Sailor Scout. But so far, none of the increasingly more powerful strikes had done much.
"Fire Soul." Ranma wheeled out of the way as a large gout of fire passed by her.
"Supreme Thunder." A loud crackling noise filled the air and Ranma took to the air to avoid a bolt of lighting the was doubly effective due to the amount of water on the ground from Sailor Water Sr.'s attacks.
"I don't suppose you want to talk?" Ranma asked, not really wanting to fight three imposters at once. Actually maybe they weren't imposters so much as teammates now that he thought about it. V-chan was probably the leader of the group, and might not appreciate Ranma permanently hurting her friends. Not that Ranma would have done such a thing anyways.
"She was trying to kill Venus." Michiru glared at Ranma. Judging by the way the other two reacted, fighting was now inevitable. He considered telling the truth. But really there was just no point, Ranma knew from previous experience that when you're accused of something the best way to deal with it is to fight your accusers into the ground and explain everything afterwards.
"My name's Ranma Saotome, and I never lose, especially not to losers like you three." Ranma grinned as she settled into a relaxed stance. Now if only she could figure out a way to reach V-chan and put this entire misunderstanding behind them.
None of the three seemed to appreciate this honest fact. In fact judging by the way the Sailor Fire started shooting more powerful versions of that initial fire ball this was going to be interesting.
Leaping out of the way Ranma called out. "Ok, I know you're still new at this fighting thing, but you're supposed to hit your opponent. I know it seems like a strange concept, but maybe you'll get it one of these years." Sailor Fire didn't seem to appreciate his well meant advice.
Sailor Water Sr. had moved around to put Ranma into a mildly unfavorable position, between three Sailor Scouts with them as a triangle, and him the target. It did kind of limit his movements. Sure he could have broken their formation, but this was also the best chance for him ending the fight quickly.
Sailor Thunder yelled out, "Mars don't listen to her, she's just trying to rile you up."
"Not really, I mean here I was giving some advice to the new fighter. But if you want some advice too I guess I should be fair." Sailor Thunder came in using some decent fighting techniques but nothing that special. Ranma dodged the first strike by bending backwards and then side stepping to the left. "Nice punch, but I guess we can't all be good at everything." Seeing the girl's confusion, Ranma continued. "I mean I'm way better built then you, no problem getting a guy, you on the other hand… well the cave girl approach is always a good one. But you might want to get a little better at fighting first." Ranma smirked as he watched the girl's expression become enraged.
Yep, there were certainly some advantages of having a really well built girl's body. Not many but a few. Sailor Water Sr. tried to calm her enraged friends; But Ranma just laughed and continued taunting them "Oh, so close there. You almost managed not to miss there with that last one." Slowly moving the angry Sailor Thunder around in a circular direction, Ranma smirked as she began focusing on the soul of ice, cooling her fighting spirit.
Finally Ranma threw a corkscrew punch into the air. "Hah and you say I'm bad." Sailor Fire yelled out. Ranma just smirked in response.
"Rising Dragon's Blast" was the last thing Ranma said before gale force winds appeared whipping around the scouts forcing them up in the air. Now Ranma waited, not wanting to get caught by his own technique, and also not wanting any of the girls to get too badly hurt. The armor was good, but not perfect, from what Ranma remembered. Sailor Water Sr. was shot out of the cyclone first and judging from the impact and the way her eyes were closed, she wasn't getting back up anytime soon. Then the other two were shot out, but both landed pretty well, for amateurs at least.
"Neptune!" Sailor Thunder dashed over to her fallen comrade, while Sailor Fire continued the fight with Ranma.
"Damn you, bastard, if you killed her…" Sailor Fire unleashing arrows upon arrows of fire, forcing Ranma to weave and dodge. But against this much fire it was becoming obvious that in order to win, and survive, she'd have to take both fighters out. Planting her feet she launched herself towards the source of the flames.
Sailor Fire took a few last shots of magical fire before stopping and switching to hand to hand.
Sailor Fire was pretty bad at least not bad compared to most of the other nuts that Ranma faced on a regular basis. But her monster like strength more than made up for her lack in skill. As such Ranma stopped holding back as much and began ramping up his attacks.
Ranma might have been able to launch hundreds of punches a second but judging by the lack of response, his punches weren't doing much. Ranma had held back against Sailor Water Sr because she hadn't wanted to badly hurt the false sailor scouts, but now Ranma was starting to realize that just maybe, those suit things were just a tad bit stronger then V-chan's. Which meant, Ranma really should have been focusing a bit more on attacking earlier.
Sailor Fire grimaced after a particularly numerous series of punches, but her counter strike more then returned the favor. Ranma half blocked it, only to find himself forced back from the blow. Yeah, this was a lot like fighting Ryouga.
Feeling something was off, Ranma dodged to the left just in time to avoid Sailor Thunder's return to the fight. This just wasn't fair. Two Ryouga's just wasn't something Ranma had time for right now.
"100 yen Happo drain." The two Sailor Scouts flinched as energy was ripped away from them. "Delinquents need to know their place. I don't tolerate this behavior from Saotome and I certainly won't tolerate it from you two." Hinako-sensei stood in adult form across from the senshi.
Ranma was surprised to see his home room teacher joining in on his side. Normally she aimed for Ranma first. But judging by the way Hinako-sensei wasn't paying attention to her student; the teacher was probably there just for the fakes.
Sailor Fire didn't look impressed and was the first to recover from being drained, Ranma idly wondered if the suit was helping or if it was just a magical girl thing to recover so fast. "She's some sort of demon, like the youma. I'll deal with her, you take care of the red head." Sailor Fire began charging up another blast and launched it only to have it countered by Hinako's return shot.
"You're delinquents, I won't let you ruin my record." Hinako-sensei smirked at the two scouts.
"Didn't I already break your record? Just get out of here, they're too much for you." Ranma didn't like Hinako-sensei, but she was still his favorite teacher. If only because she had shut down Happosai a few times. Regardless, against these magical tanks she wouldn't last long, and he was pretty sure those magical girls weren't in the mood to hold back right now.
But before Ranma could enter the battle, Sailor Thunder intercepted her and nearly got her with a kick. Unlike Sailor Fire, Sailor Thunder was halfway decent in the art. Not that good, but not hopeless either. And with that battle doji like armor, she was a decent opponent.
Hotaru watched as Rei nearly burned the teacher alive, not knowing how weak Hinako actually was. As much as she didn't wish to fight her friends… "Silence Wall." A large wall of energy separated Mars from her current prey. The latest fire bolt splattered harmlessly on it.
Ranma was pretty sure who the new student was now. Her chi was similar to the new Sailor Scout's that had just appeared. Maybe that stint in the various monasteries had served a purpose. Sensing chi was a fairly recent skill, but learning how to meditate had helped develop it. Sure it was a pretty useless skill in most cases, but in cases like this it made it easy to know who was who.
Since Hotaru was Hinako's friend it meant she'd likely defend the child teacher. Which meant that Ranma could finally sneak away.
Only thing left was to convince Sailor Thunder to leave him alone for a second. "Excellent. Our brainwashing technique has been successful, go forth and destroy Sailor Preteen… I mean Sailor Saturn." Ranma laughed maniacally.
Sailor Preteen tried to explain but Ranma took advantage of Sailor Thunder's distraction at the proclamation to hurl her towards the youngest Senshi. The young senshi only saw something hurtling towards her and erected a similar wall as before. Ranma didn't pause to wait. If they were friends, they'd sort this misunderstanding out in a minute. Probably less. But Ranma had her own misunderstanding to sort out.
Sailor Venus was currently experiencing the worst day of her life bar none. Not only had she thought for a moment Ranma was alive, but also that he might have liked her. And then maybe something could have happened, like dating! But it was a dirty trap, really she should have known better. But love springs eternal. Or something.
Despite the fact that the legendary Happosai was surrounded by four sailor scouts, he was still bouncing around. The gentle Ami seemed to be the second angriest of the lot having been divested of her bra, which she claimed wasn't really hers when the scouts saw how frilly it was.
Clearly Ami had plans for later that day. And judging from the large ice spikes that littered the ground, Ami had clearly found a new technique through her anger.
But whenever Usagi tried to cleanse the demonic thing, it simply cackled and lured in one of the other scouts. Purifying energy didn't really affect them, but it still hurt emotionally to be used as a shield.
Then the horrible gnome started using fire crackers that both obscured the field, while others hurt like hell. Size was no apparent indicator of how much power the bombs contained. According to Ami they were being created out of pure energy, so it made a weird kind of sense.
"Ohh Ranko my girl, you've decided to join in." The horrible thing glanced over Minako's shoulder. Minako turned in time to see Ranko leap over her head.
Minako spun back around to see the gnome and his apprentice fighting it out like cats and rain. Or was that dogs and rain? "Join in? Like hell. This is entirely your fault." Clearly Ranko was more then a little annoyed about her master barging in on her fight. The other Sailor scouts quickly fanned out around the clashing pair.
"Now, now, Ranko you mustn't go blaming people over little things like this. You'll end up like that other boy, Ryouga I think his name is." Happosai ducked under Ranko's latest kick. "Well I must admit, I had hoped that you would be kept busy a while longer." Happosai slipped around the young girl's body noticeably stopping on several areas.
"Yeah, well these knockoffs aren't very good; sure the Thunder one was decent but no where near good enough to win." Finally Ranko opened her shirt.
"Surely you don't think that when I'm around such visions of loveliness that's going to work." Happosai claimed as he burrowed his face into Ranko's chest.
"Actually I kind of thought it would." Slamming the pervert down to the ground Ranko followed up with a massive kick that sent the demon flying.
It took Ranko all of five seconds to accomplish, what the others couldn't complete in five minutes. Of course, Happosai was Ranko's teacher.
"We just wanted to talk, and you broke our friend's heart. In the name of the moon, you shall be punished." Usagi jumped in. Over the course of the fight Minako had been able to share what had started everything.
"What? You've got it all wrong. I'm Ranma Saotome." Seeing the scouts disbelieving looks Ranko continued "Really."
It was at this point a large fire ball hurtled towards Ranko. Mars yelled from behind Ranko "Get back here, you're not getting away that easily." Ranko leaned away and Minako watched as the ball of fire hurtled toward Sailor Moon who scrambled to get out of the way as well.
Ranko looked around and seemed to realize that with all the Inner scouts and Haruka, the match was clearly in their favor. "Uhhh I'll see ya later V-chan." Ranko took one look over Minako's shoulder before fleeing.
After leaving the school Ranma had managed to 'borrow' someone's tea to turn back into a male. Being a girl was alright, but Ranma still preferred being a guy. Nothing beat one's natural form, as he was sure the other Jusenkyo victims in Nerima would attest to. Shrugging Ranma thought back to why he had left school so quickly.
It wasn't so much that Ranma couldn't fight all of them, it was that he really didn't want to. Two Ryougas, maybe, but eight? Not so likely… easy a win. Not that he could lose of course.
Besides talking around that many people would be more then a little awkward. Even at the best of times Ranma wasn't the sort to talk that much about himself. Brag, sure. But actually talk about himself? Not so much.
And then there was the fact that they were girls. Girls never listened to his side, they just hit or drugged first and then listened… maybe. And since Ranma now knew what V-chan felt like, it wouldn't be that hard to track her down over in Juuban. While Ranma's mom didn't live in the ward, she did live close to it. It was clearly a good time to visit.
But first he needed some advice, which meant the first place he had to stop was Uuchan's. He was also starving having been forced to borrow Daisuke's rather tiny lunch. It said something about him that he forgot that school was only half over until he had only a block from Uuchan's. Well it wasn't like he was going to miss anything too important. And he still had a few days he could skip before he had to repeat the year.
Somersaulting in the air he landed gracefully in front of the Okonomiyaki diner. Since Uuchan hadn't been at school today she was most likely at home working. It was kind of impressive that she worked through high school. Though if Ranma ever saw Uuchan's father, well he'd have some things to do and say.
Ranma was about to open the door when he saw the sign. 'On Vacation. Be Back in two weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.' "Aww man. What am I supposed to do now?" There were only a few people Ranma could go to for advice about these sorts of things, and his best friend was one of them. Then again, maybe this was a good thing. Having stopped to think about it, Ranma realized that talking about V-chan with Ukyo might not have been a good idea.
He briefly thought about who else he could ask. The old Ghoul? Nah, Ranma liked asking her about most things, but anything related to girls was taboo around the wizened matriarch, considering she was gunning for a marriage between him and Shampoo. Dr. Tofu was next on the list, but considering his own streak of failure, Ranma decided to skip him. Ryouga was another option, but the odds of the lost boy showing up right now were pretty slim. Ranma glanced around. Yeah they were really slim.
Ryouga at this moment was wandering through what he was pretty sure was Hokaido, as Hokaido had penguins. His current goal was to track down a certain someone.
For once this someone wasn't Ranma, but the beautiful Akari. "I'll get there soon, just as soon as I find someone for directions" He was only a few days late for their date, and he was pretty sure the date would keep for a few days… right?
Artemis glanced into Minako's room nervously. Seeing the other scouts and hoping that Mina wouldn't kill him out of hand with witnesses, he slipped in through the open door. "So how did going down to Nerima work out?" Judging by the tired looks and general ill atmosphere, Artemis had a clue. "Well it can't be that bad."
"Ranma's crazy sister Ranko is convinced she's Ranma, and seems pretty evil herself. Happosai swore vengeance for killing Ranma, oh and there's some sort of energy draining teacher over in Nerima." Rei summed up the general events. With all the scouts present except for Setsuna, the room was a bit crowded, but none disagreed with Rei's statement.
Then Usagi spoke up again. "Well maybe Ranko isn't that bad?"
Makoto snorted. "Doubtful. Look what she did to Michiru."
Michiru smiled wanly, more than a little tried and sore. "I'll be fine in a few days."
Haruka shook her head. "They're both menaces. But you five still haven't explained who this Ranma is."
The five inner senshi looked guiltily away. Minako finally spoke. "He was my friend back in London. He practiced Anything Goes, and since he died during our last mission, Genma, Ranma's father, blames me. That girl was his sister, but I'm not so sure she's evil."
Usagi nodded eagerly. 'She didn't want to fight, so we should give her a chance."
"She only wanted to talk because she couldn't beat all of us at once." Rei really didn't appreciate Ranko's lessons.
Hotaru voiced her own opinion. "I'm not so sure about that. He, she seemed fine in class and was actually nice. But in class everyone said she was male, and she looked male…"
"Yeah, her disguise was pretty good. Still she must have been really close to Ranma to be so heavily affected." Minako spoke quickly trying to convince herself. Ranko had acted almost exactly like Ranma had, even ignoring the senshi of love when Minako dropped by. Was it meant as a mind game? Or was Ranma somehow still alive? It wouldn't be the first time Minako had heard of a brother and sister sharing a body. But the odds of Ranma living and then some how being able to turn into a girl? Those breasts were pretty damning evidence. Minako briefly toyed with the idea of Ranma being like the Starlights, but finally discarded it as wishful thinking.
"I think she might actually think she's Ranma. Genma was pretty obvious in how he viewed girls. I think he helped convince Ranko to be Ranma's replacement." Even saying it, Minako could see it happening. A young girl having lost her brother, a deranged father who believed only sons mattered. With Genma's views on woman, wouldn't he try to create a second Ranma at the cost of a 'worthless' daughter? No point letting her hopes get up a second time.
Haruka and Mirchiru looked disgusted at what Genma had likely done. "Unforgivable." Was all that Haruka had to say on the subject.
The others looked over at Usagi who looked torn. "Then we have to heal them. In order to do so, we may need to… stop them." The healing magic of the silver crystal only worked on mental wounds, and while it should work on physical wounds Usagi had yet to find a setting between nothing, and resurrection. And since they were using their rather destructive powers on misguided people…. It wasn't a pleasant thought.
Minako found it kind of ironic that one of losers from her first victories would become a final boss all these years later. And one that couldn't be killed, but had to be saved from itself, was even more ironic.
Hotaru's presence, until she had spoken up, had gone mostly unnoticed, but now having drawn the attention of her two guardians, Hotaru shank slightly.
Haruka looked over at her young daughter. "Which reminds me, I know the rest of the Inners won't let their parents find out about skipping, but we need to have a talk with you young lady."
Hotaru brought up the best argument she had. "You skipped school back during the death busters, and when ever there was an attack."
"Well, the world was in danger." Haruka shot back quickly not wanting to let the conversation be diverted.
"My family was in danger. I couldn't sit back and watch." Hotaru burst out.
"Oh," Haruka looked a bit pleased at this statement, before saying gruffly "Well next time just listen to us. It wasn't a nice surprise seeing you out there so suddenly."
Michiru nodded in agreement before finally asking "Which brings up the next point. Who was that energy sucking youma?"
"That's Hinako-sensei, she's a teacher there. Some of the students don't like her too much, but others said she keeps away some of the worst troublemakers."
Rei was quick to point out the worst possibility, "She might have brain washed them, or.."
Usagi shook her head "She sounds nice and if Hotaru thinks she's a good person, we should give her a chance. She might actually be nice."
Hotaru nodded eagerly "I'm going to find out. I asked if I could come back tomorrow before we left, and Hinako-sensei said it was fine." To be precise Hinako-sensei had been overjoyed that she'd have proof that she hadn't abducted a child as an excuse for tardiness.
Haruka was the first to raise an objection to her adopted daughter going undercover "But!"
Hotaru quickly interrupted not wanting to let her guardian build up any steam. Otherwise the senshi of silence would never be allowed to go. "I'll be fine, it's not as though I'm going to be in much danger."
"Happosai is still in the area." Michiru pointed out in a worried tone of voice.
"But he won't know it's me." Hotaru quickly pointed out.
It took some time but finally Hotaru wore her over protective guardian down and got permission to attend Furiken High for another day.
Makoto spoke up "So what's the plan now? Are we just going to leave things the way they are, or are we going to head back tomorrow?"
Usagi shook her head. "We wait until Sunday. It's only three days. We'll meet up and go as a group to the Tendo Dojo, and we'll find out the truth behind Ranko, and tell them what really happened." Seeing the other scouts' looks, Usagi elaborated. "If we skip tomorrow, well my mom will kill me." Minako nodded her head in agreement. Skipping one day was a risk but two was a bit much.
Ami looked to be the most relieved at the new plan. The rest of the scouts nodded eagerly. This seemed like a good plan to them. No more going in alone to face the Demon of Nerima.
Happosai slowly forced himself out of the crater that his cruel and unappreciative apprentice had kicked him into. Dusting himself off, he turned and grinned. "Ohh Setsu-chan, surely you aren't worried that I won't have time for your pretties." Happosai grinned lecherously at the green haired woman in front of him. Having grown used to the constant ambushes during the fight over the Nanban mirror, Happosai was quite skilled at detecting Setsuna's powers.
Sailor Pluto grimaced at the diminutive form of her name. It was a hated thing that only served to remind her of her past history with the gnome in front of her. "Whatever you are here for, I'll stop you. I won't let this become another playground for you and your ilk." Anything Goes practitioners tended to draw chaos and destruction like moths to a flame.
As to why Setsuna had left the other scouts behind for this mission was simple. Happosai was going to die, and nothing anyone could say could convince her otherwise. Which was why Setsuna was extremely grateful Usagi hadn't ordered the group to capture the leche alive. An order would mean that Setsuna would follow it explicitly; a request to stop Happosai, could be misinterpreted.
Happosai just grinned suggestively "But I just got back from a small flight over to China. And I haven't seen you in so long."
Pluto dropped into a ready stance. "Not nearly long enough. You must tell me how you survived that last fire, I could have sworn you died."
"Kekeke, perhaps." The ancient man simply shrugged, then again Setsuna hadn't really been expecting an answer. "I was surprised you didn't help out your little friends earlier. If you were there, well I might have actually been in danger."
Setsuna ignored his own half asked question and instead whispered "Dead Scream." A large orb of pink light hurtled towards the aged martial artist.
Happosai flicked his hand out with his worn pipe, deflecting the incoming blast into a nearby wall.
Nodoka was a very traditional woman in many ways. She lived her life in such a way as to be a testament to her honored ancestors. Just as she one day hoped Ranma's many, many children would be.
She was rather surprised, to say the least, that her son had come to visit. Pleased, but surprised. It was her understanding that he and Akane were living together so as to become closer and have babies. At least, that was what her husband claimed. But one could never be too sure about him and honesty.
"Yeah, anyways, I found out V-chan thought I was dead, and now she and the fakes are trying to beat me or something." Her son rambled on as he had been for the past hour or so.
Nodding her head Nodoka considered what advice she should give her wonderful son. It was a rare occasion, which her son came to her. She didn't blame his father, as that would not be proper, but she did wish that Ranma had visited more often while growing up. "How many of these scouts," the title sounded foreign in Nodoka's mouth "Are girls?"
"Well, I think they all are. There's about eight or nine of them. They fight demons and stuff. Most of them are pretty bad fighters, but some of them are half decent. Not as good as me of course."
"Then you must clear up this misunderstanding immediately. It is very important to have good relationships with those who fight against darkness as you do." It was a martial artist's manly duty to fight demons. "And if you become close, surely Akane wouldn't mind if you had a few mistresses." And more children.
Ranma's eyes darted around the room. Surely he wasn't thinking of leaving so soon. "Uhh, yeah. I'll uhh, keep that in mind." Such a good son, minding his mother's words.
"And school?" Nodoka had to ask because as it was her understanding that in current society, it was not considered manly for someone to not complete high school. It wasn't unmanly to not complete high school either, but the neighbors might get the wrong impression about Ranma's Dojo when the time came.
"I still have 5, no wait I used one up on the last time Herb visited, so four days left this semester I can skip." Nodoka looked worried about this.
"It wouldn't be manly if you lost to all the other students in your year." Nodoka's thumb brushed her ever present cloth wrapped bundle containing the honor sword of the family.
"Uhh, yeah. No chance I'll fail."
It was later the next day when Ranma look his leave of his mom's house. Breathing a sigh of relief, he took to the streets to look around the nearest high schools. There couldn't be that many of them in the whole ward, and the Scouts were most active in Juuban.
Ranma loved his mother dearly but some days he wondered if that ten year training trip his pops took him on had been an excuse to stay away from the house. Shrugging his shoulders he continued on his way.