"This some kinda joke?" Ranma asked lazily, drifting around a frustrated attacker's claws and energy blasts.
He didn't bother to conceal his disappointment at this creature's ineptitude.
Before Saffron he'd been content holding back against his opponents, he'd just assumed he'd gotten that good. At ten it took a master to match him. At thirteen the rare, isolated practitioners who'd honed themselves for decades had a chance. At sixteen there was only Happosai, Cologne, Ryouga and Herb coming anywhere close. Happosai might stand above them in all honesty, but the shriveled bastard barely offered up glimpses of that level of power when he was truly enraged and only for a few fleeting seconds at that before he fell back into being a petty old man.
Saffron was different. He was serious, truly feared and wore his power like a cloak the entire time. He showed that he was far superior to every other foe Ranma had ever faced, flouted those past triumphs just by existing. And yet, the one time he truly cut loose, not even the legendary Phoenix King was more than a toy in comparison, a momentary distraction.
But even there, in that comparative weakness there was something, something tempting and awe-inspiring. For a moment, a few scant minutes he wasn't pretending, wasn't limiting himself to get a new skill or improve a side ability, he was fighting all out with the only allowance being he kept from killing moves.
And that one time, fighting with everything he had, pushing himself to and past physical limits he hadn't known he'd been imposing so far below their true worth... He had to have it again, to experience real battle, the thrill of having someone stand up and take him on head to head, blow for blow.
But unfortunately such foes were rare and didn't go wandering into Nerima quite as often as magical princes, martial artists and monsters. So, whenever the increasingly tense drama going on around his usual haunts got little too much to bare at times, he went off to try to find them.
A rumor here and some whispers there had him tracking down a few obscure monsters, maybe a magic-user or two in their hiding places and chances at tutelage in some long lost ability or technique. While always happy to learn, there was a certain displeasure that slowly arose all the same.
Earlier today he'd woken to a naked Shampoo in his bed, followed almost instantly by an enraged, soaking wet... No, best not to think about it...
Following that were accusation of concealing the curse's cure, again, cheating on his fiancee, again and being a pervert, again, all while a displeased, fluffy little horror sat on his chest, radiating a small battle aura at the uncute tomboy holding the bucket.
The curse he couldn't explain. He never could understand how he'd learn to control it himself, really, somewhere in the back of his mind part of him just figured it out after he'd changed enough times. Well control might be exaggerating, since he'd sometimes find he'd slip into his other form on a whim without even noticing...
The amazon he didn't get a chance to explain, which hardly mattered as he understood that even less than the curse.
Every time he thought about it a complex chemical equation coupled with a psyche evaluation that used too many big words, a genealogy characteristics report and a list of amazon marriage laws with applicable mating habits/tactics flooded his mind and gave him a headache.
This time was remarkable, though. His mother was there making breakfast with Kasumi and couldn't help throwing in some comments about it being unmanly to be manly with the mistresses before the wife no matter how manly he was with those mistresses.
And then Akane denied it, leading to a slowly growing argument that culminated into the second ward-wide stampede this month. Once he finally lost them Taro showed up with some new gimmick that was supposed to do something or other to let him beat Happosai and he just had to test it on Ranma first, leading to the weekly 'life-or-death' annoyance.
And after that, well, it was time to take a break and find something to blow off some steam on.
Which led him here. Supposedly there were vicious monsters that occasionally attacked in the area, 'leftovers' from some heyday of monster attacks that had been ongoing while he was still out on the road, ending in some kind of giant battle soon before he returned to Japan, never to be mentioned again.
He had seen the old tabloids at one point and hoped for some invincible, magical monster. What he got was some kind of gray-skinned woman with a burn spot on her forehead, black and yellow eyes and some modest physical ability with black energy blasts thrown in.
It was a pretty big disappointment.
But still it had its uses. In this case it was a learning experience. So far he'd learned that he was unlikely to get the fight he was looking for from any of these things. About the only thing it had managed was a slight, easily thwarted tug on his ki without effecting any of the other energies he had and some very slow, weak attacks. By his standards anyway.
After a while he finally gave up on it showing some startling ability and blasted it into its component dust with a quick non-ki energy shot.
It was kind of pathetic that normal people couldn't handle those things. But then again, he was just that awesome wasn't he?
Recognizing an attack name when he heard it, Ranma twirled out of the projectile's path to face his attacker.
There was a pause, followed by snorted attempts at holding in laughter. Those ended abruptly as his other senses took a more full account of what was so amusing visually.
What looked like an extremely lost figure skater in full costume was actually an overflowing font of cosmic and magical energy, much like Saffron had been of magical and ki energy. While she was more powerful, what he could perceive of her energy paths and channels were very rigid and inefficient, almost like they were made for someone else and imposed on her afterwards.
She could probably get up to three-fourths of her total potential at best, at the moment she hovered around a quarter. Good, but not good enough.
Without wasting a single word he rushed at her, creating an energy sword as he noted she also had a blade.
The martial artist dodged the new attacker, absently noted she didn't look nearly as skilled or prepared for melee combat leaving her promptly ignored. Maybe after he'd pushed her companion to her limit he'd see what she could do, but for now...
The swords clashed, unleashing bolts and sparks as they struggled against each other, the pseudo-physical one pushing the enchanted metal one back inch by agonizing inch. Sadly, the more ground he gained, the more panicked and less focused his opponent became.
No, her determination didn't waver. She was just surprised for some reason.
"Uranus, get back!" The teal-haired extra shouted, throwing another magic bolt as her partner leapt away from him.
This second attack was better geared to his speed and barely fell short of grazing him for all his self-imposed, gravity-restricted nimbleness. It was actually a semi-impressive feat, definitely more than he had expected this early into the fight. Teamwork and a high learning curve or a good deal of experience.
But if they needed teamwork to get him... Huh, actually if their team didn't fall apart in self interest part way through, what was wrong with using teamwork? Maybe that was the answer to the challenge he was craving? Get three or four others to gang up on him and work together. Yeah, that might work. If he could somehow keep them from abandoning each other half way through like they always did, anyway.
The two managed to keep a near constant barrage of magical bolts flying, but all that did was turn this into a ranged battle. If nothing else this was making for some very strenuous practice, whoever these two were they had an excellent grasp of how to work together and how to pin down highly mobile targets.
Ranma kept on the defensive for a while, dodging more for the challenge of it than out of any fear of harm. He doubted their magic was powerful enough to hurt him at this level, honestly, but it was definitely better to not find out.
Magic resistance, or at least his magic resistance, was finicky and sometimes took a while to kick in against things he was sure he was immune to not too long before.
Suddenly realizing that their enemy had been inching closer with each evasion the two magical girls leapt high, landing on the rooftops above to try raining their attacks down instead of launching them horizontally.
Which meant it was time for him to see if they could take what they dished out, since they seemed to only have one special attack each.
Even without fading, phasing, flying or teleporting, Ranma was several magnitudes more mobile and agile than his targets, partially by being better physically, but mostly by living with that power every moment and keeping a careful control over it almost all his life. Where the girls were only so strong part time and could only guess at their strength relative to everything else, Ranma simply knew. And not just because of the computer part of his brain either.
As Neptune and Uranus were rising from the crouches they landed in, twirling in place on their high heels to face the street below and behind them, their opponent was already rebounding off a higher building's window, diving straight at them from above.
He landed lightly between them, tossing Neptune back onto the street below before she could do anything but tense in surprise. Then, with similar efficiency he parried the sword talisman and leg-hooked Uranus's ankle, grabbed her calf with his off hand before hammer throwing her at her partner.
Ranma quickly threw himself after them, flipping in mid-air as the aqua-tressed senshi got a bead on him as soon as he was in sight. He smirked as he landed on street-level, whirling his energy blade in a flashy, loose-wristed motion. They tensed again, both readying more powerful attacks, the blond with her sword, the other with a mirror.
The green-haired youth took one step forward, beginning his charge-
Only to immediately skid to a halt. The senshi held off, mercifully, as he turned to the source of the voice.
"Ranma, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in school right now?" Kasumi asked guilelessly, a sack of groceries in one hand, the other resting against her cheek as she looked on cluelessly.
The space-pirate-descendant hid one hand behind his back, the tip of his glowing energy blade sticking out above his head from where it was 'concealed'. "Nothin'." While Kasumi was unobservant, even she didn't fall for that, forcing him to add. "Just some sparrin'."
"Well it has been a rough week, hasn't it?" Kasumi mused, telling all that needed to be told about just how rough the week is by the simple fact that she noticed it. "Why don't you tell your friends good-bye and help me with the shopping instead?"
"But isn't shopping, you know, ...girly?" Ranma countered, absently digging a literal hole in the road with his toe.
"I'm sure Auntie won't be visiting again for a few days. Besides, on the way home we can get some ice-cream." The oblivious one commented gently.
"Ice-cream?" Ranma's reply noticeably changed pitch as its body spontaneously changed gender at the thought of any form of confection. "Hey, you did that on purpose!" She declared, trying to adjust her pants and shirt with one hand still held behind her.
Her female form was actually taller than her male one, its skin a decidedly paler shade and its hair a sort of cyan with deep-green highlights that looked like a creative, but hideously shoddy dye job. While the change in height wasn't too noticeable, the widened hips and impressive bosom made her male form's clothes uncomfortable and awkward in different ways.
"We'll need to hurry if we want to finish before the schools close." Kasumi noted.
Ranma frowned and nodded, dispersing her energy weapon. "I'm Ranma Saotome, nice ta meet ya." Ranma unknowingly offered the sailor scouts a quick peek down her straining shirt as she bowed briefly with her introduction before floating over to Kasumi and taking her bags, following her down the street.
"That was... odd." Neptune offered. "You don't think-"
"No. I don't think anything about this." Uranus turned and took to the rooftops, Neptune following behind her.
"Uranus?" The aqua-clad scout asked as she caught up.
"That's the problem." Her partner answered, trembling slightly. "Every time this happens she, the past me, just reacts and then it affects me. What I do, what I want, how I act. I can't keep doing this whenever something strange pops up." As she landed, the amber-clad scout put one hand to her head.
"But there had been a youma there. You could feel it still. He must be-"
"Don't Michiru, just, just take a moment and try to filter her out. She, they lived in a different time and I'm sick of wanting to cold-bloodedly murder everyone who isn't one of us."
"Haruka, you're exaggerating. The only reason-"
"Remember that demon-hunter in Osaka? The one at the race?"
"Well she was hardly-"
"How about Ryoko then? I can almost hear Uranus grinding her teeth at that thing being Pluto's lover."
"You have to admit, Ryoko is a little-"
"Alright, what about Hotaru? Was it really you that was so eager to hunt down our little girl? Or was-"
"You've made your point Haruka." Neptune icily conceded as the duo landed and de-transformed before entering the Outers' estate.
"Sorry. I,I didn't mean... Ugh, this is driving me crazy." Haruka whined as she plopped down on the couch, still holding her forehead.
"I... I had realized we were a little too... enthusiastic at times. But we've been right most of the time, when we reacted like that. And he was on the site where the youma was and he did seem to have-"
"That's what I mean. The second we doubt a person all sorts of justifications just pop into our heads. When we were fighting someone, the Death Busters or, or Galaxia, it made sense. Anyone could be an enemy, they were organized enough to team up against us like that or set traps. But this was a leftover youma. We've seen them a hundred times, they just start rampaging as soon as they turn up. There's no plan, no higher intelligence, just..."
"You've been putting some thought into this." Michiru noted, sitting next to her lover.
"It's been bothering me ever since Osaka. If I'd been just a little faster she might've, might've been..." Haruka swallowed to suppress a sob, one of her hands audibly tightening into a fist.
"But you weren't. She was fine, she didn't even seem angry about it. This was different."
"For one thing we weren't winning. For another he didn't even try to explain anything to get us to stop."
"Oh? Who'd Haruka try to kill this time?" An unwanted voice asked as a certain cyan-haired space-pirate drifted into the room through a wall.
"It wasn't like that! We were just reasonably suspicious of-" Michiru scolded the non-human, trying to allay the guilt her lover felt.
"Some kid named Ranma." Haruka replied, having long gotten over Ryoko's manners. Their bluntness was perhaps the only trait they proudly shared except for a love of how Setsuna's ass looked. Not that Haruka would be quite as willing to point that out, Michiru was a jealous type.
Instead of the mocking remarks they both expected, a very different sound came in reply to this news.
The sound of a pseudo-infinite volume of masu suspended in the shape of a woman suddenly losing its Washu-given ability to seamlessly displace itself in air. In other words, the sound of Ryoko hitting the floor from a reclined, mid-air position.
"Ranma? Green hair? Red eyes? Playful?" The woman-shaped entity asked in a shocked, disoriented way.
Haruka snorted. "You left out the energy swords, the floating and the random gender change."
Michiru, having a better grasp of empathy, swallowed and edged away, preparing to transform in case what she thought was going to happen happened.
"Ah, he takes after his…" Ryoko trailed off and out of her bit of mot… fath… parental bliss to suddenly put what was said in context. "Why were energy swords involved?" The parent asked in a dangerously cold tone that even someone as obtuse as Haruka could detect.
"Wait, that's not important now. Where is he?" The space-pirate demanded, hoisting her housemate off the couch by her shirt, holding her nose to nose.
"We were just a few blocks from here actually, near Keiko's bar." Michiru put in, using a landmark she knew Ryoko would recognize.
"Right." The space-pirate dropped Haruka on the floor and flew in a straight line, shouting back "tell Set-chan for me" before phasing through a wall.
"What the hell was that?" Haruka asked, rising to her feet.
"Just another reason to hope the Inners all graduate from high school soon." Michiru lamented the loss of another day off as she drew out her communicator.
#A Bit Later#
Ryoko stared. She rushed over here, following traces of energy that she knew shouldn't be on this planet and now stood outside an ice cream shop, looking in at what was obviously the female form of her precious little boy scam the place for all it was worth and pack away massive volumes of sweet, ice creamy goodness without an apparent care in the world. She was so proud.
The only problem was, what did she say? How could she explain what happen so many years ago, the kidnapping, losing the trail of an overweight ambusher who could and literally had vanished into thin air, the years of fruitless searching...
She wasn't good at explaining things and she was even worse at this sort of emotional stuff. Trying to think out what to do was a waste of time! Now was the time to act!
Throwing herself forward as though she'd been shot out of a cannon, Ryoko phased through chairs, tables, ice cream and whatever else got between her and her offspring.
"Mph!" Ranma struggled valiantly to escape, to cry out that it wasn't her fault and to throw off this stranger who must surely be an amazon.
Of course her escape attempts failed as she kept her strength to levels a human would survive and couldn't simply phase through this aggressive woman. Her attempts to plead her case went about as well since sound, like most things, cannot truly escape a marshmallow hell. And since the woman was actively hovering and phasing, aside from where she was latched onto the martial artist, any attempt to dislodge her failed as well.
"Oh dear. I thought Auntie made Saotome-san deal with any remaining fiancées..." Kasumi fretted, one hand on her cheek. "Um, miss... You shouldn't be doing that sort of thing in public. ...Especially while he's in girl-form..."
Ryoko paused from giving her long lost so... daughter a noogie with her cheek. "Who the hell are you?" She demanded defensively, tighten her grip possessively.
"Oh, I'm Kasumi Tendo. Nice to meet you. ...May I ask how you know Ranma?"
"I'm her..." Ryoko paused for a moment. "Father." She settled on, rabidly cuddling again now that this 'Kasumi' woman was dealt with.
"Oh my, is this a new curse Saotome-san?" Kasumi asked obliviously, fully and easily believing Ryoko to be Genma.
And with that Ranma found the strength to free herself from the pillowy headlock. "Dammit Pops! What the hell'dya do now?"
Only to be dragged back into the plush abyss from once she escaped. "Don't you take that tone with me, young lady! What would your mother think?"
"Saotome-san, we need to take the groceries home now." Kasumi warned, casually ignoring the scene that had most of the ice cream shop's customers frozen in stupefaction.
"Right. Let's go." The woman-shaped-alien-construct agreed, picking up the plethora of bags using her tail-like sash without looking. If her son had been living somewhere then it was likely that the fat man was living there as well.
A ball of melting vanilla ice cream landed perfectly onto an imitation leather loafer, suddenly awakening Mamo-chan from the deer in the headlights daze he'd fallen into. The man dropped both cones he'd been carrying and dashed out towards Juuban High. He had to warn everyone about this, Ryoko had gone crazy!
#A Bit Later#
"Ami, are you sure we're in the right place?" Usagi asked, even her obliviousness failing to keep her from noticing the rather numerous signs of recent repair on the surrounding area.
"I've traced Ryoko's energy to that house." The genius confirmed, barely paying attention as she poured over the information she was gathering from the war-torn landscape. It was strange, for the most part it appeared humans caused this damage using massive quantities of life force. But that couldn't be right...
"Was she involved in... this?" Rei asked, her major talent as a miko giving her the chills from the feel of lingering chi saturating the air. It was so dark, so depressed half the time and so bright and confident the rest... The two conflicting energies tore at her, her perception letting her feel them both at once rather than having them fall into smoothed over background noise as it was to her friends.
"...One of the localized energy signatures has an over ninety-nine percent match. Given that nothing else on this planet has ever had more than a forty percent match, it's likely a member of the same species-"
"So she really does have a son our age?" Minako interrupted her blue haired friend, focusing on the important part. "Do you think he's cute?"
"There's no evidence to support him even being capable of breeding with a human, Minako." Ami noted, barely sparing the girl any attention at all.
"But Ryoko must have had him with someone on Earth right? I mean, why else would she be..." Makoto joined her ally in grasping desperately for any potential boyfriend that wouldn't suffer an unspeakable fate on the first date.
"Given her abilities and relative arrogance towards every interstellar enemy we've faced, it seems likely that she is an extremely powerful, if not well known, species. Her son was probably kidnapped at an early age because of his potential and she tracked the kidnapper to Earth, either stranding them both in the process or trapping them since any attempts to leave would instantly be spotted." The sometimes senshi of Mercury explained, still staring the small screen of her computer. "And from what we've seen of Ryoko, I'd expect more than a few would find any risk acceptable."
"That's... That's a bit much, Ami." Rei voiced the shocked group's thoughts at hearing the bluette ramble on.
The genius blushed and buried her face behind her tiny computer screen. "Well, I always wondered what brought her to Earth when everything else from outer space seemed intent on stealing people's life energy. I developed a number of theories and..."
"What did you say, you stupid monkey!" Ryoko's voice rang loudly from the house they were approaching, silencing the group and driving them to close the distance nearly instantly in their alarm for human safety.
They were too late as scant seconds later the building played host to a great explosion, sending an overweight, balding man in a flaming gi flying end over end into the street where he... Landed easily on his feet and patted out the fire with an almost casual air.
After a hesitant moment, Ami stepped forward while the others dashed off to transform. "Um, excuse me, sir, but are you alright? I can call an ambulance if you need one."
The man blinked, seeming genuinely surprised by the fact she was talking to him at all. "Don't concern yourself, girl. Ranma will take care of it." After a pause where it looked like he was about to head back into the house he'd been thrown from he turned back to her. "You're not here looking for Ranma, are you?"
Ami almost answered yes, remembering the name Ryoko had given her son but stopped herself. 'You're not looking for Ranma'? 'Ranma will take care of it'? This... creature must be the one that kidnapped Ryoko's son! Not being bothered by what should have been a fatal blast through a roof into the street, apparently managing to turn the son against his mother...
Whatever it was that stood in front of her clearly wasn't human. She shook her head and backed away, out of sight while scanning the being the whole time. There was a huge volume of life energy, far more than even fifty humans could produce, bound into his frame, being used to enhance his physical form. On top of that there was a massive collection of dark magic woven into him, disguised as innumerable curses and jinxes.
The only tell that he wasn't simply a cursed, hyper-life energy producing human was the fact that he appeared to have a shadowy true form, resembling some kind of nebulous bear. Well, that and the fact that the sheer number of curses needed to disguise his magic would probably kill any normal human through sheer bad luck if they were real.
Once she was clear the bluenette transformed and immediately contacted her friends to tell them what the real target was.
"What the hell did you just do that to pops for?" Ranma shouted, pointing accusingly at the creature he now knew wasn't his father. He hadn't bothered to scan her aura before and now he was kind of regretting it.
The woman-looking thing was a practical sun of the first type of energy he'd learned to use, which he still really didn't have a name for along with a more than fair dash of cosmic power. More disturbingly, she didn't have any chi at all. From everything he knew she should be dead. There were a few traces of other power, though, a decent bit of magic and some vast, sealed off reserve that felt nearly divine to his senses.
Maybe she was really some kind of golem-thingy that thought it was his pops, as ridiculous a theory as that was it would explain somethings. But at the same time part of him knew, understood and recognized that there was no other source of that first energy in the world. So, while it was kind of likely he could be this woman's kid, well, she was claiming to be the wrong parent and even he knew it.
It would be kind of comforting to know he wasn't really related to either one of the two that had everything in their power to ruin his life so far.
"That stupid ape kidnapped you right in front of me! It's all his fault you didn't grow up with me and Set-chan!" The creature roared back, orange bolts fizzling and cracking around her as she formed an energy sword out of habit. Then she looked at him, an angry snarl still on her face, and froze. With a deep breath she dispelled the energy blade and sat back down, snatching up a cup and downing the contents in one gulp.
After a moment's hesitation he sat down as well, carefully watching what he now knew was a very dangerous being for any hostile movements.
The woman-thing toyed with her empty cup, looking genuinely startled when Kasumi refilled if for her. She stared at the steam rising off of it, fidgeted and let her eyes drift around the room.
"So... Uh..." Despite the overjoyed initial reaction to having found her offspring, Ryoko honestly didn't know what to do or say now that she'd calmed down a little. "How have... you... been...?" The former pirate trailed off, feeling incredibly awkward.
Ranma shrugged at that, completely baffled by the simple question.
"Oh, that's... Gah! I can't do this! Where the hell is Set-chan, she's good with this sort of thing!" Ryoko's patience quickly evaporated. She clenched one sparking fist before suddenly brightening up at an idea. "C'mon, let's go get drunk! It'll make this easier."
"Huh?" Was all Ranma managed before the space pirate grabbed him and started flying.
"Oh my. Ranma has such exciting friends." Kasumi noted, moving to clean up the table.
A half-second later the far wall burst apart, Genma charging through it and diving across the room into the koi pond straight through the opposite wall. Trailing behind him a squad of lost, color-coded cheerleaders swiftly followed, pausing as they spotted Kasumi in their path.
The blue one looked at a small device in her hand before shaking her head to the others.
"Uh, hi. Was someone called Ranma here?" The leader asked, two long blond streams of hair framing her head.
"Oh, you just missed him. His new friend decided to take him out drinking apparently. Do you need to find him? I'm sure Nabiki can help you as soon as she gets home." Kasumi happily informed them, pausing from clearing away the snacks in case they wanted to wait.
"Probably mind control... can't detect..." The blue one whispered quietly to her red companion, who shook her own head back in reply, looking concerned.
"Um, that's okay. Thanks for the help." And with that the group left through the back door, stopping to stare at Genma playing with a tire and holding a sign that read 'I'm just a cute li'l panda'.
"That's him." Mercury noted, barely glancing at her computer as the other resumed their bombardment. Some part of her mind stumbled over the sheer stupidity of holding up such a thing while in disguise, only to be further flabbergasted when the sign spun in the creature's grip, now saying 'No, really I'm just a... Ow! That stings.'.
"So then she says 'Lady Galaxia will reward me', with a victory pose and everything and I jus teleport behind her and smack 'er upside the head." The tipsy space pirate narrated, equal parts supporting and being supported by her far more drunk son.
"Ery time, I a'te it." Ranma agreed readily with a slur as he shambled along. "Could least wait 'til they ac'ually done somefing to brag 'bout." He noted without the least bit of awareness concerning the hypocrisy he was suggesting.
Ryoko just snickered and 'lightly' jabbed him in the ribs. "What was that story about you and the dragon princess ag'in?"
"'Ey, I 's holdin' back then. Knew I coulda s'ill tran'ferm any'ay." He took a 'playful' swipe at her head to emphasize his point.
The two broke apart from one another then, both looking ready for a bit of good old bonding through lighthearted violence. Only for Ranma to kind of stagger to one side and pass out.
"Heh heh, lightweight. I guess I had Keiko waste some of the good stuff if it got ya that drunk." Ryoko thought aloud, lamenting the weakness of human alcohol as a recreational aid. "Come on, let's get ya home." With that she unceremoniously tossed him over one shoulder and wobbly drifted the rest of the way to the Outers' mansion.
To be confronted, as soon as she opened the front door, by a disheveled, scowling Setsuna.
"Uh, hi, Set-chan..." Ryoko started hesitantly, knowing that face meant nothing good. Unfortunately she was just drunk enough to not stop talking, but not so drunk that she was completely unintelligible. "I told Haruka to tell you, right? So, there's no reason to be mad here."
"Ry-chan, what time is it?" Setsuna's calm, soft voice pierced straight through the alien's ramblings.
Ryoko swallowed. "Later than I think it is?" That was something of a standard answer for whenever she went out drinking alone. A very different answer when compared with the times they got drunk together.
"It's four twenty-two Ry-chan. And Michiru did tell me, with her communicator, as soon as you left. I've been waiting for you almost fifteen hours. And..." Setsuna paused in her march of feminine fury as she reached close enough to smell the alcohol on both of them. "Did you go out drinking again Ry-chan?"
Inebriated mind quickly latching onto a potential escape route for a serious scolding with dead screams to make sure she was paying attention, Ryoko slung Ranma off her shoulder and placed him between the two of them as a partially human, partially masu-based lifeform shield. "But Set-chan." She whined. "I found him and there wasn't anything to talk about and you weren't there to make conversation and uh, ...you know, he really looks just like you except male and..." The space pirate stumbled out of things to say, stunned by the nearly clonish resemblance the two people in front of her had.
The guardian of time face palmed. "We have liquor that can knock you out here, Ry-chan, why would you take him to a bar?" With a tisk the green-haired woman scooped her son out of the space pirate's grip, staggered momentarily by his surprising weight before transforming into Pluto with a muted flash of light to accommodate. "I'm putting him in the guest room. You're sleeping on the couch."
"B, but Set-chan..." Ryoko whined before Sailor Pluto kicked the guest room door closed behind her, causing it to slam. For a few seconds her face fell into a scowl before she grinned and drifted into the ceiling, tip-toeing through Hotaru's room until she found her partner cuddled up on top of the purple haired girl's head.
With deft snatching hands the cabbit was replaced with a plushy of some kind and roused from its sleep. "Okay Ryo-Ohki, there are somethings I need you to do."
"Miyah." The cabbit answered sleepily. Or yawned, who knows.
Oddly, confection, as in sweets, was originally written as convection, a natural process of temperature change through cycling currents via typo. I thought that was kind of funny since Ranma shifted in the same sentence.