The light in his eyes darkens
The Warlord had been starting to get concerned. Another day in human terms has passed, and he was less than half, yet Ranma was not progressing. He just kept feeding, like the Void itself. If he failed to raise him, yet was consumed himself would just compound the waste. He needed to seek the guidance of the others to see what was wrong about this. He folded back into himself, and gradually manifested himself into the circle of elders.
The elders were also concerned about the same thing. They had been scanning both what they could of Ranma's spirit, and his past to look for an answer. Saotome Santaka merely suggested that another elder also be fed to Ranma. Others protested at this. Without knowing why, it could be no more than a waste to throw more energy at him. Others suggested trying to refocus the energy, or manipulate his soul. That was possible, though a less than desirable option. Another of the very old ones, whom they called the Historian, had she felt she perhaps knew the issue. She was keeper of the clans honor, what it had done both for good and evil over the iterations of the clan. She was one of the few who knew why they had followed this branch of the family, when once they were guiding the main branch. She knew what was coming and knew that Ranma's death would engulf the world in darkness. Saffron was not the worst of evils that Ranma should have stopped.
The Historian spoke to the others. "there is another facet to this issue. His soul is split, even before his death. Warlord you are a powerful spirit, and one of the most trained of our warriors, your spirit will stiffen him when his war against The Ice begins." The Warlord nodded. This was in fact why he had volunteered to the void. Ranma would need to learn how to kill, something that was never acceptable to him. The Historian continued. "However, you lack the Female Chi required to bring him back. His soul is split from a curse he received at Jusenkyo. I propose that this is why he just keeps feeding on you, that his female half is trying to form in him as well. Your not capable of providing this energy for him. We need to provide him with a female's soul to feed that part of him. I am not eligible as I am keeper of our honor. We need to seek among us one who will balance him and his warrior spirit."
The elders conferred among ourselves, as this thought was being discussed. After much deliberation Nitta Minna was selected. She had been a rare beauty in her time, and a model of both herself and those around her. She was also the model of why the Samurai were both male and female. She had defended her own home with valor under combat, and died to stop a killing blow to her lord. She could match the strength of the task.
The Warlord nodded his own approval of the choice, and started to fold back on himself. He was stopped by Miina. "Warlord, remember we bind ourselves together in this boy. I would have you look at the person who will spend an eternity with you, joined in him." The Warlord looked at her and bowed. "Yes, and thank you. Your sacrifice will be passed as a model for our clan." Miina smiled, and folded herself into Ranma. The historian looked at the Warlord and said "you should spend some time here, for her spirit to be more properly consumed." He nodded, and sat in the circle and waited.
Miina entered into the space of Ranma's soul, and noticed instantly the drain on her form. She did not hold as much power, nor spirit as the Warlord did, and the process was painful to her. She endured it, and watched a 2nd form start to come into being slowly from her energy. She would be at this for some time as Ranko's spirit formed. Eventually the Warlord appeared and they watched together, as both sides were becoming more defined and solid as they watched.
The Hospital that Ranma was being treated at continued to attempt to reawaken him. From time to time he would appear to almost come out of unconsciousness, but he would fall back into the coma almost instantly. Dr Saeko Mizuno looked at the scans of his brain and sighed. 'there is some change taking place but I cant for the life of me figure out what. This darkness on his scan seems to be receding and that looks like its a good thing.' she looked around in annoyance. She didn't blame this boy for making her miss something important again, but her daughter was growing up, and as always she was missing it. Her own spirit drooped in this rare moment no one was watching her. 'Ami, I hope you will one day forgive me." Ranma stirred in his coma a bit, just like before and an odd voice came from him. "please help us" was spoken and then back to his calm quasi-coma. Saeko looked down on the boy, lost in thought. "He will come out of this, I can feel it"
Interlude two : Gates of fate open slowly.
Sailor Pluto again scanned the gates. She had been doing this for two days now, relative time, because something had changed. It was a serious change, effecting at least one of the scouts, but at no point in their manifestation was there anything to show what had removed one. After a great deal of time she was able to establish that it was Sailor Uranus who was missing, but no enemy or the like seemed to remove her. She peered into the gates more and finally saw the divergence. In most of the lines, this problem would grow to infect all of the scouts, and one by one they would drop from the future. A whole clan had decided to take the scouts out, but they never went after the scouts. They went after the person behind the scouts, in this case starting with Haruka Tendo. Going after the real person, caused several manifestations of the scouts, to defend Haruka, and the clan just shifted and started to target the girls themselves. The often appearances of the scouts to defend her, made it simple for one paying close attention to see who the players were, or at least could be. They used first Haruka, and then Michiru Kaioh, her lover to bring out the other scouts. They almost instantly could target Hotoru Tomoe and herself, though she could always flee (and in these futures did) back to the gates for protection. The others were noticed a bit later. The scouts were tremendous forces of power, yet they could not be everywhere, could not stop everything, and rapidly needed to start protecting their own families. The clan, the Satome, was butchering them. The cause appeared to be from the gates that a blood feud had been declared between the Satome and Tendo clans, any who got in their way would quietly disappear. When she tried to see the cause however, that was hidden from her. A literal block on everything around a key player it seemed. She would see that block again, later in time, during some of the battles. A shadow that obscured everything. The time gates bounced around a bit, not answering to her commands, and pulling up another scene. Its a scene that showed an enraged Rei Hino as Sailor Mars, lashing the head of the Satome clan, burning her before she was going to die. That shadow came in, in fact it was as far as she could tell the first appearance of the shadow in these fights. She watched Mars fall, her voice box pulled from her body. She also watched as the female who lead the clan die, succuming to her wounds. The shadow seemed to be much more prevalent after that.
'two years' she thought. 'two years and everything we have worked for is over. We must change this'
She looked deeper and programed changes to the future, until she found an acceptable path. IT was a path that it would be almost impossible without the princess herself making come to pass, but it was one where everyone survived. It may be one they even get aid form the Satome's themselves
Interlude three : the many deaths of Akane Tendo.
It had been 4 days since Nodoka had awoken from her meeting with the elders. In 4 days time she had turned the matter of getting Akane over to the Sakuraba clan. They reacted with efficiency, and thanks to the information that was readily available, they grabbed her outside of school grounds. No one there seemed too surprised when a black van opened its side door beside her, and someone inside shot her with a tranquilizer gun. Her going quietly into the van did not seem too surprising. After all no one got kidnapped more than Akane did. Many of them felt almost relieved that things were returning to normal. The rumor that Ranma had in fact recovered had been going around Nermia for the couple of days. Many saw this latest kidnapping as a sign that perhaps he would awaken soon.
Akane awoke in a dark room. She was chained to a chair that was bolted to the floor, her mouth was covered with a gag, with a steel ball in it. She was furious, and thought to herself that this had to be the work of Kuno somehow. A door opened and highlighted in the doorway was someone she did NOT expect to be there. Nodoka looked at Akane with pity. "Akane, I am sorry for what is to happen. What is willed by my ancestors will come to pass. Even though I liked you, you are now my enemy, a blood feud has been called against the Tendo. Only one clan shall survive this. You will be the first to fall, yet I think the longest to suffer."
Akane was confused. How could a family of three people call a feud against the Tendo clan. She knew what kind of relatives, and how many she had. Even with Ranma's help there was just no way to get them all, and she had heard that Genma was also on the run. So how would two be able to kill off her entire clan. That was simply insane.
Nodoka sighed. A man came up behind her. "Lady Nodoka, Lady Ai wishes to speak with you." Nodoka looked to the man "Tell Lady Ai of the Sakuraba clan that lady Nodoka of the Satome clan will be with her shortly." the man bowed and turned away.
Akane was shocked. Even she had heard of the Sakuraba clans many financial interests. Her sister Nabiki had often said she wanted to work for them, say they were the best corporation to work for. What was the connection between Nodoka and one of the largest corporate families in Japan. More than that, why did that man call her Lady Nodoka, putting her as equal to whoever this Ai was. Unfortunately for Akane she was not Nabiki, she could not put those pieces together.
At the Tendo Dojo, Nabiki was actually concerned. The hospital staff were tight lipped about what was happening with Ranma, and she was starting to suspect that they were deliberately blocking her about information. That was not a good sign to Nabiki, as that could only have come from Nodoka.
She idly was going through the letters, and bills that had come in, thinking about Ranma. She hoped that Akane being kidnapped today would be the start of Ranma coming out. Flipping through more bills, she wished that perhaps her clumsy sister would give him up again. She would never repeat that mistake if she ever was offered the chance at him again. But she felt that this would never happen. One of the letters, a parchment scroll, fell to the floor. It was embossed with a wax seal, the seal of the Satome clan. It looked on the outside what she had seen of the Tendo's formal scroll. She debated giving it to daddy, but decided better of that. He was still being Daddy, over Ranma and now Akane's kidnapping. She broke the seal and started reading the very formal letter. Her face drained of blood, reading what was kept there. "My god" was all she could get out before panic took her full force.