Disclaimer: Find my center and breath. I can do this. Be the fanfic. Ohm . . . Ohm . . . Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Sailor Moon, and Dragonball Z don't belong to me, but neither do I belong to them. And it was good.
By Michael Fetter
On the Throne, Emperor Azusa glared harshly at the GP captain standing before him defiantly. Others had been removed from the meeting room except his two wives, standing quietly concerned in the background.
The GP captain firmed his jaw though he hated the position he had to take. "I'm sorry, your Highness, it isn't possible."
"We can go in there ourselves," Azusa declared stonily. Warning of the Cold family moving on Earth had reached Juria thanks to Washuu. A blockade was to be set up around Earth, but there were only so many ships available and the laws protecting the rights of other worlds prevented any intrusive barriers.
"Not with our support. Terra is a separate system with it's own logic and ego. Appearing may upset the balance and as GP officers we are sworn to protect such things."
Azusa was quickly losing his cool. He did not like the situation and the Cold family in particular. They were vultures preying on the weak. Now they sought Earth where his children had taken up residence. "Your ideas are ridiculous. Jurai has expanded across the universe. Earth is simply an independent colony with no influence on the rest."
"Is that so?" The captain stood just to the side of a view port looking down on the Earth. It was possible billions could die very soon, but the GP laws were set up for a reason and he could not go against them. Fighting with the Jurian fleet didn't sound any better though. "Prince Yosho does not agree."
"We are lord to all within our empire," Azusa insisted.
"Every being is a soul onto themselves. Violate that and life becomes worthless," he turned to stare at the planet and the pitiful defenses the GP could offer. "This is the universe as it exists."
Truth be told, while the Cold family had been a thorn in his side, Azusa had never given their activities much mind since Jurai was safe. Why could he not protecting this one planet as well? "We could mend the universe into one rule. When all planets exist under one nation there would be no more suffering such as this."
"A species exists because it chooses to live. Not because others would simply allow it," the captain intoned solemnly. Maintaining universal harmony was a tiring but necessary obligation of the GP. "You are not god here, Azusa."
"Do any of the Earth's natural inhabitants wish to see their own destruction?"
In response, the captain merely tapped the communication Washuu had sent many months ago. It came up with a picture of an Earthling, both angry and powerful. "Yes."
It had been a long day that turned into an even longer week. Hope had risen only to die after such a brief life. Without Ranko, nothing felt certain anymore. Such loss hadn't been felt even after Minako, but now everything had changed. The routine was off and it was effecting everybody.
Ryouga felt like collapsing that night after all of the sparring he'd done. Ranma and Akane were good training partners and while their powers had grown so did their friendship. Still, he felt some pain even they couldn't help him with. Looking for peace, he went to the backyard, or at least as far as his leash would allow. Hotaru was there, staring quietly towards the lake. "Hey, what are you doing out here so late, Hotaru?"
The young girl shifted to look at him over her shoulder. A small glint appeared in her eyes momentarily. "I . . . I was just feeling sad."
Ryouga nodded and sat down. "Yeah. Me, too."
"I wish Meiou-sensei was still with us. I don't know if we can do this without her."
Ryouga was startled when the girl put her head against his shoulder. "We will, Hotaru," he responded nervously. When nothing happened for a few minutes, Ryouga hesitantly put an arm around Hotaru's shoulders. "Ranma was right. Meiou-sensei taught us what we needed to know. We will beat these Saiyajins."
"How do you know that? We haven't even seen one yet." She gripped a piece of his shirt and pressed her face into his chest. Ryouga continued to awkwardly hold her, but he'd been getting used to it since the girl had claimed him.
It was funny. Ryouga used to pass out at the mere signs of a girl taking interest in him. Well, maybe it was because Hotaru was two years younger than him. He was nearing eighteen and she was sixteen so that wasn't bad. Maybe it was because he had two years just to get used to her company. More, Ryouga liked to believe it was because he had been with his new friends almost constantly for the past two years. Perhaps being around them helped desensitize his naivete about women. There was certainly a lot of bouncing flesh here at the shrine. Whatever it was, when Hotaru put her arms around his waist he did the same in return.
"I just know," he whispered calmly. He'd never felt so scared for someone else as he held onto the girl. "We have to."
"Ryouga-kun," Hotaru smiled shyly at him.
He was flustered by her smile. "What is it, Hotaru-chan?"
She pursed her lips for a moment then darted forward to peck him on the cheek. "I don't want you to leave me ever."
Though the moon, the stars, and Hotaru were his only witnesses, Ryouga made a pledge. Not even his sense of direction would prevent him from keeping it. "I promise. I'll always be here for you."
When the two kissed, Michiru put a hand on Haruka's side and pulled her away from the door. Hotaru would come to bed when she was ready. "Come on, Haruka-chan. They'll be fine."
Haruka frowned for a moment, thinking of her little girl, then nodded. She had to let Hotaru grow up sometime. HH
"Thank you, Sasami." Washuu took her tea from the young princess and returned to brooding at the table. With Ranko out of action, new strategies had to be worked out to fight the Saiyajins. It was not easy considering the amount of power they would be up against. She found herself spending more time with the others than alone in her lab because of it. One of her new friends sat down with her. "Are you alright, Cologne?"
Cologne's youthful and pretty face was stern as she watched the rest of the household. It was after dinner and most everyone was relaxing after another long day. "I'm fine. I'm just trying to think."
She sighed and dropped her chin into one hand. "I was trying to think of what Ranko would be doing to prepare everyone for what is to come."
"Unfortunately, even I cannot tell you that now," Washuu said, glancing speculatively at the purple-haired ex-Amazon. "You've been going down to the lab to see her often."
Cologne shifted uncomfortably before snorting in disgust. "I keep hoping."
There was precious little of that left. Washuu nodded. "I see."
Others were also busy in thought of the future. Some afraid that there may not even be one. Usagi had her arms around Mamoru sitting in the living room with her friends. For a while they talked about how to improve their magic attacks, but little could come of it. "I'm glad you're here, Mamo-chan."
The young man sighed and rested his cheek against her forehead. "I should have been here all along. I'm going to take off the rest of the semester."
Gasping, Usagi looked at him hopefully, though she tried to hide it. "Oh, no! You have to graduate at the end of the year!"
Mamoru shrugged, looking nonchalant. "I'll graduate during the summer after this mess is over with."
"So, you think we can win?"
He smiled charmingly. "I know you can. I believe in you, Usako."
From the hall more voices could be heard. Nodoka was dressed in her usual kimono and was fussing over her son's bow tie. It was making Ranma very uncomfortable. "You look very nice, Ranma. Go ahead."
"Thanks, mom," Ranma grinned wanly. The outfit felt a little over the top for him. What respectable fighter would be seen in a penguin outfit? Still, he swallowed his nervousness and stalked into the living room.
Everyone saw him immediately.
Ranma stopped like a deer caught in headlights, expecting someone to start laughing.
"Ranma?" Akane stared at him for a long moment. Her eyes went up and down his form several times while a light blush spread over her cheeks.
The boy pulled at his collar and walked in front of her. "Uh, Akane, I . . ." he couldn't believe how hard this was. It worked out much better in his head. "We've known each otherrrr forrrr a while, rrrright?"
Akane smiled, already seeing where this was going. "Yes, we have."
"Well, I was, uh . . ." He pulled at his collar again and the bow came partially undone. Akane wanted to giggle, but held it back. "I love you and all and . . . What I mean is . . ." He looked up when he heard her gasp. She was smiling at him and he felt his heart warm and the tension evaporate from his body. "Akane Tendou, will you marrrrry me?"
"R-Really?" Akane glanced at the ring he was putting on her finger and felt her heart flutter. "Ranma." She leaned down and kissed him, holding it for a long minute. When it was over, Ranma had a silly grin spread across his face. "What took you so long, baka?"
While everyone offered their congratulations, Washuu turned back to her friend and her smile faltered. "Cologne?" The young woman was scowling. "You're angry at them?"
Cologne turned away guiltily. "I don't know how they can plan ahead like this as if the battle were already won."
"They do so for the same reasons you go to see Ranko's body every morning," Washuu answered.
"You talk as if she were dead," Cologne snapped harshly.
Washuu shook her head. "She . . . cannot help us any more."
Ranko drifted. She knew it was a dream, but it felt real though she couldn't touch it. It was the clarity of everything that she noted most.
"What's happening to me?"
You are dying.
Rolling her eyes about, Ranko tried to identify the speaker. It was a soft, melodious voice poorly holding back a deep sadness. She focused on her body for a moment, but it had disappeared. "I don't feel any pain."
The voice sighed, definitely feminine.
You are killing yourself. You do not wish to feel pain.
"I am always in pain," Ranko muttered. "It hasn't stopped. Not since the first time."
"No." Ranko sneered but an image of an older redheaded woman appeared before her. "She is dead."
And yet she lives.
Ranko turned her head to avoid the picture and stare out into the vastness of her empty dream. "She never mattered." The image faded and only the swirling curls and flows remained, strangely close and far away. "Is this Death?"
This is where you are.
"Where am I?"
That, you must choose.
A group of fighters stood in a green yard running through various katas and repetitions. Her anger began to boil, tingling behind her ears. "This is the past." Imagining a pair of hedge clippers into her hands, Ranko reached out and cut. "Puppets on strings. They play on a stage with strings stretched to the Heavens. The mortal coil." Ranko mentally reached out and sliced through each of the silvery threads and watched the bouncing figures fall limply to the ground. Nothing stopped though. Fingers and legs twitched spasmodically. Their tears rang like little bells, falling from their cheeks. "Why is there no peace? I can still see them. They should have gone quiet."
There was no reply from the voice, but Ranko felt the disappointment. She deserved it.
Ranko's body was preserved in one of Washuu's stasis pods. All efforts to reverse the genetic experiment were thwarted by the new genes themselves. They seemed to have an immunity to tampering, almost a self-preservation instinct. And while they remained, Ranko's body was slowly failing.
Numerous visits were made by several of the fighters. Washuu supposed they wanted to believe that Ranko could in some way hear them and maybe their voices would bring her back. Washuu was a scientist though and had to be practical. She didn't expect Ranko to survive for much longer. Brain activity was minimal at best so even a full recovery could have dire side effects.
That was how Washuu had finally come to her decision. Without Ranko the chances of defeating the Saiyajins had fallen drastically. Even with Tenchi's mastery of the Light Hawk Wings, the group needed some serious power to catch up to Ranko's support.
"Did you call for me, Washuu?"
The scientist turned away from the woman floating in the pod to stare at her daughter sadly. Tenchi was not leaving and therefore neither was Ryoko. Washuu wished things were different, but she had to be reasonable. "Yes, Ryoko, please sit down."
Cyan hair stood against the effects of gravity even as Ryoko flew about. She did so carefully while carrying the child in her arms. Jubei slept most of the time and cried the others. She was a strange mix of the parents though her make-up was mostly masu. The eyes were hazel and the hair was black and lie normally compared to Ryoko's. She was the best granddaughter Washuu had ever had really.
Taking a deep breath, Washuu pulled out the Tenchi-ken. Yosho had given it to her that morning at her request.
"What are you doing with that?" Ryoko asked though she stared at the gems.
"You know," Washuu answered. "They are going to need some serious help with Ranko gone now. Tenchi is strong, but only defensively. Those Sailor Scouts have a lot of power, but not the speed to make the most of it. Cologne has the most experience, but not the power. They need someone with a bit of everything."
Ryoko was given a moment to let that all sink in. She knew that things were bad given the ease with which the first of the Saiyajins had arrived on the planet without a shot fired by Washuu. Her weapons had been finished and left on, but they had been unable to track the small space pod. There simply wasn't the resources on Earth necessary to make the proper defenses. The pods also had jamming equipment that threw off sensors.
Hugging Jubei closely, Ryoko stared at the Tenchi-ken hard. After all of those years of teasing for being a space pirate were coming back to her. The monster woman who defied a galaxy was being asked to return to save it. She didn't know how Washuu could wield the Jurian weapon, but figured it fell under the category of super genius abilities. Instead she closed her eyes and waited for the gems.
They appeared in her wrists after a moment. Standing up, Ryoko passed Jubei over to Washuu. "Look out for her. I have to make sure I can still do this."
Washuu nodded. "Remember, those gems are at full strength after sitting in the Tenchiken for seven hundred years," Washuu warned. In a deeper sigh she continued, "You should have about two months. More than enough time, I think."
Ryoko nodded. Her face went hard when she looked at her child being cradled in her mother's arms. She left the lab and headed for the moon where she could let loose without hurting anyone.
Most of the time there was no trouble taking over a planet since their arrivals were unexpected. This time a good number of the GP force and a few Jurian cruisers were hanging in orbit around the Earth. Something important, moreso than the Cold family had first suspected, was taking residence on that planet.
While the main ship stayed back to observe the conflict, Vegita and Napa were leading a fighting force to the blockade. Saiyajins, warriors with power rushing through their veins, they held no fear for the impressive force presented to them. Only one of them had to make it onto the planet to be victorious in this campaign.
Vegita scoffed at the enemy through his ships front display. "A pathetic effort by the GP. They cannot stop us."
Napa grinned beside him, frightening many of the other unusual species present in the Cold Army.
Communications flared as they entered visual range of the Earth. "To the fleet approaching Terran space, be warned, you are wanted for crimes against the Empire of Jurai. Deactivate your weapons and prepare to return with us for processing."
"Open the flight decks," Vegita ordered the Kremian at tactical.
The green man nodded. "Fighters loose. They will engage in ten seconds."
Light blossomed before the ships as the fight was taken up. It would likely garner the attention of the planets inhabitants, but that didn't matter. Vegita already knew they had no offensive capability to worry about.
"What is so special about this puny planet?" Vegita glanced down at the data that had been screened from GP communication. Pictures of several Jurian royalty and two ex-A class criminals were listed. Neither were very important to Vegita at the moment. He wanted to find out about this Ranko Meiou. Her resistance had already proven interesting.
"Your orders, sir?"
"I want that planet under our control by the end of the day."
He stood just outside of his home, gazing intently towards the sky. Evil had arrived and many could feel its power rumble over the peace.
A martial artist must know his limitations, so he remained where he was, with his family who would need him. If a fight of such epic proportions was brewing, then he had to be where he was most useful. Maybe if he were stronger he would be out there fighting this enemy.
Strength he would have gained had a young woman begun a search for seven powerful items that did not exist on this world. Items that would have been sought by powerful enemies that would push his limits to defeat. Seven balls that would have been created by a Namek had he ever left his planet to come to this place.
But Chance had not been on his side.
So Son Goku, a hidden Saiyajin, watched and prayed there would be others strong enough to face this menace.
The young man looked over his shoulder to see his loving wife watching him curiously. "Huh? What is it Chichi?"
"Is something wrong?" she asked, having not felt the power in the distance.
Goku considered telling her, but he wanted his family to be happy. "Just a weird feeling I had. It's nothing."
"Okay." Chichi didn't leave immediately, but took a hold of her husband's arm and held it closely. She kissed him quietly, imparting her love and happiness before returning to her home. Inside she found their son still writing in his workbook. "How are your studies coming along, Gohan?"
The youngster looked up for a moment and flashed an innocent smile. "Fine, mom."
Nodding, Chichi returned to cooking dinner for her two men whom she was so proud of. "Such a handsome, little scholar."
And so chance had passed by what could have been the greatest of warriors. Rather than the hardship of combat he and his family had been graced with what others only dreamed of, a normal life.
Everyone in the temple was gathered in Washuu's laboratory, hoping anxiously that the defenders in space could hold back the Saiyajins. A green light went up when something arrived in the solar system and released hundreds of little fighters. It was a veritable swarm that attacked the combined GP and Jurian forces. The fighters gasped as dozens of icons started to blink out when they were destroyed.
"Oh boy! Here they come!" Washuu fretted with a few other panels and activated her own designed defenses.
Akane tried to swallow the lump in her throat. "That's a lot more than two Saiyajins."
Nodding distractedly, Washuu brought up a smaller display. "Hmm, I suspected we would be getting more trouble with the GP interference. Nothing the greatest scientific genius in the universe couldn't handle though!"
"What is that?" Tenchi asked as two seats appeared by the main monitor with two smaller screens showing up. They looked like they were looking at a profile of the Earth.
Washuu smirked and jumped into one of the seat, placing a fighter pilot helmet on her head and picking up a joystick. "Ever play video games?"
Sasami squealed in delight, jumping to the other seat. "Hey! Galaxy Destroyer! Can I play?"
Washuu grinned widely. "Sure, Sasami-chan."
". . ." The others stared at the two small women engaging the enemy. Ryouko was not surprised, having placed the remote laser cannons on the moon for her mother a few weeks ago. Shaking his head, Yosho started heading towards the inter-dimensional door. "We should get ready for whatever makes it through."
The others stared blankly then noticed a few enemy icons passing through Earth atmosphere.
"Don't forget the modified scouters. They should direct you to the biggest trouble spots," Washuu called out, mainly concentrating on destroying the enemy without hitting a friendly. It didn't help that the Cold family used small and very maneuverable craft.
"Right." Cologne found the tray of improved scouters by one of the workstations and handed them out to the rest of the fighters. The idea of war seemed to be really settling on their young faces and she hoped they would make it through this. "Are we ready?"
Sailor Moon nodded, working the scouter around her odangos. "Ready, Cologne-san."
The woman nodded grimly. "Remember to stay in groups and be careful."
"Right," they responded, determination building up in their eyes.
Yosho paused by the door to stare at his successor. "Tenchi."
The boy looked back and firmed his jaw. They would both fight in this war no matter how much they wished it was not so. Tenchi saw Ryouko take off with Ryo-oh-ki and smirked. "See you later, grandpa." They would win, somehow.
Yosho glanced once more to his home then took off with Sailor Jupiter to dispense some justice.
They cleared the atmosphere in a few moments and everything went dark all at once. Ryouko tried to settle her nerves then she was hit by the scope of the battle ahead. As a pirate she would have run from such things. Getting even a small hit could be dangerous for someone without a safe haven to rest up. Things were different now. She had a home, on the Earth. Tenchi was there, her baby, mother, and even friends. For the first time in her long life she had a place she belonged.
She would protect that to her dying breath.
Ryouko smirked, knowing Ryo-oh-ki felt the same way. The ship twisted and rolled about the battlefield with great dexterity. The Cold Army was taking losses, but so were the Allied Forces. Ryouko worked the controls as swiftly as she could, but hard earned skill from her days as a pirate told her she was going to lose. Blue beams from the distance split a Cold fighter on her tail right in half. Ryouko whirled about to find the source. "What the hell is that?!"
"We're with you, Ryouko!" Sasami cheered over the speakers.
Washuu cackled, her skill with a laser turret actually quite impressive. "Let's get those bad guys!"
". . ." Ryouko blinked and let Ryo-oh-ki guide them to the next battle site.
Smirking, she flexed her fingers and took a hold of the slave crystals again. "Right! Let's do it, Ryo-oh-ki!" The ship suddenly altered course ninety degrees, two Cold ships slamming into each other a second later. "Hahaha! You think you can get ex-space pirate Ryoko that easily?!"
Ryouko snarled, bearing down on another Cold fighter. Several blasts were needed just to penetrate a golden energy surrounding the ships. "Damn these things are tough. Stupid shielding."
Suddenly, Ryo-oh-ki shook and cried out in pain. "Miyah!"
"Woah. Washuu, we've got trouble," Ryouko cried, turning to see a several larger command ship cutting a path through the fight and towards the Earth.
"Hmm?" One of the cannons cut out as Washuu went to check what was wrong. "Looks like I'll have to pull out the big cannon."
"The big cannon?" Ryouko asked with a little worry.
Alarms went off all over Ryo-oh-ki's consoles. "Miyah-miyah!"
Ryouko stared at the screening showing off a large radius energy blast coming from the Earth. "Hey, watch it!" She veered off quickly, riding the energy current out of the way and then staring at the resulting explosion. ". . ."
"Got it!" Washuu cheered then paused. "Woops."
On the Earth, Nodoka stared at the enormous fusion cannon that had appeared from beneath the temple's yard, standing one hundred feet tall and twenty around. The blast had been like a tidal wave of energy, tanning the skin of any who witnessed it.
She slowly lifted her chin off of the ground and tried not to swoon into Noboyuki's arms. "That's 'all' you could do with Earth's resources?"
Washuu was too busy twitching at the sight of one of Jupiter's moons being turned into a new asteroid field to answer.
It was horrible. Only minutes after arriving on the planet, soldiers from the Cold Army starting reducing most major cities in the world into rubble. Mercury and Jupiter cringed at the sight of bodies smashed beneath the rubble of buildings as they searched for the enemy.
Mercury had to fight her instincts to help the little boy crying over his mother's body as they roof-hopped to the nearest high energy reading. They couldn't waste time. The sooner this invading army was taken care of the fewer casualties they will have to deal with.
"This isn't how I thought it would be like."
Mercury turned to her friend and slowly nodded in agreement.
Jupiter cringed when she accidentally landed in a pool of blood. "Usually the bad guys show up and focus their attention on one thing or fight with us. This is . . ." she didn't know what to say, her face pale with revulsion for the mindless destruction of the city.
Mercury noticed they had come up on their target and looked over the edge of the roof briefly then pulled her head back. There were three soldiers down there. Each carried a powerful weapon that looked like a rifle but shot powerful streams of energy.
"This is war," Jupiter finished with a shudder. The first few minutes of this made her realize how simple the Sailor Scouts' other battles had been. It was no longer them against the enemy, it was the world against a powerful invading army.
Mercury had her eyes closed for a moment as she steadied her nerves and pulled together a rapid fire version of her ice magic that Ranko-sensei had forced her to learn. "Ready?"
Struggling to contain a building rage, Jupiter clenched both of her hands, electricity sparking up and down her arms. "Let's kill the fuckers."
Both girls jumped to their feet and let loose with their attacks. The soldiers whirled about in surprise as the first man was turned into a block of ice. "Freeze Arrow!"
"Digu Volt!" Jupiter joined in a second later, watching her targets scream in pain, stonily.
Bystanders looked to them in thanks before rushing off for shelter. There were more soldiers out and about in the city still.
Nodding with satisfaction at the results of their attacks, Jupiter started looking for their next battle.
"I wonder what the anime Meiou-sensei used to name our attacks was?" Mercury asked rhetorically. Jupiter shrugged and frowned at the number of targets her scouter was mapping out for her.
"I've found the Saiyajins. Hurry to my location."
Both girls blinked at the sound of Cologne's voice over the scouters. They trembled at the thought of fighting another Saiyajin, but knew it was necessary.
"On our way," Mercury responded with a tap on the side of her scouter. She nodded once to Jupiter and they took off with determination in their hearts.
Things were getting worse in space. Several places in the blockade had fallen to the Cold Army and dozens of ships were making it past them now. Ryouko grit her teeth as Ryo-oh-ki was hit once again. The ship shuddered and gave off a pitiful moan.
Whirling about she fired on the fighters and avoided another barrage. "Damn it. How many of these things are there?" Ryouko growled. It was like fighting off a swarm of angry bees.
Ryouko winced as a large portion of Ryo-oh-ki was destroyed. One of the bigger crystal spines was floating about, shattered in space. "Can you get us back to the temple, Ryo-oh-ki?"
This ship groaned and fell towards the Earth. "Miyah miyah."
"Ok, just try to hold on," Ryouko shuddered sympathetically. The cabbit sounded like a dying patient and she was entering the atmosphere with almost no control.
The ship's form began to fold back in on itself as it reached the ground. Ryouko had to phase out before she was crushed inside and then caught the weakly flailing cabbit as they continued to fall.
"Ryoko," Nodoka called out, rushing to the girl as she floated to the yard outside.
The cyan-haired woman passed the cabbit over to the worried woman, looking very grim. "Ryo-oh-ki is hurt. I'm going to go help Tenchi."
Before she could respond, Ryouko had already disappeared. Nodoka looked to the softly mewling cabbit in her arms and her frown deepened. Ryo-oh-ki was supposed to be their escape if it became necessary.
She passed another girl while returning to the house. Nodoka was surprised to see a strange set of armor covering the young Jurian princess.
Nobuyuki looked away from the live broadcast upon noticing it as well. "Where are you going, Miss Ayeka?"
Staring off towards the city, she responded, "I should go look after Tenchi as well, father."
"Are you sure that's wise, dear?" Nodoka asked gently. Ayeka was not a fighter like the others and she worried the girl would be badly hurt no matter how powerful her Jurian powers were.
"I won't leave such important matters to that hussy," Ayeka insisted. "Azaka! Kamidake! We're going."
The two logs appeared at her side, looking very nervous. As much as a log can look nervous anyway. "Oh my," Kamidake worried.
"Indeed," Azaka agreed.
The trio disappeared and Nodoka hoped things would be okay. She stared back at those left in the temple worriedly. Sasami was biting her lip and hugging Nobuyuki's arm while watching the television. Nodoka thought of turning it off, but couldn't help her own desire to watch the unfolding war.
The temple was suddenly rocked by the destruction of the large cannon up near the temple.
"Washuu!" Nodoka cried out fearfully.
The redhead was already exiting the dimensional door and tapping away at her light computer. "I've got it! Temple defenses, online."
A green field of energy sprang up around the home and numerous laser turrets came to life in the camouflage of the surrounding forest.
Nodoka stared at the scientist wondering how she had set up so many of the machines without her noticing.
It was getting late in the day as Cologne waited for the others to find her. She was suppressing her power to remain hidden from the Saiyajins before her. They had landed in a large craft along with fifty other soldiers. There were creatures of all kinds, humanoid mostly, but the Saiyajins were the only ones that could have passed as humans were it not for the tails.
The two powerful creatures looked about the ruined part of the city they had landed in with contempt.
"Doesn't look so special," Napa scoffed, blasting away a few close by structures to prove his point. "Looks like a world of weaklings."
Vegita had to agree. He was hoping for a challenge at least, but his army was cutting through the world's defenses with ease. "Don't forget, there are some people here we are to capture."
"Yes, prince Vegita."
Several soldiers spoke with Vegita and went about setting up temporary bases while on the planet. Cologne kept her eyes on the two Saiyajins the whole time, remaining calm even as Ryouga and Ranma released the Umisenken behind her.
"Well?" Ranma asked, peering over the woman's shoulder. "Is that them?"
Cologne nodded. Her blood was boiling with anger just from the sight of them. They were the cause of all of their suffering. This world was falling apart with just their presence. She wondered briefly if her tribe had been spared at all or if the powerful auras of the other matriarchs had attracted these invaders.
"What are we waiting for?" Ryouga asked angrily. His fists smacked against each other, the ki focus gloves warming up already.
Cologne looked back to see Ranma's gloves also starting to glow and smacked both of the boys. "Not until the others are ready. I'm not taking any chances with these monsters." She tapped her scouter and looked to the rooftops. "Scouts?"
"We're here, Cologne-san," a voice replied. It was Mercury, her head peeking over the top of a far rooftop then sinking back out of sight. "We've taken first formation to your left. Tenchi and Hotaru have taken position fifty meters back."
Taking a deep breath, Cologne readied herself and indicated the two boys should do the same. "Alright. Let's finish this quick. Three seconds."
At those words Cologne and the boys disappeared from sight and the alley looked empty once again.
"Where the hell is she?" Napa demanded.
Vegita frowned and looked about the quiet area. People had either been killed or run off. As per his orders the entire area was empty so the two of them could have a good fight when Ranko would surely approach them. That is if she had any real skill.
"I want to destroy something," Napa continued to whine.
Scowling, Vegita muttered, "Remind me to up your Ridilin dosage when we're done here."
Vegita checked his scouter once again and came up with nothing. There were no powers in this blasted city even worth noticing as far as he could tell. A few powers in the West were already being dealt with, but even they were hardly comparable to the might of the Saiyajins.
"Maybe this Ranko got scared and soiled herself," laughed Napa.
Vegita was ready to add his own comment when a mist suddenly developed over the area. It grew thick and expanded a great distance quickly. "What the hell?"
"Strange weather," noted Napa absently.
It was getting difficult to even see each other. Vegita looked about and if it weren't for his ability to sense Napa's battle aura he wouldn't know where the bald ape was.
Napa, not as bright as Vegita, was totally lost in a few moments. "Vegita? Where are you? Come out, come out wherever you are!"
The mist was very thick and Napa could hardly see his own hand in front of his face. He was about to expand his aura and fly over the mist when something struck him.
Ranma whizzed by, attacking with his Neko-ken claws and disappearing again just as quickly. Ryouga was not far behind with a vacuum blade aimed at the bald Siayajin's gut. Cologne was more warrior than the two boys and went for the softest parts of the body and hoped to at least break skin which the previous attacks had not.
"AUGH!" Napa screamed, clutching at his eyes while blood poured down his cheeks. They were pretty strong considering Cologne was trying to send the energy spikes into the alien's brain.
Vegita was very surprised to see people appearing and disappearing like wraiths and went onto the defensive quickly, pushing at the fog with his aura to open up an area to fight within. "Who are you?" he demanded.
"Evil doer who would hurt innocent worlds-" Usagi began only to be smacked down by her compatriots.
"Idiot!" Mars screeched and shot a quick blast of magical fire before leaping away from the rooftop with Moon in her arms. It was a good thing to as the building was destroyed a second later.
Napa was on the warpath, blind as he was, and firing off powerful blasts of ki in every which direction. A few headed straight for Vegita.
"Fool," Vegita growled, slapping the energy out of the way and knocking Napa over the head. He glared angrily at the surroundings which looked just as empty now as it did before. "That was smart, attacking us the way you did. You wouldn't have survived any other way. But now you will die for the failed attempt."
He waited a moment to see if anyone would respond. When nothing happened, he rose into the air to look down on everything and was met by eight magical blasts that he had no way of tracking with his scouter or through ki senses. Vegita cursed as he was jostled about, but still relatively unharmed.
Napa was still going wild and destroying anything he could. Dust clouds and the remaining fog made it difficult to distinguish anything.
"Dammit, Napa!" Vegita snapped. "Calm down and act like a warrior!"
The words had an effect on the bald man and he did as he was told.
Cologne cursed herself for not targeting the smaller Saiyajin first. She'd let herself believe the bigger was the stronger and just being taught by Ranko for the last two years should have told her how wrong that assumption was.
Carefully tucked away in the umisenken, she spoke to the boys who would have followed her to the next alley. "We need to finish off the injured one quickly before we deal with the other."
Getting an affirmative, she readied herself for another pass.
Calmer, though injured, Napa was not as handicapped as Cologne would like to have believed. He felt his surroundings with more ki that the group of fighters had combined. He responded instantly when any of them had to step out of the umisenken to attack.
"Ranma!" Ryouga called out as the pigtailed boy was knocked through a few buildings. He was a moment later by a ki blast that carved a trench through the pavement.
By this time, Cologne had picked up on the danger and kept to her Umisenken and ordered the Senshi to step up their attacks.
Napa growled as things went silent again, even to his ki senses. Whatever technique these fighters used to hide themselves was very effective. He was then fried, electrocuted, frozen, blasted, air-dryed, soaked, and therapy kissed in quick succession.
"Shit!" Haruka growled. "He's still standing!"
The others were equally terrified and considering calling up Saturn to just annihilate this section of Japan if it meant destroying one of these bastards.
Screaming was a bad thing as Napa had been able to focus on it and lunge for it.
Haruka cried out in surprise again when she was forced to dodge fists and ki blasts at an insane rate of speed. Her training made it easier than it would have been, but even injured the Saiyajin was too much for Haruka to handle. A blast took her in the face and knocked her silly to the ground.
Napa grinned when she gagged at being picked up by the neck. "How can puny little shits like you be so strong?" he wondered aloud. Shrugging his shoulders, a ball of energy tore through the girl's chest and he started searching for his next victim.
Vegita had not been idle in this time either. While he could appreciate a good fight, having the only other Saiyajin in existence suddenly go blind soured him to any fair play.
Some of the fighters were hard to find, but the Scouts stuck out like a cross-dresser caught in the girl's locker room. "Cheerleaders?" he asked, somewhat upset at being taken by surprise by such an undignified enemy.
Scowling at the continued magical assault, he started blasting away at the buildings the Scouts stood upon. Those that screamed were picked out by Napa.
He snorted at the girls being tossed about the area. He wasn't even trying yet. Destroying these annoyances should be easy.
"Fall back!" someone screamed and the Scouts started moving away from the fight.
Vegita wasn't about to allow that though.
After the first try, things just went from bad to worse. Haruka had died as easily as Venus in the first encounter with the Saiyajins. The Scouts' magical defenses weren't much compared to the power in those ki blasts.
Cologne cursed as Napa zeroed in on another Scout. "Fall back!" she screamed and dropped the Umisenken. She had to give the Saiyajins a new target.
"That bastarrrrd is dead!" Ranma snarled as he pulled himself out of the last wall. Ryouga was making his way back to the fight as well, the Bakusai Tenketsu training having done its job.
Cologne nodded. Retreating now wouldn't do them any good, especially if they can repair the little damage Cologne had been able to inflict. They had to get rid of the bald Saiyajin now. "Keep an eye out for the small one, but focus on the big one."
"Right," Ryouga nodded quickly and started powering up.
They would need power to kill Napa and the Umisenken would strip them of that. The three of them rushed towards the alien from one direction while Yosho and Akane appeared out of another alleyway.
All of their efforts were focused on destroying Napa, but they were not going to have an easy time of it.
Overhead, Vegita was following the fleeing girls and enjoying himself. "Don't run," he taunted, "we're just getting started!"
One of the girls stumbled as they barely dodged another of his blasts. She was almost killed by the follow up, but jumped out of the way just in time.
Preparing another volley, Vegita was suddenly attacked from behind and knocked through a small office building.
"You shouldn't pick on them," Ryouko smirked haughtily, "they're heroes and all that."
Vegita shoved aside a good amount of rubble to stare at the woman floating in the air above him. "And who are you?"
"Me?" Her smirk became sinister, "I used to destroy planets." A very large ball of red energy formed in her hands.
No longer bothering to maintain the Umisenken, Cologne, Ranma, and Ryouga started to beat on the large Saiyajin in earnest. They hoped to somehow finish him quickly and help the others.
Napa screamed angrily as he launched blast after blast all about him. "You little shits! I'll skin you alive and use your hides for boots! I take dumps bigger than you!"
"Colorful," Cologne muttered, "isn't he?"
Ryouga snorted and pulled at his being for more power. He was glowing with pure energy like he'd been taught, but the corona was tinged green hinting at his anger and depression. "We have to take him down!"
Cologne was right behind the boy as he used a powerful kick that brought a vacuum blade behind it. Her hands were cupped at her side and pushed forward with a purplish blast. "Ha!"
Napa grunted when the blasts hit, but quickly turned in that direction with golden blasts.
On the other side, Akane was building up her largest blast, red power flowing about her body before she released it all at once. "Die!"
"HAHAHA!" Napa turned around again, sightlessly seeking out the girl. "That tickled! C'mon, hit me with another one!"
Yosho had moved in silently and didn't let his sword flare until the last second. "Take this." The blue blade of energy was thrust towards Napa's chest, aimed for the heart, but the big Saiyajin turned to the side just as the blade touched his skin.
"That hurt," the man snarled and released a bigger ki blast right at his feet.
Caught in the way, Yosho flew backwards and hit a bit of standing rubble that collapsed under his weight.
Before Napa could take advantage of this he was attacked from behind by a large cat, scratching deep gouges into his back.
Ranma jumped back quickly as Napa turned and sprinted around to another side. "He's getting weakerrr!"
"Keep at it!" Cologne called back and then released another blast. It was definitely having an effect now as Napa was nearly knocked off of his feet. Unfortunately, she was also starting to feel weak
Breathing deeply and covering his head with his arms, Napa grunted at another blast and scowled deeply. "I won't die to a bunch of pansies like you!" He chose one of the powers surrounding him and followed it with a roar. "Die!"
"Shit!" Ryouga gasped as last ki blast hit the man in the face and only burned away the large mustache. A big, meaty hand captured his head and drove it into the ground several inches. He tried to reach up and grab the wrist, but Napa continued to push his head into the ground making Ryouga feel faint.
Cologne was their a moment later and laced her fist with as much ki as she could muster and uppercut the Saiyajin in the face. She grunted with effort and was rewarded with the sight of the large man flipping backwards through the air.
Flying up to meet him, Ranma came down with claws extended, only to see the man open his mouth and release a blast of power into his chest. Ranma gasped as he was knocked through the sky.
"NO!" Akane saw Napa's strength and knew the blast must have torn through Ranma's chest the way it did poor Haruka. With a scream of pure anger, she rushed in with a flaming mallet and dropped Napa into the ground head first. He tried to fly off, but she connected with his chin before he got anywhere and sent him back down.
"Dammit!" Napa growled and blasted at the area in front of him randomly. "When we're done here, I'm going to keep you little bitches for myself just so I can laugh in your face when I fuck you to death!"
"No." Akane slammed her mallet onto his head. "You!" She buried him a foot into the ground and reached back to hit him again. "WON'T!"
The pressure of the hit kicked up a dust cloud quickly blown away by the wind. The sound of Akane's mallet splintering was followed a moment later by a cracking sound and Akane's body flying through the air limply.
Ryouga's breath caught in his throat when he saw her land by Ranma's body. The boy was coming to, but there was a serious burn mark on his chest. He stared at the area blankly then at the body moaning at his feet. Akane's chest looked to be in-caved almost. "Akane?"
She moaned painfully in response.
He moved sluggishly to peer down on her and stare at the red tracks rolling out of her mouth and nose. "What?"
An eye opened slightly and Akane grinned. "Thought you were . . ."
"I'm-" Ranma suddenly realized what he was looking at and his eyes started to glow red.
"Is the little bitch still alive?" Napa taunted. "I'll bet that really hurts."
Ranma slowly stood up and flexed his hands. Red claws sprang out of his fingertips and he started to run.
"Well?" Napa sensed the building energy and smirked, taking up a defensive stance. "Try it, pussy."
Growling deeply in his chest, Ranma went to all fours and his aura built up all around his body like a black flame. The pigtailed boy dodged to the side of a few blasts and then cut up under Napa's fists. Without a strong protective aura, Ranma's claws were able to dig deeply into the Saiyajin's chest and lacerate several vital organs. This was not enough for the Neko-ken however and Ranma attached his teeth at the man's throat and ripped at it viciously. He didn't mind the scream or even the gurgling that followed. Ranma continued to rip into his opponent with unbridled rage, tearing and ripping with sharp claws, skinning with teeth that glinted even in a dark pit, hungrily diving in to the man's flesh again and again. Not sated, not full, not-
"RANMA!" Ryouga struck the pigtailed boy across the jaw and watched him bounce over the gravel. He was covered in blood, dripping down his jaw and hands. It had been one of the most horrible things Ryouga had ever seen and wondered what had happened to his friend to cause such a thing. It was like his mind had been replaced by a vicious beast. "He's dead, Ranma. We've got to go help the others."
Ranma coughed, blood splattering the ground beneath him, as sanity slowly seeped back into his brain. "Son of a . . . Akane! Wherrre's Akane? Is she alrrright?"
Grabbing an arm, Ryouga helped his friend stumble towards the girl and found Cologne and Yosho looking her over. Cologne grimaced and pressed a few shiatsu points to deaden some of the pain. "He broke her sternum and I think some of the bone must have punctured something important."
Ranma stared at her with growing fear. "Can you do anything for her?"
Cologne shook her head. "We have to get her to a hospital, but-"
"I'll do it," Ranma jumped down quickly, but Yosho held him off.
"Picking her up could be dangerous, Ranma," the man explained.
"We can't just leave her here," Ranma snapped.
"We won't," Yosho assured the boy. "We need to get Saturn or Moon. They both have healing powers."
"He's right, Ranma. Vegita was led off towards Tenchi," said Ryouga, pulling the boy back. "We have to hurry."
Nodding, Yosho picked up his blade again and kneeled beside the girl. "I will watch over her while you three go. I can do that much at least after that last hit."
Taking a look at the shivering Akane, Ranma nodded back and dashed off for the next fight. Ryouga followed quickly. Cologne took a moment to examine the growing red spot on the priest's clothes before turning away grimly. "We'll be back."
Yosho grinned and held Akane's hand comfortingly. "We'll be waiting."
Tenchi couldn't think of a worse way for this fight to be going. The Sailor Scouts, with their strength increased as it was, were not enough to even slow down a powerhouse like Vegita. All they had to do was divide the two Saiyajins and keep them occupied until the stronger force destroyed one of them. It should have been simple with their advantage of numbers.
Ryouko teleported to a new position and let loose with another barrage of gem-powered blasts. "Die you pathetic worm! No one can withstand the might of Ryouko! Piss yourself now and pray to your impotent god in the last moments of your waning life!"
Tenchi was starting to wonder about her.
"What do we do?" one of the Scouts asked while they huddled behind Tenchi's Light Hawk shield. "We can't compete with that kind of power."
Moon agreed heartily and said they should try hiding out in an ice cream store.
"No!" Jupiter growled fiercely. "We have to win. We can't let them get away with all the people they killed. Haruka and Minako, we have to avenge their deaths!"
Michiru stared at the patriot blandly. "I loved Haruka, but going out there and getting myself killed isn't going to avenge her. We can continue to distract that bastard with pot shots, but Meiou-sensei was right. We are only good for covering retreats. Hell, even a lot of those soldiers are powerful enough to withstand us."
"They will destroy this world if they keep going like this," Hotaru noted. "I could do that and take these Saiyajins with us."
Moon watched the little girl nervously as did many of the others. "No, there has to be something we can do. We'll just wait for the others to catch up to us. Ryouko could probably hold Vegita off for a little while."
Up above, Ryouko was blasted several meters into the ground then flew upwards to meet her opponent again. If it weren't for the power in her three gems she would not have survived even the fall. And she still couldn't phase through living objects no matter how much she'd rather avoid the Saiyajins incredible speed.
"Maybe he'll wear down," Tenchi muttered hopefully.
Jupiter released another lightning blast when Vegita held still for a second and missed again. "Dammit. If we could just hold him still I would fry his nuts off."
Floating about in the air, Ryouko was thinking about the same thing. This fight had been going on for too long. While she theoretically could go on for as long as there was power within her gems, her frustration was starting to make her sloppy. "Stand still dammit!"
"Yes, please do."
Vegita twisted about as he heard the new voice right behind him. Those cowardly girls in skirts would not dare come so close to him. Ryouko was no danger to him either accept she wielded more power than he, but had not the speed to catch him. The new girl, however, had brought friends.
"Azaka! Kamidaki!" Ayeka ordered, standing a ways off. The two wooden pillars beside her flashed out of existence to reappear on either side of Vegita. He tried to get away, but Ryouko had jumped on this opportunity and let loose with as much gem-power as she could pull out at once.
Vegita screamed from within the energy prison that had been used to hold Ryouko so long ago.
"Hohohohoho! That will teach you, you galactic trash!" Ayeka chortled into her kimono's sleeve.
"Alright, princess!" Ryouko cheered. She put her hands together to pull together a lot more power than Vegita would be able to handle. "Just hold him for a second and he'll be dust in the wind!"
"Don't think I did this for you, Ryouko," Ayeka snorted, "I only care about protecting my Lord Tenchi. Obviously, you are not fit for such a task as you left him and even your child on this planet to be slaughtered. It hardly befits a woman who would call themselves his wife, even a demon like you!"
Ryouko grit her teeth, but remained concentrated on building her power. She saw Vegita glaring at her and began to worry when his aura started to expand.
"Ayeka," Tenchi complained, "this isn't the time for that. Ryouko stayed because I wouldn't abandon this world."
"But neither did I, Tenchi, and I was able to protect you far better than this trollop!"
"Oh, shut up, Ayeka!" Ryouko snapped. "Tenchi doesn't want to marry you because you're a snobbish, whiny-voiced, brat who throws tantrums anytime things don't go your way! And you're his aunt!"
The Sailor Scouts blinked at that and Tenchi felt his face redden with embarrassment. Even Vegita looked slightly disgusted.
"Every other creature in the universe knows better than commit incest except you Jurians and we've all seen how well that's turned out."
Flushed with anger, Ayeka glared at the monster. "And what do you mean by that?!"
"I mean," spit was flying out of Ryouko's mouth as she finally tore into the princess the way she wanted to, "that the only, slightly normal person in your immediate family is Sasami and it's probably because she's got a deity living inside of her!"
For a moment, Tenchi thought about coming to Ayeka's defense, but then images of the obtuse Azusa and hyperactive Misaki entered his head. Ryouko only thought of Yosho as abnormal since he lived like a pervert up in his shrine, but he was, thankfully, a child of a Jurian and Earthling, Funaho. Tenchi chose not to speak.
"Why, you!" Ayeka had a vein on her forehead that looked about ready to burst. "Die, monster woman!"
Vegita watched the fight incredulously. It was like the two women had forgotten about him entirely. He was even about to make his dramatic escape. Sighing deeply, he looked at the now ineffective guardians and incinerated them with his aura. "Whatever."
While Ryouko was occupied, Vegita rushed forward and grabbed at her wrists. With his feet planted on her chest, he pulled backwards and tore the limbs off of her body. The gems would be useful if he could learn to harness their power for himself.
Ryouko cried out in shock at suddenly having most of her power stripped away. It was very painful on several levels. "No, you can't!" She thought of Washuu's warning.
"Can't I?" Vegita smirked. He went to grab the gems and his smile faltered. "What the hell?"
Not even stopping to look, Ryouko whirled about and dove for Tenchi's shield. He let her through a second before her gems' failsafe was activated.
There was a bright, white light.
From space, the Jurians and GP officers could see a large portion of Japan suddenly obliterated turning the making the main island almost crescent shaped.
The ground was still settling by the time Ryouga was coming to. Warm water was dripping down onto his face.
"Dammit," Ryouga growled upon waking up. There was pain burning along his back and he'd hit his head fairly hard.
"Arrre you alrrright, Rrryouga?"
"Peachy," he muttered back. Ryouga looked about and found Ranma sitting a few feet over, resting against a damp wall and holding his side with a grimace. They were in a sewer, but he couldn't remember how they had gotten there. "What the hell happened?"
Ranma shook his head. "I don't know. But it looks like we barrrely surrrvived thanks to you."
Ryouga blinked and looked up at the ceiling Ranma indicated. The stone looked like it had been melted over, sealing them in the tunnel. "Damn. Didn't even notice that." He stood up to touch the rock and quickly pulled his hand back. "It's hot!"
Whatever did this had to be powerful. Ryouga remembered seeing the blast now and the area it must have covered. A sick feeling hit his stomach when he recalled the direction the blast had come from.
"The otherrrs," said Ranma worriedly. He must have just come to the same realization.
Ryouga's mouth back a tense line. "I'm sure they're fine."
"But that blast was-"
"Hotaru's fine!" Ryouga snapped. He was too worried to blush and tried to think.
Ranma winced at the tone. "I-I didn't mean-"
Cutting him off with a wave, Ryouga started looking around, finding the other end of the tunnel on his third try. "We survived and they had Tenchi's Light Hawk, right?"
"Rrright," Ranma said slowly. The Light Hawk was supposed to be very powerful and Ranko did say it could withstand anything a Saiyajin could throw at it. The thought made him feel a little better. "And Yosho could do something similarrr with the Tenchiken."
"Exactly," Ryouga nodded in agreement. He couldn't believe he was the level-headed one this time. Maybe he was just so used to being depressed and imagining the worst. "We just have to get out of here and go find them."
Grunting, Ranma used the wall to pick himself up, holding his side carefully. "Is Cologne down herrre?"
"Dammit." There goes his good mood. Ryouga hadn't seen the woman and knew he hadn't been able to grab her when the blast approached them. She would have been up top during the blast. "Let's go."
For a while they walked. Neither of them was really thinking about going anywhere, but the physical activity gave them something to think about. This battle had not gone at all like they had expected. This was a war. Both boys shuddered now that they could examine what happened during the initial encounter with the Saiyajins. One of their fighters had died so easily it was terrifying.
Ranma thought of the blast again as he looked at the rock overhead. "Would could have caused it?" He hoped it wasn't the Saiyajin.
Muttering to himself, Ryouga reached a ladder leading to a manhole and decided to test it. "It's cooler over here."
"Let's go up then," Ranma nodded and passed the fanged boy quickly. He had to make sure others had gotten away.
Ranma paused when he reached the top. He simply stood there, looking about in numb shock.
"Ranma, get out of the way!" Ryouga snapped. When nothing happened he became worried and tried to push his way past. "What is it?" The world had gone to hell. Everywhere they looked Ryouga saw burning rubble and scorched earth. "All of this destruction."
Something else had caught Ranma's eyes. He stood, staring at a charred body, and couldn't even tell if it had been male or female. "I feel sick."
Stone faced, Ryouga gave Ranma time to throw up and try to compose himself. He felt like doing the same, but he was more interested in getting back to the others and finding a way to fix this mess. "C'mon, let's get back to the temple. I'm sure everyone's waiting for us."
It was hard to look at this world like a familiar place. Ranma and Ryouga had both roamed the land for a long time, but the changes wrought by the battle so far had turned it into an alien landscape. How could this be the world they grew up in?
The crater was vast, several miles in diameter, and only the edges looked as though they were cooling off. Steam was rising further back, in the center, where the ocean was starting to fill in the missing pieces.
Ranko had been powerful when she found them. The boys didn't understand exactly how powerful until just then. Things like this must have been common in her time and for her to have survived it . . . Ranma did not know how he would have turned out.
Ryouga tried to keep his mind optimistic, as strange as that was. He had to believe that there would be some way to get through this. He'd made a promise to Hotaru. Ryouga would stay with her and protect her. Now he had to find her again.
Trying to find some piece he recognized, Ranma found himself staring at a sign, half swinging on a chain. "Does this place seem familiarrr to you?"
Ryouga looked up and had to agree. There was a large home here with the remains of a dojo. This was where he had followed Ranko Meiou to the first time they had returned to Japan! "That's Akane's house."
"We should check on them." Ranma wanted to smile, but then became wary as he entered the blasted area. There were obvious signs of a fight here. Still, he crept towards the front door and knocked lightly. "Hello, Tendou-san?"
Ryouga followed the pigtailed boy in. He suppressed a shudder thinking of the family that had once lived here. "I don't see anyone. Maybe they took off when the fighting started."
Ranma wasn't ready to give up yet and looked about the living room. He didn't have to go far as he found a section of the wall collapsed over two bodies. One of them was Tendou-san while the other was a gentle-faced man Ranma had never seen before. "Those bastarrrds," Ranma snarled, looking at the drying pool of blood. "Rrryouga, look around forrr the sisterrrs."
The boy had just come into the room after checking the upstairs and his face had gone quite pale. "Ranma, I-"
"What is it?"
Ryouga lifted the torn strips of clothing he'd found in his hand. "I found these."
Ranko-sensei's horror filled stories returned to him and he thought of pens with hundreds of people corralled within them. "Those sick," Ranma started to hiss as he clenched his fists and turned to a wall, "twisted," snarling, he pulled back and put his hand through the nearest solid object, "perrrverrrts!"
Ryouga was about to say something when he heard feet running in their direction. He hoped it was survivors, but the voices sounded alien.
"I heard someone."
The front door was knocked aside as a green man with a pulled back cranium wedged his way through the entrance. "Maybe the last girl in the picture," his tongue waggled lecherously. "We'd have a complete set!"
Ryouga was ready to sneak past the soldiers as weak as he felt. Dying now wouldn't do the girls any good. Ranma had other ideas as his rage gave him just enough strength to stalk the two beings.
"You'll die," Ranma growled coldly. He didn't even have enough ki to form his claws so he'd rip the two creatures apart with his bare hands.
The second man, a red skin insectoid that stood on two legs, turned to smirk at him. "Oh, and who are you, little boy?"
Ranma didn't waste time with responding. He quickly jumped the first soldier and stripped him of his rifle and shot it off in the creature's face. The other had been so startled that Ranma was able to rush forward and place the muzzle in his mouth just so he could glare straight into it's eyes. When he was done, Ranma tossed the rifle aside and walked angrily out of the home. "Let's go."
Sighing, Ryouga followed his friend and wondered where he'd seen such an animalistic expression before. But for now, they had to return to see who survived that blast and then kill the one responsible for turning their world into hell.
Not far from the center of the blast crater, a pile of rubble slowly shifted as the ocean began to rush inland. Vegita was slowly working his way free, his armor barely hanging off of his body. He was a mangled wreck with large open wounds and several broken bones.
He spat a mouthful of blood into the water and reached into his left glove hopefully. A small vial of green liquid had somehow survived his last fight. Popping the stopper off with his thumb, Vegita poured the foul solution down his throat and waited for his body to heal.
The water had already risen above his head, but the stone slab sitting on his leg prevented him from floating along with the water. To his great relief the healing liquid worked quickly and he was able to swim up to the surface.
"Those brats," Vegita bobbed in the water for a moment and looked about the area. Those gems had obviously been a trap. He would make them pay for that.
Glowing softly, Vegita raised himself out of the water and floated above it. "No more, Mr. Nice Saiyajin. You won't catch me like this twice, you little vermin. You aren't strong enough to survive!"
A blast like that, it would have killed him if he had not been powered up already. Getting through the Jurian force field had only fazed him for a moment, but it was easily knocked aside by someone of his power level. Vegita kept it up in order to catch the ex-pirate before she could teleport again, but that ended up being useless.
The group was good; he admitted that considering he could not find Napa's power signature anywhere. No one else had been able to deal with a Saiyajin like that before. Though he was a prince and not an ordinary Saiyajin warrior. Still, they were too weak to be of any real use. Those girls whose powers did not even register on his scouter might be useful if they had stronger attacks, but Vegita was certain he'd been hit with everything they had. If that was so then he would have to continue with his training and fulfill his orders.
Vegita landed near the area his ship had landed and glared at the saluting soldier. "Look for Jurian power. I want those weaklings found now."
"Yes, sir!" The fanged beast rushed off in a hurry. Saiyajin's were known to be violent when they were feeling temperamental. Of course, they were violent when they were happy too.
Walking around helped Vegita work out some of the kinks in his body. He headed into his vessel to find some new armor. Feeling the comfortable fit, Vegita raised his hand and felt a resurgence in his spirit. "Well, I feel my strength returning. Perhaps I should thank them for making things so amusing. This extra power should do just fine."
"Sir!" The same soldier returned and gave him a sharp salute. "We've found them! Prince Yosho and several other fighters are hiding out in the mountains. It looks like a training ground."
It was as Vegita expected. This was probably a special group of fighters trained just for them. "Let's not keep them waiting then." Vegita smirked as he felt the engines of the ship begin to warm up and then the whole craft begin to ascend. He left for the bridge to observe the end of this little war.
Breathing slowly and deeply, Cologne ignored her own pain while following the Saiyajin. "Yes, your destiny awaits," Cologne muttered darkly. She had to believe the others survived that blast or destroying Vegita would be a great deal more difficult.
Though ignored at first, the temple's luck wasn't bound to hold out for long. As the hours went by the invading army slowly spread throughout the city and finally reached the base of the Misaki shrine's mountain.
Thankfully, Washuu was ready for this too.
"Nah-nah! Can't hit me with your little guns!" The redhead taunted from the edge of the force field she had designed herself. A defensive net was now coming to life all around the temple grounds and blasting at any trespassers. Washuu bent over and mooned the soldiers on the other side. "Nobody defeats the great Washuu!"
Hidden within the trees, Mamoru sweat-dropped. "Is she trying to piss them off?"
Shampoo and Mousse were busy trying to ignore the display the redhead was making. It was a good distraction while they attacked the soldiers from behind. Mamoru followed a moment later, his magic making up for whatever skill the Amazons possessed. It was their job to help protect the temple as well as help their fellow fighters make it back into the area safely. He wanted to be out there with them just so he could protect Usagi. Instead he had to trust in the others like Tenchi, who was powerful enough to not be a liability. Mamoru trusted the other fighters after spending some time with them. He knew they had the spirits of heroes just like the Sailor Scouts.
The smirking redhead strutted away from the shield to find an anxious group of people huddled in the living room. She didn't know what to say to put them at ease so she just smiled as if everything were going her way. The ear piece of her scouter came to life and she heard Yosho's pained yet calm voice. "Washuu, we're back."
A sigh of elation escaped her lips when Washuu heard him. "Oh good. The others will follow you in. I will meet you in the lab."
The signal ended and Washuu waited by the alternate dimensional door she had place at one of the far ends of the temple grounds. Entering her lab she watched the door open and told the computer to prepare to help the injured.
Mamoru and the Amazons were assisting the group through the door eager to hear how things went. Shampoo grimaced while holding up Sailor Neptune who had a broken ankle. "Aiyah, sister-warriors look bad."
It was true. Each of the fighters looked tired and sore. The Scout's magic helped their recovery, but it was still slow going with the injuries they had sustained. Yosho was walking in with an injured side, but he still half-carried Akane through the door. Washuu could see the young Sailor Saturn lying exhausted in Sailor Jupiter's arms, likely after healing one of the more injured fighters.
Getting through the door, the Hidden Weapon's master rushed to Akane's side to help. "Give me your arm."
"Thanks, Mousse," Akane smiled in appreciation. Saturn's powers had healed much of her chest, but it still hurt to breath and things were very fuzzy.
Washuu had a few tables ready and a few medical pods for anyone with serious injuries. Thankfully those wouldn't be needed as Washuu's equipment would be enough to fix some broken bones and lacerated tissue. "What happened?"
Tenchi smirked as he held Ryouko over his back while she recovered from power shock. "Ryouko's gems exploded. I think they might have taken out Vegita."
Raising an eyebrow, the scientist headed over to her sensor table and shook her head. "Sorry. I've been monitoring power levels. He's still out there."
Akane hissed and pounded the table she rested on with her fists. "All of that for nothing."
"What about the other one?" Usagi asked hopefully.
"Gone," Yosho answered. Washuu confirmed it with a smile.
Mamoru and the Amazons cheered. They'd been told by Ranko that even killing one of them had been impossible in her time. "Is good, yes?"
Other fighters tried to look encouraged, but were too weary. Hotaru cried in her sleep before a shudder ran through her body. Neptune watched the girl with concern. "Saturn?"
"She'll be okay now," Washuu assured the girl as a comfortable bed floated into place. Hotaru curled about one of the pillows fearfully.
Others looked on while Washuu's machines helped them with their injuries and grimaced. Things were not going well even if they had been able to take down Napa. The Earth was falling quicker than they expected and winning now may not change anything especially with the losses they had already suffered.
"Any word from Cologne, Ranma, or Ryouga?"
Washuu stared at Akane for a moment and noticed that the three should have been with Akane and Yosho. "Nothing, but they may just be too weak to register on my sensors. There is still a bit of residual energy from the explosion. It could be masking their power."
Another long silence hung over the group as they considered what might have happened. That blast had been very big. Yosho, as far away as he had been, had only been able to partially shield Akane and himself. The Scouts had Tenchi to guard them, but no one had been there for Ranma, Ryouga, or Cologne. They were resourceful though. They had to have found a way to survive.
Sensors suddenly went off and Washuu cursed when she found the temple shields were starting to fail.
"Can't we get a break!" Mars screamed angrily. She and several others were heading to the dimensional door and headed for the Masaki living room.
The scouters started up as soon as they were outside of the lab. Yosho grimaced. "Something powerful is coming this way."
"Vegita," Ryouko growled. She found her daughter wailing in Nodoka's arms and feared the girl would be in danger.
Everyone noticed the energy barrier starting to flicker, especially Washuu with her light computer.
Yosho's sword came to life in a panic. "Tenchi!"
"I've got it," the boy responded with a deep breath. The Light Hawk Wings bent to his will and created a dome within the failing force field. It was just in time as Cold Army soldiers rushed in, only to bounce off of the new, blue barrier.
Already a strain could be seen building on the young boy's face. Yosho stared grimly at the forces waiting to kill them. "You won't be able to keep that up forever."
"Then you better hurry up and think of something," said Tenchi.
Outside a large ship settled onto the ground and twenty more soldiers filed out along with a very arrogant Saiyajin. They would leave in Ryo-oh-ki except she was still injured and would be picked off the second she took her ship form.
"Tsunami!" Sasami suddenly piped up. "I could ask for her help!"
Washuu shook her head. "No, Sasami. You heard what happened the last time. Your body is too young to handle Tsunami's power for long."
"But Washuu-san, I only need to do it for a second. Long enough to fix what's wrong with Meiou-sensei and then she can get rid of the Cold army!" Sasami pleaded.
Washuu did not like this and let it carry into her tone. "Sasami."
The young girl looked sadly at Tenchi when he shuddered. Vegita had started to add to the assault on the Light Hawk Wings. Ready for whatever fate awaited her, Sasami rushed for the closet. Washuu jerked in surprise and raced after her along with a few others. They didn't get very far as the two girls were already backing out of the room in shock.
Nodoka noticed the panicked looks and rushed to the young girl's side. "Sasami-chan? What is it?" The girl's lip trembled and she turned to put her bury her face against her auntie. Nodoka looked perplexed. "Washuu-chan?"
"Ranko," the scientist could barely get the word out. "She's gone."
The ground quaked and Tenchi fell to the ground breathing raggedly. Others looked out the doors to see the fallout of what must have been a truly powerful blast. The army had even pulled out a great distance. They could see Vegita's glowing form flying directly for them.
Sailor Moon shrieked and jumped into Mamoru's arms. "What was that?!"
"Tenchi!" Ryouga cried and picked up the boy's head and put him in her lap. She was ready to ask for some help when they disappeared in a column of light. The room was shocked when Yosho, Washuu, and Sasami disappeared at the same time.
Jupiter could feel her heart beating a hundred times a second as she whirled about for an attacker. "W-What's going on?! Where did they go?!"
Mousse was at the closet door immediately when blasts started going off around the home. "Quick! Everyone into the lab!"
Vegita smirked as he landed at the door. Sailor Mars was the closest and let loose with a dozen quick blasts to guard their retreat. Moon was at the door then stopped to stand with her friend. A second later Vegita had put his hand through the magical girl's chest and chortled at the look of despair in the blonde's face.
"Mars!" Moon cried out. She was caught by Mamoru before she rush out.
"Run, Sailor Moon!"
Shampoo was the last to enter the lab and sat down heavily beside Mousse when the door sealed itself. The world was no longer shaking, but with her nerves as jumpy as they were it was hard to tell. Mousse held her hand tenderly and this time she did not pull away. "We'll be okay in here for a little while."
Lying within the swirling mass of time, the endless possibilities of the future, a very lonely place to spend millennia, Sailor Pluto looked upon the Time Gates with a critical eye. There was destruction all around the world. The Scouts and the fighters Ranko had gathered were not enough to deal with it all. She had been expecting only two fighters to arrive. Maybe if that were still true then they would have won. Considering how things could have gone, the Scouts and the fighters did very well in taking Napa down so quickly.
The futures ahead of them were bleak, but many of them would not last long. Some were weeks of fighting, others were only days. One, the strand Pluto was trying to achieve, would only last several more hours. But even in that amount of time the Cold Army would have made its mark on the Earth. Millions of people will die, governments will topple, and the world could very well fall into chaos.
She watched her fellow Sailor Scouts make a stand in the temple and felt regret. This is the way it must go though. They had reached the pivotal point in her machinations where Crystal Tokyo would be assured or lost completely.
But she had the card that would change the game in her favor. The Saiyajins would die and the Scouts would be proclaimed heroes. The tides of time would flow about her hand.
Smiling lightly, Pluto looked back on the medical pod set up in her castle on Pluto. Inside, Ranko was resting, waiting for the time when her beloved Setsunna would bring her back to the world. With a wave of her staff, Pluto could speed up time for the redhead and allow her recovery to happen sooner.
"Very soon, all will be as I planned it," Pluto's chilled whisper cooed to the unconscious fighter.
End Chapter Four
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