Title: Lines of Destiny - Destiny's Intersection

Author: Shareon

Summary: A continuation of "Lines of Destiny" by L. Giroux, a Sailor Moon crossover with Ranma 1/2. Fallout from Sailor Terra's awakening continues as the lines of destiny draw to their inevitable conclusion. (Instructions to find "Lines of Destiny" included in the Author's Preface within, and the original outline is included after the last chapter.)

Author's Preface: I dislike prefaces, but the circumstances behind this story are special enough to warrant an explanation.

This is a continuation of "Lines of Destiny" by L. Giroux, a Ranma 1/2 and Sailor Moon crossover. "Lines of Destiny" was very possibly the story which launched that particular genre of fanfiction way back when in history, but even if it wasn't the very first such crossover ever, it was definitely one of the earlier and one of the better ones. Unfortunately it has long since been abandoned.

For a long time I've wondered how the rest of the story would play out if it had been finished, especially because I received a copy of the original author's outline which contained several interesting ideas. So I thought I would take it upon myself to finish it. For those interested, I've included a copy of that outline after the last chapter of this story, although it obviously includes massive spoilers for this continuation, so use your discretion in reading it.

When I had started this project I actually didn't have official permission from L. Giroux to write this. Since that time, with the assistance of a very helpful reader, I have since been contacted by somebody claiming to be (and who I have no reason to doubt is) the original author. That person has given official blessing to release it. I have also gotten permission from Konsaki, the author of "Fated Pasts, Chaotic Future," which is a rewrite of "Lines of Destiny."

I have not actually read "Fated Pasts, Chaotic Future." However I am basing this story off of the outline I mentioned earlier, so depending on what direction and how far Konsaki got in that rewrite there may be some overlap. Given how in correspondence with Konsaki, he/she mentioned how my writing this would be okay as it would be like a stream forking in the forest with a similar source but different paths, I suspect there may not be too much overlap.

Unlike "Fated Pasts, Chaotic Future," I am not rewriting the entire story. That would take far too much time, and I'm personally more interested in what happened after L. Giroux left off. I'm also not re-posting the original "Lines of Destiny" as doing so would be against the content guidelines for this site. Fortunately the story is still accessible online. If I ever find out that "Lines of Destiny" has entirely disappeared from the Internet I may try to contact a site administrator again to find out what, if anything, could be done in that case.

If you are looking for the original "Lines of Destiny," the best way to do so would be to search on a popular search engine for the "Internet Archive" and once there, find at the history of the address the original story was previously hosted at: "http(colon)(slash)(slash) . (slash)~dragon(slash)lines(slash) ". The reason I'm being a bit indirect with these instructions is that this site also automatically filters out addresses, even dead ones like the one above. Incidentally, if anybody knows the official policy on this site in regard to re-posting that work, which I didn't write, under my account name here, please let me know.

Regardless of how you find it, though, you will need to have read "Lines of Destiny" for what follows to make sense. There is a reason I'm starting on chapter 13 rather than chapter 1.

Finally, as I said earlier, this is something of a fanfiction of a fanfiction. As such I am considering "Lines of Destiny" to be canon in addition to the Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2 universes, with one caveat. The Internet Archive version of "Lines of Destiny" includes a prologue of a revised version of "Lines of Destiny" which was written approximately three years after chapter 12 was released. Seeing how the file name of that prologue does not match the naming convention of the other chapters, seeing the how text on that page has the prologue in a separate section than the others and emphasizes that the "Lines of Destiny" which had been released thus far was the "OLD VERSION," and given the timeline involved, I am interpreting the prologue as the introduction of a never released rewrite of "Lines of Destiny" with a substantially different focus and plot. As such I am not considering the prologue in the same universe as the other chapters, and thus not canon for purposes of this continuation.

With all of that said, let's see if we can finally finish this story.

Chapter 13:

The people of Juuban were well versed in how to handle monsters. It was simple, be it daemon, youma, alien, or whatever else. Monster shows up; people make themselves scarce. They run away doubly quickly if the Sailor Senshi showed up as well and blasts of magic started flying through the air. The fact that this most recent monster was a demon made no difference. By the time that the battle was over the bustling center of commerce and social activity that had been the mall had been transformed into a desolate battlefield.

There was a good reason that people of Juuban were so well versed. The mall was a complete mess, looking appropriately enough like several major earthquakes had hit it. Multiple walls had large holes in them where Mordecai, Ranma, or Sailor Terra had been knocked bodily through them, and more than one store would be claiming insurance for supernatural damages today. It was just another aspect of life that those who lived in Juuban had grown accustomed to.

In the center of all the destruction the dark-skirted Sailor Pluto was pointing her staff at a crater of gravel, beneath which the battered body of the Arch-Demon Mordecai was quickly dematerializing.

Sailor Uranus, one of the six visible people still remaining in the mall, was shocked by what she had seen. She could count on two hands the number of times Sailor Pluto had actually joined combat personally, and never before had she attacked with the obvious malice she had just exhibited. On the other hand Setsuna had surprised her and Michiru earlier with the amount of emotion she had shown in regard to Ranma, and that thing had just hurt Sailor Terra as badly as any of the Sailor Senshi had been injured in the past without being outright killed.

A quick glance around found Sailor Terra currently being healed by Sailor Saturn. That was a relief to Sailor Uranus. Under Sailor Saturn's care she was sure that her unwilling but potential new ally would live, no matter how grievous her injuries were.

With that issue well in hand Sailor Uranus turned back to Sailor Pluto, the clench of hope, fear, and anxiety gripping her. Far different than the adrenaline-filled fear of combat which demanded action, any action no matter how foolhardy it might be, the fear of the unknown told her to stop, wait, think things through. Sailor Pluto had said she was going to check the Gates of Time to discover more about what had happened to Michiru, and Sailor Uranus was eager to find out that everything had been a big misunderstanding and her lover could be cured posthaste.

She cast a quick glance at Sailor Neptune, waiting for her to approach the Guardian of Time and discover her fate. It was her right and her responsibility to find out. But Sailor Neptune wasn't moving.

As the seconds passed Sailor Uranus became increasingly convinced that Sailor Neptune wasn't going to actually ask the question she knew had to be forefront in her mind. She was about to relieve her lover of that burden by stepping forward and asking the question herself when the moment was lost.

"You're Pluto, aren't you?" a figure declared as much as asked as it approached Sailor Pluto. It took a second for Sailor Uranus to recognize, but it quickly resolved itself into the untransformed figure of Akane.

"Yes I am," Sailor Pluto answered. She had relaxed her stance from when she had destroyed the Arch-Demon. Her face now held an impassive mask on it.

"I thought so. You haven't changed a bit since the Silver Millennium," Akane said, easily making herself heard over the faint and distant sirens promising the approach of emergency personnel.

"Thank you. I'm sorry I can't say the same for you," Sailor Pluto responded with a half-smile. It was impossible to tell if she was being facetious or not.

"I have some questions for you," Akane declared.

"You're welcome to ask, although I might not answer," Sailor Pluto said.

"You know what happened yesterday, right?" Akane asked directly.

"What do you mean? A lot of things happened yesterday," Sailor Pluto asked back.

"I'm starting to remember why Kanma didn't like you very much in the past," Akane softly muttered to herself. If Sailor Pluto heard her she gave no indication. Then in a louder voice she said, "I mean about my husband."

"What about him?" Sailor Pluto asked.

Akane pressed on, asking "You know about his curse right?"

"I know that he transforms into a woman with cold water, if that is what you're referring to," Sailor Pluto said.

"Right, his curse," Akane agreed. "Yesterday at the shrine, there was a cure for it, but there was a problem and it ended up splashing Kaioh-san and cursing her instead of curing Ranma."

"I know of the events you describe," Sailor Pluto said.

"Can you go back and fix it, so Ranma gets the cure instead of Kaioh-san?" Akane asked.

Sailor Uranus held her breath waiting for a reply. While it was true that Setsuna had denied their request earlier today, she had also visited the Gates of Time since then. There was always a chance that she had seen something to make her change her mind. Her hands clenched themselves into fists in nervousness for the reply.

"No," Sailor Pluto said.

The simple word dashed away that fleeting chance. Sailor Uranus noticed tears quietly start to fall from her partner's eyes and moved closer, holding her dear.

"Why not?" Akane asked, visibly trying to control her anger. "My husband gets cured. Your teammate avoids getting cursed. Why can't you do this?"

"I've already spoken with my teammates, but I'll tell you the same thing I told them. It only concerns a few people, and you're not one of them," Sailor Pluto calmly answered.

"What do you mean I'm not one of them? My husband is lying there," Akane pointed at the battered form of Sailor Terra, still being healed by Sailor Saturn, "practically killed by that thing, and you're saying that this doesn't concern me?" She was shouting now, and at a volume loud enough that Sailor Uranus wouldn't have been surprised if people even outside the building could hear it.

"I can't help you, and I can't explain why I can't help you. All I'll tell you is that there are bigger things in motion here, and Saotome-san was not destined to get in contact with that Nannichuan water," Sailor Pluto said. Her calm voice stood in stark contrast with Akane's angry shouting, making it difficult to hear her over the rapidly approaching sirens

"Are you trying to tell me that he has to be cursed? What does it matter except for his life and Kaioh-san's life if they are cursed or not?" Akane continued to yell in accusation.

"It's exactly like I said. There are bigger things in motion now, and I can't help you," Sailor Pluto said, emphasizing the last four words.

Sailor Uranus expected Sailor Pluto to repeat what she had told her and Michiru earlier about the designs of Jusenkyo and how little knowledge and control she supposedly had, but Sailor Pluto didn't.

"Of course. Far be it for the great Sailor Pluto, the Guardian of Time, to go and make a minor change to help everybody. There are bigger things in motion now. It's just too much work for her isn't it?" Akane mocked. "In fact, you were probably involved with making sure the cure was ruined in the first place, weren't you? That's right. It all makes sense now, doesn't it? You probably set the whole thing up just to make sure Ranma wouldn't get that water and Kaioh-san got hit instead! That's why you won't fix things! You don't want to undo all of your hard work!"

Behind Akane, Sailor Uranus gasped. She hadn't really thought that Sailor Pluto would do something so diabolical. However Setsuna had been extremely worried before about the possibility of Ranma being cured, and with her access to the Gates of Time she could have done exactly what Akane was accusing her of.

As quickly as the idea formed in her mind she shouted it down. Setsuna had shown absolutely no idea what was wrong when she had come home yesterday. More importantly, Michiru was part of her team, and moreover was her friend. Haruka knew better than anybody that Setsuna, and indeed all of the Sailor Senshi, stood up for their friends, no matter what. Even to the death. More than just words, they had actually proved that in the past.

"I had nothing to do with what happened yesterday. Like I said twice now, there is more going on than you realize and I cannot interfere. You can choose not to believe me if you want. However, I see Terra there is well enough to be safely moved, and the police are on their way. I would suggest we leave before they arrive," Sailor Pluto concluded. Not waiting for an answer she started to walk off. As she did so, she said over her shoulder, "By the way, you really should transform yourself before talking to the Sailor Senshi. You never know who might be listening in, and it wouldn't do for your relationship to us to be found out."

"Wait! We aren't done here! You haven't..." Akane shouted, but she was interrupted by Sailor Uranus grabbing her arm.

"She's right, we have to leave. We'll meet up at the shrine. Come on, I think they'll need help to move," Sailor Uranus said.

So saying, Sailor Uranus went over and picked up the still battered but no longer in critical condition Sailor Terra.

Sailor Neptune had wiped away her tears and helped Tuxedo Kamen to his feet, letting him lean on her. Healing Sailor Terra and then facing the onslaught of the Arch-Demon earlier had left him absolutely drained and it was quite obvious any adrenaline rush he had been experiencing was long over by now.

Sailor Saturn was able to climb to her feet herself, but the effort spent healing Sailor Terra had taken an obvious toll, so Akane went over to help her former and rediscovered sister.

As the seven people departed from the mall, a hidden and unnoticed Happosai silently watched them leave. He would give them several minutes head-start before leaving in an entirely different direction. Avoiding any emergency service personnel who entered the mall would be trivial for him, and he didn't want to take any chances of being discovered by any of the people he had just overheard. Besides that he had a lot to think about, what with processing what he had just learned and contemplating what his next steps could be in light of this new information.

Ranma snapped to attention and found himself in a scenic countryside valley, complete with grassy hills in the background and some picturesque pools in front. It was a place he knew all too well. Jusenkyo.

It looked different than he remembered it. Most of the bamboo stalks in the pools were broken and many of the pools themselves were dark. Some even had a red tinge which could have been blood. The sky was covered with ominous dark clouds, although a blue sky could be seen peeking through at points.

He wasn't sure how long he had been standing in a daze before he had come to himself. Maybe seconds. Maybe hours. All he remembered was defeating Mordecai with the help of Sailor Uranus's power and then falling in a painful slump over what had been left of Mordecai's body. After that it was all hazy until he realized that he was in this valley.

Given his recent history and the fact that he was no longer female, let alone Sailor Terra, Ranma guessed that this was a dream. That meant that most likely Akana would be around here somewhere. Maybe she was even over the strangeness of their last dream meeting.

He looked around and quickly spotted the girl standing in a pool, holding one of the broken bamboo stalks for support while she wiped down her arms. With sudden recognition Ranma realized it wasn't just a pool; it was the pool. The pool where he, or rather she, had drowned 8000 years ago. The pool where his life had taken its horrible turn two years ago. Nyannichuan.

"This was the last place I saw Kanma alive," Akana said, her voice full of emotion. She didn't even look up.

"This was the last place for lots of things," Ranma agreed, half-averting his eyes to give Akana a modicum of privacy. "Pools of Sorrow, indeed."

Both Akana and Ranma were silent after this as Akana kept washing herself in the pool, each lost in thought.

"Is that really safe?" Ranma finally asked in concern, keeping his distance from the pools.

"Of course it is. It's just a dream after all. It's not like it can curse you. See?" Akana splashed some water from a side pool onto Ranma. "It's not like you're going to turn into a spider or anything now."

"Gee, thanks," said the now wet martial artist. It also meant that he couldn't use it to cure his curse. So much for that idea. "Can you put some clothes on? It's embarrassing to talk to you like this."

"Why? It's not like you haven't seen this before countless of times," Akana teased him, striking a pose. Ranma still kept his eyes semi-averted.

"Spoilsport. You're no fun," Akana said. She did do as he asked, though, and climbed out of the pool. The next thing Ranma knew she was wearing a flowing cerulean and caramel dress. One of the formal dresses of the Terran royal family his memories automatically told him.

Now that Ranma could take a closer look at Akana he noticed something he hadn't seen before. He asked, "What's going on with you? You look a little faded."

"So you noticed too? I think I'm disappearing. I hadn't fully put myself back together last time, and that battle with Mordecai drained a lot of our energy and almost killed us. I don't think I'll be able to last much longer. I mean just look at this place. It's a mess. Even Endymion's link is weak," Akana said, gesturing towards the sky where only a couple of rays of sunlight were peeking through the clouds.

"Why the face?" Akana asked, responding to Ranma's reaction. "I told you last time that I was probably going to disappear at some point, although I'll admit I didn't think it would be quite this early. Don't tell me you're going to miss me?"

Now that he was paying attention, Ranma could actually see Akana slowly, very slowly, fading away.

"Of course not. It's great news. You've been nothing but trouble. This whole Sailor Senshi thing is a nightmare I can't wait to get rid of," Ranma said. His dour face stood in stark contrast to his words.

"You shouldn't lie. I can tell you know," Akana chastised him with a sad smile. "Don't worry, I'll always be a part of you, even if you can't talk to me anymore. We are the same person after all. But thank you. I know it hasn't been easy for you, but I'm glad to be free of that accursed spring and that our soul is no longer fragmented."

The conversation faltered again as the pair of them once again fell into some quiet contemplation about what could have been and what actually was.

"By the way," Ranma asked, eager again to break the silence that fell between them in what might be their last conversation, "what was that thing that Mamoru did earlier. He somehow healed my arms."

"I don't know. Maybe he's remembering some Psi-Techs from the past as well. That was one of the techniques we figured out earlier in our development," Akana said.

Memories of scraping her knee after a particularly bad trip. Crying. Endymion reaching out. A flare of energy. Her suddenly feeling better.

Akana caught Ranma's frown at her answer and said, "It's not like I have all the answers. I only know more about the past than you do, and I'm not even sure that's true anymore."

"So you don't know what the story is with Kaioh getting cursed?" Ranma asked. He had been hoping that she would be able to shed some light on the matter.

"I'm not sure. We didn't know anything about Jusenkyo in the past or I would have listened to Kanma and never entered that accursed valley. For that matter I doubt Nephrite would have dumped our body in one of the pools if he had known about it either," Akana said bitterly. The pain of betrayal hadn't faded in the least over the past 8000 years, and the tone came through clearly.

Ranma continued his original train of thought by saying, "It's funny, though. Of all the people it could have landed on, Kaioh is probably the worst one. Akane would have been upset but at least it would have made us match in some sense, and from what I can tell Tenoh wouldn't have had much of a problem. It probably would have helped Luna and Artemis," Ranma flinched twice mentioning their names, "being able to take on a human form if need be, and of course Mamoru would have been unaffected."

"Actually it could have been worse. It could have landed on the Princess. Kaioh-san has Tenoh-san to support her too. If it had happened to somebody like our cousin then she would have had to explain it to her family and then worry about how any future boyfriends would take it. I'm sure you know how hard it is to find somebody who can accept the curse," Akana said.

Ranma did get a bit of a warm glow at the thought of Rei having to deal with a curse of her own after she had accusingly asked him what was so bad about turning into a girl, but then guilty quashed that thought. He wouldn't wish a curse upon anybody, no matter how non-understanding they seemed on the surface.

"Still, it's strange, though," Akana continued. Her voice was starting to fade away at this point, matching her semi-translucent body. "Azalene probably would have sought out a curse like this back in her old life. I guess a lot of things have changed with everybody's reincarnation, and past lives aren't a good reflection of how things are in the present."

"Except Neptune and Uranus still got together. Some things never change," Ranma answered.

"Unlike us and Kanma," Akana said under her breath. Ranma knew that Akana still thought that Akane was Kanma, but appreciated the fact that she didn't actually say it out loud, given his thoughts on the matter. She continued in a louder, albeit fading, tone, "A good thing for her, too. Kaioh-san is going to need all the support she can get. Not only from Tenoh-san, but from Saturn and Pluto too, whoever they are."

"Where is Pluto anyway?" Ranma asked. "As I remember she watched things from the Gates of Time. Why didn't she stop this before it happened? Why doesn't she go back and stop all of this?"

"Well Pluto was always forbidden from actually interfering with the timeline. It's part of the responsibility of being the guardian of the Gates of Time. Even her existence was a state secret, although that didn't stop all of the rumors. I don't think she could help even if she wanted to, despite what all those conspiracy theories said," Akana said.

"Yeah," Ranma agreed. "It always did seem like she was the recipient of some of the worst rumors. I can't believe that some people actually thought she was behind Nemesis and the asteroid belt."

"People just fear those with power. Just look at the rumors they said about Serenity, and there is no way she would willingly hurt anybody. If you consider that many people actually think that Pluto has even more power than Serenity with the Gates of Time, it's not surprising some of the nasty things they said about her behind closed doors. It didn't help that Pluto was always so reclusive too. Did anybody ever meet her?" Akana said.

"I don't know. I don't think so, although Yonagi met a mysterious person claiming to represent Pluto several times. For that matter, so did the other Sailor Senshi, Endymion, and, of course, Serenity," Ranma said.

"Never us, though," Akana said. "I wonder why we were left out."

A bright shaft of light pierced down from the sky, interrupting their conversation. Both Ranma and the ghostly remains of Akana turned towards the intrusion. It burned through the clouds, leaving plain blue sky behind it. Everywhere it touched showed signs of revitalization. Brown grass turned a lush green, dark red pools turned clear, and bamboo stalks repaired to a whole state in its wake.

"What's that?" Ranma asked.

"I'd guess that that's Saturn healing us," Akana answered. "See? Everything it touches seems so much better. Even the link to Endymion is strengthening, even if it seems like he's kind of exhausted."

The sky was mostly clear now and the sun Ranma had come to associate with Mamoru shined clearly but with a muted cold paleness it hadn't exhibited last time he had dreamed of it in the setting of the Tendo Dojo.

"I think it's time for me to go. Goodbye Ranma. Be sure to take care of Akane, she really does love you, you know? Don't let the possibility of Kanma's being reborn ruin things with her. That was another life. Also give Mamoru a chance, for me. He deserves better than this. More importantly, you deserve better than this too," Akana said. She gave Ranma a gentle kiss on the cheek and stepped away again.

Then, without a backwards glance, Akana turned and starting running towards the pools, displaying amazing grace and agility despite the ornate dress she wore. She took a running leap and dived elegantly into the Nyannichuan pool. Just as the last of her feet disappeared the large shaft of light struck it. The broken bamboo stalk Akana had been holding when Ranma had seen her earlier reformed into its full size, and then the beam of light moved on.

Ranma cautiously approached the Nyannichuan pool, being careful not to fall into any other pools just in case. They might not be cursed, but still he didn't want to fall in and get soaked. As he approached, the water's surface remained still and motionless.

Finally he reached the pool and looked in.

It was empty.

"Goodbye, Akana," he whispered.

He fought back the tears threatening to come to his eyes.

She was just his cursed form, he told himself. She was the source of all of his problems for the past two years. She was the cause of his current predicament with the Sailor Senshi. In fact she was already long dead, 8000 years ago.

He wouldn't cry for her. He wouldn't.

Sailor Terra woke up, tears quietly leaking from her eyes.

A quick glance around told her she was back at the Hikawa Shrine. She was surrounded by several of the Sailor Senshi. Sailor Saturn was currently next to her, hands outstretched for the healing she was still performing. Behind her were Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, and that strange woman in Saturnian Guard armor. To Sailor Terra's left were Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Tuxedo Kamen.

Sailor Terra reached up with her gloved hand and wiped the tears away from her face.

Sailor Saturn noticed her movement and said, "I'll be finished healing you in a second. Be careful. You took a lot of damage. You'll probably still be a bit sore for a while even after I'm done."

"I feel fine. Thanks," Sailor Terra said, waving Sailor Saturn away. She could see the beginnings of exhaustion marking her face.

"Still think you don't need any help?" Sailor Mars asked. Her voice could have been considered accusative if not for the obvious concern in it.

Sailor Terra gave a small laugh. She declared confidently, "I beat it, didn't I?"

"Yes, with some help," Sailor Uranus added.

"Some help," Sailor Terra repeated mockingly. "You and Neptune could barely hit that guy, and Tuxedo Kamen didn't do that much either."

"We distracted that creature and saved you. Twice. You didn't even finish it off. It survived your attack. It was Pluto who really killed it for good," Sailor Uranus retorted harshly.

"I'd have found a way. I don't lose," Sailor Terra said. Upon further reflection, she qualified that statement, "At least not when it really matters. Why can't you leave me alone? It's what the Princess said, remember?"

"You can't be serious. What did you expect us to do? Save everybody else, but leave one of our own to be killed right in front of us?" Sailor Uranus asked exasperated. "What about Tuxedo Kamen? Should he just let his sister die right in front of his face? What do you take us for?"

"Sister? See, that's what I mean. You still think I'm just some frilly little princess who was reincarnated, happy to play dress up and prance around in a short skirt. Well I'm nobody's sister, and I'm not who you think I am. Do you know how much trouble this curse," Sailor Terra emphasized that word as she sat up, "has caused me?"

"But you are his sister. Maybe not his sister now, but you used to be. Didn't you say it yourself? Akana was your past life? Your soul was reunited at Jusenkyo? Why can't you just accept that? Remember what grandpa said? What you have isn't a curse. He doesn't know anything about the Sailor Senshi but even he can tell that this was meant to be," Sailor Mars said.

"Then I suppose you're all happy for Azalene aren't you?" Sailor Terra accused, biting out the name harshly.

Sailor Saturn gasped at the accusation.

Sailor Venus turned to Sailor Mars and asked, "Who's Azalene?"

Sailor Mars shrugged her shoulders in response.

Sailor Terra completely ignored the exchange and went on, "After all, everybody knows how much she hated acting like a girl and how much happier she would have been if she had been a boy. I'm sure she's thrilled at the prospect of being a boy now, not having to dress up and attend all those balls. In fact you're probably thinking of staying a boy for good, aren't you? I bet you're so happy now that your wish has finally been fulfilled by getting cursed, Neptune. No wait, I'm sorry, I meant to say getting blessed by that magical wish-granting water."

Sailor Neptune broke down and starting crying again at Sailor Terra's accusations.

Sailor Uranus took Sailor Neptune's hand and hugged her, glaring daggers at Sailor Terra.

Sailor Terra was so caught up in her anger that she didn't even notice.

"That's not the same," Sailor Venus protested. "Neptune..."

"Of course it's the same!" Sailor Terra shouted, interrupting her. "You're all talking about how happy I should be about getting cursed. How thrilled I should be to be one of the chosen ones to be a Sailor Senshi. How ecstatic I should be to be the long-lost sister of the Prince of the Earth. Well why should I? Why do you all feel so sorry for Neptune but expect me love my curse?"

Tuxedo Kamen took her reference to the Prince of Earth as an opportunity to cut in and try to diffuse the situation. "I never said you were my sister. Well, I did, but that was before I knew better. I'm sorry. I'm not, I mean, we're not trying to force you to be anybody you are not. However, that was really uncalled for."

Sailor Terra blinked to herself twice. She felt her anger slowly drain away with Tuxedo Kamen's words, undoubtedly due in no small part to their empathic sibling relationship. As her anger disappeared the haze of rage which had unconsciously covered her vision gradually faded away as well. She looked over and noticed the woman she had been pointing at earlier. Remembering her promise to her mother she swore slightly to herself.

She walked over to the crying Sailor Neptune and put an arm on her back. Then for the second time in as many days, she said, "I'm sorry. I didn't really mean that. I shouldn't have said that. I just meant, I mean that Azalene's gone. You're a different person now. And I'm not Akana. Akana's gone now too, and I'm not her, any more than you are Azalene. But, I mean, you shouldn't have been cursed, and I wouldn't wish that on anybody, and that was wrong of me to say."

Sailor Neptune murmured out some form of apology acceptance.

Sailor Uranus was still glaring at Sailor Terra.

"You're right. I'm sorry as well," Sailor Venus apologized. Her voice sounded small compared to the emotion filled shouting from before. "But that still doesn't explain why you don't want our help."

"You only want to help me because you want me to join your little troop in your big game of save the world. Well I'm not going to, and I don't need your help," Sailor Terra said.

"You're my cousin. I'd help you regardless. We help regular people all the time. Besides, the Princess already promised you that we'd leave you alone if you want us to, and don't tell me you don't trust her. So what's the real reason? What are you so afraid of? Why won't you admit you need help?" Sailor Mars asked.

"I already told you, I'm the best. I don't need any help. I know how this goes. It's happened enough times before. Somebody finds some a magic ladle, or a wishing sword, or a treasure map, or a damned eight-headed dragon. Then sooner or later Akane gets kidnapped and we have to go on a big death-defying adventure to save her. Well I'm not putting her through that again, I promised her that, and if I get involved with you then that's exactly what's going to happen," Sailor Terra said.

"So the only reason is her then?" Sailor Mars asked.

"She doesn't know anything about this and that's exactly how it's going to stay. If you start showing up all the time, how long do you think it will be before Akane puts two and two together? It took a long time to get over that fiancee mess in Nerima and I'm not starting it up again by running around with a bunch of girls. She's too important to me for that and I'm not letting this get in the way of our marriage," Sailor Terra insisted.

"What if she were already involved?" the woman in the Saturnian Guard armor asked, stepping forward. "What if she thought you should help them? Then what would you do?"

Sailor Terra gave derisive laugh, and then scoffed, "Yeah right. I know Akane. She always hated all of the strangeness in my life, in our life, since I showed up at her house. I should know. She blamed me enough times for it," Sailor Terra said, rubbing her head in phantom pain and completely missing the look on the woman's face. "There's no way she would be involved with any of this."

The woman gave a small sigh and then de-transformed out of the armor, taking the civilian form of Akane. The woman said, "Well, I think you should help them, Ranma. While I appreciate what you were saying, I can take care of myself, and helping them is the right thing to do."

Sailor Terra gasped and was left speechless for a second. Then she said, "That's just sick. You'd go that far? Imitating Akane just to try and get me to help? Who are you, really?"

"I am Akane," the Akane lookalike insisted.

Sailor Terra thought back to what Akana had suggested about how Saturn Knight might have been Akane, but she still didn't want to believe it. "No way you're Akane. She doesn't know anything about any of this," Sailor Terra said.

"What do you want me to do, hit you on the head with a mallet to prove it?" the woman asked, pulling out a mallet as she said this. She had an impish smile on her face.

Sailor Terra turned to Sailor Mars and said, "What did you do to her? There's no way Akane would be like this."

It was Akane who answered, "They didn't do anything to me. Actually I'm a reincarnation too it seems. Strange, isn't it? Me, of all people."

"In fact she's my brother. Sister now," Sailor Saturn added.

"That's right. You see I'm already involved so you should take their help. Happosai was never an easy person to deal with, and it seems like he's even more out of control now. We need all the help we can get, and I don't see why we shouldn't get their help if they are willing to offer it," Akane said.

"I'll tell you the same thing I told them. I can take care of myself. I've already killed a lot of those demons, or whatever they're called, since coming to Juuban. You'll remember that that was the first thing which greeted us at the train station. I can handle myself," Sailor Terra insisted.

"You're kidding, right? I saw what happened at the mall. You transformed into Sailor Terra, and even then you still almost got killed," Akane said, her tone rising.

"Exactly. Almost got killed. Another monster dead and I win again. Even without this crutch I'd have figured something out," Sailor Terra said arrogantly.

"You're only fine because you were healed twice, both by Tuxedo Kamen and by Sailor Saturn!" Akane shouted back. "Do you know how badly you were hurt, even with their help? You'd be dead now if not for them."

"I've been through worse in the past. Kumon, Taro, and Herb. Even," Sailor Terra hesitated for a second, "Saffron. I beat them all in the end. I managed so far, and I don't see why it can't stay that way."

"Don't go all macho on me. I know what really happened. You beat them, sure, but if you'll recall you had help back then too. Who was it who distracted Taro when he was about to bash your head in? Who held open the crack the Kaisuifuu fell into? Who released the waters of Jusendo? Don't try to tell me you did everything by yourself," Akane challenged.

The other people present looked back and forth between husband and wife, only catching bits and fragments of what they were referring to.

"That's different. Ryouga, Mousse, Cologne, all of them are martial artists. Of course they helped me. I'd have done the same for them. It's not the same with these people," Sailor Terra said, pointing to the people surrounding her. "I'm not getting stuck with them, and I'm not going to take their help."

"Why not?" Akane asked.

"You should know why. I just want to get cured. You know how much I want to get cured, how long I've looked for a cure. You saw how close I was to a cure, if only Happosai hadn't interfered. I just want out of the madness," Sailor Terra said. "I thought you understood. I thought you wanted out too. Isn't that what we kept telling each other? Isn't that what you said after we came here?"

When Akane said nothing, Sailor Terra continued. "What happened? Why do you want me to stay like this? You already have two sisters, why do you need a third one? Who cares? Actually, how long have you known about this? As I recall, it was you who originally suggested Mizuharo University. Don't tell me you knew about this all along? Oh, I can see it all now. Conspiring with them about how to get me here, coincidentally meeting up Mamoru, and the Princess. What about that meeting with Tenoh and Kaioh? Did you call ahead and make sure we'd just happened to meet at that cafe? You probably even tipped off Happosai about the cure. After all you just want me to be part of your happy little family, and I can't do that if I happen to get cured along the way now can I?"

"No, it's nothing like that. How can you say that? I just found out a few days ago about me being Saturn Knight, I swear. I want you to be cured as much as anything. More than anything. You know me better than that," Akane rushed out.

Sailor Terra de-transformed, reverting back to her ordinary female form, and said, "I thought I knew you. Apparently I was wrong. I'm leaving. I'll be moving our stuff to our new apartment. I'm not sure where you'll be, though, and frankly, I don't care."

"Ranma," Tuxedo Kamen started, but Ranma was already leaping away before he could continue.

"Ranma," Akane echoed, reaching out to the rapidly retreating martial artist.

So Ranma was one of those Sailor Senshi. That answered a lot of Happosai's questions, the foremost one being how Ranma had been able to defeat that first demon. He wasn't too surprised. That boy seemed to attract magic like a magnet. From what Happosai had seen, he wouldn't have been surprised if one day Ranma was kidnapped and ended up on an alien interstellar space ship, or was transformed into a Norse god. Or more likely transformed into a goddess knowing Ranma's luck, he thought to himself with a laugh.

That information didn't help Happosai very much, though. That first demon he had sent after Ranma had been about the strongest demon he could summon safely, using his own loose definition of that word. Mordecai was about the strongest demon he could summon at all. It had almost worked, but Happosai had seen how the boy and his pesky allies had handled him. Ranma had access to some seriously strong magic, and Happosai just didn't know what to do about it.

Deep down Happosai knew Ranma was a better martial artist than himself. He had actually gone to the trouble of naming the boy his official heir to Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu once he died, decades from now if he had any say in the matter. Still it galled him to no end that the boy gave him no respect willingly, and that Happosai couldn't force Ranma to respect him either. A small part of him argued that he had done nothing worthy of respect, but he had long ago learned to ignore that part of himself and paid it no attention.

Happosai just wanted the boy to leave him alone in his harmless pastimes, to prostrate himself on both knees and beg for forgiveness for interfering in the past, and to publicly acknowledge that Happosai was a better fighter than himself and always would be. Was that really too much to ask for?

A more reasonable person would have just given up at this point. A more reasonable person would have realized there was nothing to gain by trying to continue to punish Ranma. A more reasonable person would have realized that befriending Ranma and teaching him directly would have guaranteed the ascendancy of Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu for at least a generation, and probably two more after that.

A more reasonable person didn't run around having fun by groping women and stealing their underwear.

This left Happosai with a problem, namely how to subjugate Ranma. He had done some research about the Sailor Senshi since the time that red-skirted girl had literally lit him on fire, and he couldn't think of anything which could get past them to Ranma and still be able to hurt him, especially if he was a Sailor Senshi himself as well as he apparently was. Forget teaching him a lesson, this was personal pride and revenge now.

He had tried his biggest gun and it had failed. It hadn't been without effect, but still it had failed. Even if he could summon another Arch-Demon, there was no reason to think it would be any more successful than the last one had been. In fact there was every reason to think it would be even less successful, given how good Ranma was at adapting to new enemies.

No. What this required was a whole new strategy.

If summoning a single behemoth didn't work then what other options were there? He could try to swarm Ranma. The boy was more accustomed to fighting one-on-one, and fighting Moose, Ryouga, and Kuno simultaneously had overwhelmed Ranma in the past.

Yes, that was a good idea. Even if the Sailor Senshi were able to handle some demons, if he summoned a lot of them then they wouldn't be able to handle them all. A group would get past them, get to Ranma, and he would have his revenge.

However Happosai didn't have anything like that available. He had several magical scrolls and a few random artifacts, but nothing which could summon a truly large number of demons.

No matter, though. Happosai was the grandmaster of Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu, and Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu prided itself on adaptability and being able to incorporate unrelated aspects together into one cohesive seamless pantheon to achieve success, be it to defeat an enemy, to acquire free food, or to summon a veritable army of monsters to take revenge on an upstart boy.

He'd figure something out. He always did.

Coming up a plan to enact revenge upon Ranma was the easy part. Actually enacting this revenge was far more difficult for Happosai. It took him several days before he managed to come up with a solution to this particular dilemma.

He knew what he wanted to do. He just didn't have the proper resources. He had only a couple more demon summoning scrolls, not nearly enough to summon the attack swarm he wanted. For that matter, each time in the past he had summoned a demon it had simply glowered over him while he gave his instructions and then bounded off once he was finished. They weren't known for their patience, and he doubted he could actually keep one demon waiting while he summoned more. Likewise he lacked both the knowledge and the power to summon multiple demons in a single shot.

This thought process led him to the solution of summoning a single demon and having that demon in turn summon more demons. A demon would certainly have both the knowledge and capabilities to summon more. Happosai would summon that first demon, use the power the summoning gave over it to have it summon more demons, and then he could order those demons to humiliate Ranma.

His only remaining question was how much of an injury he wanted Ranma to sustain. He wanted Ranma hurt badly enough for it to be a lesson to not cross him, but he didn't want Ranma outright dead or in a position where he couldn't take over the school once he recovered. He only wanted an extremely long recovery, maybe on the order of months to years.

The plan firmly established in his mind, Happosai went through his collection of magical tomes, scrolls, and artifacts to find the most appropriate spell. He then collected the components necessary for the summoning and brought them to the abandoned warehouse he had found earlier which would serve as the staging ground for his grand plan. Once the components were laid out and ready to be used, he started the ceremony.

The first thing Happosai did was draw a glyph on the floor in white chalk. It was identical to the picture in the scroll in his opinion, even if he had to squint a bit to get them to match up just right. True the scroll had said to use the charcoal left from burning a 101 year old elm tree for six hours, but what was one minor compromise? It would work out, he reasoned. It always did.

The next part of the spell called for a blood sacrifice from the caster. Happosai refused to cut himself on general principle. He also didn't plan ahead to bring any animals he could substitute. He looked around trying to scrounge but didn't see any either. What warehouse didn't have any rodents? Thinking quickly he looked through his collection, and ended up pulling out a bottle of sake. Alcohol was a magical fluid, he reasoned, and people who were wounded in battle always liked a stiff drink. It should work well enough.

Happosai checked the next step of the scroll and, carefully following the directions within, he placed a brazier in the center of the glyph and lit it. He then examined the scroll to see what to do next. A mandrake root? Happosai didn't remember seeing that in the ingredient list before. Improvising he placed a very old ginger root on the brazier in the center of the glyph. He had paid a small fortune for the root due to its strong resemblance to a human form. He reasoned that it should make a good enough substitute for mandrake root for the spell he was casting. Just in case, he stuffed a pair of panties into the brazier as well. Panties, he found, made everything better.

With the brazier properly placed and loaded, the instructions next called for him to place some consecrated earth from the graves from his four grandparents in a circle around the glyph on the four cardinal points of the compass. That had been easy. Some dirt from a nearby park, sprinkled with some water from the nearby Shinto shrine, and he was good to go.

Finally Happosai had reached the end of the scroll. None too soon. He was getting bored. The only thing left to do was say the incantation to summon the demon which would create the portal which would act as his vehicle for justice. It was written in ancient Chinese. Luckily Happosai knew Chinese, something he'd picked up from his long studies of ancient martial arts, and could perform this step perfectly. Or almost perfectly. He had to substitute a few Japanese words for the ones he didn't know the Chinese for, but the meaning was clear enough. He'd be done within the minute.

There was a rending of reality in the center of the glyph, as Happosai expected. An impossibly thin absence of reality appeared which was quickly filled like a drain being unplugged. From this gate a man shaped demon appeared. This made Happosai happy. If history was any sort of guide, the more human the thing he summoned looked the stronger it was.

Happosai then noticed that things weren't going quite as expected. Normally after these portals opened to deposit whatever creature he'd summoned they'd disappear back into the nothingness they had sprung forward from. This one just sat there, pulsating slightly. That was even better. He could instruct this demon to go after Ranma immediately and just wait for another demon to appear. No secondary summoning needed.

"I'll bet you're wondering what you're doing here. I've summoned you to take revenge on a student of mine, goes by the name of Ranma Saotome. I want him beaten up, although don't kill him. Do whatever you think is appropriate, but be sure to tell him Happosai sent you. Here's a picture of him as well as some of his hair. You just run off now while I wait here for some of your friends to show up and send them after him too," Happosai instructed.

"No," came the simple reply.

That was unusual. Happosai was used to demons just listening to what he said and doing it. "Okay then, we can wait for some of your friends to show up first and then you can all go together. Probably better that way anyway."

"Nah. It'll probably be several hours before another patrol drops by," the man said.

"Then why don't you go back in there and hurry them along?" Happosai asked impatiently.

"That's a good idea. I suppose I should go back and report, but our energy rations are so short and there's so much to be had here," the man said. His gaze made Happosai feel a bit uncomfortable, like how a tiger might look at an antelope. A large fat antelope. With a broken leg. He started walking towards Happosai. "No, I think I'd rather just get my fill first."

"Excellent, then you will go after Ranma then. He's strong. Lots of energy. I promise you that," Happosai said, taking a step back.

"No," the man said calmly, licking his lips, "I think I'll start with you."

Happosai did what he did best and reacted. He threw several Happo-daikarins at the demon, which exploded right on cue. The man continued walking, seemingly unaffected by the explosions around him.

A thought suddenly struck Happosai. Demons were perfect for fighting Ranma because they were naturally extremely strong, immune to pressure points, and resistant to ki attacks. This had the unfortunate coincidence of also making them perfect for beating up helpless old martial artists like himself. Also, unlike Ranma, he didn't have access to high grade magical attacks or a cadre of friendly magic girls to turn to. He was in trouble.

"Why don't you just stay here then, and I'll see about getting a snack for you," Happosai stammered out. He then turned and leaped to the air trying to escape and get help. Well trying to escape, at least. He'd see about getting help once he got there.

As Happosai leaped to safety, the man leaped after him. He wasn't very fast, but was fast enough to grab the old man in midair.

Throughout his life, Happosai had always been lucky. Incredibly lucky. Countless of times due to fast talking, faster running, and sheer blind luck, Happosai had avoided the worst of his mistakes. Things would just work out, usually to the detriment of those around him, especially if those around him included his students. It had happened when he had summoned Mordecai, whenever Pantyhose Taro came to town, and even when he had escaped being imprisoned by his students in a sealed cave.

Happosai's luck had finally run out.

Sailor Pluto really had far less power than was commonly understood.

She couldn't actually travel through time, not without causing a major incident and risking the destruction of reality as she knew it. She did occasionally meet up with her future self who would prompt her, and in turn she would pass that prompt on to her past self when the time came, but she was extremely careful in the use of that ability as knowledge of the future could be just as dangerous as physical presence in the past could be. In both sides of those encounters she was always terse and guarded with herself. She knew she would understand, and she always did.

She had a bit more leeway in sending other people through time. They had no way to travel through time themselves and thus they were far less likely to be able to set up an infinite recursion and create a paradox. Even with that safety net, that leeway was only slight. It was still extremely dangerous to allow the past and future to contact directly and she only did so only in very specific circumstances.

Usage of the Gates of Time for information gathering was limited as well. It was true that if she manipulated the Gates of Time she could observe what was currently going on in most places of the world; not all places, but most places. However, that was at most in real time, taking a full second for every second she wanted to observe with no way to catch up to the present time if she had started even slightly in the past. This meant that she couldn't use the Gates of Time to take the last known location of a person and follow them to where they currently were at this exact moment, for example, but it was still a handy ability to have from time to time and it wasn't too complicated.

It was when she tried to view things in the past that things got really tricky really quickly. It was possible, exceptionally difficult but possible, to use the Gates of Time to backtrack from an effect to the causes which made it occur, like taking a watch apart piece by piece to see what made it work. Going the other way, predicting how individual threads of causes interacted with each other to form the tapestry of the world, was as impossible for her to do as it was impossible for her to observe a countless number of iron atoms interacting and figure out that they composed a gear, which interacted with countless other atoms forming other gears and springs, which interacted in unfathomably complex ways to ultimately form a device which told the time, of which the accuracy or inaccuracy could change the course of history.

That was in normal circumstances. This was far from normal circumstances. Unlike normally, when she only had general knowledge and experience to guide her, this time she had literal knowledge to guide her. She actually knew what was going to happen, albeit in a general way.

This wasn't due to her ability to talk to herself through time; she had no insider information about the future as her future self hadn't told her anything specific about the current situation. Instead it had to do with her being Sailor Pluto, or rather at least the events leading up to it. This was infinitely more dangerous than the hints she would give herself from time to time as she couldn't intentionally prevent herself from knowing important aspects of the future. Thus any change or deviation would bring in the strong possibility of paradox.

In many ways it was very appropriate for the life of contradictions which seemed to always surround Sailor Pluto. This knowledge both empowered her as well as critically enfeebled her at the same time for the same reason.

Fortunately she only had vague recollections of the rumors and stories told thousands of years ago. While she knew roughly what was going to happen, it was only as if she had the outline of a foreign translation of the story. The key questions of when and how were left unanswered. However, even that limited information might turn out to be too much.

Who the key actor was in the events which must come to pass she remembered. It was Ranma, primarily. There were a couple of others as well, but Ranma was the one she was most concerned with. With that knowledge it would have been relatively easy for Setsuna to follow him and find out exactly what he was doing, to fill in the gaps as it were. The only problem was if she did that at this point she would be tempting fate and relying on herself to not interfere no matter how much she wanted to.

No, she had managed to make herself scarce for the past few weeks. She could manage a couple more. It wasn't like she didn't have experience avoiding people she had wanted to meet in the past.

Her musing was abruptly interrupted by a pulse across spacetime. Something was wrong. It wasn't a major incursion like during the Black Moon War. If that had been a cannonball then this was more like a shot from a sling, but even a small sling pellet could be dangerous as Goliath found when confronting David.

Unless she missed her guess, that was her cue.

With an ease from long practice Setsuna made sure she was alone, transformed into Sailor Pluto, and vanished to the Gates of Time. Once there it was a simple matter to triangulate the source of the temporal disturbance to a relatively nondescript warehouse in the city. She repositioned her view on the Gates of Time and saw the source. A rift in spacetime connected to who knew where and who knew when.

Wherever and whenever it was connected to there was something serious on the other side of it. It was emitting strong waves of power. Very strong waves. It might even as strong as the Ginzuishou.

Sailor Pluto could easily stop this. She clenched the Garnet Rod ready to open the Gates of Time. A quick talk to herself ten years ago, an anonymous tip to a certain temple that a certain old man was about to burgle it, and this situation would never, could never happen. She knew her past self would do it too if she told her to. Why not? It was herself after all.

Three things prevented Sailor Pluto from this.

The first reason for not interceding was her duty. Her oath. To guard the Gates of Time and to not interfere with the timeline, even she hadn't promised to do so in those specific words. It was such an easy thing to hide behind, duty. She'd kept her oath too. Despite how sorely tempting it had been she had never once broken her pledge. She herself had never broken the pledge.

Then again Happosai had, albeit unknowingly, unleashed a portal which was at least partly temporal in nature, so even a slightly liberal interpretation of the situation would allow her to interfere. No, her oath wasn't why Sailor Pluto didn't intercede.

The second reason for not interceding was her obligation. Her penance. She knew there was a debt to be paid. Paid with interest it seemed now, but paid it must be. Not to Happosai and not to the demon currently toying with him. The debt was to herself, from the past. Never mind she had no idea back then that she had incurred the debt, she knew now and she had to pay it back.

But even that wasn't the real reason she didn't tweak the timeline, to stop the insane martial artist from unleashing this havoc on her friends and family. It helped explain things but it wasn't the real reason in and of itself. In reality Sailor Pluto would have been willing to sacrifice all of her past happiness to save the three of them from the coming suffering if she could. No, that wasn't quite right. To spare just one of them would have been enough.

The third reason, the real reason, for not interceding was fear. By this point, with her knowledge, to interfere would almost certainly lead to a paradox. This was much more terrifying as interfering with causality must inevitably have unexpected consequences, and, given how intrinsically linked she was to the current situation evolving right before her eyes, the risk was simply too high.

It would have been one thing if she knew absolutely nothing, as the uncountable number of blissfully ignorant people did, and thus couldn't rend reality itself apart with a mistaken word or deed, but she did not have the shield of ignorance that they had. A vague outline as it were, but it was still enough. If she did change something, the timeline would be in flux until all paradoxes were resolved. The last time somebody had tried to manipulate the timeline this unknown woman had been eradicated from existence. Sailor Pluto had assumed it was a woman, although she had no reason to think it was a woman, man, or even somebody else entirely outside currently understood genders.

Sailor Pluto had a soft spot for her unknown predecessor. Her actions, and the subsequent paradoxes which led to her disappearance, had paved the way for Sailor Pluto's current life in more ways than one. On the other hand, Sailor Pluto also had a thorough disgust at that unknown woman, as she had laid out the script which Sailor Pluto now needed to follow.

Causality was a harsh mistress. It had already claimed the previous Sailor Pluto as a sacrifice, and doomed herself to a lifetime of sad loneliness. Sailor Pluto wasn't about to pass that sorrow onward, no matter how tempting the fruit of change might be to her. It could make things better, or it could destroy all of reality. Even worse, it could subject another poor girl to a fate even worse than hers. She would endure.

Sailor Pluto never showed her disgust at her predecessor for seeking this change and subjecting her to this life, or herself for having to live this life and not being willing to try and change it. She had a great poker face, even if it did nothing to diminish her self-hatred. She really hated her life sometimes. No, that wasn't completely accurate. She hated her current life sometimes. At least her childhood had been one of love and happiness.

No, she would need to follow the vague outline as best she knew her role to be in this kabuki dance which was unfolding. Still, that didn't make her current inaction any easier.

Sailor Pluto turned her attention back to the people fighting just outside of the portal, or rather to the demon fighting Happosai. Much to Sailor Pluto's satisfaction, the old man was being systematically destroyed by his would-be minion.

She debated going in to help, but decided Happosai didn't deserve it. He was the most evil thing this side of being a youma. For that matter, she wasn't even sure how much good she could do against this demon. She was strong, but on her own it would be dangerous to say the least.

Happosai wasn't important to the timeline either, as far as she knew, which meant she now had a free hand in acting. Now that he had opened the portal he could die right here and now. Nobody would fault her, even in the extremely unlikely event that somebody found out she had let him die. He deserved it, and much more. If she saved him, most likely he would just go on to cause more problems in the future. Problems which the police, Ranma, the Sailor Senshi, or somebody else would need to both bear the brunt of and to clean up after the fact.

Sailor Pluto decided that interfering would not be a wise course of action. The creature was no slouch, and it would be a close fight if she were to engage it. She would win, probably, with the element of surprise on her side, but no reason to put herself at such risk if she could help it. She couldn't rightly say she felt sorry for the old man as he finally got what had been coming to him for years, either. Happosai had avoided facing the consequences for his behavior for long enough, and it was time for it to come full circle.

Within her field of observation Happosai tried launching a lust-based proto-ki-blast at the demon. Without the practice that Ranma and Ryouga had it was laughably weak, and the demon simply batted it aside.

After a few more moments Sailor Pluto swore under her breath. As much as she would have loved to abandon Happosai to his fate, she was a Sailor Senshi. That meant protecting people, even those who didn't deserve it. Especially those who didn't deserve it. The chance of redemption was always present. That's what she had been taught growing up, and it had been proven to her more times than she could count.

Sailor Pluto tried to teleport to the warehouse, but, as she expected, the distortion caused by the rift made such a thing impossible. She instead appeared as close as she safely could, and with a few short bounds made her way into the building.

Inside the demon had lifted its leg to deliver the coup de gras to Happosai as she appeared on the scene. Without pomp, without a loud speech, without flashy movement, and with barely a whisper of "Dead Scream," she launched a blast of energy at the demon, catching it straight in the back and knocking it across the room.

Happosai, who had kept his eyes wide open awaiting his death with all the dignity he could muster, was amazed as he saw the demon fall away from him. It took a few moments to get his bearings before he noticed the tall Sailor Senshi with a long staff and a dark skirt across the room.

It looked like his luck hadn't run out yet.

"If you ever even think to try to do something like this again, I will personally make sure you wish you had died here and now. Now get out of here," Sailor Pluto said with a level tone.

Sailor Pluto watched the old man hobble off as quickly as he could with his broken arm and broken leg. He didn't even try for a quick glomp as he left.

She then turned back to the demon. This would be a hard fight on her own, but she was pretty sure she could handle it. She had to. In his state Happosai would be easy prey for the demon, and if she escaped it would surely go after him to finish the job.

She readied her staff as the demon climbed to its feet, only slightly the worse off for being hit with a Dead Scream.

Last Updated: September 3, 2015