Welcome to the archive. As of now, I'm decaring all the fics in this either Dead, needing severe rewrite, or just ideas that may never see light of day. I'm doing this to clean up what I have and sorta start fresh.
Obviously, any of the other fics I have posted are the active ones. Feel free to send me pm's if you have suggestions or you want to take over the fics in this set.
I am working to add notes on to each of the dead fics telling about what I was originally planning and why they became dead. The ones under rewrite will not get the full discolsure, but I will eventually explain what went wrong with those ones as well.
To get it out of the way, I'll put all the disclaimery things here (Updated as I add any other cross chapters): Ranma belongs to Rumiko Takahashi & co. Sailor Moon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko and all others involved. Gold Digger is the playground of Fred Perry. Tenjho Tenge is the creative property of Oh!great. Ah My Goddess is the property of Kosuke Fujishima.
Finally, understand, all these fics are 'as is'. Yes there is a lot wrong with them. Spelling, grammar, pacing. They are in this archive for a reason. If you wish to 'review' that's fine, but please don't waste your time with comments along these lines. Now, the new fics that I'm working on, feel free to rip them appart in this catagory. I know this shouldn't need saying, but I figured I'd cover my bases. (Special note: I will fix what I can in the editor if its got red lines under them, but I will not be specifically going through this to fix errors)
Yes, new fics are (slowly) on their way. In the meantime, enjoy. First up is "Senshi", my oldest fic.
In times of great peril
amazing warriors are called forth,
sworn to protect the Earth, It's people,
and their Queen.
They fight tirelessly
to destroy that which threatens
life and innocence.
These defenders of love and justice are called:
In The End, In The Beginning
A gentle rain sprinkled the streets of Juuban as he traveled his beat. As a truancy officer, he had to be on the lookout for delinquent students. He rather enjoyed his job with a bittersweet sense of fulfillment, guiding students back to the road of higher education. Whenever he saw a student walking the streets during school hours looking for trouble, it made him so angry. Though not really at them, but rather at himself for all the chances he had been given in his youth that he squandered way. It was this fire that he used to fuel his quest, his personal vendetta against the spirit of rebellion that sucks away all the incredible opportunities that are set before such impressionable youth. That was why he loved rainy days like this one, it encouraged students to stay at school; and the longer they were in school, the better the possibility that they would actually learn something. So he continued to walk his beat with a slight spring to his step and a smile on his face. Yep, all seemed fairly clockwork for a day like today...
Then she appeared.
A lone ratty looking figure clad in a tattered red chinese silk shirt and an equally tattered pair of silk black pants, trudged along barefoot down the street. He watched as the shuffling form of a girl moved without any seeming purpose, just forward motion. At first, he thought she might be one of the most despicable and sorrowful examples of the delinquent: a stoner, a junkie, a user of all things vile for body and soul. But as she got closer, his evaluation of her quickly changed.
Underneath the tatters he could see various scrapes and lacerations, what seemed to be only dirt turned out to be dried blood that was caked on nearly every part of her body, even her fiery red hair was saturated in patches of dark crimson. Her left arm was bent at a very unnatural angle, and all her knuckles were torn to the bone. Several deep gashes lay in a perpendicular fashion across the left side of her face while her right eye had swollen shut. He knew this sight all to well, after all his youth was spent in bounds of the cursed district of Nerima, even to this day he still heard of horrible battles that would leave terrible destruction in their wake. Of course such a sight as walking wounded was the norm in Nerima, but this was Juuban, the tenth district, things like this are anything but normal. Even with the battles that the Sailor Senshi fought, there was never really anything more than a few cuts and bruises as the youma were out for energy, not blood. Whatever this was, it was serious. He rushed forward to offer aid, but stopped short having caught the sight of the deep blue of her one good eye. An emptiness that flowed deeper still into a dark sea of sorrow and despair. He could feel her staring right though him. As she continued forward, he stepped aside. Looking now at her back, he was absolutely horrified. Her back was worse than her front, gashes and gouges criss-crossed her back. Whatever attacked her had very large claws; he would definitely have to write a report on this, a very long report. Watching her now, he got the distinct feeling that she was walking to a specific destination and that it was taking all she had left in her to keep going, hence the staggered gait at which she traveled. Sensing that it would be unwise to disturb her, he decided instead to follow her and make sure she made it to wherever she was going safely and alive.
He didn't realize how right he was. She had in fact been traveling with one purpose in mind, and a memory was all that held her together. She had to keep her promise. Each step was an eternity. Always forward. Never looking back. Never stopping. Through all the pain. Though all the sorrow. Forward. Each bloody step, still...forward.
Rei walked into the resturant, uncertain and cautious. The place looked ordinary enough, but something in the air sent a tingle down her spine that she could not readly ignore. After all, this was Nerima. She timidly continued into the main dinning area, hoping that she could get this over with as soon as possible. She idly wondered who it was that called her here and why. Thats when she heard a voice that sounded rough and aged, with just a hint of scratchy, that seemed to come out of nowhere. The words themselves were even more cause for alarm. For what the voice said was:
"Wecome, Hino Rei-dono, Senshi Of Flame."
Rei turned toward the origin of the voice and found a strange sight indeed. A person that looked like a shrunken mummy balanced on a stick. If it wasn't for the cackling laugh that exuded from what seemed to be a mouth, she would have though it dead.
"Come now, Hino-dono, we have much to discuss..."
His eyes snapped open and lept into a ready stance, tense and greatly alarmed. After a moment he realized he was back in his room. He relaxed his posture and thought over what had just happened to him.
"The last thing I remember was..." he took a slow look around him. The placement of the window, the lack of a decent bed, his father's futon folded in the corner. This was his room at the Tendo dojo, not his mothers house. "Was it all a dream?" Sitting down and looking at the calander to confirm what day it was, he realized what had happend must have been a dream. He knew that Kasumi kept all the calendars in the house fairly accurate. He took stock of the past week, "Let's see... First track Kiima to China, then the battle with Saffron... AKANE!"
With that, he rushed to Akane's room. Opening the door, he found her still asleep. After he let go of the breath he was holding, a very mischievous thought came to his mind. After a moment, however, he though better of the situation. 'Payback would be nice, but she just looks too peaceful.' For a moment he recalled the dream that felt just too real, then he remembered it was just a dream. But all the same, he smiled softly and then made his way down stairs to take a bath.
As Ranma entered the changing room, he removed his clothes and place them in the basket. He entered the bathroom and went about the nomal routine: douse with cold water, lather up, rinse. Then he stepped to the furo to soak for little while. When he felt relaxed enough he stepped out. That is when he realized something: He didn't fell the normal tingle that came with the change!
He rushed over to the sink and doused himself with cold water, expecting the change. Again not feeling the sensation he was looking for, he looked into the mirrior. A definately male ranma stared back at him. Wait, there was one difference. But that was a dream... or maybe the dream somehow changed his curse? With this thought, he splashed himself with some hot water.
"But it was just a dream! ...Wasn't it!" His voice filled with uncertainty as he viewed the new addition to his face.
An inverted black crescent moon.
He had come full circle.
Was it all worth it? Could he be living a lie?
Walk in the Rain
Through the rain, through the aches, through the the horrid pain.
'help us momma...'
'where are you momma...'
Where was she going? Where was she now? Who was she? Did it really matter?
'poppa did something terrible to us...'
The girl continued to trudge though torrential the rain as it pelted her greatly abused body. The sensation of pain had kept her mind aware just enough to keep going. No thought of stopping or slowing down, just a tenacious need to keep going. Strangers kept coming to close, and she didn't want to take chances. a few quick slashes here and there was warning enough to any who would try to detour her from her goal.
'i had to so the k..k..kitties wouldn't hurt 'kane-chan, momma...'
But just what was her goal? It didn't matter. Just that she kept going...
'please don't hate me for killing them, momma...'
'...momma, ...where are you?
Rain. Grey clouds blanketed the sky and brought a somber mood to the city of Tokyo. Lightning flashed and the cry of thunder could be heard off and on. Little did the residence of the city realize that current weather was nothing more then the herald of a greater storm soon to come. Many just went about their business with their daily hustle and bustle, all be it just a bit more soggy then normal.
Outside of the Hikawa shrine, on the wooden floor of the porch sat eight senshi, two moon cats and a knight of the Earth. Sitting in a half-circle starting with Setsuna drinking her tea, dressed in a grey business suit. Her expression one of eternal contemplation. Then Michiru and Haruka snuggling with Hotaru resting in Michiru's lap. They, like their fellow classmates, were clad in their school fuku; having cut from classes early, much to ther chagrin (well, all save they princess and her 'second-in-charge') for this important meeting. To their right sat a deeply perturbed Makoto. A little further over Minako lounged with her back against the wall, her usual care-free mask gave way to concern; Artemis was curled up in her lap, his face set with far deeper worry. Ami busied herself with her studies to calm her nerves. And directly across from Setsuna sat their future Queen and her future husband, Mamoru on the left and Usagi on the right. Like the others their, faces were set in concern. Somehow, Usagi felt the need to sit face to face with the Senshi of Time. Luna, of course sat in her lap trying to get as much rest as she could before all hell broke lose, again.
"So why are we here? I mean, not that I don't like hangin' out an all, but, whenever Setsuna is involved things tend to get nasty pretty quick," Makoto miffedly stated. "No offense, Setsuna," she amended with swift politeness.
"None taken," the Senshi of Time spoke with her usual reserve as she took another sip of tea.
"Ya, didn't we finally defeat the entire Dark Kingdom, the Black Moon Family, Death Busters, Anima-Mates, Chaos and all that? How many times have we saved Tokyo, not to mention the rest of the universe? Yep, I say we deserve a serious vacation!" Minako ranted.
"Minako! If we are needed, then we must rise to the challenge. Though I too, am curious as to why you are here, Setsuna," Ami spoke in her usual curious tone.
"In due time, Ami. If I have anything to say, then it shall be spoken when all are present, as I do not wish to repeat myself." After taking another sip of tea, Setsuna placed the cup down on the table. She bowed her head and, as silence once more settled about them, listened.
Setsuna took in the rain's gentle tune. It always brought back memories of a past she could not remember. A boy. A girl. A destiny. A choice. And...a sacrifice. She could feel it deep in her bones; her mind may have forgotten, but her heart never would. The rhythmic pitter-pats of the droplets drummed a beat of joy-filled sorrow, a blessed song of pain and loss. Why could she not remember such an important event, what sort of dark force played havoc with her mind. A boy... no, a man..., what role did this shadow of her past hold in her life? The strange force that held back the prized memories she sot had, of course, an ally; time itself. She knew all to well the entropic force of time, even if the universe where to exist for all eternity, memories would still none the less bare against the grindstone of time slipping into the future.
Why indeed was she here and not searching though out time to find out who this shadow of her past was?
Who was he?
Suddenly she became aware of an occurrence that had not happened in since the fall of the Moon Kingdom.
The mask began to crack.
"Sorry to make you guys wait." Rei, wearing a simple red t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, sat in between Makoto and Minako while grabbing the last cookie on the plate. A part of her mind rejoiced in the marvel that there was even one cookie left in the first place, and that it was all hers. Another part idly noted that Usagi, the prime devourer of said cookies seemed distracted by something over in Setsuna's direction. "I just got back and needed to freshen up bit. Running all the way from Nerima can take alot out of a person."
"NERIMA!" the tension was absolutely shattered. All eyes, save Setuna's and Usagi's, were on Rei.
"Your joking, right?" Haruka stared at her in unbelief.
Makoto looked her over with a slight panic. "Are you alright, did anyone attack you?"
"No, I'm fine, Mako-chan. In fact it was pretty quiet while I was there."
"What on earth were you doing in Nerima, Rei. Don't you now how dangerous it is over there? I don't think even our enemies would set foot in a place like that." Ami just stared at her, either she was brave or completely out of her mind. "It is home to high caliber martial artists, pervert demons, cat spirits, and various curses. The place is a pool of chaos and insanity."
"Ami, don't you have family there?" Setsuna interupted while picking up her tea to take another sip, her eyes remaining downcast.
"Yes, I do. I visit them about once or twice a year, usually during the summer." Ami paused for a moment in thought. With a bit of worry in her voice, she countinued, "Actually, we were going to visit Uncle Soun a few weeks ago. They canceled on us because of some family emergency that came up. I hope everyone's ok."
"How did you survive, Ami?" Minako's curiosity had peaked. She, like many others had heard the various rumors. If even half of them were true, then even all the senshi would have a run for their money just trying to walk down the street. To hear that Ami, being the weakest of the senshi, going in alone and coming back to tell the tale is nothing short of a miracle.
Ami smiled faintly while thinking of all the times she had spent in that strange ward. After a moment she spoke up, "Usually things quiet down a bit during the hot months, but even then it's still pretty dangerous. The reason why my mother and myself are able to come back unharmed is because of our medical skills. There is some kind of unwritten rule that says skilled medical personal are of limits. Of course the doesn't keep paramedics out of the crossfire." Ami chuckles lightly at the memory she just recalled. "Now that I think about it, thats probably why Kasumi never got hurt. With as many of Dr. Tofu's books that she studied, I would not be surprised if she had no trouble get qualified as his assistant." She continued, her smile both wistful and mirthful.
"So is it true that there is some guy who can shatter a boulder with just one finger? And what about the demonic perverts?" Mamoru didn't quite believe in these urban myths, but thought it would be nice to finally get the real story.
"Yes, Ryoga Hibiki has a technique know as the Bakusai Tenketsu, or Breaking Point. I can assure you it does just that, break things, but it doesn't work on living beings. As far as the demons are concerned there is only one you have to worry about and that's Happosai. Actually, you really don't have to worry about it, Mamoru, but us girls should be on the look out. He is a world class martial artist and pantie thief." Mamoru's face bore a startled expression after Ami had finished answering his query.
The other girls that were paying attention bore worried looks upon their faces. "Your not kidding, are you?" Hotaru spoke, having been awoken by the ealier outburst.
Ami nodded her head in finality.
"Wait. Soun... as in Tendo?" Makoto asked with a worried look.
"Yes, why do you ask?"
Makoto paled for a moment and then spoke up, "So you related to Akane 'the Kitchen Destroyer' Tendo? She was barred from every single cooking contest in Japan."
"Oh come on Mako-chan, no one could be that bad at cooking," Minako chuckled.
Both Makoto and Ami gave Minako a 'trust us, it's that bad' look, causing the golden haired senshi back away and laugh nervously while a sweat-drop formed on the side of her face.
"I heard of this one guy that can throw a hundred punches in a second," Rei had finally spoken up. "Though, I didn't see anyone fighting, must less using such an impossible technique while I was there. I mean, I know that Jet li can thorw something like 30 or 40, but a hundred?"
Michiru, enjoying this little round of gossip, decided to join in. "I heard there is some guy going around stealing other peoples women and forcing them to join his harem. Is this also true?"
Haruka joins in as well with her own inquiry, "What about the person who can create energy blasts?" She completes the question with hadoken-esque gestures.
Before Ami could answer the previous three questions Hotaru took a stab at gaining some actual facts. "I also heard about one guy who could generate hurricanes with his fists. Who is he?"
Ami was taken back, all four questions could be answered with one name. She took a look over at Setsuna. Somehow Ami knew that the answer would peak her interest, if she didn't know it already. After taking a deep breath while signaling for the questioning to stop, she gave her answer, "The answer to who these people are is, for the most part, the same. Ranma Saotome. Although you where a little off, Michiru. Though the situation that surrounds him could be classified as a harem, he is far from responsible for it." Suddenly Ami got this cold glint in her eyes that no one had ever seen before. As she continued, her voice became as cold as the very element to which she was attuned. "Let's just say that if we are ever in Nerima fighting a youma, and we miss and strike an overgrown panda or a fat old man wearing a faded gi and glasses. Don't feel bad." The sudden change back to her old sunny self was a little less frighting, but none the less disturbs all present. After a moment to collect herself, Ami sighed and finished the explanation, "However, Ranma asked That I not go around telling everyone his life story. So unless it becomes important later, I will not answer any other questions about him."
After Ami's cold voice sent a chill down her back, Usagi had become distracted from her earlier preoccupation and finally spoke up, "Um...did I miss something?"
A vein bulged on Rei's forehead as she screamed at her princess, "Of course you did, meatball head! What kind of la-la land have you been visiting this time!"
"Rei, your being mean again! Waaahhh!" Usagi then began to cry, past reflection of a moment ago forgotten. Ami silently wondered if Usagi was related somehow to her Uncle Soun.
Before things could degrade an further Setsuna brought the attention of the group back to the subject at hand. "Rei, I do believe there was a reason for you to traverse such dangerous territory."
"Yes there was,this is why I went to that horrible place." Rei pulled out a small scroll and passed it to Setsuna, instantly forgetting about the argument with Usagi.
Everyone sat in silence as Setsuna unrolled the parchment. any discussion was cut short by the sight that was Setsuna's countenance. Shock mixed with horror and hope all at once, her eyes wide with surprise. She finally placed the scroll on the floor for all to see. For the most part it looked like a normal scroll, but upon closer examination one would find that half of the text was written in an unknown language and a strange mark at the head of the composition drawn in gold and black ink. The gold part Ami identified as the crest for the Sun, but what threw them all on edge was the crest of the Black Moon Family nestled within the former. All present paled at this new revelation and pondered it's meaning as Setsuna began to read:
"In the time before the great ice,
the Eterna shall once more rise clad for battle.
The shrouded sun shall herald the coming of the eight moons,
the dark knight, and their goddess.
Swords shall cross when the twin stars meet.
Beware the second silence.
Stand with the wild horse. Stand against the wild horse.
When fall the eight moons, Look to the Dark crystal.
When she who shines in the heavens falls to the lord of storms,
So shall rise the Dark Star.
The earth shall lose his gold, the protector of dreams shall stand defeated,
The blood of Tsuki-Yumi must relinquish the precious flower of her birth-right.
When Gungnir falls, enter the Eye of the Needle.
To the twilight the dawn must surrender,
and only then shall the dawn break twilight.
When the mercy of silver and the grace of gold unite,
All will return to the beginning."
"Is that all it says?" Michiru inquired.
"No there is more, but its in a language that only I can read," Setsuna replied as frantically wrote something on a piece of paper. "Quick, Ami and Hotaru, run to the first address. You will meet someone, take them to the second address that I have written down. You will know what to do when you get there. Now go, quickly!"
They weren't sure what was going on, but the look in her eyes told Haruka and Michiru that she meant only Ami and Hotaru. They simultaneously looked down at the little girl in question to find her to be looking up at them. Having fought by the inner senshi for a while, they knew they could be trusted to be alone with her and protect her. They nodded an affirmative to the unasked question brewing the young child's eyes. Hotaru then nodded to Ami, and the two where off in a heartbeat. They knew most of all not to question the Senshi of Time, for in time they would come to know the results, one way or the other. As they made their way down the steps out in front of the shrine, Setsuna answered another unasked question that was plain in the eyes of those who remained: What else did the scroll say?
"There is more on this scroll, but its in a special code. Each part of the code is unlocked as certain events transpire. I know I said that your final battle has already passed, however it would seem that I purposely locked away important memories that pertain to another threat that must have been to much for me to deal with at the time."
"Why?" Usagi asked with a touch of worry in her voice
"Probably because the foreknowledge would cause me to take actions that would endanger all of existence. Time paradoxes and all," Setsuna spoke having regained her center of calm while drinking another cup of tea.
An "oh" chorused out of the lips of all present.
Just then Setsuna came to an abrupt realization. "Rei tell me who gave you this scroll?" Setsuna had a strange felling that she knew who it was, but needed confirmation.
"The owner of the Nekohaten, her name was Cologne." Rei replied, then continued "The funny thing is, she knew that I was a senshi. Not just that, but she called me by name, ...both my title and my personal name."
"I thought so. I need to return to the Time Gate and check on some things. Now, if you'll excuse me." With that said the senshi of time walk through the portal before any could object.
Upon entering the pocket dimension the held the Time Gate, she began to run down a check list of things to investigate. Taking out a notepad and pen from her sub-space pocket, she wrote down various thoughts that had perked her interest earlier. Starting with the confirmation that she held import an memories that were locked away from her. Then there was this Ranma Saotome fellow, there was something about the name that rang a bell with her. She also didn't believe in coincidence. After all, Cologne was involved somehow in this. Both where amongst the more well known residents of Nerima ward. And finally Cologne herself. The scary part was that Cologne was the easy part. Ranma and her memories coupled with this scroll business would prove to be most irritating.
"Humm..." she thought. "Ranma,... Ranma... why does that name sound so familiar?"
With her thoughts in order, she turned her attention to the Time Gate itself.
"Time to get to work."
She would have laughed at the pun, had it not gotten old ages ago. And so she merely cracked a slight smirk and begun with her sworn duty.
A similar thought process involving the pigtailed boy was filtering through the analytical mind of Ami Mizuno as she rushed toward her destination. Like Setsuna, Ami never really believed in coincidence. Her uncle's family crisis, Rei's SAFE visit to the amazon elder, and four different questions arriving at the same answer. She had no doubt there was something that was brewing. Something big. Without a doubt Ranma had some kind of role in this. 'Poor guy, what kind of trouble is hunting you down this time?' she thought.
Currently she was running though a side street with Hotaru on her back. Even after her 'rebirth', Hotaru was still suffering from a weak constitution. As Ami continued to move toward their destination, she couldn't help but get that feeling that something was wrong.
"I'm sorry I am such a burden Ami, If only I were as strong as you," Hotaru spoke with a twinge of guilt and regret in her voice.
"Don't huff be silly, Hotaru. huff I need the exercise anyway."
Hotaru was about to make another comment as they exited the alleyway, but the site displayed before her derailed that particular train of though. "Amy, look!" she gasped in shock.
It was this moment that Ami found all her worries and concerns to pale in comparison to what she saw just down the street from her. As she tried to recover from her state of shock she thought to herself 'This is who we are supposed to help! But This is...'
'the... c...c...cats are everywhere, momma...'
Like a march of the dead.
'momma i tried not to kill them, ..but they keep trying to hurt 'kane-chan...'
At this rate that was all it was going to be.
'i can't take it any more... it hurts to much... i'm sorry 'kane-chan... i'm so sorry...
Maybe that was her destination, the cemetery...
'RANMA! MAKE THEM STOP! IT HURTS! RANMA! HELP ME!'
No, she had come to far to give in to the pain.
'kane-chan... hold on... i'll get you home...'
If only that memory would stop flashing before her minds eye, perhaps then she could concentrate on where she was going.
"m..mercury-dono? ...saturn ...-dono?"
"We interrupt your currently scheduled programing for an important news bulletin. At 11:35 am, an unidentified person entered downtown Juuban. While it is unknown at this time whether this is a youma or just one of their victims, the police have given a warning that no one should attempt to go near the subject. We now take you live with our on-site corespondent Ryudo Saito.
"Thanks Miko. Now as you can see the subject appears to be female, standing at about 4'11", and is wearing what seems to be a chinese vest; or at least whats left of one. Miko, in the past 5 years of being an on-site corespondent I have never seen anything like this. The girl does not appear to be like any form of youma I have seen, and the wounds she sustained are not of the type the youma would inflict. On top of that, it would seem that anyone who comes within five feet of her get attacked by...something. It is unclear at this time whether its the girl or some unknown entity that protects her, but police have seen fit to form a sort of human barrier around her so that no one else is hurt. Also, evidence suggests that she is actually heading toward a specific destination. As to where that is is anyones guess. Wait a moment... Hey Koji, are you getting this?"
"What is happening out there, Ryudo?"
"It would seem a couple of school girls are going to attempt to help the subject. Judging from there uniforms, I'd say their from Juuban Academy... Wait, the subject is responding. It looks like the subject trying to speak."
"Ryudo, can you make out what she is saying?"
"No, I'm to far away to make anything out. However, she finally collapsed. The Juuban girls are helping her up and continuing in the same direction as the subject was originally heading."
"Does it look as though the danger has passed?"
"As far as to the public, I would have to say yes. For the girl on the other hand, from what I can see she has multiple lacerations and possibly a broken arm. I can't see how she survived this far, but there is no doubt in my mind that if she is not taken to a hospital asap she will die. I will continue to follow and keep you updated as much as possible. Back to you, Miko." click
Nabiki stepped away from the t.v. and sat back down on the couch. Her face set like granite. 'This does NOT bode well.' she thought darkly.
She didn't feel when her body hit the ground...
momma... 'kane-chan... i'm... sorry...
She didn't feel the girls pick her up...
...momma... 'kane-chan is safe in their hands... but... i can't go on anymore...
All she knew was that her mission was completed...
...i can finally rest...
They would take her to her mother...
At the Saotome home near by, Nodoka was taking full joy in just relaxing on such a nice rainy day. She had wondered how long it would take her son to return home. Though he did seem to enjoy staying at the Tendo's, she knew he would not live there forever. Somehow she had felt it, a change in the wind, the movement of the stars. Something had tipped off her senses that such an occurrence was in the near future. Despite how well he and Akane might have gotten along, she just had this felling that he would soon leave that Tendo dojo and live with her. As his mother, she just knew. "Soon," she muttered to herself as she took a sip of her tea, "it will begin."
As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. placing the cup down on the table, she got up to answer the door.
Opening the door, she gasped in shock. In front of her were three girls and an officer. The first of the girls, supported the second's sad form. The third girl, short as she was, was on the other side trying to help as best as she could. Meanwhile the officer was directing some reporters away from the scene. But Nodoka saw none of this. All she saw was that one empty, hunting eye. A dark blue sea of defeat where there once was the clear summer sky filled with determination. This was not the look of someone who had simply lost a challenge, but of one who lost something more dear then life itself.
He was defeated.
Ranma Saotome had lost.
He was laid out amidst the ruin of an ancient fortress. The stars and the earth far above him, though he did not see. A figure approached with silent steps, and though she dimly shimmered her face remained unseen. Swift yet gently she raised her hand toward the youth, causing a change in the environment about him. The stars rushed in and surrounded his slumbering form. Each resembled drops of water, rather then the balls of light and fire they had appeared to be from a distance. The droplets condensed and formed a sphere before solidifying into what resembled an egg made of some dark gem stone. The lady walked forward to the shadowed ovum while placing her right index and middle fingers to her lips, then she placed said fingers against the hardened surface.
"Rest now, young hero. It is not your time yet... "
Dr. Tofu stepped out into the hall, closing the door to Ranma's room softly with a nigh-inaudible click. He looked all gathered and gave a tired sigh. Nodoka, Hotaru, the Mizunos, and even Cologne were gathered in worried anticipation. It had been two days since Ranma was found wandering the streets of Juuban. If it hadn't been for Ami and Hotaru, Ranma would probably be in the morgue at the moment. As it was, the current state of affairs had everyone on edge, Nodoka most of all. After a moment; which seemed more like an eternity, the good doctor spoke.
"Despite evidence to the contrary, Ranma will be fine. I do thank you, Dr. Mizuno, for contacting me before you went though any sort of major operations. As you yourself have witnessed from your visits to Nerima, Ranma is built of much tougher stuff than the normal martial artist. The coma that he appears to be in is actually a form of deep meditation. I suspect that this is what allowed him to make it so far in such a condition. He should come out of it in a few days."
"Umm...," Hotaru began nervously, "Dr. Tofu, why didn't my powers work right when I used them to heal Ranma-oneeonisan?"
"I believe it might have something to do with the way Ranma is channeling his ki right now. If my guess is right, he inversed his ki flows so that instead of radiating an aura, he locks, or rather weaves his ki though every molecule of his body. With how damaged his body probably was before you were able to heal him as much as you did, I would imagine that that was the only thing keeping him together. The fact that they are flowing in reverse is probably what is disrupting you powers. Hotaru, though your healing ability would normally comfort him and close his wounds, they would do more harm than good in his present state,"Tofu spoke in an almost fatherly tone to the young senshi. After a moment of thought, he countinued, "Strangely enough, this effect has also locked him in his cursed form; which is actually good because of that broken arm. I don't think the cast he has on right now would be able to stand up to the rigors of gender changing that the Jusenkyo curse inflicts upon Ranma."
"That is indeed fortuitous. But, wouldn't performing such a technique at his level kill him?" Cologne asked skeptically. In all her years she had never known anyone to survive the training to use the inverse technique, let alone use it. But then Son-in-law has always been full of surprises.
"Normally I would agree with you, elder. Using this particular technique at his level could easily deep fry his entire body and then some, but right now he has so little ki that if he released the hold on it he would die instantly. He has just enough left to keep himself together while his body mends, which will take longer. Right now, his life depends on this technique; so he can't afford to redirect any of his ki to stimulate the rate of healing."
"I though you said he would be alright?" Nodoka was not at all pleased where this conversation was going.
"Please, relax Mrs. Saotome. I have been his doctor for nearly two years now. If this were anyone else, then I would be inclined to just call the morgue. His body is that ravenged. However, Ranma has one of the most remarkable healing times I have ever seen a person possess, even with when he was low on ki. No Mrs. Saotome, this is Ranma we are talking about; as such I give him a week," the good doctor chirped happily.
Nodoka was as white as a ghost. "Only a week ...and then he's dead! How can you say this is ok! How can you be so cheerful!" She was yelling at the top of her lounges. To hell to being lady-like, this was her son for crying out loud!
"Mrs. Saotome," Dr. Tofu's tone was firm and absolute, leaving no room for argument, "When I said Ranma would be fine, I meant it. He will live. In a weeks time he will have healed enough to let go of the hold on his ki. Until then, he will not be able to replenish his ki reserves." Taking a much softer tone, Tofu continued, "Considering his track record for healing, I give him two weeks tops , after that, before his back to his best. Maybe less."
Nodoka let out huge sigh of relive.
"Its his mental state that I'm worried about." Tofu's face took on a grim countenance as he continued, "First off, he spent his entire journey within some level of Neko-ken."
"The Neko-ken?" Nodoka had a strange feeling she would be wanting to strangle a certain man-turned-panda in a moment. Something tickled at the edge of her memory.
Cologne looked up at Dr. Tofu, "I believe I should explain this one." Turning to Nodoka she explained the training process and the side-effects of the Neko-ken. Nodoka for her part remained calm, though the soft, measured thumb strokes on the hilt of her ever-present katana left little doubt to her true mental state.
"However, that is not the only thing that worries me about Ranma," Tofu returned their attention to the subject at hand. "If the Neko-ken were the only thing..." If it were possible for his face to become anymore grim, it was doing so at the mere though of what he had to say next. "Mrs. Saotome ...nodoka...," His voice became nearly a soft whisper.
She hesitated "... Yes?"
"I imagine that, living in juuban, you don't hear much about the current goings on of Nerima, do you?" he continued in hushed tones.
"No...," Nodoka dawled.
Dr. Tofu gathered his courage and spoke as only a doctor, with the sort of news he had to give, could speak.
"Mrs. Nodoka Saotome, your son's fianc?, Akane Tendo is dead."
A dieing hope.
An unreturned, desperate embrace.
A still form.
A single tear.
A ground shattering force.
In the end,...
A New Student
The wind swept passed the battle torn field in Jusendo. No one, not even the phoenix people dared to set foot on the desolate land that once was a beautiful spring. Everywhere there was blood. Rusty crimson mingled with the cold, deep tan of earth. In the middle of the field was the hilt of what once looked to be a dark, yet grand sword of awesome power. The blade's shattered bits littered the ground. Amongst this once powerful artifact, many deep ditches were craved into the unforgiving earth, looking like some outrageously large beast had attacked the combatants. From the evidence one could easily come to the conclusion that the beast won.
It was on this space of land that the Senshi of Time appeared. The wind, teasing her deep green hair, carried with it the stench of blood and death. Unphased by the disturbing stimuli, she made her way to the shattered artifact.
'Why can't I see the event that brought this destruction? Who fought here?'
She pause her train of though upon seeing the sword hilt. It had a distictly Japanese design to it, but what was left of the blade was composed of some strange dark metal, and it reeked of magical force. There was something familiar about that particular design of hilt, she just could not place it. She knelled down and took the handle up into her grasp and dusted of the hilt to get a better look. It was then that she saw it. For the first time since she could remember she was truly frightened.
'But ...this can't be.'
Looking back at her from the hilt was a crest. THE crest. The black moon within the golden sun. Of course she knew what it was, this was the same crest as on the parchment. But now, she could remember it.
"The Gold Millennium Empire! That can't be! Everything was destroyed."
In haste she pulled out the scroll and unrolled it. She found, to her horror, that she could read the next line of the cryptic markings.
"Oh God in Heaven...," she whispered. "NO!" she shouted. "no..." she fell to her knees.
Once more the mask cracked.
Another day. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to school. A day just like any other day. The sky was blue, the grass was green, and the sun was bright. All around Juuban life was getting back to normal. It had been a week since the death march of that wounded girl. Juuban had been in an uproar, tightening security, putting up a curfew, and making pleas for the infamous Senshi to keep guard in case youma attacked.
But that was a week ago. Without any further signs of hostility, people once again slipped into complacency. How soon they forget the past. Lighting never strikes the same place twice.
And never the same way.
Everyone in Juuban relaxed and went back to everyday life-as-usual. Well almost everyone. As four particular teens made their way to school, their minds were completely locked on to the current situation.
"So, no one has found anything yet?" Usagi hoped that it would be a no. She was tired of the whole 'fighting evil by moonlight' stuff. Ever since the beginning she just wanted to be a normal girl, not some mahou shoujo. Well, she didn't mind the powers, it was just the fighting that she didn't like. Everytime they faced a group enemies, someone dies. Just thinking about the possibility of having to go through that again caused her to tighten her grip on her bento.
"Nothing yet. But remember, thats usually how this sort of thing starts. And don't forget about that strange prophecy," Rei said with a flat tone.
"Yeah, that was kinda weird. I mean what kind of whacked out message is 'Stand with the Wild Horse, stand against the Wild Horse'?" Minako gave a shrug, "Oh well, not much we can do about that at the moment now, can we?"
All were clad in the same school uniform: sailor style with a sky blue and white color scheme, complete with a red scarf. The three girls continued their talk while the fourth, Makoto, mumbled to herself. Ever since that meeting last week she had been plagued by the nagging feeling that she was forgetting something. She couldn't stand it, it was right on the tip of her tongue. That damn name kept rolling around in her head.
"Mako-chan, what's up? you haven't said a word all morning," Usagi spoke with the same deep concern that Makoto had come to respect over the years they had known each other.
"Nothing really, it's just... Well I got that damn martial artist's name stuck in my head and I'm not sure why. I'm sure that I've heard the name Ranma Saotome somewhere else, but for the life of me I can't figure out where," Makoto finished her mini-rant with a heavy sigh. Why couldn't she remember?
"Maybe he is your old sempai?" Minako teased.
"No, that's not it. As far as I can remember I have never met the guy. No, it has to be something else. Hmmm..."
"Hey guys, look over there," Usagi pointed at a young girl being accosted by a small gang of boys. It was clear even from a distance that the boys didn't mean well. Strange thing though... that red headed girl looked kinda familiar.
Moments before the school bound Senshi came into view, the boss of a local gang spotted a potential victim. He curled his lip in a vile smirkand stepped forward. 'Even if you are wounded, if you pass though our territory, you have to pay the fee," he thought to himself before giving the singal to his lackies. Moving quickly to block the girl's path, the gang had formed a circle around their target.
"Well, well lil' girly, looks like ya stepped onta the wrong road. This is our turf and no one leaves without paying the price," the overgrown bully gave a wild grin. "But don't worry yer lil' head 'bout it if ya don't have the cash. There's more than one way ta pay the toll. Heh, heh, heh," with the last comment a hard glint could be seen eminating from his eyes, as did the rest of his motley crew. They all broke down into a fit of vile chuckles filled with perverted mirth, so much so that they had almost missed her reply, almost.
The words themselves had been nothing new to the band of fools. No, it was the sharp, cold attitude that coated each syllable that gave them pause. The very weight of the tone given to each word seemed to speak volumes of a lethal, unspoken threat.
"Let me pass."
Three simple words. The fools proved that they did have a brain cell between them and parted like the Red Sea. It was at this moment that Makoto had finally entered the scene, rushing up to the bandaged, pigtailed girl. Pausing for a moment to glare at the gang of hoodlums, she then turned her attention toward the red head in question.
"Are you alright?" she asked. Though this girl had displayed incredible strength of will, that didn't mean she was unshaken. She attempted to place a comforting hand on her shoulder, only to have it swatted away before it could take purchase.
"Leave me alone. I don't need the help of a weak little girl." The tone use was the same cold heart that spoke a moment ago. The same threat. It had said quite clearly 'leave me alone and you won't get hurt.' Why had the girl threatened her, she was only trying to help. On top of that, why add that last quip? Every time Makoto thought over in her head it made her more and more down right pissed off. She was by no means weak and most definitely not little! Another Comforting hand reached out; unlike that last one, this one found purchase. And unlike the last one, it was Usagi's hand on Makoto's shoulder.
"Mako-chan, it's not worth it, Come on, we got to go meet up with Ami." she stated with a slight smile on her face as if she had seen something that Makoto hadn't.
Turning back down the route toward school Makoto couldn't help but have a bad feeling about all this. First Ranma Saotome, Then the mysterious girl from a week ago, now this: a redhead with a glare that could burn a hole through you had it not been so cold. The funny thing was, that girl was somewhat reminiscent of the child Makoto herself used to be.
And that's what pissed her of the most.
The engine of her Viper roared and she turned another bend in the road. 'Boy, wouldn't Haruka by jealous if she ever found out I had one of these,' she thought to herself with a slight smirk. It was very rare for one to find Setsuna driving through town, but this was a special occasion. She watched in anticipation as she flew around the last bend. She never had seen a sight this beautiful since the end of the Silver Millennium.
To those who didn't know it appeared to be just a very classy, gigantic school. With three main halls and two gyms, each the size of a football field situated in a pentagon, this massive structure was equipped to house all levels of education. Around the perimeter of the school grounds were several dormitories that were still in the middle of being constructed, they would of course be ready for the next semester. All throughout the premises, vast fields could be seen; some for the multitude of sporting events that would be held throughout the year, a good portion just for the sake of lounging, and yet still others that would soon become gardens of such decadent grandeur that they would continue to be praised as the most beautiful on the planet for many hundreds of years to come. To those few who knew the true value of this partition of land it was the five story crystal spires that sat at each of the corners of the school that held the true meaning of it's construction. But for Setsuna it was even much more beautiful and special. This was the first tangible evidence that Crystal Tokyo was going to become a reality. This was the culmination of a thousand years of hard work.
This was Juuban Academy.
As she pulled into the parking lot she let out a small sigh of contentment. Despite the signs of dark times looming ahead, the drive to her 'day job' was always a breath of fresh air for her. After a moment of basking in the peaceful sanctuary that was the driver's seat of her car, she gathered her things and stepped out of the vehicle, ready to tackle another peaceful school day. With all the bad news lately, at least she had a heads up on the first attack on Tokyo.
"That reminds me, I'll have to warn Serenity-hime. Maybe during lunch," she thought to herself as she remember those looming dark times.
Oh, and that notion of a peaceful morning? Shot down the second she walked into her office. Funny, actually, how a simple, small file can ruin such a wonderful start to a beautiful day. In fact, it wasn't really the file that was a problem. It was the name on the tag that caused her said grief. She didn't know the actual history or anything like that, which was quite odd considering who she was. For some reason she couldn't find anything on the family. She had a feeling it had something to do with her locked memories. Regardless, she had a feeling that wherever this family name appeared trouble was sure to follow.
"Mmmm... Maybe I finally can get some information on her family. I'll have to fit her in after I speak with Serenity-hime. Interesting, the kanji used for this particular name. 'Wild child'. Strange, I truly hope this has nothing to do with the prophecy. If she does then I'll really have to keep my eye on her, this Ranko Saotome..."
The bell rang, signifying the beginning of the first period, much to the chagrin of more than a few students. As the teacher; a long haired red-head standing at 5'4'', wearing a golden yellow, long sleeved blouse and a pair of black slacks with simple black dress shoes; walked in the class as the representative stood.
She shouted, "Stand. Bow. Sit!" The class did likewise.
"Good Morning, class. Today we have a new student. I know it's a bit late in the semester, but I expect you all to be on your best behavior and treat her as one of your own," Ms. Daihoshi adjusted her glasses and turned to look toward the door.
It was Rei who first felt it, but then one by one each and every other student took notice to the ever so slight drop in temperature. The door, which slid open with almost no sound, was closed in the same manner. no footsteps could be heard and the grace that exuded from the figure was only slightly hindered by a wince of pain ever now and again. As the girl's journey ended near Ms. Daihoshi's desk, the class could not help but gaze in wide eyed shock. The bandages where clean, but the multitude of them suggested that extensive wounds lay underneath. Her left arm was in a cast and sling, and her right eye was patched with gauze. Her remaining eye was open, but no one could look a way from the cold dark emptiness that seemed to give the dark blue a much blacker hue.
First she wrote her name on the black board; then, after turning around she spoke in a voice who's beautiful and soft tones were wasted on the crude, monotone timbre that enveloped her speech.
She was the girl from the news reports last week.
She was the survivor that almost walked from one end of Juuban to the other.
"Ranko Saotome ...sorry about this."
She didn't quite know why, but this phrase seemed to fit the situation somehow. As if she were apologizing for future events that were sure to follow. She had a strange feeling that chaos loved to hang around her. It was only matter of time until something would go wrong.
"Would you like to answer any questions, Ms. Saotome?" the teacher asked cautiously, something had told her she already knew the answer.
"No." It was simple. It was flat. It was what the teacher had expected.
As she took the seat assigned to her, to the left of Usagi and in front of Makoto, Ami and Usagi could not help but stare at the girl's name. They looked at each other and gave a nod that indicated that they would be talking about whatever was on their minds at a later date. Meanwhile Makoto became even further stumped. Though she could not yet remember Ranma Saotome, she did know that he didn't have a sister.
Rei had also found herself lost in thoughts concerning the latest transfer student. Since when did peoples ki flow backwards? She could barely tell that the girl had any ki when Ranko had first walked in, as if she had been dead. But if the tight level of control this strange girl had exhibited was any in indication, then this girl had to be a martial artist of more than exceptional skill.
Minako to had felt something but could pin down the feeling quite yet. Was it recognition? No, she was pretty sure she had not met her in this life. Maybe in the Silver Millennium? Possible, but even if that had been the case, what she felt was different. Not love, well at least not the sexual kind anyway. Was she a friend? An enemy? Maybe both? This was definitely on the 'ask Setsuna' list. To bad she didn't know how clueless the Senshi of Time was at that particular moment.
The Senshi continued on with their various thought process, Ms. Daihoshi began the days lessons. History, not all that hard, but quite a chore to stay wake though. After the class was over, several of the other students crowded around Ranko, asking various questions pertaining to last weeks events. The only answer to their questions she would give was 'Leave me alone'. The ice in her voice would have rivaled a glacier. Hearing her response, many of the students thought it wise to do as she said and backed off.
As the classes continued, she found that each one was more boring than the last. Of course old Habits die hard. During math, she finally began to slip into a quaint nap.
When the teacher noticed this, he tried to get her attention. After that failed, he threw the piece of chalk that he was writing with at her. Now, he was not surprised when she didn't wake to his summoning, after all he did have Usagi as a student. But, when Ranko actually caught the air born writing utensil without even stirring in her sleep, he was a little shocked. She was still sitting there, slumped in her seat and obviously snoozing away. He would not be defeated though. 'With a hmph', he began throwing a barrage of various school supplies, each one failing to hit the mark as they were caught right before impact. In a final act of desperation, he threw an oversized, hardbound dictionary at the offending target. This time however, the ammo soared past as Ranko choose that moment within her sleep-induced state to get more comfortable by using her desk as a pillow.
Having depleted his ammo and with little patience left, the teacher deiced he'd be better of just continuing the class and spare his last nerve.
"Once again I'm standing before that demon, blood and sweat pouring off my tried, torn body. The battlefield lay about us, tattered and scared. In the beast's claws, the very reason for the confrontation. Her sad form, withered and sickly; her eyes, glazed and empty of all emotion; her expression, pained and sorrowful. I couldn't hold back any longer, it was now or never. Everything I had tried up to this point had proven useless. The minor bit of control over the Neko-ken seemed a waste. Even the terrible Neko-ken was countered and defeated. There had to be away. There was no way in hell it could end this way. If only more of these damn memories would come back!
"Then I felt it.
"No, more than that. I heard it. It was a voice, and the words that flowed from it were spoken in a dark and hate-filled tone."
"Unhand the girl immediately! Kill her and seal your own fate. I, DARK STAR command this!"
She had woken with a start. As she became once more aware of her surroundings she realized the bell had just rung, signifying the start of lunch. Without much care about the strange looks her fellow students were giving her, she began to make her way to the roof so that maybe she would have some privacy. An announcement came over the P.A., but it had nothing to do with her so she paid no mind.
As soon as her form was no longer in sight everyone in the room let out a collective breath none had realized they were holding. After all, it wasn't every day that a girl could catch objects thrown at her in her sleep, let alone walk like a panther on the prowl when awake. More so, even a fool knows not tempt fate by pestering a wounded animal. Ok, so maybe a fool would, they are called fools for a reason after all. Regardless, these folks were not fools.
"So you are telling me that this new enemy will attack tonight?" Usagi stood hoping that this would be a short meeting so she could return to her meal.
"Yes, I will give you the exact details at meeting after school. By the way is there anything you can tell me about Ranko Saotome?" Sitting back in her chair, Setsuna regarded her charge with a critical eye. She knew that her princess was an excellent judged of character. It was something that had always impressed the ancient woman.
"Same as you. The details will come later," Usagi smiled a 'cat-got-the-canary' kind of smile. For the first time she knew some thing that Setsuna didn't. Part of the proof was that the Senshi of Pluto had yet to act on any possible knowledge about the situation. The other part was the put-off look that had crossed Setsuna's usually stotic face.
"I see..., getting me back for all the times the I scared you and held back on the whole story?" Of course she was good at reading people too.
"Partly. Let's just say that I have remembered a few more memories from the 'old times'." At this Setsuna quirked an eyebrow, but before she could make any sort of reply Usagi continued, "I must ask that you leave her alone for now. Yes I have an agenda of my own and no, I wont tell you what it is, at least not yet anyway."
Setsuna was a little taken by the way Usagi held herself at the present moment. Lately she was acting more and more like the princess she really was, as well it seemed that more of her memories of the Silver Millennium were resurfacing. Knowing this, Setsuna complied with her wishes.
After Usagi left, Setsuna canceled any other appointments she had. Sitting back in her chair, she looked out the window while pondering what Ranko had to do with her princess back in the Silver Millennium. Was she family? No, Setsuna knew every person even remotely related to the royal family. Was she a senshi? No, they were all accounted for... weren't they? This moment she came to a sudden realization.
'As far as I know the only gaps in my memory have to do with the Gold Millennium Empire, or that boy Ranma. The connection to Ranma is obvious, But that must mean that he too, must have some connection to the Silver Millennium if Serenity-hime has any memories of her. The real question is do either of them have anything to do with the Gold Millennium?" She rested her head in her hands in frustration for a moment before continuing her thought process, 'Damn amazon memory locking techniques! Well, when all else fails, consult the Time Gate.' she thought to herself. At this she left to drive home and then to make way to the artifact in question, so that she may finally receive some answers.
As she walked down the hall, Usagi though about the events as of late, and came to a decision. Taking the steps up to the roof, she searched for a certain redhead clad in bandages. It wasn't all that hard. After all, her very presence scared the crud out of almost everyone that was unfortunate enough to be in the same room with her. She was so much like Usagi had remembered Him.
Gently, yet with great command, she stepped onto the roof and faced the girl in question. Upon locking eyes, or rather 'eye' as is the other girls case, she knew exactly what she hard to do.
With a smile as bright as the sun and tone of voice that was disarming and kind, she spoke, "Hello again, Ranma. Do you still want to be friends?"
"Bwaaahahahahaahha!" Minako couldn't contain her poorly veiled mirth any longer.
"Sure, yuck it up you blond ditz." Makoto, on the other hand could barely contain her poorly veiled rage. After all, no one would appreciate being so intimately introduced to the binding of a dictionary.
"Hey, I wasn't snicker the one who didn't duck muted giggle when a large, hardbound book came flying at my face. I'm sorry Mako-chan, but it was just too funny. snicker giggle Bwaaahahahahaahha! You looked like someone from one those anime. Ha ha ha, Oh, that hurts, ha ha ha ha," Minako at this point, was clutching her sides and was no longer capable of coherent speech.
"What's so funny Minako?" Usagi asked as she rejoined the group at their usual spot under a large cherry tree. Sometimes Usagi wondered if the people who built this school knew who she was and that her and her friends would be attending. The placement, size, and shape of the tree and the area around it felt almost like a throne or some other place of importance. On top of that the student body seemed to have some sort of sixth sense because the instant they walked over to this spot anyone sitting there would move, without any need of request or persuasion. 'Must be Setsuna's doing somehow,' the Senshi of the Moon would often muse.
Ami spoke up first as Makoto was still grumbling and Minako continued to remain in the stupor of unladylike merriment at the expense of her rough-n-tough friend, "Minako was just reminiscing the dictionary incident from earlier."
Minako finally calmed down enough to compose herself. As she began to speak, she brushed a few tears away while still giggling slightly, "I'm truly sorry, Mako-chan. I didn't mean to laugh at you. It's just, I never knew that an expression like that was physically possible."
Makoto grudgingly spoke. "Well, I guess I accept your apology. But I still can't believe it. How can a person, who is unconscious, not only catch almost everything thrown at her, but duck the one thing she didn't?"
"Who did that and when?" Usagi asked the sincerely, obviously having been asleep herself during said event.
They sat there waiting, a slight wind blew by carring a leaf past them.
"Um, Rei, isn't this the point where you usually jump in and yell at Usagi, calling her 'meatball head' and all sorts of other things?" Ami supplied helpfully while she glanced over to the miko, as the other four members of 'the Royal Court of Lunch Time': Mamoru, Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru where walking up.
"Mamo-chan!" The only collage student amongst them suddenly found their princess attached to his side.
The adorable scene was cut short however, when the priestess of flame screamed out in frustration. "I don't understand it! It's impossible. How can anyone's ki flow backwards like that without any effort! I mean, Ranko was asleep and there was absolutely no change in power level or control. Aargh!" This, of course, caused her fellow senshi to stare at her nevously.
Reluctantly taking herself away from her beloved, Usagi spoke in a soft, commanding voice. "As of now there will be no more discussion or worries about Ranko until our meeting tonight, as there are to many questions and neither I nor any others with answers feel like repeating ourselves. And before you ask; yes, this does have something to do with the 'good old times' and the scroll." Everyone caught the emphasis on the times phrase and knew instantly why they couldn't talk out in the open about such a topic. And then she continued. "Now, does anyone have any extra food,... I kinda forgot my bento while running out the door this morning." With that all present, excluding the meatball headed speaker, face faulted in total exasperation.
Ms. Daihoshi watched silently from one of the third story windows. Down below the Senshi and their future Queen continued through their lunch in a slightly more subdued fashion. Her eyes spoke of wisdom and memory of the ages.
'And now the final player has gathered... Did it really have to come down to this, Setsuna? The coming storm will not be at all a pleasent one. but then, when has there ever been a pleasent storm? Please forgive me, Ranma my love,' she thought as she turned toward her next class.
After school, a familiar girl departed from the premises. Home, however, was not her destination this time. Walking down a few blocks, she came upon a manor. As she stepped up to the gate, it open just enough to let her in and then closed behind her. The door to the building itself opened by way of a Butler, but she paid no mind. Finally stopping her brisk pace in the main foire, she knelled before a tall, dark man that seemed bathed in shadow despite the brilliant light all about him. He was clad in a light breastplate, bracers, and shin guards. Beneath the armor he wore a plain, black pair of pants and shirt. A mask of ebon hue adorned his face. His hair, darker then blackest pitch, was all the way down past his waist and placed in a heavy braid. When he spoke, it was like silk in a thunder storm.
"What have you to report?"
"All the players are in place. They don't suspect a thing. However, there is a new variable. One Ranko Saotome, M'lord."
"Indeed. Keep a close watch on her, but otherwise carry on as planned."
"Yes, Lord Susano-o."
"You are dismissed, Lady Charon."
Most times she enjoyed the spot light. It was always fun to run them in circles with her riddles and half truths. This was not one of those times. Setsuna, for the first time since accepting the mantle of Pluto, was without any insight. Without an answer to her own riddles. For the first time she knew what it felt like to be in the dark.
So here she was, sitting at a scout meeting with questions and very little else.
"So, have you remembered anything else, Setsuna?" Michiru asked simply.
All Setsuna could do was sigh, she didn't really want to tell them. "...Yes."
"Well?" Haruka huffed while thinking to herself, 'Can't she ever give us a straight answer?'
"I am now able to read the entire scroll." Saying this, Setsuna pulled out the scroll from subspace and unrolled it. "The first few lines describe the place I sent Hotaru and Ami last week."
"Hey Ami, was the person you found Ranko Saotome?" Rei inquired, looking over to the blue haired genius.
After giving Ami a reassuring look, Hotaru spoke, "Yes. After we found Ranko, we took her to her home, and then to the hospital."
"You wouldn't know anything about why her ki is running in reverse, would you?"
"Well, all I understood was that if it didn't she would be dead." After shrugging her shoulders, Hotaru looked to Ami.
After Ami gave a tired sigh, she opened up her mercury computer and typed a few things in and then after closing it again placed it on the table. A moment later a holographic display faded into existence. The 3d image of a nude female form appeared before all present. It was simple, white in color and possessed very little detail; but it was female none the less. After a moment a small red glow, almost like an orb of some sort appeared in the center of the form. The orb began to grow and change shape, filling the various extremities until the entire 'body' was full. Finally the glow radiated out from the form; bright, but not enough to block out the 'female' from view.
"As you already know Rei, this is what is known as an aura. Normally, when a person is harmed in some way energy consolidates to assist in the healing process." Ami paused in her explanatino as a large 'cut' appears on the 'girl's' arm.
After a moment the 'aura' around the wound glowed brighter until the cut was no longer visible. when the glow subsided no damage remained and Ami continued, "However, when the body receives to much damage the aura cannot compensate. The energy leaks out, rather then consolidates." The 'body' is suddenly assaulted by various wounds that would classify as lethal, at which point the red glow flows out of the form. Afterwords the form dims to an almost black, denoting that the 'girl' is 'dead'.
"I already know that. What does this have to do with Ranko? And since when could your computer create holograms?" the priestess of flame asked, more than a little confused about both points.
"As far as the hologram is concerned, I discovered that my computer could do that last week. It has been quite helpful with studying our various battles as well as organizing the multitude of files on it. However, getting back to Rankoﾅ," Ami 'pressed' a small icon that was floating beside the figure's foot. "This is a scan I did of her injuries last week," as she was speaking, the figure shifted and molded into a three dimensional image of Ranko. Though not detailing her more womanly parts, the image did show every single wound she had sustained the week before. "This was before Hotaru attempted to heal her."
"Attempted?" Michiru quirked an eye brow.
"Yes, attempted. It seems that when Ranko sustained these injuries she used a revised form of an ancient martial arts technique that she learned from the amazon elder Cologne; the Soul of Ice. While doing so, she had accidently discovered another technqiue that had been long forgotten save by a select few. The original purpose of the technique has been lost due to the fact that no one had ever mastered it. Even what she did do with it would not have been possible under normal circumstances. Acording to Cologne, the Soul of Ice was a by-product, a side-effect of the failed attemts. This discovery had a second side-effect. It inabled them to create the Hiryu Shoten Ha, one of Ranma Saotome's most powerful techniques."
Rei interupted, "Was this the same Cologne that I met at the Nekohaten last week?"
"Yes." said Ami.
Seeing another peice to the puzzle that had been plauging her as of late, Setsuna realized something was very off about the last statement that Ami had made. Calming herself as not to let the stress she was feeling enter her voice, she inquired carefully, "I was under the impression that the Amazons didn't teach outsiders their techniques. How did Ranma go about learning it?"
Ami gave Setsuna a nod of confermation, "You are correct, the Chinese Amazons do not reveal their secrets to any outsider. Just how Ranma fits into this, I can't say. As I told you before, I promised Ranma. And this was something he told me. If the elder had told me of their conection with each other, I would not have such quams." Ami paused for a moment, "Back to Ranko. The technique that she had mastered allowed her to hold her life force in staisis."
"What do you mean, Ami?" Luna wasn't sure, but she had a feeling where this was going.
Ami took a deep breath and gathered her thoughts, everyone knew from her actions that the next few statements would have to be made without interruption. "Ranko bound her aura, her life force to every one of the cells in her body." To illustrate her point the hologram shimmered again with an aura, this time blue in color, and once again the aura begins to spill out of Ranko's tortured form much like it did in the other example. However, this time instead out draining entirely, the last bit of energy forms into a net that starts to tighten around the young girl's form until it almost appears as if her skin were tinted with a sapphire sheen. "Normally the body cannot take that level of concentrated power; however, in Ranko's case, she was near death and had very little life force left. So instead of deep frying her insides, Ranko was able to hold everything together. In short, the technique she used stopped the flow of life within her, almost like stopping time. This gave her body the stability it needed to begin the healing process."
Rei studied the image for a moment when she noticed something not right about the picture in front of her. "Ami, one of the techniques that I employ in my meditations is like this, but it's not lethal in the slightest. How is this any different?"
Ami reached forward to press the "button" again. Suddenly the image zoomed in until they all could see each individual cell. Those that knew what to look for in an aura, found that Ranko's didn't pulse like a normal aura. Rather it just shimmered lightly, like glass or ice."The difference is in the execution. Unlike your technique, which just requires you to reign in your 'ki' Ranko is holding her aura completely still. Your aura is still moving, while hers has stopped. And that is why Hotaru can't truly heal Ranko without the possibility of doing irreparable damage."
Michiru's eyes widen in understanding. "Oh I see. Since her aura is not moving, the energy of Hotaru's healing ability can not interact properly. The lack of movement keeps the body from dieing out right, but by the same token, keep any outside interaction from getting in."
"Precisely." Ami smiled to herself, happy that at least someone got it.
Usagi spoke up, getting everyone back on track, "What else does the Scroll say, Setsuna?"
"The next portion refers to the attack tonight. The time and the place, but not who or what. The time of the attack will be at 9:35 pm at the same spot where Ranko fell. The part after that mention a location in China were I found...," the Senshi of Time fell silent. The other Senshi waited as she reached into subspace and pulled out The Hilt. Setting it on the table, she steeled herself for the most important part. Ami began analyzing it, as the other Senshi looked on.
"Setsuna, where did you get this?" Ami could not believe the readings she was getting. "This blade is..."
"The final sword of the Gold Millennium Empire. Yugure No Shinzo, 'The Heart of Dakness'."
The other Senshi sat patiently as Ami and Setsuna continued their duologue.
"The Gold Millennium Empire?"
"It was before The Silver Millennium. All record of it's history was completely wiped out by the order of the first Queen. I saw to the cleansing myself. Even my own memories where sealed away. It is my most darkest and shameful secret."
Seeing the pain in Setsuna's eyes and her body was begining to shiver in fear, Usagi moved to comfort her by putting arm around her and holding her close. "It is alright. If you don't want to tell us, then you don't have to." The other Senshi were more than a little shocked to see the unflapable Pluto shake like a leaf. It was almost surreal.
For the first time in her life, Setsuna let herself be comforted. "Even if I wanted to tell you, I don't remember it all yet. Right now, all I remember is that the sword belongs to a demon that was born of the power of Sol and Nemesis and should have been sealed away for all eternity. And that it is somehow my fault for it's escape..."
Rei looked at her shaken comrade with a determined expression adoring her face. "What was it called? Maybe while you guys prepare for the battle, I can do a fire reading?"
"It's name is Dark Star."
He stood there before the door.
His charge on the otherside.
He paused but a moment.
A moment in remembrance.
Amazed at what he had become.
No longer the murderer he once was.
Now he was a protector.
But today he knew his job was over.
He knew this day would come.
The day of the ball.
Shrouded Sun Arising
Ranko stood in the middle of her backyard, plagued with uncertainty. She looked at her right hand as if it held all the answers. Behind her, Nodoka continued to work on her small, but beautiful garden. A harsh wind blew, but it went unnoticed by the somber teen. Her left eye reflected the still bright rays of the sun as it began it's descent toward the horizon. But despite the warmth the sun gave off, her eye remained sheathed in a diamond hard layer of ice.
Before her was the evidence of battle, yet she didn't remember how she got a single one of those injuries. She couldn't remember her father, her friends, even what year it was. Her expert eye told her that the wounds on her body where from the heat of battle, but she couldn't remember with who. She knew she had a duty to uphold, but not to what. Her heart was frozen, yet it told her she was in the right place... Just not the why.
The only things that she remembered when she woke up was that Nodoka was her mother, that this was her home at some point in her life... and one other thing. And that was what alluded her at that moment; the meaning behind those two little words...
"Why can't I remember?" she voiced in a horse whisper.
With that she left the garden as she knew that her mother would soon begin still had to finish her homework and wash up. And if nothing else, she wanted to see her mother happy. If doing boring homework and the such would help toward that goal then so be it...
But that still left her with the question:
"Who or what is Dark Star?"
She had barely held herself together. Setsuna's ever-present stoic mask was quickly crumbling under the stress of the current mysteries that assaulted her psyche. She closed her eyes and let herself be rocked and comforted within the arms of her future queen. Slowly she felt all of her worries float away, the searing pain of the past once again becoming a dull ache. 'So this is what it feels like to be in the arms of someone like Serenity-hime. ...But, ...I have felt like this before, ...Haven't I?' Just then a single image bursts in her mind's eye. A woman in white battle armor with a regal bearing holding her in much the same way... a dark castle behind them was crumbling. 'When did that happen? ...Wait, could it have been at the end of the Gold Millennium Empire? Then the woman holding me was...' Suddenly another vision flashes. This time of Setsuna comforting a boy in much the same way as Usagi was her. Even in her grief her sharp mind catches on to one very important detail. While the boy had pitch black hair... her hair was NOT green. After that a hazed frenzy of memories assaulted her with joyfilled days of a youth she thought she never had, of an important duty she accepted, and almost unbearable pain that accompanied the remembrance of the consequences of her choices.
"Setsuna-mama? Are you ok?" Hotaru, never having seen the guardian of time lose control of any aspect of her being, was understandably worried.
Setsuna shook with pain-filled remembrance as Usagi... no... Princess Serenity, only held the ancient woman tighter while making soothing sounds and rocking her gently. It was a strange sight indeed for the other senshi. Slowly the Senshi of Time began to quiet and then fall into a calm slumber. All the senshi, aside from the two who were the center of attention, were amazed. It was rare that the true nature of the princess of the moon was even seen as a glimmer in Usagi's eye; rarer still when she took physical form. Even then she only appeared when the time was dire and the senshi needed a great pillar of strength to draw from.
At first the relative thought shared by the princess' guardians was shock. After all it's not everyday that the guardian of the gates of time breaks down. But it's another thing entirely when it takes the reborn heir to a long fallen kingdom to take her true form to comfort her.
"Is she-" Michru began, only to be gently silenced by Serenity.
"Shhhhhh... Let her rest," Princess Serenity spoke softly. Looking down at the slowly relaxing face of Setsuna, she couldn't help but smile. "You've been a guardian for so long. Just rest. You all. Rest for now. There is still time before we face our past and future." Though she was only whispering, her voice carried with the same authority and caring of her past self. Though her words were not orders, her guardians took them as such and all in the room visibly relaxed. Then they remembered, Serenity always appeared when they need her most. She was the calm in the storm. She was their pillar and hope. She would never back down. She would never give up. And she would know when to fight and when to sit a take a deep breath.
Now was such a time.
On a beautiful, wind swept plain long since forgotten to time two children frolic and play while giggles and shouts fill the air with a rare joy not commonly found any where near their home. She watched them from afar as they naively defied that somber shadow that had fell over the castle. If all went well the children would be able to break free of they bloody destinies. But one must always have a back-up plan. She looked to the woman beside her and wondered if just such a plan would have to be implemented.
Standing there on a hill that over looks the plain were two women of regal bearing. The first was clad in dark purple, almost black full plate armor. It was simple and sleek in design, emphasizing on mobility and grace. On the breast plate was the crest of pluto. As she wore no helmet, her ivory locks fell free of any confinement down to the small of her back. At her hip, an elegant long sword and cradled in her gentle fingers was the legendary Time Staff. The other wore a kimono of such exquisite form, fit, and style that one could only describe it as divine. Clothed in fiery reds, bright yellows, shimmering golds, and sparkling blues; she appearance could be described as nothing less then like the sun in the sky. Upon her brow she wore a circlet that was simple in design, it wrapped around her head straight and true till it reached the front. an inch from where the gold of the band would have met, the ends curved counter balanced to each other, the right side bending upward in a quarter circle while the left went downward in like manner. The flesh contained within the implied circle shone with the crest of the sun. Her long red hair danced in the wind like fire and her youthful eyes were like the summer sky.
The woman in gold looked on with sadness in her eyes, causing them to sparkle just a bit less, "Do you think we will ever have to implement the back-up plan? Will the children really have to suffer? Was it really necessary to create such an option?"
The Guardian of Time looked at her Empress with soft concern, "The future is, at this point, uncertain. Nothing would make me happier then to see such a horrid course of action never to come into fruition. However, by the same token, if the worst does occur, this is our only salvation. Fear not, M'lady, no matter what happens those two will have the chance to life happy lives."
Just then, two bundles of energy slammed Pluto onto her back. Twin orbs of stormy blue peered into her soul, the joy of innocence burning bright within. Sitting beside those windows into mischief were a pair of equally jovial cute, brown eyes looking at her in expectation. For a moment sorrow plays acrossed her face, but she quickly schools her features so as not to worry the young lord or his companion sitting on her chest. The Empress doesn't miss it however.
"Granna 'Suna, will you tell us a story? Please?" The cherubic bundles of energy pleaded in chorus.
"If you mother says it's alright, then yes," Setsuna shot a look at the shimmering lady of the sun.
"Like I would every deprive either my son or his best friend of hearing the greatest storyteller in all the realm weave her tales," her highness hid a small smile behind her sleeved hand. "You are dismissed, Lady Pluto. And don't spoil children too much."
In good humor, Pluto replied, "But that just takes the fun out of it." With that she gathered the future Emperor and his future bride to be in her arms.
The Empress watched them leave with a concern deeply etched into her features. 'For your future my son, my little Ranma, I would sacrifice everything. If the time comes, then I swear I will do everything in my power to see to you survival. I swear on my mothers grave, and upon my title: Amaterasu Oumikami, Empress of the Gold Millennium Empire."
The sun began to set in the mountain to the west of Tokyo as a shadow watched for atop the infamous Tokyo Tower. The figure's tattered cloak billowed in a soft gale. As quiet winds whispered of coming omens of darkness, the figure stood vigil in deep contemplation.
A great blast of violent winds tore at the man's cloak, pulling away the hood slightly to reveal a heavily bandaged face. While the tattered cloth still hid most of the person's face, the left eye was clearly visible. It's visibility was helped greatly by the fact the it was glowing a bright crimson.
"Blood of Tsuki-Yumi, prepare yourself for the coming storm."
Another gust passes, and shadows pass over the figure. When the shadows pass away and the wind dies down, the space the figure once occupied was empty.
Rei had left just after Setsuna's suprising breakdown and decided that it would be a good idea to do that fire reading she mention earlier. And so there she sat, having just completed the clairvoyent exersize; more confused then when she began. The vision she had recieved was strange, as she had expected; but did not reveal anything even nearing conclusive.
In he vision, four crests floated; two on one side, the crest of Sol and the crest of Nemesis. On the other side, leaving about eight inches between them, hung two other crests of unknown origin. As she watched, the first two crests combined into the now all to familiar crest of the Gold Millennium and began to float over, leaving behind a shadows of both a step behind. It's current possition put it at four inches form the other two; the shadows that remained touched the edge of each other and of the first. When she thought it couldn't get any stranger, the crest moved once more, the shadows repeated the actions of the first crest with it. Oddly the original seperated slightly for a few moments, so now there was a total of seven crest in front of Rei.
Just a moment after the original two recombined, the last shadows fused together and moved to where the first shadow was, overlapping and becomming one shadow again. Then then the shadow overlapped the original crest. The crest of the Gold Millennium seperated back into it's core crests; Sol overlapping one, Nemesis the other. Finally, the original crests took the form of the last two strangers.
When it was over, all Rei knew was that she just watched a transition. But what it meant for the team was totally lost to her. Deciding that maybe that maybe Ami or Pluto might know better, she left to return to the meeting.
Slowly Setsuna opened her eyes. Taking stock of her surroundings she schooled her features and left the comforting lap of her future queen, sat up and gathered her thoughts. Looking at the time she found to her surprise that it was already time to leave. 'Didn't I really sleep for that long?' Taking a careful eye about her surroundings she noticed that though not everyone was sleeping, all the senshi were in one fashion or another resting. The first to notice her current state of consciousness was Hotaru, who was taking a nap in the time guardian's lap.
"Oh, Setsuna-mama, your awake. Are you felling better now?" the little firefly spoke with worry creeping into her voice.
Setsuna couldn't help but smile, "Yes Hotaru, I'm feeling much better thank you. Now if everyone would get up we have a job to do." At this, all but one of the people in the room nodded their agreement; including Rei, who had just walked in.
"I can't believe this; one moment she is the most regal and authoritative, yet gentle and kind person I know... The next, back to being a meatball-head!" Rei spoke with equal parts awe and rage. Then she got an evil idea, 'Well she always wants my manga... how about I just give it to her?' Picking up one of her manga of the table, Rei took aim and fired, earning a bulls-eye and one startled princess. "Wake up, meatball-head, it's time to go!" she yelled.
Rubbing her forehead while she glared at one of her best friends, "Rei, you don't have to be so mean, you know." Suddenly she became almost Kasumi-level of cheery, "Well, let go then!"
With that she ran out to talk to rei's grandpa, saying something along the lines of them going for a bit to eat and being back later. All the while the senshi all stood there, yet again amaze by both Usagi's new level of maturity (or ditziness, one could never tell with her) and the amazingly quick change of attitude. Before they knew it, she was back with a big smile on her face.
"Come on guys, we have a date with destiny, and destiny never waits," She said, to which her friends only replied with a nod. As sudden as she was there, she was gone and reality finally settled back into the remaining soldiers. After a quick shared shrug, they left to once again fight for love and justice.
On a fairly crowded street near by, a couple stopped and looked at a strange spot on the sidewalk. Even after a week, the blood still stained the ground.
"Look honey isn't this where that sad, dieing girl finally fell?" the girl asked.
The boy hesitated for a moment to remember, "Yeah, it is."
As common with Juuban, there were screams filling the night as yet another youma, or something of the like began attacking the pedestrians. Well they thought it's was business as usual till they turned to see the monster of the week before they ran. What they saw however didn't match the norm in any way. Of course the site before them was also the last thing they every saw.
Tonight there would be more then just a stain as remembrance.
Not ones to waste time, the senshi ran at full tilt toward their destination. Hopping form pole to pole, dashing down alleys, rounding corners at speeds that even the Nerima Wrecking Crew would be jealous of. As they made their way they continue to lay out any probable events. Given their experiences dealing with enemies of all shapes and sizes, they had plenty of material to go on. "Pluto, does that scroll say anything else besides the time and place, at least a hint of what we're facing?" Mercury inquired.
Pluto frowned at this "No, nothing. Which is why I'm worried. Prophecies never mention anything unless there is something important. What about you, Rei? Did you get anything in your reading?"
Rei thought for a moment before answering in an unsure tone, "Well, I got something, but I don't know how it could relate to our current situation."
"Well, for now we'll just make do," Pluto sighed. "Even if this battle were just another run-of-mill, there will still be something off about it that we should look for."
Suddenly Sailor Moon stopped, and took a step back into the alleyway she had just exited. In a quite quivering voice she spoke, "Is this... 'off' enough?"
The other senshi quickly took they're positions and surveyed the... well street no longer described it in the slightest.
More like massacre.
There was cars wrecked, not too uncommon of a sight. People laying about in the street was also quite expected of this particular ward of Tokyo. The fact that the people were rent limb for limb and the street bathed in blood was definitely a new experience for the pretty soldiers. Add the fact that their monster-of-the-week was actually feeding on the flesh of said citizens adds a whole new level of fright for the heroines who are use to more... civil evil miscreants. Of course there was also the monster itself to take into account.
The strange beast turned toward them, the visor of it's helm was an empty void of shadow. It stood at about ten feet in height wearing a heavy breast plate with a small shoulder guard on the right side, and a much larger on the left. In it's right hand it brandished a sword that was more of a nine foot, decorated slab of steel. Clapped on it's left arm was what one would describe in measurement as a tower shield; but looked on it's arm to be more closer to a regular, if not small, shield. The head of the monstrosity was clad in a strange helm that looked to be a cross between the common English knight helmet and a demon's skull, it was hard to tell if it really was a piece of armor more then the actual head of the beast as the "jaw" move as if it's own. Upon the helm-head, a great mane of crimson bordering on darkness spilled down it's back. The rest of it's form was as black a shadow, though it's physical form was proven by the evidence of the blood from the victims splattered all over it's features. The hand and feet ended in vile, crimson hued claws. The armor itself was either painted to look like dried blood or it had been so saturated that it no longer mattered. The last and most important detail was the crest in the center of it's breast plate.
Pluto paled. "a knight of the gold millennium empire," she whispered in horror filled awe.
A voice, or what was like a great multitude of voices oozed out of it's maw, speaking with vile mirth, "Ah, so you have heard of us. Like it will do you any good. who are you?" It drawled while tilting it's head to the side in curiosity.
Sailor Moon hesitated before getting into the familiar role of the 'heroic introduction' "Murder is a loathsome sin, a blot on the beauty of humanity and a stain on the sanctity of life. We fight for love and justice! I am Sailor Moon..." Having heard the familiar 'call to arms' the other Senshi took their positions and called out their titles.
"Sailor Mercury!" was issued without preamble.
"Sailor Venus!" was cried out with practiced ease.
"Sailor Mars!" was called out in certainty.
"Sailor Jupiter!" was spoken almost as a challange.
"Sailor Saturn!" was revealed plainly, though with hidden threat.
"Sailor Uranus!" was said with an assurence of victory.
"Sailor Neptune!" was ushered through passionate, yet elegant lips.
"Sailor Pluto!" was yelled in equal parts power and fright.
With the tension eased slightly by the familiar territory, Moon finish her speech. "...And in the name of the Moon, we shall punish you!"
Long ago they had realized how absolutely corny that always sounded, but it had became a part of how they did things. Funny thing is no one really ever laughed at their speeches.
Till now, that is.
"Guys, I don't think he's taking us seriously," Venus fretted.
Pluto sobered up at this, "He doesn't have to."
"WHAT?" the other senshi made their thoughts known to the world.
"Just that, even with all of our power combined, nothing in our arsenal short of Saturn destroying the world will take this guy down." They all became silent.
Finally Jupiter spoke up, "So, we've face enemies that were stronger then us before and we came out on top. I say we go for it, if we are going to lose anyway I'd rather go down fighting."
Sighing, Pluto looked straight at her teammate, "You don't understand. Our powers don't have the strength to punch through that beast's defenses."
Uranus looked at the Guardian of Time, speaking with a self assured smile, "I agree with Jupiter, we should at least take a crack at it. After all, we'll never know till we try. I mean, we can't just leave that thing to reak havok though OUR city!"
Pluto sighed in resignation as the other senshi consented to the point their resident lighting rod and long winded tomboy had made. All the while the beast continued to bellow it's laugh. Without wasting any more time on speeches, the nine soldiers of love and justice lets loose all they had on the beast. Even as 'he' felt their power collect he just continued to stand there and laugh. The odd thing was it wasn't that usual 'evil maniac' laugh, or the 'I know something you don't know' laugh. No, the creepy thing about this laugh was that is was a real laugh, a 'this is just too damn funny not to laugh' laugh. While it scared the heck out of the senshi, they continued down their chosen path.
With the shouts of the names of their respective attacks, the Sailor Senshi let loose with 'both barrels'. Fierce flames, frigid ice, thunderous winds, shocking lightning, Rushing waters, blinding light, distubing silence, harsh entropy, and powerful purity erupted as one; causing the battle zone became a malestrom of lights in amost ever shade of color and elemental chaos rained down on the street blowing out windows, shattering store fronts, and sending asphalt and concrete every which way. As they continued their onslaught upon the monster, they found some solence in the fact that everyone in the area was already dead; they pooled every bit of magical force they could scrounge, the entire area bathed in the strength of the fuku-clad, magic girls. After they were spent of all their power, they gathered acrossed the street from where their nemesis once stood, waiting for the dust to settle to confirm their kill.
Uranus looked at the war-zone they had created with mild impatience, "Come on guys, nothing could have survived that."
Before Pluto could even say a word, a multitude of voices took the words right out her mouth, "I wouldn't be so sure. I am disappointed; amused, but disappointd. Is this all the spawn of Tsuki-Yumi has to offer? You aren't even using your lowest level techniques. Just those silly palor tricks used for practice. Know this: I am a Shadow Knight of the awesome Gold Millennium Empire! If I was going to let you live, I would have advised you to get some real training and take those ridiculous locks on your powers! But that would be -IF- I was going to let you live. Oh well, time for dinner!" With that said, he proved to things: One) he was light-years beyond the fastest youma deamon or any other beast they had ever fought. Two) That armor they thought was covering his mouth was, indeed his mouth, teeth and all.
In less time then it takes for Usagi to finish of the crackers at a meeting, he tore into every one of the guardians. With the flat side of his sword he sent Mercury creaning through a telephone pole and into a cake shop acrossed the street with a meaty 'thwack'. Jupiter was next and with a harsh, downward strike with it's shield, the beast made her a simi-permanent part of the black-top. Saturn was sent with a full force, soccer style kick through the engine block of a nearby Nissan Pathfinder. A merciless pile-driver put Pluto into the street next to Jupiter. Uranus and Mars met the business side of the beast's shield as he violently bashed them though the unforgiving wall of a chinese restaurant and into a not so bliss-filled sleep. Finally, wearing a gleeful smirk, the evil knight not-so-politely introduced Venus and Neptune to each other's faces. With all the other senshi put out of commission either by being in excruciating pain or knockout, the shadow knight turned his very much unwanted attentions full to their princess.
"They sure don't make guardians like they used to," he quiped, while trying to stiffle sounds that boarder on insane giggles. Taking a moment to look at his handy work, he turned toward Usagi; having desided his next course of mobid, childish joy. "Now, first I'll feed on your flesh, then that of your friends. I have always wondered what the spawn of Tsuki-Yumi would taste like," spoke the vile beast as he brought his gore-encrusted sword to bare for a killing blow. "Don't worry your little head about it though. This will only hurt for a single, excruciating moment. Hahahaha." With out any further ado, he swung the slab of blood-satined steel in a shrap arc toward the Princess of the Moon. She tightly screwed her eyes shut in absolute terror of what was to come. She felt the sickening splash of blood and the ringing clang of metal... but no pain. Daring to peek, she found an incredible shock before her.
The would-be instrument of her demise was on the ground to her left... and the shadow knight's head had fell between her feat. She looked up in time to see the behemoth's now-dead body fall to the earth; and to see beyond it, a man wearing a large tattered cloak. In his heavily bandaged right hand was a polearm... A very familiar glaive. A dark and tattered cloak and hood covered most of his facial features, helped by more bandages, save for his one red eye glowing with the light of a hot summer's day.
Finally finding her voice she looked straight at him, "w-Who are you?"
A soft, controlled and very even voice answered her.
"You may call me the Shrouded Sun."
With only one eye to see.
With nowhere else to go.
One before her.
The person possesses the answers.
But the truth is not what she wants to hear.
Who is she?
Where is she?
What are the questions she seeks to ask?
Follow the light.
A Storm On The Horizon
While the Senshi rushed to the battle site, Mamoru took his own route. Transforming in to his alter-ego, Tuxedo Kamen made his way to one of the buildings above the combat zone. He got there just as the Senshi began to unlaod upon the strange beast, felt just surprised as they did when it still stood after the onslaught, and was shocked by the speed at which it dispatched the other Sailors. He was about ready to make his patented entrance when out of nowhere a cloaked stranger appeared; neatly cleaving the Shadow Knight's head from it's shoulders. He had never witnessed such a merciless attack before, not even during the fall of the Silver Millennium. Who was this stranger, just how powerful was he, and, most importantly, could he be trusted?
Only a moment after delivering the death blow, the cloaked stranger disappeared in the shadows; not that he had moved, rather the shadows had rose up to meet him, then spirited him away. Shaking himself out of his stuper, Kamen hopped down to help the others escape before anyone discovered them.
In a dark place, a lone figure stood looking out a window at the night sky. The room was a simple meeting room, with a desk, a couple of chairs, and not much else. With the lights off, the figure remained in deep shadow, thick and almost as black as night. Susano-o waited for Charon, knowing that she would soon make her report about the attack. Not that he needed her to tell him that the shadow knight was deffeated, just the specifics and how it may effect their future plans. In the mean time, he contented himself with thoughts of the past.
The past. Such a funny thing to think about, especially when he had the memories of two life times that he could relive. He had it all; power, riches, a woman to call his own, and rule over all that he saw. Then it was all taken from him by the very same woman who gave him birth. But soon it would not matter. Soon he would take back what was his. His empire would rise again.
And it would all begin here in Tokyo.
The sound of someone entering the room brought him out of his thoughts and back into the present. Turning, he addressed the expected intruder, "What is your report, Lady Charon?"
Lady Charon answered calmly, as if taking about the weather, "Just as planned, Lord Susano-o."
"So 'HE' has appeared? Are you sure that this ...Shrouded Sun is a nessasary factor in our plans. Are you sure he is not a danger to them?" The impossing figure of Susano-o showed no outward signs of worry, but it was plain only in the words he choose. He only ever showed this vunerability in front of Charon for the very reason of what she was and represented. After all there was only one other guardian of time, and she was to weak to be of concern.
Charon nodded, "He is a nessasary part of the plan. He is key to the great loop that is the composition of my plan that will succed in resurrecting your true power. Aside from that, he is of no concerned at this moment. Fear not his mechinations, for you will be victorious in the end."
Susano-o narrowed hes eyes slightly at the way the woman in front of him spoke. The same insufferable fashion that his mother, his grandmother, and even his wife had spoken; how he hated the hidden agenda that they had always hinted to, but never revealed. Unfortunately, Charon was to valuable to his own 'machinations' to do away with as of yet. Calming the slight rise in his temper, he continued with their exchange by moving on to the next bit of business, "What of the eight Lunar Eterna? Have they been gathered yet, and more importantly, do they remember?"
"Yes, but it is not time for them to act yet. And when they do, their first battle should be done without removing the locks placed on them by the First Queen of the Silver Millennium," Charon spoke in the same unerving tone.
The Dark Lord let it slide this time, however, as he knew the reason for this action. It was one of the things in this plan the he wanted. After all, he maybe a vile, blood-thirsty, evil overlord; but that didn't mean that he lacked honor. It would be no fun to tear his enemies apart with a highly unfair advantage. He knew that being honorable would open the chance that his enemies could win; on the other hand, he would rather be beaten in a fair fight,then relish in ill gotten gains. He knew, from the example that his father set, what that could do to him in the long run. He wanted to rule with an iron fist, and that required all to know the full extent of his power. He held a slight and mirthful smirk as he continued the conversation, "Good. After the next attack..., introduce them to the Senshi. That will be all for now."
"As you wish, M'lord," Charon spoke as she bowed low, after which she left the room as quietly as she entered.
Susano-o returned to his window, and his thoughts, "Soon, spawn of Tsuki-yumi. Soon we will meet on the field of battle and you shall see just what I am really made out of. Your grandmother will regret what she did to me!"
Opening her eyes, she found nothing but a vision of pitch black. It was cold, lonely, and very mouch not a place she wanted to be. It almost felt as if she were floating; through what, however, she did not know. And how she got where ever 'here' was, was another mystery. With nothing as a point of refrence, she looked to and fro for some sign of life. Finally turning around, she found it in the form of a distant light. Making every effort to move toward it, she was suprized when she suddenly had a sufface upon which to stand. After testing the firmness of the apparent ground under her feet, she began her jouney toward the strange light.
As she drew closer, she saw that there was a structure within the glow. Several pillars stood in disrepair, ruins of a small clearing within the darkness. Reaching the closest pillar in the circle, she stood slightly behind it so that she may be able to get a better look at the surroundings before anyone saw her. Beyond her stood the most beautiful woman she ever saw; clothed in a grand nobles kimono colored like that of the sun, bight and vibrant. On her head, a simple piece of gold wrapped around; though she could not see the lady's face directly, so she wasn't sure if there was any other details about the circlet. The noble's hair was a fiery scarlet, loose between her shoulders. The woman stood as if waiting. For the time, she could not see anything else about the noble, so looked on to see what else was of interest in the area.
Her search was rewarded with the sighting of a strange egglike thing just a good few feet to the side of the lady. It was as tall as a full grown adult, and as wide as two standing side by side. It sat in the center of the ruins, as if it had a great importance, though what that was, she could not fathom. Also of intrest was the 'shell'; despite being as pitch black as the lonely nothing she had left just moments before, the egg was slightly transparent, revealing that someone resided within.
Before she could make any further assessment of the dark ovem, she saw another girl enter the clearing. This new entrant suprised her quite a bit more than anything else thus far; this new girl looked just like Ranko. She wore her usual red and black garb; but she was uninjured, save for her right eye, which appeared to be missing. She walked with a sure gait toward the lady, and that is when she realized the most suprising thing of all: the lady looked similar, kinda like an older sister. After a moment 'Ranko' spoke first, breaking what seemed like an eternity of silence.
"Who are you?"
"My title is Amaterasu Oumikami. However, before we can continue," the lady turned toward one of the pillars to the left of her and smile in a motherly fashion. "You can come out now, little firefly."
Hotaru realized that she had been caught, but she didn't seem to be in trouble for it.
"Do not fear, Senshi of Silence, for I know who you are and I am quite impressed that you have found this place so soon." Amaterasu knelt down to Hotaru's level as the little girl timedly walked out of the shadow of the pillar. Once Hotaru was close enough, the majestic, shining woman reached out a hand and softly caressed her cheek. The Lady spoke again with the same motherly tone, but this time it was lace with slight regret, "Too soon, I'm afraid. Forgive me, M'Lady Saturn, but what is here is not for you to see just yet. Till next we meet." And with that she gently positioned her hand in front of Hotaru's face, and as she moved it down over the firefly's eyes, she couldn't help but close them.
"Till next we meet, after you have completed the task set before you."
Then all faded like the dream Hotaru had taken it for in the first place.
She wondered about her child, it had been a week since the incident that brought Ranma back into her life. Nodoka was thankful for that of course; but something about the way her child locked away his memories set her on edge. Not just that, it seemed that once again the curse was locked. While that was good for the wounds Ranma has sustained, she couldn't help but worry.
However, the time for answers will come. So with that thought in mind, she went to turn on the t.v. to watch her late night soaps. With all the commotion she had missed out on the last week of happenings, and that could get you lost in the current events if you wait too long. Time to play catch-up.
Catch-up, unfortunately, was not on the minds of the news reporters that night; all Nodoka got to see was the 'important news bulleten'. Though that was a suprise in itself. As she watched the coverage of the aftermath of the onslaught, she began to add new things to the list of things to worriy about.
At least most things were going acording to plan...
Hotaru slowly opened her eyes again. Above her was a not-so familiar ceiling, and for a moment she was confused. What had happened to the clearing? And that beautiful woman, what of her? Taking a moment to calm herself, Hotaru remembered what it felt like to be in her presence; it was like being around Usagi when her true nature surfaced, like it was earlier. With that thought in mind, finally she realised just were she was: the Hikawa shrine.
Becoming more aware of her surroundings, Hotaru noticed the muffled confersation coming form the other room. From the multitude of voices she knew it had to be a Senshi meeting. Still aching from her intimate introduction with the front end of an S.U.V., she got up slowly and made her way into the other room to join with her teammates. As she entered the room, she found a sight that she never thought she'd see.
While no one had any broken bones or major wounds of any sort, thanks to their magical endurence and healing abilities, the dispare of defeat hung heavy in the air. She could see it in Makoto and Haruka's eyes the most, as they were the most capable in a hand-to-hand battle. They had all quieted down, having noticed that she was up and about. Before anyone could make any comments, she set about the task of healing as many injuries as possible; but when she walked up to the first person, Michru, she was stopped by a soft hung and an assurence that it was unnecessary. So she just contented herself with sitting in the Senshi of Water's lap and waited for the ealier conversation to be struck up again.
After a moment Rei spoke up, "What I'd really like to know is what's the deal with the blood? Is it a new way of gathering energy or something?"
"From the small amount of scanning my computer did before the Shadow Knight was killed by that new comer," Ami shook her head with a negative responce before continuing, "I'd have to say no."
Setsuna, nursing a minor tweek in her neck, sighed, "You are right, Ami."
"Do you remember anything new about our enemies, Setsuna?" Usagi asked softly, still shaken by what she had seen.
"Not much. Just that the soldiers of the Gold Empire aren't like anything we ever faced before. Each warrior is self-sastaining, and their primary motive is more than likely the resurection of their rule over this solar system. What has me worried is that they seem to be waiting for something. I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that they have a lot more then just one knight in reserve."
Haruka did not like what she was hearing at all, "You mean there is more of those monstrosities!"
"Well, I don't know for sure," Setsuna paused for a moment in thought, "But we'll find out one way or another soon enough. Right now, I think we all need to get some rest." Seeing the odd looks she was getting, the Senshi of Pluto just had to smirk, "Tommorrow is a school day after all." Several groans met this statement, but no arguments were brooked. After getting permission for her friends to stay, Rei got out enough futons for all. It was not long after that the sounds of sleep permiated the shrine.
-End of the unfinished fic-
This was my first fanfic. Boy did it show. So much angst. So many little spelling and grammar issues. Hell, even today, I'm still in dire need of some remedial lessons in English and Writing techniques. Still, I look back on this fic with very little fondness.
My goal had been at the time to create a completed fic. One with a strong plot that had been thought out from start to finish. The good news was that I had just about every chapter planned at the time; in fact, there was going to be a total of 26 chapters, all formated like an anime series. Trouble was, between changing jobs, new fic ideas, distractions, and lossing my original notes (they were on a disc that I left in a junior collage computer station) I never got around to continuing it.
Of course, I have found some of my hard copy notes since then. Reading what I was planning, I can succesfully tell you this would have been a bit insane near the ending. Granted, the ending I had planned was fairly solild in itself; the issues came from two major places:
1) Severe non-canon issues. Look, it's fanfiction, I know. But there is a distinct difference between writing something different from canon and not knowing canon enough to realize how OOC everyone is being, or having just plain wrong details about the source material that you are working from. As the saying goes: "You have to know the rules in order to break them".
At the time of writing the bulk of this fic:
I knew of Jusendo and Saffron, but had not actually read the manga.
I didn't realize that the 'Sailor Pluto' folks usually use is a very out of canon one.
And really, I had too much fanfiction and too little of the source material to get any else right at all.
Believe me, reading too much fanfiction can skew your perseptions of character and setting very easily.
Moral here is: "Even if you are not going to use much of it, always refer back to the source material of any series you are using for your fic". And, no, there is no excuse. You are on the internet. There are sites for just about anything you want and forums for the things you can't find. Google and ask fellow fans.
2) I had a difficult time keeping the main plotline straight.
Let me make this clear: You can pretty much figure out the bulk of what I had planned for this story from just what I already posted. It's just that I was very cryptic/did a terrible job of describing things.
Let me put it this way: I HATE TIME TRAVEL.
Seriously. You don't really think too much about it until you actually try to write a time travel fic. You can already see all the effects of the time travel plot in these chapters. For starters, there is "00-03", that is the end of the fic right there. I wasn't kidding with the title; "In the END, (which is) in the BEGINNING". But the really crazy part there? All three of those scenes in the prologue happen at roughly the same time.
All told, Ranma isn't in two places at once here... He is in four. The weirder part? So is Akane. "But she died," you say. Nope. It was due to how I made Ranma and Akane's senshi powers work here that folks thought Akane died. The key to understanding how the time line works is in Rei's vision from the great fire.
Basically it goes like this:
Ranma (the first time) is born from the 'Amaterasu' in that flashback that Setsuna has. Akane is there too. Now where is Setsuna in that? You think she was Pluto? Ha! She was Amaterasu. The way that I had the family line set up in that was that the Empress is always "Amaterasu". When she gave her title to the one that married her son, she would pick up the mantel of Pluto. What then happens the the previous Pluto? She becomes "Serenity". That's right, The person that would one day become the moon queen is right there being tackled by Lil' Ranma and Akane in that flashback.
Ranma's father trains him to take up the title 'Susano-Oh'. When he takes up the title, so does he take up his fathers dark ambitions. Setsuna, then Pluto, works with Serenity to bind all the powers of the senshi back. Limits are placed, and in the ensuing battle, half their force is lost when they are sealed and sent away to a far flung future to be reborn and perhaps have a chance to live good lives instead of the dark ones they held during the Empire.
Sadly, this plan didn't quite work out. Thus the Susano-Oh you see in 02-12 and 04-02. Where is Akane/Amaterasu? Why she is the teacher, Ms. Daihoshi. She has a plan of her own to fight her beloved. This all will culminate in the end game of the fic, where Charon uses her final attack, the "Eye of the Needle". This attack is where most of the time travel craziness happens.
Now, during the final battle, Daihoshi and Susano-Oh would face off. The end result would be Susano-Oh using a power that would allow the two to become one, thus stilling Daihoshi's power and becoming 'Dark Star'. The Needle would send everyone back two weeks, and Dark Star arrives in Tokyo, ends up helping the Senshi as "The Shrouded Sun". I don't recall exactly what I had planned, but I think it was something to the effect that he had taken Hotaru's Glaive. Being who he was, he could do that... somehow.
Again, we reach that Needle point (no pun intended), and Shoud ends up battling 'Dark Star' (you'll understand in a sec). He end up getting lost during the time-what-have-you that occurs and get tossed all the way back to the Silver Millennium. Shoud becomes free of whatever the first Susano-Oh (remember, Gold Empire time Ranma's father) did to him. He decides to take up arms for Serenity, remembering her as His Grandmother. This is what the poem type thing I got at the start of Chapter 3 was referring to, and why Usagi reacts the way she does to 'Ranko' (mind you, the gender issue was a bit of a plot hole).
Naturally, the fall comes, and Shroud falls. Serenity sends everyone forward, and in doing so, undoes whatever his power did to fuse Susano-O and Amaterasu together. They are reborn as Ranma and Akane (canon version).
Now we follow them through canon till we get to Jusendo. Rather then Ranma performing the link, it's Akane, seeing that Ranma was going to loose. Their memories get jumbled. That's were we come in on the first scene of the story. Ranma gains some control during the battle still trying to win, and it messes the whole fusion up. This lasts until 01-09 where the Amaterasu (akane) portion of their soul seals the Susano-Oh (ranma) away to heal.
Eventually, 'Ranko' would learn the truth during battle that she was really Akane. The memories coming back would help both aspect of their joined soul to heal and become the 'True Dark Star' to face Shrouded Sun. They succeed in the final battle, become separate again, and end up both waking up back at the Tendo Dojo at the start of the fic. Everyone else, save Setsuna, shows up not long after. They all decide to hang out at the dojo till after the events of the rest of the fic play out.
In the end, both Ranma and Akane give up their Gold Millennium Empire titles of Susano-Oh and Amaterasu, and take up the names of Oberon and Titania, two moons of Uranus.
Now, Setsuna also gets flung through time in an odd sort of way. She end up at some random point in the past, but knows she would have a hard time resisting the urge to screw with time directly. At this point, she doesn't know if they won or not. So she writes the scroll and leaves it with Cologne (or something like that. Memories are a little fuzzy on this plot point). As years go by, she adopts a new identity, gets married and has a son. Turns out, the identity was "Nodoka" and her son is her reborn child. At some point she would remember (if i did the mem-lock, that is) and she would know that Ranma/Ranko would soon show up. But she didn't realize/remember how bad the damage was, hence her reaction in 01-08.
Think that was crazy? Many of the 'Eight Moons' are from Ranma's cast, with Kasumi taking up the mantle for the moon Titan if memory serves. Technically I had already revealed who Charon was in the original version of chapter 2. Granted, I didn't say it directly, the set up of the scene progression and placement of characters made it extremely obvious. It was Usagi's friend, Naru. Also, there were also some men on the team. I know I had a place for Shampoo, Mousse, Ryoga, and Nabiki; I just can't remember who was which moon.
If you made sense of that mess, congratulations. Even writing all this out was a pain and very confusing at times. Like I said before, the ending was pretty solid, just insane. This is a text book example of Ozzallos' 'Rules of Fanfic Failure' #4. Time Travel plots are a one way ticket to plot convolution. Every time. Guaranteed.
Funny story: In the original set up, I had planned on using characters from other anime as the Eight moons, with one of the being Satsuki Yatōji from "X"
Okay, that's enough of this mess. On to the other fics.