There's a glossary that I added after the epilogue for those who wish to look up words that they are not familiar with. Hopefully I haven't missed any. It's not as convenient as having the words in the chapters they appear in, but the three methods I considered — in that regard — looked too out of place to make peace with my (lack of) sensibilities. Hey, creative people can have quirks, right?
Beyond that, I touched up a few things. Nothing major. I just enhanced some parts in chapter nine and eleven, and added the horizontal rules that I missed in the second chapter.
This was spawned by wanting to write a story with an ending that's typically used as a premise, in part because of how much fan-fiction — specifically a story of this nature — tends to end once the premise is written (if not shortly afterward). That said, that part of the story is easy to guess, and thus a poor choice as the meat and potatoes of the plot. So, I had to give it something that a reader would have to figure out as the story progressed, which is why the story is longer than just a few thousand words.
This story leans rather heavily on the Sailor Moon manga, so I would not be surprised if readers were unfamiliar with various things that reference events from it that differ from the anime. I can only hope that I managed to make them understandable within the context of the story, for those who haven't read the manga.
Before anyone complains about a certain character not being present, or their part being too brief, that's just the way it is. A lot of characters in the canon stories — even some of the main ones — have been absent from whole episodes, chapters and story arcs, or even longer than that. I wasn't going to include or use much of characters that I couldn't find a good reason to utilize, beyond making an appearance for the sake of appearing in the story (and ultimately being irrelevant).
You may notice a few loose ends, and as far as I know they are all intentional. That's because — while this story can stand on its own — it can be continued, but I won't be the one to continue it. Originally I was going to write a sequel, but I realized that I have enough things to write as it is. So, I have left some things open. In particular, I left open the kind of things that I felt would either benefit more from being expanded upon in a sequel, or would have been an awkward divergence within this story. If you'd like to write a sequel, you don't even need to ask. Just do it. Though I'll try to respond as promptly as possible if you need me for anything.
I'd like to thank some of the folks over at Fukufics for their input. You know who you are. If you don't, you should see someone about your amnesia.
Early one Sunday morning, with the grass and trees glistening with the moisture that had come from a recent rain shower, four girls found themselves squaring off against each other at Furinkan High's soccer field. It wasn't unusual for these girls to be at odds with each other, but that tended to involve two opposing parties, and its occurrence usually depended on the circumstances. This confrontation was planned, however, and saw each girl taking their own corner of their arena; an arena that — for some reason — required them to wear fancy gowns that were more befit for princesses.
Spying on them, from within a copse of trees that were by the field, was Ranma. He had a strange look on his face as he peered around the tree that he had chosen to hide behind, because he didn't know what to think about what was going on. He had known that Akane, Ukyo, Shampoo and Kodachi had been acting strange for the past few weeks, but that didn't explain how they had changed their normal attire into what they were now wearing, as if by magic.
He was worried that Nabiki might be right: all four of the girls were being possessed, or something to that effect. It was the only thing that he could think of to explain their change in behavior, as well as their recent campaign to actively do each other in. He was used to them fighting over him, but now they seemed to be fighting over something else and he had no idea what it could be.
Every attempt to learn what was going on had been met with resistance, either verbally or physically (usually the latter). Nabiki had also tried to find out, in her own way, but she had given up after Akane had done something embarrassing to her. Exactly what had been done to her, she would not say. However, it had been the impetus that had made her approach him with her concerns.
The most notable change in their behavior, was that they acted as if they were more privileged than those around them; not much unlike how Kuno did. It hadn't been all that bad with Akane, at first: she had only been a little more demanding and dismissive. As her fights with the other girls persisted, without apparent success, that had changed. She had gradually begun to act more like a spoiled princess who expected her every word to be followed, though it was mostly contained at home in order to keep up an appearance with her friends.
That wasn't the oddest thing to have happened during the whole affair, as far as he was concerned. Every now and again Akane would kindly tell Kasumi to do something and, while it was being done, she would look at him in a way that made it seem like she was rubbing something in. It was as if she were trying to antagonize him by ordering Kasumi to do something. He couldn't begin to understand what that was about.
Then there were the times when one of the four girls seemed to make a slip and treat him as if he were a different person. The only exception was Kodachi, who had begun to treat his female form as if she really were someone else. Kasumi began to treat him differently, as well; except she did so more consistently, and it was a far more pleasant experience. She was especially attentive whenever he was a girl, but he chalked that up to it being a girl thing, and how it wouldn't be proper for her to get too touchy-feely with a boy. In the end, he wasn't about to question something that seemed innocent and good when things were going to pot with the other girls.
Cologne didn't seem to think that anything was wrong, even though whatever-it-was seemed to be affecting her great-granddaughter, too. In fact, even though she had been unwilling to say anything on the matter when he had confronted her about what was happening, it was clear to him that she not only knew what was going on, but approved of it. She had even gone so far as to ask him whether or not he were interested in working at her restaurant as a waitress, to replace Shampoo, since she was no longer going to make her work there.
Perhaps the most annoying part about the whole affair, was how frequently one of the four girls would use a cat to get rid of him. However, if they hadn't done it so often, he never would have realized that they had all been using the same one, since his fear tended to wrest his attention away from even the most obvious of details. It made him wonder if the cat was somehow responsible for what was going on.
His attention was brought back to the present when Ukyo's peel met with Akane's mallet, thus beginning the fight. Shampoo rushed in after them with a pair of chúi, while Kodachi lobbed a bomb at the now-gathered trio — one that no doubt contained some kind of debilitating powder. The three broke away in time to avoid the bomb's explosion — its contents included — and rejoined the fight by moving it over to Kodachi, who entered the fray with a gymnastics ribbon in one hand and a club of the same variety in the other.
While Ranma didn't want to see any of them hurt (including Kodachi), he knew — from experience — that it would be futile to get involved. No matter his intentions, they had made it quite clear that they didn't want him interfering with their business. Still, it was interesting to watch; especially when they began to use what could only be described as magic. He didn't know when or how they had learned to throw around balls of fire, lances of ice, blades of wind and chunks of rock, but he hoped to correct that by the time whatever-was-happening was over. Well, assuming that things ever returned to normal, anyway.
Upon hearing a rustling sound coming from a bush in front of him, he spared a moment to glance down and see what the cause of it could be. A second later a familiar cat, whose coat was black save for its white paws, belly and chest, hopped out of the bush. Above its green eyes, on its forehead, was what appeared to be a crescent moon-shaped bald spot.
"Cat!" Ranma screamed, and leapt away without turning around, out of reflex. His back quickly found a tree, and the impact against the back of his head sent him reeling long enough for him to fall forward, onto his face. Between having a face full of wet grass, and the shower of water droplets that were shaken from the leaves above, it was enough to activate his curse.
Once she regained enough of her wits, she rose to her hands and knees. Then she groaned in annoyance, for the indignity of being scared by a cat in addition to being changed into a girl. Of course, once the thought reminded her of the situation, she jumped to her feet and beat a hasty retreat before she could see the cat again, her reason for being there in the first place forgotten.
The cat continued to stare in surprise after the redheaded girl had vaulted over the school's perimeter wall, and out of sight. If one were close enough, they would have heard it whisper, "Princess Hestia...?"