Prereader list, in no particular order: Frice, Konsaki, J. Patrick, WG Writer
Honorable mentions: Dumbledork, Cheb, Wharpt, gsteemso
I recommend going to read Sun and Moon A Night Shift Omake which can be found in my favorites. It's sort of a pseudo side story with ponies.
Following behind her friend and police contact, Natsuna, Minako couldn't help herself from taking a moment to bounce along and make little breathing noises like she was an astronaut in space. She was in her senshi form but no one would never know that, her seifuku was covered up by a white plastic biohazard suit that hung off her like a squeaky tent. Natsuna was wearing a similar outfit over top of her usual police uniform.
As much as she wanted to continue playing around, Minako focused on the serious nature of her visit to the high rise. "I don't think this is really necessary." She remarked, her voice echoing in the sealed suit.
"No one is going to notice you wearing one of these." The police superintendent answered. "Which we wouldn't have to worry about if you would actually quit being a vigilante."
"Eh." She shrugged.
"Although I do prefer your old uniform." Natsuna joked as she entered into a room on the right. "This is the only room I could get you into."
Through the door was a large two bedroom apartment that was completely average in every way. It was sparsely furnished as though they had little money to spare after splurging on the spacious apartment, and what she could see looked cheap. The bodies of a man and woman were laying on the floor in the center of the main room. There was nothing to indicate why they were in this position, the woman face down with one arm raised above her head, and the man flat on his back staring up at the ceiling.
"Why are the bodies still here?" Venus immediately asked with complete seriousness.
"The crews are removing them under a strict quarantine. Trying to catalog everything to try and figure out what killed them. They all fit the profile of being killed by one of the unidentified monsters. It's— it's like they just died— right where they were standing." Natsuna explained solemnly.
"No decomposition?" She noted that the bodies looked completely pristine, like the whole scene had been laboriously staged.
"None— there's nothing living that will touch these bodies now. Not even basic chemical processes. We don't really have the resources to research whatever magic does this." The police woman added professionally, only letting a hint of her helplessness enter her voice at the very end.
"I'll talk to the others about sharing what we know." Venus felt helpless as well. No matter how many demons they stopped in the act, people were still dying. For now they could only hope to contain it.
"Hopefully someday soon we can work together without all this secrecy." Natsuna turned away from the dead couple.
"Soon." Venus whispered.
Relaxing after the morning hustle to prepare breakfast and school lunches, Nodoka sipped lightly on a steaming cup of tea with both Mau sitting in front of her, the trio watching Chibi-Usa practice with Genma. Usa had changed her hair to be held in a high ponytail, letting the pink cascade flip around wildly as she mimicked Genma's complex forms. Diana was making excited little oohs and aahs as the two moved about. Occasionally, the small gray kitten would even give words of encouragement.
Her husband seemed so much more like the man she married, with purpose returned to his life again. She knew that he really didn't have the drive to train Ranma anymore now that her son had surpassed him. Nodoka subtly bit her lower lip, wondering if she had ignored him a little too much upon being reunited.
'I wonder if Ranma would let us spend some quality time at his castle?' She wondered, curious if it would inspire Genma's more romantic side. They had married young after all and she wasn't too old to have another child. 'Ranma would definitely make a wonderful role model. He and Chibi-Usa get along so well.'
Chibi-Usa slipped on the wood as she was performing a snap kick into Genma's hands and fell hard on her backside with a small cry of pain.
"Husband, don't push her so hard." She instantly rose to go help the child up.
"Nonsense, the only thing hurt is her pride." He stood over Chibi-Usa, expecting her to immediately jump up to her feet.
"She's just a child." Nodoka narrowed her eyes at the glasses wearing man in annoyance. 'Just when I was thinking he had some redeeming qualities.'
"I'm okay." Chibi-Usa broke into their small argument, quickly patting away the small amount of dust on the back of her gi.
"See." Genma clapped the small girl on the back. "I was right about how you'd coddle Ranma if we stayed. You can't even put aside your womanly concerns for a niece let alone our son." He boasted proudly at being able to justify leaving her.
'My womanly concerns?' She snarled internally. "I doubt I would have such concerns if our son had had a good manly influence in his life from the start."
"Am I not manly enough?" Genma asked sarcastically and flexed himself into different poses like a bodybuilder.
"An opening!" Chibi-Usa shouted and speared Genma in the side with her hand hard enough to make the man crumple to the ground in pain.
"Being manly is more than just a good physique." Nodoka remarked haughtily, resolving to stress how rude her niece had been, sometime much later. "Artemis is quite manly." She gestured down to the feline.
"My manliness just comes naturally." Artemis sat up straighter. "Of course, I would never be so unmanly as to abandon such a lovely woman for so many years."
"What was that, cat?" Genma snapped and groaned at the same time, still rolling on the floor in pain.
"Father impugned your qualities as a man." Diana answered helpfully.
"Woe is me, to have a wife who thinks a cat is more manly than her own husband!" Genma bemoaned dramatically, instantly sitting up in a crosslegged position as though he hadn't been writhing in pain a moment before. "And don't think that I haven't noticed your new hair ornament."
"You did?" Nodoka asked in amazement, absently reaching up to feel the magical gold clip holding her hair up in a bun. 'I wonder what else he's noticed.' She thought with a small smile returning to her lips.
"Of course! Who gave it to you?" Genma suddenly lunged for Artemis and picked the cat up under his front legs. "Was it you, cat?! Confess now!" He demanded jealously.
"Father, what have you done?!" Diana scandalously exclaimed.
"Nothing! Nothing! Honest!" Artemis shook his head violently side to side.
"Can we get back to training?" Chibi-Usa asked from her forgotten place to the side, trying to get back to the reason they were in the dojo in the first place.
Nodoka calmly plucked the poor white feline from her husbands rough grasp and set him back on the floor. "Ranma gave it to me." She finally corrected him. Genma seemed to realize how big an error he had made when he saw the cold fury smoldering in her eyes.
"Where'd he get the money for that?" Genma asked stupidly before she slapped him across the face.
"It doesn't matter." She coldly stated and turned to walk away. 'After everything he's done, he questions my honor?!' Nodoka internally screamed.
"If you want to apologize, I know a great flower place." Artemis told Genma as she left.
"Shouldn't you get mother some flowers as well, Father?" Diana asked. "After your indiscretion, it's only proper to apologize."
"But I didn't do anything!"
Ranma basked in the imaginary heavenly glow being emitted from his bento. 'Oh lunchtime, how I've waited for you to save me from class!' He ignored the myriad of other students who had gathered around the other side of the tree in order to question Hotaru, the mysterious cute girl transfer student. While he should be more interested in why his fellow Senshi decided to leave her far more prestigious school to attend Furinkan of all places, or how the rumor mill was already declaring them a couple, he couldn't find any reason to be worried.
Such things were paltry concerns when weighed against the importance of his lunch. His mother and Kasumi enjoyed preparing meals for him, Akane, and Nabiki. This morning had been different. Ranma had watched briefly at the doorway, hyper focused on the fact that Nodoka was preparing something separate from the two Tendo sisters. His mother was even wearing the golden hair ornament that he had given her last night.
She had been all smiles as she personally handed him the boxed lunch, proudly telling him to 'do his best'.
As far as Ranma knew, this was the first bento that his mother had ever prepared for him; something every other student took for granted. More importantly, it came right after an event he had expected to utterly destroy him in her eyes. This was the single most significant and important lunch that he could ever remember.
So he was reasonably upset when he noticed that someone was slowly pulling the delicious and perfect bento away from his grasp. And it was perfectly understandable for him to hiss 'mine' and roughly slap the filthy fingers that dared intrude upon such a perfect moment.
"Easy! I just wanted to snap you out of your food coma." Sayuri held up her hands in defeat.
"You should know better than to get between Ranma and food." Yuka joked.
"Sorry." Ranma apologized sheepishly, glancing over briefly at Hotaru who was easily handling all the attention with soft comments and friendly smiles. "So, what did you want?"
"We just wanted to know if you had delivered our letter— and if she gave a response?"
"Oh—." He slowly drawled and twirled a set of chopsticks around his fingers and checking to see how much attention was being directed his way. It was problematic enough that Akane had let these two know that he had a connection to Sailor Theia.
Motioning with his hand for the two girls to come closer, he whispered to them. "She said she'd come— with one condition."
"Name it." Yuka excitedly volunteered
"She wants to bring a friend." He finished, enjoying how both of them completely froze up. "But she didn't think you would mind too much, right?"
"Like— a— another Senshi?" Yuka gasped excitedly in a high pitched tone and covered her mouth with her hand. Ranma nodded in response and the two girls looked like they wanted to pass out or hug each other in happiness.
"Of course she can! Thank you so much." Sayuri clapped her hands together and lunged forward to hug him.
As far as Ranma knew, time had stopped on the collective gasp from everyone in sight. His impossibly wide eyes immediately sought out and found Akane sitting in the sun on a bench next to the school. Her bento was crushed in her hands and one of her eyes was an angry scowl while the other looked to be ready to explode out of her skull. Sayuri seemed to realize the grave mistake she had made and was equally frozen. Unwilling to move in any way lest something horrible befall her.
"So— are you two having a moment?" Hotaru asked sarcastically, clearly amused by the whole situation.
"Ranma!" Akane screeched, her rapidly approaching feet seeming to shake the Earth.
"I didn't do anything!" He protested, slipping away from Sayuri to take off running from his fiance, lunch still in hand.
The pavement was a blur underneath her as Haruka expertly weaved her way up the mountain path. Few other vehicles traversed the winding road, so she was free to open up her sport bike to truly fly. Reaching one of the few straight away sections, she felt the front wheel of the motorcycle pick up briefly as she revved hard on the throttle.
"Hotaru says she's having fun on her first day." Michiru's voice carried over the roar of engine and wind through the speaker in Haruka's helmet. Perched side saddle on the back of the bike, her lover hadn't stopped staring at her cell phone nor given any care to the motions of the vehicle.
Haruka didn't answer, squeezing the clutch and letting back on the throttle as they neared a gentle curve; the bike slowing just enough for her to avoid a car that had pulled into her path. The sun dipped behind the trees lining the road, causing rapid fire splashes of light to bounce off her face shield.
"They didn't assign any homework. How are they supposed to reinforce what she learned? If Hotaru learned anything at all." Michiru remarked crossly. "And now she's helping Ranma find some cold water so they can appear at a high school fanclub meeting."
"Hotaru should have been a Guardian Senshi." She finally answered, slowing down to a more leisurely pace as the road became rougher near the top of the mountain.
"We won't be greeted by her when we get home." Michiru leaned heavily against Haruka's back.
Coming to a gentle stop next to a guard rail, they both looked out over the valley and hills far in the distance. All four of them had loved the secluded rural mansion and it's access to even more remote and scenic areas of Japan. But it wouldn't be a home anymore without the daughter that had united them as parents.
"Setsuna picked up that place in Nerima— want to make ourselves at home?" Haruka asked, placing her hand over the one Michiru had wrapped around her stomach.
"At the very least we need to give her a housewarming gift." The Senshi of Neptune laced her fingers together with Haruka's. "We have to make sure they are both properly settled in, right?"
In Senshi form, Ranma knelt on the grass along with Sailor Saturn, minus her Silence Glaive, outside of the classroom setup for the meeting. Artemis and Diana sat next to them as they waited to put their entrance plan into play. Both of the Mau wore adorable long tailed black tuxedo jackets, Artemis also had a top hat with his ears sticking through the brim.
The inside the room had been decorated with sparkly gold banners around the exterior and crimson triangular bunting criss crossing the ceiling. The desks had been pushed to one side and together to be completely covered with various treats created by the many students who were milling about the room, while the chairs had arranged into lines facing the chalkboard. Ranma counted thirty two students, having mostly the expected girls but also finding a few boys. Akane and her two friends were in attendance, the short haired girl still looking unhappy from what happened at lunch. She noted that even Hiroshi and Daisuke had stopped by.
"I can't see. What's going on?" Diana asked, standing up on her back legs with her front paws against the school wall.
"Sorry." Hotaru picked up the feline so that she could look through the window with them.
"Oooh, you've become quite popular, Theia-sama." The kitten complimented.
"I can't help it. It's all because of my natural beauty and grace." Ranma jokingly replied and rolled her head forward just to dramatically flip her hair. 'Mina is right though; I need merchandising.' She imagined what it might be like to see herself on lunch boxes, billboards or even tv shows; a role model that could inspire the masses.
"Shouldn't we get this show going?" Artemis asked in irritation at how long they had been imagining the reaction of their arrival and giggling about different ways to do it. "Women and making others wait." He rolled his eyes and sighed.
Ranma and Hotaru gave the white cat a brief glare before grudgingly admitting that they were just putting it off now. "Alright, you're on." She silently slid the window open to let Artemis hop up and through. Using her powers, Ranma absorbed all light in the classroom until only a single beam was left in the front to illuminate Artemis.
"Ahem!" Artemis loudly exclaimed, holding up a paw to cough into as he gained the attention of the confused students. Hotaru used her spell from the other night to summon delicate fireflies of dark purple to flutter gently just outside the column of light.
"A talking cat?"
"He has a little top hat and coat, how cute!"
Artemis sat up a little straighter in pride at his dashing image and to pose for several camera phones brandished in his direction. "I am here to introduce your guests of honor, so please hold your applause until the end."
Ranma could practically hear the drumroll as she and Hotaru slipped inside, hiding in the darkness behind Artemis. Diana dropped in to sit off to the side, away from the action. Striking a dramatic pose, Ranma and Hotaru waited for just the right moment to let the gathered students see them.
"Making their first public appearance are two of the beautiful sailor suited warriors for love and justice! First, let me introduce the princess of the planet of silence—."
Ranma brought up the light around Hotaru and the purple haired girl finished for Artemis by saying. "Sailor Saturn!"
A couple girls started clapping lightly before realizing that the cat wasn't done speaking.
"The other shines as bright as the sun; known in the past as the light that cleaved the darkness. She is—" Artemis trailed off again to let her speak.
"Sailor Theia!" She announced after bringing the light up around herself.
"And we're on the scene!" Saturn and Theia finished together with a climaxing flourish, twisting to the side and crossing their arms as she brought up all the lights in the room. Artemis quickly scampered to where Diana was waiting, already forgotten by the masses.
There was a pregnant pause before the students realized that the introduction had ended and they quickly broke out in excited applause. Ranma beamed at the attention and could tell that Hotaru was feeling the same swell of delight at the acknowledgement they usually never received. All at once they were surrounded by students, some giving polite bows while others gushed animatedly over getting to meet them.
"Excuse me!" She called over their voices, holding up her hand until it was quiet enough to continue. "Are— Sayuri or Yuka here?"
"I'm Sayuri!" The ponytailed girl exclaimed happily, stepping forward with arms held up in front of her chest.
"And I'm Yuka!" The other girl with unbound hair bumped into Sayuri. They shared a brief glance before turning back towards Theia with expectant looks.
"It's a pleasure to meet you." Theia bowed her head towards the pair before continuing. "Thank you for inviting us. We're honored to get recognized." Through the assembled group, she saw Akane standing with her arms crossed trying to feign disinterest.
"Thank you all for doing all this." Saturn added, providing a unified front. The rarely seen Senshi wasn't getting the same amount of attention but there were plenty of guests who looked interested in finding out who this new enigmatic and darker themed Senshi was.
"Tha— thank you." Sayuri stuttered and bowed deeply at the waist. Yuka mirrored her movement the moment she saw that it was happening.
"There's no need to thank us." Theia addressed the assembled group as grandly as she could with her short stature. "But we will always appreciate it." She finished, smiling as gratefully as possible.
While it was probably nothing, it felt like such a momentous moment for her. In her past life this kind of thing had been fairly routine or only formally done. In this life, it signified the first step down a path that would lead to ruling once again. Within only a brief span of time, Crystal Tokyo would be established and these young ladies and men would be her subjects not her schoolmates.
"Sailor Theia, please try my cakes!" Sachiko from Ranma's class suggested, holding up a tray with cupcakes decorated by little white frosting, sparkles and sun candy treats.
"I made brownies." A girl she didn't recognize, with long black hair pulled back in a loose ponytail at the base of her neck, held up her own tray.
"Ah—." Theia found two more trays with different items shoved forward. "We'll try one of everything." She finally volunteered and licked her lips. Daintily plucking a cupcake from the first tray, her fingers sunk deeply into the moist cake. "At least one."
"Thank you." Saturn took a dumpling from a different tray. "Maybe everyone would like to take a seat and get comfortable? We could arrange the chairs in a big circle and you can ask us questions."
Theia found the chaos that erupted to be quite funny, with everyone desperately trying to get their own seat, and for it to be placed as close to the Senshi as possible. Most of the teachers at Furinkan would kill for the ability to motivate students to move this quickly. Some quickly realized that there weren't going to be enough chairs so they rushed from the room to search for more.
Everyone was busy except for a girl leaning against the far wall. Crouched partially, she had her arms around herself, and was staring at the floor. Most of her light brown hair was braided into pig tails and Theia couldn't make out her face as it was hidden behind her bangs. Curious, she strode confidently across the room while ignoring the way everyone watched her.
"Is something wrong?" She asked, putting her hands on her knees as she crouched down to try and see the girl's face.
Hesitantly, the girl's brown eyes looked up to see who had asked the question, staring at her in awe briefly before her eyes dropped once again. "The monsters— there are monsters— safer to go home right after school." She mumbled, sliding further down the wall. "I wanted to stay and meet you— but now I can't go home. It's not safe."
"Of course you can go home." Theia knelt down on the hard floor and placed a hand on the girl's elbow. "I'll walk you there myself, couldn't be safer." She offered, trying to sound as reassuring as possible.
"Every day?" The girl wailed and fell forward to envelope Ranma in a tight hug, sobbing into her shoulder.
Theia stiffened at the contact, remembering the event from lunch, before almost immediately deciding that it didn't matter. Finding that there were four girls and a boy forming a wall around her she asked for some chairs. She almost didn't have to ask, as another student had been thinking ahead and had retrieved two already.
Not knowing what to say to the girl right then, she let her cry into the collar of her uniform while gently rubbing her back. "What's her name?" She asked, seeing that Saturn had taken the initiative in grabbing the attention of the majority of students. Akane was somewhere in between everyone, watching Theia with a strangely intense curiosity.
"Hidoka Narumi— she's my girlfriend." The guy answered standing nearby frozen in embarrassment. "She gets like this sometimes cause— before she transferred, she was attacked by a monster."
'So why aren't you the one trying to console her?' She wondered in annoyance at his inaction. "Hey, I know the monsters are scary but until they're gone I'll definitely make sure you can get home." Theia gently directed the girl to release her enough to sit next to her. "Every day."
Gulping slightly, the Senshi wasn't sure that she wanted to make that commitment. Sure, she usually spent her time right after school doing something similar but personally attending to students was a little different than anything she had done before. But if she could do something truly good and help Senshi public relations, she would do it.
"You would do that?" Narumi asked haltingly, her voice catching over every word, and struggling to pull herself together.
"Yes." Theia nodded as she slowly recognized who Narumi was. She was the girl Ranma had stepped in to save before regaining her Senshi powers. "We're here for everyone, never be afraid to ask for help."
"Thank you." Narumi teared up once again and buried her face in Theia's shoulder while clutching her arm.
"It goes for all of you." She spoke to the small group. "If I'm not around and you're in need of help, Saotome Ranma knows how to contact me." Akane had already linked her two identities, so she may as well make it official.
"You really know Saotome?"
"Ya, just what is your relationship to Saotome?" The familiar voice of Nabiki asked inquisitively.
Theia really tried to keep herself from showing any kind of response to Nabiki's question, finding the middle Tendo sister standing to her left with her arms crossed. Nabiki's eyes seemed to catch a momentary lapse and began to twinkle with delight at finding out more than she should have. Right before her gaze drifted to the side. Theia followed where Nabiki was looking and grimaced at the Mau who were waiting off to the side, performing their job, and observing everything.
"Nabiki, you shouldn't antagonize a Senshi." Akane roughly pushed through anyone in her path in order to berate her sister.
"Really now, Akane? Don't you want to know what your fiance has been doing with someone so scantily clad?" Nabiki asked suggestively. Akane sputtered out cheap denials and alternated between glaring at her sister and Theia.
"Diana, will you come sit with Narumi?" Theia gestured with her free hand towards the grey kitten.
"Of course I will, Theia-sama." Diana hurriedly padded over to leap up into Narumi's lap.
"I need to speak with this— girl. Do you think you can be strong for me?" She smiled and patted the feline on her head, happy to have a helper. Narumi nodded slowly and almost crushed the small cat in her grip. Diana gave a tiny squeak as the air was crushed out of her.
As Theia rose from her chair, she pointed at the girl's boyfriend who sat up straighter. She then glared at him and pointed to where she had been sitting. He seemed to get the point and was a blur of motion as he rushed to comply with her unspoken order. 'Good boy.'
"I thought you'd be taller." Nabiki remarked while sizing her up. "Little too top heavy."
"It's the bow." She protested and crossed her arms protectively over her bust.
"Hey, Tendo, she's not here to listen to you." A senior boy remarked rudely to the middle child.
"Nobody ever wants her around." A girl added.
"Probably just here to peddle her cheap smut." Another girl added snidely.
"Cheap?" Nabiki scoffed incredulously, not even bothering to refute the rest.
"Let's not fight, everyone should be welcome." Theia explained magnanimously, smirking at having a room of people firmly on her side against Nabiki, who was usually free to do as she pleased around the school. "Although if Tendo-san is here to cause problems then I will have to ask her to leave."
"So why are you here?" Saturn asked, appearing at Theia's side, and regarding Nabiki coldly.
Nabiki's eyes darted between them rapidly and bounced to several of the other students who were hostile to very her presence. Quirking her mouth to the side, she suddenly clapped her hands together and smiled so widely that she had to shut her eyes. "To meet the Sailor Senshi, of course!" She squealed happily with enough enthusiasm that Theia wasn't sure if it was a lie or not.
Later that night
Mikami Ryuuko slowed to a stop after passing through the turnstile, seeing that her train was already departing without her on it. "Not again." She groaned and with a tired sigh flipped up the top of her purse to place her pass back inside. On the far platform, most of the passengers were rushing up the steps to street level but a handful still lingered at food stands clearly in a rush to get home as well.
"Can't believe I was late again." Ryuuko dropped her backpack and purse down on a bench before taking a seat. "Least it was on the way home this time." Missing another class was not going to do her GPA any favors.
Pulling out her laptop, it came alive with a happy chime, and she was able to get a wireless signal. 'No clue why I'm in a rush to get home, not like anyone is there.' She thought morosely. Mindlessly browsing to kill some time was better than doing her database design homework. Every day was frustrating due to being in such a male dominated field like network administration, that she had to find time somewhere in her day to get away from it.
Five minutes later she was just starting to feel the urge to use the restroom when she noticed that someone was watching her. Looking up from the glow of her laptop screen, she glanced down one side of the deserted platform then to the other. Leaning against the wall next to the turnstiles was a pretty girl around her age with long purple hair. She wore a loose lavender dress that went down to mid thigh and underneath that were black capri stretch pants to her calves. Simple black slippers completed her understated outfit as she casually waited for something.
Nervously chewing on her lower lip, Ryuuko went back to her browsing briefly before her eyes ended up going back to the girl. Something felt oddly wrong about her and she gulped when she made eye contact with luminescent orange globes.
Deciding to answer nature's incessant call, she calmly put away her laptop, and left her seat for the short hallway to the lavatory. It was strangely quiet as she entered the women's room to hurry into a stall. She hadn't even had time to place her bags on the door hook when the entrance to the room opened. The feeling of wrongness she had felt from the girl outside felt even stronger, making her freeze up.
Listening as soft soled shoes stepped across the tiled floor, she struggled to breath as silently as she could. 'Is it her again? What does she want?' Reaching out, she held onto the lock as the footsteps made their way past her stall before doubling back to pause briefly right outside. A couple taps and then the footsteps retreated away before the outside door opened then closed.
Breathing out in relief, Ryuuko found that she had no trouble relieving herself. 'Never had a creepy stalker before.' She assumed that it had been that weird girl with the orange eyes. Exiting the stall, she went to wash her hands, feeling foolish for being so frightened. Nervously laughing to try and clear her nerves, Ryuuko had just turned the water on when her eyes caught a figure with bright glowing eyes behind her in the mirror.
Kasumi paused after rounding the corner on her way to the living room and quirked her head to the side at the sight that greeted her. Akane was in a crouch with her back to Kasumi, trying to listen to the conversation within. She was so focused that she was ignoring the world around her. 'Hmm.' Her bare feet made barely noticeable taps as she came up to stand over her sister and peak inside.
Inside, Nodoka was still trying to have a nice conversation but it was being ruined by both of the fathers who kept grilling the girl on her relationship with Ranma. Hotaru was being exceptionally patient with the two, deflecting their assertions with little effort. Nodoka finally got fed up enough with the interruptions and began to chastise them for the interruptions. Chibi-Usa sat skulking with her arms crossed at Hotaru's side, giving the two male parents a withering glare that was outright ignored.
"Akane?" Kasumi knelt down to whisper in her sister's ear.
Her younger sister jumped at the intrusion and fell forward onto her face. Realizing she was visible to the occupants of the room if they cared to look over, Akane slid back out of view as quietly as she could. "Kasumi? Why'd you sneak up on me?" She asked in a loud whisper.
"Did I?" She asked absently. "I just wanted to know why you weren't inside? Don't you want to get to know Hotaru-chan better?"
"I think I know her pretty well." Akane answered and peeked around the corner once again. "And I don't trust her."
Kasumi mentally tsked before asking, "Why are you so suspicious of her?"
"She kidnapped and threatened me." Her younger sister summarized hotly.
"You've never held a grudge on people who've kidnapped you before." Kasumi pointed out making Akane stiffen.
"They didn't take me to Saturn." Akane weakly responded before deflating. "It's— I guess you just wouldn't understand."
"You're like them, the Senshi."
"In a way—." She admitted, still not feeling any different from before finding out that she had a past life as an advisor named Pyrrha. Aside from her sudden and jarring fluency in Lunarian, nothing had changed. "But I'm not sure what you mean?"
Akane sighed audibly and rose to a standing position. "I don't know what I mean, I'm just— tired, and wish there was something special about me, too." She admitted with a defeated tone.
"Why would you think like that?" Kasumi asked sadly.
"Why wouldn't I?" Her younger sister answered irritably. "I'll be in my room."
"Alright." Kasumi wrung her hands worriedly together, watching as Akane despondently headed away from the living room. Something about what her youngest sister had said stuck in her mind and was causing a severe case of deja vu that she was unable to get past.
"Thanks for the hot water, Ami." Ranma rushed through drying his hair with a towel, dropping down lazily on a chair next to the other Senshi. He hadn't had the chance to come over to her home for nearly a month so this was a welcome change from the recent drama at the Tendo's.
"You don't have to always thank me for that. You know our water heater has always gone up to scalding." Ami replied, fingers dancing over the keyboard of the Mercury Computer.
From Artemis' place sitting on the bed with a cell phone propped up in front of him, he asked. "Ranma, Mina wants to know why I'm now 'your mascot'?"
"How should I know?" Ranma answered with a dismissive shrug.
"What about me?" Diana asked drowsily, having been curled up next to her father trying to sleep.
"You haven't been— assigned to a Senshi yet." The white cat answered before having to duck his head back to the phone when Minako continued talking on the other end. "Apparently the official forum is close to crashing because of the buzz we created."
"It seems like Hotaru had an exciting first day." Ami smiled to herself as she finished pulling something up on her computer.
"Apparently a picture of me in my tux is so popular that I made the local news." Artemis boasted.
'This seems vaguely familiar.' Ranma had a fleeting memory that was too brief to really latch onto and it was gone just as quickly.
"I'm always impressed by our individual pages. Someone went through and tried to fill in a timeline of my appearances. It's surprisingly accurate." Ami added in amusement.
"So what have you been up to today, Mina? I was expecting you to show up." He wrapped the towel around his neck and leaned towards the cell phone.
"Did you hear that Mina?" Artemis asked into the phone. "I should just put this on speaker." He backed away enough to look for the button.
"It's all hush hush, can't really talk about it yet." Minako's voice came over the speaker. "But you and me are going to have a long talk mister about using that tux—. That I bought for you—. To introduce Ranma first instead of me."
"He also introduced Hotaru before you." Ranma playfully taunted his friend.
There was a long pause before Minako curtly responded. "We'll talk about this later." The call cut off with an audible click. Ranma fell off his chair laughing while Ami struggled to contain her own mirth.
"Mina! Hey Mina!" Artemis pawed at the phone. "Honestly, what is wrong with her?" He asked in a huff.
"I don't know, father. But there's no need to yell." Diana picked her head up long enough to berate her father.
"You want to try tracking her down tomorrow to surprise her?" Ranma offered, curious as well over what Minako was doing after learning from Ami that she hadn't been in school.
"Yes—." Artemis chuckled darkly. "A surprise."
Diana groaned at her father and sat up fully. "Ami-sama, I hate to intrude upon your studies, but would you happen to have anything to drink?"
"I should have some milk in the fridge. Why don't you go ask my mom? I think she's preparing her lunch for tomorrow." Ami suggested.
"I'll do that." The grey kitten nodded and bounded off the bed to skip out of the room.
"I'd like some too!" Artemis started to follow after his daughter. "Ya know— just to make sure it's good for her." He added defensively, quickly speeding up.
"Everything's good with your mom?" Ranma asked, watching as the white cat's tail vanished behind the door frame.
"Yes." Ami answered and cast her eyes downwards. "I can tell that she's worried I'll get hurt. Occasionally she'll come and just sit with me to talk. It's nice but— awkward."
"That's good— I'd be happy to have just awkward at the moment." Things around his own home were getting quite complicated.
"I'm sure everything will work out." Ami smiled reassuringly at him before leveling a suggestive gaze at him. "And how was Hotaru's first day at Furinkan?" She asked and began to type on the Mercury computer.
Glad for the quick change in subject, he wheeled his rolling chair over to watch the computers display. "She'll fit right in." He answered vaguely.
"I can't imagine her screaming about some slight and causing property damage." Ami joked, rhythmically tapping her fingers.
'Could be easier than you think.' Ranma knew to never underestimate Hotaru. "How are the simulations going? It's been running for a while, hasn't it?" He tried to change the subject away from his other friend or personal life.
"All clean, here take a look." She pushed the Mercury Computer closer so that he could see the screen better. "It only took five million, six hundred thirty six thousand, and forty—two passes to isolate all the enslavement spells."
"Wow." As much of a genius as Euryphaessa had been when creating magical constructs, it would have taken Ranma centuries to figure out the complex and layered creation contained within the gold bracelet without the help of the Mercury Computer. "If she could make something like this— Galaxia could have done so much good." He remarked sadly.
"Absolute power is said to corrupt absolutely." Ami nodded slowly in agreement.
He leaned back heavily in his chair as two months of work had finally come to fruition. Shortly after awakening as a Senshi again, he had tried to develop new spells and abilities but hit a barrier that seemed hard wired into them. Eury had done research on the process in the past but had been unable to do more than influence an already defined skill set.
As Ranma regained more of Eury's memories and reconnected with the other Senshi, he found out everything that had happened to them in his absence. Including their deaths and reincarnations by Galaxia to fight against Sailor Moon. His hands tightened into fists, furious over how he had missed out on so much. As Sailor Theia he was strong enough that he could have protected them. Kept them from being killed one by one until only Usagi was left. (1)
Hearing about the Galaxy Cauldron, where the climactic battle had occurred, had dominated his thoughts until he went to see it for himself. The place where all life originated. Where Usagi, a girl incapable of getting to school on time, had decided the fate of the universe.
Ranma had been so enthusiastic to go, to witness where stars were born, but when she got there she had shied away from the great precipice. Incapable of handling the enormity of seeing all of creation in front of her eyes. For a week, she had wandered amongst the ruins of Galaxia's castle before she had found it. A flash of gold hiding in the rubble, covered in brightly colored jewels twinkling in the light from a billion billion stars shining overhead. There had been an innocent temptation to put it on, but she had seen the cruel magic lingering on it, and realized that it was one of the horrific bracers that enslaved anyone made to wear it.
"Ranma?" Ami asked, breaking him out of his memory.
"Huh?" He asked in a daze, noticing that he had pulled the last bracelet from Galaxia from it's hiding place under Ami's desk. Contained in a wood case, neither of them had wanted to handle it more than absolutely necessary. "Sorry— was just thinking." He apologized and placed the box near the Mercury Computer, letting his hand trail over the surface before opening the lid just to be sure it was still there.
"I don't like it either." Ami stared down at her hands in her lap. "We really should destroy it."
"We can now." Ranma knew that Ami had found this far more difficult, having been a victim of Galaxia. "And we can make sure it'll never happen again." He added, and took her hands to squeeze reassuringly.
"Ah!" Usagi fumbled wildly with her precious cargo as she tried to knock on the door to Ami's condo. "School is always so much trouble!" She whined, trying to hold onto three textbooks in one hand while the more important box of chocolates occupied her other. A box that she had made lighter by stealing several of the delicious treats on the way from the store.
"Why didn't you listen to me when I told you repeatedly to study?" Luna verbally rolled her eyes at Usagi's procrastination. The black cat sat on her haunches next to the door looking up at her in mute disgust.
"I had more important things to do." She responded in a low voice.
"Naps and snacks." Luna remarked haughtily.
'I'm sure they won't mind helping, we can go get more food to help keep our energy up while studying.' She rationalized while ignoring Luna's rude remark, knowing that when looking for significant assistance from the pair, she should always come prepared. 'Bribery is such an ugly word, it's really just incentive!' Usagi giggled to herself, mentally congratulating her own cleverness, and its assured success.
The door opened to reveal Ami's mother. "Good evening, Usagi-chan." The woman greeted pleasantly before noticing the black Mau. "And Luna too."
"Good evening, Mizuno-san." She returned the greeting brightly. "Is Ami-chan home?"
The woman made a big deal of noticing what Usagi was carrying. "She's studying with Ranma-kun."
"Ranma's here too?" Usagi gasped in mock surprise.
"Artemis and Diana-chan are in the kitchen."
"Do you mind if we come in?" Luna asked politely but had already entered into the apartment in her excitement to see her daughter.
"Of course not, they're in Ami's room." Mizuno Saeko said to Usagi, smiling good naturedly at the felines hasty entrance. "Did you want some help with those?"
"I'm fine." She answered with a strained chuckle, nearly losing control of her textbooks as she waddled inside awkwardly.
"Don't be silly." Saeko snatched a book and her box of chocolates, allowing her to get a better handle on her remaining burden.
"Ah, I can carry that." She shifted her books around to try and take back the sweets only to have Ami's mom leave her trying to get her shoes off.
"I'm just bringing it inside, dear. Why don't you go say hi to Ami while I get you three some healthy snacks."
Usagi pursed her lips together and glared at the woman's back. 'She took my sweets.' Realizing that what would be returned would likely be something atrociously healthy and not at all good tasting, her left cheek developed an angry tic. 'This will not stand! She's a stubborn villain and I'll need to muster all my loyal senshi to retrieve my precious chocolate!'
Time was of the essence so she made her way directly to Ami's room. Quickly preparing all manner of verbal tactics in order to raise morale to quickly vanquish the youma of healthy eating. She had to maintain her priorities. Artemis and Diana being greeted by Luna? So adorable! And she would happily squeal over every cute detail later, but she could not be distracted by such things now.
"Ami! You gotta help me!" She whined dramatically.
Ranma and Ami were sitting shoulder to shoulder with each other looking at something on Ami's desk up until she entered with a purpose to her stride. Both of their heads whirled around to stare at her in wide eyed shock like they had been caught doing something. With a short hop, she glomped onto the pair with enough force to throw them forward into Ami's desk.
"Usagi!?" Ranma protested loudly.
She was about to start her rant on Dr. Mizuno until she saw that the pair were holding hands. 'Hello! Alone without a chaperone and holding hands?' Giggling in the knowledge that she had caught them having a secret romance. "Did I come at a— bad time?" She asked suggestively and waggled her eyebrows.
"Ooh! A bracelet!" Usagi didn't even wait for a response before she had grabbed a cute little box from Ami's desk.
"Usagi, don't touch that!" Ranma tried to twist around to take it from her but she avoided his quick hands.
"I just wanna see!" She whined, her blue eyes focusing on the glittering gold band with multiple large jewels embedded within. Her thoughts of beautiful friendships blossoming into something more vanished when recognition hit her worse than her mother's disappointment at a bad test score.
"Why do you have this?" Usagi asked flatly, her hands tightening on the wooden box. The two other Senshi hesitated in answering and glanced at each other with guilty looks.
"We were reverse engineering it." Ranma finally answered.
"The Mercury Computer just finished with it. By decoding the magic on it, we now know how to control every aspect of ourselves." Ami added positively. "It's like the Senshi master code."
"Altering our powers or even making new ones! I could give all of you my training." Ranma added.
"Or maybe even little things— like better study habits— we could all find ways to be better." Ami added timidly.
"Better?" Usagi asked slowly, feeling the faint tingle that signified a golden crescent moon would be visible on her forehead. A sharp metallic crack emphasized her question and the bracelet broke in two down the center. Ranma and Ami both stared at her in shock, listening as the item began to fizzle loudly. Fracturing into hundreds of tiny pieces, the magically created item vanished with a loud crackle, and a bright white flash.
"Usagi, why'd you do that?" Ranma asked hesitantly.
"We were done with it but it really should have been disposed of properly." Ami added.
Usagi looked between both of them in disappointment before slapping Ranma across the face. The black haired boy stared at her in confusion and hurt before she moved onto do the same with Ami. "How could you?" She asked, voice quivering with the strength of her emotion. "I can't believe you'd think that we need to be fixed and made better. We're just fine how we are!"
Throwing the burnt remains of the box down on the floor, she couldn't stand to look at either of them anymore, and ran out of the room.
"Where is she?" Ranma worriedly pushed his way through the crowded sidewalk with Ami in tow as they attempted to locate Usagi. Diana had remained back at Ami's apartment while they searched. Luna was being carried by Ami and Artemis was using his shoulders as a perch. Both Mau were keeping quiet due to the number of people in the area but Ranma could feel Artemis shifting as he scanned the crowd for Usagi.
"She's not answering her phone." Ami was rapidly texting on her phone, attempting to find out if anyone had been contacted by their wayward leader.
"We should have put trackers in the cells." He had to make this right and the first step to that was finding Usagi, and apologizing for keeping their plans a secret from her.
"Usagi doesn't like to use the teleport network, so let's check to see if she's taking the train home— or going to Mamoru's." Ami suggested and returned her phone to her purse. "The next one arrives in fifteen minutes." (2)
"It's a good place to start." He agreed, relying on Ami's years of experience with Usagi. "I didn't know that she would react like this."
"Me either." The Senshi of Mercury admitted. "Luna, do you have any ideas where she could be?" She discreetly asked the black feline who shook her head side to side in response.
Taking the steps down into the subway, Ranma barely noticed that there weren't any pedestrians entering with them. Since he tended not to use public transportation he had no clue if it was normal or not for their path to open up so suddenly. Ami led the way to the platform that Usagi would be using, maneuvering past around a dozen people milling about.
It was only after it became clear that there was no sign of Usagi that he finally took a closer look at the other people on the platform. Many had uniforms like they worked at the various stores that lined the station. None of them were speaking and they all stood staring blankly in the same direction. 'What's going on?' He wondered, trying to act casual as he checked the closest store to find that it was completely empty.
"There's a monster here." Artemis whispered in his ear, his claws digging slightly into Ranma's shoulders.
"I know." He whispered and lightly tapped Ami to see that she had caught on as well. "But where?" The feeling of wrongness that the monsters exuded was becoming almost overpowering but all around them there were only normal looking, though unnaturally quiet people.
"Let me see if I can scan for it." Ami placed Luna on the floor so she could pull out the Mercury Computer.
Ranma watched the screen as it quickly drew of a floor plan of the subway station and began to sort out the various life forms within. Standing at the very center of the display were two silver dots representing two Senshi. Next were the two Mau in purple. While there should have been bright representations of all the humans around them, they only registered as dark dimly flickering green dots. But that was it, Ami's computer still couldn't correctly find the lifeless demons.
"Saotome Ranma." A young woman's voice almost purred and a girl near his age had gotten so close behind him that he nearly jumped. Before he could react, she had latched onto him with a glomp that would make Shampoo envious.
"Uh—." He blinked several times at the human looking monster hanging off of him. "Can I help you?" He asked curiously, having immediately recognized that it was not really a pretty girl hanging off of him.
She had the same off putting feeling all the monsters had but looked completely normal save for softly glowing orange eyes. Ranma had no clue what kind of threat this one posed, none of the monsters they had previously encountered appeared or acted remotely human. 'What's it doing and how did it know my name?'
Ami was trying not to be noticed as she quickly tried to get a good quality scan on the monster girl with the Mercury Computer.
"I thought you were terrified of cats." The monster woman smirked in a way that immediately set off every warning bell in his mind. Around them, the blankly staring humans turned to look in their direction, revealing that they had all been hiding bits of computer chips and wires protruding from their faces.
Realizing that it was a trap, he tried to push the monster away from him but, she held firm to the back of his neck with one hand, and placed the left on his ribs just below his right arm. "Break." She whispered softly, eyes gleaming with malice.
Ryoga delighted in feeling Ranma's ribs shattering under her soft touch. The pigtailed boy collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut in the wake of her attack, too paralyzed by pain to even scream. The white cat that had been on his shoulder leapt to attack her and she casually swatted him out of the air. A black cat immediately ran to the white ones prone form she also noticed idly.
Turning her eyes to the girl who Ranma had been talking to, she dismissed her as nothing more than just another empty headed piece of fluff smitten by the pigtailed martial artist. That didn't mean she was safe. Catching the surprised human by the arm, Ryoga casually threw her clear across the train rails. With a loud crack, her head bounced off the concrete wall on the far side before she dropped to the platform to lay still.
"Ami!" Ranma coughed out before being cut off when Ryoga softly pushed her toe into his side immediately silencing him as another white hot lash of pain rush through his body.
"You don't have to worry about her much longer." Ryoga crouched down and smiled wide enough to show off her enlarged lower canines. "Sailor Theia." She added slowly, savoring every syllable, and enjoying the utter look of terror that overcame her former rival.
"How'd you know—?" Ranma gasped out, struggling futilely to try and sit up.
"Oh! I know everything, Ranma. When I devoured that fool Ryoga from the inside out, I thought I had learned all about you. But now I know so much more." Taking a step back, she motioned for him to stand. "What's wrong? Aren't you going to change into that fancy little skirt to kill me?" Ryoga taunted, assured of her victory now that she had turned half his ribs into tiny splinters. Even if he was able to somehow find a way to escape, he would die from the injury.
"I swore that I would make your life hell." She sneered and lifted him up by his shirt. This time he did cry out in pain with tears starting to stream down his cheeks. "To destroy your happiness!" With casual ease, she pinned him against the wall of the subway. Laughing loudly, she slammed him against the concrete floor once again for emphasis. "I can't believe how lucky I am that you'd just walk into my little trap for humans."
"Sai— lor." She almost missed him summoning a silver half circle broach into his left hand. He weakly fumbled with the item that fell through his fingers, desperately trying to grab it once again.
"Let me help you with that." She offered and stomped on his wrist, grinding her heel into the soft underside. Ryoga sneered, wishing that she could make this exquisite moment last forever. But he was so close to losing consciousness that she worried that she wouldn't be able to taunt and gloat over her most hated enemy for much longer.
Dropping down to her knees in order to straddle his stomach, she roughly patted his chest, and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "I'll make sure you have a lot of company in the afterlife. Starting with your new girl cross the way— rudely bleeding all over this nice clean floor."
"Moon Tiara Boomerang!"
Ryoga's head snapped to the left at the intense bloom of power that appeared. A blindingly bright golden disc cut through her new drones at waist height, their bodies vanishing into dust a heartbeat later. Realizing her peril almost too late, she barely dove away from Ranma's unconscious form before the disc could cut her apart.
Slipping on the platform as she came to a stop, she watched the golden disc warily as it returned to be deftly caught by its owner, Sailor Moon. The Sailor Senshi stood briefly with her hand outstretched before the weapon in her hand morphed into a tiara and she placed it back on her forehead. Long blonde hair streaming down from two odangos swirled as the Senshi pulled out a short pink rod with an offset glittering silver crescent on the end.
'Interfere all you want, he's already dead.' Ryoga sneered internally even though on the outside she nervously took a step away from the leader of the Senshi. Sailor Moon's blue eyes burned into her like an inferno that made every part of her shiver in horror. 'Those eyes, they both have the same damn eyes.' She realized, using her anger to overcome the fear that gripped her.
"How rude!" She exclaimed with an exaggerated sigh and threw her hands up. "Don't I even get a speech first?"
"No." Sailor Moon raised her magical weapon in front of her body. With a metallic shing the handle elongated into a long staff and changed to be a pure white color with small wings unfurling underneath the crescent moon at the top. Prismatic flecks of light gathered around the staffs head before falling like snow around the Senshi's hand. "Nebula Redoubt!" She called out and slammed her staff down on the floor.
Ryoga barely felt the monster she had recently created teleporting away as a blizzard of rainbow colored light exploded outward around Sailor Moon. The still partially human drones disintegrated instantly into dust as the attack washed over them. She spared one last glance at Ranma's unconscious form, knowing that she had finally killed the bastard, before teleporting away from the subway an instant before she could be caught up and destroyed.
The Silver Millenium
Pyrrha wanted to take a deep calming breath of the freshest most pure air she had ever encountered but was so nervous that she could barely gasp. She had been called to mythical Castle Neith for an audience with Sailor Theia. Her, a Terran, barely sixteen years of age in the castle of a Senshi! It was so unbelievable that none of her family would ever believe that it had happened. With her hands clasped so tightly together that they were turning white, she waited on a circular black stone platform for someone to tell her what to do.
'They had to know I was coming, so why isn't anyone here?' She glanced around nervously, having been transported here by a magical spell from a special temple on Terra. Her eyes went upwards to find the Moon, seat of Queen Serenity hanging large enough in the sky that it felt like she could reach out and touch it. Her thoughts came to a halt at the beautiful blue planet to the side of the moon.
"Terra." She whispered in awe, dumbstruck by the sight of seeing her home in this way.
"What are you staring at?" A soft high pitched feminine voice asked curiously from her right.
Pyrrha quickly composed herself and bowed her head deeply in the direction of the voice. "I apologize for staring— or if I'm doing anything inappropriate." She was about to stand up from her bow when she realized that she hadn't introduced herself and dropped her head once again. "I am Pyrrha Epipoulo and I have traveled here in response to a summons by Princess Euryphaessa."
"So you have." The girl noted dryly and Pyrrha finally looked up enough to see who she was addressing. Floating in the air a meter from where she was bowing was a miniature Sailor Senshi wearing the uniform of Sailor Theia. Tiny blue eyes were sizing her up and clearly not finding anything of note.
"Oh my, you're adorable." She gasped before she could stop herself.
Eyes that were already finding her wanting narrowed in response to her outburst. "Come this way." She instructed tersely and began to fly towards the large double doors leading into the castle.
"Uh— oh— of course." Pyrrha stuttered ineffectually in response, hurrying to follow.
The miniature Senshi drew up short of the door to turn back to her with a single finger pressed to her lips. "I really should make sure you aren't bringing any foreign contaminants into my home."
"I'm sorry?" (3)
"Kasumi?" A new voice cut in.
"Huh?" She blinked several times, her vision of Lautia vanishing to be replaced by the yard around her home. She was kneeling next to the koi pond with a bag of food for the fish to her side. "What is it, Nabiki?" Kasumi asked worriedly, seeing the concern on her younger sisters face.
"You were staring at the pond for ten minutes— and you weren't moving." Nabiki pointed out and took a kneeling position next to her. "And you're talking with that weird accent again. Are you feeling okay?"
"Don't worry, I just have some things on my mind." She idly threw some food to the impatiently waiting koi who coiled around each other at the surface, fighting to be fed first.
"And what about Akane? Or Ranma and his mom?" Nabiki grabbed some food to dribble into the water. "Not that I've noticed that it's like you're all part of some big secret or anything like that." She added in an offhand and flippant manner.
'I suppose it was too much to hope she wouldn't notice.' Kasumi had always known that her sister was very smart, if a little short sighted, and possessing keen observational skills. But it wasn't her place to explain without asking Ranma first. "There's nothing to worry about, Nabiki."
"So you'll tell me what's going on?" Her younger sister asked insistently, clearly unwilling to let the matter drop without a fight.
"Soon enough." She avoided answering the question.
"Because you have to check with— Ranma?" Nabiki asked slowly, still fishing for information.
"You're just going to have to wait, little sister."
"I can wait, don't you worry about that." Nabiki smirked as though she had just discovered something important.
"While you do, why don't you tell me about your meeting with the Senshi?" She asked sweetly, curious what Nabiki's thoughts on the magical girls were.
"I'd have been more impressed if they had done something. At first I thought they were just a couple of elaborate cosplayers but there was— something about them."
"Like?" She asked, even more curious what would catch her sisters eye about the two.
Nabiki shrugged. "I don't know. Whatever it is that makes Akane go all fangirl for them, I guess. They almost had me convinced that they truly believed in all those love and justice speeches. It'd be nice to know how Ranma and our little sister knew them, though. Saotome doesn't seem the type who'd want to spend any time around such girly girls."
Kasumi barely restrained herself from giggling at Nabiki's self—assured declaration, hiding it behind a vacant smile as she began to remember her first meeting with Euryphaessa.
Pyrrha found herself sitting upon a comfortably plush chair, dressed now in a dark red shoulderless gown with a long tailed bow tied at the small of her back. Everyone recognized the style of the Moon when they saw it and knew that the length of the bow was used to signify a rank in society. So why was it that she was given one that indicated she was part of the highest strata? Sure she was from a noble house that was highly respected but she was nowhere close to Lunar nobility.
Another mistake perhaps? Like that cruel magical construct putting her through such a thorough and unnecessary decontamination procedure. Pyrrha knew that her eyes would still hold a haunted look even as her mind shut out the memory.
Hearing footsteps, she looked up to see one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen stride confidently into the room. Vibrant red hair trailed behind her like a silken cape down to her thighs. Her sleeveless golden shirt glittered with reflective threads, loosely hanging from her shoulders as though afraid to touch the perfect form beneath. A flowing pleated black skirt reached down to her knees and simple black sandals adorned her feet.
"Are you alright?" The woman asked in genuine concern, and slid another seat to be closer before sitting down. "I'm really sorry about Lautia, she can be a teensie tiny bit aggressive sometimes." The redhead smiled disarmingly and took Pyrrha's hands in her own.
"I am well." She answered slowly, marvelling at the softness of the woman's hands, and not knowing how to look away from the compassionate blue eyes that waited for her response.
"I'm happy." The woman smiled even wider.
"Apologies but I still don't know why I was called here. I know she must be terribly busy but is my audience with Princess Euryphaessa to be soon?" She asked, feeling her courage return now that she was dealing with someone only a few years her senior.
"If by soon you mean now, then yes." The woman's eyes twinkled with good natured amusement.
"But that means you're—." Pyrrha's mind threatened to completely shut down as the redhead nodded. Princess Euryphaessa was sitting before her. With a strangled squeak, she quickly rose to her feet, and stepped away from her chair to bow deeply to the Sailor Senshi. "Please forgive my rudeness."
Silence held her in place before Euryphaessa giggled loudly at her action and patted her on the back. "What are you apologizing for? You're the last person who needs to be so deferential to me."
"Pardon?" She straightened up enough to see the Queen's personal guardian hadn't moved from her spot on the chair.
"You're to be my new advisor and obviously that means you have to disagree with me from time to time."
"Pardon?" Pyrrha repeated, feeling even more lost.
"Really, you must learn to relax. Sit, sit." The Senshi gestured to the chair and Pyrrha immediately followed the command. "My former advisor is going to be leaving soon to start a family— and you've been chosen to fill the position." The redhead explained, pausing sadly.
"Me? But— I'm just a Terran. I don't even have any magical talent. Sure I'm from a good family but that doesn't count for much and my sisters are more interesting." She quickly prattled on, unable to accept what she had just been told. "There's nothing special or worthy about me." How could she turn down this offer gracefully? She couldn't possibly accept if it was a real offer. Some sort of mistake must have been made for anyone to think she was fit to hold such a position.
"Everyone is special and worthy in their own way. I wouldn't have picked you if I hadn't believed you were perfect for the job." The princess explained reassuringly. "Or are you questioning my judgement?"
"No, of course not!" She quickly agreed blindly hoping that there was some way she could get out of this without a black mark forever hanging over herself and family.
"We'll have to work on that." Princess Euryphaessa stood up sharply and grabbed Pyrrha by the hand to start dragging her from the room. "Let's go see your room, Lautia has been remodeling it, and will need your input on the finishing touches."
"But." She protested too weakly to be heard as she was pulled from the room.
"Oh and call me Eury or Theia, Princess or Euryphaessa are such a mouthful, aren't they?" The redhead instructed and squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"Oh— okay." Pyrrha nodded numbly.
'She's zoned out again.' Nabiki's mouth quirked to the side, watching her sister get lost in another daydream. 'As long as she's not flailing around like Akane was with that dream incense.' (4)
Throwing a far too large handful of fish food into the water, she was already bored with the koi, and would have preferred to have access to a certain gray kitten. Or even that white cat, but Ranma had spirited them both away with him when he vanished after dinner. As though he had known she would dig information out of them. Which left her the little pink haired terror as the only other avenue of information since her older sister was being obstinate.
'Why is it always the Saotomes?' She wondered as she eyed the young girl through the shoji. 'Akane better get used to pink.' Nabiki didn't know what quirk of genetics brought out Chibi-Usa's hair and eye color but it had to be a dominant trait that Ranma had been only halfway saved from.
Double checking to make sure Kasumi wasn't going to go diving into the koi pond, she headed back to the house intent on finding where Usa kept her cat doll stashed. It was way more than a toy and whenever Usagi didn't have it in her hands it was impossible to find. Nabiki spared a momentary glance into the living room as she passed just to be sure she wouldn't be interrupted by any of the Saotomes while searching.
The rapid thunking of shoes on the wooden floor made her pause and turn just in time to come face to face with a blonde girl dressed as Sailor Moon.
"Hotaru!? Where are you WAAAA!" The girl's call turned into a scream of surprise before Nabiki was bowled over.
"Ow." Nabiki groaned from the floor, tangled up with the other female, and spit out some long blonde hair that had somehow found its way into her mouth.
"Sorry, sorry! So sorry!" The Sailor Moon lookalike apologized as she roughly shoved Nabiki repeatedly to get back up to her feet. "There you are Hotaru! Come quick! I need your help!" She ordered panickedly.
Struggling up into a sitting position, Nabiki barely had time to roll to the side before she was run over again by Sailor Moon dragging a confused Hotaru from the room by her hand. "What was that about?" She asked in confusion, seeing the tail ends of Sailor Moon's long hair rounding the corner along with Hotaru's legs.
A flash of white light from the koi pond drew her attention and she found that two women had appeared. One was tall and bishounen like, with short sandy blonde hair wearing a long fashionable navy coat, white button up shirt, and blue jeans tailored to accentuate her form. The other was of average height with wavy teal hair falling down past her bare shoulders. Her clothes were decidedly feminine, a darker teal spaghetti strap halter top and flowing white pleated skirt down to her knees.
The blonde's eyes caught Nabiki's for a moment before moving on to Kasumi who was still kneeling next to the koi pond looking as confused over the series of events as her. "Kasumi? Where is she?"
"She dragged Hotaru upstairs screaming about how she needed her." The eldest Tendo sister answered like this was a casual occurrence.
"I didn't know bunny had it in her." The blonde remarked with an impressed smirk.
"Oh shush, let's go find out what was so urgent." The teal haired woman gripped the taller blonde's hand tightly and pulled her past Nabiki like she wasn't still on the floor.
"Kasumi, is there something that we should know about?" Nodoka asked, finally finding her voice.
"I want to say yes— but I don't know what it is." Kasumi answered and worriedly chewed on her lower lip.
Three more flashes of light punctuated Kasumi's answer as three Sailor Senshi appeared next to the koi pond. Nabiki's jaw dropped at seeing Sailor Mars, Venus, and Jupiter looking ready for war. Sailor Mars crossed her arms with an irritated huff after seeing that nothing was going on.
"She ran out of ice cream again, didn't she?" The long raven haired Senshi of Mars asked tiredly.
"Oh my, so many visitors. Maybe I should prepare some snacks?" Kasumi gave a nervous laugh at all the attention being directed her way.
Diana lay with her head on her paws watching the television in the Mizuno living room. Ami's mother was next to her occasionally reaching over to give her scratches on her head and behind her ears. The human woman was reading a book and occasionally sipping on a cup of wine. She hoped that the search for the future queen was going well without her there to assist. But it was clearly more important for the moment that she was comfortable and enjoying the creature comforts of the home.
She was just about to doze off when the fingers hitting just the right spot behind her right ear suddenly stopped. The television program had been cut off for a news anchor with a still image of a subway hanging over his left shoulder.
"Police are reporting that due to a terrorist attack at the Omotesando station, the Oedo and Namboku lines will suspend operations until all stations can be secured. Thirty three workers are currently unaccounted for and an unknown amount of travelers. If you know of anyone or suspect they may have been using the station within the past three hours, the police are asking for you to report the information to them immediately."
"That's just a couple blocks away." Ami's mother gasped and she hastily rushed over to a phone in the kitchen to begin dialing.
Jumping from the couch, Diana followed after the woman, and listened intently as the phone continued to ring without being picked up. Finally it went to Ami's curt voicemail message after the sixth ring. 'Father— Mother, please be well.' Reaching a paw up, she touched the time key dangling from around her neck, and wondered how she was supposed to accomplish her mission in such a big city.
"Ami, this is your mother! I need you to return my call as soon as you can."
Ranma didn't expect to feel warm. He didn't really know what he should expect to feel, unsure if he was alive or dead. The last thing he could recall was the monster girl sitting on top of him gloating, her orange eyes glowing with evil intent. 'Ryoga.' He sadly remembered her claiming to have devoured him. His last memory of the lost boy, weakly leaving the dojo came to mind. He had been exposed to fragments from a monster, could it have been infectious?
Slowly his eyes fluttered open to see Hotaru kneeling next to him in his room, her outstretched hands glowing with a soft violet light, and a look of intense concentration across her face. Ranma reached up to gingerly take hold of her hands.
"I think I'm healed." He smiled sadly at her relief.
"Idiot!" She lunged forward to hug him.
"I feel like I got run over." Ami groaned, laying on the floor next to him.
A sniffling alerted him to Sailor Moon standing over them with hands planted on her hips, glaring down at them alternating between furious and crying in relief. "You two—."
"Uh— Sailor Moon—." Ami started before they were both crushed to the floor in a glomp.
"Don't ever do that again!" The blonde shook them roughly, completely ignoring that they had just been grievously injured.
"Okay, promise, you can let us go now." Ranma wheezed out, catching sight of Sailor Mars and Jupiter leaning against the wall next to the door. Haruka and Michiru in their civilian clothes were blocking the door itself. He became aware of his mother kneeling behind him because she put a hand on his shoulder, clearly trying to restrain herself from showing too much emotion.
Venus was kneeling close by with Artemis cradled in her lap and Luna looking on disgusted from the floor next to them. "Really, I'll get you anything you want."
"I could really do with some fresh tuna." The white feline groaned dramatically.
"Of course." She delicately set him aside next to Luna who was rolling her eyes now,
and vanished into the teleport network.
"Don't forget my little fork." Artemis added in a weak sigh as though he was dying, one paw stretched out towards Venus had been..
"I'll give you a fork." Luna bopped him on the head.
'Everybody is alright.' Ranma relaxed and patted Sailor Moon on the back, hoping that she'd quit trying to crush them soon. 'And they are all in my room.' He realized in horror, quickly trying to figure out where Nabiki or either of the fathers could be.
"Snacks!" Kasumi announced happily and Haruka hesitantly stepped out of the way while Michiru helpfully took a plate of cookies, freeing up one of young woman's hands.
"Snacks?" Sailor Moon asked distractedly, finally releasing Ami and him.
"These are— uh— I hope you like them." Akane stuttered and blushed, following Kasumi in, and looking around in excitement at meeting more Sailor Senshi.
"Let me help." Sailor Jupiter offered and took the second tray that Akane was carrying.
"Th— thank you." Akane stared in amazement at the tall Senshi.
"You make an excellent door." Nabiki joked at Haruka who also towered over the middle sister bringing in a tray with glasses filled with juice.
"And you make a very lovely hostess." The sandy blonde smirked, overtly appraised Nabiki's form as she took a glass.
"Leave the girl alone, love." Michiru snapped at her partner as everyone formed a circle in the center of the room.
"We have a problem." Ami straightened herself up. "The monster that attacked us knew Ranma."
"How is that possible?" Sailor Mars asked as she took a cookie.
"Because I think it was someone I knew." He threw out, not understanding how it was possible but it was the only rational answer to how a monster would know so much. The other Senshi all stiffened at the realization of what that meant while his mother and the Tendos didn't immediately understand. "A— he was my friend, Ryoga. It might not matter but when I fought some monsters the other day he got covered in the shards they leave. He seemed fine— just a little weak when he left— but the monster talked just like him."
"Ryoga would never try to kill you." Akane scoffed at the idea, earning a sharp glare from several of the Senshi.
"This monster, Ryoga or no, almost did." Ami quickly amended. "She nearly killed Ranma with a touch, so don't hesitate. I'll send you all a picture I took with the Mercury Computer because she looks human except for glowing orange eyes."
"If— if it is Ryoga, aren't you going to try and save him?" Akane looked to him hopefully, expecting him to agree with her.
"No." Sailor Moon answered sternly and shook her head. "No chances."
Ranma slowly nodded, purposely ignoring the betrayal written on Akane's face. "Even if it was Ryoga, anything that he was— is gone." He bowed his head, feeling responsible for not keeping an eye on him when he was weak.
"You're not even going to try?" Akane looked around for support.
"Akane, I'm sure they would if it was possible." Kasumi gently told her sister who continued to look like she had swallowed something sour.
"I'll be looking into it." He added, not knowing how the process worked or if there actually was a way to change the lost boy back. His eyes trailed over the middle sister, reminding him of her presence. "Nabiki." He nervously noted.
"Ranma—." Nabiki greeted as though she was testing the waters. "I never took you for moonlighting in a tux."
"Well that's because he doesn't." Sailor Pluto piped up, snaking an arm out between Ranma and Usagi to pick out a cookie, causing both of them to jump in alarm. He dove to the side to hide behind Ami while Usagi used Mars as a shield. "What?" The green haired Senshi asked innocently and nibbled daintily on the snack.
"Don't do that!" He yelled at the same time as Sailor Moon at a completely unphased Sailor Pluto.
"Ranma— in one of those— seifukus?" Nabiki snickered and her eyes lit up in glee before realizing that all the transformed Senshi and the ones not in short skirts were looking at her with clear suspicion. "I'm— just talking out loud. Not like I'd ever try and sell this info. I mean come on, murderous monsters are out there. I want you on my side."
'Why don't I just tell everybody and get it over with?' Ranma groaned, the number of people who knew that he was a Senshi had tripled in the span of a few days already.
"What'd I miss?" Sailor Venus asked as she returned carrying a meter long fish that she deposited on the floor next to a shocked Artemis. "And I did not forget the fork." She added and twirled a small silver fork between her fingers before extending it out for the feline to take.
Ryoga drummed her fingers incessantly on the step she was sitting on, her orange eyes burning with cold fury. Back in the surgical gallery of Tofu's abandoned hospital lair, the new monster she had created sat nearby in a chair in perfect stillness. 'How dare she get in my way?!' She simmered, unable to regain that ultimate pleasurable moment of feeling Ranma's life slip away underneath her fingers because Sailor Moon had to show up and ruin it.
'She's next.' Ryoga resolved, wanting to take her time with killing every single person connected to Ranma.
"I wanted it." The new monster suddenly spoke, her voice completely flat and monotone.
"Huh? What did you want?" She asked, having yet to hear the former human speak anything up until this point.
"Her computer, I wanted it." The other monster added with the tiniest hint of anger entering her voice. Her eyes, the only visibly inhuman part of her had pupils that spun and turned with patterns like tiny fan blades.
"If you want computers, there are plenty around." Ryoga shrugged without caring what her creation wanted.
There was a soft murmur from the other monsters as Tofu arrived, storming in through a set of double doors. The partial human glared at her as he took a seat on the cheap throne placed in the very center of the room. He sighed audibly and any whispering immediately ended. Beckoning with his right hand towards her, he finally spoke. "Here pig." He demanded like she was a dog.
"Why?" She asked, bored with his attempts at theatrics.
Tofu's glasses glinted dangerously. "Don't ask questions, just do as I say."
Slowly standing up and stretching her arms up over her head, she stalked forward towards the partial human. "I don't know why you're so upset, I just killed Sailor Theia." She explained happily, moving deliberately at a snails pace.
"A pig like you? Killing a Senshi?" Tofu broke down into high pitched laughter like he was a hyena. Around him, several other monsters joined in, stupidly following his lead. "At least the new one knows to keep her mouth shut rather than make a fool out of herself with unbelievable stories."
There was more laughter that she ignored, walking right up to Tofu to be so close she could reach out and touch him. "So you've seen a lot of people live without half a rib cage?" She taunted.
"Healing magic, moron." He slapped her on the forehead. "All you did was give out the information that I knew who she was. You incompetent pork product."
"Then I'll just have to kill him again and again until there's nothing left." Ryoga reached up with both hands to place them palm down on his chest. "As good a plan as any, right doctor?" She asked sarcastically.
"What are you doing?" He asked in confusion and shock, feeling as she started to drain his life force from the bits of him that were still human.
"I'm killing you, duh!" She scoffed and with a happy smile dug her fingers deeply and painfully into his flesh. "This relationship is over."
Ono Tofu's scream of agony abruptly cut off as he exploded in a shower of blood, gore, and small black shards of power. The auditorium became deathly silent save for the wet parts of Tofu hitting the floor and walls. None of the other monsters said anything, most too terrified to breathe.
"Yuck." She whipped her hands to the side, trying to wipe off some of the nastiness that covered her new clothes. 'Note to self, humans make a mess.' Realizing that her outfit was doomed, she daintily turned around, and sat down in the position formerly occupied by Dr. Tofu.
"Anyone have an issue with me taking over?" She asked rhetorically, primarily keeping her eyes on the bull themed enforcer who was waiting off the the side for an order that would never come. "Nobody? How wonderful." She leaned back and smiled.
"I'm perfectly safe here, Sailor Moon." Chibi-Usa grumbled as her mother—to—be fussed over her. Something that always made her uncomfortable. Not that she didn't love Usagi dearly but in her mind there was a clear divider. Usagi from the past was simply not her mother, not yet. A big annoying sister, maybe, but certainly not her mother.
Thankfully with everyone clustered together earlier, it was easy for a little girl like her to be overlooked in all the commotion. Ami and Ranma nearly dying was enough of a focus that they had accidentally given out Ranma's position amongst the Senshi to Nabiki. So now the middle Tendo sister was being given promises that explanations would come if she would just be quiet. After the conversation that followed Ami and Ranma waking up, the group had moved downstairs to the larger living room.
The only thing that stopped the house from exploding was the fact that the fathers had been sent out on a mission by Nodoka to track down some unimportant item. While slipping them money to go enjoy themselves while all the women talked.
"Are you listening to me?" Sailor Moon snapped angrily and tugged on one of Chibi-Usa's odangos.
'Of course not.' She briefly thought before answering and motioning for Sailor Moon to come closer so she could whisper in her ear. "I just think that they could use another Senshi here to watch things when Ranma isn't around."
"Ooh, that's a good idea!" Sailor Moon nodded her head in agreement. "You should be a real butt kicker now with all that training, now huh?" The blond elbowed her and laughed jovially.
"How is training going?" Haruka asked and roughly planted a hand on the top of Usa's head and roughed up her hair. "Learning anything good?"
"I'm learning a lot." She boasted without giving any details.
"We're going to be just around the corner with Setsuna and Hotaru, so we'll keep the little bunny safe." Haruka boasted.
"And it will be good for Hotaru-chan to have someone to spend time with." Michiru added as she came up to stand side by side with Haruka.
"I like it." Sailor Moon nodded her head appreciatively at the idea.
"Isn't it getting kind of late?" Chibi-Usa asked, already turning away from her future mother, intent on fleeing the uncomfortable situation. "I better go say goodnight to Hotaru-chan and get to bed."
"Hold it!" Sailor Moon snapped making Usa freeze mid-step. "Bed? Early? What are you up to young lady?"
"Going to bed—." She answered nervously even though she wanted to sound confident. Sailor Moon leaned in and narrowed her eyes in suspicion.
"Enough badgering the kid, Bunny." Haruka grumbled and tugged Sailor Moon away by one of her ponytails.
"Ah! Haruka—san!" The super-heroine whined.
"We have some adult things to discuss with the others." Michiru added, helping to pull Sailor Moon away.
"Have fun!" Usa sweetly chirped and waved her hand at her eventual mother. As soon as Usagi could no longer see her, she rushed off for her room.
Sitting in the room he shared with his parents with the lights off, Ranma absently rubbed at his ribs, and listened to the quiet child's footsteps as they drew near. He had noticed her hovering at the edge of the room and avoiding attention all night. So the moment he had seen her escape from Usagi downstairs, he had followed. Chibi-Usa came into the room, awkwardly reaching for the light switch near his head. As soon as her tiny fingers were able to turn on the light, he reached out to catch her hand causing her to gasp.
"Wha— what are you doing here?" Chibi-Usa asked with extreme nervousness and tried unsuccessfully to pull her hand away.
"That's my question." He softly answered and with a flick of his hand sent her stumbling into the center of the room before he slid the door closed. "What are you doing here?" He asked as he slowly rose to his feet.
"I'm just getting ready for bed." Usa answered quickly, trying to sound cheeky up until she looked in his eyes, and immediately wilted looking away guilty.
"Were you getting ready for bed when Ryoga was turned into a monster?" He paused to take several very deep breaths through his nose. "He was here in the dojo, four days ago— why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't know what would happen."
"Liar!" He barked, taking an aggressive step forward, and making her jerk backwards. "You knew! And you let it happen!"
"But." She weakly protested.
"Ami nearly died because of you— and there are plenty of others who did! Why?! Tell me right now what you think justifies their sacrifice?"
Usa stared at the floor with her entire body still.
He struggled to keep himself calm, having forgotten the exact way he had wanted this conversation to go. Right from the start he had known that Usa had an ulterior motive and now he knew that she was willing to play games with peoples lives. "Diana has a time key and came back with a purpose— and you forced yourself back with her. Why?" He asked through gritted teeth.
"Because this is how it happens." Usa answered in a whisper.
"It's about the future?" He asked incredulously and when no further explanation came he grabbed her by the front of her shirt to haul her up into the air. "I don't give a damn about your future if even one person has to die for it." He snarled and dropped her without warning to land on her backside.
"I'll get my things." Chibi-Usa said quietly in a monotone voice, still not looking up from the floor.
"You're not going anywhere." He growled. "You're going to stay here for as long as my Pop wants to train you and I'm going to make sure he remembers every painful training method he ever put me through. Until this is over I'm going to know everything that you do."
Silently storming out of the room, he paused in the doorway, and turned to look at the pink haired girl still staring at the floor in disdain. "I won't be the one to tell Usagi what you did. I couldn't hurt her like that." He remarked coldly.
1 - Ranma is over exaggerating, Sailor Theia is an exceptionally powerful Senshi but not on Galaxia's level.
2 - What? You think Usagi could remember to catch her train home without Ami reminding her?
3 - And now Kasumi knows the reason why you don't treat Lautia like an adorable fairy girl
4 - Incense of Spring Sleep, Volume 34 chapter 10. Was made into the last OVA released but outside of a brief scene with Ukyo and Shampoo looking horrified at something, is complete garbage.
Blame the lateness of this chapter on Usagi, I find her difficult to write.