Chapter Seven

“No Need for Fiancés!”

 

            It was the day after the battle with Garlic Junior.  The sun peaked over the horizon and cast an orange glow on the valley.  The birds started chirping and the first creatures began to stir.

 

            First among said creatures was a traveler, who had journeyed many miles to reach this place.  The journey had been long, but as far as they were concerned, it was well worth it.  They broke camp and smiled.  The end of the journey was near, all they had to do was follow through.  Soon they would achieve their goal.

 

           

 

            Down at the Masaki home, another creature of the morning was stirring.  Ranma sat up from the spare futon in the room he was sharing with Tenchi.  He couldn’t believe he still had to beat the women off of Tenchi to get a decent night’s sleep.  Ranma was glad that he didn’t have his bevy of former fiancés with him to keep him up at night.

 

            The pigtailed boy stretched and stood up.  He dressed in his usual weighted clothes and turned to regard the Jurian prince sleeping in his bed.  Tenchi laid there on his side with the covers pulled tight around him.  Ranma was half tempted to throw the boy out the window, but he would not be like his father.  He’d let his student get a sufficient night’s sleep so he could have his wits about him for the day.  Genma always tried to wake up before Ranma everyday in hopes of catching the boy groggy and giving him a ‘lesson’ to show that he was still the master.

 

            Ranma snorted at that thought.  He knew he had far surpassed anything his father had been.  Hell, he had probably beat Happosai by now.  If that little freak was around, he could probably show him a thing or two.

 

            The martial artist flexed his muscles.  Yeah, old freak, if Pan hadn’t shot you to the moon, I’d kick your butt from here to Osaka.  He took one more glance at Tenchi.  One more hour and I’ll throw him out the window.  Meantime, I can enjoy the morning peace while it lasts.

 

            He quietly left the room and walked downstairs.  The scents of the beginnings of breakfast assaulted him.  He peaked into the kitchen.  “G’morning, Sasami!”

 

            The young girl with pink eyes and long blue hair smiled at the pigtailed martial artist.  “Good morning, Ranma!  Breakfast will be ready at the usual time.”

 

            Ranma’s brow furrowed.  “Is Akane going to be helping with breakfast?”

 

            “No.”  The boy visibly relaxed as she continued talking.  “She said that she didn’t feel like cooking breakfast.”  She turned and continued working on the pot that was starting on the stove.  “I’ll train her some more after breakfast.”

 

            Ranma blinked.  “Okay.  I’ll be outside if she asks.”  He turned and walked out the door and up the steps toward the shrine.

 

            About halfway up the stairway, he felt Katsuhito’s presence to the side.  Ranma turned and walked toward the old man’s aura.  The forest thinned as he came to a small pond with a great tree in the middle.  The elder Masaki sat cross-legged under the tree, apparently deep in thought.

 

            The martial artist walked up and sat down beside him.  “Yo.  What’s up, old man?  You usually don’t come out until Tenchi is up and training.”

 

            “I couldn’t sleep well last night.  I decided to meditate under the holy tree of the shrine.”

 

            Ranma scratched his head.  “So, what’cha thinking about?  Worried about all the female aggression around here?”

 

            The elder man shook his head.  “No.  Actually, I was concerned about the little girl from the future.”

 

            “Pan’s daughter?”  Ranma scratched his head.  “Why are you worried about her?”

 

            “She used too much Jurian energy.  My daughter did something similar and it drained her life force away.  She died before her time, leaving behind Tenchi and his father.  I’m just concerned that the same thing may happen to her.  If she is Tenchi’s daughter, I hope he gets her back to the palace on Jurai as soon as possible.”

 

            Ranma tilted his head.  “Well, since she’s half-Saiya-Jin, won’t that battle just make her stronger?  I mean, they always get stronger after a using a bunch of energy and being beat up.  All she needs is some time to rest up.”

 

            The old man smoothed his mustache.  “I don’t have much experience with Saiya-Jin physiology, but I’m not sure if that would be enough to save her.  But for right now, all I can do is hope that her father knows best.”

 

            Ranma nodded his head and joined the old man in meditation and silent prayer for the small girl from the future.

 

 

 

            In the brush at the far side of the glade, a pair of eyes watched the pair under the tree.  I sense great power from the old man.  I will wait until Ranma is alone to make my move.  Soon, yes soon, you’ll be mine, Ranma!

 

 

 

            Time passed and Tenchi joined the pair under the tree.  After some short discussion, training began.  At the same moment Tenchi and Ranma began sparring, another confrontation was occurring at the Masaki residence.  Although this one wasn’t as violent…yet.

 

            Ayeka idly played with the sacred object that had been passed down in her family for generations. It was a small cylinder with the royal seal of Jurai pressed into a flange at the top.  She regarded it and the legends that surrounded it, legends that seemed to stretch to the Earth.  Those same legends had just recently become a startling reality.

 

            She placed the object into her kimono and waited for Akane to come out of the bath.  She stepped out just as the youngest Tendou opened the outer door.  “Good morning, Akane.”

 

            Akane gave her an odd glance and stepped back.  “Can I help you?”

 

            “I was just wondering,” she began walking around the slightly shorter teenager.  “Where were you during the battle yesterday?”

 

            “I was hiding with Sasami like you told me, of course!”  Came her quick reply.

 

            “No, Sasami said you went to call for help.”  The Jurian princess finished her inspection and faced Akane.  “I know you were the Sailor Senshi that fought with us yesterday.  You are the only one unaccounted for, and I know it wasn’t any of the other girls because none of them are from this solar system, and I highly doubt that a Sailor Senshi would just be wondering in the woods looking for fights.”

 

            Akane nervously started shifting back and forth from foot to foot.  “Well, there were a few times they showed up outside of Juuban, like when they fought at the hot springs!”

 

            Ayeka narrowed her eyes.  “You know, I’ve followed the exploits of the Senshi closely the entire length of my stay with Tenchi, and I don’t remember that one ever being mentioned.” She turned and opened the door to the room they all shared and extended her arm into it.  “Shall we have a word in private.

 

            The youngest Tendou resigned herself to being found out and stepped inside.  “So what are you going to do, blackmail me?”

 

            Ayeka knelt down on one of the futons and smiled.  “Nothing of the sort!”  She reached into her kimono and produced the ancient artifact.  “There was once a legend of universal protectors that protected the four corners of the universe.  They were centrally based on four main inhabited planets, two of those planets were Jurai and Earth’s moon.”  She handed the object to Akane.  “This was said to be one of the lost artifacts of those people.  It’s been in my family for generations and I was wondering if you could shed some light on the precise nature of it.”

           

            Akane took the object and her eyes widened.  “It’s a Henshin rod!  I thought only this solar system had Senshi.”

 

            “Apparently there were four separate groups of Senshi in the universe and this solar system just happened to house one of them.”  Ayeka held out her hand and Akane returned the rod.  “What does it do?”

 

            “It’s the main source of our transformations.”  Akane pulled hers from her dress and showed it to the princess.  “You can see the symbol of Earth on mine.  We use these to change into Sailor Senshi.”

 

            “So how does it work?”

 

            “You just hold the rod over your head and say the first phrase that comes to mind.”  Akane smiled at the simplicity.

 

            Ayeka held the rod up.  “I can’t think of anything.”

 

            Akane shook her head.  At least she didn’t say, ‘this is really stupid’.  “Try something like Jurai Power Make Up!”

 

            The purple haired girl nodded her head.  “Yes.”  She got a look of determination on her face and held the rod high.  “Jurai Power!  Make Up!”

 

            The symbol on the rod began to spin and shine like a flare.  Power streamed around it and flowed down over the princess.  She seemed to spin in place as her kimono changed into the uniform of the Senshi of Jurai.  The lights stopped, leaving Ayeka there in a pose with her legs spread, one hand on her hip and the other splayed over the side of her face.  “I am Sailor Jurai!  Protector of justice and peace throughout the Eastern Kingdom!”

 

            “BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!”  WHAM!!!

 

            The Senshi turned to see Ryoko fall out of the rafters and continue rolling on the floor in laughter.  “You should see yourself!  You look ridiculous!  HA-HA-HA-HA!!!”

 

            Ayeka looked down and finally saw what she was wearing, or more appropriately, what she wasn’t wearing.  She quickly tried to cover up the exposed flesh.  “It’s not funny Ryoko!”

 

            Akane’s aura was starting to flare up.  “She’s right!  It’s not funny!”

 

            “HA-HA-HA!!!  Look at the little girls and their bathing suits!!! HA-HA-HA!!!”

 

            “IT’S A FUKU!!!”  The other two yelled simultaneously.  The space pirate just continued to laugh more.

 

            “Hmmm…”  The two Senshi looked up to see Washu step into the room.  “Maybe if she got a look from the other side.”  She reached down and poked Ryoko in the shoulder.  In a small flash of light, Ryoko’s outfit changed into a cyan variant of a sailor scout outfit.

 

            Ryoko stopped laughing when she felt a draft.  “Gah!!!  What happed to my clothes!  I’ve got to get this stupid thing off!”  She frantically tried to tear the fuku off.  “What’s going on here?!”

 

            Washu smiled her cute smile and snickered.  “I figured maybe you’d like an outfit to match Ayeka’s.  I made it special so it won’t come off until I say.”

 

            Akane and Ayeka started laughing as Ryoko desperately tried to rid herself of the unearthly cloth.  Ayeka turned to the youngest Tendou.  “So what should she be, Sailor Pirate?”

 

            “Maybe Sailor Trash?”

 

            “Or perhaps Sailor Bi-“

 

            “HEY!!!”  Ryoko shouted in Ayeka’s face loud enough the send her sprawling across the floor.  She composed herself and thrust forth her bust.  “At least I look better in it than you do.”

 

            Ayeka stood and growled.  “Ry-O-Ko!”

 

            The logs began to appear around Ryoko and the pirate formed a power ball in her hand.”

 

            Akane, sensing the oncoming fight, inched over to where Washu stood with an amused smile.  “Can we do something before they ruin the house?”

 

            The smaller redhead nodded her head.  “I used to use this device whenever they wanted to barge in on Tenchi.”  She pulled a box from out of nowhere and pressed a button.

 

            In an instant the two combatants were dropped unceremoniously into the lake outside.

 

            The loud splash caused Ranma and Tenchi to stop what they were doing and look at the lake.  Ryoko shot into the air out of the water and Ayeka surfaced, shaking her fist at the pirate.

 

            Tenchi sighed.  “At least they had their bathing suits on.  Although I didn’t think Ayeka would wear something that revealing.”

 

            Ranma shook his head.  “They’re fukus.  Although there has got to be a good story why they’re wearing them.  Come on!”  He and Tenchi took off down the hill toward the two aliens.  Katsuhito laughed and pulled out his popcorn.

 

 

 

            From the bushes, the mysterious onlooker snarled.  He’s getting away!

 

            Washu and Akane had exited the house just as the opponents were squaring off again.  Ryoko smirked at the princess.  She stood up and posed like Ayeka did her first time.  “Maybe I should just call myself Sailor Masu!”

 

            “Sailor Massive more like it!”  Ayeka prodded her.

 

            Ryoko started gathering ambient energy and Tenchi decided it was time for him to step in.  “Ryoko!  Ayeka!  Stop!”  He charged down the hill toward the fight.

 

            Ranma walked slowly behind him and shook his head.  “He’ll never learn.”

 

            Now!!!

 

            Ranma found himself bowled over and rolling into the glade.  His tumble stopped and he found a lavender addition to his wardrobe.  Said accessory looked up into his eyes.  “Nihao, Ranma!”  Her lips were creased in a brilliant smile.

 

            “Shampoo!  What are you doing here?!”  Ranma frantically tried to pry his new growth off.

 

            “Shampoo miss you!  Shampoo know that kitchen destroyer might kill if left with Ranma!”  She nuzzled into his chest.  “Shampoo love Ranma.  Want be airen again!”

 

            “I wasn’t your airen in the first place!”  Any minute now…  Was the only thing running through his mind as he desperately tried to get Shampoo’s vise-like grip loosened.

 

            “RANNN-MAAAA!!!!” Akane’s yell came through the trees.

 

            The pigtailed martial artist just went limp.  Well that didn’t take her long.  If only I could get my finger to my forehead…

 

            Mallet-Sama was called on once more for a game of whak-a-baka.  Shampoo rolled out of the way as Ranma was pounded into the ground.  Akane turned to Shampoo.  “Leave my fiancé alone!”  A croak of surprise came from Ranma’s beaten form.

 

            Shampoo got a confused look on her face.  “Fiancé?  Ranma propose?”

 

            Akane sweatdropped.  “I forgot we weren’t engaged.”

 

            Shampoo facefaulted.  After picking herself up she pointed at Akane.  “Ranma as much Shampoo’s as Akane!  Shampoo have airen once and for all!”

 

            “Uhhnnn…”  Ranma pulled himself out of the hole and shook his head.  “I thought you guys were supposed to act nice.”

 

            The two girls turned to him.  “Stay out of this!”  They both shouted at once.  They turned to each other and began arguing again.

 

            Ranma sighed as a familiar twitch started with his eyebrow.  “I thought all of this was behind me.  Oh well, at least now Akane’s  fighting the other fiancés instead of me.”  He turned and left the two girls to their argument.

 

           

 

            Back in the clearing, the battle between the two newest Senshi was in full swing.  Ranma looked a while and spotted Tenchi knocked out on the side of the lake.  He walked over and picked the poor boy up and carried him over to his grandpa.  The martial artist placed Tenchi on the ground and sat next to the popcorn-eating elder.  “Do you think they’ll ever stop fighting?”

 

            Katsuhito shook his head and finished chewing the last bit in his mouth.  “Eventually one will win the heart of the suitor and then it’s usually over.”

 

            “Try again, gramps.  One of my old fiancés showed up and is fighting Akane in the woods.” Ranma’s head sagged.

 

            The old man’s brow rose.  “Hmm.  I guess and old man can be wrong every now and then.”

 

            Pan walked up behind them wearing her training gi.  She yawned, stretched, and then surveyed the fight over the lake.  “Looks like they started without me today.  Not that I care.  Why are they wearing fukus?”

 

            Ranma shrugged.  “Dunno.  I was on my way to find out when I was attacked by Shampoo.”

 

            The young Saiya-Jin looked around.  “She’s here?  Where?  I still owe her for ruining her dress.”

 

            “She over fighting with Akane.  They’ll probably be finished soon.”

 

            “I’ll wait.   Gimme some of that popcorn, old man.”  Pan made a quick grab for the bag.

 

            The bag moved at the last possible instant.  Katsuhito’s other hand snaked out and grabbed her wrist.  He used her imbalance to throw her aside.  He laughed.  “You really should learn how to ask politely.”

 

            Pan stood up and brushed herself off.  “All right old man.  Can I please have some popcorn?”

 

            He popped a couple puffs in his mouth and answered, “No.”

 

            Pan started to get steamed and made another grab. Once again she was thrown aside.  She growled and jumped for the bag.  Katsuhito leaned back and she passed right over.  He slapped her on the rump as she passed over.

 

            “Maybe you need a fuku like the other girls.  I think you’d look good in one.”

 

            Pan stood back up and wiped the dirt from her face.  “You, old, stingy, PERVERT!  I’ll show you!”  She brought her leg around to kick him in the head.

 

            The old man lifted his arm and blocked the kick with what looked like minimal effort.  “You’re much too slow to teach this old dog new tricks.”  His smile was huge and mocking.

 

            Pan blew her top.  “Okay, old man!  You ask for it!”  She crouched back and cupped her hands.

 

            Ranma grabbed the just stirring Tenchi and started running.  Tenchi’s head bobbed as he was being carried.  “What’s going on?”

 

            “World War Three on all fronts!  Time for the single young guys to find some place to hide!”

 

            Tenchi looked around and saw two out of the three fights.  “You know, Washu’s lab should be safe.”

 

            Ranma shook his head.  “No way I’m going there!  Let’s hit the kitchen!”  Tenchi agreed and they sped off.

 

           

 

            An enormous explosion boomed throughout the valley.  Ryoko and Ayeka stopped in mid grapple as Shampoo and Akane turned from where they were just beginning to square off.  They all turned toward the detonation and ran to the ridge to see Pan firing several lance-like shots that the old man deftly evaded with a smile.

 

            Pan gave up on the small shots and took to the air after the old man.  She swooped in and out trying to knock him over.  He just stepped aside each time and rapped her on various parts of her body with his bokken that he had pulled from his robes.  She finally turned and began raining punches and kicks.  Katsuhito seemed to blur as he dodged each blow.

 

            At one point Pan went to punch him in the face.  He grabbed the wrist and rolled over backwards, causing the young Saiya-Jin to go flying.  She knocked over several trees before coming to a stop.

 

She stood up and glared at the old man.  “Okay!  You ask for it!”  She launched into one of Vegeta’s trademark machine gun blasts.

 

The Masaki elder just smiled and stood in place.  A single lighthawk shield appeared and absorbed each blast.  He put his hand on his chin and turned away from Pan, the shield still blocking each blast.  “Maybe Ranma will want to spar after this.  This is much too disappointing.”

 

Red flame erupted as Pan blew her top.  “DON’T IGNORE ME!!!”  With a shout, she transformed into a Super Saiya-Jin!  She flew forward like a bullet.

 

Katsuhito stepped back, allowing Pan to pass in front of him.  He hit her at the base of the skull with the hilt of his wooden sword.

 

Pan’s eyes went wide and then started to close slowly.  Her hair reverted back to it’s normal black as she rammed into the ground, unconscious.

 

The old man shook his head.  “Maybe in another six hundred years.”  He laughed.

 

Shampoo’s eyes went wide.  “Oh!”

 

Akane turned to the Amazon.   “What?”

 

She pointed at the old man.  “Old pervert is Pan’s airen!”

 

“WHAT!!!”  Akane was dumbstruck.

 

Ryoko leaned over on Akane’s shoulder.  “Hey, what does airen mean?”

 

“It means husband.”

 

Ayeka fainted.  Ryoko started rolling on the ground laughing.  Inside the kitchen, Tenchi felt a sense of relief, though he didn’t know why…