Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi is the greatest, but then again so is <whoever did SM>. All Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon characters… and the occasional Devil Hunter, as well as any other character that belongs to someone else belong to someone else, not me. I ain’t that good. Jiejie and Tian Huan are my own creations, as are Inago, Kaji, Sansai, and Fusei.

C&C: C&C is both welcome and desired greatly at dancingimp@yahoo.com. This is my first fanfiction work to make it past Chapter Half. Also, though I have certain things set in mind, I am willing to modify the story as it continues if it becomes necessary. If this story is located elsewhere, the original can be found at http://www.geocities.com/dancingimp. Thankies!

Big Thanks: To my prereaders/editors/mallet-wielders, James Thomas <who has written one of the best Dragonball Z/Ranma Half crossovers, http://www.provalue.net/users/heed452/fanfic>, and Greg Beauchamp. Thanks for the mallets to the head and red ink to the paper.

What Went Before: Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo were at college in Juuban. Happosai found a scroll which he used to try summoning a demon. The sacrifice for the ritual was supposed to be Ranma, but Akane interfered and vanished. Now the ‘demon’ appears to be a fifteen hundred year old Amazon with a mild attitude problem.  With Cologne’s help, Ranma is trying to find some way of getting back Akane.

 

Chapter 2

“The Inquest”

 

 

A world in the Negaverse

 

            The gaunt man slammed his fist down onto the table, as a wheezing monstrosity collapsed on it and expired. The man waved his hand at the creature and it dissolved into a steaming mass. “Without my brothers, I no longer have the power to create. I can only modify that which is already born.” The man paced around the room, glaring at different charts and diagrams. “Our enemies left nothing alive on this world. I will have to risk a trip to Earth in order to secure some specimens. I do hope our enemies have grown complacent. Our vengeance can wait until our Master is reborn.” The man walked over to a daigram that hung oddly, crossing over a corner of the room. Stepping into the corner, his body warped, then vanished.

 

 

Nerima district, the morning after the summoning

 

            Ranma was rudely awakened by a sharp rap to his head. Admittedly, it wasn’t that much ruder than being thrown into the koi pond by his father. At least he got to stay a guy. He looked up at Cologne and grumbled his annoyance, but the Amazon Elder ignored him. Without really thinking about it, he walked into the bathroom. Unfortunately, he neglected to notice that someone who had no concept of modern door locks occupied the bathroom. Jiejie dropped into a combat stance the moment the door opened, which had the effect of giving Ranma a full view of her body.

 

Ranma stared and his eyes went wide. His first reaction was to apologize and back away, all the while expecting to be hit. However, that reaction died in infancy as his eyes caught the myriad of scars covering her body. It looked like she had been stabbed repeatedly or had something bite and shake its head innumerable times. The marks ranged over her chest, across her stomach, along her breasts, and down her legs. He had never seen someone with so much damage to their body before. With his knowledge of wounds, he could tell that most of the scars were very old, probably from childhood. All this he noticed in the few moments before he saw a slender foot heading for his face. His next view was of the interior of the wall across the hall. Blinking a few times, he shouted, “Hey Cologne, I think you got termites.” His eyes wandered back to the door, which Jiejie was just slamming shut, a cold look in her eyes as she glared at him.

 

At breakfast, Ranma saw that the diminutive Amazon had borrowed one of Shampoo’s outfits. Shampoo seemed only too happy to help out the legendary warrior. It was a short, green dress on Shampoo, but, due to Jiejie’s lesser height, it covered her down to her ankles. She had also borrowed a few of Shampoo’s weapons: a long, curved sword, a mace, and a naginata. Ranma was a bit worried at the amount of steel the Amazon was carrying, especially since she had already tried to kill him twice.

 

            Ranma looked up as Cologne got everyone’s attention. “I have found what might be a possible cure for our problem. There is a counter-scroll rumored to be in a shrine here in Japan. There are very few spiritually active temples left in this country, thanks to so-called ‘modern beliefs’ and commercialism. One of these is in Juuaban, the Hikawa Shrine. This scroll was specifically created to counter the one that idiot Happosai used. If we find it, we should be able to send Jiejie back to where she came from. There will be danger, though. Juuban is known for its monster attacks, which I believe is why the temple is so strong. Ranma, if there is to be any chance of saving Akane, Jiejie must be kept safe. If she were to die, there would be no hope at all of bringing your friend back.”

 

            Ranma grumbled, not happy with having to rely on the old woman to save Akane. She had pulled too many stunts for him to just cheerfully go along with anything she said. “Why are you willing ta help me, ya old ghoul? I’d figure you’d be happy ta get rid of Akane.”

 

            Cologne waved her hand dismissingly. “Jiejie is an Amazon and an honored warrior. It is for her that I do this.” She motioned for everyone but Mousse to follow her as they headed for the train station. The male Amazon was to stay and keep the Nekohanten operating.

 

            Ranma went along, unhappy at the recent turn of events that had seen his rather peaceful college life disrupted by Akane accidentally being used by Happosai to summon some kind of ancient teenaged Amazon who seemed intent on killing him. At the station, Ranma glared impatiently, waiting for the train to arrive. He didn’t like being around so many people, and the morning crowd was particularly heavy today. Jiejie was also made nervous by the crowd, particularly since she was far short than most of them. She ended up leaping on top of a hanging sign while waiting for the train to arrive.

 

            Ranma used a payphone while waiting for the train to arrive to call in to the University, explaining that he and Akane had a family crisis come up and that they would not be making classes today and maybe for a few days. After getting confirmation, he considered calling Ukyo and Mamorou, but decided against it. The fewer people who knew about the problem, the better, and besides, it should be solved shortly so there was no need to worry anyone. He noted that the train had finally arrived. It took them a minute to talk Jiejie into riding inside rather than on top, but they eventually succeeded when Cologne issued a flat order to do so. The station workers chose to ignore the weapons being carried on board by the Amazons. The Nerima depot staff had learned long ago not to argue with them.

 

            The trip to Juuban was mostly uneventful, with only a few sprained wrists of the passengers that tried to cop a feel from either Jiejie or Shampoo. Even though people were packed like sardines in the train car, they made a little bit more room for the group after the first five such incidents. Jiejie was one of the first people off the train, using the window instead of the door and managing to avoid most of the people. Once the others managed to get off, they headed towards the Hikawa Shrine.

 

 

Juuban district, an hour later

 

            Cologne watched carefully as Ranma led the way to the temple. Just as they were passing a park, she called a halt. Ranma turned to look at her impatiently. “What is it now?”

 

            The Elder smiled knowingly at him. “So this is where you’ve been hiding out, is it?”

 

            Ranma sputtered for a moment, then denied the accusation profusely. This only made Cologne smile more. “You always were a horrid liar, Ranma. You know your way too well around this town. It makes the truth a little bit obvious.”

 

            Ranma considered trying to lie some more, but gave up in the end. “Look, just don’t let the others know. It’s been nice not getting attacked several times every day. Even Ryoga hasn’t shown up since we moved here. Ukyo, Akane, and I-“

 

            “The Kuonji girl is here too?” Cologne’s look shifted to a more dangerous kind. “And you chose to leave Shampoo in Nerima?”

 

            Ranma waved his hands defensively, “It’s not like that.  We just tried to keep it to as few people as possible. If I told Shampoo, Mousse would find out. If Mousse found out, he might tell the Kunos or Ryoga, and then everything would start all over again.”

 

            Cologne nodded once. “I understand. I will forbid Mousse to tell others should he learn of your location, and Shampoo will not speak of it. On two conditions.”

 

            Ranma sighed. “What?”

 

            “First, I must make sure your skills are not dulled by the lack of activity.” She pointed to the park. “We will test your skills over there. Second, Shampoo will be training with you at least once a week. The lack of activity in Nerima may dull her skills, and that is unacceptable.”

 

            Ranma glowered. ‘Great, just great… I’ll never hear the end of this from Akane or Ukyo. But if I don’t agree, Shampoo will just keep showing up anyways, and Cologne would tell the Kunos where we are…’ he thought to himself. “Fine. I agree. Let’s get this over with.” On the outside he was grim, but inside he smiled with confidence. He had a new trick up his sleeve and he couldn’t wait to give the old ghoul a taste of it. The park was mostly deserted since most of the adults were at work and the younger people were in school. Finding a particularly open section, Ranma and Cologne squared off.

 

“Whenever you’re ready, old ghoul,” Ranma jibed.

 

“Show some respect, son-in-law.”

 

Jiejie watched with interest as the two combatants started slowly, feeling out each others defense, then built up into a high speed series of attacks and counters that would have left a majority of martial artists dizzy or unconscious. Jiejie, however, noted that Cologne was not going all out.

 

            When Ranma suddenly held up his hands and yelled “Mouko Takabisha!” Jiejie was surprised to see a mass of life energy form in front of his hands and fly towards the Elder, who dodged it easily. In her time, ki manipulation was uncommon, but ki projection was extremely rare. She had only met a few other warriors beside herself who could do such things. She began to ignore Cologne’s movements to concentrate on Ranma.

 

            After another series of passes, Ranma saw his opening. He bounced into the air again and yelled “Mouko Takabisha revised: Pachinkodai!” Again, the ki ball formed and blasted towards Cologne, who dodged it just as easily.

 

            “And what was so revised about that, Son-in-law?” she asked. A smirk on his face was all the warning she had. She hopped up and just barely managed to clear the ki ball that impacted on the grass below her. The ball ricocheted upwards and vanished, but the shock knocked her off balance for a moment and Ranma got in a solid kick before she could recover. “Well done, Son-in-law. Perhaps you would tell me just how you did that.”

 

            “Nope. You always made me figure things out, old ghoul. Now it’s your turn. Pachinkodai!” Another ball shot towards the Amazon. She dodged to the side this time and let part of her attention focus on the ball as it passed her. To her amazement, she saw it strike a park bench and bounce off. She leapt to the side as it came back at her and was forced on the defensive as Ranma closed with her. When he suddenly jumped back, palms forward, she prepared to leap away. The rushing sound of air coming towards her revealed her near mistake. She managed to barely get away from the ball, but was in a poor position to avoid the normal Mouko Takabisha that came at her. Channeling her ki into her staff, she managed to deflect the ball away only to see the Pachinkodai heading straight for her with no time to dodge. She tried to deflect this one as well, but on contact with her ki-charged staff it detonated, throwing her back and to the ground. Just as Ranma came in with an overly confident smile and the blow that would end the sparring match, she twisted her staff up and caught him on the side of the neck with it. Ranma’s eyes glazed over and he collapsed as the pressure point Cologne struck rendered him momentarily unconscious.

 

            Rising slowly, a bit winded from the fight, Cologne waited for Ranma to come to. A few moments later, Ranma sat up and scowled for a moment. “I hate losing,” he muttered. Then he got really mad. “That was cheating, you old ghoul!”

 

            Cologne clucked at him reproachfully. “All is fair in a fight, Son-in-law. Grow, learn, and adapt.”

 

            Ranma let a smirk come to his face. “I still got you pretty good.”

 

Cologne nodded. “You made a ki ball that wouldn’t detonate on first contact. That’s quite a remarkable skill you developed.  It shows great control. But there is one thing I’m still curious about. Why did it detonate on my staff?”

 

            “Lemme guess, you charged it with your ki didn’t you?”

 

            Cologne understood now. “The ki is what detonated your Pachinkodai, very good, son-in-law. It’s nice to see that your training has not diminished since you left Nerima.”

 

            Jiejie wanted to ask Ranma some questions, but something held her back. She was having conflicting emotions over the young martial artist. Part of her saw him as a risk, someone who might be a threat to her master, Tian Huan. She also hated him for the presence of the demon taint, which she was sure he possessed. Another part recognized him as a fellow warrior with amazing skill and worthy of respect. Yet, there was another part of her that was commenting oddly, thinking him a show-off, a braggart, an arrogant jerk, and yet also considering him with an odd affection. She glowered.

 

            Suddenly, she sensed something. Someone was approaching with a demonic presence. Her eyes narrowed and a curved sword seemed to appear in her hand as she dropped into a combat stance. Next to some trees, the air began to shimmer.

 

            Shampoo had been paying undivided attention to Cologne and Ranma, watching with pleasure at how strong her airen was. When they heard the sound of steel being drawn, all eyes turned towards Jiejie. She nodded in the direction of the odd distortion just as a quartet of figures emerged from it.

 

            The first one out looked human. He was a tall, emaciated man with tattered clothes that looked faintly Arabic. Even though there was little wind in the park, the rags fluttered as if there was a strong breeze. The other three creatures were anything but human. They looked completely alien, from the four-sectioned mouth to the centipede-like lower body. The inhuman eyes seemed to radiate anger as they raised scythe-like arms and hissed menacingly. They reared up to reveal armored torsos. The heads of the three creatures had V-shaped crests of hardened material and a row of spines that went down their backs.

 

            “They shall do nicely,” the man said in a voice that did not sound human at all. “Kill the men. Capture the women.” With a snap of his finger, the three monsters darted forward at incredible speed.

 

            The first creature headed straight for Ranma, a razor sharp claw trying to take his head off. Ranma ducked under the blow and launched a sidekick that would have shattered a concrete wall. The creature was shoved back a little and an angry hiss erupted from it, but otherwise it appeared unharmed.

 

            The second creature seemed to curl into a ball, the spines along its back sticking out sharply. One of them suddenly erupted, speeding straight towards Shampoo. The Amazon brought up one of her bonbori to block the needle, but her eyes widened as it punched through the metal sphere and pierced her shoulder. Her vision began to blur as the fluid coating the spine fought to render her unconscious. She stumbled forward for a moment, then collapsed as the creature closed in on her. The moment it stood over her, she suddenly shot up, bonbori slamming into its jaw and rocking its head back as she wheeled in a circle, slamming the other mace into the same spot. The creature’s armor in that location fractured and shattered as she drove a knee into it. Crying out in pain, the monster failed to react in time as Shampoo dropped one mace, drew a sword, and shoved it through the hole in its armor, slicing its brain in half in one fluid motion. As her foe fell dead, Shampoo collapsed next to it, the toxin finally rendering her unconscious.

 

            Ranma’s battle was starting to get easier. He realized that although the monster was fast, tough, and unbelievably strong, it was not a good fighter. There was no technique to the slashes coming for him, and he found he could easily land counterstrikes almost every time the thing attacked him. Cracks were beginning to show in its armor, and he felt victory close at hand. He spared himself a glance to make sure the others were okay, but he could only see Cologne finishing off the third creature and Shampoo killing hers. He didn’t see Jiejie anywhere. Ranma finally unleashed his Amaguri Ken technique on his opponent and saw the light in its eyes dull, and then the creature collapsed.

 

            He turned to gloat about his victory to the monster’s master, but his taunt was cut short. Jiejie was going all out against the man and the battle was astounding. He was using his arms and hands to block her sword strikes, apparently suffering little or no damage from the blade. His clothes seemed to be alive as ribbons of material tried to entangle the angry Amazon. She whirled in and out of the folds of cloth, moving at incredible speeds and barely avoiding being captured. Her movements seemed a bit hampered, though, since the dress she wore was keeping her legs from moving as freely as she would want.

 

Unfortunately, the sword chose an inopportune moment to snap in two, and one of the ribbons wrapped itself around her hand, lifting her into the air. Within a heartbeat, all of her limbs were tied up and the man was smiling at her viciously. “Spirited, I see. I shall enjoy taking you…” Suddenly a frown came across his features and he sniffed at something in the air. “You! You are worthless to me, demon-slut. Good bye.” A ragged section of material wrapped itself around her neck and started to twist.

 

            Ranma cried out, trying to generate a ki ball but afraid he’d be too late. To the side, he saw Cologne doing the same thing. Suddenly Jiejie’s hair seemed to glow, turning a bright red as her pupils dilated and her eyes seemed to become solid ebony. Twin black beams emerged from her eyes, cutting through some of the ribbons. The energy struck her opponent’s chest and a black swirling pattern, like splashing water, formed briefly around him. He reeled backwards, though little damage was visible, and the rags holding onto Jiejie let loose, dropping her to the ground. Instantly, she was on her feet, a large red and blue ball of life force forming in her hands just as Ranma and Cologne let loose with their ki blasts. The three balls raced for their target, but the man just smiled one more time, then suddenly exploded, as his body seemed to become thousands of locusts. A chilling laugh echoed through the air as the bug swarm dissipated.

 

            Looking around, Ranma saw the bodies of the three creatures left behind, including the one Ranma was sure he had only rendered unconscious, begin to melt as an acidic hiss and acrid vapor emerged from them. Within a few moments, a scarred section of ground was all the evidence of the fight that had just happened.

 

            “What the hell were those?” Ranma inquired of no one in particular.

 

            Cologne hopped up to him after checking on Shampoo’s condition. The poison was quickly wearing off, and she would wake soon. “Those are some of the monsters that this district has developed a reputation for. Come, let us leave this place before curious people begin to ask questions we’d rather not answer.” Jiejie picked up Shampoo respectfully. Cologne was concerned over something, but kept it mostly to herself. Occasionally she glanced at Jiejie, who would never look her in the eyes.

 

Jiejie walked silently and tiredly along beside the others, drained badly and seething at her opponent’s comment. It wasn’t the first time she had been insulted, and normally it wouldn’t bother her. But for some reason the taunt had made her extremely angry. She was becoming annoyed at the irrational urges she was getting lately. Her training had always instilled in her a sense of control over herself.

 

 

            Shortly after one group left the park, another arrived. Three sailor-suited young ladies in very short skirts landed at the site of the battle. One, wearing a blue skirt with a light blue chest ribbon and having blue-tinted hair, pulled out a small portable computer and began checking readings. One of the others, wearing a red skirt with a purple ribbon on her chest, came up behind her. “What happened, Mercury? Where’s the bad guy?”

 

            “I don’t know, Mars. I definitely picked up an active signature a little bit ago, and I can still find trace readings, but whatever came through has left.”

 

            The third girl, a tall, shorthaired blonde wearing a dark blue skirt with a yellow ribbon on her chest, was examining the battleground. “What made this?” she wondered aloud as she examined one of the scars in the ground, running her gloved hand across it carefully.

 

            “I don’t know,” Mars commented as she watched two more sailor-suited women show up. “What kept you two, Neptune?”

 

            “Sorry, I was in the middle of an orchestra piece and it took me a bit to make a getaway. I picked up Saturn on the way here,” responded one of the new arrivals, wearing a sea-green skirt and dark blue bow. The other, wearing a purple skirt and carrying a nasty looking glaive nodded to the others. She gave the former battlefield a once over. “What happened? Did you all ready finish it off?”

 

            “Nope,” Uranus answered. “Whatever happened was over by the time we got here, but something pretty nasty went down.”

 

            “Why do you say that?” Mars inquired.

 

            “First, I found light blood traces over there, “ she thumbed towards one part of the open area, “which were pretty fresh. Second, there’s a broken sword blade over there, “ she pointed towards another part of the park. “Third, there are three of these burned looking patches in the ground. Can you get a reading on them, Mercury?”

 

            While the blue-suited lady brought her computer closer to one of the patches, Uranus went over to one of the torn up sections. Mars and Neptune watched as their friend looked around at first, and then seemed to almost begin dancing. She occasionally performed some incredible jumps, which only served to further confuse the raven-haired Mars. Saturn watched with a bit of amusement.

 

            “What in the name of the moon are you doing, Uranus?” Mars asked, a touch of irritation in her voice.

 

            “There was a mighty duel here,” she commented. Neptune and Saturn couldn’t repress giggles at the movie reference. “There are footprints ranging all over. It looks like a fight of some kind between two people who really knew what they were doing.” She frowned deeply. “And I missed it,” she growled.

 

            Mars stared incredulously at her friend before shaking her head and moving over to Mercury. “Anything yet?”

 

            Mercury nodded. “It’ll take me a while to sort this out, but it looks like there was a demon here, as well as three creatures I can’t identify and two very odd power signatures. Those spots on the ground are what are left of the creatures, but the demon appears to have teleported back to the Negaverse, I’m guessing. The other two wandered off that way.” She pointed in the direction Ranma and the others had taken.

 

            “Oh, great. A new enemy. I thought Pluto said there wouldn’t be any more after Galaxia!” Mars began a long stream of curses, some of which were directed at Pluto’s questionable family tree.

 

            “Oh well, I was getting bored anyways.” Mars and Mercury stared at Uranus while Neptune just shook her head. “What? Hey, I can’t help it if I like a good fight.”

 

            Mercury spoke up. “Well, if you’re looking for a fight, Uranus, I think I can still pick up the two that got away. Shall we go after them?” The other four girls nodded in unison. “Okay, follow me.” With that, the four took off, heading after the suspected bad guys.

 

 

            As Ranma half-expected, on the way to the temple, he was on the receiving end of a splash of water. Pulling her pants tighter and loosening her shirt some, she grumbled and looked around. Standing at the gate of a fenced-in yard was an old woman ladling water onto the sidewalk. Ranma swore she looked exactly like the neighbor he used to have in Nerima, water bucket and all. She growled, “How the HELL did she get HERE?” then noticed a badly shaking Jiejie forcing her eyes to stay closed. Remembering the Amazon’s problem, she quickly moved to the back of the group. After she was out of sight, Jiejie slowly opened her eyes, just in time to see five sailor-suited women appear on a rooftop.

 

            The Senshi had caught up to the party moments after Ranma’s transformation. Mercury pointed out the short, child-like girl with a large polearm across her back as one of the odd power signatures. Mars suggested that they hurry, since it looked like the monster was draining energy from some purple-haired girl it was carrying over its shoulder.

 

“Parks are for people to enjoy, not fight in! For love and justice, I'm the pretty soldier Sailor Mars. In place of the moon, I'll punish you!”

 

            Ranma and friends gawked at the silly speech for a moment, then Jiejie snarled a curse in Chinese, drawing her naginata as she placed Shampoo on the ground. Ranma tried to stop her, but that movement was enough to set off the Senshi. “World Shaking!” was Uranus’ cry as a ball of energy shot towards the child-like Amazon. Jiejie dove to the side and hurled the kitchen knife, which she had tucked into her dress, with lightning speed at Mars, just as the pretty soldier finished her cry of “Fire Soul Bird!” The blade was utterly destroyed by the attack, but the fireball was disrupted as well. A water ball kept Jiejie from following up as Neptune added her Deep Submerge to the fray.

 

Cologne pulled her great-granddaughter out of harm’s way as Mercury landed next to Ranma. “That way, quick!” she ordered the redhead while pointing away from the fight. “Get out of the way so we can handle this creature.”

 

            Ranma stared blankly until she was shoved gently away from the battle and Mercury turned to add her Shabon Spray to the fight. Jiejie was still dodging effectively, avoiding all of the blasts with athletic grace. A few of the attacks damaged her dress, burning the lower portions of it. Ranma dashed in, using surprise and a gentle throw to distract the girl who had told her to run just as she was about to unleash some kind of attack at Jiejie. Mercury reacted slowly, due to shock. She had neither expected nor sensed that Ranma was coming for her, and she couldn’t figure out how a normal human girl had been able to move so quickly. She paused a moment to watch as the redhead caught Mars unawares and flip her onto her back. The blue-clad Senshi started to move to intercept the girl, but stopped as the redhead bounded away without following through. It looked to Mercury like the girl wasn’t really fighting, but more like she was running interference. She filed that away for future reference as she turned her attention back to the demon.

 

 Given a bit of breathing space thanks to Ranma, Jiejie came up with a plan. She hoped that her opponents were team players. If not, her next moves might get her killed. She had noticed the smallest Senshi, the one called Saturn, hanging back a bit, her odd glaive held at the ready. The Amazon waited for one of the Senshi, Uranus, to get close to the girl, then hurled her mace towards her. She was grimly satisfied when Uranus pushed Saturn out of the way before dodging herself. Jiejie noticed a slight increase in the ferocity of the attacks and smiled grimly. The smile just made some of the Senshi angrier.

 

            “Why doesn’t she taunt us like the others did?” Mercury wondered. She checked the readouts on her computer and verified that the unbelievably fast little girl was indeed one of the odd power signatures she had detected in the park. The strange thing was, it wasn’t using any magical or otherworldly attacks like most of their enemies did. It just seemed to be fast and agile. She was beginning to worry that they might have to use their Super Sailor transformation in order to beat its speed. She was also having a hard time trying to locate the other source she had detected. There was too much magic flying around right now. She looked up just in time to see Uranus draw her Space Sword and try to go toe-to-toe with the polearm-packing girl. Any doubts in Mercury’s mind that the child-like creature was human disappeared when she saw the skill with which she fought. No one her age would be capable of such incredible maneuvers.

 

            Jiejie smirked a little as she tested out her opponent’s skills. She now knew for a fact that her foes were a close-knit team, since the others refused to attack if there was a chance for them to hit their sword-wielding companion. She parried a few more strikes from the magical sword before she felt her pole beginning to weaken. She had to finish this fight fast or it could become a problem.

 

            Finally, the opportunity presented itself as the girl with the glaive came close enough. Jiejie turned her back to her and made a small hop backwards, dodging Uranus’ sword and providing Saturn with a supposed opening to attack from.

 

            Saturn brought her glaive around with an ease that surprised Ranma. Jiejie was prepared, however, as she poured her ki into her speed, circling her opponent with snake-like grace and agility. It was a draining move, but necessary. She dodged the swipe and ended up behind the young Senshi, the blade of her naginata pressed carefully against her young throat. “Stop,” she whispered harshly as she locked the young girl’s arms in place, grateful that at least this Senshi was the same height as she was.

 

            The other four Senshi were terrified. Though they could tell it was fast, the speed with which their enemy had captured Saturn was staggering. Uranus became enraged and was considering an attack, but couldn’t find a clear opening that wouldn’t risk her captive friend.

 

            “Manzun Rong,” Jiejie whispered as loud as she could, “Go. Take others. Will join soon. Huiguaguai zaizai miao.”

 

            Ranma stared blankly until Cologne tapped her shoulder and whispered. “She was speaking to you, child. Take Shampoo and we must leave quickly. We will meet at our destination.”

 

            Ranma hated leaving a fight, but she wasn’t sure if she would be able to really fight these girls, should it come to that. Even when they tried to kill him, she had rarely ever been able to strike a woman. Picking up Shampoo, she ran down the street with Cologne. Jiejie waited till they were out of sight, then began backing away carefully. She slowly let the girl go, but kept the blade of her naginata against her throat. She could sense the power stored inside the young girl’s weapon and an idea came to her.

 

She hurled the glaive down the street and, as all eyes turned to follow it, she quickly cracked the pole of her naginata against the back of Saturn’s head, knocking the girl to the ground and rendering her dazed. She was surprised when the staff snapped in two, since she hadn’t thought she had struck that hard, but the weapon must have been weakened from parrying the magical sword. She dropped the pieces before bolting down the street and using all her will to suppress her aura. As a result of the two distractions, before the Senshi could focus on her, she had all but vanished.

 

            The four warriors dashed to the side of their fallen comrade, worry quite evident on their features. When she proved to be all right, just a bit dazed, Mercury went to fetch the Silence Glaive. Neptune and Mars were livid, but Uranus was beyond angry. “How dare that bitch hit Saturn?!” she screamed. “I’m going to hunt her demonic ass down and tear it apart! I’m going to…” Each new curse or threat that emerged from the girl’s mouth made the one before it seem tame. Uranus ground to a halt just as Saturn tried standing up. After assuring everyone she was all right and accepting back her weapon, Saturn recommended they have a meeting at the Hikawa Shrine as quickly as possible. This new enemy could definitely be a problem.

 

           

            Jiejie arrived at the temple entrance at the same time as Ranma, Cologne, and a now-awake Shampoo. She closed her eyes as soon as she felt Ranma’s presence. The mere sight of Ranma as a girl would cause her to behave in an intolerably terrified manner and she refused to do so. She gritted her teeth as Ranma walked up to her. “What does ‘manson wrong’ mean, anyways?” The pigtailed girl asked.

 

            “It Manzun Rong. It mean wild horse, like you name. Figure you no want magic girls hunting you so no use real name.” Ranma looked for confirmation from Cologne, who nodded. The redhead looked away, so she missed Cologne’s expression becoming an amused one.

 

            ‘If she wanted to call you a wild horse, son-in-law,’ she thought to herself, ‘she probably would have called you Han, or Chang Nu, reckless old horse, if she didn’t like you. Manzun Rong is quite the complement, noble wild stallion.’

 

The group started to go inside, but Jiejie suddenly stopped. “<I don’t like these temples.>” she whispered. “<I will not enter now.>”

 

Cologne thought it over, and then nodded. “<You and Shampoo will wait down the street while Ranma and I go speak to the priest.>”

 

            The two Amazons did as told while the Matriarch and the pig-tailed girl walked up the steps. Inside the temple, they found a young man and an old priest. The priest was praying before the altar while the young man swept the area. The man brought the visitors to the attention of the priest, who smiled at first, then blinked. “A ghoul!” he yelled and threw a ward at Cologne. It smacked the Elder on the forehead, and then settled to the ground without activating.

 

            “Do you mind?” she asked, glaring back at the priest, who promptly apologized and introduced himself as Grandpa Hino and the young man as Yuuichirou, a disciple of the temple. After Ranma and Cologne introduced themselves, the Amazon came right to the point. “I need to know if you have the scroll that is capable of unsummoning a demon.”

 

            Grandpa Hino blinked and looked confused for a moment. “We do have scrolls for banishing demons, but…”

 

            “Not banishing. Unsummoning. We’re looking for a scroll to act as the counter for this one.” She held forth the remnants of the scroll that Happosai had used to call upon Jiejie. The priest took it and looked it over carefully. When his inspection was done, he handed it back with a very worried look on his face.

 

“Has it already been used?” he asked slowly. When Cologne nodded, the man’s face fell. “Then this is very bad. This ritual is strong enough to resist most of the common banishment prayers, and we do not have the specific scroll that you are looking for. You might try finding the Sailor Senshi, they might be able to help since they have a lot of experience with demons and possessions.”

 

            Ranma felt a sickening feeling in her stomach. “Who are the Sailor Senshi?” She dreaded the answer.

 

            “Oh, they’re a lovely bunch of magical young girls who go prancing around in revealing outfits and making old lechers happy. Of course, they fight monsters and youma as well.”

 

            Ranma groaned. Cologne waved her hand dismissingly. “I’m afraid they are out of the question for reasons I can not go into now.”

 

            Grandpa Hino spoke up. “Well then, I suppose you could always check at the Masaki Temple. They may have the scroll you are looking for, not to mention that the Masaki family has a reputation for pacifying demons. They may be of help. If you need to, feel free to mention my name to the priest there. His name is Katsuhito Masaki.”

 

            Cologne considered for a moment, and then agreed. She got the location of the temple from the priest then thanked him for his time. Ranma followed Cologne out somberly. As they were leaving, a young woman with long, black hair and dressed in a temple maiden’s clothes passed them. She seemed incredibly nervous as she moved around them, but Ranma blew it off. ‘With a group like ours, who could blame her?’ she thought to herself.

 

 When they met up with the others, Cologne explained the situation. Jiejie was annoyed, to say the least. “Time wasted. Hate time wasted,” she muttered.

 

            Cologne sighed. “Then we shall not waste any more time. Come. Let us find transportation to the temple. I understand that there is a bus which heads that way this afternoon. Come with me, there are preparations to make.” She pogoed down the street, heading for a mall she had spotted during their walk.

 

 

            Inside the temple, Rei, the raven-haired maiden, walked quickly to the old priest. “Grandfather, what were those people doing here?”

 

            Grandfather Hino smiled a bit, “My, that’s a bit rude, referring to such a cute little redhead and her grandmother like that. They were just looking for some an old demon banishing scroll. I recommended that they either find the Senshi or go talk to an old friend of mine, whose family has some experience with demons.”

 

            Rei grew concerned. ‘What would they need with a banishing scroll? They must have wanted to try and stop that little monster themselves. But that one girl, it looked like she was working with the youma. And she seemed pretty chummy with that scary-looking old lady… Maybe they’re trying to keep the scroll from being used against the monster, who has some kind of mind control over them… that’s got to be it. Grandfather didn’t mention the black haired hussy we fought. She must have sent her servants in to avoid setting off the wards. And Grandfather didn’t mention the purple haired girl… she must be dead then, drained of all life. Oh this is horrible! We’ll make that demon and her servants pay!’

 

 

Ranma’s stomach growled quite loudly when Cologne recommended that they go ahead and get something to eat. For Jiejie’s comfort, they found some hot water and doused Ranma with it, changing her back to guy form. The lunch passed uneventfully, save for Jiejie making sure to sit so that she would not have to watch Shampoo trying to feed Ranma. The boy seemed distracted, and was casting curious glances at Jiejie occasionally. After eating, much to Ranma’s dismay, Cologne took them to a clothing store and sent Shampoo and Jiejie in. Ranma was bouncing between annoyed and relieved when she stayed outside with him and the two talked.

 

            “Something seems to be bothering you, son-in-law. Are you worried about Akane?”

 

            “That’s a stupid question, of course I am,” Ranma grumbled.

 

            “Son-in-law, you must realize that Akane might very well be dead.”

 

            “She is not dead! If a god couldn’t kill her, there’s no way in hell some stupid scroll can do it. She’s alive, and I’m going to get her back.” Ranma was adamant.

 

            Cologne considered pushing a little more, but realized that Ranma would react badly at this time. There would be plenty of opportunities later for her to insinuate Shampoo more thoroughly into Ranma’s life. Besides, such determination was commendable. If only he would direct it properly towards Shampoo, her worries would be over. She sighed a little bit. “But that’s not what’s bothering you, is it?”

 

            Ranma stopped and considered for a moment. “No. It’s Gigi. She accuses me of having ‘demonic taint’… but I’m wondering if she has it too. One, she wouldn’t go in the temple; Two, those Senshi jumped her, not us; Three, that thing her hair and eyes did; Four, that eye beam attack she used in the park … If that was ki, then I’ll agree to marry Kodachi.” He shuddered at that thought.

 

            Cologne chuckled inside at the last comment, but she too was concerned. Jiejie said she had whatever the demon had done to her under control, but was she so sure? Then there was the Amazon’s aura. Cologne had rarely heard of someone with a two-toned aura before, but she had noticed creeping in around the edges an odd darkness. It gave her much to be concerned over.

 

She and Ranma lapsed into a silence that lasted the rest of the time until Shampoo and Jiejie returned. The younger Amazon was talking animatedly to the quieter one as they left the shop. Ranma’s eyebrow rose when he saw Jiejie wearing a rather beautiful blue-and-red silk robe that was styled much like Mousse’s, with long sleeves that dangled from her wrists. She looked like nothing more than a life-sized doll.

 

Noting the way Shampoo was acting with the older Amazon, Cologne whispered to Ranma, “I think your wife has developed a bit of a fascination with our guest. Careful, son-in-law, or she might start thinking that Jiejie is a better fighter than you.”

 

            “No way!” Ranma growled. “I’m a lot better than she is. And Shampoo is not my wife!”

 

            Cologne smiled, noting the order of Ranma’s objections. They spent the rest of the time waiting at the bus station until the one they were wanting finally arrived. Ranma sensed an odd presence from the boy who took the seat across from him. He was a little younger than Ranma, and though it was not as long, he also had a pigtail. The young man smiled pleasantly at Ranma, but the martial artist simply looked away. There was something off about the boy, and Ranma had had enough with odd people for a while.

 

 

 

Ending Notes:

 

Mouko Takabisha – Fierce Tiger Domineering – A projectile attack that uses the warrior’s pride to channel his/her ki into an energy blast. The more pride, the stronger the blast.

 

Pachinkodai –Pachinko Game – A modified version of the Mouko Takabisha. It will only detonate on contact with a battle aura or major ki field.