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. They ran afoul of a wizard or demon, who sent his minions to attack them, and now the Sailor Senshi appear to be rather miffed, believing Jiejie to be a demon and Ranma and company her servants.

 

 

Chapter 3

“The Quest”

 

 

Masaki Shrine, one day after the summoning

 

            The bus slowed to a stop and a tired looking group stepped out of it. The first one off, who took the liberty of exiting through a window instead of the door, was a short, teenage-looking girl in a blue-and-red Chinese-style robe. The next one off was a very short and very, very old woman pogoing around on a stick, her long white hair dangling down to the ground. After her emerged a purple-haired young woman with beautiful eyes and a Chinese dress. The fourth one off was a black haired, pig-tailed boy who also wore Chinese style clothes, a red shirt and black pants, but his features were definitely Japanese, as were those of the first girl. The last one off the bus was also a black-haired, pig-tailed boy, but his blue clothing was a more traditional Japanese style.

 

            The second young man took a moment to adjust the pack he was carrying as the bus took off, almost splashing him. When he looked back up, the group was short one guy and had an extra girl. A red-head young woman, with the same pig-tail and clothes that the young man had worn, was now standing there, looking a bit soaked and thoroughly unhappy.

 

            “Wha-wha…” the boy stammered. “Where’d the other guy go?”

 

            The redhead looked at him balefully. “No guys here, just us girls.” She stared at the boy, as if daring him to question her statement.

 

            “Oh… right,” the young man was positive that there had been a guy, but he could clearly see that was no longer the truth. ‘Great,’ he thought to himself, ‘now I’m fantasizing about guys. I think I need to get myself a girlfriend quick. I wonder if the red-head’s available?’ He started to head for his Grandfather’s place when he noticed the quartet of girls looking around a little confusedly. “Are you lost? Where are you headed?”

 

            Ranma glared at the young man a moment, then sighed. “We’re looking for the Masaki Shrine. We know it’s in the area, but…”

 

            “Oh, I know where it is,” the man said while smiling. “My grandfather is the priest there. I’m Tenchi Masaki, how do you do?” He held out his hand. Ranma looked at it for a moment. Tenchi started to take it back, but Ranma finally accepted it with a brief shake.

 

            “Ranma Saotome. The purple-haired chick is Shampoo, the old ghoul is Cologne, and the midget psycho is Gigi-“ Ranma failed to finish speaking as she found herself planted rather harshly face-first in the ground. Jiejie’s foot pressed against the back of the martial artist’s head as she hissed a little. Tenchi noted that for some reason, she had her eyes closed.

 

            “Is Jiejie. Jiejie Fenfen. Not ‘midget psycho Gigi’.” She took her foot off Ranma while Tenchi just stared in shock. Jiejie bowed shortly to Tenchi, who returned the favor. He decided he would do everything he could to not get on the short girl’s bad side.

 

            Ranma hopped up and glared at her attacker, and then looked back at Tenchi. “Well, lead the way.”

 

            Tenchi laughed a little nervously while leading the group down the path to his grandfather’s shrine. When he got to the entrance, he called out, “Grandpa, we’ve got visitors!” Shortly after, the doors to the shrine office slid open and a distinguished old man emerged. He saw Tenchi first and smiled, but then he noticed the guests. As his eyes fell on Cologne, an odd look crossed his face for a moment.

 

            “Ah, greetings. Welcome to the Masaki shrine.” He bowed gracefully, and everyone but Cologne returned it.

 

            “You’re looking… young and well, ‘Katsuhito’,” she said bluntly. She used an odd inflection on his name, almost as if she was debating the point.

 

            The priest sighed, “Hello, Cologne. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

 

            Everyone else was just glancing back and forth between the two older people as the old woman pogoed over to him. “We are looking for the counter-scroll for this one.” She handed him the damaged scroll, watching his face as he read it. After a few minutes, he nodded and handed the scroll back to Cologne.

 

            “I’m afraid it was destroyed,” he said bluntly.

 

            Ranma and Jiejie cursed in a way that brought a blush to Tenchi’s cheeks. “How? Take great magic break scroll before use.” Jiejie whispered harshly. Tenchi had never before heard a whisper that sounded so much like yelling.

 

            Katsuhito smiled in a way that almost seemed condescending to Jiejie. “And great magic it was, little one. Seven hundred years ago, a powerful demon rampaged through this area, destroying villages and laying waste to the countryside. Fortunately, a great warrior, riding a dragon and wielding a sword of great spiritual power, fought the demon and subdued it. During this time, the scroll was destroyed.”

 

            Jiejie seemed to calm down for a moment. Turning sharply, she walked into the nearby woods, much to everyone’s surprise. Suddenly there was a loud crack! One of the treetops, which were visible from their location, abruptly shifted a few feet over, and then fell rapidly. Looking a little better, Jiejie stomped back to the group and stood, making sure to avoid eye contact with Ranma, as usual. Tenchi stepped a little further away from the diminutive woman.

 

            Katsuhito just raised an eyebrow. “Is there a problem, little miss?”

 

            Jiejie managed to keep her anger in check this time. She shook her head slowly, her arms crossed as she glowered at nothing in particular.

 

            Katsuhito merely smiled again. “Oh, forgive my poor manners. I am Katsuhito, priest of the Masaki shrine. And you are?”

 

            Tenchi introduced the others. “Grandpa, you already know Cologne, apparently.” He motioned to each one. “These are Shampoo, Ranma, and Gig-“ A look of terror spread across his face as he gazed in horror at the diminutive girl. Her eyes flared as she looked at Tenchi coldly. With a whisper of “Jerk” and a sudden hook kick to her right, she planted Ranma face-first into the ground. Tenchi expected to be next, but Jiejie just turned back to Katsuhito and bowed again. “I Jiejie Fenfen.”

 

            Katsuhito nodded to her, a smile crossing his lips. “Restrained Fury? That didn’t seem very restrained to me.” He watched as Ranma picked herself up, and glowered at the shorter girl.

 

            “What? He live,” she commented.

 

            Katsuhito raised an eyebrow again. “He?”

 

            “She. Japanese poor. Long no use.”

 

Katsuhito seemed to accept this answer. “Well, if there is anything more I can do for you lovely ladies, please don’t hesitate to ask.” He turned to leave.

 

            Ranma suddenly cursed loudly. “Dammit, Akane!!! Now how do we get you back!?!” Shampoo was torn between jealousy and compassion, and even Cologne felt bad for the pig-tailed girl. Tenchi was stunned by the outburst and tried to figure out what was going on. Jiejie felt an odd twinge inside of her. Despite her normally cold nature, she felt a twinge of compassion for Ranma that was alien to her. She also felt a bit of pride in her for reasons she just could not figure out, and it was making her mad.

 

            Katsuhito stopped and looked at Ranma. “Who is Akane?” he asked. Ranma ignored him, her mind locked on the possibility that they wouldn’t be able to rescue Akane. She hadn’t felt this hopeless since Mount Phoenix, when Akane had been nearly killed.

 

            The old man looked at Cologne, and she sighed a little. They had been trying to avoid explaining the problem to anyone, but it looked unavoidable in this case. “Akane is one of Ranma’s fiancés. There was a problem with a damn fool who used the scroll to summon a demon, and Akane was the victim. We were hoping to counter the summoning and retrieve Akane, if possible… but if the counter-scroll is gone, our chances have decreased significantly.”

 

            Katsuhito nodded, considering something. After a minute, he spoke. “Tenchi, show our guests around. I have a matter I must look into. Please, enjoy our small shrine while you’re here.”

 

            Ranma stared blankly as the old man returned to the shrine’s office, then looked over at Cologne. “Is he going to help us?” she asked the older woman.

 

            “I believe he will try. Come, we should do as he asked. So, Tenchi, where shall we go first?”

 

            Tenchi led the group around the temple, explaining a bit of the history of the shrine. He showed them to the holy tree and told them how those who had problems that they were trying to fix had often visited this place. The entire group could sense a latent power residing in the tree and were curious about it, but Tenchi led them on. Their final stop was at a cave. There was a metal gate covering the entrance with an old, rusty lock.

 

            “And this is the cave where a demon is sealed.” Tenchi’s statement instantly got everyone’s attention. At their prodding, he gave them the full details about the demon that attacked seven hundred years ago, and how his ancestor, Yosho, defeated it, sealing it in this cave with his magic sword.

 

            Unseen by human eyes, a figure joined the group. Seeming to rise from the ground, the woman, wearing an odd dress and an even odder hairstyle, hovered over Tenchi. She leaned against him, though he didn’t seem to notice at all, and she gave his audience a once over. When Tenchi mentioned her defeat at the hands of Yosho, the ghostly figure winced. “Everyone keeps harping on that,” the astral projection muttered. Her attention, however, was caught when, as her eyes roved over the group, she noticed one of them staring right at her. She looked like a fourteen year-old girl with mostly black hair, but Ryoko could see something else in those eyes, something that no little girl should have.

 

            Tenchi finished up his story. After answering a few questions, he started to lead them back towards the shrine. Jiejie excused herself, wanting to stay at the cave a little longer. Giving her odd looks, the group left her behind, stopping off at the holy tree one more time for Ranma to make a wish before heading back to the shrine. She refused to tell anyone what her wish was.

 

            As soon as the others left, Ryoko started to phase back into the cave. A whispered order to wait stopped her, and she realized without a doubt that the girl could see her. “Whadda’ya want?” she asked irritably, trying to hide her confusion.

 

            Jiejie walked closer and look up into Ryoko’s eyes. As the stare dragged out, Ryoko became nervous. “What? What do you want, girlie?”

 

            The young appearing girl smirked at last. “You no demon. You just too too strong.”

 

            “Of course I’m a demon!” Ryoko was flustered. “Tenchi said so. If I wasn’t sealed in this cave, I’d show you that I was a demon.”

 

            Jiejie’s smile faded. “You no demon. I kill demons. You no one. But you strong like demon. But you no so strong as story say. Where power go?”

 

            Ryoko growled, “I’m plenty strong enough for you, you little runt. Go away.” She started fazing back into the ground.

 

            Jiejie put her hand on the earth and muttered something Ryoko couldn’t hear. Suddenly, she found herself surrounded by five glowing spheres with Chinese symbols on them. She tried to move past them but found herself stuck tight in place. “Hey! What are you doing! Let me go, you little tramp!”

 

            “Answer question, then go.”

 

            Ryoko struggled harder, but could not push past the spheres. “You’re no little girl,” she growled.

 

            “I little. I girl. I one thousand, five hundred year old. You no challenge me, or you not like. Answer question. Where power go?”

 

            Ryoko glared at her a little longer, then relented. “Part of my power is contained within my gems. When Yosho beat me, he took them. I don’t know what he did with them, though. Why do you want to know? And would you speak up?! Your whispering is driving me nuts!”

 

            “Jiejie taken from master Tian. Tian sealed in secret location. Tian put great wards around place. Must either be banished back to him or must be stronger to break wards. You gems maybe make strong enough.” She released the seal she had placed on Ryoko’s projection and began to walk off.

 

            “Hey! Those gems are mine! If you find them, you give them back, you little thief, or I’ll kick your ass, you tramp!” Ryoko screamed after the little girl. Grudgingly, she slowly sank back into the ground. This had not been a good day for her.

 

 

            Thanks to Ranma’s short stop at the holy tree, Jiejie and the others all got back to the shrine at the same time. Tenchi had to return to his chores, so Cologne knocked on the office door and Katsuhito emerged. “There is a possibility. You have all heard the story, I’m sure, of Yosho and the demon. What is not mentioned in the story is that the demon possessed three gems that granted her enormous power. Yosho took those gems and placed them in safe locations throughout the world so that their power could not be misused. I have been able to find the location of one of the gems.”

 

            Ranma seemed bored. “Look, how do these supposed magic rocks help me get back Akane?”

 

            Katsuhito held up a calming hand. “If all three gems are reunited, their power is such that it could theoretically be used to undo the summoning and possibly save Akane.”

 

            Ranma’s face shined once again with hope. She had started to slide into depression with the news of the scroll’s destruction, but now things were looking up again. “That’s great! Where is it?”

 

            The priest’s face grew stern. “How can I be sure that you will use the gems appropriately?” His gaze roamed over the women, Jiejie feeling a bit uncomfortable as it fell on her.

 

            Cologne nodded. “You know my word is good, and, through me, so is Shampoo’s. Ranma places great pride in her honor. If she says she will only use it to bring back Akane, then that is all she will do with it.” Ranma nodded in agreement and all eyes fell on Jiejie.

 

            Jiejie considered the situation. If, for some reason the gems were not able to send her back, she would need to use them to break through the wards around Tian. Should she agree to Katsuhito’s terms, she would have to break her word if the unsummoning failed. Nothing would prevent her from returning to Tian, even if it meant losing what honor she had. She started to agree, but a strong twinge of conscience stopped her. For some reason, she could not bring herself to lie to the old priest. When she did finally agree to the terms, she knew she would not break her word, and it bothered her. This loss of control was getting on her nerves.

 

            When Jiejie finally nodded, Katsuhito continued. “Very well. I trust you all in this matter. If you are unable to bring back Akane, or if the demon that has possessed her is killed, you must return the gems to me. Barring that, the gems must be destroyed. Am I understood?” Everyone nodded. “The first gem that I have been able to find is in Egypt.”

 

            “EGYPT?” Ranma shouted. “How the hell did it get there?” He had been expecting someplace like Hokaido, or Okinawa, or even China. ‘Probably at Jusenkyo,’ he’d thought to himself.

 

            “Yosho did have a dragon, remember? And he wanted the gems far from anyone who would know of their origins. In Egypt, he gave the gem to a group of warrior-priests who had long stood vigil over the ancient evils that inhabited their lands. They sealed it away in a tomb that has yet to be discovered, thanks to their constant efforts even to this day. You will not be able to get their help in recovering the gem. They believe it should be sealed there for all eternity. However, I can provide you with a map to the tombs location. Be warned, this tomb contains many dangerous traps and deadly creatures. If you are not sure you can handle it, then do not even attempt to try. A failed attempt could unleash great evil on our world.”

 

            Once he was sure he had fully impressed his audience, Katsuhito produced a map and gave it to Cologne. Ranma and the others looked at it as well, and Jiejie recognized the location. “Know this place. Is Resting Forever Place of Horror, Destruction, Unclean, Terror, Nasty, Evil, Vile, Darkness.” Everyone looked at her oddly. “It lose in translation.”

 

            Katsuhito raised a questioning eyebrow at her. Jiejie responded curtly, “I well traveled. Go far with Tian Huan.”

 

            The priest nodded and motioned towards the temple proper. “It is late. Perhaps it would be best if you were to stay here the night, and head out in the morning refreshed.” Ranma and Jiejie was all for leaving immediately, but Cologne saw the wisdom of resting while they could and accepted. Tenchi showed them to the sleeping quarters that he used when visiting his grandfather. The room was mostly bare, but no one even thought of complaining. After disappearing for a little bit, Tenchi came back with a simple dinner of rice and steamed vegetables for everyone, then wished them all goodnight.

 

            Cologne waited for everyone to go to sleep, then stealthily crept out of the room. She found her way to the shrine office and noticed the light was still on. She knocked quietly on the door.

 

            “Come in, Cologne.”

 

            The Amazon Elder closed the door behind her. She found Katsuhito sitting on a mat, a pot of tea and two cups prepared. “Expecting me, of course,” she said quietly.

 

            Katsuhito nodded and motioned for her to take a seat. As she did, he poured some tea for her, then for himself. They sat in silence for a while before Cologne finally spoke.

 

            “Why, Takokujin?” was all she said.

 

            Katsuhito sighed, “Please, it’s Katsuhito now. Takokujin died that day.”

 

            “If he died that day, why do I see him before me now?”

 

            The priest sipped his tea and fell silent. After a while, he spoke again. “How is she?”

 

            Cologne sipped her own tea. “I will not tell you that. It is family business, and if Takokujin is dead, then Katsuhito has no right to know.”

 

            A pained expression crossed the man’s face for a moment, then a hard look overtook it. “If I answer your question, will you answer mine?” When Cologne nodded, he continued, a far-away look on his face. “I loved your daughter deeply, Elder. Even though I was forced into the marriage through your village’s law, I did come to love Pa Fun and was happy with the life I’d found in China. I was very proud of the daughter we had together, but when Pa Fun was taken from us in that attack on our village, my happiness all but vanished. Only little Xibao kept me going.” His expression hardened. “Then I found out that the Council wanted me to marry again. I understood your reasoning, but I did not agree with it. I would not accept my own father arranging my marriage, what made you and the others think I would take it from you?”

 

            Cologne ignored the reproachful tone that the priest had taken. “We were considering the health of the child. A three-month-old girl needs a mother, and the Council felt you needed someone to help you get over your grief. Do you think I would lightly try to have my own daughter’s place taken?”

 

            Katsuhito stared hard at her for a moment. “I gave up trying to understand your thinking the moment I heard of your plans. I arranged for Pa Fun’s sister to watch over Xibao, and then attacked the Musk warriors that had killed my wife. I slaughtered them all. Much as it pained me, I knew I could not take Xibao from your village safely, nor could I remain to be trapped into yet another marriage. I had other obligations that I had put off for too long. So I arranged it to look like I had died, then came to Japan.”

 

            “And your aging? You don’t look much older than the man who left our village forty years ago. And I see you did marry again.”

 

            “I didn’t say I would not marry again, Elder. I stated that I would not be forced into another marriage. When I came to Japan, I encountered a woman who helped me find happiness again. She was Tenchi’s grandmother. Now, will you tell me of my daughter?”

 

            Cologne let the silence drag out for a while. “She is well, son-in-law. She has become one of the best healers of our village and is happily married to an excellent warrior.”

 

            Katsuhito breathed a small sigh of relief. “Does she have children?”

 

            Cologne raised an eyebrow at him.

 

            The priest smiled back. “I thought as much, but I did not want to let false hope fill me.”

 

            Cologne sipped her tea again. “You did not yet reveal the secret of your youth.”

 

            Katsuhito let a smile cross his face. “Neither have you, mother-in-law.”

 

            Cologne chuckled for a moment, then let the silence fall again. After a bit, she spoke. “You could always return to us, either as yourself or as yet another of your personas. Your presence has been missed.”

 

            Katsuhito stared into his teacup for a little while. “Perhaps after Tenchi has fulfilled his destiny. It would be nice to visit the village again. I have many pleasant memories of its people.”

 

            Cologne put her teacup down and thanked the priest for it. Slowly, she stood up and left the office. She did not immediately return to the guest room. Instead, she hopped to the roof of the shrine and contemplated the night sky. Her emotions were in disarray as she considered the conversation she had with the priest. She felt betrayed by her son-in-law, grief over having been the one who chased him away, pride in knowing that her daughter’s husband had been able to defeat the Musk warriors, anger that he had gotten remarried so soon afterwards, curiosity at his lack of aging, content at the possibility of him returning to the Amazons, and intrigued by Tenchi, within whom she had sensed a great power hiding. After a while, she returned to the others and went to sleep, ideas forming in her head.

 

 

            The next morning, Tenchi was startled awake by strange noises. Dawn was just breaking as he carefully peeked into the guest room and found it empty. Quickly getting dressed, he rushed outside and right into a war zone. Cologne and Ranma were leaping and running all over the place, attacking and counterattacking at furious speeds that startled the young man. Jiejie and Shampoo were sparring with swords, which Tenchi was more comfortable with until he noticed that they were using live steel. It was obvious to him, and amazing, that the younger Jiejie was holding back against the older, taller Amazon.

 

            “What’s going on?” he asked. His answer came as he felt something hit him on the back of the head. Turning around, he found his grandfather behind him, holding a boken out to him.

 

            “Practice, boy.” As soon as Tenchi had a good grip on his wooden sword, his grandfather came at him. The next fifteen minutes were a blur for Tenchi as Katsuhito laid into him, disarming him a number of times and coaching him constantly. After fifteen minutes, Tenchi sat down, drained. His grandfather didn’t even look winded. “Tenchi, you must improve your stamina, as well as your skill. Look around you. The others have been fighting harder and longer than you, and they aren’t tired yet.”

 

            Tenchi did look around and noticed that, though they had stopped, the four women looked like they could easily start back up again at any time. ‘How can they do it?’ he wondered to himself. Tenchi was not a chauvinist at all, but the sight of the four girls, one very young and one very old, going through all that exercise and not even looking winded made him push his own exhaustion aside and stand back up. He adopted a ready stance and nodded towards his grandfather.

 

            Inside, Katsuhito smiled. Tenchi would make a fine heir, he was sure. If only his mother were still alive to see him. Outwardly, Katsuhito yawned, feigning boredom. “Tenchi, I think you need to try on someone closer to your own age. Shampoo! Would you honor my family by sparring with my grandson?”

 

            Shampoo glanced over at Cologne, who, after a moment, nodded. Shampoo tossed Tenchi one of her swords, and then adopted a ready stance. Tenchi stammered for a moment before finding his voice. “Wait! If we use real weapons, we might hurt each other!”

 

            “If no use real weapon while training, then how you use real weapon when you need it?” Shampoo responded with a smile. “Or is temple-boy afraid Shampoo too much woman for him?”

 

            Tenchi swallowed nervously, then gave in and adopted his own ready stance. Shampoo was gentle on him at first, but when he refused to do anything more than defend, she took it up a bit. After one particularly bad attempt at attacking that missed by a wide margin, Shampoo decided she had had enough. She feinted to one side. When Tenchi shifted his defense, she slipped her curved sword inside and slapped him across the cheek with the flat of her blade. Tenchi’s eyes widened, and Shampoo slapped him across the shoulder with the flat of her sword. “Take seriously!” she hissed at him as she prepared another attack.

 

            An odd, determined look came over Tenchi’s features. To her surprise, this time her attack was not only parried, but Tenchi slipped inside her own defenses and jabbed her in the stomach with the pommel. She hopped back a bit, a look of surprise on her face as Tenchi pressed his attack, keeping the Amazon on the defensive.

 

Off to the side, Katsuhito and Cologne were watching the match. “Your grandson is rather reactive. He doesn’t fight well until he’s pushed.”

 

            “Tenchi is a gentle soul. He dislikes hurting anyone, but he will defend himself when he must.” Cologne nodded in response.

 

The sparring finally ended when Shampoo slipped inside of Tenchi’s defense and disarmed him. Tenchi bowed to her, and she smiled back at him. “You not bad, show good promise. You make decent Amazon.”

 

            Tenchi laughed nervously. “Thanks, I think. You’re pretty good yourself.”

 

            “Shampoo is village champion. Only one person ever beat Shampoo,” she responded proudly.

 

            “Who’s that?”

 

            Shampoo pointed at Ranma, who was just finishing up her own match with Jiejie. “Ranma.”

 

            “She’s that good?” Tenchi asked.

 

            Shampoo nodded. “Ranma beat Shampoo without weapons. Twice. She incredible warrior. Almost even beat Great-Grandmother.”

 

            Tenchi whistled appreciatively. “Remind me not to get her mad at me. How long have you been training?”

 

            “Chinese Amazon train to fight as soon as able to stand. Ranma training much the same.”

 

            Tenchi tried to imagine what it would be like, sparring every day instead of just during the summer and on Sundays, like he did with his grandfather. He failed.

 

            Cologne told everyone to prepare to leave and thanked the priest for his hospitality one last time. After everyone bathed and ate a simple breakfast, they said their good-byes and headed back to Nerima. The trip was spent mostly trying to figure out how to get to Egypt. The Amazons really couldn’t afford it, and Ranma definitely couldn’t pay the way.

 

            Ranma finally offered a solution, much as it hurt him. “We… could… always ask… Kuno… He’d do anything for the ‘pig-tailed goddess’ and he’s rich.”

 

            Cologne was impressed that the boy was actually willing to swallow his pride and ask one of his supposed rivals for assistance. She was also a bit annoyed because it showed that his feelings for Akane were too strong for her tastes. “Yes. Perhaps that would be best, Son-in-law.”

 

            It was surprisingly easy to find Tatewaki Kuno. When they reached Nerima, Ranma simply stood in the street for a few minutes. Out of nowhere Kuno appeared, proclaiming his love for the ‘pig-tailed goddess’. Convincing him to give them all a ride to Egypt in his family’s plane was even easier, as Ranma used her ‘feminine wiles’ on him. All they had to endure was a few hours of non-stop speeches and attempted glomps on Ranma before the four women and Mousse, who refused to be left out anymore, were boarded onto the plane and could safely render the man unconscious. After they boarded the plane, Ranma used some hot water they had picked up in a thermos from the Nekohanten to change back to a man.

 

            There was only one major incident during the long trip. Shortly after the plane took off from the airport in Japan, there was a thumping noise from the bathroom and a shout of “Where on earth am I now!?”. The door opened and a young man came out. He was wearing some pretty beat up clothes, primarily in yellow and black, and a bandanna. In unison, Ranma and the Amazons, with the exception of Jiejie, greeted him.

 

            “What take Stupid Lost Boy so long?” Shampoo asked.

 

“Hey Ryoga, how ya doin’?” Ranma smiled. He had been expecting the eternally lost boy to show up for a while now.

 

            “Ranma?” Ryoga looked confused. “What are you doing in Hokkaido?”

 

            Ranma pointed at the window and Ryoga realized they were in an airplane. Ryoga put one hand behind his head and began laughing self-consciously. He stopped laughing when he felt a jagged piece of metal pressed against his throat and found his arms locked into place. Everyone blinked in surprise as Jiejie gave a warning growl, the broken hilt of the sword pressing carefully against Ryoga’s jugular. Ryoga was shocked that someone so small was able to grapple him.

 

            “Whoa, whoa, chill out, Gigi! It’s just Ryoga! He’s harmless,” Ranma said as he made calming motions with his hands.

 

            “Harmless?! I’ll show you who’s harmless, Ranma! Prepare to di-urk!” his motion forward stopped as the steel pressed harder into his neck, though his tough hide had yet to break.

 

            “Move die.” Jiejie whispered menacingly. Ryoga gulped, hoping that didn’t count as moving.

 

            “Uh, Ranma? Wh-who’s your friend?” he asked nervously.

 

            “Ryoga, meet the renowned Amazon and Demon Killer, Gigi. Gigi, this is my best friend and the eternally lost boy, Hibiki Ryoga. Let him go, wouldja?” After a moment’s hesitation and a nod from Cologne, Jiejie finally relaxed her hold and resumed her seat. She shot Ranma a glare so full of ire he was almost expecting to burst into flames at any moment.

 

            Ryoga looked at her warily for a moment, and then looked over at Ranma. “Hey, where’s Akane?” Ranma’s downfallen look and glance at Jiejie had the typical reaction. Ryoga jumped to the wrong conclusion and launched himself at Ranma for ‘betraying Akane’. Cologne reached over with her staff and paralyzed the lost boy before he could cause any damage to the plane. Once he was calmed down, and had everything explained to him, Ryoga demanded to come along. He loved Akari, but he would still do anything for Akane.

 

            No one noticed the odd flyer that was keeping pace with the jet. The thing looked like some horrifying cross between a wyvern and a cockroach.