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. Jiejie has also managed to upset Ryoko, who is still sealed in the cave. The group has been informed about magical gems that may have the power to solve their problem. However, the first gem is in Egypt. Thank heaven for Kuno… They managed to acquire the gem after dealing with the guardians of the tomb, but a prison break by a demon/wizard put a damper on the situation.  

 

Chapter 5

“New Encounters”

 

 

Egypt, one day after finding the first gem

 

            The group had not been doing well when they finally stumbled their way to the airport from the tomb, but they found their problems magnified when they got to the private jet. The crew of the airplane was only mostly present. Ranma could identify most of the pieces of the pilot and co-pilot, but the stewardess seemed completely absent. Ranma could only hope she had run away. The alternative sent a shiver down his spine. Tatewaki Kuno was also gone. The ropes they had used to tie him to one of the seats were shredded, but strangely there was no blood nearby. Ranma and his companions looked at each other with concern and a bit of fear.

 

            Any further thoughts were interrupted by a chilling laugh from outside the plane. Ranma bolted for the exit, but came to an abrupt halt at what he saw. He was nearly run over by the others, all struggling to see what was going on. The demon/wizard/walking-corpse called Inago was standing on the airfield, his supposed brother standing next to him. Between them were the forms of Tatewaki Kuno and the stewardess. An eery glow surrounded the both of them, a green one about the stewardess and a red one adorned Kuno. Neither one seemed to be conscious.

 

            “It took you long enough, my friends. We were wondering if you would arrive in time to catch us,” Inago’s voice taunted them with the sound of thousands of beating insect wings. His cold eyes noticed Shampoo hovering behind Ranma, holding Mousse’s duck-form to her. “Ah, I see you did manage to save your friends. Congratulations. Well, my brother and I do sincerely hope that one of you knows how to fly, or else you might have a problem with the authorities that are about to show up. Farewell.” With another chilling laugh, the two evil beings disappeared, their captives fading from view as well.

 

            Ranma and the others looked up and cursed as they saw frantic official-looking people heading their way. Everyone piled back into the plane and slammed the door shut. “Now what the hell do we do? Anyone know how to fly this thing? I ain’t never been arrested, and I don’t wanna be arrested here!”

 

            Shampoo and Mousse were raised in an Amazon village in China, so they had no clue. Not to mention the fact that Mousse was currently an unconscious duck. Cologne had never developed an interest in mechanical devices, so she was no use. Ryoga had spent way too much time being lost to ever learn anything technical. Ranma didn’t believe in using things like aircraft or boats most of the time. The last time he went to China, he swam there. And no one figured Jiejie could. She was a fifteen hundred year-old Chinese Amazon.

 

            “How hard could it be?” Ranma finally decided. He started to sit in the pilot’s chair, but then he remembered the bits that were already there. He flipped every switch he could find, hoping to turn the engines on. Instead, he set off the fire extinguishers and thoroughly shorted out most of the systems. Ranma hopped away from the sparking panel to meet the glare of the others. “What?!”

 

            “Stupid,” Jiejie cursed in a whisper. She stroked a finger over the gem that had become embedded in her palm. “All you people, hold Jiejie’s hand.” Everyone stared at her.

 

            “Look, I know you’re scared, but this ain’t no time for silly girl-stuff like that!” Ranma grumbled.

 

            Jiejie slapped him. “How you get so stupid in one lifetime, stupid? You think Jiejie scared? Jiejie face demons. Stupid people with guns no scare Jiejie. Do as Jiejie tell you and hold hand!” Ranma was still amazed at how someone could yell while whispering.

 

            Cologne and Shampoo did as told, as did Ryoga. Ranma grumbled a bit, and then put his hand on hers. “Now what? Do we wish we were back home or something?”

 

            “Or something, stupid.” Jiejie’s hair began to glow a bright red and her skin paled. A powerful red and blue aura sprang into existence around her, as her eyes became solid black. The gem in her hand also glowed with a powerful red aura that spread out to encircle all of them. Suddenly there was nothing alive in the plane any more.

 

 

Juuban district, Hikawa shrine, the next morning

 

            The Sailor Senshi dragged themselves into the temple and collapsed. It had been a harrowing past few days. First those bug-like monsters had picked up in frequency and now a new type had made itself known. “I can understand having blades for arms,” Uranus complained, “but I don’t get how it could walk with blades for feet as well.” Neptune reached over and patted her lover on the shoulder. The two ladies were pretty badly beat up, especially Uranus. She was the only one who had managed to go toe-to-toe with the new creature. “Bladewalker,” she announced.

 

            Everyone stared at her tiredly. “Huh?” Moon grunted.

 

            “I killed it, I get to name it. I’m calling that new type a bladewalker.” Everyone nodded a little, and went back to nursing their wounds. Sure, Uranus had killed the thing, but it had taken the combined efforts of Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter to slow it down so she could.

 

            “Mercury… any idea what’s going on?” Moon asked. “I thought we’d taken care of all the major enemies!” She looked on the verge of tears. “I don’t wanna keep fighting like this! Pluto said we were done!” She began bawling.

 

            “Ah, put a sock in it, Meatball Head,” Mars grumbled as she rubbed a particularly sore spot on her arm.

 

            “You’re so mean, Mars,” Moon whimpered, but she did slowly stop crying.

 

            Mercury finally answered her leader’s question. “The bladewalker is totally different from our other enemies. They were some kind of weird mixing of different creatures. The bladewalker was more like a youma. The bugs were just vicious and stupid.  This thing was evil and skilled. We could each take out several of the bugs, but if two of these bladewalkers jumped us, we would be in a world of hurt.”

 

            She checked a few more readings in her computer. “Also, the energy patterns between the two are different. The new energy reading isn’t stronger, but it’s definitely using a different source.”

 

            Everyone groaned at the news. Two new enemies were worse than one. And then there was that demon-woman who had popped up a short time ago. They finished up the meeting with only a few half-hearted attempts at arguments before heading off to their individual homes.

 

 

 

            In an alley a short distance from the shrine, a black cloud formed. Red lightning raced along its edges as the cloud seemed to slowly solidify. In a few moments, it took on the forms of four people and a waterfowl. With a crackling noise, the cloud disappeared, leaving behind a confused and rather sickly looking Ranma, Ryoga, Shampoo, Cologne, Mousse, and Jiejie. Jiejie collapsed to the ground, drained horribly. Ranma was too nauseous to react for a minute. “Oh man, I feel sick,” he grumbled.

 

            “You’re not the only one, Ranma,” Ryoga growled. Slowly everyone managed to recover, including Jiejie, whose hair had returned to its mostly-black appearance. Her skin still looked a bit pale, though. Ranma rounded on her.

 

            “If you could teleport, why didn’t you tell us before?” He asked irritably. “We could have avoided having to get Kuno involved in this, and those people would still be alive!”

 

            “S-stupid… no can teleport so many. Can only do one other. Only gem let Jiejie teleport so many.”

 

            Ranma muttered under his breath, but quit arguing. He was still shaken by the two dead people they had discovered after getting out of a tomb filled with walking corpses.

 

            “Where we anyway?” Shampoo asked.

 

            “Ain’t that Ryoga’s line?” Ranma teased the lost boy.

 

            “Shut up, Saotome!”

 

            “Well, nice to see your ‘Mister Happy’ spell finally wore off.”

 

            “I’ll show you happy! Prepare to d-urk!” Ryoga found a broken sword blade pressed against his throat once again, though Jiejie didn’t look like she was in any real condition to do anything with it this time.

 

            “Shut. Up,” she said slowly.

 

            Ranma was about to tease Ryoga again when he got kicked in the shin. “You too, stupid.”

 

            “Stop callin’ me stupid, you midget psycho!”

 

            “You no call me that, stupid gender freak,” she growled. She took a threatening step forward.

 

            “Gender freak?” Ranma sputtered. “Listen, you uncute tomb-“, Ranma was stopped as a hard punch slammed into his stomach, catching him off guard.

 

            “Whadja do that for?” he wheezed, “Geez, you’re worse than Akane.” He was ready this time as a roundhouse kick came for his forehead. He ducked under it and hopped back. “Cut it out, wouldja? I don’t fight girls, even violent, uncute, maniac, midget, tomboy psychos like you.”

 

            Jiejie’s vision was already red, but that last barrage of insults sent everything straight into ultra-violet. Ignoring her fatigue, she sent a flurry of blows heading for Ranma that forced him entirely on the defensive. With the blows came a torrent of curses. A rising knee was joined with a whispered ‘jerk’, while an uppercut carried a growled ‘pervert’. “Who want marry you anyway?!” The question caused Ranma’s defenses to drop completely and an axe-kick blasted him to the ground.

 

            Jiejie stopped suddenly, wondering what had come over her. She started to look down at the gem when her danger-sense kicked in. She dove into the street, searing flame catching the edge of her robe as she rolled away. The concrete of the alley where she had been standing was bubbling. She searched for the source, cursing when she saw the Senshi known as Mars standing on the roof of a car. She could see the magical energy pooling about the girl as the sailor suit-clad soldier of justice called out, “Fire Soul Bird!”

 

            Jiejie dove backwards, trying to get some more distance from her opponent. A cry of “World Shaking” was all the warning she had as a ball of energy just missed her. Looking around, she saw more of the Senshi surrounding her. She cursed harshly in Chinese as one of them, with long blond hair done in a rather unusual style, stepped forward.

 

            “Streets are for walking down, not fighting cute boys in! For love and justice, I'm the pretty soldier Sailor Moon. In place of the moon, I'll punish you!

 

            Ranma looked around, shaking his head to clear it a bit as he caught the speech. He saw the sailors, and the rather determined glares they were giving Jiejie, and cursed. “Of all the places to end up, we’re back in Juuban again!”

 

            One of the girls, with an orange skirt and blonde hair, landed next to him as he stood. “Are you all right?” she asked. “You’re cute! Can I have your phone number?” Ranma stared incredulously at her as she turned to Ryoga and said the same thing. His gaze was drawn back to Jiejie as he heard the one called Sailor Moon shout “Moon Healing Escalation!”

 

            Jiejie knew she was in a bad way right from the beginning. She was tired, drained, and in a bad mood. The fight would not end well at all if she didn’t get away quick. The moment Moon pointed a wand at her, she pulled out one of her trump cards. “Kung,” she whispered as she touched the ground, and a glowing yellow ball appeared in front of her, the Chinese symbol for Earth on it. She held out the broken sword as she uttered the word “Shang”. A white ball with the symbol for Metal appeared to the left of the first one. She spit on the ground and whispered “Yu”. A black orb with Water written on it appeared above the first sphere. “Jyy” was uttered as she touched the burnt-out torch she had tucked into the sash of her robe. A green sphere with Wood inscribed on it was created to the right of the Earth ball. “Cheuh,” she intoned as she tore the burning section of her robe off and summoned forth a red ball with a glowing Fire symbol beneath the center ball. Just as Moon was finishing up her attack, Jiejie whispered “Kung” one more time as she touched the ground with her other hand, looking towards Moon. The gem in her palm glowed darkly and the five orbs flared as the material components of the spell vanished. The Moon Healing Escalation struck the center of the orbs and stopped cold. The Sailors all stared in shock as the orbs sped towards Moon.

 

            Crying out desperately for their leader to get out of the way, Mars, Venus, and Mercury hurled themselves at her. Uranus had other plans though. Drawing out her Space Sword, she closed with Jiejie, preparing to take her head off. The orbs surrounded Moon and, with a blaze of magic, she was frozen in place.

 

            Ryoga stared in shock at what was happening. He hadn’t expected any of this and was being rather badly distracted by the sight of beautiful, scantily clad girls running and jumping about. A nosebleed was rapidly making itself apparent. Ranma watched Jiejie fall to the ground, apparently drained by whatever she had done, and he saw Uranus coming at her with a glowing sword and murder in her eyes. Crying out, Ranma bolted forward and threw a kick at the sword. Uranus, unprepared for the attack, lost her grip and slammed bodily into the Amazon.

 

            Ranma grabbed Jiejie’s arm and yanked her to her feet. “Run!” he yelled at the others and pulled her down the street. Ryoga chased after him as the Amazons melted into the shadows. Glancing backwards, Ranma saw that Uranus had recovered her sword and started to give chase, but her friends called her back. With one last glare in their direction, Uranus ran back to her leader to try and free her.

 

            “What’s wrong with her?” Neptune asked worriedly.

 

            Mars shook her head. “I’ve heard of something like this. It’s a seal made up of the five opposing elements of some Chinese belief systems. I’ve never heard of a youma that could do such a thing. It’s normally used against them, you see. The good news is, she should be all right in a few minutes. Without a constant source of power, the seal will fail soon. We just have to wait.”

 

            Uranus reached them in time to catch the end of the explanation. She cursed loudly and harshly, causing Neptune to blush a bit. “I can’t believe that little jerk attacked me! I mean, we’re the good guys, right? Why the heck would he help a youma? Must have been possessed or working for them… little bastard.”

 

            Tuxedo Kamen landed next to them, surprising them all. “He has to be possessed. He can’t be doing it of his own free will.”

 

            Everyone stared in shock at him. “Why not? We’ve seen it before.” Mercury commented.

 

            “Because I know that guy. His name’s Ranma Saotome and he’s a friend of mine.” Concern filled Tuxedo Kamen’s voice.

 

            “THAT was Ranma? The guy you keep talking about?” Uranus exclaimed.

 

            Tuxedo Kamen nodded. “He and Akane go to Juuban University, but neither one has been seen in almost a week. I was beginning to get worried.”

 

            “So, how do we find him? If he’s possessed, we need to free your friend as soon as possible.”

 

            “I don’t know. Those people he was with seemed familiar. I’ll talk to Ukyo and see if she can come up with anything. She’s a friend of Ranma’s as well… and where is Akane? Ranma’s almost always hanging around with her.”

 

            “Is Akane a girl with long purple hair?” Mars asked.

 

            “No. That sounds more like Shampoo.” When the others stared at him incredulously, he shrugged. “That’s what Ranma said the crazy Amazon’s name was. Shampoo, her boyfriend-wannabe Mousse, and her great-grandmother Cologne.” Everyone continued staring. “What? I’m not making this up! They’re Amazons!” More stares. “No, really! They’re Chinese Amazons!” The stares became too much, and Tuxedo Kamen gave up.

 

            Everyone fell silent for a bit. Shortly after, Mars was proven right as the orbs faded out and Moon was freed. She collapsed into Tuxedo Kamen’s arms, bawling her eyes out and exclaiming how terrible it was. Tuxedo Kamen stroked her comfortingly, and then told everyone he would take her home. They all split up, the same thought on all their minds. This had not been a good week at all.

 

 

 

Ranma echoed that thought as he finally came to a halt. Looking behind him, he saw that Jiejie was finally catching her breath and Ryoga was gaining on them. He started to put his hand on the diminutive Amazon’s shoulder, but she batted it away tiredly. “No need you help. Jiejie martial artist too.”

 

            Ranma was not the fastest of people, but he definitely noted the familiarity of the past few minutes. He remembered plenty of times when he and Akane had been in an insult match when someone would attack one of them and the other would try to help. When all was done, they would get mad at each other again. And here he was doing the same thing with Jiejie. In a slightly trembling voice, he whispered, “Akane?”

 

            Jiejie looked up at him, glaring. “Do look like Akane? Check eyes,” she whispered harshly. She turned around and tiredly stomped down the street towards the bus stop that would take her to the Masaki shrine.

 

            Ranma grumbled loudly, and then took off after her with Ryoga. The rest of the way to the station was spent in silence. Jiejie sat down on a bench; too tired to keep standing while waiting the several hours for the bus she needed to arrive. Ranma was almost there when he was hit by a splash of water from apparently the same old woman, who had apparently moved to the other side of Juuban since his last visit. For a moment, she entertained thoughts of taking out her frustrations on the old lady, then simply cinched up her pants and walked to the bus stop. Ryoga, she noticed, had managed to avoid the old lady.

 

            At the stop, Ranma sat down next to a silent Jiejie. “Why’dja bring us here, instead of the Masaki shrine?”

 

            Jiejie was too tired and too drained to fight with Ranma any more. “Try to. Something throw off aim.”

 

            Ranma thought about that for a moment as Ryoga joined them. Ranma looked at Ryoga, then at Jiejie, then back at Ryoga. “Great. The lost boy strikes again.” Ryoga looked confused for a moment, and then just sat down on the bench.

 

            Jiejie started shivering, even though it was a warm day. Ranma put a hand to her forehead and was mildly surprised that she didn’t slap it away. Her skin was cool to the touch. “Hey, what’s wrong with you?”

 

            “Use too much power. Not good. Need rest.”

 

            Ranma took off her outer shirt, revealing a white undershirt stretched to dangerous limits. She put it around the little girl’s shoulders and pulled Jiejie close against her. “Look, Jiejie. I know you don’t like me, and I know you don’t trust people, but I promise you’ll be safe. Try to sleep while we wait for the bus, okay?” Jiejie struggled for a moment, and then slowly let herself lean into Ranma. Her eyes slowly closed and she drifted off. Ranma almost swore she heard her say “Thank you”.

 

 

 

            Some time later, Ranma forgot who she was talking to and asked Ryoga to go get them something to drink. When an hour passed without Ryoga’s return, Ranma slapped her forehead. “Great… it’ll be a week before we see him again.” Her movements caused the girl beside her to stir. The little lady shifted around, blinking up at Ranma’s face as she tried to wake up.

 

            “Where are we?” She asked in confusion.

 

            “At the bus stop. You feelin’ any better?” Ranma felt her forehead. It was still a bit cooler than normal, but not as bad as it was.

 

            “I think so. What bus stop? Why are we at a bus stop, Ranma?”

 

            A confused look came over Ranma’s face. “We’re going to the Masaki shrine, remember Gigi?”

 

            “Gigi? I keep hearing that name. Who’s Gigi?” The little lady suddenly got a very familiar, very violent look on her face. “Are you seeing someone behind my back, Ranma?” A mallet suddenly appeared in her hands as she jumped to her feet. “RANMA YOU JERK!” Ranma was too surprised to react, and the descending mallet pounded him into unconsciousness.

 

            Ranma awoke with a start. Looking around, he found Jiejie’s body curled up next to her. She hadn’t seemed to move very much, and Ranma began to think it was just a dream. The lack of Ryoga’s presence and the bump she could feel on her head hurt that theory, though. Shaking the girl next to her, Ranma began calling out to Akane. The little girl slowly woke up and looked her in the eye. “What you want, Ranma?” She asked tiredly. “How long Jiejie sleep?”

 

            Ranma grumbled and began to wonder if it had all been a dream again. “Just a little while. You, uh… seemed to have been dreaming, so I thought I’d wake ya. Yeah, that’s it.”

 

            Jiejie started to look at the redhead, and then stopped as she noticed which form she was in. Turning away from her, she sat all the way up. She worked the crick out of her neck, and then noticed that she was wearing Ranma’s Chinese shirt. She took it off and handed it to Ranma without actually looking at her. “Where lost boy go?”

 

            “Lost.”

 

            “Oh.”

 

            Silence lapsed between them again. “You change back to guy. Please.”

 

            Ranma grumbled a bit. “I would if I could, but I don’t see any hot water here.”

 

            Jiejie stood up as she searched her dress and brought out a canteen. She held it up as her hair glowed red for a moment, and then she handed it to Ranma. “Use this.”

 

            Ranma dumped the canteen over her head and was rewarded with a warm shower. Once his body was back to being a guy, Jiejie sat back down next to him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

 

            “Yeah, no problem… so, what did you dream about?”

 

            “No know. No remember dreaming. Only have you word.”

 

            “Oh.”

 

            The rest of the time waiting for the bus was spent in silence. Neither Cologne nor Shampoo had shown up. Ranma figured that they had headed for the Nekohanten to take care of Mousse’s injuries. When the bus finally came, Jiejie allowed Ranma to help her up since her legs were still a bit rubbery. They spent the long ride in silence, Ranma noting that Tenchi wasn’t on the bus this time. They got off at their stop and walked the path to the Masaki shrine. What they saw when they got there was the last thing they expected.

 

            A house had apparently sprung up next to the lake outside the shrine. Some strange looking wooden debris floated along the water. Ranma checked his memory and was positive that the house had not been there the last time. He had just taken a step forward when something rubbery slammed into the back of his head and slammed him face-first into a puddle on the ground.

 

            “Nihao, Ranma! What you doing under Shampoo bike?” The purple haired Amazon asked from atop her bicycle. The ground muffled Ranma’s response, so Shampoo finally got off of her. Ranma dusted herself off and glared at the Amazon.

 

            “Where ya been, Shampoo? Where’s Cologne?”

 

            “Cologne and Mousse back at restaurant. Mousse need rest, so great-grandmother take care of. Send Shampoo here to help Ranma. Ranma, where house come from?”

 

            “Ain’t got a clue. We just got here ourselves.”

 

            None of the three martial artists noticed the pair of eyes peering at them from the brush. The creature crept forward slowly, stealthily stalking its prey. When it was close enough, it pounced with a loud ‘Meow!’

 

            The creature, looking like some sort of cross between a cat and a rabbit, looked around in confusion. The pretty lady it had jumped at to rub against her leg had disappeared. It peared at the other two ladies present and meowed questioningly. Following their gaze, the critter looked up and saw the redhead clinging to the top of a tree. The cabbit meowed happily, having spotted her, and to everyone’s surprise began heading up the tree. It didn’t climb so much as walk. When it reached the girl’s position, it meowed again and tried to rub against her leg, but the redhead disappeared again. Looking around, the critter saw the girl racing towards the house screaming. ‘What a fun game!’ the creature thought to itself and hopped to the ground, falling a good sixty feet without injury.

 

            Tenchi heard an odd commotion outside the house and came around the corner, just in time to collide with a familiar looking female body. Picking himself off the ground, he offered her a hand up. “Ranma, you’re back! How did everything go?”

 

            Ranma looked at him wild-eyed, and then tried to look in every direction at once. Spotting the cabbit meowing and bounding towards her, Ranma screamed and ran, yelling “C-C-C-C-CAT!” as she bolted for the shrine. Tenchi stared after her in confusion, then looked back and saw Jiejie and Shampoo approaching. He smiled and waved at the two of them.

 

            “Nihao, Tenchi!” Shampoo waved back. “Where house come from?”

 

            Tenchi put a hand behind his head and laughed nervously. “It’s a long story, trust me on that. Did you guys find what you were looking for?”

 

            Shampoo nodded, then frowned. “That not all we find. Which way Ranma go?”

 

            Tenchi pointed towards the shrine. “She went that way. Any idea why she was running from Ryo-Ohki?”

 

            “Who Ryo-Ohki?”

 

            “The cute little critter.”

 

            “Oh, that. It meow like cat, so Ranma run.”

 

            “Why… never mind. Grandpa will want to see you. A lot’s gone on in the past few days.” He began leading the two girls towards the shrine.

 

            “Shampoo notice,” the purple-haired Amazon commented. “Who she?” She asked, pointing at a wild-haired woman in a very strange outfit who was hovering a few inches off the ground next to the shrine.

 

            Jiejie noticed her as well at let out a hiss. “How she get out?” She whispered.

 

            “I um… accidentally sorta broke the seal and let the demon out a few days ago. She’s been hanging around since then.”

 

            Shampoo started to reach for her swords. “Is she trouble?”

 

            Tenchi shook his head. “Not really. Let me introduce you girls.” Tenchi waved to the demoness and got her attention. She suddenly disappeared and reappeared right in front of the three.

 

            “Ryoko, this is Shampoo and –“ Tenchi’s introduction was cut short by a snort from Ryoko.

 

            Ryoko smiled maliciously at Jiejie, who glared back coldly. “We’ve met, Tenchi-darling. So, what have you been up to, you little pain-in-the-ass?”

 

            Jiejie’s hand balled into a fist, then she held it up. “Got gem,” she responded mockingly.

 

            Ryoko looked closely at the orb embedded in the little lady’s palm and an odd smile crossed her face. “So you did. Isn’t that precious. Well, toodles. Got stuff to do. See ya around, Tenchi.” She ran her hand over the boy’s chest before disappearing. Jiejie glared coldly at Tenchi, who gulped in fear.

 

            “What?” He asked nervously.

 

            Jiejie continued glaring. “Hey! It’s not like that! She’s just playful is all! Sheesh!”

 

            Jiejie turned away from him and stormed towards the shrine. Shampoo smiled at Tenchi, distracting him from the smaller Amazon. “You practice since last time?” She asked sweetly. Tenchi nodded. “Good! Shampoo want try you again!” Tenchi suddenly found himself holding a sword.

 

            “Oh brother,” he sighed to himself as he dropped into a ready stance.

 

 

            Jiejie found Ryo-Ohki sitting outside the shrine office, occasionally peering around the corner. Inside, Katsuhito was doing his best to calm a rattled Ranma. Jiejie bowed before stepping through the doorway. Katsuhito nodded to her and smiled. “Did your trip go well?”

 

            Jiejie shook her head. “Got gem. Also got much trouble. Know where next gem is?”

 

            Katsuhito frowned. “Where is Cologne? And what is the trouble, little one?”

 

            Jiejie growled. “Hard tell Japanese.”

 

            Katsuhito sighed. “<Then try Chinese, little one. Where is Cologne?>”

            “<She’s at her restaurant, taking care of Mousse. He was badly injured in the fight to get the gem.>”

 

            “<What of Shampoo? And what is this trouble you are referring to?>”

 

            “<Shampoo is here with Tenchi. A wizard-demon called Inago Muragaru broke into the prison at the same time as we, and angered the guardians. We were forced to fight our way out, and in the process Inago freed one of the prisoners. He called him his brother. When we got back to Cairo, the people who took us to Egypt were killed. We were forced to find other means of returning.>”

 

            Katsuhito frowned and nodded. “<I warned you that it was dangerous, child. Now your problems have magnified. You must do something about the creatures you have unleashed.>”

 

            Jiejie glared at him. “<You speak of responsibility like that, when your grandson lets a demon loose and allows her to move in with him?>”

 

            Katsuhito laughed. “<Ryoko is a special case, child. And Tenchi can handle her. Can the same be said for a little girl such as you?>”

            Jiejie exploded. “<Stop calling me a child! I am over fifteen-hundred years old, you fool! I have slain demons and fought armies! You have no place to speak in such a manner!>”

 

            A smirk came to the old man’s face. “<Is that so? Interesting.>” He turned his back to the little girl and smiled at Ranma. “Come come, Ryo-Ohki’s really a very nice, well-mannered creature. She won’t hurt you, Ranma.” Ranma finally managed to control herself and come down from the rafters. She still looked ready to bolt, though.

 

 

            Tenchi was holding his own against Shampoo. The Amazon was tired, he realized. “Want to call a break?” He asked during a slow point. Shampoo smiled sweetly at him, and he started to drop his guard. Reflexes kicked in and he barely managed to deflect a strike that seemed to come out of nowhere. “I’ll take that as a no,” he muttered.

 

            “What is going on here?! Get away from Lord Tenchi!” Shampoo glanced over to see an elegantly dressed woman with long, purple hair emerge from the house. “Azaka, Kamidaki! Protect Lord Tenchi!” To Shampoo’s amazement, two wooden log-like things appeared in mid-air and began firing beams at her. Despite Tenchi’s shouts, the logs pressed their attacks as Shampoo dodged and weaved between the laser blasts. She wasn’t able to get close enough to counter attack, but the logs were unable to get a solid lock-on. Tenchi was trying to get the Juraian Guardians to stop, but failing miserably as the battle moved quickly into the distance.

 

            “Ayeka! She wasn’t attacking me! We were practicing! Call them off!” He begged the regal-looking woman. A sheepish expression came over her face.

 

            “Oh my, Lord Tenchi. I didn’t realize. I thought she was trying to kill you. Azaka! Kamidake! Return!” When no response came, she called out again. “Oh no! Something’s gone wrong!”

 

            In the distance, a fierce windstorm suddenly appeared. A small, tightly formed tornado erupted into the air. A few seconds later, a battered Kamidake and Azaka landed with a thud in front of the purple-haired lady. Tenchi and Ayeka stared in amazement. Shortly after, a smiling Shampoo came bouncing towards them. “First time Shampoo use Hiryuu Shoten Ha for real, since no can use in practice with Great-Grandmother. That good workout! Shampoo thank you!”

 

            Ayeka and Tenchi stared at her. The Amazon looked completely unaffected by the fight. It was then that Ayeka noticed the warrior’s purple hair and eyes. She stared in amazement and took a step forward. Shampoo blinked back at her in confusion. “What?”

 

            Ayeka suddenly blushed. “I am sorry, I did not mean to be so rude. I apologize. I am Princess Ayeka, of the Royal House of Jurai.” She bowed respectfully.

 

            Shampoo smiled and bowed back. “Am Shampoo from Chinese Amazon village of Joketsuzoku.”

 

            “I do not wish to be rude, but is the color of your eyes common among your people?” Ayeka asked politely.

 

            Shampoo shook her head. “Only few in village have eyes like Shampoos. Mother say it mean Shampoo unique.”

 

            “That is interesting. You see, on Jurai, only members of the Royal House have that eye color.”

 

            Shampoo smiled sweetly. “Maybe Shampoo is princess too!” Tenchi facefaulted and Ayeka sweatdropped. “No, Shampoo village champion. Shampoo go find Ranma. Bye-bye!” Shampoo bounced her way to the shrine.

 

 

            At the shrine, Jiejie fumed, her hands clenching and relaxing repeatedly. ‘How dare he!’ She cursed. She turned around and stormed her way from the office. When Ryoko appeared beside her, hovering on her back, Jiejie nearly took a swing at her.

 

            “Now now, is that any way to treat someone who wants to help you out?” She asked, honey dripping from her voice.

 

            Jiejie stopped and glared at the cyan-haired demoness. “How you help?”

 

            “Easy! I can convince the old man to tell you where the next gem is.” Ryoko smiled sweetly.

 

            Jiejie wasn’t fooled for even a second. “Why you help get gem? You no want Jiejie have them earlier?”

 

            “Well, you see, if you got them together, it’d be easier for me to take them from you.”

 

            Jiejie frowned, not liking the open honesty of that answer. “Jiejie keep eye on you. Go talk.”

 

            Ryoko faded from view with a smirk. ‘Perfect. This is just perfect. I can’t wait till that little tramp figures it out.’

 

 

            A short while later, everyone was gathered in Tenchi’s living room. Nobuyuki, Tenchi’s father, made the visitors feel at home as Sasami, Ayeka’s blue-haired younger sister, made an incredible dinner. Ayeka kept casting curious glances at Shampoo. It was when Katsuhito helped Sasami clean up the dishes that it happened. The priest accidentally knocked over a cup of warm tea on Ranma.

 

            Dead silence filled the room as everyone but Shampoo and Jiejie stared at the black-haired guy who replaced the red-headed girl. Raucous laughter suddenly erupted as Ryoko burst out laughing and holding her sides. Ranma twitched at the sound, and Jiejie rolled her eyes. Shampoo seemed to not notice or care. Katsuhito’s only reaction was a raised eyebrow. Ayeka stared blankly, her train of thought derailed. Tenchi and Nobuyuki just kept repeating “Wha?” over and over.

 

            Ranma finally slammed a fist into the floor, cracking the wood. Ryoko got control over herself and wiped tears from her eyes. “Hey, femboy. What’s the story?” She asked tauntingly.

 

            Ranma slowly gave their hosts a rundown on Jusenkyo and its curses. When he was through, Tenchi gave a sigh of relief, which caused everyone to look at him funny. Laughing nervously, he told them it was nothing.

 

`           “Why were you running away from Ryo-Ohki earilier, Ranma?” Tenchi asked.

 

            Ranma sighed and explained about the Neko-Ken. How his father tied dozens of fish cakes to him, then threw him into a pit of starved cats, over and over again. Even Ryoko, jaded by many horrifying crimes she had witnessed and even committed, was shaken by the story. She even felt a twinge of sympathy, having been used by a father-figure herself.

 

            Katsuhito coughed to get everyone’s attention. “I would like to speak with Ranma and his friends alone, please. If you would come to the shrine office.”

 

            The three visitors followed the old man out while the others sat down on the couch to watch TV. In the office, he sat down and began speaking. “I have found the location of another gem.”

 

            “That’s great. Where is it this time, the Arctic?” Ranma griped, still sore over the tea incident.

 

            “Not so far as that. It is actually close by. It’s at the bottom of the Sea of Japan.”

 

            Ranma’s eyebrow twitched. “At…the bottom…of the sea…”

 

            Katsuhito smiled and nodded. “You see? It is much closer than Egypt or the Arctic.”

 

            “At the bottom of the sea?!” Ranma repeated loudly. “How the hell are we gonna get at a gem at the bottom of the sea?”

 

            Katsuhito hit Ranma on the head with a boken that seemed to appear from nowhere. “Calm yourself, Ranma. I have been researching this for you and I may have an answer. The floating island of Togenkyo will be approaching the coast near here soon. If the currents stay steady, it will take you right over the area where Yosho dropped the gem. Since you have found one of the gems, it will lead you to the other, once you are close enough.” He handed Ranma a map, which Jiejie snapped out of his hands.

 

            “Togenkyo? Aw, man… is that Toma brat still lookin’ for a bride?”

 

            “I do not know the current politics. I take it you have been to Togenkyo. You truly do have an interesting life, Ranma.”

 

            “Yeah yeah, interesting… whatever.”

 

            “Please, feel free to stay the night. I’m sure the others wouldn’t mind.”

 

            The three guests stood and bowed before heading for the house. Inside, they heard Ryoko and Ayeka getting into some kind of argument. The shouting was followed by some small explosions. Ranma and Shampoo looked at each other. Shampoo gave Ranma her improved Amazon Glomp as he muttered something about it being “Just like back home.”

 

 

 

Kiematsu Rei, in the Negaverse

 

            Inago smiled, and it was not a pretty sight. “Welcome home, brother. The maid service is unavailable, so please pardon the mess.”

 

            The walking corpse glared at the gaunt man. “I have never liked your so-called sense of humor, brother. Have you found Sansai yet?”

 

            Inago shook his head, frowning. “No, Kaji. Our other brother is still hidden from my sight.”

 

            Kaji strolled over to an alcove that contained the motionless form of Tatewaki Kuno. “This one will do well as my avatar. Have you found a replacement yet?”

 

            Inago shook his head as he glared at an alcove that held the stewardess. “Both of the candidates I found were incompatible. This one has too weak of an immune system, and the other one held a demonic taint that was distasteful. You can have this female. She is worthless for my experiments.”

 

            Kaji smiled cruelly. “I can sense a potential in her… she will do well as a soldier for my army.” The hollow laugh echoed through the chamber.

 

 

Ending Notes:

 

Hiryuu Shoten Ha – Flying Dragon Death Wave – A manuever that uses hot energy from the martial artist’s opponent and cold energy from the martial artist moving in a shrinking spiral to create a small tornado.