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: This was starting to get long, so I think I’ll just say ‘Read the previous chapters’ from this point on. Sorry. 8)

 

 

 

Chapter 16

“Match”

 

Antarctica

 

            On top of a temple stood the three Priests of T’kara Ri, forming a triangle around the completed statue that represented Shinigami Fusei. The statue stood on two legs, but that was where its semblance of humanity ended. The torso was hideously distorted, with an array of tentacles, claws and arms emerging at various points. A dozen eyes were visible on its appendages and torso. The head had only a pair of ears and a mouth. A metallic cloak hung from what could only loosely be described as the statue’s neck.

 

            Inago Muragaru, still wearing the body of Kodachi, brought forth a glass sphere and pointed it towards the statue. Inside was a strangely glowing object that seemed to be trying to break out of the globe. Wearing Tatewaki’s body, Kaji Bachiatari held a glowing red gem between the sphere and the statue. Sansai Mahoutsukai, concealed within Principal Kuno’s form, slowly placed various parts from the body of Happosai on the statue. The head he held in his hands with the eyes gazing unseeingly at the statue’s own eyes.

 

            “With the amplifying abilities of this gem, the soul we have bound should be enough to empower our God’s ressurection.”

 

            Inago nodded in agreement with Kaji as she clenched her hands over the sphere. The container shattered and the glowing form within it was pulled into the gem. The smile on Kaji’s face died as the gem pulsed brightly for a moment before exploding in a violent blast that threw him back over a dozen yards. As his eyes fought to refocus, he caught the faint wisp of the trail left behind as the soul ascended to the clouds.

 

            Sansai scowled at Kaji. “This is unacceptable. Our enemies have already been to our home and obviously know our location. We do not have enough time to gather the life energy needed to resurrect Fusei.”

 

            Kaji suddenly held up his hands and fired a red energy blast into a snow bank a short distance away. A bright explosion revealed Kyuusei’s form as she was blasted away from her hiding place. Her body was wreathed in flames again as the spell she was casting was interrupted. “An annoying little pest, is she not?” Kaji smirked.

 

            Sansai nodded. “Yes, she is. I am curious as to how she got here. I do not sense any others nearby.”

 

            “It matters not. Perhaps her life force will aid us?” Inago asked.

 

            Sansai shook his head. “Without an amplifier, she is far too weak.” He stopped as if listening to something. “They are here.”

 

            The three Priests turned to see two bright dots in the sky. “We have no choice then.”

 

            Sansai unsheathed a sword that was strapped to his back. With one hand on Happosai’s head, he drove the sword through his own chest, cleaving his heart in two.

 

 

            From the bridge of the Soyokaze, Tenchi and the others watched what transpired on the temple roof. “What is he doing?” Ranma asked quietly.

 

            “He is sacrificing his body to resurrect Fusei,” Pluto answered. “We must prevent the other two from completing the ritual. Captain Tylor, open fire on that temple.”

 

            Most Captains would have resented taking orders from someone not above them in the chain of command. Pluto wasn’t even in his own military. But Tylor was not most Captains. “Sure thing. Open fire!”

 

            The Soyokaze’s guns lanced forth with blue energy. Seconds later, Ryo-Ohki fired as well. The beams tore into the temple area and exploded, sending clouds of snow and vapor into the air. After a few moments the two ships stopped firing and settled in to land. As the air cleared, a glowing shield was revealed around the temple.

 

            The ships released their passengers and moments later the terrain was filled with warriors and monsters clashing as the Priests called forth their minions again. Pluto watched Sansai’s spirit leave the quickly decomposing body of Principal Kuno as the middle-aged lunatic’s life force was drained away. Standing next to Pluto, Ryoga saw Kaji begin to place his hand on Happosai’s head. ‘This is bad,’ he thought. Ryoga realized just how many things that had gone wrong could be centered on one thing. ‘It’s his fault, all of it. Akane being possessed, Ranma and Akane getting closer together, me being away so that Akari could find a new boyfriend, all these people about to die, making Ranma weak so I couldn’t fight him, making Ranma learn that damned Hiry Shoten Ha, all those times the girls blamed ME for the panty raids… and he didn’t even have the common decency to let me kill him! This is all Happosai’s fault!’ “Kuroana!” He screamed as he projected all of his dark emotions towards Happosai’s head.

 

            The shielding around the temple stopped the initial attack. However, the wind that was created as the ki-hole began to suck in everything around it wasn’t stopped. Happosai’s head rolled a little before flying through the air. It struck the barrier around the temple and disintegrated. Kaji cursed as he turned towards where the attack came from. The first thing he saw was Pluto and his eyes went cold. In a frenzied charge he began to run across the battlefield towards her.

 

            All across the field, warriors and monsters died. The two ships took off to provide support only to suddenly be engaged by flying creatures that attacked with claws and energy beams. The Soyokaze launched three fighters to aid her. Inago hopped around, lashing out with a ribbon and streams of acid, killing and maiming indiscriminately. Kaji plowed through warriors on his way to kill the green-haired Senshi of Time. Suddenly an angry Uranus blocked his path.

 

            “Why don’t we see just how good you can swing that thing, monster?” She yelled as she came in with her magical sword. Kaji parried the initial strike easily and would have followed through with a counterattack, but he was forced to dodge a swipe from the Silence Glaive as Saturn moved to help her friend.

 

            Kaji’s eyes widened in fear and hate at the sight of the weapon. “How dare you touch that sacred relic?! Return it to me, you little tramp!” Saturn ignored him and came in, sweeping low while Uranus came in high. Kaji was forced onto the defensive for the first time since he could remember.

 

 

            Elsewhere, Sansai’s phantasmal form began to drift across the battlefield. His power was greatly reduced, but his new condition did offer one advantage: immunity to normal damage. He raised a clawed hand and fired off a stream of blue fire to incinerate a winged warrior. He smirked as a number of arrows and spears passed through his form. Looking back, he saw the first signs of movement in Fusei’s body. With all of the death in the area, Fusei was slowly gaining the power he needed to revive. ‘Only a little longer.’ His eyes roamed over the battlefield as he looked for Saffron. His gaze finally settled on the young Phoenix. “Let us try that again,” he said to no one in particular.

 

            Jupiter was distracted from the fight as a wave of fire arced over her head. She glanced over to see Saffron in a massive battle with a ghostly figure. As far as she could tell, they were about even. A stream of blue flame clipped the base of one of the Phoenix’s wings, shearing it off painfully. Jupiter cried out as she saw the handsome young man fall in pain. “No!” She cried out as she moved to help him. Venus and Mars both heard her shout and looked to see Saffron on one knee and in pain. Together, they raced after Jupiter.

 

            Sansai smirked as he called forth an enormous ball of fire. “This ends now,” he smirked. Saffron looked up, determination in his eyes as he began to call forth his last attack.

 

            Suddenly, Sansai was blasted forward into his own ball of blue flame as the combined attack from Mars, Venus, and Jupiter plowed into him. He wheeled around in agony as his form began to burn painfully. He raised one hand before a monstrous rush of fire washed over him from behind. His dying scream echoed over the battlefield as Saffron maintained the flame wave. Only when the last vestiges of the phantasm had vanished did he cut off the attack.

 

            Saffron’s eyes scanned the battlefield as a minor cheer went up. He saw that all of the elemental creatures had vanished from the fight. He looked back to the three Senshi and smiled. “Thank you.” The three Senshi nearly swooned at the smile. They quickly fell into arguing over whom he was smiling at.

 

            “He meant it for me! I’m the most beautiful one here!” Venus started.

 

            “No way! He was smiling at me! I’m the one who saved his life!” Jupiter countered.

 

            “He’s a fire guy, I’m a fire girl, and we are perfect together!” Mars yelled.

 

            Saffron smirked a little as he regenerated his wing in a burst of flame. ‘I wonder if this is what Saotome goes through?’ He thought idly. He left the three girls arguing as he closed with a bladewalker that had broken through his Royal Guards’ lines.

 

 

            Mercury finished her scan of Kaji. One thought ran through her mind, ‘Is it worth one life to risk so many others?’ She knew the answer already, but it helped her to ask it anyways. “Sailor Moon! Hurry over here!”

 

            Sailor Moon jumped to land clumsily next to her friend and fellow warrior. “What is it?” Tuxedo Kamen landed next to her.

 

            “I finally managed to finish scanning the one called Kaji. He’s actually still alive!”

 

            Sailor Moon looked over at the ancient warrior. “Of course he is! And he’s beating the snot out of Uranus and Saturn!”

 

            Mercury shook her head. “I mean the boy he possessed. He’s still there. We have to try to save him.”

 

            “But we tried that already. It didn’t work!”

 

            “I know, but we have to try again. Maybe if we can keep the spell going longer, it will work this time.”

 

            Sailor Moon finally nodded. “All right, but how do we get him to hold still?”

 

            Tuxedo Kamen stepped in. “I’ll help Uranus and Saturn keep him distracted. When your attack hits, we’ll try to pin him. Mercury, you’ll have to be ready to help us out.” He moved to help the Outer Senshi out.

 

            Kaji cursed loudly and often as a third warrior stepped up to engage him. He had just begun to find holes in the defenses of the two girls, but with Tuxedo Kamen adding his efforts, those holes were closing rapidly. When he felt Sailor Moon powering up her Moon Princess Halation, he chose to ignore it. It would slow him down and hamper his defense, but not enough to truly affect him.

 

            What he hadn’t expected was the sudden change of tactics as the beam struck him. The male suddenly drove his staff between Kaji’s elbow and back. Gripping Kaji’s weapon hand, he locked the arm in place. Kaji looked in shock as Uranus took the cue to wedge her own arms in the same way against his other arm. He tried to flip out of the hold, but Saturn tackled his legs as Sailor Moon poured the power on. Before their eyes, Kaji’s form began to split between Tatewaki’s image and his own. With one last soul-wrenching cry, Kaji’s spirit disintegrated flew off a short distance. He started to head back for Kuno’s body when Tenchi came in from the side and slashed downwards with his blue blade. Kaji screamed in agony as the energy ripped his form apart. The sound faded as the last trace of the phantom vanished.

 

            Tatewaki’s eyes slowly opened. The first sight to greet them was Sailor Moon’s form. “Ah, my goddess! You have saved me from a wretched fate!” He suddenly leapt to his feet, surprising the three people who thought that they had him pinned. “In gratitude for your services to my noble self, I will permit you to date with me!”

 

            Sailor Moon took a step back worriedly as the samurai wannabe suddenly leapt to embrace her in a hug. A descending mallet returned Kuno to the land of slumber as Akane stood over him. “Jerk.” She was surprised when more cheering rose up around them. Turning, she watched as the bladewalkers collapsed and all but one of them turned to dust. The one that remained had a tear shaped mark on its mask. Sailor Moon tried casting her healing spell on it. To the amazement of those who saw, the growth suddenly shriveled and disintegrated. The body of the creature twisted and shrank a little before its features returned to human. Ranma, who had been fighting nearby, yelped in shock as he recognized the face of the stewardess from Kuno’s plane so long ago. Mercury knelt next to the girl and found that she was still alive.

 

            Inago witnessed the fate of her brothers, but panic never even remotely entered her mind. She gazed back at Fusei’s form and smiled. Fighting with a sudden berserk frenzy, she dove for Tenchi, tossing and tearing apart anyone who got in her way. Tenchi barely managed to react to Inago’s attack enough to survive, but the ribbon snagged the hand that held the Tenchi-ken. Shampoo cried out and dove to slice the ribbon, and Tenchi fell backwards. As he was freed, the Tenchi-ken was knocked from his grasp.  Inago reared back her hand and threw a spiked club at his head. It was Mousse that saved Tenchi with a carefully placed throwing knife.

 

            Suddenly Inago’s arms were trapped as she felt powerful arms wrap around her chest. She couldn’t turn her head enough to see that Ryoga was the one who grabbed her. She closed her eyes as the first wave of Sailor Moon’s healing beam slammed into her full force. She had seen Kaji die that way and had no illusions about her chances. She let go of Kodachi’s body and her now free spirit bolted out of the path of the attack. Katsuhito saw this and called the Tenchi-ken to him as Inago dove for Shampoo. The former Amazon knew that her sword would be worthless against the monster and searched quickly for something to help her. She saw the Tenchi-ken begin to rise into the air and fly towards the old priest. She reached out and grabbed the hilt as it tried to rush past her. Pain arced through her hand at first, but moments later it vanished as a ragged blue blade of Juraian energy emerged from the hilt. Shampoo swept the blade in an upward arc and with no resistance sliced Inago’s figure in half. The insane grin never left the phantom’s face as its halves slid apart and dissipated.

 

            Kodachi shook her head as her vision slowly cleared. She looked around in confusion before she managed to remember the horror she had endured. Once Inago had her body, all pretense of being friendly had vanished. Some of what she had learned was of interest to the mildly deranged woman, but she had seen enough to make even her stomach churn. She looked behind her to see who it was that had freed her. At first, she thought it was her beloved Ranma. After a few moments, she realized that it was that strange boy who was often hanging around Ranma. What was his name? Ah, yes. “Ryoga?”

 

            The lost boy blinked as he felt Kodachi start to go limp in his arms. “Uhm, yeah?”

 

            Kodachi smiled up at him. “My knight in shining armor. Oh, Ryoga-sama! Be gentle with me! I’ve been through such an ordeal!” She rotated in his arms and planted a passionate kiss on him. Ryoga acted in true Hibiki fashion. He passed out.

 

            The cheering was almost deafening as the last of the minions suddenly fell to the ground dead. It was amazing that even over all the shouting the sound of the statue beginning to move got everyone’s attention. The men nearest the statue cried out in terror moments before they turned to dust as Fusei cut lose with a black, dome-like blast centered on himself.

 

            A few warriors tried to close with the statue, but nothing human was able to survive getting within a few feet of the monstrosity. As the dome vanished, Fusei began walking forward, his footsteps shattering the stone of the temple with each impact. Everyone started to step back, but Fusei came to a stop as he stepped off of the temple. A barrage of heavy weapons fire blasted from Ryo-Ohki exploded against Fusei’s chest. As the smoke cleared, no damage could be seen. Fusei’s eyeless face smirked as he spread his appendages, inviting another attack. The Soyokaze and her marines on the ground obliged with a barrage of energy blasts as well as a strafing run from the three fighter craft. Again, nothing had changed when the smoke cleared.

 

            Most of the champions with ranged attacks took their turn, but with each impact, nothing happened. Saturn was the last one to try. She pointed the Silence Glaive at Fusei. “Silence Glaive Surprise!” Fusei was unharmed, but to everyone’s surprise, he reacted.

 

            “Return. What. Is. Mine.” His voice was like a chorus of demons screeching. Saturn suddenly felt the Glaive try to leave her hands. She held on tightly, refusing to let it go. She didn’t notice at first, as her feet began making small tracks in the snow. She was slowly being pulled towards the hideous monstrosity as the Senshi cried out to her in horror.

 

 

            Kyuusei’s eyes slowly opened. Pain wracked every inch of her body as she looked up. She was lying in a pool of half-frozen water and blood. She picked herself up, feeling every burn on her body as she tried to focus her vision. An explosion brought to the center of her view the horrid form of Fusei. Hissing in pain she began to pull herself out of the pool and onto her feet.

 

 

            Saturn was being pulled closer and closer. Suddenly she felt someone’s arms go around her and pull. Looking up, she saw Konatsu and Ukyo both holding her tightly. They were tethered to weapons that were jabbed deep into the ice. Together they had managed to stop her. She gave them a tearful smile as she fought to maintain a hold on her glaive.

 

            Fusei pointed a clawed hand at the little girl. The light seemed to flee from the appendage as a ball of darkness formed. The sphere leapt towards the three warriors with a horrible sound. Saturn tried to erect a Silence Wall, but her power refused to answer her. Ukyo and Saturn closed their eyes as Konatsu moved to shield them with his body. There was a loud explosion followed by silence. Ukyo opened her eyes and saw that Tenchi had intercepted the blast himself. Three glowing shields of blue power floated between him and Fusei. Holding out his hands, Tenchi called the Wings of the Lighthawk to himself. He formed a strange sword from one of the shields as his clothing shifted to an exotic appearance.

 

            Ranma suddenly stood next to him. Beside her were Akane, Saffron, Toma, Sarutoru, and Ryoga. Kodachi was still trying to hang off of the lost boy, much to Mihoshi’s apparent displeasure.

 

            “Yer goin’ down, asshole,” Ranma growled as the ice around her flowed into her hands. “Mouko Kogoeshinu!”

 

            “Die, bastard!” Akane screamed as she powered up one of Jiejie’s attacks. “Shuukyoku Hanjo Daija Batsu!”

 

            “Great, I get to try out my new attack!” Ryoga cheered happily. “Ureshii Uguisu Nesshou!” A ball of pink ki began to form in his hands. “I love you guys!”

 

            The monkey-man elite guard smirked. “Sarutoru killing attack, Hikage Kisei!” Black energy flowed into his hands.

 

            Toma smirked as well. “Illusions aren’t my only trick any more.” He focused his ki into his hands. “Ranmyaku Ooarashi!”

 

            Saffron smiled grimly, proud to be standing next to such great warriors for a good cause. He remained silent as he concentrated his power.

 

            As one, the six matrial artists cut loose. Some of the warriors began to cheer as Fusei rocked back from the impact. The Senshi quickly rallied and united their attacks as well. Fusei was forced back another step from the impact. Diving through the smoke, Tenchi and Shampoo slashed at his form with the power of Jurai as Ryoko and Ayeka provided cover fire. A combined assault from both Ryo-Ohki, the Soyokaze, the fighters, and the marines shoved him back even further. The remainder of the Royal Guard and the warriors of Togenkyo cheered loudly as the pattern was repeated.

 

            Washu, however, did not join them. She frowned as her readings indicated that though his shields were being ruptured, Fusei’s body was taking no damage at all. “He has too much power.”

 

            Kyuusei came to the same realization. From her vantage point behind Fusei, she could see that his body was easily absorbing the attacks. It was even possible that they were making him slowly stronger. ‘I have to drain off some of his power, but I don’t know how. If only I still had the Mournblade.’ She cursed herself for a fool for letting the weapon out of her sight. She considered trying the Phoenix Ascension spell one more time, but she also knew that her dying body wouldn’t survive the initial buildup long enough to cast the spell. As she prayed for an answer, she thought she saw another figure next to her and she looked up. Wreathed in a golden light, she thought she saw the face of her master, Tian Huan. He smiled at her, and at that moment a wall in her mind collapsed releasing a long-sealed memory.

 

            A part of her mind had analyzed the magic in the Mournblade when she first held it. She could sense that the energy in the sword made it far tougher than normal, as well as sharper, but she could find no indication that it had the power to drain the life of another. She remembered confronting Xi Na with this. The Elder had smiled, although there was a hint of surprise in the gesture, and said that the real power was in the technique. It was an ability that had been created after long, careful observation of the way some demons could drain the life force of others. The sword was merely a way to focus the technique and to penetrate the defenses of the target. She also said that the true secret of the technique, that it could be performed with any weapon, was meant to protect the world from someone who might abuse the power. Xi Na had then sealed off that part of her memory with the Xi Fang Gao Shiatsu technique.

 

            Kyuusei looked carefully at Fusei and realized that the technique would be worthless with her weapons. His body was nearly invulnerable and the only weapon she could think of that would work was Uranus’s sword. Hoping that the link still worked, she focused through the pain and sent her thoughts to Akane.

 

            Akane suddenly gasped as burning pain shot through her. Ranma, who had just released another ki-blast at Fusei, dropped to his knee next to her. “What’s wrong?”

 

            “She’s here. She’s hurt real bad too. She… wants me to do something. I can’t tell… she… she needs the sword from Uranus. She has something that she seems to think will hurt that monster.”

 

            “Where is she?”

 

            Akane pointed behind Fusei and Ranma could just make out the smaller girl’s form as she limped across the snow. Without bothering to ask permission, Ranma ran to Uranus and grabbed the sword from her hand. The Outer Senshi yelled in shock and anger as Ranma turned and threw the sword as hard as he could.

 

            Kyuusei smiled grimly as she saw what happened. She reached up to catch the sword, but her aim was horrible. The tip of the blade punched through her forearm, sliding neatly between the bones. Barely able to block out the pain, Kyuusei drew the weapon and, still unnoticed by Fusei, she advanced behind him.

 

            Only Ranma and Akane could make out what the small woman was doing as she summoned every ounce of ki she had left and drove the sword into a joint at the base of Fusei’s neck. The awakening god howled in pain as the tip of the sword just barely penetrated his metallic skin. A shockwave rolled through the area as a dome of darkness formed around them.

 

            Inside the dome, Kyuusei fought with her last bit of strength to pull as much of Fusei’s power into her. She felt as if her body was being torn apart as blood hammered in her ears, almost drowning out the god of death screaming, “Not! Again!” Her hand reached out to grab the cloak that hung from his back in order to maintain the pressure. She was startled as the material came loose in her hands and the dome of darkness collapsed around her as she fell to the ground.

 

            Washu finally let a smile creep over her face as she saw the god’s power drop noticeably. “Hit it now! Everything at once!” Her voice carried over the battlefield. Everyone looked at her and then at each other. As one, everyone who still had anything left to give launched an attack. Fusei, God of the T’kara Ri, shattered into thousands of pieces.

 

 

            Most of the survivors were busy helping each other into the Soyokaze’s medical bay. Sadly, there were few injured. Most who had been wounded in the fighting had died in the freezing cold.

 

            The Senshi stood around a patch of darkness that lay in the form of a young girl on the ground next to where Fusei had been destroyed. Ranma and Akane stood there as well. The pigtailed boy noted that the shadow was bleeding at an unhealthy pace. Pluto knelt down as the figure tried to speak.

 

            “Dead?” It whispered coarsely.

 

            “Yes, Itoshigo. Fusei is dead and his Priests destroyed.”

 

            The figure shook as if in pain. “Good. Tian forgave me.”

 

            Pluto smiled softly at her as tears came to her eyes. “You completed your quest, little one. Now I have another for you. Come back to us.”

 

            The shadow shook again. “Dying.”

 

            Pluto shook her head. “I know you can survive if you want to. Please.”

 

            “No… reason… to.”

 

            Pluto tried to touch the girl, but her hand just passed through the shadow. The tears began to flow freely as her voice shook. “Isn’t the fact that I need you enough reason?”

 

            “Why?”

 

            “Because I need you! Do you think that those forty years were just an act? That I was just playing a part? I loved you like the daughter I’ve never been able to have. You are the closest thing I have to a real family. I don’t just let anyone into my heart! Ask them! You have a home in my heart and I don’t want it to be vacant! PLEASE!” The Senshi stared in silence as Pluto begged. If someone had told them they would be witness to the Ice Queen begging for anything, they would have had that person committed. To see it actually happening was almost beyond belief. “If you need a purpose in life, let me be that purpose!”

 

            Before their startled eyes, the shadow began to move. It flowed inwards, revealing the badly wounded body of the ancient warrior. The darkness flowed into the shape of a cape that clasped around the woman’s neck. Slowly, Kyuusei opened her eyes and looked up at Pluto. “Will you accept me?”

 

            Pluto nodded, unable to speak further as she pulled her into a crushing hug. Kyuusei weakly wrapped her arms around the older woman for a moment before she passed out. Pluto looked at Sailor Moon. “Can you heal her?”

 

            Sailor Moon choked back tears and shook her head. “I used everything I had to stop that monster.”

 

            Pluto began to look around frantically. Saturn knelt next to her and placed her hands on Kyuusei’s body. She felt an odd resonance with the girl as a white glow suffused her hands. The glow spread out over Kyuusei’s body and the bleeding slowly stopped. Saturn tried to do more, but the strain of doing even that after the fight was too much for her and she collapsed into Uranus’s arms. Pluto’s lip trembled. “I don’t think it’s enough.”

 

            “Let me try.” All eyes turned to Ranma.

 

            Akane stared at her in surprise. “But Ranma, you don’t know any healing techniques.”

 

            “Actually, I think I do.” Ranma knelt in the snow. As the gathered women watched, the snow flowed into her. After a few moments of doing this, Ranma’s eyes began to glow like they had before and she placed her hands over Kyuusei’s. The women watched as a gentle blue glow flowed from one girl to the other. When the glow finally subsided, all traces of the burns were gone.

 

            Pluto looked at Ranma with untold gratitude in her eyes. “Thank you!”

 

            Ranma smiled half drunkenly. “Hey, ain’t I the best?” She suddenly fell over onto her back. Looking up into their worried faces, she laughed. “That is such a rush… I think I might be getting’ addicted or somethin’.”

 

            Akane smiled down at her as she punched her lightly on the shoulder. “You arrogant jerk.”

 

 

            Unfortunately, everyone was able to fit on the Soyokaze for the ride back. Many warriors were left behind, buried in the ice. Toma looked sadly over his surviving warriors before his eyes fell on Saturn. There was something about the girl that reminded him of the reason he fell in love with Akane. She was caring, yet strong. She could fight, but she took little pleasure in it. ‘Perhaps she would like to be my princess?’ He thought to himself. After all, they seemed to be somewhat near the same age. He had learned from his mistakes with Akane, however, so he didn’t immediately grab her and announce that he would take her as his wife. Little did he realize how close he had come to dying. Instead, he engaged in ‘small talk’ with her until they arrived at Togenkyo. He kissed her on the hand as he left, much to Saturn’s pleased embarrassment and Neptune and Uranus’ dislike.

 

            “She’s too young to be dating,” they commented in unison.

 

            “But they look so cute together! And he’s a prince, just like my Tuxedo Kamen,” Sailor Moon retorted. The two Outer Senshi rolled their eyes and decided to have a good, long chat with their adopted daughter.

 

 

            Saffron was surprised to find that three of the Senshi seemed to have an interest in him. Among his people, he was the subject of respect, admiration, and even a touch of fear, but no one had ever really looked at him as a target for romance. For all intents and purposes, he was a giant water heater to them. He decided to indulge a little and held pleasant conversations with all three girls as they flew to Juuban.

 

 

            Ranma, still in girl form, walked up to Ukyo and Konatsu, who seemed to be doing a wonderful job of finding things to look at other than each other. He slapped Ukyo’s letter against her chest before doing the same thing to Konatsu with his letter. “You two figure this out soon, or I’m gonna kick both yer asses, all right? Shit happens, people die, and I don’t wanna see you two regrettin’ somethin’ as stupid as this. I’m gonna give ya both a week before I start kickin’ butt, got it?” She turned around stalked away. The two cross-dressers quickly hid their letters and went back to looking at anything but each other. This time, however, they did steal short glances at one another on occasion.

 

 

            Katsuhito looked around the cargo bay where everyone was gathered. He noticed that Shampoo and Mousse were not present. He heard a noise down a hallway and saw the bespectacled youth impact a wall and slide unconscious to the floor. Smirking a little, the old priest stepped into the room.

 

            “Go away. Shampoo no want company.”

 

            “<Are you sure about that,>” Katsuhito replied in fluent Mandarin.

 

            Shampoo looked up, a little shocked. “<Where did you learn our language?>”

 

            Katsuhito smiled. “<I traveled around in my youth. But you didn’t answer my question. Are you sure you don’t want company?>”

 

            Shampoo shook her head. “<I don’t know. I don’t want HIS company, that’s for sure.>”

 

            “<Why not? He seems to genuinely care about you, and he gave up his warrior status for you.>”

 

            “<I didn’t ask him to do that! I didn’t WANT him to do that!>”

 

            Katsuhito smiled. “<That’s the funny thing about love. It doesn’t react the way we want it to, and it sometimes makes us do silly things.>”

 

            “<But I don’t love him! And he’s so… persistent and pushy and smothering and always with the ‘My Darling Shampoo’.>”

 

            Katsuhito thought for a moment and then nodded as if deciding something. “<I don’t want to bring up a bad memory, but if you have no place to go, perhaps you would like to return to the Masaki Shrine with Tenchi and me. It’s not quite as good as family, I know, but we would like to help you after what you sacrificed for us.>”

 

            Shampoo sat quietly for a while, her face buried in her knees. When she spoke, it was barely a whisper. “<But you are family, aren’t you?>”

 

            Katsuhito blinked in surprise. He had expected her to figure it out, but not so soon. “<What makes you say that?>”

 

            “<Great-grandmother talked to you differently. She never addressed any male like she did you. Also, there’s that funny blue thing Tenchi, you and I can do. And most importantly, your eyes are just like what mother always told me about her father. She was too young to remember his face or anything else, but she could always remember his eyes. Your eyes, grandfather.>”

 

            Katsuhito smiled with love and pride. “<I swore to Ko Lon that I would not tell you the truth, but that I would not deny it if you discovered it for yourself. Yes, Xian Pu, I am the father of Xibao, your mother. I will tell you the whole story if you are willing to come back to the shrine with me.>”

 

            Shampoo sat for a little longer. “<If you will tell me why you left mother alone, I will come. And I will kill you if you do not have a good reason.>”

 

            Katsuhito nodded and then offered her a hand up. “<My I be worthy of your company.>”

 

            The priest led the former Amazon back to the party before returning to where Mousse lay on the floor. “You can stop pretending to be unconscious.”

 

            Mousse sat up. “Honored grandfather of Shampoo, I-“

 

            Katsuhito held up his hand. “We have yet to know if she will accept me as such. I also do not like being played. I have seen what you have done for my granddaughter, and for that you have my thanks. However, I must warn you that you are on a road that will lead only to misery.”

 

            “What do you mean?”

 

            “Mousse, you have made your feelings plain. You have even shown your determination. These are all good things. But you need to learn when to back off and give Shampoo her space. If you don’t, you may grow on her, but it will be like a fungus, an irritation that has to be scratched. If you want her to truly care for you, try being yourself. If you have hobbies, do them somewhere she might notice, but don’t force her to watch. If you have good points you want her to see, show them all the time, not just when she is looking. And if she chooses to look away, let her.”

 

            Mousse stood quietly for some time. “I will think on this, Honored Elder.”

 

            Katsuhito laughed. “You call Shampoo’s grandmother, an Elder, ‘old ghoul’, but me you call ‘Honored Elder’?”

 

            Mousse shrugged. “Respect is something that is earned, not given by a title. As you have watched me, I have watched you. You have my respect.” Mousse bowed and headed for the cargo bay. Unfortunately, he bounced off of a wall that seemed to spontaneously appear before him, as often happened to the near-blind martial artist.

 

 

            Ryoga begged the nurse to hide him anywhere at all. Harumi, the drop-dead gorgeous knockout of an android looked down quizzically at the boy before looking up and seeing Mihoshi and Kodachi standing a short distance away. They seemed to be arguing quite vehemently about something. After a moment, she realized that the poor boy in front of her was the subject. She opened an access panel behind her, revealing an air duct. “In here, quick.” Ryoga thanked her profusely as he dove into the opening. Harumi stared at the duct for a moment, wondering why she thought the boy was so cute. After a moment, she filed it away as yet another quirk in her system.

 

 

            “My golden-haired goddess, I would date with yo-urk!” Kuno’s rant was cut short as Akane slammed him over the head with her mallet before moving to talk with Ranma.

 

            Pluto smirked at the scene before turning back to the other Senshi. She sat next to the bed where Kyuusei lay asleep. “What was that again?”

 

            Uranus scowled. “I said, do you know why Fusei yelled ‘Not again’?”

 

            Pluto nodded. “Have you ever wondered why Saturn’s power is so different from the rest of ours? Why it was so destructive?” The gathered Senshi nodded. “It was ten thousand years ago, during the founding of the Moon Kingdom. The T’kara Ri invaded our dimension and, after a prolonged war and a climactic battle, they were defeated and sealed away. It took the combined efforts of the people of Earth, the Moon Kingdom, and the Empire of Jurai in order to gain victory. At the final fight, the Senshi of Saturn, whose powers mostly dealt with healing and energy redirection, developed a technique that she had learned from studying how youma drained energy. She used that technique to rip a portion of Fusei’s power away from him, the power of Silence. Because of this, the combined forces of our worlds were enough to shatter Fusei’s body. The three Priests were then sealed away and their minions destroyed.”

 

            “Is that why I felt funny when I healed her?” Saturn asked.

 

            Pluto nodded. “It was probably a resonance between your power of Silence and her power of Shadow.”

 

            “Will they come back in another ten thousand years?” Sailor Moon asked fearfully.

 

            Pluto shrugged. “It’s doubtful. This time, the three Priests were killed, not contained. Though Fusei could easily resurrect them, they are dead as of now.”

 

            “How can we keep Fusei from being resurrected?” Tuxedo Kamen asked.

 

            “With the Priests dead, it should be impossible. Only they knew the secret. However, they are from another dimension, and I do not fully comprehend the way their powers work. After all, how is it possible that they can resurrect a god in the first place? That kind of power should be beyond anyone other than another god. But, if it makes you feel any better, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him ever again.”

 

            “That’s a relief!” Sailor Moon sighed.

 

            Tuxedo Kamen was distracted by a repeating thumping noise. Looking around, he saw Ranma banging her head over and over against a wall. “What’s wrong?” He asked as he moved over to the redhead.

 

            “Oh, I just realized we missed out on a good couple of weeks of school, which means we’re probably going to fail, which means that our scholarships just flew out the freakin’ window.”

 

            “Oh, is that all?” Tuxedo Kamen smiled knowingly.

 

            Akane looked over at him. “It’s important to us! Ranma, will you STOP THAT!” She hit the martial artist in the back of the head.

 

            “I meant that it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure the Senshi will be glad to stop by the school office and tell them you’ve been saving the world.”

 

            Ranma stared at him incredulously. “Yeah, right.”

 

            Tuxedo Kamen just smiled.

 

 

To be concluded…

 

Ending Notes:

For anyone who’s curious, in this story Hotaru (aka Saturn) is an early teenager, the same as Toma.

 

Mouko Kogoeshinu – Fierce Tiger Freezing to Death – A combination of the Mouko Takabisha and Yasha’s powers over water and ice.

 

Shuukyoku Hanjo Daija Batsu – Ultimate Hissing Serpent Strike – The final form of the Hanjo Daija Batsu. Against a normal/living target, it

poisons the victims ki as well as inflicting physical damage.

 

Ureshii Uguisu Nesshou – Happy Nightingale Singing Enthusiastically – Ryoga’s new ‘Happy’ ki attack. He can only do this after using the

Kuroana to get rid of all of his negative emotions.

 

Hikage Kisei - Shadow Death – Sarutoru’s killing version of the Shadow Fall technique, which turns the victims negative emotions against them.

 

Ranmyaku Ooarashi - Chaos Storm – Toma’s physical version of his Chaos Illiusion attack, it’s basically a fireball.