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Okay, I KNOW I said this would be out on Saturday. But...a friend
dropped in. From California. Needless to say, I was busy. So here it
is now. (I'm sure it's still Saturday somewhere.)
All the Small Things--Chapter 5b
A Sailor Moon/Ranma 1/2 Crossover
By Slacker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuxedo Kamen crouched on the edge of the
roof and tossed another rose. It punctured the
eye of one of the group of youma they were
fighting. Of course, that only removed one eye
out of four.
All of the youma looked exactly the same.
The easiest way to describe them would be to
imagine them as an eight-foot tall humanoid
Praying Mantis. They were insanely fast, and
tough enough to be a pain.
Kamen was using his roses to do pin-point
attacks from the roof tops. They were
surprisingly effective, having already accounted
for seven of the twenty-plus youma.
"Still hiding on the roofs, pretty boy?" a
voice asked caustically from behind him.
Kamen didn't even bother turning. "Actually,
I'm providing support and precision fire."
"Good. You've finally learned something.
Sitting on a roof while killing an enemy is
usually easier than getting in its face. Not as
much fun, though." Nemesis commented as he
walked over next to Kamen. He stared down at the
"This isn't right." Nemesis stated in a very
"What do you mean? We're winning!" Kamen
replied irritably. <Isn't he EVER happy?>
"These youma shouldn't be that organized.
They're using tactics. I've never seen a youma
built like that with anything that even
resembled a brain." Nemesis explained.
"So they're different from what you're used
to. Big deal." Kamen's voice was flippant as he
tossed another rose.
"They're being controlled." Nemesis smiled.
"That means I get to have some fun. Stay here
and keep up the...passable work. How many are
left, by the way?"
"Eight." Kamen threw three roses in rapid
succession. "Make that seven."
"Good. Stay out of my way when I find the
leader." Nemesis commanded, as he jumped off
"Well, that was easy." Jupiter announced as
the last youma went down. "Why were these things
"I'm not sure." Mercury replied.
"They were testing us. Trying to find out
more about our tactics and styles." Pluto
stated. "That means someone was watching."
"That's what Nemesis said, too." Kamen
interjected as he landed next to Moon.
Pluto's head snapped around. "Nemesis is
"He took off. Said something about having
some fun." Kamen informed her, as he checked
Moon for injuries.
"Oh, dear." Pluto whispered.
"What? Is that bad? Why is that bad?" Saturn
asked. A block away from them, the top four
stories of an office building vaporized in a
gout of flame. The shockwave threw all of them
to the ground.
"That's why." Pluto groaned, after she spat
the dirt out of her mouth. "Large scale
explosions are Nemesis' idea of fun. At least he
doesn't know the Dragon Slave."
*THA-WHUMP* A smoking body slammed into the
concrete in front of Venus. After a few seconds,
it coughed, letting loose a small cloud of
smoke, and spoke.
"Anyone smell barbecue? Oh, wait. That's me.
Heh." Nemesis started to chuckle as he rose to
his feet. "That's one nasty little fellow. He's
"Who is?" Moon asked.
"Him." Nemesis pointed down the street
towards an approaching figure. "Of course, if
you get a clean shot, take it. I'm crazy, not
"Right." Uranus started to grin.
"And don't forget, I will survive ANYTHING
you can throw at me. You hit me just for fun,
and I'll make the training I put you through
before look like a walk in the park." Nemesis
cautioned, before turning and walking towards
By this point, they could make out what the
figure looked like. It appeared to be a man,
dressed in a tasteful pinstripe suit, the kind
of suit that subtly screamed "I'm expensive as
hell!" It was also smoldering. He had short
light black hair, dark eyes, and an average
"Do you know what this suit cost?" he asked
pleasantly. "More money than you'll ever see.
I'm afraid I must insist you make reparations."
"And how do you think I'll do that?" Nemesis
asked, once he was close enough to speak
"Well, you could replace it. I've been
thinking about getting one made out of leather.
You look to have enough skin on you to make a
decent start. I'll just take the rest from your
little friends. I do hope they manage to stay
alive during the skinning." The man responded,
sounding positively delighted at the thought.
"You don't want a leather suit. They get
sweaty and chafe." Nemesis politely informed
"Really? I guess I'll just kill all of you,
then. Thank you for that little tidbit, though."
Came the disappointed reply.
"You're welcome." Nemesis cordially answered
as he kicked a chunk of rubble into the man's
"That hurt, you know." The man rubbed his
forehead as he spoke. There wasn't a mark on it.
"It was supposed to. I'm Sailor Nemesis.
Senshi of Chaos, protector of Queen Serenity,
bodyguard to the Royal Family, and one hell of a
poker player. And you are?" Nemesis asked,
casually dodging the blood-red blast the man
shot at him.
"Oh, I'm Augstyn. Soldier of the Imperial
Roman Empire, Praetorian Guard, and extremely
good at killing anything that annoys me. You
annoy me, by the way." He replied, jumping back
as Nemesis tossed a car at him.
"Well, now that the formalities are done
with, shall we begin?" Nemesis inquired.
"But of course."
As soon as Augstyn replied, Nemesis blurred
into action. He slammed a kick into Augstyn's
chest, sending him flying through the brick wall
of a building. He quickly ran after the man.
The Senshi stared at where the pair had been
a few seconds before. A series of violent
explosions resounded in the direction Nemesis
"Did he just...exchange pleasantries with
someone who wants to kill every last one of us?"
Mercury hesitantly asked.
"That's what it sounded like to me." Neptune
Pluto opened her mouth to say something, but
was interrupted by a beeping coming from the red
gem on her bow. She blinked and looked down at
it. "The encrypted channel? How did he get THAT
access?" she murmured as she touched the gem.
"...amned thing working? Why the hell isn't
this thing transmitting? Pluto, you there?"
Nemesis' voice sounded.
"I'm here. What do you want? And how did you
get access to this frequency?" Pluto testily
"YOU gave me the access, remember? Anyways,
the reason I'm using this is--WHOA, THAT WAS
CLOSE! NICE TRY, MOTHER-FU--Ahem, I need you
guys to get me a clean radius. This guy is good.
And he just broke my nose. And three ribs. And
dislocated my shoulder. So screw it. I want some
vindication." Nemesis sounded almost happy.
Pluto paled. "Vindication?"
Her voice was a whisper as she turned
towards the Senshi. "Run."
"What? Pluto, what did you sa--OOF!" Moon
started to ask Pluto to repeat what she said,
but was cut off when Pluto dashed over to her,
flipped her over her shoulder, and started
"I said 'RUN'!" Pluto yelled, as she took
The Senshi shared a glance. No words were
needed. They were all thinking the same thing
and they knew it. <Pluto freaked = very BAD
thing = RUN!>
Pluto was carrying Moon, who wasn't the
lightest person on the planet. They still had a
tough time catching up to her.
"Pluto, *huff* why *puff* are *pant* we
*wheeze* running?" Jupiter gasped out.
Pluto showed no visible effort as she
answered. "Nemesis is about to cast one of his
'Big Three'. Its name is Vindication. It's the
first on a three-step scale. The next is named
Absolution. That's what he used on Mimas. The
most powerful is named Solitude. We suspect
that's what was used to destroy the planet
"What kind of blast are we talking about?
How big?" Uranus asked, easily keeping pace once
she had caught her breath.
"I'm not sure. Let me check." Pluto tapped
on her gem. "Nemesis?"
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?!" His voice
bellowed a reply. "I'M BUSY HERE!"
"How far do we need to be?" Pluto asked,
unperturbed by his tone.
"I'd recommend three blocks from my current
position. YEAH, YOU LIKE THAT? HUH? YOU WANT
SOME MORE OF THAT? WELL, COME ON YOU LITTLE--"
His voice was cut off as Pluto quickly
tapped the gem. "I think we've heard enough."
Behind them, a HUGE fireball rose in to the
air, leaving behind a corona of black smoke. The
"I REALLY hope we don't have to pay for
that." Moon commented from her perch.
"I really don't think they'll care about
that in a few seconds." Pluto commented, as she
ducked into an alley and tapped on her gem
again. "We're clear."
"Good. Let me get into a better position."
Nemesis responded. "I'm there. Brace
It wouldn't be right to say they heard him
begin. Even if Nemesis screamed at the top of
his lungs, if would be doubtful that they would
have heard it.
Nevertheless, they KNEW when he started to
cast the attack. They felt it in their bones.
Their magic resonated with it. It skittered over
their skin like a million spiders. Their
instincts screamed at them to "RUN!" They
concentrated on ignoring all of it.
There was a huge flash, the ground shook,
and car alarms went off. But there was no
shockwave, no ear-shattering explosion. Just a
flash and a tremor.
Pluto slowly poked her head out, then walked
out. She jumped up to the roof. The rest of the
Senshi followed her, and sucked in their breath
at the sight.
What appeared to be an entire block was
just...gone. Buildings were cut cleanly as if by
a knife. Power lines sparked as they danced
insanely over the ground. A perfectly circular
section of Juban had been completely vaporized.
"Kami protect us. How many people did he
kill with that attack?" Mars whispered in an
absolutely horrified tone.
"None. Absolutely none. The bastard skipped
out before it killed him. But he was seriously
hurting." Nemesis said from behind them. They
"WHY THE HELL DO YOU keep...doing...that?"
Uranus' voice trailed off as she got a good look
He had a deep cut directly over his right
eye, his nose was obviously broken, and his left
eye was rapidly swelling shut. From the way he
was holding his right arm over his chest it was
obvious the broken ribs he had mentioned hurt,
and his left arm was hanging loosely in its
socket. His shirt had large rents all over it,
and Mercury thought she saw a brief flash of
bone through one of them. He looked like someone
had been put him in a blender and hit 'Frappe'.
He was nonchalantly leaning against a vent to
Mercury gasped and hurried over to him.
"Hold still." She commanded.
"Whoa! Not the aAAARGGH!" Nemesis screamed
as Mercury touched his left arm and it shifted
just below the elbow. She quickly snapped her
hand back and stepped back. Her eyes had a mute
question. He satisfied her curiosity.
"Blocked a manhole cover doing Mach 1.8.
Turned out to be a bad idea. Who knew?" Nemesis
tried to shrug, but failed. "Actually, it's not
so bad. It's annoying, that's all. The broken
left femur is what I'm pissed about."
"Broken...left...femur." Mercury repeated
"Yup. Got it blocking a telephone pole. Or
maybe it was that tanker. Whatever." Nemesis
tried to shrug again. He still didn't quite
manage it. His gaze sharpened. "Pluto. They need
training. A lot of it, too. Either you take care
of it, or I will. I'd suggest you start
immediately. As in tomorrow."
"We have school tomorrow." Mercury
informed him calmly.
"All the schooling in the world doesn't
matter if you're not alive to use it. Just a
little reminder." He smiled, showing lots of
teeth. He looked down.
"Saturn, what are you doing?" His voice
was pleasant, almost kind. Saturn had walked
over to him and had placed her hands on his
"I'm going to heal you. Please don't
move." Saturn replied, as her gloved hands began
to emit a white glow.
"Don't bother. Wouldn't work." Nemesis
gently removed her hands.
"Why not?" Saturn asked unhappily.
"It's just the way my magic works. I can't
be healed by outside forces. You'd just make it
worse. Thank you for the thought, though."
Nemesis smiled kindly at Saturn.
He turned and more or less fell into the
shadows, swearing under his breath the entire
Pluto sighed as she looked up at the sky.
"It's getting dark. Let's go to my house. It's
the closest. You can call your parents from
there and tell them you're staying over."
"I can explain, really I can." Augstyn
babbled. He was a mess. Literally charred over a
good 70 percent of his body, one eye gone, the
bones in his right arm ground into powder, and
occasionally coughing up blood from his
punctured lung. The fact that most of his
internal organs were the consistency of soup, or
the multiple hairline fractures on his skull
didn't appear to be slowing him down, but they
A shadowed form stared at him with glowing
red eyes from its perch in a large, overstuffed
Laz-E-Boy. (Just because you're evil doesn't
mean you don't like comfy chairs.) This was the
Master. If he had another name, he had never
bother to inform anyone. He calmly watched as
Augstyn babbled away.
"You see, I knew we needed more data on the
Senshi, so I thought--URK!" His voice was cut
off by a hand closing around his throat. He was
slowly lifted into the air and brought close to
his Master's face. Augstyn nervously stared at
the razor-sharp teeth that were well within
biting distance as the Master started to speak.
"That is just the problem. You 'thought'. I
was under the impression that I had broken you
of that habit. Of course, if you 'think' you
understand more about my goals than I do...."
his Master's gravelly voice trailed off.
Augstyn frantically shook his head. He could
feel his Master's claws digging into his neck.
He tried desperately not to remember the time he
watched the Master gleefully flay a man with
"Listen to me, and listen well, little
Augstyn. I have not spent all the time I have on
this miserable little mudball to have my efforts
ruined by you. I was already sick of this planet
when your ancestors considered a bronze sword as
the height of weaponry.
"I hate this pathetic hellhole. I would like
nothing more than to reduce it to random atoms
floating through the void of space. But, until I
accomplish my goals, I CAN *NOT*. If you EVER
endanger my plans again, I will make you wish
your great-grandparents had died at birth.
Understand?" The Master's voice was coldly
formal and flat.
Augstyn nodded quickly, trying to ignore the
obvious enjoyment the Master had at his terror.
"Good. Now get out of my sight." He was
tossed to the floor carelessly. Augstyn ignored
the pain, ignored the broken bones, just
scrambled quickly for the door. He had to get
A chuckle sounded through the room after
Augstyn had managed to pull himself out. "Good.
Maybe next time he'll actually listen. Now, what
should I do? Ah, I know. I'll go...exploring.
London? I've had fun there before. Maybe it's
time for Jack to come back."
With that, the dark figure disappeared,
laughing the whole while in a harsh, grating
"I can't wait to go to sleep." Minako
commented as the group minus Mamoru (who had a
test to study for) and the cats (Setsuna
informed them that Ranko had an extreme allergy
to cats), walked towards the door of Setsuna's
Everyone absently nodded as they kept
their full attention on Haruka, who was telling
a story about their houseguest.
"...So Ranko stumbles in, shirt ripped,
pants shredded, and one shoe gone. Has a black
eye, a split lip, and one massive bruise on her
side. You know her only comment?" Haruka waited
a bit to build suspense.
"And I quote: 'I ran into an old friend. I
was kicking his ass until he got lost. We got
any ice?' That was it! She never mentioned it
again!" Haruka shook her head in exasperation.
"Man, she's come home just about every night
with something. I don't know how she manages to
keep herself clothed."
They were halfway to the door when Setsuna
froze and blocked the group from going any
further with her arm. Haruka was about to
complain, but one look at Setsuna's face halted
"Setsuna? What's wrong?" Haruka asked in a
"The door is open. And I know I closed and
dead-bolted it when I left." Setsuna's voice was
"So Ranko came home after a fight and
didn't lock it. Big deal." Haruka negligently
"Ranko never uses the front door,
remember? She always goes through her window."
Setsuna reminded her. "Now, stay here."
They watched as Setsuna cautiously
advanced the last few yards to the door. When
she got to it, she knelt down and touched her
fingertips to the doorstep, then lifted them and
rubbed them together. She motioned them forward.
"What did you find?" Ami asked nervously.
"Blood. Pretty good puddle, too. Smeared
on the door handle, the pot where I keep the
spare key, and the key. Key's still in the lock,
too." Setsuna stood and commanded in a firm
voice, "Follow me. Watch your backs, and be on
your guard. It might just be a burglar who cut
his hand. If it is, he's going to regret it."
Unspoken, yet still understood by all, was the
thought that it probably wasn't a burglar,
Setsuna pulled open the left side of her
jacket and reached in. What her hand was holding
when it emerged made the other Senshi gasp and
caused their eyes to pop.
"That's a mighty big gun." Haruka calmly
commented. (And ranked an 8.5 on the coolness
"It's a Taurus Raging Bull. Fires .454
ammo of my own make. Trust me, you hit someone
with this gun, they don't get back up." Setsuna
informed them in an almost happy tone.
"You do know that guns are highly illegal,
right?" Makoto asked calmly.
"Not if you have the right permits."
Setsuna replied, as she pushed the door open
with her foot.
"Why do you have a gun, anyways?" Ami
"Because it's not always practical to
transform and hit my enemy with a Dead Scream.
Now be quiet!" Setsuna commanded, then dashed
into the front room, gun at the ready.
She swiftly and silently followed the
trail of blood through the room and up the
stairs. The others followed her, though not as
swiftly, and nowhere near silently.
"This is just like one of those Bond
films. Minako Aino, starring in: 'Lotsopussy'!"
Minako loudly whispered. Haruka choked. Most of
the other Senshi tried to illuminate the room
with blushes alone. Hotaru was confused at their
weird behavior. Older people were just weird
"That's 'Octopussy', Minako." Haruka
finally managed to get out through her attempts
to keep from laughing out loud.
"Oh. Well, close enough." Minako
Haruka was about to say more, but was cut
off when a hand was slapped over her mouth.
Setsuna glared at her.
"Do you mind? I can't hear anything over
you people!" She hissed. "The blood trail goes
to the bathroom. I'm going to check it out. You
stay here. If I need help, you'll know. Just
listen for loud booms."
Setsuna started to stalk slowly down the
hall. Haruka looked over at Michiru, raised an
eyebrow, grinned, and followed her. The rest of
the Senshi followed Haruka.
Ahead of them, Setsuna silently groaned to
herself. <Nemesis is right. They DO need to
She slowly edged around the open door of
the bathroom. There was a small form laying on
the floor just inside the door. Keeping one hand
firmly on her pistol, she reached over and
switched on the light.
"SON OF A BITCH!"
The Senshi nearly jumped out of their skins
as Setsuna bellowed an obscenity and ran into
the bathroom. They quickly ran to the door and
Setsuna was kneeling down next to a familiar
red-headed female. The blood obviously belonged
to her, as she was lying in a small puddle of
"Ranko?" Haruka's horrified whisper sounded
hideously loud in the sudden silence. <Oh, hell.
This is a lot worse than last time she crawled
Setsuna returned her pistol to its holster
and slowly reached over to Ranko's still form.
She could see that she was still breathing,
which was a good thing. However, she appeared to
be unconscious, which was a bad thing.
As Setsuna's hand touched her, Ranko jerked
"Wha? 'Suna? 'Zat you? Ya, 'tis. Good. Need
a lil' help here." Ranko slurred out.
"My God, Ranko, who did this to you?" Rei
Ranko snorted and chuckled weakly. "'m fine.
Y' sh'd see th' other guy."
She was still chuckling softly when she
"I simply can NOT believe she won't take
Ranko to a hospital! What's she trying to do,
kill her?" Rei raged as she stalked around the
living room, waiting for Setsuna to come down.
"I'm sure she has a reason." Haruka
pragmatically said. <Of course, if it's not a
damn good one, I'm gonna kick her ass.> Haruka
had to admit, Ranko could be REALLY obnoxious,
but she grew on you.
"What kind of reason could she have? Ranko
has to have massive blood loss, could have
internal injuries, and needs to be x-rayed at
the very least! We should be out finding the
bastard that did that to her and making him
pay!" Ami nearly snarled from her seat by the
Everyone stared at her. Ami was almost
growling as she said that. Ami growling was NOT
a usual thing. It was scary.
"You can't find him. By now he's long
gone. And even if you did, you wouldn't be able
to hurt him. Not if he managed to hurt her like
that." Setsuna announced from the doorway.
"And just why aren't we taking her to the
hospital? She needs medical attention!" Ami
"Don't yell. Ranko's asleep." Setsuna
calmly commanded as she walked across the room
to a cabinet against the far wall. She opened it
and pulled out a crystal-cut bottle filled with
amber liquid and a large glass. She pulled the
stopper out and filled the glass to the brim.
She lifted the glass to eye level, and looked at
"Bottoms up." Setsuna commented, then
tossed back the entire glass in one shot. She
winced, then poured another glass and downed it
too. She replaced the bottle after pouring
a third glass, then walked over to the couch and
sank into it next to Makoto.
Setsuna swirled her drink as she started
to speak. Her voice was quiet and serious.
"Ranko has...certain people after her.
Because of that, I cannot take her to a
hospital. It's also the reason she's so good at
fighting. She's had a LOT of practice. In all
likelihood, the person who did that to her was
one of those people."
"So let's find them and 'convince' them to
leave her alone." Ami growled through gritted
"If they did *that* to her, you wouldn't
stand a chance. Trust me." Setsuna said softly.
"I'll transform." Ami quickly replied.
"It wouldn't matter." Setsuna sipped at
"What do you mean, 'It wouldn't matter'?"
"Ranko could defeat you even if you
transformed. Blindfolded. With both arms tied
behind her back. Without breaking a sweat."
Setsuna stated, looking Haruka straight in the
eyes. "She's been holding back against you. A
"Has she." Haruka's voice was flat.
"Oh, yes. If you attacked her in her
sleep, she wouldn't even have to wake up to
knock you out." Setsuna said, then drained the
"Setsuna-mama? Can I heal Ranko?" Hotaru
Setsuna smiled tenderly at her. "No,
Hotaru-chan. It's not necessary. Ranko just
needs some sleep and a lot of food. I'd lay
money on her being fine in time for school
"Are you serious?" Makoto incredulously
"I'm very serious. Ranko has trained her
body to heal faster." Setsuna answered, as she
moved over and filled her glass again.
"I'd be careful how much of that you put
away, Setsuna. Double-malt scotch will knock you
on your ass." Haruka cautioned.
Setsuna laughed. "Haruka, I couldn't get a
buzz even if I wanted to. My powers ensure it.
They don't let me get drunk. Most I can manage
is a bit relaxed." She smirked as she mock-
toasted towards Haruka. "Ever wonder why I never
have hangovers? Bottoms up."
"Well, that must come in handy." Minako
Setsuna just smiled as she sat down again.
There was silence for a few seconds, then she
"He was right."
"Who was? And about what?" Michiru quickly
"Nemesis. He was right. You DO need
training. We should start tomorrow." Setsuna
glanced at her watch. "Make that today."
"When are we supposed to train? At night,
we have to deal with youma, and during the day
we have school. I don't see how we can manage
it." Ami calmly stated the facts.
"Simple. You don't go to school." Setsuna
"WHAT?!" The room exploded into a babble
of voices. Some of them (Minako, Makoto, Usagi)
were excited by the prospect of no school, while
the rest were protesting.
Setsuna silenced them all by lifting her
"You didn't let me finish." She coolly
stated. "I never suggested you stop learning. I
merely suggested you stop going to school. I am
fully licensed to teach well past a college
level education. I could go to any college on
the planet and get a job nearly instantly." She
shrugged, "I had to do something while I waited
for all of you to be reborn."
"And how long would it take for you to set
this up?" Haruka asked.
"I already have. Why do you think I was
making all those calls on my cell phone as we
walked home? I start tutoring you tomorrow. Ami
still has her juku after school, though."
"How did you manage that?" Michiru
"There are some good things to being your
school counselor. It allows me to assign all of
you to an 'inter-personal teaching study group'
at a moment's notice. With Rei, I just had to
request that she be included to 'facilitate a
wider diversity amongst the student ratio'.
After that, it was just a matter of calling your
parents and informing them of the great honor
you had just received. Simple, really." Setsuna
smirked a little.
The Senshi all stared at her in amazement.
Setsuna smiled as she stood, then spoke.
"You should sleep now. We're going to
start early tomorrow. I'm afraid none of us are
going to be able to sleep upstairs, though.
Ranko's nerves are too tightly wound right now
to stay asleep if we went up there. Haruka,
please show them where the spare bedding is. I
have dibs on the couch." Setsuna calmly
"Why do you get the couch?" Minako
"It's my house. It's my couch. It's the
first time I've gotten sleep in the last week.
*I* *GET* *THE* *COUCH*." Setsuna never raised
her voice, but her tone made everyone take an
involuntarily step back.
"You get the couch." Minako squeaked.
"Thank you." Setsuna smiled sweetly.
Everyone gulped, then followed Haruka to
get blankets and whatnot.
Rei jerked awake. She glanced around
hurriedly. No one else was moving. Everyone was
sleeping on the floor in Setsuna's front room.
Except for Setsuna who had sighed happily as she
lay on the couch. And Hotaru, who was curled up
in the highly comfortable chair.
One of the bad things about being both a
fire maiden and Sailor Mars was the fact that
she was mildly empathic and was unable to turn
her empathy off. As Sailor Mars, it meant that
she could sense evil. As Rei, it meant that she
was constantly being awakened by strong
feelings. She had lost count of the number of
times she had been jerked awake by someone
arguing in front of the temple. And she could
never manage to get back to sleep, either. After
a while, she had almost gotten used to it, but
the loss of sleep still left her grouchy.
It wasn't anger that had jerked her awake
this time, though. It was a feeling she was
quite used to sensing whenever she arrived on
the scene of a youma attack. It was fear.
Soul-wrenching, gut-churning terror.
Rei slowly got to her feet, staggered
over to the light switch, and snapped it on,
waking the other occupants of the room. She
opened her mouth to speak over the grumbling,
but was interrupted by a scream behind her. It
came from upstairs.
Rei started to snap around, but was shoved
to the side by a green-haired blur. Rei stared
in shock as Setsuna ignored the stairs and
leapt to the second floor.
Rei regained her footing, only to be
shoved aside again. This time by Hotaru, who
followed Setsuna's example and leapt to the
second floor as well.
Rei shook off her shock and rapidly ran up
the stairs. The rest of the group followed en
masse. They followed the screaming down the hall
to its origin, the room at the end of the hall.
Idly, Haruka and Michiru noted that it was
Setsuna's room. Hotaru was standing in the
doorway, her face pale.
As the Senshi clustered around the
doorway, they saw a sight that branded itself
into their brains.
Ranko was curled in a ball on Setsuna's
lap, sobbing hysterically. Setsuna was cradling
Ranko's head against her chest and making
soothing noises while rubbing her back. Ranko
had her arms wrapped around Setsuna, and showed
no intention of ever letting go.
Rei hesitantly began to enter the room,
but was halted when Setsuna shot a glance at
her. The glance was a clearly stated "BACK OFF!"
She retreated to the doorway and watched
After a few minutes that seemed like days,
Ranko's sobs began to ease off and she loosened
her hold on Setsuna. Setsuna slowly eased
herself out of Ranko's grip as her crying
stopped and gently lowered her back onto the
bed. Ranko shifted a little in her sleep as
Setsuna pulled the covers back over her and
tenderly tucked her in.
Setsuna brushed the hair back from Ranko's
face, then kissed the first two fingertips of
her right hand and touched them to Ranko's
"May the Goddess protect you from the
demons of your own mind." Setsuna whispered
softly, before standing and walking towards the
doorway. None of the Senshi needed any prompting
to go back downstairs as quietly as they could.
Once they were back in the living room,
Rei turned to Setsuna and asked in a calm,
deadly voice, "Setsuna, what the HELL was that?"
Setsuna ignored her and went over to the
cabinet again, removing a now-familiar bottle
and glass. She carried both over to the couch
and collapsed into it. She poured and drank
three glasses in quick succession, then lifted
the now-empty bottle and gazed at it.
"It's times like this that I REALLY wish I
could get drunk." Setsuna's voice was wistful.
"You don't realize how much you miss the little
things like that until they're gone."
Rei tried again, this time with a little
more heat in her voice. "Setsuna, tell me what
the HELL just happened. What did that to Ranko?
She didn't even wake up!"
Setsuna sighed, then opened her mouth to
speak. Everyone leaned in close to listen as she
spoke. "Ranko's not allergic to cats."
And then everyone simultaneously fell
over. Rei jumped back to her feet. "WHA-MMMPHH!"
Rei's scream was interrupted by Setsuna's
hand over her mouth. Setsuna's voice was ice-
cold as she spoke.
"Please don't yell. You wouldn't want to
wake up Ranko, now would you?"
Rei shook her head. Setsuna smiled a tight
smile as she removed her hand and sat back down.
She started to speak.
"Remember how I told you how Ranko was an
extremely GOOD fighter?" Everyone nodded.
"It's because of her training. Ranko has
trained nearly every waking hour since she could
stand unaided. Almost sixteen years of intensive
martial arts training. No breaks, no off days,
no vacations. No mercy was shown, or asked for,
because mercy did not exist in the training, or
the trainer's heart."
Setsuna paused, then looked around the
room. "What I'm about to tell you is NEVER to be
discussed. EVER. *I* tell Artemis and Luna, not
you. *I* will tell Mamoru, not you. *YOU* will
tell NO ONE. If Ranko brings it up, you can tell
her I told you. Otherwise, do not mention it. Do
you understand and agree?"
Setsuna waited until she received
agreement from everyone in the room before
continuing. "Ranko's primary teacher in the Art
was her father. To call the man an idiot is an
understatement. The words simply do not exist to
convey the pure stupidity of that...thing."
Disgust dripped from her voice. "He cared about
nothing but making his child into the best
Martial Artist on the planet. He succeeded, but
screwed her life over as a result."
Setsuna paused and took a deep breath.
"One of the ways he decided to teach his child
was a technique known as the Neko-ken."
As Setsuna calmly described the training
for the Neko-ken, the Senshi's faces grew
progressively paler. As Setsuna described the
side effects, Haruka's legs gave out and she
collapsed to the floor. As Setsuna explained
how the Neko-ken actually worked, Usagi dashed
to the nearest bathroom and became violently
ill. After what seemed like years, Setsuna
finally fell silent. As she tried not to faint,
Ami absently noticed that a single tear was
sliding down Setsuna's cheek.
"That bastard DIES." Michiru stated in
an enraged, hate-filled voice. Everyone in the
room nodded in agreement.
"No. You are not to try to find him. You
are not to try to do anything to him." Setsuna
"WHY?!" Rei screamed, "Because of your
all-important time stream? Is that it? Will his
death cause your precious Crystal Tokyo to not
exist? Is that it?"
In a flash, Setsuna was standing in front
of Rei, staring into her eyes. Setsuna's eyes
were literally glowing with rage. They looked
like a preview of the flames of Hell. Rei
"No, Rei. His death doesn't mean a thing
to Crystal Tokyo now. His death won't affect any
further major events. His death is entirely
meaningless. However, none of you are going to
take action against him, for one simple reason:
He is *MINE*. I have millennia of experience on
all of you. I can make his last hours into
weeks. By the time I'm done with him, death will
be a comfort." Setsuna hissed, in a tone that
would make Satan himself think twice about
Rei collapsed to the floor as Setsuna
turned away and tried to remember how to
"Setsuna, how do you know about this?"
Usagi asked from the doorway. Her face was pale,
and tears were streaming from her eyes. Setsuna
averted her eyes, and said nothing.
"You were there, weren't you." It wasn't a
question. Setsuna remained silent.
"Setsuna?" Michiru's voice was aghast.
"You could have stopped that? Why didn't you?"
"I couldn't have stopped it." Setsuna
answered in a small voice.
"Bullshit. You could have stopped it, you
just didn't. Let me guess: 'Sanctity of the time
stream?'" Rei's voice was harsh and mocking.
Setsuna whirled to face her.
"Damn it! I COULDN'T! *I* told MYSELF not
to! Do you know what happened the LAST time I
ignored myself? Do you? Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
that's what! I DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE!" Setsuna
"You always have a choice, Setsuna." Usagi
"Some choice. If I had stopped that
attempt her father would have tried it again in
a different place. That time, Ranko would have
died." Setsuna responded in a haunted voice.
"Setsuna, you should have done SOMETHING."
Usagi's voice was earnest.
"I did what I could. If Ranko hadn't gone
through the Neko-ken, she would have died. If
she had died, right now large portions of the
planet would be irradiated craters." Setsuna
rubbed her temples, then continued.
"I've been protecting the Time Gate since
Arik created it and put it on Pluto. I've been
alive for so long that not even *I* remember
just how old I am. None of you know what that is
like. I did what I had to do. It doesn't mean
I'm proud of it. End of discussion." Setsuna's
tone indicated that the subject was closed as
far as she was concerned.
"Setsuna, this conversation is not over."
"Yes, it is. We can continue it after
you've experienced something close to what I
have." Setsuna laid down on the couch and
prepared to go back to sleep.
"And when will that be?" Minako asked.
"Ask me again in a thousand years."
There was silence for a few seconds. Then,
Makoto broke it with a question.
"So you're saying we've gotta wait until
"Setsuna?" Makoto walked over to the
couch. She peered at Setsuna. "Setsuna? She's...
"Wow. That was fast." Usagi commented.
"Trick I picked up from Hannibal's troops.
Along with learning how to sleep lightly."
Setsuna said, without showing any other signs of
activity. "Now, go to sleep. School starts
"Yeah, sure. Whatever." Haruka
sarcastically commented as she and Michiru got
comfortable in their sleeping bag.
As the rest of the girls started to slowly
fall back to sleep, Setsuna smiled to herself.
<Haruka, you never learn, do you?>
Michiru mumbled a little under her breath
and shifted. There was a cold draft blowing down
her and Haruka's sleeping bag. She tried to
cuddle closer to Haruka, but slim hands slowly
rolled her away. She batted them away.
"You just haveta' be difficult don't ya,
Michiru." A voice grumbled.
Michiru sleepily nuzzled up to Haruka
before something occurred to her. <That wasn't
Haruka's voice.> Her eyes snapped open and she
whipped her head around. A hand was slapped over
her mouth before she had a chance to speak,
Michiru stared at the figure over her.
Ranko's eyes twinkled as she lifted a finger to
her lips in a silent instruction to stay quiet.
She grinned mischievously.
<Ranko's awake? She's moving?> Then
Michiru looked around the room and noticed that
a window to the back yard was open, with the
screen leaning against the wall beside it. <She
Ranko grinned as she grabbed the back of
Haruka's shirt and the hem of her panties.
<She would.> Michiru concluded.
The group was treated to a loud, cheerful
bellow from Ranko as she picked up Haruka and
"TIME FOR A SWIM, HARUKA!"
As Haruka flew through the open window,
she had just enough time to notice Setsuna
standing on the porch and saluting her with her
customary cup of tea. Haruka drew in a breath
for a scream just before she entered the ice-
cold water of the pond.
Inside the house, the Senshi snapped awake
at the yell, adrenaline going into hands
reaching for henshin pens instinctively. They
stopped when they didn't see any enemy, just the
tail end of Ranko's pigtail as she jumped out
Everyone felt the temptation to turn over
and go back to sleep, but loud laughing from the
back yard destroyed that idea. Everyone crawled
out of their sleeping bags and stumbled over to
the window and looked out.
Ranko was standing in the middle of the
yard, dressed in her usual red and black Chinese
clothes, and mocking Haruka as she crawled out
of the pond.
"What's the matter, Haruka? You appear to
be soaking wet. My, I wonder how that happened?"
Ranko seemed to be enjoying herself immensely.
Haruka growled, then winced. She reached
down and made a few adjustments to her underwear
before standing up. Ranko smirked as Haruka
Ranko hopped over Haruka's fist (and her
head), which left her back wide open. Haruka
took advantage of the opportunity with a kick,
only to have Ranko impossibly twist around in
mid-air to dodge.
Ranko's foot shot out and hit Haruka in
the forehead with just enough force to sting
slightly. Haruka instinctively jerked back and
slipped on the dew-slicked grass, resulting in
her impacting the ground on her butt. Ranko
"Real graceful, Haruka! Geez, I've seen
pandas that fight better than you!" Ranko
Haruka regained her feet, and the
'sparring' started again. Haruka continued to
try to even touch Ranko, who stayed just barely
out of reach the entire time.
The Senshi stared in shock as Ranko
bounced around the yard like a ping-pong ball on
espresso, taunting Haruka the entire time. It
was obvious to everyone that she was in no
danger of Haruka catching her.
"Now you see why I said she'd be fine? And
why I refused a hospital? All she needs is a lot
of food to replenish what healing herself took
out of her." Setsuna announced from behind them.
None of them even twitched. They were too
busy staring at Ranko play with Haruka like she
was a child.
"I want to learn how to do THAT." Makoto
said in a reverent voice.
"All you have to do is ask her. She's
already agreed to teach all of you. But I warn
you, her training will not be easy. And once she
starts, she won't stop until she's happy with
you." Setsuna warned, knowing her warning would
fall on deaf ears.
"I don't care if she makes me walk through
Tokyo naked as long as she teaches me how to do
that." Makoto replied, watching as Ranko flipped
Haruka into the pond.
Setsuna smiled. <I warned them. Now,
they're in for it.>
"You gonna eat that?" Ranko asked Rei,
pointing at the stack of waffles on her plate.
Rei mutely shook her head.
"Great. Mind if I eat 'em?" Without
waiting for a reply, Ranko slipped them onto her
plate, doused them with syrup, and proceeded to
Usagi leaned over to Makoto and whispered,
"Do I eat like that?"
Makoto shook her head as she whispered
back. "No, your manners are better." <But not by
"Ranko, how much CAN you eat?" Hotaru
asked with uncharacteristic bluntness. So far,
Ranko had devoured several LARGE stacks of
waffles, enough orange juice to float an
aircraft carrier, and seemed intent on consuming
an entire pig in the form of sausage.
Ranko just smiled as she reached for more
food. It took several heaping plates more before
she pushed herself back from the table. She
wiped off her mouth, then spoke.
"As I was comin' in, Setsuna said ya all
wanted to learn the Art from me. That right?"
Everyone nodded, and most of them had
eager looks in their eyes. Ranko pursed her
"You understand, I ain't gonna go easy on
ya. And I was just playin' with Haruka this
morning. Trainin' under me 's gonna be tough,
and I won't stop 'til I'm happy with ya."
Everyone paused, taken back by the
absolute seriousness in her voice. Rei leaned
forward as she spoke.
"We would learn, if you would teach us...
Sensei." Everyone echoed their agreement as
Ranko glanced at them.
"All right. You asked for it. The most
important rule is contained in my style's name:
'Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu'. Roughly translates to
'Anything Goes.' States everything ya need to
know. The only rule is this: Whatever it takes
to win. Period. You are bound only by your own
limits. And I'm gonna make those limits bigger."
Ranko glanced around the table. "I ain't
gonna lie to ya. It's gonna be rough. It's gonna
be hard. Before the end of it, you'll wish I was
dead. But you will learn. And you'll learn to MY
Everyone gulped and began to wonder what
they had gotten themselves into. Ranko smiled as
she finished her speech.
"We'll begin tomorrow. But first...."
Ranko trailed off.
Everyone leaned forward in anticipation.
"We need to get some more food. I'm
starving." Ranko announced firmly. There was a
chorus of meaty *thuds* as several foreheads hit
the table. Ranko grinned and stood. "A martial
artist lives by his body. Your body lives by
Ranko turned and bumped into Setsuna, who
had been silently standing behind her chair.
Ranko noticed the cup of tea in her hands just a
little too late. The full, steaming cup of tea.
The full, steaming cup of tea that was now
falling right towards her. Ranko froze in panic.
Setsuna's hand flashed out, slapping the
cup aside so that the tea missed Ranko, hitting
"AAAAAHHHHH! HOT!" Haruka screamed.
Ranko ignored her. She was too busy
looking into Setsuna's eyes. There was something
there. A certain look in them. Ranko knew that
look. Nabiki had it all the time. It was a "I
know something you're hiding" look. It was a
look that Ranko did NOT want to see.
"Setsuna, can I talk to you?" Ranko asked,
jerking her head to the door. Setsuna nodded
agreement. Ranko followed her past, the now-
muttering Haruka, through the living room, and
up the stairs to Setsuna's room.
Ranko wasted no time in small talk once
Setsuna had shut the door. "You know."
"Know? Know what?" Setsuna asked
innocently. Ranko glared at her.
Setsuna sighed. "Yes, of course I know. We
can't talk about this now. There's something I
need to do, so we'll talk later. I need you to
pick up some things from the grocery store while
I take care of my business. Take the girls with
Ranko opened her mouth to protest, but was
stopped by the look in Setsuna's eyes. Ranko
knew that look, too. She had seen it in both her
mother's and Kasumi's eyes. It meant "You will
do it. Period." Ranko sighed.
"Fine. We'll talk later." Ranko bit out as
she turned, opened the door, and started to slip
out. Setsuna's voice stopped her.
"One last thing, Ranko. Pressure points
"What?" Ranko asked as she snapped her
head around. The room was empty. Ranko blinked.
<I don't know how she did that, but I have GOT
to learn it. And what the hell did she mean by
"Why are we getting groceries? We should
be studying." Ami asked as she walked and
studied the shopping list that had somehow
appeared on the table when no one was looking.
"Oh, lighten up, Ami!" Usagi exclaimed.
"It's a lot better out here than stuck in the
house learning stuff we'll never use anyways!
It's such a nice day, too! Nothing can ruin it!"
It's that kind of statement that nasty,
vindictive gods live for. The kind of gods that
make sure it rains during a picnic. Or ensure
that all the snow melts just BEFORE you can
build a snowman. Or, like in this case, make a
youma attack occur just in front of you. (It
isn't that the gods don't have a sense of humor.
It's just that their idea of a good joke tends
to drive mortals insane.)
Everyone leapt for cover as a large,
blue-scaled hand burst through the wall to their
left. Everyone except for Ranko, that is. She
just stood there, waiting to see what the arm
was attached to.
She didn't have to wait long. The youma
quickly created a hole in the wall and stepped
through. It was about six feet tall, and was
covered in light blues scales. It had a
slightly-unfinished look to it, as if its
creator had tired of it before completion, with
no ears, mouth, nose, or hair. It had claws,
though. It showed this by extending them and
taking a swipe at Ranko with its right hand.
Ranko slipped around the blow and almost
casually planted her right foot alongside its
head, resulting in the head bouncing off the
part of the wall that was still standing. She
didn't even bother to take her hands out of her
The youma staggered a bit, then attacked
again. Ranko grinned a cocky smile, as she took
her hands out of her pockets and spoke.
The Senshi could only stare as Ranko
proceeded to start to beat the crap out of a
youma with her bare hands. (And feet. But they
had shoes on them, so they don't count as
Ranko lead in with a quick backfist to the
temple, then a side kick to the stomach. (Or the
youma equivalent, that is.) She stepped in, and
released a jab to the face, followed by a
crescent kick to the head. She ducked in under
another claw-swipe and unleashed a rapid series
of punches to the chest, letting a bit of
Amaguriken-level speed creep in.
The Senshi winced as the sound of breaking
bones drifted over to them. Ranko jumped back
and commented "I don't see what's so tough about
these things. Ribs are softer than Ryoga's!"
>From the way she was grinning, the Senshi
quickly realized the bones that had broken
obviously weren't hers.
Ranko sighed, then charged in, kicking. A
slow claw-swipe was brushed to the side,
allowing her to unleash several good hits with
her knees to the youma's already-damaged
midsection. Ranko stayed in close, brutally
pounding anything that looked like it would
hurt. She seemed to be having an incredibly fun
"Should we transform?" Ami asked weakly.
"Would there be any point?" Haruka
"I don't think so. Ranko seems to have it
well in hand." Ami admitted.
Ranko grinned as the youma fell back under
her assault. It stumbled and fell to the ground.
Ranko started to move in, then something caught
her eye to her right.
"What is she doing?" Makoto asked in a
perplexed tone as Ranko vaulted over the railing
into the street.
"I don't know." Ami replied, in a puzzled
They quickly got their answer as Ranko
reached down and grabbed something at street
level. She lifted it, revealing it to be a
manhole cover. She placed it on edge on the tip
of her right index finger and began to spin it
like a giant coin.
"Those things weigh over a hundred
pounds." Ami noted, in a dull tone.
The youma struggled to its feet and
started to walk towards the Senshi's hiding
place. Ranko stopped the manhole's spinning and
grabbed it with one quick motion. She threw it
with a negligent flick of the wrist, much like
anyone else would have thrown a Frisbee. It
slammed into the side of the youma with a loud
*CRACK* and a squishing noise.
"I don't know why, but I just had to try
that." Ranko commented as she jumped to the
sidewalk. She jerked a thumb back over her
shoulder towards the youma.
"That's what the Sailor Senshi have to
take down? And they have trouble? Sheesh." Ranko
had quickly heard most of the stories about
Juban's favorite urban legends. She decided not
to discount them. She'd seen weirder stuff. But
if THAT was what they had trouble defeating,
they were pretty pathetic.
"Yeah. That was a youma." Ami answered as
she stood from behind her cover. "Usually
they're harder to--LOOK OUT!"
"Huh?" Ranko flipped around just in time
to see the apparently-unharmed youma rush
towards her. "How in the hell did it--"
Her sentence was cut off as the youma
grabbed her by the throat and threw her
across the street and down the block.
Ranko twisted her body and attempted to
lessen the impact. She knew from experience that
she was going too fast to try to prevent an
impact. She slammed into, and through, some kind
of fairly weak metal objects. She grunted as a
pole of some kind stopped her head-first flight.
<Okay, that hurt.> Ranko admitted as she
slid down the pole. She lay on the ground and
concentrated on opening her eyes. She blinked
them open. Right above her was a sign. She
absently read it. <"Please deposit windshield
squeegee back in holder." Huh. Weird. Hey,
what's that smell?>
Ranko sniffed once or twice. She was lying
in a puddle of some liquid and there was a
familiar odor that she knew she SHOULD
recognize. <What IS that?>
She was trying to get her ringing head to
function when it hit her. <"Windshield
squeegee." Puddle. Smell. Oh, no. Please don't
let it be what I THINK it is.>
Ranko wrenched herself to a sitting
position. The sight in front of her was what she
had feared. The mangled remains of two gas
pumps, still spraying gasoline everywhere. She
was lying in a rapidly growing puddle of
EXTREMELY flammable liquid. By some miracle, it
Ranko's brain finally re-booted itself and
reasserted its priorities. <The youma! The
Ranko snapped her gaze across the street
and located the youma just in time to see it
throw the manhole cover towards her still-seated
Ranko started to scramble to get out the
lake of gasoline. Even as she tried, she knew
the outcome. It was with a fatalistic gaze that
she watched the manhole cover skip off the
ground directly in front of the gasoline. A
single, solitary spark lit. Ranko stared at it
as it seemed to slow to an impossible crawl as
it drifted downwards.
The Senshi were blown off their feet and
into a wall as the gas station was vaporized in
a massive fireball. They watched as a red-haired
figure was covered in a wash of flame.
"Ranko..." Usagi whispered in a tortured
A single scorched piece of red silk
drifted down and landed in front of her.
(Yeah. Right. You think I'm THAT stupid? Not
And with that, the *EVIL-NASTY* (TM)
cliff-hanger makes it's return. I love being me
Thanks to my pre-readers, who helped (and
help) me a LOT.
ANY C&C is appreciated. Good, bad, whatever.
Heck, I'll even read the flames. (Before laughing my
head off and deleting them, that is.)
Ever wonder if there are others of Yoda's race,
and if they speak the same way?
Imagine the Yoda-men in the office, around the
Yoda 1: Hello, Bill.
Yoda 2: Morning, Hank.
Yoda 1: Finish that proposal you did?
Yoda 2: Yes, finally. Quite a chore it was.
Yoda 1: That Henderson, a slave driver he is, eh?
Yoda 2: Yes. To kick his ass I'd like. "There
is no try, only do." Asshole he is.
(From a conversation with PatchMonkey.)
After finishing a story:
If you liked the story, drink a bottle to celebrate.
If you disliked the story, drink two bottles to cheer you up.
If you're apathetic, then drink till you care, dammit!
(From a Slayers drinking game.)
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