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Chapter Six

Dread Moon

 

            The next day before school Ami called all the rest of the Senshi and Mamoru and told them to meet at Haruka and Michiru’s house instead of the shrine.  Ami was still a little groggy from staying out so late with Ranma, but in her eyes it had been worth it.  She went to the bathroom to get ready for school.

 

            Dr. Mizuno, Ami’s mother, had just awakened and went and waited for her daughter to finish with the bathroom.  She had noticed that Ami had been taking longer and longer to get ready this past week.  Ami was usually in and out of her morning routines like clockwork.  This variance in daily cycles was so unlike her.  Then she heard something coming from the bathroom.  She put her ear against the door and figured out what it was.  Ami’s singing to herself!  That’s quite a happy tune as well.  I think my little girl has fallen in love!  She knocked on the door.  “Are you finished, Ami?”

 

            Ami shook herself from her thoughts.  She hadn’t realized that she had been in the bathroom so long.  “Sorry, mother.  I’ll be out shortly.”  Ami took one last look at herself and nodded in satisfaction.  She opened the door and saw her mother looking into her eyes.

 

            Yes, definitely.  Dr. Mizuno thought.  “So who is the lucky boy?”

 

            Ami took a step back.  “I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

            “Oh come on, Ami.  You can tell me.”

 

            “It’s nothing.”

 

            “Nothing is it.”  Ami’s mother had a grin on her face.  “Singing in the bathroom, staying out all hours of the night.  I let it slip before because you were usually with Usagi, but I called and talked to her yesterday, and she said you were tutoring some boy.  I was wondering when I was going to meet this lucky boy.”

 

            “I’m just helping him through school, and he’s teaching martial arts to my friends and me.” Ami was starting to get a little embarrassed.  Her mother had never taken this much interest in her social life before.  Of course, before she met Usagi, she never had a social life before.  She guessed that her mother was just glad she had friends, but why was she taking such an interest now?

 

            “So he’s a martial artist.  Strong?”

 

            Ami nodded her head.

 

            “Handsome?”

 

            Ami blushed deeper.

 

            “I see.  Well I have to meet him sometime.  Bring him by for dinner sometime.”  At the mention of dinner Ami had started to shift her weight from one foot to another.  “So that’s where you’ve been eating dinner the past few nights.”

 

            Ami would have blushed deeper if she could have.

 

            Dr. Mizuno put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.  “Don’t worry, Ami.  I trust you.  I just want to meet this boy, okay?”

 

            Ami nodded her head and smiled at her mother.  She then made a quick exit out the door and into her room to get her books.  Her mother just shook her head and smiled at her.  She’s growing up so fast.  But I never thought she would fall for someone for just physical reasons.  I mean, a fighter?  I thought Ami would chase after a more intellectual person.  Dr. Mizuno shrugged and closed the bathroom door.

 

 

 

            The senshi all walked to school together as usual.  Ami was avoiding everyone’s eyes.

 

            Usagi put her hands behind her head and grinned.  “Soooo, Ami!  How did the midnight rendezvous go?”

 

            Ami was starting to look like a Native American with her constant state of redness.  “You’ll all find out after school.  There’s a reason why we’re going to meet at Haruka and Michiru’s and not the shrine.”

 

            Makoto furrowed her brow.  “Yeah, why are we meeting there?”

 

            “We need someplace that isn’t so public to talk.”

 

            Minako scratched her head.  “Why?  Is he showing us some secret techniques?”

 

            Ami shook her head.  “No.  It’s more serious than that.  It’s…”

 

            “Good morning, Ami-Chan!”

 

            The senshi turned to see Ranma and Ranko standing on top of the fences behind them.  Ranma was standing straight with a large grin on his face, while Ranko was standing with her arms crossed and with a sour expression on her face.  Since when has she been Ami-Chan?  She thought.

 

            The other senshi looked from Ranma to Ami and back and forth a few more times.  “Ami-CHAN?” They all finally shouted at once.

 

            Ami looked up at Ranma and saw the infectious smile that was on his face.  She returned the smile.  “Good morning, Ranma.  I called all the others to meet at the townhouse after school.”

 

            “Good, well see you guys then!” Ranma waved goodbye and grabbed Ranko’s arm.  After a little bit of urging, Ranma and Ranko were once again running along the fences to school.

 

            “He’s rather chipper this morning.” Makoto folded her arms and looked at Ami.  “I wonder why that is?”

 

            “Ami and him were apparently out all night last night.” Usagi elbowed her blue-haired friend.  “I want all the details!”

 

            Minako and Makoto’s jaws hit the ground.  How did Ami get him over us? They both thought together.

 

            Ami shook her head.  “You’ll all find out after school.”

 

            They all arrived at school and went through the daily routine.  For Usagi, Minako, and Makoto this morning took longer to pass than any other in the history of the world; and the afternoon didn’t pass much faster.

 

            After school they met at Haruka and Michiru’s townhouse as planned.  The Inner Senshi checked on Setsuna, and she was now bedridden and could barely speak.  They needed to stop this menace and stop it fast.

 

            They all gathered together in the living room.  They sat there staring at each other for a little bit until Ranma stood up.  “I…uh…bet you’re wondering why I’ve called you here today.”

 

            “Yeah, we should be sparring.” Haruka was tapping impatiently on the arm of the chair she was sitting in.

 

            Ranma tried to think of how to start this.  He turned to Ami.  “Maybe you should start, Sailor Mercury.”

 

            Everyone’s eyes went wide and froze in place.

 

            Usagi was the first to come out of it.  “You…told…him!  Why???”

 

            Ami shook her head.  “I didn’t tell him.  He sensed my Ki under the Sailor disguise, and plus we were a little too obvious with other clues.  He figured it out on his own, and now we need each other’s help.”  Ami waited until everyone relaxed a little before proceeding.  She took a deep breath and told them about Adamantia, what she had done to Ranma, and what danger she posed to their world and future kingdom.  She also told them Ranko’s story.  “We need Ranma and Ranko’s help to train us to be ready for this threat.  It took all the forces of the Moon Kingdom as well as Queen Beryl to stop her before, and now we need Ranma and Ranko to defeat her now.”

 

            Haruka nodded her head.  “Okay.  Now why don’t we get to training?  We don’t have any time to lose.”

 

            Ranma nodded his head.  “We will get to training, but today we’re going to start training you in your Sailor forms.  I need to get to know each of your powers and your strengths and weaknesses.  That way I can know where to go with your training.  Ranko already has a good idea of each of your powers, but she doesn’t know any of the newer moves you all have come up with.”

 

            Ranko nodded in agreement.  “Once we know what you can do, we can make you into a more effective fighting force.  It’ll take all of us together to take Adamantia down.”

 

            The others nodded in agreement.

 

            Ranma popped his knuckles. “Well no better time the present to get started.  We’ll head out into the countryside so you girls won’t have to expose yourselves to anyone.”

 

            “But what about patrolling for attacks?” A voice seemed to come out of nowhere.

 

            Ranma looked around.  “Who said that?”

 

            Usagi pat the shoebox with holes punched in the top that was lying beside her.  “Luna did.” 

 

Ranma finally noticed the box and noticed Minako had similar box.  “Uhhh… What’s in the boxes?”  The hairs on the back of Ranma’s neck were beginning to stand up.

 

Usagi smiled.  “These are our advisors, Luna and Artemis.”

 

“The shoeboxes advise you?”

 

“No, silly.  The ca…hrummph!”

 

Mamoru was quick with the hand over Usagi’s mouth.  The last thing they needed was Ranma and Ranko freaking out at the realization there were cats in the room.  “They don’t have human bodies, but what DO we do about patrolling?”

 

Ranko gave him a skeptical look.  “Don’t you guys have a way of detecting youma?”

 

Ami looked up at her.  “We have the moon computer.”  She took it out and held it up.  “But its range is only a few hundred meters.”

 

Ranko studied it closely.  “Why don’t you set up some antenna, or booster to cover the Tokyo area? That way you don’t have to waste so much time patrolling?”

 

Luna started beating her head on the bottom of the shoebox at the obviousness of what they should have done a long time ago.

 

Ami was at a loss for words.  “I…uh…never thought of it.”  Everyone facefaulted.

 

Ranko got back up.  “Why don’t you get on that while we go out for everyone’s evaluations?”

 

Ami nodded her head.  “I’ll join you as soon as I can.”

 

Ranma nodded his head.  “I have a feeling we’ll be there for a while.”

 

They went their separate ways.  Ami went to the local electronics store and picked up an antenna and a strong transmitter. She then found the highest point in the Juuban area.  She mounted the antenna there and linked it to the transmitter.  She modulated the frequency to an unused bandwidth and set the moon computer to match.  She did a little testing and found that she could cover Juuban and some surrounding areas with this set up.  She then went a ways away from the rig and did another round of tests.  Everything appeared to work great.  She was satisfied that they could find youma anywhere that they might appear in the Juuban area now.  She’d just have to keep her computer on all the time. Good thing batteries from the Silver Millennium never went dead.

 

Meanwhile, Ranma and Ranko were going from Senshi to Senshi evaluating each of their powers and abilities.  Ranma was impressed by the power the Hotaru wielded with her Silence Glaive.  He had been right about her polearm experience.  He vowed to increase that training.  Most of her powers were more geared toward planetary destruction, so it was useless in small skirmishes.  He’d also try to help her find a way of limiting that power so she could start using them on a smaller scale.

 

Next was Rei.  All her attacks were simply fire based, except for the wards, but they took too long to deploy.  Ranma and Ranko just decided to work on her martial arts to help her conserve energy.  Makoto was very similar to Rei, only lightning and electricity based attacks.

 

Then they came to Minako.  Her crescent beam attacks were similar to the Kijin Raishuu Dan, but her other attacks were all love based.  Ranma quickly moved on to the next senshi.  Ranko shook her head and evaluated Minako’s other attacks.  She could use the chain to bind her enemies to give her the time for her powered attacks.  That would come in very handy.  She also had the most experience out of all the Senshi since she had been Sailor V long before Sailor Moon came onto the scene.

 

Ranma looked over Michiru next.  All water based attacks. Ranma shuddered a little bit thinking about his past aversion to water.  She just needed to be more aggressive and improve her fighting skills. 

 

Ranko moved on to Neptune.  She had a sword and a power ball, very useful.  She already had good fighting ability, so she really didn’t need much more help.

 

Ranma watched Mamoru’s powers.  “That’s it?  You throw roses and fight with a cane?”

 

Mamoru (in Tuxedo Kamen form) scratched his head.  “Uh.  Yeah.”

 

Ranma wanted to slap him for being stupid.  More martial arts, maybe they could teach him the Moko Takabisha or something.

 

Finally Ranma and Ranko both evaluated Usagi.  She had an impressive array of powers and attacks.  All of them would make a devastating warrior, if someone else wielded them.  She needed a lot of conditioning and coordination.  The Saotomes had their work cut out for them.

 

They started training the Senshi, and after a while Ami showed.  She showed off her powers, and Ranma filed her under elemental attacks with Makoto and Rei.  They all had a heavy day of training and conditioning.  They were all glad that no youma attacked that night.  They checked the news the next morning to make sure they didn’t miss anything, and nothing had happened.  They enjoyed two more days of peace, but it was only the calm before the storm.

 

The evening of the third day found the Senshi gathered at the Hikawa shrine.  Most of them were going over katas that Ranma had taught them.  Ami was sitting watching the computer.  She had a feeling deep in the pit of her stomach that the past three days wouldn’t last.  She would not desert her post.  She would know when and where the youma appeared and would alert the others and the Saotomes immediately.  She would also have enough data to find the source of any portal, so that they could go there and destroy the source.  This wasn’t going to be a defensive campaign.  For this one, they were going to be a strike force.  Ranma and Ranko could handle the one or two youma that would come out, but the Senshi would deal with the source.

 

Then the alarms came.  Ami checked her readings and realized their plans were about to change.  She hollered at Usagi. She showed the blonde her findings, and Usagi understood.  Times like this were when it showed through that she was the Moon Princess.  Her features became solid, and the aura of authority surrounded her.  She called her senshi to her.  They gathered around her, and she explained the situation.  The others nodded.  Luckily, Rei’s grandfather was on another trip, so they could transform right here.  Henshin rods were all held aloft as they all transformed into The Sailor Senshi!

 

“Mars Power, Make Up!”  A blaze of fire surrounded Hino Rei as she became the red-skirted Sailor Mars!

 

“Jupiter Power Make Up!”  Lightning crashed and wrapped around the tall brunette, revealing Kino Makoto as the dark green-skirted Sailor Jupiter!

 

“Mercury Power, Make Up!”  Streams of blue enveloped Mizuno Ami, leaving behind the blue-suited Sailor Mercury!

 

Venus Power Make Up!”   A crash of shooting stars encircled Aino Minako.  The stars disappeared leaving the orange-skirted Sailor Venus!

 

Similarly, the Outer Senshi transformed!

 

“Neptune Planet Power Make Up!” Kaiou Michiru became Sailor Neptune.

 

“Uranus Planet Power, Make Up!” Tenou Haruka became Sailor Uranus.

 

“Saturn Planet Power, Make Up!” Tomoe Hotaru became Sailor Saturn.

 

Mamoru nodded his head, and with but a thought, in his place stood Tuxedo Kamen.

 

Finally, Tsukino Usagi held aloft her compact that contained the Silver Crystal.  “Moon Crystal Power Make Up!”  A flurry of ribbons wrapped around Usagi solidifying into the red and blue suit of the moon princess, Sailor Moon!

 

The soldiers rallied around their princess and took to roofs as they went toward the source of the alarms.

 

 

 

Across town, Ranma was napping on his couch.  He had just finished a grueling day of training the Sailor Senshi.  He had decided to take a nap so he would be ready for anything that night.  He only slept for a couple hours (luckily power naps were a specialty of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts), before he was awakened by a simple phrase.

 

“Ranma, It’s Time.”

 

Ranma looked up and saw Ranko standing in front of him.  She was wearing one of his sleeveless red Chinese shirt, black pants, and bronze armbands.  Ranma looked at himself and realized he had put on the same outfit when he had got home from training.  The most stunning feature about Ranko was that she had done up her hair into his trademark pigtail.  Ranma stood up and got to his feet.  “I thought you didn’t like the pigtail?”

 

Ranko lifted the pigtail between two fingers.  “It seemed…appropriate.”

 

Ranma straightened out his clothes.  “So we get to go play diversion team while the Senshi attack the source?”

 

Ranko shook her head.  Nobody had called her, but she knew for other reasons.  “The plan has changed.  We’re all fighting together.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Adamantia is coming here!”

 

 

 

A short distance from Ranma’s apartment building, the Saotomes and the Senshi gathered.  Mercury confirmed Ranko’s feelings.  There was an enormous amount of energy building at this one point.  The sky clouded over mysteriously covering everything except for the full moon.

 

A portion of the concrete several meters away from them exploded and a shaft of blackness shot upwards to a height of about sixty meters.  It then expanded out into a large portal as wide as it was tall.  The portal looked like a black hole as no light could escape from it.  The only thing that came forth was a gigantic figure fifty meters tall.  Ranma and Ranko instantly recognized her.  “Adamantia!” They shouted as they dropped into an offensive stance, the Sailor Senshi followed suit. 

 

“Foolish mortals!” The voice was deep and demonic.  It resonated off of the surroundings.  “The Silver Millennium and the Dark Kingdom are dead!  Now it is the time for my kingdom to rule this universe.” She spread out her robes and a smaller portal formed under her.  From this portal poured literally thousands of youma.

 

The Sailor Senshi’s eyes went wild as they saw their worse nightmares coming to life.

 

“Don’t be afraid!” Ranko yelled.   “Just fire!  They’re too close together to dodge!”

 

Everyone heard the words of the tactician youma of soul, and went into action.  They unleashed their more powerful attacks at the oncoming flood of youma.

 

Sailor Moon brought forth her scepter “Moon Princess Halation!” A shower of pure light hit the oncoming youma.

 

Mars brought her fingers together in a point.  “Fire Soul Bird!” A phoenix of flame flew into the air and then swooped down onto the throng.

 

The lightning rod extended from Jupiter’s tiara as she prayed for the power of the largest planet in the solar system.  “Supreme Thunder Dragon!” A dragon made of pure electricity formed in front of the senshi of thunder.  It roared as it charged against those that would threaten its mistress.

 

Sailor Mercury put her hands together and called her attack. “Double Shabon Spray Freezing!” An ice storm erupted from where she stood.  The storm reached out and hit the youma, transforming them into blocks of ice.

 

Sailor Venus leapt into the air and spread her arms out wide.  “Crescent Beam Shower!”  Beams of light penetrated the darkness of the artificial cloud cover and struck even more youma, rendering them dust.

 

Sailor Saturn broke away from the other senshi so that they wouldn’t be caught in her attack.  She charged the line of youma and swung her glaive toward the horde of youma.  “Silence Glaive Surprise!”  The true power of the Silence Glaive issued forth from the mystical weapon.  Hundreds of youma perished as the beam made its way towards the smaller portal.  There was a large explosion occurred, and the Senshi cheered that the it was destroyed; but as the dust cleared they saw that the portal was intact and more youma were still coming.

 

The Senshi skirmish line began to break up as Neptune and Uranus went to the side of their ‘daughter’.  “Deep Submerge!”  “World Shaking!”  Their attacks destroyed more youma, but like the mythical hydra, two jumped up for every one they destroyed.

 

Tuxedo Kamen covered Sailor Moon as the youma were getting within a short distance.    Moon continued to fire her devastating blasts, but still they came closer.

 

Ranko shook her head.  She’s sending her whole army to Earth!  How did she get this much power! Then Ranko remembered the bodies of all the people slain around her apartment and the shopping mall in the last two attacks.  No way!  She thought about all those people, all those lives lost.  Then she thought about all the lives that she had taken.  Finally she thought about how Ranma would never be hers.  The sickly green aura formed and grew around the Redhead.  She lifted her head at the oncoming multitude of evil that she had once directed.  “SHISHI HOKOUDAN!”  The concrete in front of her erupted as the Ki blast flew over the street. The blast wiped out a sizable number of youma, but more kept on coming.

 

Ranma smirked and did something that he hadn’t done since Akane’s death.  His aura leapt around him in pure gold.  He called on his training, his victories, and most of all:  His pride!  “MOKO TAKABISHA!” The Fierce Tiger Ball shot forth and wiped out even more youma, but it wasn’t enough!  The youma were upon them.

 

The attack had turned into hand-to-hand combat, as none of the Senshi had the time to fire any of their attacks.  Luckily, this is what they had been working and sparring for the past few days.  A week ago the Senshi would have fallen to this assault, but not now!  They used the strength granted to them by their sailor forms and their training in the Anything Goes Martial Arts to fight on against the monsters.

 

Ranma fought his way to Ranko’s side.  “Ranko, you said that you used to direct youma before, right?”

 

Ranko nodded her head.  “I catch your drift!”  She shifted form and became the dark lieutenant Nicol Bolas.  “This form also gives me more fighting options.”  She morphed her hands into scythe blades and started cutting her way through the youma.  At the same time she tried to reach out to the youma and direct them to attack their own.

 

Ranma was felling a little left out.  He was the only NORMAL human out here.  Of course, normal was a relative term.  He was just the only one that didn’t have a transformation that would grant him more power.  Oh well, he was still the greatest martial artist in Nerima and Juuban.  He laid into the youma with the full power of the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, even the forbidden parts.  Most of all he used the most destructive forbidden art of Yama-Ken-Sen, “Kijin Raishuu Dan!”  Ranma unleashed several Ki charged vacuum blades at the youma at point blank.  They never stood a chance as they were cut to ribbons by the onslaught.

 

Ranma was enjoying his handiwork until Ranko reeled and feel to the ground.  Ranma scrambled to her side and scooped her up into his arms.  He rocketed himself and the larger youma to the top of the nearest building.  He glanced down and saw the youma were climbing up after him.  Gotta work quick!  He thought.  He laid Ranko out on the roof.  “What happened?!”

 

She looked up at Ranma and saw the concern in his eyes.  “I can’t control any of them.  In fact they have a psionic barrier specifically against me.”

 

“That’s right, my fallen youma!”  Adamantia’s voice cut through the night air and chilled them to the bone.  “Who do you think gave you that power?  I created you and that power.  Did you not think that I would guard against it when I learned of your betrayal?  Now you will die with your love!” 

 

The youma that had climbed the building after Ranma came over the side of the roof and seemed to grow as they approached the Saotomes.  Ranko got up quickly and stood beside Ranma.

 

“You forgot one thing, Adamantia!” She yelled.  “I’m still a youma of Soul!”  With that she opened her hand and extended her arm at the youma.  A massive bolt of Ki shot forth and destroyed them all in one blast.

 

Ranma was wide eyed in bewilderment.  “What emotion was that?!”

 

Ranko turned to the pigtailed martial artist.  “That was pure Ki.  As a soul youma I have direct access to it.  If I had never gained your knowledge of martial arts, I would never have known how to do that.  Ki comes from the soul and I am the embodiment of it.”

 

Ranma smiled wide.  “Then what are we standing around for?  Those girls in the short skirts need our help!”  He leapt off the building and back into the fray below.

 

Ranko shook her head.  “You’ll never change.”  She followed and blasted youma as she fell and sliced the ones that managed to get close to her.

 

After another few minutes of fighting, Ranko realized that there were still even more youma coming from the portal.  “Everyone!  Regroup on the rooftops!  We need a plan!”

 

Her voice reverberated between the now damaged buildings.  Everyone heard and withdrew from their skirmishes.  Ranma had to bail a few out, but they all made it to the roof in one piece.  The youma saw and once again began to climb.

 

Ranko turned to Mercury.  “Ice down the building!”

 

Mercury nodded and walked to the edge where the youma were climbing.  “Shabon Spray Freezing!”  The side of the building became a sheet of ice and the youma slid down on top of each other.  Mercury took a quick look at the surrounding area and saw that the youma were not spreading out into the city.  The entire stream of youma was coming at their building!  She quickly iced down the other three sides of the building.  When she came around to first side she saw something that chilled even her.  The youma were piling upon each other to get to the top!  She quickly turned and joined the others.  “We don’t have much time!  They’re going to be here any minute!”

 

Ranko nodded her head.  “We need to stop this.  Adamantia is bringing every youma from the negaverse.  We need to either seal the portal or absorb the energy from Adamantia so she can’t maintain it.”

 

“But none of us can do either!” Moon cried.  “None of us can absorb energy and even Saturn couldn’t put a dent in the portal!”

 

The others frantically tried to put their heads together to try to formulate a plan. 

 

The dark blue suited Sailor Saturn stepped forward.  “There is another option.”

 

Everyone turned to the smallest, but most destructive Senshi.  “What is it?”  Ranko asked.

 

Saturn’s face hardened into a determined grimace.  “We destroy the planet they’re coming from.”

 

“Saturn no!” Neptune ran forward and tried to catch the girl, but she wasn’t fast enough.  With a wave of the Silence Glaive, Saturn had teleported away.

 

On the Negaverse side of the portal, Sailor Saturn materialized.  She saw the steady stream of youma going in and saw the millions that were waiting.  “There’s no time to lose!”  She gathered her power around her and began to levitate from the gathered energies.  She held the Silence Glaive aloft and channeled her energy into the mighty weapon.  She took a deep breath and spoke the words that terrified the kingdoms of long ago.  “Death.  Rebirth.  REVOLUTION!”  The blast went out from her and surrounded the planet and began to squeeze the planet apart.  Saturn fell to ground exhausted.  She used the last of her energy to leap into the portal to Earth, praying she won her gamble.

 

            Just mere seconds after the Senshi of Destruction had left. The planet exploded!

 

            On the Earth side of the portal, Saturn appeared.  Ranma saw her and made a rooftop dash to her.  He jumped to ground just as the portal became a huge vacuum.  The planet had been destroyed and now the other end was the vacuum of space.  Saturn screamed as she lost purchase from the ground.

 

            “Hotaru!” Ranma shouted.  He leapt at her flying form, propelling her to the side and past the portal.  The portal was normal air on their side, but it was still deadly vacuum from the other.  Youma were being pulled back in and crushed at a more rapid pace than they had come.

 

            With a cry of anger, Adamantia waved her hand and the portal was closed.  She turned her massive frame around to Ranma and Saturn.  “You destroyed my planet.  You destroyed my children!  I will destroy you and all you hold dear!”

 

            Ranma stood up in a defensive stance and smiled that oh-so-annoying conceited smirk.  “Yeah, Yeah.  Been there, done that, have the emotional scars.  Better offer?”

 

            At that Adamantia’s rage grew to new heights.  She roared out with such power that surrounding buildings began to fall. 

 

            Ranma saw something glow around the dark queen’s neck.  It was very small, but it seemed to glow in his presence.  He reached out for it with his senses.  “Akane?”

 

            Oh-so-annoyingHotaru got back to her feet and quickly fell back onto Ranma from the hurricane of anger.  “Maybe taunting her wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”

 

            Ranma picked Saturn up and started running to where the others had left the rooftops to clean up the remaining youma.  “Yeah, maybe.  But it was fun!”

 

            Saturn giggled in his arms.

 

            “RAAAANNNMMMAAAAA!” The angered shout came from behind him.  The power blast that followed toppled him.  He threw Saturn away from him.  She lost her grip on the Silence Glaive, and it went flying.  It landed and buried itself most of the way into the concrete.  Saturn, who was still weak from her earlier exertion, managed to roll with the fall and stand up into a fighting stance.  Ranma wasn’t so lucky.  He himself was buried in the concrete by the blast.

 

            Ranma lifted his head and spit out bits of cement.  “Just like old times.”  A smile crossed his face.

 

            “Saturn!” Neptune and Uranus rushed to her side.  Neptune picked her up.  “Are you okay?”

 

            The littlest Senshi looked into the eyes of her green-haired ‘mother’.  “I’m okay.  Go help Ranma!”

 

            Uranus went over and dug the martial artist out of concrete.  “You know you shouldn’t overdo it.”

 

            Ranma smirked again.  “It’s my nature.”

 

            Uranus helped him to his feet, and they ran to rejoin the others.  In short order the rest of the minor youma were dealt with.  Moon turned toward the hulking from of Adamantia.  “Now it’s your turn!  In the name of the Moon!  I will punish you!”

 

            The dark queen smiled an evil grin.  “Not quite.  Arcades!  Vaevictis!  Destroy them!”

 

            From the rooftop above and behind the Senshi, a voice rang out.  “Super youma!  Crush them!”  Five shapes flew off the top of the building and landed with the sound of crushing cement.  Five youma stood before the senshi.  All of them easily three meters tall.  They looked like robots from the armor on them, and all of their hands were glowing with magical fire.

 

            Moon jumped back a ways and the Inner Senshi followed.  “Well, if you’re going to use super youma, let’s see how they stand against the Super Sailor Senshi.  Crisis Make Up!”

 

            The rest of the Inners followed her lead.

 

            “Mercury Crystal Power, Make Up!”

 

“Mars Crystal Power, Make Up!”

 

“Jupiter Crystal Power Make Up!”

 

“Venus Crystal Power Make Up!”

 

With an explosion of power, the Inner Senshi were transformed into their Super Sailor forms.  Ranma could feel the immensely greater power being radiated from each of them.  He only had one thing to say.  “Whoa!”

 

One of the super youma lifted his hand fired an enormous gout of flame at the gathered Senshi.  They all managed to evade the blast and return fire.

 

“Rainbow Heart Ache!”

 

“Mercury Aqua Rhapsody!”

 

“Mars Flame Sniper!”

 

“Jupiter Oak Evolution!”

 

“Venus Love and Beauty Shock!”

 

All of the devastating strikes hit the monsters, but didn’t even dent them.  A monstrous growl came from the quintet, and they charged into action, each one taking on a single Inner Senshi.

 

Ranma, Ranko, Tuxedo Kamen, and Uranus left Neptune with Saturn to aid the Inners.  Tuxedo Kamen was at his princess’ side in an instant.  He kept throwing roses at the monster, but none would penetrate.  He and moon just started to focus on dodging until they had a better plan. 

 

Uranus leapt into the fight between Jupiter and her youma.  Uranus reasoned that she and Jupiter could finish it off quickly and help the others, but they were wrong.  The Space Sword wouldn’t penetrate the armor and none of Jupiter’s lightning attacks would get passed the magical aura that surrounded them. 

 

Ranko was having a hard time keeping Mars and Venus alive.  She jumped back and forth between their battles, trying to turn the two youma against each other. 

 

Ranma managed to grab Mercury and carry her out of the way of her youma just before the killing strike came.  Mercury wasn’t near fast enough to do any physical damage before the youma struck.  Ranma carried her away toward Michiru and Saturn, with the youma in hot pursuit.  “We need to think of something fast!”

 

Saturn was on her feet with the others.  “The Silence Glaive!  It should be able to cut through anything!”

 

Ranma scanned the area and saw the end of the Glaive sticking out of the ground.  He jumped over and tried to pull it free.  “It’s stuck!”

 

Saturn shakily walked over to Ranma while Neptune and Mercury tried to keep the youma busy.  She reached down and easily pulled the Glaive from the ground.  “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?” She smiled weakly at Ranma.

 

Ranma took the Glaive before she could drop it again. Whatever attack she used to destroy the planet must have really taken it out of her.  “Stay out of sight and stay alive.  You hear me?”

 

Her smile gathered strength.  “Loud and clear.  I just need help getting there quickly.”

 

Ranma picked her up with one arm and ran to a side alley.  He juked around a few alleyways in hope of avoiding any pursuit or observation.  He hid in the rubble of one of the fallen buildings and found a couple of beds there.  He carefully laid Saturn down.  “Rest up.”

 

Saturn nodded her head and fell asleep.  Ranma held up the Silence Glaive and felt the power radiating from it.  He found that the power spiked when he put a little Ki into it.  It was an amplifier!  Ranma grinned.  This will definitely come in handy.  He took the glaive back to the battlefield. 

 

Ranma found Mercury and Neptune still trying to defeat the single youma. Ranma tried to just cut the youma in half but the magical barrier stopped the blade before it could connect.  Ranma started hand-to-hand combat with the youma to get its attention.  “Mercury, analyze this sucker!” He yelled over his shoulder.

 

Mercury dropped her visor and pulled out her computer.  She did quick scans of the monster and was able to get some readings.  “They have three layers of armor.  The first is a force field that repels any magical attacks and objects.  Next they have a layer of inorganic armor, much like stone, and finally a layer of organic armor.  The force field seems to be linked to inorganic armor.  Their power blasts seem to be of pure crystal energy, like they’re siphoning directly from heart crystals for the blasts.”

 

“Inorganic stone armor, eh?” Ranma grabbed the Silence Glaive in the center with his left hand and got under the youma’s arms. He rotated the polearm until it was parallel with the ground and thrust up.  The force field pushed the monster’s arms up and away from its midsection.  Ranma thrust his finger at the opening.  “Bakusai Tenketsu!”

 

            The first dermal layer of armor exploded outward.  Ranma rolled with the blast and brought the Silence Glaive to bear.  “Adios sucker.” With one swipe from the glaive the monster was cut in half.  The youma exploded and a shockwave a pure power knocked everyone in the immediate area down.

 

            Ranma got back up and checked on the other two Senshi.  They were a little shaken, but okay otherwise.  Ranma took the blade and headed toward Ranko’s position.

 

            Ranko and the others were getting exhausted from the prolonged battle.  Some of them were starting to get seriously injured.  Ranma ran in and knocked Mars out of the way before a power blast destroyed the ground where she once stood.  Ranma shouted to Ranko.   “Use the Breaking Point! Then they’re vulnerable!”  To demonstrate, he hit the youma ahead of him and followed up with another slice of the Silence Glaive.  The monster exploded and knocked Ranma to the ground again.  “Just watch the after-blast!”

 

            Ranko nodded her head and with a cry of, “Bakusai Tenketsu!” the youma attacking Venus was exposed.  Venus followed it up with a crescent beam.  Both of them hit the dirt just as the super youma exploded.  Three down.

 

            Ranko and Ranma attacked the last two super youma.  Ranma hit the one assaulting Jupiter, while Ranko went for the one going after Moon and Kamen.  Within short order the Super Youma were no more.

 

            Ranma picked himself up off the ground.  “All right.  Now what?”

 

            “Our turn!” Arcades Sabboth and Vaevictis Asmadi landed in front of them.  Vaevictis stepped forward and continued.  “You may have defeated our Super Youma, but you will not get past us.  Today, you all die.”  He held a fireball above his head; it quickly grew to fifty times its size.  It was big enough to wipe out the area where everyone was standing.

 

            Ranma made the tactical decision quickly.  “Saotome secret technique!”  Everyone turned to look at him.  “RUN AWAY!”  Everyone bolted in different directions just as the massive fireball crashed into the pavement and left a crater.

 

            The two lieutenants looked at each other and shrugged.  They decided whom they wanted and took off after them.  Ranma caught up with Ami who was helping a very tired Jupiter away from the battle.  Ranma grabbed Jupiter’s other arm and put it over his shoulder to help them along.  “What’s wrong?”

 

            “Used…too much…energy…” Jupiter began.

 

            “She spent all of her energy trying to defeat the youma.  She’ll need some rest before she can fight again.” Mercury finished for her.

 

            Ranma nodded.  “Went all out, huh?  That’s nothing to be ashamed of.  We’ll just take you over to where Hotaru is resting, and you can rest too.”  Ranma led them over to where Saturn was.  Ranma helped Jupiter lay down and then checked on Saturn.  She was all right, still resting comfortably.  He laid the Silence Glaive beside her on the bed.

 

            Mercury checked over both of them, and then she checked over Ranma.

 

            “I’m okay!”

 

            “You were planted into the pavement!  How can you be ‘okay’?”

 

            “It’s happened to me a lot.”

 

            Mercury was still amazed at how fast he healed and how tough he was.  She still looked him over.  “I still want to make sure you’re okay.  I’m worried about you.”

 

            Ranma took her hands in his.  “And I worry about you.  I’m fine, really.  I have a knack for coming out on top, and so do the Senshi.  We’ll all come out of this in one piece, I promise.”

 

            Mercury looked into his eyes and saw the conviction there.  She continued to look into his eyes while he stared into hers.  Taken by the moment, their faces began to move towards each other.

 

            “Isn’t this a pleasant scene?”

 

            They both turned to see Vaevictis Asmadi standing there.  “Oh don’t let me bother you.  You’re much easier to kill when you’re close like that.”

 

            Ranma let go of Mercury and spun into an offensive stance against the youma.  “All right, flamegirl!  Let’s go!” Ranma jumped in and found that he couldn’t get close enough to hit the flaming youma.

 

            “Foolish human!” Vaevictis swung at Ranma.  Ranma tried to block with his wrist guards, but they melted off of him, taking some skin with them.

 

            “Ahhhh!” Ranma shouted.

 

            “Ranma!” Mercury shouted.  “Shabon Spray Freezing!”  She launched her ice attack at the youma. 

 

Vaevictis held up her arms in front of her face and turned up her heat.  The freezing blast stopped at the edge of her heat shield.  The youma extended out her hands and turned her defense into an attack.  She started to push back against the Blue-suited Senshi.  Mercury pushed back, and the two were locked in a stalemate.

 

Ranma decided it was time to go back on the offensive.  “Moko Takabisha!”  He’d have to stick with ranged attacks on this youma.  The Ki blast hit the youma in the side and turned her slightly, but it was enough for Mercury’s blast to hit her.  The ice covered her and left her a standing ice cube.

 

Mercury collapsed from the effort.  Ranma rushed to her side.  “You okay?  Did you burn yourself out?”

 

“No, I still have power left.  It was just the mental strain of maintaining the constant blast.  I’ll be okay in a minute.”

 

A minute was something that neither of them had.  The ice cube shattered as Vaevictis freed herself from the icy prison.  “You thought a simple I cube could stop me?  I burn with the fires of Hell itself!”  She released a fireball at the totally unprepared couple.  Ranma threw Mercury out of the way, as he caught the blast full force in the back.  Ranma had thrown up a Ki shield up at the last instant.  That was the only thing that kept him from being incinerated.  As it was, the back of his shirt and undershirt were burned through, and he had third degree burns on his back.”

 

“Ranma!” Mercury leapt over to him and helped him up.

 

“Arrrgghh!” Ranma shouted as she lifted him.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“The impact broke my ribs.”

 

“Oh no!” Mercury tried to lay him on his back, but he slumped forward with his head resting on her shoulder.  She was worried that Ranma might be bleeding internally as well as being exposed to the possibility of heavy infection with the burns on his back.  There was nothing she could do.  She couldn’t move him, and she couldn’t go to get help and leave Ranma, Saturn, and Jupiter at the youma’s mercy.  She put her arms around Ranma and started to cry.  Then time seemed to stop.

 

Vaevictis watched the scene with a smile on her face.  The boy should have been destroyed with the strength of that blast, but this was much better.  He would suffer immeasurable pain and Sailor Mercury would leave herself in the open as she tried to comfort the fallen boy.  They’ve had enough time together.  She thought as Mercury’s first tear landed on Ranma’s shoulder.  Time to end this.  I’ll get credit for destroying three of the senshi in one blow!  She held up her hand just as a large ball of energy formed around the boy and Sailor Mercury.  Vaevictis fired at it, but her blast was deflected off.  She continued to fire, but none of the blasts would penetrate.

 

 

 

Ranma opened his eyes to a different realm.  He looked around and he was surrounded by the most beautiful matte of colors he had ever seen.  There were no objects per se, but infinite colors.  Where am I?  Am I dead?  No, I still feel pain.  A pair of hands rested on his shoulders.  He looked up and saw Ami floating in front of him.  He looked down and saw that he himself was floating as well.  “Where are we?”

 

“I don’t know for sure, but I think we’re on the astral plane.”

 

“How did we get here?”

 

“I…don’t know.  You were hurt, and I felt so helpless with you dying in my arms.  I started to cry, and I…guess…I reached out to you.”

 

“Has this ever happened before?”

 

“Not that I know of; but, Ranma, don’t die!” She hugged herself as close to Ranma as she could.

 

Ranma’s pain started to disappear with the embrace.  He put his own arms around her and held her.

 

Around them, the colors of the landscape began to swirl .

 

Ami looked up and stared into Ranma’s eyes.  “Please don’t die, Ranma.  I love you.”  The colors around them began to mix more and started to slowly spiral around them.

 

Ranma looked deep into her eyes.  They seemed to search out his own soul.  Ranma was once again reminded of his lost love, but looked at her as something new.  He saw in her the opportunity to start again, without anger or force.  He searched his own soul and found what had been hiding and growing since he had first laid eyes on this blue-haired girl.  “I love you, too.  I won’t die here, I made a promise didn’t I?”

 

Ami looked into his eyes as Ranma lifted her chin up.  Their lips met in a passionate kiss.  At that moment the colors seemed to collapse on the couple.  Their forms seemed to discorporate and mix with one another.  At that moment, all of Ranma’s pain was gone.

 

 

 

The energy ball disappeared from around the couple.  Ranma and Mercury stood up, both of them whole and well.

 

Vaevictis smiled.  “I don’t know how you managed to heal yourself, boy; but you’ll still die the same way.”

 

Ranma’s cocky smile crossed his face again.  “Round two, flamegirl!”  Ranma leapt over the youma and did several mid-air twists before flipping and landing on his feet on the other side of the youma.  He started to concentrate on the Soul of Ice and dropped into a defensive stance. “Come get me!”

 

The youma roared, “I’ll crush you with my bare hands!”  The monster rushed forward and started throwing a flurry of punches and kicks at the pigtailed martial artist.

 

Ranma smiled as he dodged the blows.  You’re playing right into my hands.  Ranma began to turn in a circle and then went into a spiral.  The youma wasn’t even aware of the fate about to befall it.  Finally, Ranma arrived at the center of the spiral.  “HIRYU SHOTEN HA!”

 

Vaevictis was caught in a tornado that was powered by her heat.  Every time she tried to increase her flame the whirlwind would grow bigger.  She decided it would be wiser to drop her fire level and let the cyclone die.

 

Ranma watched until he saw the youma start to extinguish her flame.  “Mercury!  Throw me the Silence Glaive!”  Mercury rushed to Saturn’s side and picked up the glaive and threw it over to Ranma.  He easily caught it, and then he jumped into the tornado with the youma.

 

Vaevictis had finally extinguished her flames when she looked up and saw Ranma ahead of her ready to swing at her.  Ranma swung the Silence Glaive like a baseball bat and cut the youma lieutenant in half.

 

“Noooooo!” The youma shouted as she exploded and turned to dust. 

 

The cyclone stopped and Ranma landed gently on the ground.  He walked over to Mercury.  “You stay here and watch over Jupiter and Saturn. I’ll go find Ranko and the others.”

 

Mercury went over and hugged him.  “Be careful.  Remember your promise.”

 

Ranma kissed her briefly on the lips.  “Don’t worry, Ami-Chan.  I’ll come back; and when I do, this will all be over.”

 

Mercury nodded and disengaged from the embrace.  Ranma grabbed the Silence Glaive and took off back toward the battlefield.  “Good luck, Ranma-Chan,”  she whispered.

 

 

 

Ranko and the others were already having a hard time with the last lieutenant.  They had thrown everything they had at it, and nothing could penetrate the youma’s stone skin.  The Bakusai Tenketsu failed because the rock was organic.  They needed to think of something and fast.

 

Ranko began to analyze her former comrade-in-arms, Arcades Sabboth.  She wasn’t that fast or skilled, but she was strong and had invulnerable skin.  She was the ultimate in defense, where Vaevictis Asmadi was the ultimate in offense.  They hadn’t heard from her, thank Kami.  They were having a tough enough time with one lieutenant.  She also noted that Ranma, Mercury and Jupiter were gone.  I hope they can handle Vaevictis. 

 

Ranko continued to wrack her brain while the Senshi kept the youma at bay with their attacks.  Something was right on the edge of her mind, but wouldn’t come out.  She looked around and saw Neptune firing water blasts at Arcades.  A light in Ranko’s brain went on.

 

She jumped down and called Neptune over to her.

 

“What’s the plan?” The green-haired senshi asked.

 

“We’re going to put some of Ranma’s studying to work.”

 

Neptune looked at her with a confused gaze.  “What?”

 

“They’ve been going on and on about geology.  We’re going to use erosion to defeat Arcades.”

 

“How are we going to do that?”

 

“I’ll kick up some debris with the Bakusai Tenketsu.  You fire your water blast at the debris.  The chunks of rocks will increase the effectiveness of your attack by adding sharp particles.  We should be able to wear that bozo away.”

 

“Let’s do it!”

 

Ranko lead Neptune around to the youma lieutenants front.  “Remember me, Arcades!” Ranko held up a single finger.

 

The onyx youma threw her head back and laughed.  “Ahh, Nicol.  You know that’s not going to work on me.  You already tried that.”

 

“Oh really… Bakusai Tenketsu!” Ranko shoved her finger into the ground below her and jumped out of the way. 

 

While the pieces of pavement were still in the air, Neptune made her strike.   “Deep Submerge!”  The stream of powered water hit the debris and carried on into the youma. 

 

Arcades grabbed her sides in pain.  “Ahhhh!  That hurt you witch!”  She moved her her arm to show several scars of missing rock.  “I kill you for that!”

 

Ranko landed in a crouched position beside the youma.   “I thought you were going to kill me anyways.  Why start repeating yourself?”  Ranko gave Arcades an exact replica of Ranma’s infuriating cocky grin.

 

“Silence, traitor!  I’ll make you sorry you ever came into existence.”

 

Ranko put her face into a mock fear expression.  “Oh no!  The youma’s goin’ ta eat me!  Help! Help!”

 

“Laugh while you may!”

 

“Oh by the way.  There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

 

“What?”

 

“I never liked you.  Bakusai Tenketsu!” Another blast was followed by another jump.  Neptune was ready again with the Deep Submerge.  Neptune had used the time that Ranko had bought with the taunting banter to get behind the redhead and prepare for another strike.

 

The youma yelled with pain again.  Several more scars were cut in her and the previous scars were now furrows.  “I’ll destroy you, Nicol Bolas!” She lifted her fist and a giant fist of stone come out of the ground, gripped Ranko, and began to squeeze.

 

“My name…uhnn…is Ranko!” Ranko shifted back into her human form and leapt out of the grip before it could catch her.  “SHISHI HOKOUDAN!”  She fired her Ki blast at the stone fist.  The stone fist was shattered, and the Ki blast went on to strike Arcades with no effect.

 

“Was that supposed to stop me?” Arcades began to walk toward Ranko.

 

“No.  This was.  DEEP SUBMERGE!” Neptune fired another blast at the stone fragments of the destroyed hand.  The blast struck the injured youma, who cried in pain once more.

 

The blast finished and Arcades still stood.  Her entire body was covered with nicks and furrows.  She gripped her left arm that was hanging loosely.  “You traitors and bimbos!  I will not fall to you!”

 

“What!” The gathered Senshi didn’t like that particular comment.  All of them opened fire. 

 

When the smoke cleared, Acades still stood, albeit a lot shakier.  Her left arm was totally severed now.

 

“Let’s finish this!”  Ranko lifted her right hand with pointed finger.  “Bakusai Tenk-ahhh!”  The redhead shouted in pain as a lance of stone stabbed her through the exposed right shoulder.

 

The onyx lieutenant just laughed at her. “You think I’d let you use the same attack on me three times?”  She again walked toward Ranko.  “I’ll finish you, and then I’ll kill the senshi.”

 

“Over my dead body!” Ranko spat back at her.

 

Arcades smiled.  “That’s exactly the point.”

 

“Bakusai Tenketsu!” Ranma came out of nowhere and struck the rock sticking in Ranko’s shoulder.  The rock exploded and Ranma grabbed the redhead and jumped away.

 

“DEEP SUBMERGE!” Neptune, with a dive, made it there in time to catch the debris and destroy the rock youma.

 

Mars wiped the sweat off her brow and dusted off her skirt.  “Remember when we could call it a day after a battle like that?”

 

Venus gave the raven-haired senshi a tired glance.  “Yeah, I remember those days, but I also remember the hard battles that seemed to go on forever.”

 

Uranus stepped forward.  “This is no time to rest, ladies and gent.  We’ve still got one more job to do.”

 

“Where’s Mercury?” Moon asked.

 

“She’s watching out for Saturn and Jupiter.” Ranma pointed his thumb over his shoulder.  “They’ll be all right.”

 

Tuxedo Kamen walked up behind Moon.  “We need a plan of attack.”

 

Ranma walked over to Ranko and dressed her wound with the remnants of his shirt.  “Hey.  That’s my body you’re putting holes in.”

 

Ranko looked up and smiled at the pigtailed martial artist.  “You want it back?  I can give you a good deal on it.”

 

Ranma finished up the wrap and sling.  “Nah.  You can keep it.  It was a royal pain at pool parties.”

 

Mars walked over the Saotomes.  “Uhh, guys?  We still need a plan.”

 

Ranma helped Ranko to her feet.  She took a look around to who was still able to fight:  Ranma, Moon, Mars, Venus, Uranus Neptune, and Tuxedo Kamen.  “I have no idea.”  Everyone’s jaws fell to the ground.  “What?”

 

“You’re supposed to be the one with the plan!” Moon exclaimed.

 

Ranko scratched her head.  “Uh.  Just out of curiosity, who made your plans before?”

 

Moon looked up and thought a little bit.  “Luna and Artemis do sometimes.”

 

“Most the time we just go with the flow, plan as we go.” Mars added.

 

Ranko smacked herself on the forehead with her good hand.  “How have you guys survived so long?  No, don’t answer that.”  Ranko sat down and tried to think of a plan.

 

Ranma sat down next to the redhead.  “So what’s the problem Ranko?”

 

“Adamantia is not an elemental like her lieutenants, so she doesn’t have any natural weaknesses.  As far as I know, she doesn’t have any weaknesses.”

 

“How was she defeated last time?”

 

“It took all the heavy hitters of the Silver Millennium in a full frontal assault to take her down last time.  We don’t have that kind of power to throw at her.”

 

“What about her power?  She can’t have an endless power reserve.  She has to get tired, or something.”

 

Ranko shook her head.  “She gets her power from somewhere, but I don’t know where.”

 

Sailor Mars crossed her arms.  “This is getting us no where!  We’re going to have to take her on, whether we like it or not.  We’ve got to hit her hard and now, before she starts wrecking the city more.”

 

Right on cue the party heard the sound of a building being demolished.  “Ranma!  Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Adamantia’s voice rang out over the city.  “And bring out those Sailor Senshi!  I’d like to play with them too!”

 

“Just like a little kid.” Tuxedo Kamen commented.

 

Ranko stood back up.  “Don’t let it fool you.  She’s had a few thousand years to grow up.”

 

“Come now, Ranma!  What would Akane think of you running around with a bunch of girls in short skirts?” Adamantia continued her taunts as she toppled another building.  She was creeping ever closer to their position.

 

Ranma grit his teeth.  “Grrrrr!”

 

Ranko put a hand on his shoulder.  “Don’t let her get to you, Ranma.  We have to keep a clear head about this.”

 

“What about the others?  Wasn’t it nice how I killed them all with their own weapons!”

 

Ranma balled up his fist and tightened his grip on the Silence Glaive in his other hand.  “That’s it!  This chick is toast!”  Ranma jumped to the rooftops and started running towards Adamantia.

 

Mars put her hands on her hips.  “I guess it’s full frontal after all.”

 

Ranko let out a sigh.  “Let’s get going before that baka gets himself killed.”

 

Everyone nodded their heads and took off after Ranma.  They arrived in time to see Ranma dodging magical blasts from Adamantia.  He’d weave in and out of the blasts and then try to strike at her with the Silence Glaive.  The wounds he inflicted would heal over almost immediately. 

 

Sailor Moon held her scepter high.  “You’re evil reign ends here!  We are the pretty soldiers for love and justice!  In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!”

 

Adamantia continued to shower Ranma with blasts as she looked up at Moon with an almost bored expression on her face.  “You’re mother couldn’t destroy me!  What makes you think you can?”

 

 “We have…”

 

“Can it, meatball head!  Just attack her!  Mars Flame Sniper!”  Sailor Mars’ fire bolt struck Adamantia and burned off part of her robes.  The enchanted fabric quickly healed.

 

“Ah, the ever impatient Sailor Mars.” Adamantia bellowed.  “Don’t you know you’re not supposed to interrupt the pre-battle banter?  Tsk, Tsk.”  She fired a bolt to where the Senshi, Ranko, and Tuxedo Kamen were standing.  They dove away in time to escape the building’s destruction.

 

Venus hit the ground and rolled back to a standing position.  “Venus Love Me Chain!”  Venus’ heart chain wrapped around Adamantia.  “Everyone!  Hit her now!”

 

Everyone fired their attacks at Adamantia.  “You fools!”  She raised her hands and destroyed the Love Me Chain.  “I will stomp you all like the ants you are!”

 

“Whose the ant here, Adam-ant?  Gotta bug fixation of somethin’?” Ranma taunted from the ground below her.

 

“You’re still alive?  Well, not for long.” Adamantia opened her palm toward Ranma. 

 

Ranma found himself lost in a fog.  He saw all the ghosts of his past accusing him of being a failure, unmanly, and worse.  Everyone blamed him for their deaths.  ‘Why did you have to kill Saffron?!’ They all screamed.  Ranma fell to his knees with the weight of the cloud.

 

Outside, the Senshi renewed their assault.  Uranus attacked with her Space Sword Blaster, but Adamantia just shrugged it off.  Neptune attacked with her Submarine Reflection.  Adamantia threw a fireball at Neptune.  Neptune just watched as the blast come toward her, frozen like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

 

“Neptune!!!” Uranus shouted as she dove to save her love.  She tackled Neptune just as the blast struck.  Both of them were knocked down and buried in the pavement with the force of the blast.  They lay there, injured and scorched.

 

Neptune looked into Uranus’ eyes.  “I’m sorry you got hurt helping me.” She cried as she felt unconsciousness creeping in.

 

Uranus used the last of her strength to put her hand on Neptune’s cheek.  “I’d do it a thousand times over, my love.”  They managed a brief kiss before they both passed out.

 

Moon and the others continued to pour on their attacks.  Adamantia was growing tired of these insects that actually believed that they could defeat her.  She swiped her hand in an arc through the air and a shockwave went out in all directions, leveling several buildings and knocking out most of the heroes. 

 

Ranko stood back up and saw all the others were down and Ranma still trapped in the cloud of despair.  I guess it’s up to me.  She concentrated on everything that depressed her.  It wasn’t hard considering her surroundings.  A large dark green and black ball of Ki grew around her.

 

Ranma inside the cloud couldn’t think straight enough to concentrate on a Shishi Hokoudan.  Then he saw something twinkle in the distance.  He looked up and suddenly there was a break in the cloud that was pointed directly at Adamantia’s chest.  Ranma saw her necklace twinkling, and somehow he knew it was for him.  He felt the energy from it again.  He had felt it earlier in the battle, but had disregarded it as wishful thinking.  Now he knew it was for him, and that he had a job to finish.  Suddenly he found the strength and concentration to use the cloud to his advantage.

 

“SHISHI HOKOUDAN PERFECT!” Both of the Saotomes fired their blasts at the exact same time.  Adamantia staggered a bit, but remained standing.

 

“No more!  This ends now!”  Adamantia lift a hand towards the sky and a large energy ball formed in her hands.  She scanned the ground for her prey.  Ranma was gone!  “Where did you go, you little worm!”

 

“Looking for me?”

 

Adamantia looked at her chest just in time to see Ranma sever the chain that held her prize with the Silence Glaive.  He grabbed the heart crystal and leapt away before Adamantia’s other hand could swat him.  He flew into the air and appeared to disappear.

 

“SHISHI HOKOUDAN!” Ranko fired another blast to remind Adamantia that Ranma wasn’t her only problem.

 

“Traitorous witch!  I made you, and I’ll destroy you!” Adamantia threw the powerball that had been growing the whole time in her upraised hand.

 

Ranma landed to the side in time to see the blast hit Ranko.  “NOOOOO!!!!”  He ran toward her, but he was too far away.  He watched as Ranko’s body was disintegrated.  He kept on running.  When the smoke cleared, he found in the middle of the blast Ranko’s heart crystal.  He put the glaive down and picked up the crystal.  There he stood with his wife’s and his sister’s heart crystals in his hands.  Neither were truly what he called them, but in his heart they would always be so.  He looked around and saw the downed Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen.  He didn’t have the power to destroy this witch; he knew that.  He placed the heart crystals on the ground and took the Silence Glaive once more.  He may not have the power, but Ranma Saotome never gives up.  Ranma Saotome always comes out on top.  Ranma Saotome always wins.  He turned to face Adamantia. 

 

Adamantia was ready for another blast like the one she killed Ranko with.  Ranma knew this was it, but he was ready to face the end.  He began to call on his power.

 

Adamantia pulled her hand back and poised for the killing blow.

 

“Dead Scream.”  It was but a whisper, but the power it held shook the battlefield. 

 

A large, pink energy bolt struck Adamantia and staggered her.  Ranma looked for the source.  There, standing alone to the side with her time staff was another Senshi he hadn’t seen before.  She had long green hair and black fuku.  “Who?”

 

“Ranma!  Awaken the Princess!  It’s her time!” The ageless woman shouted at him.  “I’ll hold her off!”

 

Ranma nodded his head, set the glaive down, and ran to find Sailor Moon.

 

Adamantia turned and saw her rival for the Gates of Time.  “You should be dead by now!  How did you get your power back?!”

 

“You must have a heart crystal to enter and hold the Gates of Time!  Ranma took yours!  Once your presence was gone from the Gates, I was restored!  Now your power and time on this plane are limited!  Dead Scream!”  Pluto unleashed another blast at the towering dark queen.

 

Ranma found Moon lying beside Tuxedo Kamen.  He shook her to try to rouse her.  “Wake up!  Come on!” 

 

Moon was on the rim of asleep and awake.  She was still a little groggy.  She knew someone was beside her.  The energy felt familiar.  Ami?

 

Ranma shook her some more.  “Come on meatball head!” Ranma got smacked on the side of the head with a moon rod.

 

“Don’t call me that!”

 

Ranma rubbed his head.  At least she’s awake.  “The Senshi with the long green hair says it’s your time.  Whatever that means.”

 

“Pluto?  Pluto’s here?”

 

“Yeah.  She needs your help.”

 

Moon nodded her head and got up.  She turned her head and looked at Tuxedo Kamen.  “What about Kamen-Chan?”

 

“He’ll be fine.  He’s just knocked out.  Come on!”  Ranma grabbed her arm and dragged her closer to the battle.

 

Moon saw Pluto battling it out with the dark queen.  She also saw that Adamantia had lost some of her stature.  “Pluto!  What am I supposed to do?!”

 

“Do what your heart tells you!” Pluto yelled as she dodged another blast.

 

Ranma looked over to Moon.  “She always this helpful?”

 

“Always.”  Sailor Moon took a deep breath and closed her eyes.  She thought for a little bit, and then opened her eyes and surveyed the area.  It was a war zone.  Buildings were in various stages of demolition from moderate damage to completely falling down.  The streets had been ripped to shreds from all the firepower being thrown around.  Most of her soldiers were unconscious, and three were absent.  She noticed someone else was missing.  “Where’s Ranko?”

 

Ranma hung his head.  “She’s dead.  Adamantia killed her.”

 

Moon put a hand on his shoulder.  “I’m sorry.”

 

Ranma looked up.  “You can make it up to me by taking care of that witch.”

 

Moon nodded her head and turned back toward Adamantia.  She took a few steps forward.  “You’re killing ends here!  MOON PRINCESS HALATION!”  With a wave of her moon rod a large ball of white light struck the dark queen. 

 

“Foolish girl!”  Adamantia laughed.  “A mere princess cannot take out a Queen!”

 

A change seemed to come over Sailor Moon.  Her posture became more regal, and her eyes became serious.  “You’re right.”  She looked up to the sky and stared at the full moon.  It had been watching them the whole time. Sailor Moon lifted the Cutie Moon Rod to the sky.  The moonlight intensified around the moon princess like a spotlight.  Shafts of light started to come out of the ground and twisted around her.  She started lift off the ground.  The light became a shower of rainbows around her.  The sailor fuku began to transform.  The skirt extended to a full-length white evening gown and the top became spaghetti straps topped with gold.  Wings sprouted from the moon princesses back, large and full like white butterfly wings.  Her tiara turned into a golden crown.  She held out the Cutie Moon Rod.  The shaft extended out to a two-meter length, and it thickened to a four-centimeter diameter.  The transformation was complete.  “It will take a Moon Queen!”  She held the Moon Staff before her.  “MOON QUEEN ILLUMINATION!”  The rod glowed and a tremendous blast shot forth and struck Adamantia.  The blast shook the ground as it struck.

 

Adamantia began to falter, her pursuit of Pluto forgotten.  She began to shrink some more.  “I will not be stopped!  I will kill you all!”  She lifted her arms over her face and concentrated her power into a shield from the Moon blast.  The shield extended and halted as it matched the strength of the blast.  The dark queen was gritting her teeth from the strain.

 

“It’s still not enough!” Ranma shouted.  He ran forward to where the left the Silence Glaive and the heart crystals.  He hefted the glaive and looked at the crystals.  They started to glow and flash in support of the pigtailed martial artist.  Ranma nodded his head and began to call on his sorrow.  His Ki raised, but not to any significant level.  I’ve run out of depression!  I used it all in the perfect!  He concentrated again.  He started to focus again on his confidence.  The power leapt up.  He thought of all he had gone through in his life, only to come out stronger.  He learned the Hiryu Shoten Ha in one day!  He was the greatest martial artist around!  He was also here for a righteous reason.  He was here for justice!  Justice for the people of the past, for people of the future, for his family, for his friends, for Akane, and most of all RANKO!

 

His aura grew to greater heights than he had ever experienced before, even higher than Saffron’s!  Winds began to swirl around him, and rocks began to lift from the power in the air.  Then he channeled the power into the Silence Glaive.  The Glaive became hot to the touch, but Ranma held on.  The power started to feedback on him, but still he would not relent.  This is going to end, NOW!  “MOKO…TAKABISHA …PERFECT!”

 

The gigantic Ki blast leapt from the blade of the Silence Glaive.  The blast added to the Moon Queen Illumination and punched through the Adamantia’s shield.  The blasts impacted and the dark queen unleashed a primal scream of absolute pain as her body began to be consumed with light.  With an explosion of force and light, the menace was over.

 

Ranma fell to his knees in front of the heart crystals.  He held himself upright with the Silence Glaive.  “I did it.  Ranko, Akane, I did it.”

 

The Moon Queen Serenity settled down to the ground beside the unconscious Tuxedo Kamen.  She lifted his hand and light surrounded him.  He opened his eyes as his clothes began to transform.  He arose, Prince Endymion, the beloved of Queen Serenity.

 

Ranma just watched as they embraced with the love of the ages, the love that withstood time and death.

 

“You need a hand with that thing?”

 

Ranma turned to see a fully restored Sailor Saturn standing behind him.  “How?”

 

“When the Queen awakened, so did her senshi.  Look around and see.”

 

Ranma looked across the field of devastation.  Indeed the senshi were awake and restored to full health.  Saturn, Pluto, Mars, Venus, Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter, but where was Mercury? He felt a pair of arms help him to his feet.  He turned to see the face of his new love.  “I told you I’d be okay.”

 

Mercury smiled.  “Yes, and I believed you and in you.”

 

Saturn took the Glaive back from Ranma.  “I’ll take care of this and leave you two alone.”  She walked off to rejoin her ‘family’.

 

Ranma’s face fell as he looked at Mercury.  “Ranko’s dead.”

 

Mercury hugged him close.  “I’m sorry.”

 

Ranma’s head popped up as he thought of something.  He let go of Mercury and knelt down to pick up Ranko’s heart crystal.  He pressed it to his chest.

 

“Nothing happened!  It started as my crystal, it should be able to come back to me.”

 

Mercury knelt beside him and took the crystal from him.  She turned it over considering it.  “Ranko grew in the short time she was away from you.  She became her own person.  You can’t absorb another person.”

 

Ranma’s shoulders fell again.  “Is there anything we can do?  For either of them?”

 

Mercury noticed the second heart crystal. “Who is that?”

 

Ranma picked it up and cradled it in his arm like a baby.  “This is Akane’s.  Adamantia still held on to it after she killed her.”

 

Mercury touched the crystal and felt the life and love it radiated.  “Maybe there is something we can do.”

 

Mercury briefly explained to Ranma as she helped him up and over to the others.  They each took a heart crystal over to where the senshi were gathered.  Queen Serenity turned when they approached.  Ranma and Mercury knelt in front of her. 

 

Serenity lifted her hand with an upraised palm.  “Rise, you are all my friends.”  The person that spoke was still Tsukino Usagi, but now her voice was that of a queen imbued with the wisdom of the ages.

 

They stood.  Mercury spoke.  “We come to ask a favor.  We have the heart crystals of these two people.  We would like you to reincarnate them as your mother reincarnated us.”

 

The Queen considered the two crystals.  Authorities, rescue workers, press began to filter into the area.  She looked up and considered the pair standing before her.  One was her friend for longer than any of other senshi.  The other was a new friend, but radiated a new energy that resembled her friend’s.  “It can be done, but since they are not senshi, they will not retain any of their memories.”

 

Ranma’s eyes lit up.  “That’s fine, just so they can live again!”

 

“For what reasons should I grant this request?”

 

Mercury held up Ranko’s heart crystal.  “This one served you and paid the ultimate price.  She fought for love and justice like the rest of your faithful soldiers.  Without her, we would not be alive now.”

 

The Queen nodded her head and turned to Ranma.  “And this one?”

 

Ranma swallowed hard and held up Akane’s crystal.  “This is purely a selfish request.  This would have been my wife had not Adamantia murdered her.  I would ask that you give her a new life, one that isn’t full of anger and pain like her last.”

 

The Queen smiled at the pigtailed martial artist.  “That was not a selfish request.  That was the request of pure love, like the love it reflects back to you.  You could have asked for anything for your service to me, and yet you only ask for a new life for another.  Both these requests will be honored.”

 

Ranma held up his hand.  “And one more thing, sorry about this.”

 

Queen Serenity chuckled a bit.  “What more would you ask?”

 

“Could you not put them like thousands of years in the future?  I’d kinda like to see them again.”

 

The smile on the Queen’s face broadened.  “I’ll do that.”  She held up her moon staff and spoke a few words in an ancient tongue.  Light and magic gathered around them as the two crystals disappeared.  “It is done, and you shall see them again.”

 

Ranma and Mercury thanked her profusely.

 

The press began to crowd around the gathered heroes.  Hundreds of questions began to fly at the Senshi.  Queen Serenity stepped forward.  “I am Queen Serenity, and my Senshi and I are here to issue forth a new era of peace and prosperity for not just the Earth, but of the entire universe!  We will rebuild this area into Crystal Tokyo and from there we will start our rule of peace and love.”

 

“But who are you?” One reporter questioned.

 

Queen Serenity motioned her hand and the magic that hid the faces of the senshi disappeared.  “We are your children, humans like yourselves.  We are reincarnations of an ancient kingdom that guided and protected the universe for a millennia.  We are here to set up the new kingdom.”  Queen Serenity went on with her speech as the reporters listened silently with rapt attention.

 

One of the rescue workers recognized Sailor Mercury.  “Ami!”

 

Mercury looked over.  “Mom?”

 

Dr. Mizuno ran to her daughter’s side.  “Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine, you need to check on Ranma.”  Ranma was still leaning on Mercury for support.

 

“Yes, we saw the end of the battle and what this boy did.  Who is he?”

 

Ami smiled with the widest grin she could manage.  “Mom.  I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Saotome Ranma.”