A Ranma Sailor Moon fic thingy.
By Sunshine Temple
Naturally, I own neither Sailor Moon nor Ranma. So here's the disclaimer
Ranma 1/2 and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
Previous chapters and other works can be found at my fanfiction website.
Temporary Backup Site.
Other website Temple of Ranma's Senshi Seifuku
C&C is appreciated.
Book 2: Betrayed Consequences
Chapter 5: Broken Bonds
Formerly: Retrograde and Remade Part 2(i)
"Did you know about Ami and Naru?" Usagi carefully asked. Her tone was even, but her eyes roiled with anger and hurt.
"Well, no not as such," Setsuna demurred, she made sure to keep her eyes on the road. Last night she had returned from an unproductive interview to find four irate and shocked Senshi. Setsuna was shocked herself once the situation was explained to her.
"You didn't find anything odd about their secret meetings, all the time they spent with each other?" Usagi stretched in the passenger seat of the Dodge Charger.
"None of you saw anything too odd about it. You just thought they were sneaking off to study, try to date boys, and finally date each other." Setsuna glowered. It was a wonderful cover. A lesbian relationship nicely explained Janet and Ami being secretive and any nervousness when questioned about their nighttime activities.
"You're supposed to know better than us. We're just teenagers."
"I was cautious about Janet, but I cleared her, and she was an exemplary Senshi. You and the rest liked her, and Ami said she was clean."
"That's because she was Naru." Usagi sighed, sadly. "Damn Murdock! First he kills my boyfriend and then he corrupts my friends. Look at what he did to Naru and Ami."
"We're going to find him. He will be punished." Setsuna promised. They had all been violated. Getting Ami was quite the coup.
"Once more, how did you miss this?" Usagi asked again.
Setsuna hesitated before speaking. "I watched Janet at the start, checked her out. Reviewed her when Ami and Janet started to bond. There was nothing. Janet was clean. She seemed as legitimate as the rest of you." She sighed. "I can't watch everyone."
"How'd he do this then? How do we get them back?"
"Murdock is patient, remember that. He had Naru living as Janet at least as far back as Mamoru's death, and then think of the months that Naru was among us. Slow and deliberate."
"Why? Wasn't DarkStar his first plan?"
"This might have been his backup, or maybe Sailor DarkStar was just misdirection. Some flash to draw attention from the real culprit, the hidden, insidious danger."
"How do we get them back?"
Setsuna smiled weakly. "That's your department. You're the best at saving and healing people."
"I just..." Usagi stared out the window at the passing buildings. "At least with Ami I know I can reach her. It's not as bad as when the others went bad."
"That's actually worse," Setsuna corrected.
"But she still cares for me. She doesn't hate me."
"Do you really want the affection of a dark Senshi?" Setsuna asked.
Usagi's mind briefly flashed to Mercury and Ranma with herself in the middle.
"Huh?" A blush crept up on Usagi's face as she cleared her head.
"Ami's dangerous. Naru by her own admission was turned by Murdock, and Naru then got to Ami. They want you."
"It won't work. Ami won't be some puppet," Usagi promised.
"I wasn't there last night, but you were." Setsuna slowed to a stop at a red light. She looked around with some nervousness. "Were those the actions of the Ami you know?"
"Well, Ami always complained about my schoolwork or being late, and recently she'd been harping about our training." Usagi laughed bitterly.
"It's different now. You shouldn't be alone, any of you." Setsuna sighed. It was good advice, but Ami had proven it ineffective last night, though they were surprised. It was troubling. If they had followed Ami's advice they would have been training and maybe the girls would be getting more skilled.
All under Ami's guidance of course. Ami could do research and come up with the best plans, maybe even a few magical spells to help unlock the next stage of their Senshi powers. Setsuna shook her head; it was paranoid, but it made sense. If Ami was going to corrupt and control the Senshi from the inside, the guise of training them, improving them did the job.
"At least you've warmed up to Ranma," Usagi allowed.
"I'm approving of this meeting because you've been too distant from her. Ranma's made her own friends and alliances and is self-sufficient."
"Is that bad?"
Setsuna shifted gears and changed lanes before responding. "It shows good initiative. She can be a powerful ally, but remember last night. You said Ami and her were very chummy."
"Ranma is a demon, and they didn't try to fight each other."
"Yes." Setsuna noticed Usagi's incomprehension. "Take it this way. Do you want Mercury to get closer to Ranma? What if she convinces Ranma that you are weak and you do need to be trained?"
Usagi looked down. "She already thinks we're amateurs."
Setsuna snorted. "Even though you've been doing this longer, saved the world more times, and faced hardships she can't even begin to understand."
Usagi slumped further into her seat. "That's what makes Ami so hard. She was with me since the start. She knows we've gotten much better but..."
"But nothing. Ami's been manipulated ever since Janet showed up. You can't trust what she says."
"It's not that simple." Usagi felt the anxiety from last night return. "Ami's made sure of that."
"I just think that Nabiki should make her own decision," Ranma said to her fiancee as the two window-shopped.
"All I'm saying is that she can handle high school. Her mind's the same, by treating her like the youngest you're making her the youngest," Kasumi explained.
"She is the youngest. Alexia turned her last," Ranma stated, pointedly.
"Yes, but she needs to recover. Encouraging this juvenile cutesiness, it's not Nabiki."
Ranma raised an eyebrow. "It's not the Nabiki you remember, but it's who she is now."
"Akane came back."
The redhead stared at the dark blue leather gown on display. "Her age wasn't reduced and if anything she's more aggressive."
"And there were lesbian rumors back when she was human too," Kasumi deadpanned.
"Must run in the family," Ranma gave Kasumi's butt a playful touch before wrapping her arm around the taller woman's waist. "And don't think I'm mad, I really like that you're getting interested in our girls."
Kasumi looked down and mulled over the demon's last two words. "Yes, I do care about my sisters," she clarified.
"I've been working with Ukyou to find out what her Senshi powers are." Ranma leaned onto the taller woman.
"Any luck?" Kasumi asked, surprised at the increased weight Ranma was putting on her.
"It's odd. Something keeps her from using it in practice. I know it's there. She knows it too, but she won't cast it."
"How are the others shaping up?"
Ranma shrugged. "Getting more accuracy and speed. Nariko's got some control issues."
"I noticed. She's still burning more than one tree."
Ranma nodded. "And Nabiki's really tires her out, but it does use a lot to cast."
"Worried about this Mizuno thing?"
"Nope." Ranma then nuzzled her head onto Kasumi's side and chest.
Blushing, Kasumi coughed, but after finding that ineffective at dislodging the demon, she sighed. "Why not?"
"I don't think she's a threat to me," Ranma murmured.
"Don't you have a plan?" Kasumi decided to put a hand around the redhead's shoulder. At least then they would not be so lopsided.
"Yeah, slowly getting you used to public displays of affection."
Kasumi sniffed and turned her head.
"Women," Ranma muttered.
"Oh don't play that card." Kasumi taunted. "Who's the one wearing pants instead of a dress? We won't even discuss hairstyles, makeup or jewelry."
"I wear pants."
"That aren't shiny sprayed-on leather?"
"I've gotta look good."
"You're a succubus," Kasumi quietly said. "You'd look good in anything."
Ranma laughed. "So, you think Usagi'll blow me off? Is she even gonna bother coming?"
Kasumi maintained a straight face and wondered if she was reading too much into what Ranma had just said. "Observation teams did see Setsuna pick her up not too long ago."
"Mercury could already have attacked and taken them," Ranma walked over to the next display for the store and looked at a selection of leather boots.
"Possible, we don't know what kind of form Miss Mizuno's attacks will take." Kasumi looked at the shiny glass.
"I'm curious. She has a lot of options for 'evil schemes'." Ranma's smile increased slightly.
"They're here," Kasumi tried to pull herself away.
"Spotted their reflection?" Ranma released her hold on the officer's waist to slide herself up against Setsuna, who had just walked up on the pair. "Oh nice, Usagi," she purred as she eyed the blonde. "You brought a friend."
"Don't you have a girlfriend now?" Setsuna eyed the short demon inches from her.
"Oh her, she's cool." Ranma cooed.
"Yeah, got the suit and dark sunglasses and everything." Kasumi flatly said.
Usagi tilted her head. "That's not a suit. Sure the blouse and pants count, but your jacket is too casual, and your glasses are on your head."
Kasumi sighed. "Not all secret agents wear black suits, trench coats and fedoras or slinky dresses."
"Your girlfriend does," Setsuna said while staring at Ranma.
Ranma winked. "Come on, have a taste, you know you want to."
"I think you're more effective when you're not so blatant," Kasumi commented wryly.
"Yeah, that's how I got you." Ranma winked at her, and then turned to Usagi. "So what do you want to talk about? You set this meeting up before the Ami and Janet stuff."
"Naru," Usagi forcefully corrected.
"Sorry," Ranma's eyes flicked to Setsuna's harsh gaze before returning to the blonde. "What do you want to talk about?"
"Maybe... we should... private?" Usagi's stumbling sequence of words appeared to end in a question.
"Uh, let's try the store," Ranma said.
Usagi's eyes caught the skimpy black leather gown on display. "Yeah..."
Before entering Ranma turned to Kasumi. "I'm sure you and Setsy can have some fun."
"Don't worry, I'll be safe with Ranma," Usagi assured.
"Uh... right," Setsuna said to the retreating Senshi. "So, how is it, being mated to Ranma?" she then asked Kasumi.
"We're not mates," Lieutenant Tendo firmly said.
"Oh," Setsuna coughed and looked ahead. She never could relate to common soldier; they were too practical. Lords and ladies, especially those with hereditary military titles, were so much easier to handle.
Kasumi kept watch and made sure her earpiece was working. Whiz-kids like Meiou were nothing but trouble. They loved overcomplicated plans that showed how clever they were.
"Well?" Ranma asked as she tried on a set of gloves.
"I think we need to work together." Usagi flinched, expecting the demon to laugh her off.
"I'm listening," Ranma said in an appreciative tone.
"We should work together. You've got a team of Senshi, I've got a team of Senshi," Usagi quietly explained.
"Yours is a few heads smaller. How do you want to fix that?" Ranma slipped the gloves off and then looked at another pair.
Usagi's eyes hardened. "I'm going to free them and punish Murdock." Her tone promised pain and justice.
"That's a goal, but you need get from here to there." Ranma picked up another set of gloves and sighed. "Really, metal studs in gloves. That'll chafe and look really dumb."
"Yeah, that is stupid." Usagi frowned. "Anyway, I'm worried, Ami's the one who comes up with a lot of or plans, and checks all of them. And she's..."
Ranma rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Yeah... you got hit good. And you just can't count on stumbling onto the enemy or waiting for them to find you.."
"It's worked before, and we've managed to find enemy bases before." Usagi's voice became despondent. "Of course Ami was a big help on that stuff; we can't count on her now."
"Sure you can," Ranma chuckled. "Ami seemed plenty sharp last night."
"She knew we needed her." Usagi looked to Ranma.
"At least you still have Setsuna," Ranma mirthfully offered.
Usagi became quiet and watched as Ranma tried on some boots. "It's all because of you," the blonde said.
Ranma looked up from the shin-high motorcycle boots. "Oh? Ain't my fault. You guys would have eventually figured it out." She started unbuckling the boots.
"You're wrong," Usagi's voice had once again hardened.
Ranma looked up.
"We wouldn't have figured it out. You saw it. Setsuna's paranoia's no the outside, and the rest of us rely on Ami."
Ranma shrugged. "Minako was starting to see through it."
"Ami could have strung us along on that Mistress Lyra scheme. Rei still thinks Ami's being controlled by Lyra." Usagi's voice became frantic. "Don't you see? If you hadn't seen Virgo...."
"Ami would still be your friend, and you would be spending today figuring out how to fight a nonexistent enemy," Ranma said making eye contact as she slipped the boots off. "I'd expect Ami to carefully and steadily draw you girls in. Maybe into an ambush where you could be neutralized, maybe just corrupted over time, or even take all of you out while you sleep."
Usagi shivered. "She was our roommate. She would often sneak in late at night. We were used to it. You saved us all." Her voice was hardly a whisper.
"I was just following a lead." Ranma smiled. "Minako was the one that connected Ami to a super villain."
The redhead put her own boots back on. "And it was Ami who said 'Hell with this' and revealed herself."
"Well, thank you anyway." Usagi hesitated. Overcoming the fear and indecision, she then gently hugged the startled demon. The blonde expected an apprehensive response, not an enthused and engaged one.
Adding her arms to the hug, Ranma eased into Usagi's embrace. She was on the brink of purring when she got interrupted.
"Awww, that's adorable," a teasing voice behind Usagi said.
Ranma's eyes widened. "I didn't expect you here." She then smirked. "And you brought your friend too."
Usagi froze. The voice did not sound like Ami or Naru. The blonde turned her head and saw only a Japanese brunette and a Caucasian blonde with short hair.
"Hi Sam! Hey Naoko!" Ranma enthusiastically greeted while she still hugged Usagi. "You girls finally get the courage to shop here?"
Naoko blushed. "Uh, no. We were just walking past when we noticed your old girlfriend standing next to Akane's older sister."
"Old girlfriend?" Usagi asked, before she pulled her arms back and escaped the hug.
Ranma laughed. "There's this rumor that Setsuna stood me up on a few dates or something."
"Yes, poor Red had her delicate heart torn from her chest." Sam said with a hint of sarcasm.
"Figuratively of course," Naoko added.
Sam appraised her pale friend. "I'd imagine it's the other way when it comes to literally though."
Usagi blinked. "No... Setsuna never dated Sunshine. She's dating Kasumi."
"Kasumi? Nice going." Sam gave Ranma a friendly nudge. "I never knew she was into the lipstick lesbians."
Sam laughed. "Why not? You've seen Akane and her new girlfriend."
"Yeah, I guess the Tendo's really like sweet, gentle, and feminine Goth girls."
"I thought I was brooding and dark," Ranma pouted.
"Oh no, you're cuddly and sensitive." Sam eyed Ranma's leather skirt. "You just dress like the main squeeze to a Hell's Angel."
"Oh careful. You don't want to get Kasumi mad," Naoko teased.
"Now, now, she's very nice."
"Makes sense that you'd like strong women," Sam appraised. "She seemed stern and a bit scary."
"So when are you going back to school?" Naoko asked.
"You still have those family issues?" Sam added.
Ranma looked down. "No my... cousin's... gone."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know. Did she at least die peacefully."
"Nope." Ranma tried very hard and managed to conceal her smirk.
"Are you okay, Red?" Naoko put her hand to Ranma's shoulder, and drew her friend into a hug. Sam quickly joined.
"Yeah, but it hit some of the family pretty hard. We're only now... ready."
"Will you be back into school tomorrow?" Sam asked after the hug finished.
"What about Nabiki? I know it was a family thing, as she was out too." Sam noticed that Nariko was out too, but that made some sense. The Kunos were close to both the Saotomes and Tendos.
"She's transferred. Different school."
"The same one that Tatewaki transferred too?" Sam asked with a hint of skepticism.
"Uh, I think so." Ranma hated lying to her fiends, especially when they were poor lies.
"So how are you doing?" Naoko asked Usagi, purposefully ignoring Ranma's questionable statements.
"Well... I..." Usagi was at a loss. How come a predatory brood mother could relate to these girls, but someone as straightforward as a magical princess could not?
"One of her friends is being a real pain." Ranma verbally stepped in. "There's also some problems with another old friend of Usagi's. She really feels betrayed by the whole thing."
"Mind if we ask who?" Sam inquired.
"I can trust you two on this?"
"Of course," Sam said, not bothering to hide her hurt.
"Sorry," Ranma looked to Usagi who gave a vague motion that might have been consent. "It's Ami. Ami Mizuno."
Naoko thought for a bit while Sam looked at something that was suspiciously similar to a whip. "It's about Janet too, isn't it?"
"Naoko, you can't think every essentially inseparable pair of girls that are friends is a lesbian couple. That's how rumors start," Sam reprimanded. "I'll admit, if they were lesbians I wouldn't be shocked at all."
Sam turned her attention back to Ranma. "We should really hang out more."
"You and all your Gothy friends," Naoko teased.
"Sure, we could go to a bar or a club. I'd be fun." Ranma gave a saucy smile. She noticed the amused blushes on her friends and recalled exactly what she said.. "Oh! It! I meant to say "It" would be fun!"
"I'm sure you would be fun," Sam teased.
"Maybe we should pick something out for you girls to wear?" Ranma asked with a blush. "This is the perfect store for making an impression."
"I bet Ami shops here now too," Usagi muttered.
Ranma laughed. "This is a classy place," she said as she looked through the leather bikini tops.
"You could get us into a bar?" Naoko asked.
"Sure. It's easy." Ranma held up the bikini. The metal chains connecting the cups and providing straps seemed far too gaudy.
"Hmm, okay." Sam assumed that Sunshine got in using her charms and her "mature" physique.
"Do you wanna come too?" Naoko asked a dejected looking Usagi.
"I, well, I've got to get things straightened out with Ami first."
"Sorry to hear that, maybe next time," Sam said.
"What about our thing?" Usagi asked Ranma, irritation entering her depressed voice.
"Oh yeah, I'll help you with Ami when you want," Ranma said as she picked out a set of leather pants and handed them to an embarrassed Naoko. "Just remember the kind of help that I'll give."
"Er, yeah." Usagi hesitated. "I just, I need to save her." She looked at Ranma's two friends. "From herself."
Naoko looked at Usagi with an unreadable expression on her face for a brief moment. "If you say so."
Sam leaned in close and whispered into Ranma's ear. "I think you should help her," she looked at her fellow blonde briefly. "She's in a sorry state, just help her. I'll find something risque for Naoko to wear while you do it."
Ranma nodded and lead Usagi to the opposite side of the store.
"They know?" Usagi asked.
Ranma rolled her eyes. "They know that you want my advice, and that it's something private. You need a plan, now it's good that you've realized how bad this could be." She held up her hand, cutting Usagi off. "How long has Ami been on your team?"
"She was the first, before her-" Usagi's voice turned maudlin. "- it was just Naru. Then more Senshi came, and we drifted apart."
"Then Ami knows exactly how you fight." Ranma looked into Usagi's eyes. "You've got to take the fight to her, you have to be proactive." The redhead paused to recall the last word.
"You mean hunt her down?"
Ranma smiled. "I knew you could figure it out. Setsuna has her sources and the Company can help some. Track her down by whatever means you can."
"Maybe Rei can get a vision on her," Usagi pondered.
Ranma nodded. "And this time Ami won't be there to interpret it for you."
"What about fights?"
The demon paused. She was not sure what to make about Usagi's tone. It was still depressed, but seemed somehow expectant. "Those are chances to beat her, but she knows what you can do, and she has that book. That said, you've got the edge on her in raw power and purification, right?"
"Maybe I should take out Murdock first. Break the control." Usagi's hands clenched.
"Looks like the Princess has some anger in her after all." Ranma smirked. "And that's a great idea. Take him out and the rest would be easier."
Usagi looked up and for a few seconds they were clear and decisive. "You know what he did to me, to you. He uses people, destroys their lives, warps their minds and bodies, kills them. He will be Punished," she echoed her words but this time with decisive conviction.
"Sometimes you really are your mother's daughter."
Usagi's gaze softened. "I know. I'm afraid."
"Good," Ranma stretched. "Things are going to be difficult. Fear keeps you from being complacent, but don't let it rule you getting consumed with worry will just waste time, time you can spend doing stuff."
"I know Ami's not wasting her time." Usagi laughed bitterly. "Not then and not now."
"Then you should make sure your girls don't waste their time." Ranma then looked to see Naoko trying to get Sam a bright red PVC cat-suit. "That thing won't fit her."
"It's also not her color," Usagi grumbled.
Ranma turned back to the blonde. "I like this assertive side you're starting to show."
Usagi nodded slowly. "Well, I should go. Setsuna wants to talk with the others. I'll tell them my plan then. Thanks for the help." She gave the demoness a quick hug before leaving the store and reuniting with Setsuna.
"You're welcome," Ranma said as she watched the two Senshi leave. She wagered it would take more to get Usagi to really learn, but she was starting to come around. Ranma shrugged and returned to her friends.
"And here's where Silva explains the parts of the succubus body," Nodoka said to the sleepy succubae who lounged around her. The succubus reading primer had a cute picture of Silva succubus pointing to a diagram of another succubus who had various parts of her body labeled. Nodoka ran through the list of bodyparts: cornu, caput, mamae, arma, cubitum, secus, femur, crus, and pes.
"Are you sure that's the right pronunciation?" Nabiki asked as she nuzzled her grandmother's shoulder.
"I took some Latin in university and the start of this book has a pretty good pronunciation guide." Nodoka shrugged. "But you really can't learn to pronounce a language from books. At least you'll be able to read and have some understanding if someone speaks it."
"That will let us read the books Great-grandma gave us," Ukyou said. She then nudged Misako who had started to doze off.
The green-eyed succubus mumbled sleepily and tried to put her attention back to the book.
"There will be a quiz when we're done," Nodoka reminded.
"At least it's not grammar, well today." Akane corrected herself.
Nariko's red eyes perked up.
"But I thought you two wanted to be proper succubae?" Nabiki innocently asked Akane and Misako. "Learning our family's language and culture is a big part of that."
"That's right," Nodoka beamed as she turned to the next page. She was interrupted before she could read the text that accompanied Silva standing with a larger and older-looking demoness.
"Hi Mom!" Nariko happily greeted.
Ranma froze and studied the tableau. Her mother was in the middle of a pile of succubae as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The redhead smirked, stripped, sat down, and slid in. Moving off Nodoka's side to allow Ranma in, Akane then put her head on her mother's lap.
"How was the meeting?" Nodoka asked, as she hugged her daughter hello.
"Pretty good really." Ranma stretched her arms. "Usagi's taking things seriously, Ami might not have realized what she's started. Plus Sam and Naoko showed up, so I got to help them shop."
"They pick out anything fun?" Akane asked.
"Nothing too wild I'm afraid, but it should look fun when they go out with us."
"We're going out?" Misako's eyes twinkled. She had not visited a good club in a while. "When?"
"Dunno, we can talk to them at school. Work out the details. Maybe the Red Turtle. Though that place can be a bit too mellow."
"Not on Wednesdays and Fridays. They have live music those days. Ayanami says some of the acts are pretty good." Nodoka said.
"Neat, that could work then."
"What about me?" Nabiki asked.
"What? You'll come of course."
"Uh Mom, look at me. I don't think I'll pass as nineteen as easily as the rest of you," Nabiki dryly reminded.
"So? You've done the bar thing before with Alexia."
"Don't remind me," Nabiki frowned.
"Sorry Honey," Ranma reached over to comfort her. "I was just trying to say it's not something to worry about."
"Well, what about Naoko and Sam? They knew me from before, and I'm not like Akane. I can't just be explained away by becoming a Goth-lesbian-punk-girl."
"Yeah, you're more of a Gothic-Lolita-pink-lace-lesbian," Akane evaluated.
"Gee, thanks sis."
"Well, you're about half a foot shorter, have a much more youthful face and a more slender physique, save for your breasts. There's also how you dress and carry yourself now." Ranma shrugged as her tail curled about. "People will see a resemblance, but no one would think you're Nabiki."
"I am Nabiki."
"You know what I mean," Ranma could tell the hurt in her daughter's voice was feigned. "You're still Yuki too. Your Senshi name is Sailor Yuki. Your fashion style is like hers and you're trying to give me the puppy-dog eyes while making your lower lip quiver."
"Our saccharine succubus mom is supposed to submit to saturated sweetness," Nabiki remarked.
Ranma crossed her arms in front of her chest. "You're as bad as Nari-chan, you know?"
"Given that she's the reason you're the Mom you are today, that's a compliment."
"Cute," Ranma's resistance crumbled and she scooped Nabiki in close, displacing Akane to her side.
"We'll figure out something for Sam and Naoko." Ranma put her arms around Nabiki. "Though, I think they're pretty on the ball. They knew that Ami and Janet were together."
"We should really find them ourselves." Misako proposed as she snuggled onto Ukyou's chest.
"You just want to see her corset in person," the blonde accused her mate.
"I'm amazed that a human Senshi could actually come up with a uniform that wasn't a fashion disaster. Though all that ice over her crotch and ass can't be fun," Ukyou admitted.
"You mean her secus and pyga?" Nabiki teased.
"She probably likes the cold," Ranma said as she slid more from her mother's side to her front.
"Should we go back to the book?" Nodoka asked as she patted her daughter on the head, careful to avoid her horns.
Despite this, Ranma still purred and nuzzled her head. The motion caused Nodoka's bra to get out of position.
"Sure, I think we're ready," Nabiki said.
"Yeah," Nariko agreed as she slid in behind Nodoka.
"Okay." As Nodoka reopened the book and flipped to the next page she found herself easing backwards. She then paused. "Nari-chan dear, can you please move your tail. The tickling is distracting."
"Sorry," Nariko blushed and adjusted herself.
"It's fine," Nodoka tried to adjust her bra but found her daughter's head in the way.
"I can unhook it for you?" Nariko helpfully offered. "Or give you a nice backrub?"
Nodoka considered. This morning had been full of stressful hassles. Acquiring the necessary machining equipment had been a pain. "Yes, that would be nice." She smiled as Nariko went to work, and then resumed the reading.
"Mistress," Orion gently interrupted the blue-haired Senshi, with her head bowed.
"Yes?" Mercury said looking up from the display next to her. She then waved for Orion to rise to her full height.
"It's about the meeting between the Princess and DarkStar," Orion said.
"You weren't spotted."
Orion was not sure whether her Mistress had asked a question or made a statement. "Not that I know," she said, opting for the safe response.
Mercury's eyes darted back to the display. She then typed in a few commands and leaned back in her, modest, throne. "You placed the probe before they had arrived."
"Yes," Orion eyed the comfortable and unadorned high-backed chair. She had expected a more foreboding structure, but upon reflection Orion reevaluated her view. Mistress Mercury would never be one to rely on some piece of furniture to prove her status. Similarly her hair was up in a simple bun, and her jewelry was Spartan silver with ice gems.
"It's an interesting challenge," Mercury mused. "How to make devices that are invisible to Setsuna's meddling and to those human... observers."
"There's also the demons and their senses," Orion respectfully added. This time it was easy to setup surveillance. Mercury knew about the meeting and its location ahead of time.
Mercury smiled thinly. "Yes, we must not forget them. What do you think of their conversation?"
"The Princess aims to forge an alliance. She's resolved to take action against us." Orion said carefully. She had seen what her Mistress was capable of, but knew that a sycophantic evaluation would not be wise.
Mercury laughed and re-crossed her legs. She idly adjusted the skirting to her dark blue silk evening dress. "Interesting. She's making a plan, good. I would be very disappointed in the Princess if she just sat back and took it."
Orion studied her mistress. She swore that today's corset was a bit tighter, but more important was the bust increase. Her eyes slid over to the statuary next to the throne. Unsurprisingly, the detail was amazing.
Mercury started tapping her manicured nails with deliberate impatience. "Are you enjoying your view?"
"Oh yes, Mistress," Orion blushed and bowed.
"I appreciate it, but don't be too servile." Mercury cautioned. "The Princess aims to fight? Good. I want her to learn from this."
"I would assume you'd want the Princess to move into her chambers here sooner rather than later," Orion stated. The townhouse they were currently inhabiting, generously funded by their backer, had ample room for all the Senshi.
"If things had gone better last night she would have moved in here within a fortnight." Mercury glowered. Her original plan was to leverage the Mistress Lyra threat to get them to move into this newly acquired place.
Convincing Setsuna to make the purchase would have been the hard part, but Mercury was sure that the others would find this place irresistible. Once the Senshi were moved in she could have initiated the next phase. Mercury sighed. Things would not be that easy. She thanked her foresight in making contingency plans.
"The Princess will be living here soon enough," Mercury promised.
"She is the most sympathetic to our cause," Orion laughed.
"Maybe not," Mercury said as she looked at her display again. "Maybe the Princess's new ally would be more open to us." She turned to the statue and smiled.
"I think DarkStar would approve," Orion remarked. Virgo did make a good objet d'art. The icy glaze that kept the presentation in position added a new layer to the piece.
"Are you sure?" Mercury frowned. "She prefers more... visceral punishments." She stood up and walked the short distance, her heels clicking on the floor.
"Visceral?" Orion asked, puzzling over the term's use. "She does like organs and is a more emotional and instinctual creature."
Mercury smiled thinly. "That and her enemies have the pleasure of being eviscerated as they're being eaten, of course."
"Of course," Orion agreed.
She caressed the frozen cheek and smirked at the smoldering eyes. "I am not nearly so exuberant or emotional in my desires. Physical pain is only part of it, and it would be such a shame to ruin these nice hardwood floors."
"I think DarkStar would understand that," Orion ventured as she walked closer to her mistress.
"I suppose," Mercury looked Virgo up and down, her eyes lingering on Virgo's chest. She smirked. "Have you learned your lesson?" she asked the purple-haired statue.
Virgo tried with all her will to escape the icy prison. Physical strength proved ineffective, and her powers had been controlled by Mercury. Her face could not even change its position. She was stuck in an alluring pout.
Mercury put a gloved hand to her lip in thought. "If not, I suppose I can start freezing your limbs. Would that make things clear enough for you?"
"Would you like to resume training or have dinner?" Orion asked, turning away from the icy statue.
"Well, Virgo is currently indisposed, and will be for a while," Mercury frowned. Virgo was a good trainer and a fair cook too.
"We could train with the caster. I had just finished testing the room's shielding," Orion offered. Before she planted the bug she had been working in that basement room. "There won't be any magical leakage."
"While it was nice of our benefactor to furnish us with that facility, I am disappointed by the capabilities it had," Ami said as she smiled inwardly. Just a few short months ago the caster was nearly impossible, and now...
"We did just finish upgrading the caster's power," Orion reminded.
"Yes," Mercury turned to Orion. "Are you sure about the shielding?"
"Planning to go all out tonight?" Orion asked with a smirk. "And yes, it's checked out and ready."
"Good, I don't want anybody to sniff out my efforts," Mercury laughed.
"Would you like dinner before hand? I could cook if you desire."
Mercury gave a noncommittal shrug.
"At least the wine cellar is well stocked," Orion weakly offered.
"And how are your skills as a sommelier?" Mercury asked.
"A what?" Orion delicately asked.
Mercury contained her disappointment. "You should have been able to figure that out via context."
"I'm sorry Mistress," Orion tried to kneel down but found herself being held up. She looked to see Mercury's cold features gently thaw.
"Thank you," Orion said as she fell onto Mercury's cool, but loving, embrace.
Mercury pulled Orion back to her feet, and kissed her. "I am eternally thankful for the changes you brought within me. Never forget that."
"I won't," Orion said with a secret smile.
"Hello, my name's Nabiki Saotome," the girl dressed in her Saint Helena uniform introduced herself to her new classmates.
"Maybe you could tell us more about yourself?" Miss Agnew asked the eager and young student.
"I'm the youngest of five sisters." Nabiki paused and wondered how exactly to play this. Glancing at the bored students before her, she made her decision. "My favorite color's pink. I'm studying my family history now. Many mark my mother as a monster. Mainly malevolent misfits that must meet their maker."
"Clever wordplay," Miss Agnew pleasantly offered. Her new student's transcripts indicated a very bright and driven student.
Nabiki smiled. Fun was definitely the better way to go. "Thank you. I think I'll find this experience informative."
"Uh, that's very nice." Miss Agnew hesitated. She was reminded by "Village of the Damned" Those children were pale and gifted too. She pointed an empty seat for Nabiki to take.
The powder-blue-haired girl sat down and opened her backpack. She closed her eyes and briefly smiled at the bare connection. Mother was trying her best and actually managed to connect to her. Nabiki's thoughts on how long her mom could keep it up were interrupted however.
"Wow, you're pretty dolled up," A girl with her hair in a ponytail to the side remarked.
Nabiki looked over her thin, frameless, and nonfunctional reading glasses. The girl would be pretty, if not for the overdone eyeliner. "I like pink and am cute. What's your excuse?"
"Your makeup makes you look fourteen," the girl shot back.
"I am," Nabiki then gave an adorable smile. "And I suppose you're really the malodorous corpse of a prostitute that serviced circus folk."
The overly made-up girl's face reddened in anger and she prepared a retort, but there was something about the innocent face that was... upsetting.
Nabiki smirked inwardly and turned her attention to the teacher. Maybe this could be fun.
"You guys like being back in school?" Naoko asked Ranma and her... friends
"Things feel a bit more normal," Nariko admitted as she picked at her lunch.
"I can see that," Sam stated. Their table had suddenly gotten much fuller. She turned to the new addition to the group. She was apparently another cousin or something to Sunshine. Though she was awfully familiar with Ranma's other cousin Ukyou. "What do you think Misako?"
"The uniforms aren't bad, I guess." Misako frowned. At least they were not jumpers.
"I still think we should all wear ones like... Red's old uniform," Akane grumbled.
"I don't know about that," Ranma shrugged.
"There's enough of us now to make a good set."
"You know that old uniform of mine still has a skirt," Ranma reminded.
"Better than this one," Akane said fingering the hem of hers.
Naoko looked over to the table where her redhead friend's other other acquaintances sat at. The decreased number was not unexpected. She and Sam did learn about the falling out yesterday, but it did remind her. "Huh, so anyone know what happen to Ami and Janet? They're not in school today."
"Nope." Ranma then went back to her food. She concentrated to sense Nabiki. Despite the distance the connection remained strong.
"Must be related to their fight with Usagi," Sam guessed.
"Yeah, probably that."
"So... uniforms then?" Misako asked.
"We could vote on it," Nariko offered.
"What about you guys?" Ukyou asked Naoko and Sam. "You want darker uniforms with fishnets? I'm sure we can make something in your size."
Naoko blushed while Sam was contemplative.
Ranma looked at the others. "I don't even think we need a vote. I mean do any of you want the normal uniform?"
Naoko sipped her juice. "Well, maybe not every day."
"Oh that's not part of the fun," Sam pouted.
"I er... I guess," Naoko pulled back from the others slightly. "So any idea on us going out?"
"There's the Red Turtle; they'll have some live music on Wednesday," Ranma offered.
"You've been there?" Sam asked.
"What's it like?" Naoko inquired.
"Nice, mellow. I've never been there when they have music, but if it's bad we can do something else." Ranma went back to her lunch.
"And don't worry about the age thing," Ukyou added.
"Especially if you wear anything Sunny helped you buy," Nariko reminded.
"That reminds me," Ranma pushed around some of her lunch. "Someone else will be coming with us."
"Another cousin of yours?" Sam asked.
"Uh yeah," Ranma coughed.
"You'll like Yuki-chan," Misako assured.
"I'm sure she'll be great; she's a part of your family," Sam said as she looked at each of the pale girls in turn.
"Thanks," Ranma said blushing with pride.
Naoko nodded in agreement. She vaguely wondered why this new friend of Ranma's was not in school, but she let it slide. There were plenty of reasons: Yuki doesn't live around here, she goes to a different school, or the like. Regardless, she trusted the redhead.
Nabiki frowned as she walked down the hall. This was not fun. "Yes, I am developed," she said to a boy. "You know, if you want to be lewd you might as well give a good shot at it."
"What?" the short-haired boy asked. "You're just a big bimbo."
Nabiki sighed. "You impotent little moron. That doesn't make any sense. I'm clearly smarter than all of you and I'm not big; I'm short."
"Girly little brain," he sniffed and walked off.
"That's actually better, though not an insult," Nabiki yelled to his retreating back. She growled and resumed walking down the hallway.
"Are you alright?" Miss Agnew asked after approaching the pale girl. She felt apprehensive, but it was part of the job.
Nabiki looked up to the teacher. "Yes."
"Are you sure? I've seen your performance today."
"Performance?" Nabiki idly played with the pair of the bows in her hair.
Miss Agnew felt that something was amiss. She remained silent as her student moved from her hair to checking her too cute makeup.
"Yes, your performance. You're a brilliant student, but you're not good at making friends." Miss Agnew explained.
Nabiki put away her compact. "I'm not that interested in making friends with children like this."
"Aren't you younger than the other students?"
"Disappointing isn't it," Nabiki sighed.
Miss Agnew shivered slightly. "Yes, that is bad, but the class work will get better."
"I doubt it." Nabiki then noticed the hurt on her teacher's face. "You're a fine teacher, but...." She shrugged.
"You've been advanced a year already," Miss Agnew cautioned. "Maybe you need to grow your social skills some, keep a bit of pace with your academic ones."
"That would make the fools around me even more insufferable," Nabiki replied.
Miss Agnew frowned. "Are you sure? That's awfully cynical of an attitude. You sound almost like a teacher."
Nabiki laughed. She was sure Yuki would have been happy here. Accommodatingly cute was a great way to make friends, but Mother had to be supportive and nurture her dreams. "I guess we just have to make the most of our situation."
"You'll try to be less brash with your classmates?" Miss Agnew asked as they neared the front doors.
"Not exactly," Nabiki opened the doors and noticed her ride.
Miss Agnew frowned at the pair of people leaning on an idling van that Nabiki ran to. The male one was casually nondescript. He had short black hair and wore clothes that made him look like any white collar drone. The dark sunglasses and stance added a bit too much "forced coolness" for Agnew's tastes.
The other person waiting was something else. She looked like a biker babe that had settled down enough to have kids and a permanent address. The woman's sinfully teased crimson tresses induced pangs of envy in the teacher. The way the leather pants, coat, and silk blouse hung from the woman's body caused another pang.
Agnew then watched the redhead happily scoop up Nabiki and pull the younger girl off her feet. After the warm embrace, Nabiki and her mother, it had to be a mother, went into the van. The relation was obvious, both had the same complexion, and Agnew could see where Nabiki got her assets from.
The nondescript man lingered just long enough to give Miss Agnew a funny salute with his thumb and pointer finger connected, held over his eye, and then tipped foreword and out.
It was only after he had slipped into the front passenger seat of the van and it had driven off that Agnew realized something. The redhead who had easily lifted Nabiki off her feet was almost the exact same height as her daughter.
"Now, you're not so sure about that school?" Ranma asked her daughter. She and Nabiki were at the kitchen table. On the ride home, Nabiki had explained her day.
"Well maybe," Nabiki looked down at her Saint Helena uniform. "I don't know if high school would be that much better."
"Well, I'm not sure things will be better if I'm a freshmen. Then the ages will be even more apparent, but they will be older."
"And high schoolers are supposed to be tragically jaded and sarcastic," Ranma sweetly reminded.
"Thanks Mom," Nabiki laughed. "It was a bit of a shock, I didn't think it would be so..." She shook her head. "I'm just too damn cute."
Misako had entered the room and poured herself some juice. "Sure you don't want to go to high school just because the stock's a bit more mature?"
Ranma turned to Misako. "What did I say about draining horny teenage boys?"
"That it's way too easy and none of those pathetic meat-bags are worthy to touch the glorious flesh of someone from this family?"
"Close enough. Interesting choice of words too." She said with deliberate delicateness.
Misako stood very still. "Yes, Mother." She said slowly as she replaced the juice bottle.
Nabiki saw her sister falter and stepped in. "It's not like she's calling all humans meat-bags. Just those ones at school."
Misako coughed. "Yes, the humans we work with are great people." She stepped from her mother.
"Yes, they are," Ranma continued, seemingly ignoring her daughter's fear. "But those boys at school, they're just teenagers. It's their nature."
"Yes, you're right." Misako said before quickly leaving the room.
"That was mean," Nabiki quietly and told her mother.
"Was it?" Ranma shrugged. "You'll be changing the type of fools you have to deal with." She shook her head. There was a slight buzzing in the back of her head. It faded and she dismissed it.
"But I'll be with my big sisters, and you."
"I know." Ranma knew that it would be more secure too. Nabiki would not be alone. The surveillance teams would also be consolidated. "It's your choice." She frowned the sensation had returned.
Nabiki looked down. "I think I'll know by tomorrow. I mean, I kind of want to fit in more, and what if moving doesn't help?"
"That sounds fine, Honey," Ranma reassured as she activated her phone.
"Yes, Maya?" Ranma asked, recognizing the voice. "Is there anything going on?"
Maya blinked, she was just about to call her. "Yes, we just detected a body in the dojo. We're not picking up an NH pattern, looks like a short man, just standing there. Were you expecting a visitor?" Agent Maya Iverson asked.
"No," Ranma said her voice growing cold. Akane and Ukyou were going to train in a few minutes but there was nothing now. "No Pattern?"
"No, nothing. Maybe human."
Ranma stood up. "Nabiki bring the others down. It looks like we have another trespasser." She then put her head back to the phone. "Maya any idea how this happened?" Ranma asked as she unfolded her senses.
"There was some electrical interference. We're getting more information," Maya apologized. "Do you want support?"
"Have them on standby," Ranma focused on the dojo and picked out its occupant. It was human, but... She was reminded of the Senshi or Assemblymen. Both were modified human, but this person was... different, and he was staying in the same spot.
Ranma shrugged and casually walked over to the outbuilding. She slid the door open and prepared herself. What she found was a diminutive old man standing in front of the shrine. His hands were clasped behind his back and he looked like he was in an art gallery.
"You wouldn't happen to be a relative of mine?" Ranma asked in jest as shadows started to build and pool around her.
"I was really worried. I was afraid my lousy students would be lousy teachers, but here's their dojo and it's full of such... fascinating smells. You girls have been very busy in here." The man slowly turned to face her. He studied her with an amazed look as if the redhead had exceeded his expectations.
"You taught my father? Soun too? Oh dear," Ranma sighed. Even if this coot were telling the truth things could be a pain.
"I see Nodoka's influence," the old man noted, appraisingly.
"And the horns?" Ranma asked walking over to him. "You have no idea how dumb you've been."
"Oh?" He looked the woman over. "Well, you only live once," he blurred and pounced at Ranma. He made contact with the demoness and just before he could get a grope in felt a hand slide between him and her chest. There was a flash of pain and he released and bounded away.
His robe had a series of horizontal slashes that had blood oozing through in a few spots. "Still worth it."
Ranma blinked. "You... you tried to drain me? What?"
"I like pretty ladies," the old man shrugged.
"Succubae drain human males, not the other way around," Ranma lectured, watching him carefully.
"You're not going to keep an old man from having his fun." He then sobbed.
"Fun?" Ranma asked.
"You want us to bring in the old guys?" Ukyou shouted from the back door to the house.
"Uh, sure," Ranma said rubbing her chest with one hand.
"Oh good, so they are home," the old man laughed. He then watched as five smirking women in a box formation led his two students into the dojo. He felt that he had died and gone to... well someplace that had very nice women who were no doubt amenable to an old man's simple wishes.
"Explain," Ranma ordered her father, pointing to the old man.
"You're looking well, Master," Genma said as he used a move Ranma immediately recognized: The Crouch of the Wild Tiger.
"Yes, it's good to see you Master Happosai," Soun said, entering a similarly submissive position.
"Um.... he really is your teacher?" Ranma asked.
"He is the founder and grandmaster of our School," Genma said.
"At least the new generation seems better," Happosai noted.
"Was he always... into breasts?" Ranma asked
"The Master is a virile man and enjoys the pleasures of the flesh," Soun said, hedging his words.
"Meaning?" Ranma asked impatiently as she looked at her father's teacher.
"He likes to grope women and take their underwear. He had an impressive collection," Genma admitted.
"That's no doubt moth-ridden, thanks to you," Happosai grumbled.
"Right, he's diminutive, grizzled martial arts master, that likes a quick fondle and a souvenir?"
"Don't you try to ruin my fun."
"Uh, I've got a grandma who invaded Earth with a demonic army. If you get your kicks by having some hardly even dirty fun. I ain't gonna care."
"Oh, you've made me so happy!" Happosai beamed.
"Course if you touch my kids, there won't even be any bones left." Ranma smiled warmly.
"Kids?" Happosai asked.
"Yes, they're mine. What's it too you?"
The old man pulled out a pipe. "That explains the scents and ki in here. It's all related and so very strong."
"So, what? You just dropping in?"
"Well, I had to escape that little cave-in that those two -" the old man pointed to Genma and Soun. "- setup. It took a few years, but I managed."
Ranma smirked. "You actually tried to kill your master, Pops?" She laughed. "Figures you wouldn't make sure the body was good and dead."
"Pitiful isn't it?" Happosai agreed. "They got me drunk enough to pass out. They could have ended me then, but they didn't have the stone to do it themselves."
"And they just left you to die in a cave," Misako surmised.
Happosai looked forlornly at the green-eyed demonesses. "You sure they're your kids?"
"Yes, their age from birth is... I mean I turned them, well turned them to my brood." Ranma coughed. "They're mine."
Happosai waved it off. "I know about succubae. It's only natural given my hobby." He grinned lecherously. "I remember that Genma had a son for one."
"Yeah, well, things changed."
"And now you're a sexy succubus."
"This must be some kinda dream for you right?" Ranma snorted.
Happosai paused. "Well, you don't mind the bras. You're not weak like your father. Killer body that's oh so snuggly. Kids that at least seem competent. It's getting there."
He then walked over to the corner of the dojo and tugged at a large sack. After nearly a minute of rummaging he then bounded to Ranma. "Here," he said handing a violet object over.
The redhead held the bra up. It was silk and was a bit overwrought in its lace detailing. "Not bad, it's the right cup and band size. Good eye on that."
Happosai looked contemplative. "You're a demon, and you do martial arts."
"Yeah, had to modify the school." Ranma said with pride. "New balance, extra limbs, flying, and that stuff."
"I'd like to see that. Now, are you going to try it on?" Happosai asked leeringly.
Ranma shrugged and slipped out of her shirt and pulled off her bra. She smirked at the old man's reaction and quickly pulled on the new one. "Geeze, they're just boobs. Chill out."
"Oh you've made an old man so very happy," he sobbed. Noticing Ranma's old bra, Happosai ran up to it. "Such silky bliss," he said, rubbing the undergarment to his face.
"Wow, you really are a dirty old man," Ranma said fascinated it was like watching some type of reptile at work. The old man was aesthetically extremely unappealing, but... the draining was interesting; it was like he learned some demonic biology. She then smirked when the summoned clothing started to disintegrate.
"No!" Happosai cried as the bra started to dissolve. He tried to hold onto it, but the garment decayed, eventually becoming insubstantial wisps. "Why did you do that?" he asked pitifully.
"It's just how things work." Clothing summoned by a succubus tended to fade when separated from its creator. Though the rate of decay could be controlled.
"Does it happen with all your clothes?"
Ranma smiled evilly.
"Oh that's not fair. Not fair at all," Happosai pouted. "I hope your girls aren't as plainly dressed as you."
Misako smiled. "Finally, someone who agrees with me."
"I'm not that fond of frilly stuff," Ranma said crossing her arms over he chest.
"Yes, you're more of a sexy functional," Happosai said appraisingly. "So what's are these modified moves like?"
"That a challenge?" Ranma asked, shifting into her violet Lycra unitard.
"Oh, I like spunk," Happosai smirked.
The first thing Major Saotome noticed was the jagged hole in the dojo's roof. It was above the front entrance and quite large. Nodoka then caught a glimpse of the sparring. The visuals from base did not do it justice.
She silently watched as two figures danced around each other. Fast, predatory grace defined her daughter's powerful moves, but her diminutive opponent was even nimbler and difficult to track with the naked eye. Nodoka could telll that it was, surprisingly, an older man her daughter was facing. THe officer then noticed four of her granddaughters itently observing the match.
The man noticed Nodoka's presence and bounded over to her. "Hi No-chan. Long time no see."
Ranma used the opportunity and tried to grapple him to the ground, but the old master wormed out of her grip.
"Attacking while my back was turned," Happosai shook his head.
Ranma smirked, and wiped her brow.
"Nice touch that." Happosai turned back to Nodoka. "You've got a good kid. Spirited, but she's not too respectful of her elders."
"Groping old goat," Ranma grumbled as she caught her breath. "You still kept goin' after my boobs."
"You were free to stop me," Happosai smirked.
"I see you haven't changed much," Nodoka remarked. Of course her husband's lecherous teacher had retured. Of course.
Happosai smiled broadly. "What's with the soldier getup? You with these other guys?"
"Yes, I wanted to find my daughter and they offered to help," Nodoka explained. There was also the pride of her work, knowing how it helped agents, but there was no need to tell him that.
"Ranma was a girl that long ago?"
"Nope." Ranma adjusted her unitard.
"Ah so, Genma did take you on that training trip," Happosai remarked. He looked the sweaty succubus over. "Didn't do to badly with that at least."
Ranma beamed. "You're not to shabby yourself. Been a long time since I sparred like that."
"You were holding back, though," Happosai remarked.
"Yeah, I didn't use my claws, tail spines, or fireballs. Would be a shame to shorten the fun," Ranma smiled toothily.
"Fun? You call me hitting you mercilessly as you lumbered around fun?"
"Feh, it wasn't that bad."
"You were sent flying through the roof," Happosai remarked.
"So? I came right back."
Happosai nodded. "It is handy having a student that won't get worn down, not like that pair of idiots."
"I have tea," Nariko said as she walked up to the dojo carrying a tray.
"Ranma's a very serious student," Nodoka said.
"Yes it shows. She's a lot like you," Happosai blurred and then latched onto her chest. "Oh I've missed this, such-" He was cut off as a tail raked over his body,; the old master released avoiding the razor fillaments.
"I know you're happy to see grandma, but it's impolite to be grabby," Nariko gently chastised as she put down the tea set. She idly swished her tail.
"Thank you Nari-chan," Nodoka complimented.
"That's great, Honey," Ranma said hugging her daughter.
Happosai shook his head and pulled himself back to his feet. "Ouch... why didn't you use that on me?" he asked Ranma as he patted the burn marks on his clothes.
"Because my tail would dice you apart."
"Fine, ruin all my fun," Happosai pouted.
Ranma rolled her eyes. "Oh please, we're not a bunch of prudes."
"I wouldn't want to be touched by a wrinkled old man," Akane commented. The elderly master disturbed her in unnatural ways.
Ranma tilted her head. "You know Happi, I think Akane volunteered for the next sparring match."
Happosai smirked. "I like the way you think, Red."
"Training shouldn't be a cakewalk. You decided to track Genma down? What'd you do, find out where Drake was living?"
"Not exactly," Happosai said as he sized up Akane.
"Mom?" Akane asked. She did not want to be touched by this... unnatural thing. Succubae were supposed to be the dominant ones not humans.
"You'll be fine," Ranma waved a hand. "So how did you find us?"
"It was weird. I was enjoying the generous donations of some very lovely ladies when a gaijin priest sat down next to me." Happosai smiled fondly.
"Priest?" Nodoka asked.
"We got to talking and it turns out he was a friend of The Drake: the crazy third wheel to my idiot students."
"And of course he knew where to find the Drake," Ranma sighed. How predictable.
"And where Soun lived too, funny guy. Was really loose for a priest." Happosai shrugged.
"Pardon?" Nodoka then exchanged a glance with Ranma.
"Describe him," Ranma asked.
"Average enough guy. Grey eyes I guess. Fidgeted a bit. You know, just a guy." Happosai paused.
"Nothing more specific?"
"I don't pay attention to guys. Not my thing," Happosai shrugged.
"He give a name?" Ranma asked guessing who it was.
"First name Murdock by any chance?"
"He didn't give it, but maybe."
"We have some pictures of Murdock you can look at," Nodoka offered.
"It's probably him," Ranma sighed. "Okay, why would he do that?"
Happosai gave a measured look. "He wanted me here. That's obvious. So you know this guy? What's his deal?"
"He's just some mook that likes causin' trouble," Ranma explained.
The old master eyed the redhead. At least she was a fair lair.
"We believe he is trying to orchestrate events," Nodoka said.
"Take over the world, dark conspiracies, back room dealings," Ranma's tone was disdainful and bored.
"Aren't you a demon that's working with some sort of secret military thing?" Happosai asked.
"I've got a good thing with them."
"Now who to train," Happosai pondered. "My lousy students or your kids?"
"You never did properly greet them," Ranma smirked.
"And they haven't left yet," Nodoka helpfully added. "They're still in the den drinking."
"I can't believe there wasn't anything in Ami's room," Makoto said as she looked at the cold beverages.
"What, you expect her to have an 'I heart Mistress Lyra' poster in her room?" Rei asked as she looked around the convenience store. She saw the two blondes over by the frozen foods aisle looking morose.
"There could have been some notes or plans," Makoto defended.
"Why? She kept everything on her computer," Rei pulled a bottle of pop out. "I'm disappointed that Janet's mom didn't have any info."
"What? Setsuna talked to her. Doctor Fraiser thinks her daughter is at space camp or something out in Colorado," Makoto frowned.
"Clearly, they got to her, messed with her mind," Rei scowled.
"Her mind was already messed with. Janet couldn't have been around for what, couple of years?"
"But Doc Fraiser thought she adopted Janet a long time ago," Rei smirked. "We still have to watch her. Janet's mom is either a patsy or another minion."
"That's not a nice thing to say about my mom," Orion lazily remarked as she entered from the back hallway that led to the bathrooms. She held her double-bladed staff with one end resting on her shoulder.
"Traitor!" Rei shouted as she immediately transformed.
Makoto turned to the front and was dismayed and unsurprised to see Virgo and Mercury walk in through the front door.
"Don't give me a reason to punish you again," Mercury icily said to Virgo. The former Amazon angrily nodded and turned towards the blondes.
"What's this a costume contest?" the half-stoned clerk asked. The flashy lights were a shock.
"Something like that," Mercury smirked as she stood in front of him.
He smiled vaguely. "You're sure to win dressed like that."
"Thank you," Mercury said and snapped her fingers in front of his face.
"Huh?" the clerk mumbled as he collapsed to the ground.
"You monster!" Mars accused.
Mercury sighed and turned to the Senshi. "Only one of you had the sense to transform?"
"This is Virgo?" Minako asked. She looked between Virgo's ample chest and Mercury's corseted bosom contemplatively.
Mercury raised an eyebrow.
"I'm going to save you," Usagi's face as stern and she grabbed for her broach.
"We shall see," Mercury smirked as she sauntered over to the blondes.
There was a pair of flashes and Venus stepped in between Mercury and her Princess. The blue-haired girl smiled thinly as she rapped a folded tessen against Venus' head. The blonde dodged but was then attacked by Virgo.
"Should have summoned your sword," Mercury laughed
"No!" Jupiter shouted as tried to jump over to Moon.
Orion slipped her staff between Jupiter's legs and then twisted it. The brunette tumbled to the ground and her left leg was sliced when Orion pulled her staff out.
"Don't kill her," Mercury ordered Virgo. "I have plans for Venus."
"Yes Mistress," Virgo sighed.
"You can stop this," Mercury stepped closer to her princess.
Moon narrowed her eyes. "Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss." The brilliant flash bloomed enveloped Mercury and then died down.
"Tingly," Mercury laughed and adjusted her corset. "I'm not some phage or some poor possessed human."
"You save the Princess, I'll take care of Naru," Jupiter said as she stood back up. The bleeding from her cut had slowed down.
Mars nodded and took aim. "Mars Flame Sniper!" She then ran down the aisle.
Mercury twisted and flipped open a fan and intercepted the burning arrow. The other tessen she pointed towards the floor at the head of the aisle.
Mars' attack missed; she put her heel down... and lost her footing. The patch of ice was thin but large enough. Slamming into the counter at the front of the store Mars groaned in pain.
"Girls who wear high heels to a fight should watch where they walk," Mercury sermonized. She turned to see Virgo dodging around Venus' chain.
"Quit playing with her, and just knock her out." Mercury ordered.
Virgo nodded and caught the end of the Love Me chain with one sword and then used the flat of the other to sweep Venus's left foot out from under her. Pulling the chain, Virgo toppled the unbalanced Senshi and proceeded to chain her up.
"This is all a game to you, you sick traitor," Mars growled as she stood back up, careful to avoid the ice patch.
"No, this is deadly serious to me." For the first time Mercury sounded genuinely insulted.
Mars snarled and tried to shoot another arrow. Blocking with her tessen, Mercury closed in. She flipped her fans over and launched a barrage of icicles at Mars. The black-haired Senshi shrieked as thin icicles punctured her arms.
"Rei!" Jupiter and Moon cried. Jupiter then yelped when Orion trusted forward with her staff.
Orion's smirk died when Jupiter fired a blast at her. Orion dodged on the inside and spun the staff around and hit Jupiter on the head just under the blades. She leaned over Jupiter with a slight smirk. "Learn to fight in close."
Jupiter's left hand shot up and grabbed Orion's neck while her right held the staff away. "Same for you," she said as she squeezed Orion's neck.
Orion struggled and pulled her neck out of the grip, but Jupiter responded by holding her staff with two hands. Orion kept her face neutral as the two struggled over the long, bladed weapon.
Jupiter leveraged the staff over the shorter girl and pressed her against the wall. Orion growled and tried to kick the brunette but Jupiter easily evaded. "Forgot that I'm actually a martial artist."
"Oh, I didn't," Orion smirked. "I was just stalling."
Jupiter frowned and then twisted away and jumped when Virgo charged her with a pair of swords.
"Damn your goons," Mars said as she pulled some of the icicles out of her arms.
"At least mine can act like a team," Mercury smirked as she iced more ground under Mars' feet.
Mars jumped up and landed on the counter. "Nice try." The weakened surface creaked and broke apart in a cloud of ice and frost. Mars fell into a heap with the passed out clerk.
"I thought so," Mercury smirked. It was satisfying to see a plan come together.
Mars swore and clawed her way over the broken counter. She landed on the iced tile carefully and took a step forward, or tried to. She looked down to see the ice creeping over her heels. Swearing again she slipped out of her shoes and landed on some clear tile.
Mercury frowned at the bare feet. "Why didn't you just flash your power? You control fire."
Rage contorting her face, Mars glared. Flames sprung up around her gloves and she charged forward.
"Excellent," Mercury said as she blocked the flaming fists with her tessen. Behind her smirk she worried. The fans should hold up; they were designed to take much more than this.
"Damn you!" Mars punched down and connected with Mercury's ice skirt, shattering some of the frozen pleats. Mars could have sworn she saw fear in the traitor's eyes, but it was quickly replaced by bored disdain.
"Dirty," Mercury noted, inwardly relieved that the armor of her skirt absorbed the blow. "Feels good doesn't it?" she smarmily asked. Getting Mars mad was easy, and it negated her advantages. Mars' attacks were accurate and quick, at range. Close quarters was another issue.
"Shut up," Mars hissed, as she blindly dove forward.
Unsummoning her tessen, Mercury reached out and grabbed Mars' hands and for a few seconds ice and fire battled. Steam started to billow through the room. The ice crystal on Mercury's tiara flared, and the steam died down, as did the flames. Mars tried to pull out when the crystalline water started to creep up her arms.
Mars' eyes and arms flared and the ice shattered. "I won't go down that easily."
"Good," Mercury smirked unpleasantly. Inwardly her mind raced, Mars was putting up more of a fight than she predicted. Her smirk grew into an evil grin as she recalled Virgo's lessons.
Mars grinned as the flames strengthened, she then nearly stumbled as Mercury suddenly pulled her down and closer. Mars' confusion was short lived as Mercury suddenly rammed her knee into Mars' chin.
Mars fell to the ground in a groaning heap. Still laughing, Mercury looked down at her broken skirt. "Easily enough fixed," she said as her skirt grew back to its full size. She also stepped back discretely.
"You bitch," Mars swore as she pulled herself back up and her flames sprung back.
Mercury smiled as she recalled her tessen. She spread the fans and flicked two arcs of icicles at Mars. "It's just a few puncture wounds," Mercury remarked to the fallen Mars.
Mars got up, and felt the shards of ice start to melt. Several large splashes of watery blood fell to the ground. After shouting out, she clasped her hands and a lance of fire burst out.
Mercury twisted her tessen in front of her; the sheets of ice composing them expanding to shield her from the blast. Immediately after it died down she lunged forward.
Mars was knocked full to the ground and found the edge of a spread fan pushed to her neck. Mars gasped and tried to rip the tessen away.
"Naughty Mars," Mercury mocked as she used the other tessen as a bludgeon. She shook some blood off the end of the fan. "Least your thick head was good enough for something."
"What did you do?" Moon demanded as she marched forward. She had regained enough strength to confront Ami again.
Mercury looked down at the unconscious woman. "Don't worry, it's not that bad. I know what I'm doing." She smiled coldly.
Moon looked around. Minako was tied up. Rei was knocked out and Makoto was down with multiple sharp implements pressing into her chest and neck. "You think you've won?" she asked, her voice depressed and angered.
"I'd hardly call defeating you like this a victory." Mercury sighed.
"You haven't beaten me yet," Moon stepped forward.
Mercury laughed. "That's not how it works. No, the villain takes out all the Princess's guards and then when it's darkest she wins." She leaned in close and whispered. "And I'm sorry Princess, but this isn't even close to darkest."
Moon pulled back and gasped. "This isn't you, you're not a monster."
"Monster?" Mercury smiled widely. "Do you want that? It'll speed things up. One word and Orion and Virgo will plunge their blades into Makoto."
"And don't think you could bring her back. You couldn't bring Mamoru back. You couldn't bring the woman and child the Will killed. You won't bring Makoto back."
"What's wrong with you! You have to fight this! This isn't you!" Usagi pleaded.
"You're right. That isn't me." Mercury paced over to Mars. "I could kill her too. Be so easy, too easy."
The corseted Senshi chuckled and then walked to Venus. "Bondage does suit her," she said kneeling down.
"Gonna threaten to kill her too?" Moon asked.
"Oh no, I have plans for Minako." Mercury laughed. "You've all forgotten her potential. Shame."
"What?" Mercury asked.
"No." Moon's eyes focused on Mercury's. "You won't take her. This ends now."
Mercury clenched her teeth.
"I want my friend back," Moon stated. "And I won't let you hurt them."
"Really now?" Mercury's smirk was short lived as a kick caught the crouching girl in the chin.
"Moon Kick!" Moon shouted as Mercury flew back and crashed into a few shelves of bread.
Mercury shook he head and looked at the vengeful blonde. "You hit me," she said wiping some blood off her lips. "Wonderful."
"Even though I've ended up fighting enemies alone, it's the love of my friends that keeps me going," Moon said as she confidently strode forward.
"You don't have to be alone," Mercury said as she stood up. Her eyes briefly darted around to make sure that Virgo and Orion were covering Makoto and that Rei and Minako were still out of action.
"Stop." Moon ordered.
Mercury's eyes immediately returned to the princess.
"You're going to stop your madness. I'm your Princess and you will not defy me." Moon balled her hands.
"That's how you're gonna play it?" Mercury asked through her teeth.
Moon glared at the spilled blood and hurt friends. "Yes. I'll do whatever it takes."
"Just like me," Mercury laughed. "So do you want me to leave?"
"You're not going to let me try and purify you?" Usagi inquired.
"Like it'll work the second time," Mercury rolled her eyes. "I've got things to do, Virgo, grab Minako when we leave. Orion destroy the security tapes from the back room."
"You're not taking Minako." Moon's voice was forceful and her body hummed with power.
Mercury narrowed her eyes. "Fine be that way." She wandered towards the back of the store.
While Orion covered, Virgo forcefully rolled Makoto over and stepped back so Mercury could hogtie her with ice. "Orion, I still want you to take care of those tapes now."
Orion nodded and broke into the back room.
"I'm going to defeat you," Moon promised as Mercury returned to the front of the store.
"Of course you will." Mercury stepped over Mars, careful not to get any blood on her heels. "I wouldn't expect any less from you."
"You're not a monster, I'm gonna save you," Moon pulled her hands up and after saying the magic words a beam of purifying magic flared out and hit Mercury square in the chest.
Mercury cleared her throat. "Are you done?"
Moon's arms fell to her sides. It was easier when Mercury was being violent, egotistical, and prideful. When she showed pity, it was hard. She reached for her tiara, there was a physical component to that attack, she could try to literally knock some sense into Ami.
Mercury stepped in and hugged the depressed Princess. "Don't worry, I'll make sure you have people worthy of you." Her hand slipped just inside Moon's skirt and caressed the area where thigh became butt.
"Huh?" Moon asked as her body blushed at the physical contact.
"Come with me," Mercury whispered. "I promise you'll like it."
Moon's eye widened. She gasped and tried to squirm away. "Let go of me," she asked her voice hardly a whisper.
Mercury kept holding her. "Are you sure?"
"Got the tapes, Mistress," Orion said as she and Virgo came to the front of the store.
"Last chance." Mercury offered as she largely succeeded at smiling warmly.
Despite her blush, Usagi looked serious. "No."
Mercury ended the embrace. "Maybe later then." She smirked at Venus' fearful expression. "Let's go girls."
As the trio made their way to the door, Moon took half a step forward. She hesitated and then stepped backwards. The last she heard from Mercury was her thanking Virgo for her work. The blonde then fell to the floor and with twitching fingers managed to call Setsuna on her communicator.
End chapter 5
Revision notes: And here we see a bit more of how Ami is taking to her "Mistress Mercury gig.
As with the last chapter I've been splitting the original chapters into more manageable pieces that flow better. I'd like to thank everyone for their interest in this revision project of mine