A Ranma ½ / Sailor Moon crossover story
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
Two were running from fifty. The pair of fugitives, one clad in a once-white gi and the other in only fur, fled before a mob of women in rural Chinese dress, all brandishing some manner of wicked-looking weapon and most also wearing exotic, Chinese armor made of bamboo and metal. Occasionally, an arrow or javelin would fly from the mob, narrowly missing fleeing duo. At the head of the mob, a warrior with deep violet hair raised her bonbori and shouted an undulating war cry in Mandarin, and the mob increased in speed at her savage call, slowly gaining on their enemy.
Above all of this, a single man watched.
Clad in a grey, uniform-like suit, the man gently brushed a lock of long, curly brown hair from his face. He floated a good hundred meters above the chase, and no one had noticed his presence, so high above the pandemonium of the mobile combat. His pale bishonen face twisted into a grimace as another javelin was launched at the fleeing pair. The anger increased as the redhaired, gi-clad girl had to jump to avoid the barbed blade.
The floating man had watched this episode from the beginning, and his fury toward the pursuing mob was fueled even more by the way this whole thing started, completely nonsensical in his opinion. Thinking back, he sifted through his memories of the beginning of the chase.
"I realize that you have been imprisoned for quite a while," said the Queen, her alabaster face curling into a smile that would have been beautiful had one not seen the cruelty in it. "All of you: go see how Terra has fared since we were last here."
"Yes, my Queen," the four kneeling figures before the redhaired queen answered simultaneously, and each moved to explore.
White hair twirling around him as he stood, the tallest figure of the four vanished in a flash of dark power followed shortly by a second very bishonen figure with blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, his illusory sakura petals swirling briefly through the air. The third individual, with his chiseled features and short blonde hair, simply walked away into the darkness of the throne room. Finally, a man with long, curly brown hair bowed his head for a moment, considering where he would go.
"You have a question?" asked the Queen.
"No, my queen," the figure answered. "I was only considering where I could go to learn the most in the shortest time."
"Do not concern yourself with time," replied the redhaired queen. "I believe that we will require some time to muster our forces before we can begin our conquest once again."
The grey-clad man nodded to his queen before bowing and vanishing in a wave of dark power. Having been sealed away so long, Nephrite had no drained lifeforce to combine with negaforce to fuel his powers, so he felt the sweet agony of sacrificing some of his own lifeforce to transport himself to a random location on Terra through null space and the now broken seal.
The dark general knelt for a moment, allowing the damage from his sacrifice to heal before taking stock of his location. He was in a mountainous, but forested, region full of life. 'Too bad these creatures have so little lifeforce,' he thought. 'I can't use them to recharge. I'll have to find some humans.'
Before moving on, Nephrite checked the small, nearly indestructible mirror he used to draw negaforce from the Negaverse. Even though the small, silver shard was probably harder to destroy than he was due to the myriad constructs ensuring its safety, checking it was a habit he was unwilling and unable to break. Seeing it intact yet again, the long haired man set off on foot.
The forest was very beautiful; indeed, it was a testament to the beauty of Terra. However, this was all but lost on Nephrite. For reasons unknown even during the Silver Millennium, the lifeforce of any creature, no matter how large, was almost nil unless it was sentient, and the ambient lifeforce of a planet was very similar. Unless there was will, spirit, driving that lifeforce, neither a negawarrior nor a sorcerer could use it to fuel their respective powers because, like a flame deprived of oxygen, the lifeforce was a weak, flickering thing. He was searching for intelligent life, and before long, Nephrite found it.
"…chei— wha? What kind of food is that?" asked a low soprano voice.
Nephrite ducked into some bushes as the source of the voice came into view; she was a short redhead wearing a martial arts gi. Next to her, a panda and a fat, uniformed man walked. From her movement, Nephrite could tell she hadn't had anything to eat in some time, and it was apparent from the pack on her back and the travel stains on her clothes that they had come quite a distance.
"Sir," answered the fat man in a heavily accented voice. "Is village of amazon womans, Joketsuzoku."
Nephrite decided to follow the strange threesome; maybe they would lead him to a village where he could acquire some lifeforce to fuel his powers. Nephrite followed at a discreet distance making sure to keep out of sight, the fat man in his green uniform leading his two known guests and one unknown shadow down gullies and small trails through the rugged mountains.
As they walked, Nephrite continued to listen to the entreaties of the hungry redhead for food and the growfs of her pet panda, but somehow, Nephrite didn’t find the sounds of complaint particularly offensive, and he watched the pigtailed girl closely. From her walk, he knew her to be a fighter of some skill, even hungry as she was, and the panda moved in a very anthropomorphic manner, almost leading the dark general to believe it had once been human. Finally, as the trio and its unknown shadow crested a final rise, the village the fat one referred to came into view.
Small and ramshackle, the village of the amazons was nothing special to Nephrite’s eye, but that was before he invoked his sensory constructs. Eyes widening, the Dark Kingdom general saw more lifeforce in the village than he’d seen in some of Terra’s mid-sized cities during the Silver Millennium, but the fat man’s voice cut through his thoughts before he could continue pondering this enigma.
"Is very lucky, sirs," he said. "Today womans have tournament. Is very rare."
Sure enough, a crowd of people stood around a log, suspended in the air by four sturdy chains attached to great poles driven deep into the earth, and even as he watched, Nephrite saw a young, purple haired girl use a strange, multicolored mace to knock another woman from the log. Her lifeforce, like the redhead’s, was inordinately strong, and his thoughts returned to their invasion. If they were to attack this place and drain it, there would be more than enough lifeforce to secure Terra… assuming that the youma the Dark Kingdom could transport survived fighters of this caliber when they attacked.
Considering his lack of reserves at that moment, Nephrite crept away as the three he'd been following sat down to watch the tournament. The brown-haired general walked into the village proper searching for prey, and soon he spotted a lone young woman carrying a basket of food. Without warning, Nephrite leapt at from behind a hut and brought his fist down on the back of the woman's neck, dropping her like a stone with negaforce-enhanced strength drawn from his own lifeforce.
Quickly, he knelt beside his prey and placed his hands on her back. After nearly five thousand years without, the feeling of lifeforce flowing into his reserves was almost enough to make Nephrite collapse. In fact, the woman had an amazing amount of energy, as he’d suspected, and the dark general was amazed as he replenished not quite a quarter of his reserves as he cut off the draining construct. He had forgotten how wonderful it felt to draw in the life, but as pleasurable as it was, he still managed to stop draining the woman before she died.
Unlike two of his fellow generals and the queen, who thought nothing of killing to gain an extra boost of lifeforce from their victims, Nephrite refused to kill without good reason. Not even the general knew why, and Metallia knew that it caused him no end of trouble with the other generals. Only Jadeite felt the same as he; it simply was something he would not do.
With his reserves somewhat replenished, Nephrite decided to return to the tournament, and he arrived just in time to see that same girl with long, violet hair fly off the challenge log. It took him a moment to realize that she was launched into the air by a kick from the girl he'd followed here, and a moment later, the referee of the tournament raised the redhead's arm to officially name her the victor.
Nephrite smirked. He'd had a feeling that the girl was good, and this only affirmed that feeling. For some reason, the dark general had taken an instant liking to the kawaii, gi-clad girl. Then, Nephrite's smirk fell as the violet haired girl walked up to the redhead and kissed her gently on the cheek. He noticed the fat man sneak away as the native girl drew one of her strange, multicolored maces and attacked.
The pigtailed girl parried the first strike and almost counterattacked when another woman from the village attacked with a spear, and then another with a strange, spiked polearm. It was all the girl could do to dodge all the attacks, and finally, she leapt high into the air, jumping over her attackers’ heads. The redhead started running from her numerically superior foe, her panda following at her heels before the forming mob of women.
For no reason Nephrite could discern, the entire village was trying to kill the redhaired girl and her panda, and the girl could hardly hope to defeat fifty at once no matter how good she was. Coming to a decision after watching the chase for nearly ten minutes, Nephrite flew toward the scene. However, before he could reach the fleeing twosome, another arrow lanced from the pursuers at the pair. Unfortunately for them, this one was better aimed, and the panda fell forward with a grunt, the barbed arrow protruding from its back.
The girl screamed as she heard the animal grunt, and tears flowed from her eyes when she saw the downed panda. She dropped into a combat stance and waited for the mob, a frenzied, nearly suicidal look coming to her eyes.
Sheer rage at both the approaching amazons and at the redhead’s suicidal stand contorted Nephrite's face as the mob reached the girl, and he launched a bolt of black energy into the mob, killing about ten in the dark explosion of power. After that energy blast, he'd nearly depleted the lifeforce reserve he’d drained from the single woman in the village, but it did the trick. Funneling the last of his reserves into a menacing black aura around his form, obscuring his features in the process, he faced the surprised mob. Seeing what they believed to be a daemon that could kill many with a single blast, most fled.
What few that remained were fighting the redhead, but if he looked like a daemon, she fought like one. With no regard for her own wellbeing, the pigtailed girl threw herself at her opponents, and one by one, they died at her hands. Some fell with their own weapons buried in their chests or necks and others from simple, straight forward bludgeoning.
Finally, her last amazonian opponent dead, the girl turned toward Nephrite. For a moment, the dark general thought the girl would attack him, but after a moment, the feral look she'd had for the fight shattered as she fell to her knees, crying amongst the dead.
Nephrite stood quietly as the girl cried; there was nothing he could do to help when it came to emotional distress. Finally, after nearly an hour in tears, the girl stood and walked to the panda. Kneeling next to the dead animal, she whispered what could only be a brief prayer.
Saotome Ranma knelt next to the body of her father, shock still predominating her mind as she said a short Shinto prayer for his spirit. The body of a panda seemed so wrong for her father’s end, and it seemed strange to her that such thoughts would be the only thing that could penetrate her stunned mind. It took some time before she was able to think clearly enough to remember the stranger who'd helped her.
From the corner of her eye, Ranma could see the man waiting patiently for her to finish her last respects, and that meant a lot to the redhaired girl. Finally having recovered enough to speak, Ranma stood from her place beside her father's body and approached the stranger.
"Thank you for your help," she said in a somewhat weak voice, the voice of one still in shock. "I would have died without it."
The man smiled slightly and said, "Don't worry about it. My name is Nephrite."
"I'm Saotome Ranma," the girl replied.
To be continued.
Author's notes: As always, I want to thank my prereaders for their excellent advice and proofreading skills.
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