By Jeffrey Vasquez


Based on the series Sailor Moon. All characters copyrighted by Naoko
Takeuchi, Toei Animation, and Kodansha.

The characters of Ranma ˝ are the express property of the most
benevolent queen of comedy, her Highness, the revered Rumiko Takahashi
and Shogokukan. I am in no way claiming, or even pretending to own these

The rest belong to me.

Chapter 5



Rei seethed. She bubbled, and frothed in her frustration; and with a
very good reason. She had been trying to contact both the Inner and the
Outer Senshi all day long, but every time she tried something went wrong.

Someone would barge in on her in the bathroom, or hang around
her at lunch; and when she was lucky enough to get through to someone,
the exact same thing would happen. It made her want to pull her hair out
until she was bald.

There was one person left to try.

She didn't like the prospect of talking to Her. She could be as clear
as mud sometimes, and yet still make Rei feel very stupid in the process.
Sailor Pluto just had that way about her.

Checking her surroundings, she found the coast clear and signaled
Setsuna. There was a moment of silence, and then Setsuna's voice came
through the small watch on Rei's wrist.

"Yes, Mars?" Her voice always seemed so devoid of life.

"Setsuna, I had a vision last night." She answered pointedly. "I need
everyone to meet me at the shrine this afternoon."

"And what did this 'vision' pertain to Mars?"

Rei made an interesting face at the belligerent question and shook
her head. Why was it she felt like she was invading Pluto's "Me-time?"

"A man." She said simply.

"A man." Setsuna's voice replied dryly. "Was he handsome?" The tone of
her voice said it all. Rei had taken her away from whatever she had been
doing and was subjecting her to trivialities. Rei did her best to restrain
the flagging remains of her temper.

"I'm not sure." She said as icily as her hot anger would allow. "But he
said that his name was 'Ahbrim Ur.'" There was a sudden squawk from the
other end of the communication followed immediately by a loud crash.

A great deal of scrambling could be heard through the open lie,
before Setsuna's voice responded to Rei's statement.

"What was that name again Rei?" Rei was shocked, and almost fell over
from the shock of Setsuna calling her by name, rather than referring to her
as "Mars." The Senshi of Time sounded rushed and more than a little

"Ahbrim Ur."

A lengthy string of epitaphs flew from Setsuna's mouth and made
their way into Rei's not-so-virgin ears (she'd used a few of the curses
herself when dealing one on one with Usagi). It was strange though, to
hear such expressions flowing from such a refined mouth.

". . . REI!" The Senshi of Pluto screamed through the communicator. "Are
you listening to what I'm saying!" That was a first too. Setsuna had never
screamed that Rei had ever heard of. "Listen to ME! Damn you girl!"

Rei's attention flew back to the matter at hand.

"Gather the others. As quickly as you can!"

"What the Hell do you think I've been trying to do all day!" Rei yelled back
in exasperation.

"Are you finished yet?" Pluto asked cynically.


"Too bad for you then. I have important things that must be done before I
can join you. Be watchful, and above all else, DO NOT engage Ur until I

"What! You can't be serious! What if he attacks someone?" Rei couldn't
believe her ears.

"Let him." Setsuna's voice was cold.


"Do not get in his way Mars. Neither you, nor Usagi, nor any of us for
that matter are ready to face Ur on our own." There was a brief silence.
"I'm not sure if we are ready to face him as a team." Rei swallowed hard.
"Gather the others Rei. I'll be there as soon as I'm able."

"I'll do what I can, Setsuna." Communications closed, and Rei was left
feeling small and very alone. Small wonder too. Any being capable of
scaring Sailor Pluto, was bad news.


Ranma alighted next to Ami as she read from a large, heavy, black
book. She jumped slightly at his sudden appearance, upsetting her
backpack a little.

"Sorry for making you wait." His voice was a little strained, and
his face held a very cute expression of contrition. He set about cleaning
up the spilled contents of her pack. Ami fought the emotions that were rapidly
building in her heart, the last thing that she needed right now was to fall
in love with the boy.

Love meant love letters, and that was definitely something that she
didn't need right now.

She looked up at him as he stood and found herself staring into his
eyes. There was a fresh sense of loss there that coincided with Usagi's
account from earlier in the day. Ranma smiled delicately, and held out his
hand to her. She allowed him to help her to her feet, and bent to retrieve
her book only to find that Ranma had beaten her to it.

She looked over at him questioningly as he hefted both her pack,
and the heavy medical book that she had been studying from, casually. He
shrugged distractedly and mumbled something about making up for being
late. A coy smile graced her lips that caused both tense to blush

Ranma broke the heavy silence first and motioned for her to lead
the way. Ami obliged him and started walking toward the school's main
gate. They exited the grounds in silence and continued on until Ami
decided to break the impasse.

"So how was your first day at Juuban?" Ami asked as she floated
along the side walk next to Ranma.

He looked at her with a guarded expression, and then shrugged
nonchalantly. "Okay I guess. A bit on the quiet side from what I'm used
to, but okay."

Ami looked at him sideways, brushing her hair behind her ear to get
a better look at him. "'Quiet?'" She inquired.

Ranma smirked, relaxing a bit more. "Yeah. By now I would have
had at least four or five challengers going after my head." Ami's disbelief
must have been written all over her face, because Ranma puffed up like a
wounded rooster. "It's true! If it wasn't a guy after me because he
thought I stole his girl, it was a girl after me because she thought that we
were engaged!" His indignation caused Ami to break out into a fit of
giggles, which in turn elicited a number of grumbles from Ranma.

She could readily see Ranma in the middle of a chaotic mess; men
on one side and would-be girlfriends on the other, and poor innocent
Ranma in the center of it all. The whole scene caused her giggles to give
way to laughter, which was made worse by Ranma's constant attempts to
vindicate himself. By the time Ami had gained control over herself,
sufficient to apologize anyway, they were at the Saotome home.

Ranma made his goodbyes gruffly and started through the gate,
only to be brought up short by a penitent Ami.

"I'm sorry Ranma." She started to giggle again, but stifled it at the sight
of Ranma's irritation. He started to pull away again. "Let me make it up to
you. I need to go visit some friends, but afterwards we could go out for
ice cream or something."

Ranma looked back at the girl skeptically. The utterly cute look cut
to the bone, and melted the ice that was forming on his heart. He was
silent for a moment, trying to think of an excuse not to go. Ami saw him
waffling and smiled genuinely, but couldn't hide the dejection in her

"I'll understand if you don't want to go."

Her voice took on a note of disappointment that immediately set off
alarms in Ranma's head. He started babbling frantically, not really paying
much attention to what he said. The only thing that mattered was that she
was smiling again.

As they were walking towards the Hikawa Jinja, Ranma wondered
how she had maneuvered him into going to visit her friends with her.


With the sun barely hanging above the horizon, a solitary wind blew
through desolate streets in the lower part of the Juuban ward. Somewhere
nearby a dog's barking echoed gauntly, and was soon joined by another.

The desolate mood of the neighborhood would have unnerved
Youta Fumikake, if he hadn't been so drunk. The five shadows that
detached themselves from the walls of the alley would have driven him
screaming in any available direction too, had he been sober. As it was, he
could barely lift his head without the world spiraling hopelessly out of
control. The shadows coalesced into five blurred shapes, yet in his stupor
he could tell very little about them.

In a moment of uncanny clarity, Youta remembered something that
his ex-wife had said. It had been one of the last things that they had said
to each other. One of the larger blurs asked one of the smaller blurs a
question. The smaller blur motioned with one of its hands nonchalantly.

"Youta. Your drinking will be the death of you yet."

He thought it strange that one memory would stand out among the
clouded fuzz of all the rest. But then again, he thought it truly
appropriate when the large figure tore his throat out. He remained conscious
only long enough for the other figures to join in the feast. His last thought was of
how thankful he was that the alcohol had numbed the pain.


Indra looked up from the gored body of the human that they had
dined on. It was an appetizer for what was to come, which made the
leader of this Rhakshasa scout party very hungry. Sadly though, they
would have to be disciplined in how they feasted. Ur had made it quite
clear that this was to be a silent mission, and Indra knew enough about the
man's power to be wary of crossing him.

Indra himself was an impressive figure, standing over six and one
half feet tall. His broad shoulders carried a Siberian tiger's head that
looked both noble and nightmarish to the few humans that had been
unfortunate enough to lay eyes on him.

"Dispose of the remains. Prepare yourselves to leave." His gruff voice
left no room for argument, not that anyone would have been stupid enough to
challenge him.

Agni, a small red eyed woman smiled intensely. Flames burned
where her teeth should have been. A whip of white flames appeared in her
hands, which she snapped at the body igniting it. Within moments the
corpse was nothing more than grey ashes floating on a fetid wind. She
smiled seductively at her leader. Hope - or some twisted thing akin to it -
lit her eyes.

Indra took no notice.

"Split up. We look for a base of operations." He looked at each in
turn, holding their gaze until each bowed their heads meekly. "No
confrontations, no killing." He looked directly at the large man to his
right. "Is that understood Karttikeya?" A deferring nod was his only response.
"Good. Return here within an hour's time."

The group melded once again into the shadows, and all was as it
had been.


Ami was in bliss. Her libido was floating on a sugar high, because
the young man at her side had just confessed that he thought that she was
cute. Her logic centers on the other hand were quite incensed. If the
brain was just going to ignore their input, then they weren't needed any more.
Perhaps if they were to go on strike, the brain would learn to appreciate
them more!

Not bloody likely.

The sometimes Senshi of Mercury wasn't oblivious to the conflict
that was being waged within her. Her heart and mind fought for control of
the sensations that coursed through her, to no avail.

She couldn't believe that she had invited him to the meeting! What
was she supposed to do with him while she and the other discussed their
business? She wracked her brain for a solution. After a few moments of
fruitless pondering she looked up at Ranma. She hoped that he would
understand it if she asked him to wait for her at the ice cream shop. She
watched his handsome face for a time, lost in his casual grace, when she
saw something white descending out of the afternoon sky towards them.


Marut was young by Rhakshasa standards. He measured his life in
millennia instead of epochs, but he had still impressed the Maharajah of his
clan enough to earn a place as a forerunner. He had mastered the winds,
taming them and yoked their impressive powers to serve him, further
impressing Siva and Kali - the leaders of the Hunt.

It was his mastery of this element that allowed him to catch a scent
that he had not smelled in a very long time. Actually it was a pair of
scents, that he had come to despise more than any other in existence.

The reason for his hatred rested in a scar that ran from the crown of
his head to the tip of his clavicle. Rhakshasa are shape-shifters by
nature, having no true form of their own. But for Marut, one constant could be
found in any of his forms.

His fingers brushed against the long scar that marred him in the
eyes of his people, and he cursed the day that Aramas and Mercury were
born. He wasn't sure how they had survived the fall of the Moon
Kingdom, but he smiled eagerly as the scent grew stronger. They wouldn't
survive for much longer.


Ranma sensed Ami tense slightly and looked up to see a powerfully
built figure falling from the sky towards them. Reflex took over as he
shoved Ami one way and propelled himself in the opposite direction. A
hurricane force wind blasted the pair far from each other. Windows up and
down the block were shattered by the detonation of the thunder clap that
followed in the blast's wake.

Ami flew through the now hollow plate glass window of a small
café, while Ranma was tossed head over heels into the now chaotic traffic
of the afternoon rush. In a dazzling display of aerobatics, Ranma righted
himself and skillfully avoided an oncoming bus as it bore down on him.

The figure roared in a blind rage as he crashed into the sidewalk,
spraying those unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity with a deadly
barrage of concrete shrapnel. Ranma could only watch in horror while a
small boy was mowed down by a tiny stone projectile as it passed through
his chest. Time slowed as the boy's body suddenly went limp, and turned
to face Ranma. The sad, forlorn, expression that adorned the boy's
cherub-like face, was seared into Ranma's soul. He would never forget the
face, nor the way his limp fingers released themselves from his mother's
protective grasp.

"NOOOOOO!" Ranma screamed in denial, and threw himself at the figure
that was now rising from the crater in the sidewalk. His battle aura raged
about him like an angry blue bonfire.


Ami pulled herself off of a young woman who had caught the brunt
of her fall. The poor girl had been attempting to help a young man that
intercepted a large amount of glass from the exploding window.

Her first instinct was to treat the wounds around her. But the
sound of Ranma's guttural scream brought her back to the more pressing
danger. She needed a place to change and contact the rest of the Senshi.
But first, she needed to find a way to get these people out of the line of

She needn't have worried. The sight of the creature rising out of
the crater outside the window was enough to send those still able to walk
fleeing for their lives.

It stood over seven feet tall, and was leanly built. There was no
doubt in her mind that the thin arms on the creature were strong enough to
kill with one blow. Its head was anything but human; swathed in a blue,
silk, turban and veil, leaving only the feral eyes visible. There was no
time for her to call the others. She was needed out there. Martial Artist or
not, Ranma was no match for a monster.

She tapped her earring twice, sending a general distress signal to
the others before dashing toward the bathroom. She hoped that she would
be on time to save Ranma.


Ranma flowed in a deadly dance with his opponent. No quarter
was allowed, that was made ruthlessly clear to Ranma the moment this
bastard showed himself. People were dying around him, so Ranma pulled
out all the stops.

There were no battle cries, no warnings for his assaults. His
opponent didn't deserve them. Amaguriken strikes were coupled with
Mako Takabisha, sending an onslaught of pain into his foe. There was no
beauty to this dance. It was cold and vicious.

Ranma prayed that Ami was okay, that he hadn't been too late in
pushing her. That's the last thing that he needed: another death on his
hands. If she was hurt, Ranma was going to make sure that this jerk paid
for it.

The civilians around him began to move away from ground zero,
with the exception of the dead boy's mother. She knelt cradling her son's
lifeless body, as silent tears fell down her cheeks. The sight of her grief
distracted Ranma for a crucial instant, allowing the killer to send him
flying through a brick wall.

"HAHAHAHAHA! Aramas, you puny weakling!" The thing's voice
floated through the hole that Ranma had made. It was vile and definitely
inhuman, reminding Ranma of crude oil and vomit for some reason. "What
has happened to you? You handle that child's body with no skill at all!"

The taunt enraged Ranma to no end. The bastard had him confused
with somebody else and now he was dogging his skill as a martial artist. It
was too much to take.

He threw himself out of the hole with all the speed that he could
generate, surprising the creature yet again. His battle aura flared white
with his rage, driving the thing away from him. Had Ranma seen where the
creature was herding him, he would have pulled up short. But his outrage
blinded him to anything but his opponent.

A solid kick to the silk robed torso sent the creature flying through
another brick wall, causing the upper reaches to shudder and quake.
Ranma looked at the wall in surprise and then horror as it began to topple
toward the grieving mother and her dead son. He didn't think, he only
moved, rushing toward the woman with every ounce of strength and speed
that he had.

**Please let me make it in time!**


Sailor Mercury exited the café just in time to see the wall fall on
Ranma and a woman. Ranma was shielding her body the best he could, in
an attempt to take the weight of the cascading bricks upon himself. There
was a loud boom as the wall met the pavement, and an immense cloud of
dust rose, choking and blinding Mercury.

Silence reigned supreme for a very long moment, causing Ami to
worry about her new friend. The dust began to settle intermittently, but
there was no sign of movement. She activated her visor and began
scanning for life signs among the debris near where she had last seen

Movement could be heard from the direction the wall had come
from, forcing Ami to stop her search prematurely. She prepared herself
for an attack, but what she saw made her want to run in terror.

The monstrosity that stepped from what remained of a cutlery shop
numbed her mind. Blades, cleavers and other bladed instruments protruded
from its body. The silken robes lay in tatters about its shoulders, and the
turban had fallen from its place concealing its head.

A cold emerald eye looked out at her from the spotted face of a
Cheetah. The other eye was covered by a wooden patch. The grotesque
scar that ran from the top of the beast's skull down to his clavicle was
pulled and twisted by the cat-thing's snarling muzzle.

In all her battles, among all of her foes, this one terrified her the
most. The way the blades protruded from seemingly mortal wounds,
futilely, made Ami want to vomit. Evil poured from it in sickening waves
as it began to stalk her. When it spoke, Sailor Mercury felt her heart
clench in dread.

"Hullo Mercury." It purred. "Do you know how long I've dreamt
of this moment?" It punctuated its question by drawing a foot long cleaver
wetly from its shoulder and tossing it away.

"I've longed for the chance to play with you and Aramas again,
after the memory that you left me of our last encounter." He motioned to
his scarred face and growled through a very unfriendly smile. "I think that
I will let Aramas watch as I 'play' with you. That way I can break his
spirit utterly before I feast on your hearts."

Ami's throat clenched painfully in a reflex to keep her from
becoming sick. Her mouth was dry, and she tried desperately to work
moisture back into it. Her legs wobbled weakly and she fought against the
urge to fall to her knees and weep.


Marut inhaled deeply, savoring the smell of abject terror that hung
sweetly in the air. This moment was even sweeter than he had imagined.
That human fool Ur would reward him for bringing back a broken Senshi
and her champion to be interrogated. His status among the forerunners
would grow, to possibly even surpass Indra.

The thought made him giddy; insomuch that he failed to notice the
air pressure around the fallen wall build up. Both he and Mercury turned
when the mountain of brick and mortar erupted in a violent, deafening roar.
Ranma stood in the center of a cyclone clutching the woman that he had
saved tightly to his chest. His eyes were glowing with an ethereal

A few bruises adorned his face, and his school uniform was
shredded and dusty. But the look in his eyes promised death to the being
responsible for the pain in the woman's soiled, tear-streaked eyes.

"Where are you, you stupid ^&%$$#!" The grit that floated about
him obscured his vision effectively, but it wasn't enough to blind him. He
gently lowered the woman to the ground and boldly made his way out of
the rubble toward the towering figure of Marut.

Marut smiled in anticipation. "Come little Aramas! Let the game

Ranma coughed loudly. "Cough! I . . . Cough! . . . don't know
who the Hell this Aramas guy is pal! But let me tell you something,"
Ranma coughed again as he exited the cloud of dust, the words
systematically dying on his lips as he got his first good look at Marut. "I
'm . . . ran . . . ma . . . . sao . . . tome."

Ranma's face conveyed a depth of fear that few humans can ever
reach. It was a look that hurt Sailor Mercury's heart to see, and sent a
jolt of ecstasy through Marut.

It lasted for a long time, more than a few minutes, but no one made
a move. Ranma gibbered in fear. Marut laughed at the irony of the
situation, and Ami, for one of the first times in her life, had absolutely
no idea what to do. She wanted to unload on the monstrosity, but Ranma had
maneuvered himself into her line of fire. She couldn't move, lest she draw
attention to herself. All that she could do was wait until the thing went
for Ranma and then blast him.

Ranma's face took on a glassy expression. Marut looked
quizzically at Mercury and then back at Ranma, who had crouched down
on all fours. His pig-tail stood erect, as if someone had stuck a wire in
it. Ranma looked at Mercury with absolutely no recognition in his eyes. He
meowed once at her before looking up at the towering monstrosity. The
blank look was replaced with the all-too human emotion of hatred.

The Rhakshasa looked back at Mercury for a moment and then
burst into a terrible belly laugh. It was a horrid sound that roiled in the
air as if alive. It made Ami feel dirty just listening to it. The laugh ended
abruptly, forcing Ami's gaze to rest fully on the beast.

He smiled once for each of his opponents.

"Play time's over."



Rei had tried to tell Usagi about her vision, but the ditz wouldn't
listen to a word she had said. Every time the shrine maiden opened her
mouth to say something, the meatball head would cut her off with some
new drivel about Ami's new boyfriend.

Who cares if he called her Serenity or not! She had information
about a new enemy, and all the blabber mouth wanted to do was speculate
about romances! It rubbed her raw, and the inane chatter that was building
between Minako and Usagi was boiling her blood.

Makoto, Luna, and Artemis watched Rei's face twitch. Michiru,
Haruka and Hotarunoticed it too. The first warning sign. Her lips pursed,
and her fists clenched violently. Sign number two. Makoto took the
opportunity to move closer to the door, followed closely by the three Outer
Senshi, just in case they needed to make a hasty retreat. Luna and Artemis
took refuge beneath a table, hoping to get clear of the blast zone. Rei's
face changed from her usual rosy color, to a deep, angry red. Final stage,
explosion immanent. The inconspicuous trio did the best to shield their
eyes from the upcoming onslaught.


Minako and Usagi paused in their avid discussion on the finer
points of various boys and their more memorable attributes.

Minako looked at Rei and smiled.

"Did you say something Rei?" The entire room except Usagi and
Minako planted their faces on the floor.

When Rei recovered, her face was beet red, and she was quaking
with barely restrained anger. One thought ran through her mind. **Mina-
chan is a friend. Friends do not kill friends.** She repeated her mantra
until she was satisfied that she wouldn't strangle Minako the moment she
opened her eyes.

She inhaled deeply, and opened her mouth to tell everyone about
her vision but was immediately cut off as an alarm sounded from the
communicators that the Senshi wore. Makoto tried to raise whoever had
sent the signal, but could get no one. That was a bad sign.

She ground her teeth in irritation as her friends rose and began
running out of the room. She hoped that it was Ahbrim Ur, so that she
could really vent her frustration.


Marut teleported in front of Mercury, grabbing her by the throat
and lifted her one-handed from the ground. He applied a little pressure to
sever the flow of air to her lungs. She struggled vainly, hitting his arm
and kicking his in various sensitive areas on his body, but his grip did not

The memory of Itamu's assault this morning rose to her mind,
causing her to panic.

An enraged yowl alerted the Rhakshasa to the assault an instant too
late as Ranma-neko slashed out with surgical precision. Marut screamed in
agony as his right arm was severed at the elbow. He whirled on his
attacker and blanched as the Hunter suddenly became the Hunted.

Ranma-neko stalked the Rhakshasa warily.

Watching for any move that would telegraph an attack, he circled
around to where the Isis/Mercury/Ami person lay. She was coughing
harshly, trying to regain her breath. The unclean-thing was hurt and angry
and dangerous. He had to guard the Isis/Mercury/Ami person, protect her,
keep her safe.

Nothing else mattered.

He watched the unclean-thing move back at his approach, still
clutching the stump where his arm had been. There was desperation and
deep seeded fear in his eyes, but he made no move to attack. It would die
soon enough; it was outside the cycle, and therefore didn't belong. It was
the way of things, and It knew it.

The Isis/Mercury/Ami person pried the severed forearm from
around her throat and tossed it weakly aside. A good sign. Ranma-neko
couldn't smell any taint in her which relaxed him as he approached her.

She looked at him worriedly, he could smell her concern as she
reached out to touch him. He moved into her extended fingers, allowing
them to brush solidly against his face and through his pelt. It felt good
to have her touch him, and he purred happily as she tentatively continued.

The bliss was interrupted as the Tainted One began to prepare an
attack. The air grew heavy around them and Ranma-neko could feel nature
bend against its will. He hissed in anger at the Tainted One. It was time
to end this before the Isis/Mercury/Ami person got injured more.

He could smell more of the Tainted, along with the Shining Ones
from the Isis/Mercury/Ami person's litter. They were all watching, waiting
for the other to act. Well, Ranma-neko really didn't like waiting very
much. Time to finish this.


Marut watched the sickening display of affection play out before
him, through the haze that had enveloped his sight. He was going die here,
that was evident. His shell had been to badly damaged by the unexpected
assault, and his essence was dissipating rapidly. He needed to find a new
shell if he was to survive, but that wasn't likely to happen.

He could feel Indra not far off, along with the others. He knew that
they wouldn't assist him, and if he had any real chance at survival Indra
would have gutted him right off. It was the end and he had lost his chance
at vengeance, along with any hope for the future. He had gambled and

The scent of the Senshi floated to him on an errant breeze. It was
an added blessing that he was going to exploit. If he couldn't be a hero in
life, then let him be a martyr with his death.

By taking out the Senshi, he secured the way for the Hunt to truly
begin. His name would be praised and lauded, while Indra and Kali were
left to the fickle sands of time. He began gathering his energies for one
last devastating blast.

Aramas hissed at him in a very feline manner, causing Marut to
laugh insanely. **How appropriate that I be killed by the form that I have

The irony left a sour taste in the Rhakshasa's toothy mouth.


Sailor Moon and the other Senshi arrived in time to see Ranma leap
at the ravaged monster with inhuman grace and speed. What happened
next caused Sailor Moon to bend over and lose her lunch, and just about
everything else that she had eaten earlier in the day. Mars and Venus
followed suit, purging their stomachs. Jupiter watched in fascinated horror
as Ranma literally tore the monster to ribbons. Neptune buried her face in
Uranus' shoulder, and poor Saturn's face went white.

A small explosion rocked the street, upsetting a large cloud of
debris that concealed Ranma and whatever remained of the creature.

"RANMA!" Her voice croaked painfully.

Ami jumped to her feet and immediately activated her visor,
searching for life signs in the dust cloud. She found the woman that Ranma
had saved earlier, and a few other people that had been caught in the
initial melee. But no sign of Ranma.

She tried desperately to call out for him again, which the others
soon picked up on. Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus began helping the
injured, along with Saturn and Neptune. The others Mercury search for

Luna and Artemis were the first to discover Ranma's battered body.
It had been blown through two concrete walls, before it had been stopped
by a thick, industrial freezer door in one of the restaurants.

The former advisor to Queen Serenity looked down at the boy's
youthful face in shock. Nothing could have prepared her to come face to
face with this ghost from her past.

Artemis checked him over carefully, and miraculously found no
serious wounds. A couple nasty bruises and a few minor contusions were
the extent of his injuries. He looked up from the boy and into Luna's
tearful eyes.

"He's going to be okay Luna. There weren't any serious injuries."
He chuckled wryly. "Although the idiot's going to be feeling his lumps for
the next week or so." Luna nodded her head numbly, not taking her eyes
from Ranma's quiet face. "I'll go get the others." Artemis made a move
toward the large opening in the wall, and then paused. "Hey Luna?" She
looked up at the white cat distractedly. "He finally mastered it." Luna's
blank, questioning, look caused Artemis to smile roguishly.

"Don't tell me you've forgotten that too!" He teased. The angry
expression and the spiky scent warned Artemis not to push his luck. "The
Cat Fist. He mastered it!" Luna got a horrified look on her face as the
memory slammed into place. "You owe me a date, AND two cases of
Martian Trout." He tilted his head up to one side, and with one eye closed
pondered the bet once more.

Luna got an extremely bad feeling about where this was going.

"Since Mars is barren now, hence no trout, I will be appeased with . . .
hmmm," There was a look of distinct horror in Luna's eyes. She had a
dreadful feeling settle in the pit of her stomach. He smiled rakishly.

**Here it comes!**

". . . A KISS!" Luna's eyes shot wide, and then narrowed dangerously.
The growl the rumbled in her throat let Artemis know right away that he
had crossed the boundaries of propriety . . . again.

He quickly hopped through the hole in the wall, leaving a fuming
Luna to watch over the unconscious form of his long lost friend. A large
happy grin was fixed to his feline mouth. He silently hoped that Aramas
lived through this; he still owed Artemis twenty bucks. That could help
him pick out some nice flowers for the date!


Luna snorted at Artemis' back. A kiss! Indeed! The very thought
intoxica . . . ahem! Nausiated her. She tore her gaze away from the
departing feline and allowed it to settle on the young man's sharp,
handsome features again.

She noticed that he hadn't changed a bit from the boy that she
raised. His roguish features were still handsome, his body still trim and
powerful. And he still refused to brush his hair. She had changed his
diapers, and watched him grow into manhood, only to die a horrible, yet
heroic death.

And yet here he lay, whole and alive. It was her fondest dream
come true.

She padded over to his face and began cleaning the dust from it.
First with her paws, and then with her tongue. The effort roused Ranma a
bit. Luna smiled hopefully, waiting for him to recognize her. She had
waited millennia to hear his voice utter "Mama Luna" again.

What she got instead was a blood curdling scream.



Musk Palace

Ahbrim Ur paced back and forth like a caged lion. Marut's
impulsiveness had cost the Hunt greatly. Not in power. Certainly not;
Marut had been a drop in the bucket for the Hunt. No he had lost them the
element of surprise. The Senshi knew of his re-awakening, but not of his

It was unfortunate that Marut had lost his life in the conflict. Had
the fool survived, he would have personally skinned him alive.

All was not lost. If they laid low for a time, lulling the Senshi into a
false peace, then the lost ground could be recovered. He turned to Indra
and Kali emotionlessly. Kali's head resembled that of a black panther, but
her body was one hundred percent woman.

"Choose another to replace Marut. Continue to scout and make
sure that you are not seen this time." Kali nodded solemnly and motioned
for Indra to leave.

"Will there be anything else Lord?" She purred seductively.

Ahbrim Ur smiled at her efforts to tempt him. "Yes Kali. You may
begin the Hunt on the Musk and the Amazons. Send a group to Phoenix
Mountain as well." Kali smiled hungrily and bowed.

"As you will Lord." Ur laughed throatily at her smile and watched
her lithe form slink from the room. He had no intentions of falling prey to
her deadly charms, but he did enjoy the view that she offered.

He resumed his pacing again, and continued planning his conquest
of Terra.