Progeny
By Jeffrey Vasquez

Disclaimer:

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

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

The rest belong to me.

Author's notes:

The events in this chapter center around Luna's ability to shape-shift. For
the purposes of this story, this is an ability that Luna and Artemis have
had since birth.

*********
Chapter 6

*********

Elsewhere

Fusako Kaiko had absolutely no idea where she was. Her short,
dark hair was damp and her deep brown eyes were blind. The darkness
of the shadows had enveloped her, only to deposit her on a damp, hard,
floor in pitch blackness. A drip echoed loudly throughout the obscurity
surrounding her, giving a very subterranean feel to the space. The whole
ordeal was giving her the willies.

The room, if you could call it that, was comfortably warm. A
pleasant change from the crisp mountain air that she had been hiking in.
Fusako decided to try and gather as much information about her
environment as possible before bumbling about. She closed her eyes in
order to organize her perceptions and concentrate better.

It didn't smell like the dampness of a cave, rather, it had a tangy
pine scent. She could easily imagine herself surrounded by tall fir trees.
She stretched out her fingers to gain a more tactile picture of the floor.
She had expected to be greeted by a cool stone surface, instead the texture
beneath her fingers reminded her more of wood than anything else. It was
warm and hard to the touch, and felt very smooth, but it lacked the
unforgiving, lifeless nature of stone. She couldn't really explain the
difference, but she knew that it existed.

She strained her hearing to try and filter in the surrounding sounds.
There was nothing for a long period of time, so she relaxed herself fully,
focusing on her breathing and then moving outward. Her efforts were
rewarded when she heard air flowing, wind-like somewhere to her left. It
was very faint, but there. She focused on the wind, moving with its
passage. She flowed over and through an invisible landscape, dancing on
wings that she knew she did not possess. She merged with the wind,
becoming the zephyr rather than apart from it.

That's when she heard the voice.

It was feminine and beautiful, humming in time with the breeze. No
that wasn't right; not in time with the breeze. It was the breeze. The one
voice echoed, becoming two. The two grew to become a quartet, and then
again to become an octet. Each voice was distinct, and had a resounding
whale-like quality to it. The wind was gone and she found herself beneath
the sea, swimming amidst the sounds of the voices.

Happiness pervaded her, followed by wariness and suspicion in
turn. More emotions rose and fell in the blackness, and she rode them as if
they were the swelling and ebbing tide of the sea. She added her own
voice to theirs, joining the chorus that enveloped her.

Her soprano mixed with someone's bass, intertwining and
frolicking in an elegant display. A rich baritone joined and the bass muted
itself, melding into the background while the baritone caressed her softly.
Her voice moved in perfect symmetry with the baritone, filling the gaps
where one would falter. It was the most beautiful experience that she had
ever had the privilege of experiencing.

She thought she heard voices in the music, they were concerned
and filled with fear. But somewhere far away another baritone quietly
sang. Separate, yet unified. This voice was a beacon for the rest, giving
them hope and strength in amidst the darkness. Her voice rose to that
hope, magnifying it. Other voices merged, until thousands sang out the
crescendo in a majestic chorus. The bass thrummed in her heart, the
baritones held her up and she bound them together.

The chorus softened and the bass quieted until the only voices left
were the distant baritone and hers. The distant voice quieted, allowing the
sounds of the sea to swallow it and comfort her. The love that she felt was
as deep as the ocean and growing deeper. It succored her and drew her in.
She didn't ever want to leave.

<Return to us, Fusako.> The voice was light. Not in terms of
weight, but in terms of energy. It was bright, but not blinding. It was
warm and inviting too, but not as comforting as the love she felt. <Please
Fusako, we need you. Return to us.>

Perhaps it was the desperation in the voice that made her turn away
from the love, perhaps it was her own fear. Whichever it was, Fusako's
heart ached because of it. She moved with the voice, away from the
unconditional love, back toward the other voices.

**Amazing ** Fusako was overwhelmed by the emotions in the voices.
Wonder, disbelief, snide criticism, exasperation, pride, and a spark of love
flowed around her.

<I can't believe that a human could ->

<You never were very imaginative in the first place!>

<Why you!>

<I knew she could do it all along.>

<Yeah right! And I'm Kotei Shiroi Hane!>

<Enough children.> The voices in general felt old. Very old. But the last
voice could only be termed as ancient, and for some odd reason it reminded
her of her grandmother. <She is among us.>

There was a moment of shocked discomfort as the entities
scrambled for their dignity. Fusako could only giggle to her self
girlishly.
The feelings of humiliation grew, and an underlying sense of agitation
accompanied them.

<Welcome, Fusako Kaiko.> The ancient voice said formally.

**Thank you.** It seemed like the correct response to make.

<Very good. I see that you have gained control over your thoughts.> The
voice appeared to grin with amusement in the confines of her mind. <The
others were having a great deal of fun at your expense I'm afraid.>

<Yeah! You made poor Yoshitsune blush!>

<Shut up, you!> Another voice roared. The sexy baritone voice that had
originally greeted her filled her thoughts again, causing her mind to wander
somewhat.

<Woo whee! There she goes again! Yoshitsune, I think she likes you!>

<Aaaarrrgh! I said SHUT UP! You loony old bird!> Fusako winced and
clutched her head at the volume of Yoshitsune's mental cry.

"Whap!" The sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed in her ears, alerting her
to the beings' presence near her. She quickly opened her eyes and found her
body surrounded by light.

The light had no outside source, but it had enough power to
illuminate her surroundings. She immediately found that her blind guesses
were correct. The floor was wood, a large tree trunk to be precise. It was
the size of a mature redwood in diameter and polished smooth until it
resembled a rich, wooden, marble floor. She found herself surrounded by
tall conifers that towered over her like some sort of jury.

It made her a little nervous to be beneath their combined gaze.
Beyond their canopy she could see the afternoon sky. The source of the
dampness came from a flowing wall of water that surrounded the great tree
stump.

"Hello?" She inquired. The sound of her voice echoed loudly back at her.

<Now look what you made me do stupid! She's talking again!>
Yoshitsune said angrily from somewhere off to her right.

<Yoshitsune, Washi-chan!> The ancient voice scolded from up above
Fusako. <Behave yourselves!>

<Yes, Mother.> Both voices cowed at the disappointment in Mother's
voice.

<Now then, Fusako-chan.> Mother began affectionately. <If you could
please refrain from speaking here, it really would be for the best. The
trees
like to be able to hear the Worldsong without any interruptions.> Mother's
mental voice dropped to a whisper. <They can get awful cranky you
know.>

The trees above Fusako seemed to bristle and squirm indignantly.

"Um." She began, but quickly switched to thinking again. <Is this better?>

<Much. Thank you.> Fusako beamed at the pleasure in Mother's tone.
<Now then, how do you feel?> It was a rhetorical question. Mother knew
exactly how Fusako was feeling.

<A little disoriented.> she said honestly.

<Only a little?> The mirth and incredulity in Mother's voice made Fusako
smile. She felt like a young girl again, being fussed over by her mother
and
grandmother.

<Well, okay, more than a little.> she admitted.

<It is to be expected.> The ancient voice said.

A sharp pain lanced through Fusako's brain, causing her to fall to
her knees. She bit her lip to keep from crying out, when Yoshitsune's
voice cut through the haze.

<Mother!>

<I am fine Yoshitsune. Take Suzume-chan and Taka-kun with you to
investigate, but do not interfere. Observe and report back to me swiftly.
The Musk are fallen, but they are not lost to us.> Yoshitsune seemed to
nod in Fusako's mind and then his presence along with two others was
suddenly very far away.

<Wh . . . what was that Mother?> Fusako asked.

<Something very old and very dark Fusako-chan.> Mother replied
enigmatically.

<I don't think that I understand Mother.> She had hoped for more clarity.

<Nor are you meant to at this time child. You will bare the burden of
knowledge soon enough. Be content with the questions that cost you very
little, Small One.> There was no reproach in the voice, only mature advice.
Fusako found that the answer was sufficient for now. There were more
important questions to be asked anyway.

<Mother? Where am I?> She inquired hopefully.

<That Fusako-chan is a good question, that will cost you nothing.> The
watery walls sprang to life, filling with every known color, forming
pictures of places that she had never before seen. <A very long time ago, there
existed a majestic kingdom. And the capital of this kingdom resided on
Terra's Moon.>

Fusako's eyes bulged in wonder as Mother unfolded the founding
of the Moon Kingdom. Her heart swelled at the beauty and mystery that
thrived during its peaceful reign. She wept bitter tears as she watched its
fall. The telling of the story took quite some time, and by the time Mother
finished, Fusako was thoroughly drained.

Above her the stars twinkled down at her through the canopy of the
mighty trees. And as she drifted off into a deep slumber, she realized that
Mother hadn't answered her question at all.

********
Juuban

"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Ranma scuttled back among the debris, that littered the restaurant's
tiled floor until his back thumped against a preparation table, that up
ended a pile of empty pots over his head. The clanging and banging caused luna
to wince sympathetically, but the fear in Ranma's eyes kept her at bay.
Ranma hardly noticed the pans at all.

"Shoo! Ge. . .g. . .get a. . .w. . .wa. . .way!" He stammered, futilely
trying
his best to make Luna leave. To no avail. Luna looked very upset and
bored at his antics. She tried not to take offense at the treatment, but her
tolerance level was quickly fading. "D. . .don't want n. . .nothin' to do
with no damn c. . .c. . .CAT!"

The words hit Luna like a fist. Anger rose along with the pain, and
Luna did something that she hadn't done in ages. She changed her shape.
Where a cat had sat before, now a woman knelt. A luscious, black, mane
of hair tumbled down her back, framing her lithe, and very naked body.

Ranma's mind froze. There was something vaguely familiar about
this, the sense of deja vu was too acute to be coincidence. At first he
thought that she was another curse victim of Jusenkyo, but as he frantically
searched the room, he noticed that there was no hot water around.

Luna stomped over to the cringing boy, raised her arm to its fullest
length, and slapped him forcefully across the face. Hurt and anger burned
like flames in her eyes, and as the tears freely flowed down her face, Ranma
knew that he had done something terrible.

He examined her, from head to toe, trying to make a connection
with the odd sensations that were reverberating in his heart. Her nakedness
held no fascination for him. He'd seen enough of the female body to leave
him indifferent when it came to that subject.

Everything about this woman seemed familiar, and yet so foreign at
the same time. The odd crescent moon that was on her forehead drew his
attention time and again, forcing him to focus on it. Luna in her anger and
disgust turned her back to the young man. But, the movement was lot to
Ranma as his mind began to process all that he had seen.

Images flashed in his mind: Places, people, things. Wars without
end. A tall elegant woman that looked sad every time he saw her. Ami in
an odd looking outfit that made his heart race and his nose want to bleed.
Marut. Artemis. The Crescent Guard. Mama-Luna.

Ranma latched onto the last image, as the others raced passed him
like quicksilver. He looked up at the woman, comparing and contrasting
the fierce, tear filled face with the radiant, serene beauty in his mind.
There was no mistaking that they were one in the same. Ranma smiled at Luna
with recognition in his eyes, just as a cast iron skillet plummeted from its
place on the wall to careen off of the back of his head.

All who knew Ranma well would say that his head is the hardest
substance known to man. Their belief would not be far from wrong either.
But even a martial artist of Ranma's caliber had limits, and the large
frying pan was the proverbial straw for the young man.

His joyous reunion with one that was Mother to him in an age long
dead, would have to be postponed until he had staved off the darkness of
unconsciousness.

**********

Luna, for all her poise and etiquette, was prone to fits of extreme
frustration when dealing with insolent, willful children. As far as she was
concerned, Aramas deserved more punishment than that skillet had
provided. She didn't know who had raised him in this life, but they had
done an odious job of it! Why, by the age of five, she had succeeded in
giving Aramas a mastery of etiquette and an understanding of the social
graces.

To have him act in such a crude manner, let alone speaking in such
a vulgar way, made her want to spank him until his bottom was black and
blue! The nerve of him! Coming from anyone else, save Usagi, Luna
would have shrugged it off. But Aramas was her little boy! And to say
such things! To HER of all people!

It cut her soul deeply.

She looked into his handsome face again, and her heart melted. It
had not been the reunion that Luna could have hope for, but it was a
reunion. Something that she had never expected to happen, let alone hope
for. She carefully knelt down next to Ranma's prone body and examined
the welt on the back of his head. No bones seemed broken, and aside from
a nasty bruise on one arm, the boy seemed in fine health.

For that Luna was grateful. Her baby boy might have been raised a
barbarian in this life, but he was still her baby boy. She cradled his head
in her lap, and gently ran her fingers through his hair. The others would
arrive at any time, and Luna wanted to be sure that she had ample time to
sort through things before all Hell broke loose.

********

Mercury dug through the rubble, with a strength bore of
desperation. She had heard a man's coughing, and rather than take the
time to scan the pile of debris to verify that it was Ranma, she simply dug
in. Magic enhanced muscles lifted several hundred pounds of stone and
mortar like it was paper, tossing the offending wreckage aside without a
second thought.

Much to her team mates' annoyance. Mars had vocalized her
displeasure after the second seven-foot section of wall almost buried her.
Unfortunately, Mercury was focused on one thing. Finding Aramas.

He could be hurt and dying, and the thought of losing him again
drove the Senshi of Mercury into a frenzy. More rubble flew. More of her
team mates dodged wildly, and then she saw a shock of black hair. She
could tell that the body was face down, and began to slow her mad pace.

She worked around the head and body carefully, until she was
finally able to see that it wasn't Ranma that she had found. Disappointment
and worry coursed through her heart.

What had happened to him?

She delicately turned the man face up and grimaced. The man's
face was broken, but the way his eyes blinked she knew him to be very
much alive. Beneath him, clutched protectively in a death grip, lay a
little girl of four or five. Her eyes were large with fear and a large gash on her
head sent a small river of blood running down her cheeks.

Sailor Mercury tried her best to calm the girl, as she pried her from
her savior's arms. She could see that the poor man had two compound
fractures: a rib and his left femur protruded horrifically through his
flesh.

Blood poured freely from the injuries, and Mercury knew enough to see
that something needed to be done soon otherwise the man would bleed to
death.

"Saturn! Over here!" She cried out steadily, despite the way her stomach
tossed and turned. "Please hurry!" She held the girl close to her, cradling
her against the sight of the man's wounds.

Soon Saturn and Neptune arrived. Saturn looked ashen from
healing so many of the gravely injured, but the steel in the young woman's
eyes told Mercury that the Senshi of Saturn wasn't about to give into her
body's demand for rest. Tears began to leak from Neptune's eyes at the
sight of the man's condition.

Mercury knew that the Senshi of Neptune didn't have the strength
to help the man, so she hurriedly passed the little girl off to her and
motioned for her to take the girl away. Neptune nodded and moved away,
humming to the girl soothingly. Mercury looked at Saturn grimly.

"We have to set the bones as best we can before you heal him." Mercury
said flatly. "Are you up to it?" Saturn nodded her head shallowly, refusing
to take her eyes off the bleeding contusions.

Mercury nodded once. "Good. Now pay attention." she said
grabbing Saturn's hands. "You're going to have to brace him. Keep him as
still as possible. Do you understand?" Saturn nodded once and complied
as directed. Ami frowned grimly, and set to work gently pushing the femur
back into its natural place. The man screamed, thrashing against the pain
and Sailor Saturn's gentle strength, until at last he passed out. Mercury
thanked who ever was watching over her that she hadn't started out with
the rib.

Minutes passed and Sailor Mercury finally was able to work the
one back where it belonged. It had caused more damage than she had
anticipated, but Saturn could hopefully heal that. She glanced at her
impromptu aid and smiled weakly. A gesture that was returned, just as
weakly.

"One down. One to go." Her voice was tired, and anxious. She wasn't
even sure if she should be doing this at all. But she knew that if she didn't
do something, the man's life was forfeit. And in her book, that wasn't an
option.

She settled herself along side of the protruding rib and nodded to
Saturn, indicating her readiness. Saturn nodded as well, and the two rolled
the man gently toward Mercury, with the man's back braced against
Saturn's knees.

Mercury began her tender work, doing her best to minimize the
damage of setting the rib. Long tenuous moments passed, until finally she
had righted the rib. That's when she finally noticed that the man's
breathing had become shallow, and that he had become a terrible ash grey.

"No!" She cried out to the insensate man. "Don't you dare die on me
now!" Tears of frustration began to tumble down her cheeks. She looked
up at her team mate and motioned for her to hurry.

Saturn looked at the man once and then at Mercury. There was a
sadness in her eyes. She shook her head wearily. "The healing will kill
him Mercury. He's not strong enough to withstand it."

Sailor Mercury looked at her partner, and for the first time in her
short life she felt true anger. "The man's dying anyway Saturn! Do
something!"

The Senshi of Death knelt across from the Senshi of Ice and shook
her head. "I can't. I couldn't live with myself if I had killed him!"

Mercury's gaze bore into her partner's.

"So you're just going to let him die! Is that it!" Ami regretted the words
even before they tumbled from her lips, but wouldn't have retracted them
even if she could. Saturn was abandoning a life, and Mercury wasn't about
to let her without a fight. Saturn began to cry as she looked from the
quickly fading man, and her friend.

Mercury and Saturn faced off with tears streaming down their
cheeks at the impasse. Death had seemingly won out, and neither of them
could in good conscious, yield to the other. Thankfully, the decision was
taken from them as a pair of elegant hands came to rest on both of their
shoulders. Both looked up into the calm, loving face of their princess, and
then ducked their heads in shame.

Sailor Moon looked down at the poor man and began to cry herself.
A white glow emanated from the scepter clutched tightly in her fist, and
starting from the tip of her head, slowly descended to the tips of her toes.
Where Sailor Moon had stood but a moment before, Princess Serenity now
stood, framed in the glory of the Ginzishou. The tears of frustration and
pity that coursed down her face, added more to her beauty than the sudden
change that had washed over her.

"Serenity-sama!" Hotaru gasped. Mercury felt as shocked as her team
mate looked, and just as worried.

"Serenity, please don't!" Mercury couldn't hold back the plea. "You know
the dangers associated with using the crystal!"

Princess Serenity looked at her attendants lovingly. "What of this
man's life?" Mercury looked down at the man, and bit her lip.

"The sacrifice isn't worth it, Serenity-sama!" Saturn said, daring to voice
Mercury's thoughts.

The princess smiled lovingly at the Senshi of Saturn, and stroked
her dark hair as a mother would one of her beloved children. "Every life is
priceless Saturn. They're all worth it."

The rebuke, though gentle, hurt. Saturn had never been able to
understand Serenity, she didn't think that she ever could. But, she loved
her more than anything. All because the Princess accepted her, not for the
role she played in the larger scheme of things, but for who Saturn was
inside.

She hung her head before her princess, and sighed deeply. There
was no way that she could allow Serenity to use the Ginzishou. Every use
was a gamble, bringing Serenity to the brink of death.

"I'll try. . . ." Saturn whispered. "I'll heal him."

Serenity smiled and nodded. "And I will help." There was no
denying her. She was their monarch and there was a line, that even they, as
her most trusted advisors could not cross. Beneath the combined weight of
their worry, Serenity smiled. "Don't worry. I promise to act only as a
funnel. No healing from me." She winked playfully, bringing a smile to
both Senshi.

Saturn nodded and began to pass the healing energy into Serenity,
who in turn passed it into the dying man at her feet. Wounds healed, bones
knitted, blood was renewed, and the man's breathing strengthened.

The whole process was taxing on both women, as Saturn fought to
funnel as much of the ocean that was Saturn's magic, as she could before
passing it through to Serenity. Beads of sweat appeared on the Moon
Princess' brow, as she focused the rushing river that flooded from Saturn
down to a trickle so that it wouldn't overwhelm the weak man.

To say that Serenity was humbled by the power at Hotaru's
command would have been an understatement. It was scary to think that a
young woman Hotaru's age could harness that much power; and even
more terrifying knowing that she had access to more.

When the deed was accomplished, Serenity swooned falling into a
pair of very comfortingly familiar arms. She looked up into the handsome
masked face of the man of her dreams and smiled weakly. Mercury was
forced to do the same for Saturn, as the dark-haired young woman
simply passed out.

Tuxedo Kamen surveyed his princess' face worriedly, allowing the
gaze to sharpen disapprovingly. She sighed and nestled herself into
the safety that his arms alone could provide.

"That was a senseless risk Usako." He whispered. His words were
rebuked by a cold stare from his beloved's normally loving gaze.

"There was no real danger Mamoru." She threw back icily. Her whispered
voice was cold enough to send chills running up and down his spine.

Mercury settled the unconscious Saturn gently to the ground and
called out for Sailor Uranus to come and watch over the insensate Senshi.
She still hadn't found Ranma, and had no desire to listen to a lover's spat.

She wheeled around to continue her search when Ranma's terrified
scream echoed up and down the street. She looked in the direction of the
blasted restaurant across from the cutlery shop. The rubble before her
didn't exist, and the other Senshi watched in amazement at the display of
agility that Mercury executed in closing the distance between her and the
object of her desire.

********

Artemis was happy. More so than he'd been since waking in this
time. Minako was back from her trip, his ole' buddy Aramas was back
from the dead, and Luna was going on a date with him! Things couldn't
get better than this. That is until he "accidentally" fell into the small
restaurant's fish display case. He didn't want to take advantage of the
owner's already substantial losses, but who in their right mind was going to
eat fish that had cat fur on it? He'd just eat the portions that he had
landed
on. That was fair. Wasn't it?

With a tentative nibble, he munched on his first selection. And then
his second, third and fourth. The herring was divine, and the shrimp had
been slightly seasoned, giving them a robust tang that he rather enjoyed.
The calamari was sweet, while the tuna was sour. By Serenity's crown!
He had found Heaven! That's when he realized that he had been stepping
on new, untouched portions in order to get at the "contaminated" ones. It
had been that or stand on the unbearably cold ice, and Artemis wasn't
about to subject his paws to that type of punishment.

Aramas screamed causing the white cat's fur to stand on end.
Artemis quickly scrambled out of the fish, but was hampered by all of the
residual oil that his paws had accumulated.

Mercury blasted through the entrance like Divine Justice, followed
soon after by the majority of the Senshi, Princess Serenity, and Tuxedo
Kamen. They all looked around quickly, searching for the source of the
cry.

"Mgehrowfmimindettichin. . . ." Artemis said around a mouthful of shark,
pointing with his tail towards the kitchen. Mercury didn't even bat an eye
at the cat, as she pushed through the swinging doors of the kitchen.

Sailor Venus stared at her white furred advisor quizzically, and then
recognition bloomed on her face. Her eyes narrowed in disapproval as she
took in Artemis, and his less than honest actions. Artemis smiled weakly
around the tasty piece of fish, and shrugged shamelessly before gulping
down his snack voraciously.

********

Cold energy coursed up and down Mercury's arms as she crashed
through the doors of the kitchen. Her eyes had a wild gleam to them, that
reflected the hammering pace that her heart was beating at.

She swept the room, seeking out enemies. The kitchen was empty,
save for the comatose form of a prone Ranma, and the small black furred
form of Luna nestled near his head purring contentedly.

"Luna! What happened?" Ami demanded as she crossed the room to
kneel by Ranma's side. Luna looked up at Mercury with a smile of
contentment that seemed to ease the Senshi's fears. "Is he alright?" She
asked as she gently probed his body for injury. Luna's smile quickly grew
into a mischievous grin, as she watched Mercury's hands caress Aramas'
face lovingly. It was good to see that love still existed between these
two.

If Ami had been truly aware of what her hands were doing, she
would have been mortified. At that moment though, all that she could
think of was Ranma's well being.

Luna padded over to Mercury, and gently nudged the girl to gain
her attention. "He's fine." She said proudly, but even as the words hit
Ami's ears, Luna's expression seemed to darken. "Although I should wash
his mouth out with soap, and then blister his bottom soundly." She huffed.
"The whelp had the nerve to insult me! 'Damn cat' indeed!"

Mercury smirked behind her hand. The others entered quietly,
ready for anything. Luna and Mercury were oblivious to their presence.

Luna continued to rant about the disrespect this generation had for
their elders, while Mercury lost herself in Ranma's handsome face. He
looked so peaceful, laying there. A sleeping prince beneath an evil spell.
She ran her hands through his bangs, toying with the wild hair. A memory
surfaced, of her doing this very thing on a warm summer's afternoon.

They had been picnicking. He had gone for a swim in the river, and
she had soon followed him. They had played for hours, enjoying the Sun
and the tranquility. And then they had fallen asleep in each others arms.
She woke first to find him in very much the same state. It was the last bit
of Heaven that she had known before the Moon Kingdom fell.

Luna droned on beside her, lamenting wayward children and the
pain that they give their mothers. "Why you'd think that I'd raised him
better! He spent twelve years in the courts of Venus, among all of the Ley
People! You'd think that he would have at least thought that he could
have the decency to remember his manners!"

The tirade washed over Mercury numbly. But slowly, the
important parts of the cat's speech came into focus. "What did you say?"
she asked tentatively.

"I said, that he could have at least had the decency to remember his
manners!" Luna gruffed.

Mercury shook her head. "No. I mean before that. . . ."

Luna retraced her rant in her mind. "What? That I had raised him?
Or the fact that he'd spent twelve years on Venus?"

Mercury opened her mouth to respond, but was cut off by Sailor
Jupiter's flabbergasted voice. "You mean he's your son!" Both Luna and
Mercury nearly jumped out of their skins.

Luna looked up at Makoto darkly. The promise of a lecture on
etiquette lingered behind her eyes. Imagine, sneaking up on a person like
that! Why, in her day, such was an offense that had started wars!
"Yes, Jupiter." She said in exasperation. "That's what I'm saying."

**Sort of.** She amended silently.

"Well, he sure is cute for a cat." Sailor Venus smiled hungrily as her eyes
danced up and down Ranma's body. The display got her an elbow in the
ribs from Mars. "What! It's true!" Venus then saw Serenity's eyes
directed towards the kneeling Mercury. The short haired girl's eyes were
locked onto Ranma's face.

It made sense. He had acted so much like a cat in the battle. And
his natural grace and speed. . . . Gods, she had fallen in love with a cat
in her previous life! Her troubled thoughts were interrupted by Luna's
caustic voice.

"He's not a cat Venus! For the love of the Moon!" She rolled her
eyes dramatically. "Don't any of you remember Aramas, youngest human
to ever be inducted into the Crescent Guard?" Blank looks met her at
almost every turn. All save Serenity and Mercury.

Mercury's joyous expression assured Luna that the girl hadn't
heard anything beyond the fact that Aramas wasn't a cat. She shook her
head in exasperation, knowing full well the effects love had on a person's
hearing. She didn't think that Ami would be participating much in the rest
of the conversation.

Serenity on the other hand, seemed on the verge of a break
through. Luna prayed that she remembered the good things.

********
Mount Phoenix

Phau Set and two of her sisters made the clearing before the beast,
and scrambled into one of the smaller alcoves that ran along the base of
Mount Phoenix. They hated running from the abomination with the lynx's
head, but they had a mission to fulfill before they gave their lives to the
Goddess.

Their heavy breathing made it clear to any, within ten yards of their
position, that they were here. But there was no use for it. They could
only
hope to wait the creature out and pray that the inhabitants of the mountain
kingdom found the beast, before it devoured them. If not, then they prayed
that some of their sisters had made it through.

********
Juuban, Restaurant

Serenity's brow furrowed in a manner that made Tuxedo Kamen
want to kiss her. She always looked so cute when trying to work through
a difficult problem. He winced internally as her brow quivered.

Not good.

She was remembering something, but it wasn't something good.
The last time that he had seen her do that, he had forgotten their 1 year, 6
month anniversary. She hadn't spoken to him for the better part of the
week because of it.

Her eyes took in the prone form of the young man at their feet.
And memories of practical jokes, pet names, and a young man who had just
reached tender age of sixteen ran through her mind.

He had terrorized her. Pulling her hair, making snide cracks about
her weight! Aramas the Ego! She remembered him now! She
remembered how she had idolized him, and how he had rewarded her
admiration with cruelty. Gods! He had hurt her so terribly, rejecting the
love that she had so freely given. He had shattered her heart, and then had
the audacity to fall in love with one of her best friends!

Hot, angry, tears welled in her eyes, but refused to fall. She wasn't
a little girl any longer! Neither was her anger small and frail, as she had
been so long ago! She would make him stand up and notice her now! He
would see her for the woman that she was!

Luna cringed. She could see all that she needed to know. It was
going to take a miracle to save Aramas from the Moon Princess' divine
wrath. Things were made worse, by the fact that the Ginzishou began to
respond to Serenity's anger.

A silent wind kicked up as the heiress to all that the Moon
Kingdom had been, lit up like a beacon. Counters and preparation tables
were flung to one side of the kitchen, as if they had been made of paper.
White light bathed the scoured room, encompassing everyone in a bright
glow and lifting them off of their feet. All in the room save for Serenity
cried out in alarm or warning, only to find their voices swallowed up by a
deafening silence.

Serenity stretched her arms out before her, focusing the power of
the crystal. One by one the Senshi began responding to the power of the
crystal, as their Planet's totems shone on their foreheads. They
maneuvered themselves in a rough circle around Serenity and Ranma.
Tuxedo Kamen burned away, to be replaced by Endymion, Prince of Terra.

The crescents on Serenity's, Artemis', and Luna's brows shone in
unison.

**In the name of the Moon!** Luna's mind cried out. **Usagi what are
you doing?** Serenity's eyes blazed white, mirroring the crystal's glow.

The power of the crystal hummed, wrapping her in a majestic glory
that Luna had rarely seen. The girl that was Usagi, and the girl that was
Serenity; that Luna had helped raise, was gone. In her place stood a Queen.
Every bit the woman her mother was and more. The Ginzishou throbbed
with life in time with its mistress' heart beat.

But underlying the loud pulse, another beat mixed with Serenity's
that caused Luna's stomach to twist coldly. The menace of Serenity's
anger that had filled the air before slowly changed to something lighter.
Something much more awe-inspiring. Luna's eyes widened in shock as she
watched Aramas' body rise from the floor swaddled in tendrils of the
Ginzishou's energy.

Not now! Not like this! It wasn't meant to happen like this! Luna
needed more time to rekindle her relationship with the only son she had
ever known!

The boy's body swivelled in mid-air, turning slowly and changing
slightly. The colors of his clothes deepened, slowly assuming a black cast
that rivaled the void of space itself.

Luna recognized the uniform of the crescent guard instantly. Damn
It! She needed more time! Time that Fate seemed unwilling to impart.
Tears fell freely down her face as Destiny reached in his immutable hand
and touched Ranma. Changing the clothes yet again. From the deepest
black, to the purest white. A white that matched Serenity's. And Luna,
Chancellor to the throne of the Moon, cursed every God that she knew for
stealing her son from her.

Ranma's brow blazed to life with a crescent that mirrored
Serenity's. His eyes opened, and ignited with the same white life that
flowed from the Moon Princess. Ranma Saotome, once known as Aramas
the Drumheller, opened his mouth. An act that Serenity mimicked.

"I remember." They said in unison. The echoes of their voices intertwined
and seemed to resonate in the hearts of every man and woman throughout
Tokyo. A column of light, punched through the ceiling and roof of the
restaurant, rocketing towards the moon that was little more than a sliver
in the evening sky.

Sailor Saturn, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Uranus materialized in the
small kitchen taking their places in the circle; adding their power to the
beam. The Silence Glaive appeared in Saturn's hands, even as the other
tokens of power appeared to their owners - each in turn. Pluto was the last
to appear, like a wraith, holding the Time Staff cradled silently in her
arms.
Her power bolstered the others, broadening the pillar of light and causing
it
to divide into a mighty rainbow.

The light hit the moon, illuminating the satellite for all of Europe
and Asia to see. And then, the rainbow splintered; sending all but three
beams, that were too intimately intertwined, shooting throughout the solar
system. Lights flashed brightly in the sky as the planets responded to the
revival of one of their own.

"I REMEMBER!" The heirs of a long dead kingdom cried out in one
tremendous voice; shaking the earth in the process, causing the winds to
howl, seas to rage, and animals to fall silent. All the windows within a
ten-block radius shattered at the sound, driving people to their knees. The
planets shot back their homage, sending wave after wave of power into
their Avatars.

The advent of a solar system, honoring the first born son of
Serenity, Queen of the Moon Kingdom, washed over the Earth. A king
had awakened, and all of nature stilled to witness it.

*********
Saotome Residence

Nodoka Saotome clutched her heart as a stabbing pain shot through
her chest. The plate that she had been drying, fell from numb fingertips,
to shatter on the floor at her feet. Something had happened to Ranma. She
could feel it. There was a sudden sense of loss, and Nodoka felt as if her
world had just been ripped from her.

*********

Somewhere near Nanking, China

They had traveled far, and lost many, but a group of refugees from
the fallen Musk and Amazon kingdoms finally found rest in a small village
two days North and East of one of China's largest cities.

Shampoo and Herb sat in a dark room, guarding one of the last
Matriarchs of the Amazons, and in truth their only hope for survival. Herb
sat in a chair that over looked the tiny cot that held the future of his
once mighty dynasty.

A small, weary, boy named Pepper. He shook his head, in wonder
as he thought of the flight from Joketsuzoku. The boy had carried
matriarch Cologne on his back for over twenty miles before finally passing
out due to fatigue. Herb and his generals had lost many more of their
straggling band before all was said and done, but midway through the night
an eerie mist sprang up around the refugees.

Herb wasn't sure how long they had bumbled around in the mists,
yet as the first light of the sun touched the mists, the exhausted army had
found themselves on the outskirts of a small valley just north of where the
village they were in now.

How they had traveled so far in one night, Herb would never know.
But to be sure, he was grateful. It had saved the fifteen hundred men and
women of the remaining Musk from extinction. He silently wondered how
many of his people would be left to rebuild the kingdom, when the enemy
was defeated. He chanced a glance in Cologne's bed and his hope fell.

If they could be defeated.

Shampoo caught his gaze in her own large, beautiful, eyes, pinning
the young king to the floor. She was so beautiful, filled with the grace of
a tiger, and the undying fire of a phoenix. All that she had known had been
destroyed, and yet she fought on. Either she was too stupid and stubborn
to know when to quit, or her hope truly sprang eternal.

Since he knew her to be intelligent, it had to one of the others; or a
combination of the two.

He envied her.

"You should get some sleep." She said quietly. "We don't know how long
we will be here."

"I'll be fine." He said nonchalantly, waving off her concern.

"Just like an idiot male!" Shampoo snorted in derision. "Full of piss and
wind!" The Amazon maiden stood with her fists resting forcefully on her
hips. "Take what you can, when you can Warrior! You'll never know
when it's lost to you until long after it's gone!"

Herb was about to retort when Cologne and Pepper sat bolt up
right in their beds, crying out in rapturous joy.

"HOPE! He has ascended! The Prince has come!"

"The Son of the Moon, the Heir of Atlantis is come to Terra!"

And then they fell back to their rest; fast asleep before their heads
touched their pillows.

**********
Musk Palace

Ahbrim Ur stalked like a caged animal. He had felt something
building the moment he woke this morning, and it continued steadily
throughout the day. Marut's attack on the Senshi was not unforseen,
neither was it the event that he felt in his bones. Something big was
coming, something that he knew that he wouldn't like.

And then he saw it.

The power of the Ginzishou rocketing to the heavens. The earth
seemed to tremble and groan in rapture, the winds cried out joyously in the
mountain passes, and the Ley Lines sung.

They spoke with one voice to those that could hear; millions of
voices unified in purpose to honor a son that had been hidden away long
ago. The voice chilled his blood, broke his soul, and caused his anger to
boil fiercely.

"SERENITY!" He roared in denial at his wife's final sin against him. She
had never told him that she had birthed a son . . . .

The noise brought five Rhakshasa loping into the room. Hoping to
build their stature, by defending this human that the clans had supported.
They died writhing in black flames in an instant as Ur's body ignited in a
battle aura, the likes of which this world hadn't seen in millennia.

A third of the palace was leveled before Ur had been able to get his
anger under control again. Those Rhakshasa not wounded or dead, had
gained a new respect for the human that lead them in this hunt among
humanity. The winds and earth paid little heed to Ur, the man who had
once ruled them had fallen far in their eyes. He could command them still,
but they would never willingly serve him as they once had.

They prayed in their celebrations that the son, would follow more in
his mother's footsteps.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~