Magical Girl Pretty Ruri
Episode Four: Studies: The Song of Love
By Tailkinker and Kitsy
*DISCLAIMER* Warning: Java compilation error. Insufficient coffee. Due to this, none of the characters, situations and sites belong to the authors of this story. They are currently just used to explore the effects of sleep deprivation. "Originally, I thought I was alone, walking through a dream that no-one understood but myself. But I found at least one other, Yurika, remembers the Nadesico. Hopefully, there will be others out there, others who know what is really going on." "But as it stands, I've got Yurika. So still, I am alone, walking through a dream that no-one understands but myself." Tail Kinker and Kitsy present *Magical Girl Pretty Ruri* Episode Four Studies: The Song of Love "Ruri! Time to get up for school." ~No way - it's Saturday!~ "Megumi's here again. Come on, you're not going to be late this morning!" Ruri sat up and scowled her mother. "Why are you waking me up on a Saturday?" "Silly! You have classes this morning." Ruri rubbed her forehead. ~What's going on?~ Omoikane yawned, stretched, and turned to Ruri. "Oh, yeah...I suppose I should have mentioned that Japanese students also go to school a half day on Saturdays." "Great." Once again, she began the mad dash. "What *is* it? Can I *never* be on time or something? Is it a natural law?" * * * * * "Good morning, class. After the generally good results on your test, I feel confident that we can proceed to the next phase of our learning experience. We will begin with a quick expla-" "GOMEN!" Ruri burst through the classroom door, panting in exhaustion. Megumi was right behind her, looking just as winded. The teacher paused, and looked over to the two latecomers. "Ah, I see you have decided to grace us with your presence this morning. Please, take your seats." "What? No bucket brigade." "Of course not. If you are standing in the hall, you cannot gain the full benefit of this learning experience." "Bucket brigade, PLEASE?" Megumi looked horrified. "Now, if you would be kind enough to take your seat, I will begin again for the benefit of those incapable of realizing the simple fact that the sun rises in the east. As I was saying..." "Lean...Don't worry, Yurika. I swear it's a law of nature that Ruri is always late. Chuckle." "Baka." Yurika looked over at Ruri. "This isn't like you. You were always so punctual aboard the Nadesico." "And you were always late." "That's beside the point." Megumi leaned over. "She was probably up all night dreaming about Akito." Yurika sniffed. "Like Akito would be interested in her at all...when he can have me." Megumi continued, "Akito and I are going out tonight." Yurika's expression froze in a look of pure misery. She jumped up and ran out of the classroom, crying. "Megumi, you're mean." "Am I?" "Now, Ruri." The teacher again. "How many celestial bodies are there whose gravitational fields affect movement through this system?" Ruri glanced up at him. "Eleven." The teacher glanced up. "Eleven. Would you care to name them." "Hai. Sol, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon, Nemesis." "What exactly is Nemesis?" "We're not sure, exactly. It's existence is required, to satisfy variances in Neptune's orbit, as well as the existence of the 'killer' asteroids, the extinction-level asteroids that strike Earth on a regular basis." "You have been reading manga again, true?" Megumi piped up. "Yep. Nemesis is the name of the Dark Moon in Sailor Moon R." "No, that wasn't given a proper name. It was just called the Dark Moon Ki...never mind. I'm an idiot." "Stare...baka." * * * * * "I can't believe I did that." "Hey, I know about Nemesis, too. But most of these people here apparently don't." "*Some* of them do...I really did read that in Science Journal 01." Yurika shrugged. "Maybe he thinks he knows it all." "Science Journal 01?" Megumi looked curious. "I haven't heard of that manga before. Part of Science Force Ninja Team?" "It's a science manga. Not a science fiction manga." Megumi scratched her head. "Then why were you reading it...? Oh, I know! You couldn't read the title because it was all in kanji, right?" "Baka." "Lean...one more class after this, then we have the afternoon off. They finished fixing Houmei's Ice Cream Parlor...wanna go there?" Yurika's eyes lit up. "Sure! I can see Akito again." "Oh, he won't be there." Megumi smiled. "Neither will I..." "WAAAAAHHHH!!!!!" "Megumi...you're mean." "Am I? Why? He's exactly like my old boyfriend." Ruri twitched. * * * * * Ruri found herself idly at the clock, pencil tapping at the corner of her desk. Yurika was cheerfully taking notes for the big math test on Monday. For Ruri, this class was little better than a refresher course. She'd done all this level of math when she was six. "Lean. Megumi. How does Ruri expect to pass if she doesn't even take notes?" "I have no idea." "Maybe she's given up on passing. After all..." "Yeah...maybe. She's so different from Yurika. Yurika seems to study all the time." "Yeah, I guess Yurika got all the brains." It took all of Ruri's self control to keep from grabbing her Kasei no Henshin, transforming, and blasting both of them. ~I am not a violent person. I am not a violent person. Really.~ *WHACK!* "Ite!" "Ruri, if you want to pass this course, I suggest that you pay attention." "Hai, sensei." Ruri rubbed the chalk-shaped bruise on her forehead. "And no more sleeping in my class." ~Just shoot me.~ "Lean...she's almost as much a ditz as Usagi." "Nah. Usagi tries harder." ~Please let them be talking about Mom.~ * * * * * Tsukuma materialized in the castle hall. The walls were hung with red tapestries, each bearing a silhouette of an insect. Before him was a massive marble scarab, carved to accomodate a person, as a throne. On either side of the throne was a brazier, and in front of it, a low-set crystal ball. Seated in the throne was a tall, thin man - unnaturally thin, as though he had been stretched on the rack. The man was dressed in fine silken robes, with a high-rimmed collar, and wore a thin coronet on his brow. Tsukuma bowed, dropping to one knee; the man looked down at him. "What do you have to report?" His voice was high and reedy. "The warrior who attacked our golems has been located. She resides in the Tokyo District known as Nerima." "Nerima?" The man tilted his head. "Why is it that all the insane people, fringe elements and martial artists are drawn to this city? No matter. Elimination of this warrior is paramount. Your task to collect ki is suspended until you eliminate this...Magical Girl." "Yes, Prince Akara." "And I...shall report this to the Master. Perhaps he will have information we lack." Prince Akara stood, and vanished in a spray of sparkle. Tsukuma smirked. "I shall use the most powerful Warrior Golems at our disposal. Magical Girl Pretty Ruri will die." He laughed, floating upward, and vanished. "He will fail, My Lord." Prince Akara looked over at Genichiro. "Why do you wish this? Do you have designs for his position?" "No, My Lord. I simply state that his will is not strong enough. He lacks the desire." "You mean, the ambition." "Is ambition a bad thing?" "Only if it crosses me." * * * * * "Kuso..." Megumi scowled at the sign on the Ice Cream Parlor's door. *Still closed for renovations! Please come back again! Arigato!* "Now what are we gonna do?" "I know!" Yukina turned to Megumi. "Karaoke!" Ruri drooped. "What a great idea!" Yurika grinned. "I love karaoke! Besides, Ruri has a great voice!" "I hate karaoke." "Oh, come on! You sing really well!" Megumi snorted. "Not unless she took some lessons recently." Ruri realized with a start that she'd not thought to test her singing ability. ~Probably I had more important things to think about...~ But in the meantime, she had a great excuse. "Megumi's right. I can't sing." Yurika looked confused. "But at the talent contest, you sang so well." "Don't remind me." "Oh, I know! Maybe it was the bathing suit...we can get you another one!" "Baka." * * * * * But somehow, they managed to drag her into the karaoke club anyway. It was a teen club - most karaoke clubs served alcohol, but this one didn't, and the food you could get was geared more for the teenage group. Pizza, corn chips, chocolate bars, pocky and soft drinks. The music was all by such people as Two Mix, Do Co, Sharon Apple and Sasaki Yuko - in other words, all anime related. ~Yep. This is hell.~ "This is great!" Yurika was quite hyper. "Where do we get the mikes? Do you want to go first, Ruri?" "No. I think I'll sit down and rest for a little while." "Oh, come on! We came here so you could cheer up." "Forget it, Yurika. This is Ruri we're talking about. 'Rest for a little while' means she's lazy. And this seems like too much work for her, ne?" "Baka." Megumi grabbed a mike and ran for the currently unoccupied stage. She started browsing through the karaoke machine's selection. This machine was one of the really nice ones - on-screen lyrics, five hundred songs per disc, five hundred yen per song. She punched in her selection, waited for her cue, and started singing. "o/~ I just feel 'Rhythm Emotion' / kono mune no kodou wa / anata he to tsuduiteru so far away... o/~" Yurika sat down next to Ruri. "Why did you drag me in here?" "I thought you needed to unwind and relax, Ruri." "And this is supposed to do that?" "Yeah! It's fun!" "Perhaps we have different definitions of 'fun'." "Well, it's more fun than those dumb video games you play." "A Golem attack right now would just make my day." "WHY?" "Remember what they did to Howmei's? Besides, then I wouldn't have to sing." "Baka." Ruri scowled at Yurika. "What have you got against singing?" "Remember what happened last time I sang?" Yurika thought back. ~That was during the Brightest Star Talent Contest...and they wanted to make Ruri captain...~ "You're right. You shouldn't sing." "You're right." "Stare...sixteen hundred yen for pocky?" Yukina looked disgusted. "That's just ludicrous." "How do you think these places make their money?" Megumi finished her song and hopped off the stage. She tossed the microphone to Yurika. "Your turn." "Yatta!" Yurika ran for the stage. Ruri sighed. "Lean...what's wrong?" "This is stupid." "Nope. There's something else wrong. What is it?" "Nothing." "It's Akito, right?" "Baka." "I found a song we can all do!" Yurika ran back down to the other girls. Megumi hopped up. "What song?" "Benkyo!" "All right!" "Great!" "No way." "Aw, c'mon, Ruri! Live a little!" "Pout...please???" Ruri just looked at her. Yurika leaned over her. "Ruri, you're going to sing with us. That's an order." "Besides," piped up Megumi. "If you don't, I'll tell your Mom you blew ten bucks of lunch money on that Magical Girl Pretty Sammy manga..." ~That must have been before I got here.~ Yukina added her two yen worth. "And we'll tell her about your astronomy test. Glower. Glower." "There's no safe way out of this." Ruri stood up and took the microphone. "All right!" Yurika grabbed Ruri's arm - ~to keep me from making a break for it~ - and dragged her up to the stage. * * * * * The club manager, sensing that something unusual was about to happen, brought the floodlight over to focus on the girls as they climbed into the stage. The music started, and the words started to scroll on the prompter. "If you stretch your back after you come out of the bath, You will see stars on your eyelids. Why is it that when we drink milk, we place a hand on our hip? Who started all of this? "Tell me why ( Tell me why ), Make it happen ( make it happen ), Please understand this thirst for knowledge. "Roll up your sleeves and tuck them in, Fasten your bandanna and do your best. You can do it if you can enjoy doing it It's only the first time that it hurts...that's studying! "Getting tatami marks on your face 'Cause you avoided the hot sun rays when you were napping, When you get a nose bleed, you give the back of your neck a knock. I wonder why. Why does everybody know all this? "Tell me why ( Tell me why ), Make it happen ( make it happen ), There are other things I want to ask you about. "Roll up your sleeves and tuck them in, Fasten your bandanna and do your best. Have a tea break when you get tired, Little by little it will get better...that's studying!" There was a pause in the lyrics. The girls were giggling, fighting over the microphone. Ruri realized what she was doing. ~Well, so I'm having fun. Is it a crime?~ ~Yes.~ "Get up close with your eyes closed, Fall in love while giggling inside, It's a mysterious power that makes it seem like that so easily. "Roll up your sleeves and tuck them in, Fasten your bandanna and do your best. Have a tea break when you get tired, Little by little it will get better...that's studying! "Roll up your sleeves and tuck them in, Fasten your bandanna and do your best. You can do it if can enjoy doing it, It's only the first time that it hurts...that's studying! "Does the song come first?" The girls burst into giggles. Even Ruri had to admit - this could be fun! "Hey, is that a smile, Ruri?" "Kind of." The music came to a halt, and the crowd in the club burst into applause. Ruri suddenly realized that she was standing on a stage in front of a whole crowd of strangers...singing. Then she saw Akito in the crowd. That was just too much. She jumped off the stage and ran for the washroom. * * * * * "Ruri...you okay?" Yurika stepped into the washroom. Ruri was sitting under a hot-air hand dryer, knees pulled up under her chin. She looked paler than normal. "Got over-excited?" Yurika sat opposite her friend. Ruri glared at her. "Hmmm...maybe not. You know, it's not bad being the center of attention sometimes." Ruri blinked. "I didn't want to be." "Nobody was upset with you singing. And it didn't hurt. Besides, it cheered up Yukina and Megumi, didn't it?" "I guess." "And it's fun to be an idiot, sometimes." Ruri smirked. "No wonder you always seem like you're having too much fun..." "Hey!" *BOOM* "Ummm...Ruri...that sounds like work for us." Ruri blinked. "Maybe we just let the golem wreck this place." "Isn't Akito out there?" "Mars Guardian, Make-UP!" The light seared her eyes, all blue and gold. The air around her rippled, and she felt waves of incredible heat pounding her. Her clothes shredded and re-formed into the blue skirt, tight-fitting golden bodysuit and long blue boots and gloves. The tiara formed on her brow, and the Henshin lengthened to quarterstaff proportions. "Oh, no, no feelings for him whatsoever...Mars Warrior, Make-UP!" * * * * * Tsukuma was perched on the bar, legs crossed, sword across his lap. He surveyed the attack dispassionately, keeping an eye out for Pretty Ruri. All around him, golems milled. "Excellent harvest. This place has wonderful potential for ki." The golems were giant cockroaches. Their carapaces were deep brown, and looked soft, though Ruri doubted they would prove so. Most had mandibles clamped onto patrons of the karaoke club, and soft tendrils of blue mist were floating from patrons to golems. "Oniichan, what are you doing?" Yukina had crammed herself into a corner, on top of a speaker, in an attempt to stay outside of a golem's reach. "Oniichan? He's your...brother?" Megumi stared at Yukina - from the top of the karaoke prompter. Yurika stepped through the doors and struck a pose. "How dare you destroy this place, where young couples can come together, to express feelings of love and caring, and to have fun with each other? We will not have this! In the name of the Martian Successors, prepare to be punished!" "Baka." Tsukuma smirked. "You really get into this far too much." He stood up, raising his sword. "I only expected one of you, but no matter. Golems: Attack!" Ruri perked up. "Golems: Defend!" The golems kept coming. "Well, I had to try. Distortion Field!" Ruri spun the staff in front of her. A glowing blue cloud formed all around her, then stabilized into a light blue sphere. She then pulled out the plasma pistol and fired on a cockroach. The shot smacked the creature back into the wall, but it got up and kept coming. "For the love of music! Flare Arrow!" Yurika's Flare Arrow slammed into a cockroach, searing it badly. But the golem kept coming. "Our shots are affecting it, but they can take the punishment and just keep coming. We need a different tactic." Ruri glanced around her, and spotted a discarded karaoke microphone. She grabbed it and screamed into it. Almost every golem in the room was knocked silly; most flipped over onto their backs. Ruri smirked. The smirk faded as they started moving again. Tsukuma chuckled. "Surely you don't think that a simple scream will defeat my best warrior golems, do you?" "Blazing Slash!" Tsukuma barely managed to dodge the massive katana as it lashed out, flames searing the spot he had just vacated. "Sugoi! He's so cute!" "Not now, Yurika." Tuxedo Ken stood, raising the sword and pointing it at Tsukumo. "I cannot allow this evil to continue. I will fight to protect the honour of these warriors." "Who writes you people's lines?" The golems were immobile, their last command aborted. Of course, this didn't make them any less tough... "Flame Arrow!" ...giving Yurika and Ruri a chance to clear them out. *ZORCH* "Nothing like a good bug zapper..." "Yeah, wish we had one. Flare Arrow!" "Hey, what are you two doing?" Tsukumo noticed that most of his golems were missing in action. Ruri glanced over at him. "Exterminating. You seem to have a major infestation here. Don't worry, we'll have it cleared up in a moment." *ZORCH* "You call that a speech?" Tsukumo came to the realization that dividing his attention was not a good idea. In fact, it was likely to be lethal. "Well, what do you expect?" *ZORCH* "How about this?" Ruri turned and leveled the plasma pistol at Tsukumo. "For the crimes you have committed, and for the wrongs you have done, you will now be..." She stopped, as Tsukumo floated upward and faded. She pulled the trigger several times, but the shots flew through the empty space where he had stood. "Hey, no fair! He was supposed to wait to hear all of the speech!" "Yurika...you need help." "So do these people." Tuxedo Ken knelt over a prone figure, scanning the man with a small hand-held device. "Almost all of their ki has been drained. Much longer, and they would have been killed." "Ki?" "The life force that flows though us all. It allows for life and health. It is also called chi or prana." "So they're draining their energy?" Ruri sighed. "Why am I not surprised?" "They should be all right." He stood up. "They should get some rest, and eat a lot of high-protein food." He turned and walked out the door. "Wait!" Yurika ran after him. "What's your name?" "I am Tuxedo Ken." "I'm Yurika! Wanna date?" "Sorry...I am promised to the Princess." He bounded up to the rooftop, and was gone. Yurika stared at Ruri. "What?" * * * * * Ruri flopped down in her beanbag chair. Yurika grabbed the chair from in front of the computer and sat down on it backward, arms leaning on the back. Omoikane hopped up onto the computer monitor and laid down. "Well, that was easier than I expected." "Well, Tuxedo Ken showing up helped a lot." "Neat idea with the microphone, though." Omoikane looked up. "Microphone?" "Yeah, Ruri grabbed a microphone and used the karaoke machine's speakers to stun some bugs." Omoikane tilted his head, whiskers splayed. "Oh, just like Sailor Moon Episode One. Her 'Cry' attack." Ruri drooped. "I though I saw it somewhere before. No school tomorrow." "Are you sure?" "Pretty sure. Omoikane, do I have school tomorrow?" "Omoikane?" "The cat. He's a reflection of the ship's computer." "I am not a reflection," grumbled the cat. "And no, there's no school on Sundays." Ruri flopped back into the beanbag. "Good. I can sleep in." "Oh. Well, if there's no school tomorrow...I can ask Akito out on a date!" Ruri scowled at her. "Don't we have more important things to do?" "Don't be jealous! You have Tuxedo Ken." * * * * * Author's notes: The part of Ruri's astronomy teacher was played by Ben Stein. :) "Tail Kinker...quit drawing music groups from my anime mp3 directories." A large portion of this fanfic was drawn from "stock footage" from former episodes. This stock footage has been incorporated into our series bible - expect to see more of it. For all those who saw the Gekiganger OAV..."Remember that explosion...we'll get back to it." Comments and Criticism can be sent either to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org. The home page for this beast is www.geocities.com/groves_ca/mgpr.htm. Finally: We have started a mailing list for this fic. To subscribe, send mail to email@example.com. Kitsy: "How come you get the majority of the mail?"