Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Chrysalis ❯ Part 1 to 15 ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Title: ChrysalisCategory: Anime/Manga » RanmaAuthor: WordcounterLanguage: English, Rating: Rated: MGenre: Supernatural/AdventurePublished: 06-11-08, Updated: 06-11-08Chapters: 15, Words: 51,415

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

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Genre: Anime/Non-Anime
Date: 110404
Update: 150205, 080305, 170305, 170405, 030505, 230805, 311005, 010306, 060306, 220306, 121006, 110307, 100608
Type: A Ranma/Babylon 5/Palladium/Sailormoon crossover
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Manhunter and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 1 : Genesis
Location : Earth
Country : Japan
Area : 20km from Tokyo
Year : 2200 AD
The sound of a truck engine stirred to life.
"Have they left?" a voice asked.
Lights shone around the place lighting the different sections of the large fenced warehouse indicating a reasonable amount of security measures in place.
"They're still in there," another voice answered.
The gates surrounding the warehouse began to open. The sound of a truck's engine, moved towards the opened entrance.
"Now," a third voice replied.
The guards manning the checkpoints waved them through.
Another truck moved up to it.
After looking at the driver, the guards gestured for him to pass. A crate fell out of the truck to the ground. The guard manning the checkpoint ran up to the crate immediately.
"Hey!" He called out but the truck was already gone.
Calling his partner, they picked up the crate before heading back to their checkpoint where they decided to divide the stash among themselves.
"What's that beeping sound coming from the crate?" One guard asked.
Getting curious, both guards used their knives to cut it open. Inside the crate, there was a countdown timer with a message taped down next to it.
F#K YOU! It read.
That was the only warning they got as a powerful explosion ripped apart the guardhouse they were in ... into shreds in a blinding flash of light.
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Inside the warehouse …
Whispers could be heard ...
"These aren't the common-off-the-shelves narcotics, everyone. They've been enchanted with some kind of demonic sorcery," the first voice that sounded female spoke.
"What effects do they have?" a second voice asked.
"They make the person obey the commands of the maker of the drug," came the simple answer.
"Obey?" another voice whispered, horror evident in her voice.
"Yes … the drugs turn those who take them into slavishly loyal minions of the person who made them, doing anything that's asked of them, even if it costs them their very lives," the first voice continued.
"That's awful!" came a cry of horror.
"SHHHH! Not so loud! We don't want anyone seeing us! That's not all," another voice belonging to neither of the first three speakers chided.
"The brain of the person taking it would continue to degenerate to the point that eventually the addict would become nothing more than a mindless zombie, only craving the drug itself in which its key component appears to be human blood. Unable to get more drugs, they would begin to thirst for the drug in which case they would attack any living person with blood close to them," the first voice spoke quietly.
"Blood-sucking zombies? I thought those things only existed in the movies," the third voice pointed out.
"I thought so too. Until today, that is. In fact, the bite of this blood-sucking zombie turns the victim into another blood-sucking zombie for 24 hours. Looks like the effects are not permanent for those not taking the drug directly. Either the creator of the drug has not perfected it yet or …" the speaker paused as if thinking deeply.
"Or what?" a new voice added in.
"There might be more to this scenario than we think … Whatever the reason, we must find and destroy every single trace of this drug before it hits the streets," came the reply.
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In a dark and sinister place … where smoke usually abounds in the hidden parlours of power …
A meeting is taking place …
"My lord … the dope scheduled for distribution …"
"Has been sent." The other figure replied calmly.
"Sir … all of the dope scheduled for distribution in Japan has been destroyed," the speaker's voice trembled slightly.
"Destroyed? By who?!" the figure asked, his voice seemingly growing deeper in progress.
An unnatural fire seemed to burn in his eyes.
"The Senshi … They came in. Wiped out all the dope," the messenger continued to tremble.
There as an eerie silence throughout the room for a moment.
"The Senshi … They have interfered in our operations for the last time. Management would not be pleased. Place a bounty of one hundred million credits on each of their heads. Have this message delivered far and wide to the entire galaxy if necessary," the voice ordered.
"Yes … my lord," the servant answered before departing the room in great haste.
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Meanwhile …
In Juuban Ward ….
Tokyo …
Japan ….
Home to the Samurai …
And the Senshi ….
Among whom one is a shrine maiden ….
On this auspicious day, this particular red-haired senshi was doing her usual fire-reading and gave off a scream as she fell to the ground in cold sweat, bringing in worried looks from her elderly guardian …
"Calm down. What's wrong?"
She was breathing hard.
"Nothing, really."
Seeing her refusal, her elderly guardian decided to let her come to terms with it herself.
"Alright, when you're ready, let me know," He replied before departing the room.
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Nerima Ward ...
"Dearest, we really must hurry. Or we would be late for the function."
"I am doing my best," came the reply.
The vehicle the couple were in jolted as it struck something hard making it spin wildly out of control before hitting the embankment by the side of the road.
"I think we just hit something," a male voice spoke as the door opened.
Footsteps hit the road and their eyes caught sight of a naked figure lying on the road.
"It's a girl!" the woman cried out in surprise.
"What is a naked girl doing in the middle of the highway?" the man asked.
"I don't know but we can't just leave her here," the woman replied as she took off her cardigan and wrapped it around the unconscious girl who looked to be in between her late teens and early twenties.
"Can you lift her up? She's rather heavy," the woman commented.
The man tried to lift her up but failed to move the body.
"Damn it! She must weigh a ton!" the man replied as he tried in vain to move the body.
The closed eyes of the girl opened suddenly.
"Who are you?" she asked as she took in her surroundings carefully.
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"I am Soun Tendo and this is my wife, Kimiko Tendo. What's your name?" the man asked.
"I … do not remember …," the girl replied, an expression of puzzlement on her face.
"Where is your house?" the woman asked.
"I … do not know …," the girl answered.
"Do you remember how you came to be lying on the road?"
The girl simply shook her head.
"Do you have any families, brothers, sisters or relatives that we can contact?"
Again, the answer was a negative.
"Can you remember anything at all? Anything about your life?"
The girl simply looked at the couple with a perplexed expression on her face and shook her head slowly … as before.
"Alright, come with us. We'll take you to the hospital. Maybe they can help you," the man replied as he held out his hand to her.
The girl took it and the man groaned, letting go of the hand rather suddenly. The woman turned to the man in surprise.
"She's got a rather strong grip," the man explained quickly as he massaged his bruised hand.
"I'm sorry," the girl replied apologetically.
"That's alright. Come on inside the car. Like this," the man spoke as he put his legs in one at a time before lowering his head into the car.
The girl got to her feet, her quick movements causing the cardigan to fall off to the road leaving her nude figure opened once again to public display. Not bothered in the least by her apparent nakedness, she did not bother to pick it back up from the road and instead, headed for the vehicle. Upon getting there, she repeated the exact motions of the man to get into the car. Once comfortably seated in it, her hand reached out to close the car door but was interrupted before she could do so.
"That's alright. I will close the door for you," the man spoke quickly as he closed the passenger door for her.
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Meanwhile …
…. Somewhere beyond the reach of mortal men ….
…. In a place where the passage of time is suspended ….
…. A pair of eyes was scrutinizing the timelines through the greatest spying
device ever created …..
…. And hidden from the universe ….
…. The Gates of Time ….
…. A doorway to anywhere and any when ….
A single being stood at the entrance with a scowl on the face.
'Curse it! There has been a great disturbance in the Timestream. I won't be able to track down the source of the disturbance until the ripples and eddies begin to settle,' Came the angry thoughts of the supposedly all-knowing observer.
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At the hospital ...
"How is she?" the woman asked.
"Apart from her complete case of memory loss, I would say that she is in perfect health," the doctor replied.
"Have you been able to identify her?" the man asked.
"We've forwarded our requests for identification to the Japanese Bureau of Investigation. They have a lot of cases to deal with, so it'll probably be about a month or two before they get to her case."
"Will she ever get her memories back?"
"Can't say for sure. Her memories may just be repressed. There's no way to check it out unless you wish to enlist Psi-Corps's services."
"No, thank you," the woman replied quickly.
"I thought as much," The doctor replied.
"Do we leave her here or something?"
"No. I think it would probably be best if you took her back to your home with you. A loving home is best for cases like her," the doctor pointed out.
"Just give us a weekly update on her condition. You're living in the Nerima Ward, right?"
"Yes …"
"If you run into any problems you can't handle, just give us a call."
"Thank you doctor."
"You're welcome."
A few minutes later … after the couple had left …
"Why didn't you tell them the truth?" one of the interns asked.
"They can't handle the truth. Not yet at least … " the doctor replied.
"And her …"
"Will be our secret for now. A case like hers is sure to bring in Psi-Corps. Damn them all to hell! Our Emperor is already having enough problems with that good-for-nothing-son-of-a-b#ch who calls himself a President. Psi-Corps would make things even worse."
"So we just forget about it for now?"
"Yes. We drop the matter. Case closed," the head doctor replied.
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The next day ...
At a certain meeting …
"I tell you … it was horrible … "
"What is … Rei?"
"My fire-reading … "
"What did you see?" a female voice asked from nowhere shocking everyone present.
"Don't do that!" an odangoed blonde shouted at the speaker.
"Don't you ever knock?" asked another.
"What did you see, Rei?" the green-haired Senshi asked, ignoring the outburst.
"I saw many stars … bright stars … and the moon light … swallowed up by a darkness. The darkness … It gave me the creeps … It was … "
"Evil? Was there anything else?"
"I don't think so … "
"Yes or no?" the green-haired Senshi asked sternly.
"No," the fire-reader replied.
"Good. I take my leave …" the green-haired Senshi spoke before disappearing like she usually did.
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Meanwhile … In some place not faraway from Juuban Ward …
A beautiful girl with tresses of hair that reached below her shoulders held her palm out to the squirrel on the tree. It chittered and chirped before continuing its nut pickings. The girl replied back with a mixture of chirping and chittered sounds.
There was silence for a moment as the squirrel disappeared into the upper branches of the tree.
"What are you doing?" a voice called out from the window.
"The squirrel is going to show us its family," the girl replied while looking up the tree.
"Really?" the woman asked disbelievingly.
Suddenly, there was a pitter-patter of tiny feet and a small, chestnut squirrel bounded to the ground followed by four smaller versions of itself. They ran up to the girl and chittered excitedly.
The girl chittered back in response. "It says that they've just moved to this tree recently. They're staying here for the winter. Isn't life wonderful?"
The woman was too startled to reply.
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Later ... in the weeks to come ...
"I'm telling you she's strange. The way she talks to animals. She claims that they're smarter and more intelligent than we think. And the winds, the earth and the seas, she says that they're all alive," the first voice spoke.
"And that they listen to us even if we don't listen to them. It's creepy," continued another.
"She's a very well-mannered and helpful person, though. Never gave anyone any trouble," a third voice pointed out.
"Sure she's beautiful, sweet, smart and all. But she just gets creepy when she talks about things like that," the first voice replied.
"I agree. She gets pretty weird. Just the other day, I saw her talking to empty air," the second voice added.
"What a pity. So youthful, well-mannered, intelligent and beautiful. All addled in the head. Most geniuses are," the third voice sighed.
"Remember Van Gogh?" the first voice pointed out.
"Yeah ... And Tesla. Both men ... geniuses with a pinch of insanity wrapped together," the third voice replied.
"What a tragic combination," the second voice muttered.
"I agree," the first voice commented.
"Did you hear that sound? It sounds like a cat!"
"It's them again. The same group of rascals that have been giving you grief. They've apparently decided to spread their misery to the animals."
"Is that so? I think we better stop them."
The three neighbours got up from their seats and headed for the group of teenaged rascals gathered around the tree.
"Look at that. The girl I was telling you about ... "
A girl of nineteen years of age could be seen running towards the tree. The teenaged boys around it who had been throwing stones at the cat up the tree were surprised to see a nineteen year-old clad in cooking apron coming towards them.
"Leave the cat alone!" the girl spoke sternly.
"Oh and what is this little girl going to do?" a rough-looking boy with spiked blonde hair mocked.
"Leave the cat alone or you're going to be really sorry," the girl warned.
"Look here ... Miss Housewife. Go back to your cooking. We don't want to have to hurt you ... by accident," another teenaged ruffian with dyed hair and black sunglasses spoke.
A frown appeared on the girl's face. Immediately, the neighbourhood which was usually so full of activity during the day became silent. The bright sky overhead darkened as if a sudden storm had just rolled in unnoticed. Lightning flashed in the heavens followed by the distant crash of thunder. Everyone stopped whatever they were doing and watched the face off between the group of bullies and the mysterious yet beautiful girl.
A strong wind began to blow forcing the group of boys back step by step from the base of the tree. Suddenly, there was a cry of pain followed by another. The sound of solid objects could be heard hitting the ground as the boys scattered, running for their lives with hands around their faces.
Everyone groaned as they ran for cover.
The shoulder-length black-haired girl did not move from where she stood yet she seemed to be unaffected by the dropping stones of ice. Turning towards the tree, she made a meowing sound. The cat replied by leaping down from the branch ... right into the girl's arms. It started to purr as she petted it gently before walking away from the scene.
"What is going on?" a voice called out. It was a police officer.
There was no answer as everyone was just too shocked to reply. Elsewhere, an unknown observer pulled out a communication device and began to speak.
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At another meeting of the magical girls in disguise …
"What's wrong Rei? You look like you've seen a ghost!"
"The darkness … it was in my dream … " the flame-haired senshi spoke.
"The darkness? Tell me more about it," a voice spoke announcing the arrival of the most unpredictable senshi of all, the Guardian of Time.
"Setsuna! Stop doing that! You're going to give us a heart attack one of these days!"
"Rei … " The Guardian of Time called ignoring the usual outburst from the rest of the senshi.
"The darkness … it was everywhere … the stars were gone … There was nothing left … " the flame-haired senshi spoke nervously.
"What else did your fire-reading show you, Rei?" the green-haired senshi asked again.
"It was in my dream … this time … I didn't do any fire-reading," she admitted sheepishly.
"You call us here … an emergency meeting … because of a dream?" the rest of the senshi asked in disbelief.
"It could just be a nightmare but dreams can carry cryptic messages. Tell me about it …" the Guardian of Time remarked.
The second answer caught them by surprise.
"There was a woman standing at the edge of the darkness."
"A woman? What did she look like?" the Time Senshi asked, getting curious … no more than curious as she waited for an answer. Her gut feeling told her that whatever Rei was going to say was going to have great bearing on their future with regards to Crystal Tokyo.
"I could not see her face. She had her back towards me. The darkness stretched out from her feet to cover everything … except her."
"Tell me her height, Rei."
"I'm not sure … " the flame-haired senshi replied, uncertainty in her tone.
"Rei! This is important! I need to know all that you know about her!" the green-haired senshi spoke as she went forward and grasped her by the arms.
"Setsuna! Stop that! You're shaking Rei to death!" the leader of the senshi cried out.
"How about we have Rei draw out what she saw in her dream for us to see?" the smartest of the senshi suggested for the first time.
"That's not a bad idea," the senshi of Love commented.
Slowly, the green-haired senshi let go of the girl in her hands and the other senshi rose to get a sketchpad.
Once the necessary materials were provided to her, the flame-haired senshi began to draw.
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In a dark secluded alley …
"Alright … here's the deal. You hand us all your money and we leave you intact," spoke a rough and surly-looking man.
"But that's all the money that I have for Grandmother's medical fees," a small voice protested.
"Boy! This is a harsh world! Face the fact!" The man replied gruffly as he shoved the little boy onto his back and snatched away his purse.
Tears rolled down the little boy's face.
"What's the matter?" a voice asked.
The boy turned to see the most beautiful woman his eyes ever had the fortune of looking on, standing before him.
"Those men … they took my money again. I needed the money for Mother's medical fees.
She has a tumour in her brain. She hasn't gotten up from bed for days," he cried.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Where is your mother now?"
"Resting at home. She's dying. I was walking back with the money to pay for her treatment when those men surrounded me."
"Come … let us walk back to your house now. Don't worry. You'll be safe now. Just leave everything to me," The woman smiled as she took hold of the little boy's hand.
Together, the two walked back to the boy's house, hand in hand.
A few minutes later …
The sight of a bedridden woman greeted them. Her eyes were sunken and her face had seen better days.
The little boy's female companion walked to the sight of the bedridden woman and touched her forehead.
"Can you keep a secret?" she asked enigmatically.
"Yes," the little boy replied, puzzled at his companion's question.
"Good. Tell no one what you're about to see," his beautiful companion spoke as a gentle light pulsed in her hand before disappearing into the woman's body.
Almost at once, her wrinkles and paleness vanished from sight. Her cheeks turned a rosy hue and her sunken eyes resumed their normal and healthy proportions making her beautiful once again. The little boy looked on, open-mouthed at the visible changes taking place before him.
"My son … " the woman finally said as she opened her eyes.
"I feel better … Stronger than I have in years … " she added after sitting up in her bed.
"Mom … You're well!" the little boy shouted in joy. "She made you well!"
"I don't see anyone besides you in the room," the mother said doubtfully as she got to her feet.
The little boy turned around to look for his female companion. She was gone. Disappeared like she never was. Was this all a dream? He wondered and his eyes fell on the gift she had left him, a purse which he opened eagerly with his hands. Inside was a large bundle of yen. He quickly counted it all much to his mother's amusement. All the money was still there with a little note in it.
It read:
Dear Tofu …
I'm sorry I had to leave so abruptly without saying good-bye. Something came up and I had to attend to it. Hopefully, whatever's in this purse will make up for it.
Your friend …
Kasumi Tendo.
It wasn't a dream after all! The Angel who had saved his mother's life was real! And she had even given him her name. .
I will never forget you, Kasumi-chan, he swore. When I grow up, I will become someone like you, … a healer … he thought.
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Sometime in the future ...
"Okaa-san ... she is dying ..." the girl spoke calmly despite her apparent sorrow. Her two sisters were in tears.
"That's right. She has developed aggressive cancer of the lymph."
"Heal her ... onee-chan. Like you did with the animals. You have the power," Her younger sister implored grasping her shoulder tightly.
The girl responded by moving to touch her mother's hand but her mother pulled her hand away.
"Why?" she asked.
"If you should heal me like the way you brought that dead squirrel back to life, questions will be asked and they will come for you," the woman lying on the bed replied.
"I could fight them." she replied.
"One against who knows how many?" the sickly woman sighed.
"You might be able to defend yourself but what about your sisters ... your father ... Can you protect them all the time? They will not hesitate to kill anyone who gets in their way."
"I am beyond them." Her words though gently spoken seemed to resonate through their very souls and surroundings with power ... and for one moment ... the eldest Tendo sister seemed bigger than life.
There was silence as everything seemed to come to a standstill.
"Maybe. But mankind fears what they do not understand. They will hunt you down and kill you. Failing that, all those close to you. Promise me one thing." The bedridden woman's voice grew weaker.
"What is it?" the eldest sister asked.
"You wouldn't let anyone learn about your true nature," came the dying woman's plea.
"I promise ... okaa-san." the eldest sister promised sadly.
"Take good care of the family. And live a good life. You have been a good child. That is a-a-all I-I-I a-a-ask," the woman struggled to speak one final time before closing her eyes.
"Okaa-san!" the three sisters cried as the woman's eyes closed for the last time.
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Five years later ...
"One of you must marry the Saotomes to continue the Tendo-Saotome line."
"What?" two female voices shouted at once.
"My friend is coming from China with his son on a training trip."
"So what's he like ... this Ranma?"
"I wouldn't know." Soun said, "I've never met him."
He quickly hid behind the postcard as if reading it again.
"WHAT?" The sudden shriek of dismay came close to rendering the Tendo Patriach's ears ... deaf.
There was a massive shuffling and bumbling sound from the door as it opened and Soun breathed a sigh of relief, "That must be them." he shouted as he got up to run down the hall followed by Nabiki and slower by Akane and Kasumi.
Akane and Kasumi reached the hallway just in time to see Nabiki and their father come running back around the corner followed by a large panda carrying someone on its back.
"Pops! Put me down. You're scaring them!" the person being carried shouted.
"You wouldn't be..." Soun began.
"Sorry about this. I'm Ranma Saotome," the voice belonging to the red-headed girl spoke as she finally broke free from the panda's grip, dropping to the floor.
Soun leaped to embrace her, "I'm so glad you're finally here!"
He continued hugging for a second until he realized something wasn't quite right. He suddenly leapt away in horror and Nabiki leaned in to examine her potential fiance.
"Dad, does this look like a boy to you?" the middle Tendo sister replied as she poked the red-headed girl's chest.
"Saotome told me that he had a boy," the Tendo Patriach spoke before fainting clean away.
Ranma sat between Akane and Nabiki while Soun recovered from his faint.
"Way to go dad, engaging us to a girl." Nabiki growled.
She was frustrated. She'd actually been looking forward to meeting a potential fiancé who hadn't been influenced by whatever drew all the boys to Akane.
"I always assumed Saotome's son was a boy." Soun commented.
Nabiki grabbed Ranma's breast again giving it a little squeeze as she did so, "Does this look like a boy to you?"
'Feels rather soft, warm and nice too,' she thought.
"Please don't do that." Ranma said Nabiki continued to feel the breast with her hand.
"Nabiki …" Kasumi chided.
"Gomen nasai, onee-chan," she replied, quickly letting go of the girl's breast.
The red-headed girl had been remained silent this whole time, trying to figure out the best way to deal with this mess. She was not happy about the situation but she had no choice. Since ... the two fathers seemed to have already made up their minds about the matter.
Consequently ... she would be engaged to one of them soon ... regardless of the curse and her feelings.
But this girl Nabiki ...
She seemed to be a little too 'touchy'.
"I sure could use a bath," Ranma spoke.
"The furo is right there to your left," the eldest Tendo sister replied as though understanding his dilemma.
A few minutes later ...
... shrieks of "PERVERT!", "TOO HOT!", loud splashes in the koi pond and accusations outlining the physiological differences between boys and girls later ...
... calm was once again restored to the house.
"Well ... your problem is not so bad after all. My two daughters are Nabiki and Akane aged 17 and 16. Choose one and she'll be your wife."
"What about Kasumi?" the two sisters asked at once.
"Kasumi is not required to fulfill the family obligation." The Tendo Patriach replied surprising the two Tendo sisters.
"Not required?"
"She spoke to me before she died." He replied.
"He wants Akane," Nabiki quickly suggested.
"Why should I marry that sex-changing pervert?" The youngest Tendo shrieked.
"You hate boys. Well, you're in luck. Ranma's half girl," Nabiki argued, putting her point forward excellently like a veteran lawyer.
"I can't marry him because all boys are perverts! Besides he must be playing with his female body everyday!"
"I do not!"
"Yes, you do! All boys are perverts!"
"Tendo, they make a fine couple already," the elder Saotome commented.
"That's right Saotome," the Tendo Patriach agreed.
"Alright then. Akane will marry Ranma to fulfill the Tendo-Saotome family pledge of the agreement to unite the two schools!" came the voice of the Tendo Patriach.
"What! Why would I want to marry him? That sex-changing freak! I'll sure he plans to do perverted things with me once he's married!"
"No I don't! Besides ... who would want to marry a sexless, flat-chested tomboy like you anyway?" came the thoughtless reply.
The sound of a loud crash could be heard throughout the house and the rest, as they say, is canon.
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Chapter 2: Chapter 2

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Genre: Anime/Non-Anime
Date: 110404
Update: 150205, 080305, 170305, 170405, 030505, 230805, 311005, 010306, 060306, 220306, 121006, 110307
Type: A Ranma/Babylon 5/Palladium/Sailormoon crossover
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Manhunter and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 2: Mirage
Hikaru Gosunkugi, resident nerd and "mage" of Nerima was at his wits' end. He had yet to find a solution to freeing his "angel" and love, Akane Tendo from the grip of the villianous rogue, Saotome Ranma. All his research into the arcane arts had yet to bear fruit as none of the spells or charms that he had used on the pigtailed martial artist had seemed to work.
"Confound it!" he cursed loudly as he slammed his fist into yet another failed diagram of a pentagram that he drawn on the ground. 'What is the use?' Hikaru thought before throwing another "magic" book that he bought from a store into the wall.
It flew against the wall before dropping to the ground with a thud. Tears welled up in his eyes. If he failed to get rid of Ranma he would never succeed in winning Akane's love.
Hikaru was no fool. He knew the looks people had given him regarding his odd behaviour in wearing candles around his head and chanting mumbo-jumbo to school and after school. WeirdoNerd … But for Akane Tendo, he was willing to put his reputation, life and even his soul on the line. 'What can I do … ' he thought. 'Ranma's more handsome than me. He's stronger and more courageous than I am. And a martial artist to boot! How can I go up against someone like him? It's not fair! It's just not fair!'
And Hikaru Gosunkugi cried himself to sleep.
Hikaru …
Hikaru stirred slightly but continued to sleep.
Hikaru …
The nerd turned and tossed slightly but continued to sleep.
Hikaru Gosunkugi …
His eyes opened and saw the figure of a woman standing before his bed. Words could not adequately describe her. She was beautiful beyond anything he had ever known. Even Akane Tendo was nothing compared to this woman standing before him. The nerdish boy found himself staring at her, mesmerized by her beauty and charisma to the point that he was unable to say anything or even move at first. Finally, she spoke … breaking the silence in the room.
"Hikaru Gosunkugi … "
Those words broke him out of his daze. Quickly he got up with a start.
"I have heard the longings of your heart and have deigned to grant you your fondest desire. "
Hikaru's eyes widened at this.
"At a price." She smiled.
Inwardly he groaned. It had just sounded too good to be true.
"I wouldn't have to give up my soul, would I?" He asked fearfully.
"No. The transaction of souls is the sole province of demons. I am no demon. What is required is your faithful service and an oath of loyalty from you. In exchange, what you have always wanted would be yours. Power, the perfect body and the ability to do real magic. Not some parlour tricks like you have in your room. Interested?"
"I'm all yours."
"Sign here. With your blood."
From out of nowhere, a thin sheet of pliable black metal appeared in front of him. The shiny words on it were etched in pure gold, in contrast to its pitch-black metallic surface. Its fine golden letters, reflected his face like a mirror.
It read: …
I, Hikaru Gosunkugi, hereby pledge myself in complete service to the Assembly of Night. To perform all the tasks set upon me by the Assembly in exchange for the Gift of Power and the Gift of Magic. Both gifts would remain with me till death or until such a time as the Assembly sees fit to terminate the contract.
Signed …
(Hikaru Gosunkugi)
Lady Zora, Speaker of the Assembly
"Who is the Assembly? And why am I signing a contract with more than one person?" Hikaru asked as he pricked his finger with the kitchen knife.
"The ones who sent me. Will you sign now or do I take my leave?" the woman asked, pressing the issue.
'Assembly? Why more than one?' he wondered as he signed his name in blood.
"It is done. Farewell," she smiled before disappearing from sight … much to his surprise.
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Ranma sighed as he looked up into the night sky. Another day gone by. Life was just not getting any easier for him. Akane's daily declarations of 'love' for him in the form of malleting the pigtailed martial artist into low-earth orbit and 'bio-weaponry' being force-fed to him under the guise of 'specially-prepared homecooked meals' for her 'beloved' fiancee were certainly taking their toll on him. What was she trying to do? Kill him? Ranma thought despondently.
If she was trying to show her love for him (like the moronic duo of martial artist dads had claimed), it sure was one hell of a strange way to show it. There was only so much a person could take before he or she grew tired of the whole situation. Even the indomitable will of the great Ranma Saotome, defender of the weak and martial artist extraordinaire had its limits. And right now … He was damn weary … and … tired of everything. Why couldn't things turn out for the better, for once? He wondered. What did he do to deserve this? He shook his head.
If only I could end it all, came the unbidden thought.
"You shouldn't do that, Ranma-kun. The world needs you …," a voice spoke gently, interrupting his thoughts.
"K-K-K-Kasumi? W-W-W-W-What a-a-a-a-a-a-are y-y-y-y-you d-d-d-d-doing here?" the pigtailed martial artist stammered as he caught sight of the beautiful surrogate mother of the Tendo family sitting beside him on the roof. She had come so silently upon him that he never even realised that she was there.
"For the reason you are here … " she replied without hesitation.
Turning to him, she looked deeply into his eyes as though peering into his very soul. Ranma felt as if he would drown in those eyes … of hers … those lovely, gentle eyes … that seemed to draw away all lucid thought …
There was no denying it. With the moonlight shining upon her, her face … framed by her long hair … was clearly the very essence of physical perfection. Not a single blemish or visible scar anywhere to ruin that image of physical perfection, giving her physical features an otherworldly quality. Her figure was … to put it simply … flawless … angelic … no … Ranma mentally corrected … divine … now that he was able to think clearly again … For such a person could not possibly be human …
Lightning flashed in the sky and thunder crashed ominously in the distance.
His mind went back to all the times that she was there for him … when no one else would …
"You are a good man, Ranma-kun," came the words as the eldest Tendo sister closed in onto his personal space letting her aura of gentleness ease away his skittishness and nervousness at being in the presence of the fairer sex.
"Come, tell me about your life," she added as she slowly wrapped one of her arms around the pigtailed martial artist's back. And Ranma needed no further urging … as those hands began to play across his back in gentle caresses before moving forward to unknot all those tense muscles in his body in skillful massages. And it wasn't long before Ranma began to groan ….
"Hush! … You don't want to wake up the neighbourhood, Ranma-kun," she spoke as she rolled Ranma onto his back.
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The next day …
Ranma woke up with a certain buoyancy in his footsteps and a delightful smile on his face. All the tension clearly gone from his mind as well as body. Everybody was clearly affected by his good mood … even the Tendo Patriach. Not even the tropical storm, Akane, bordering on hurricane status and capable of great destruction (though which one was greater when compared to the real thing remains open to debate) was able to dampen the cheerful look on Ranma's face which irritated the youngest Tendo sister all the more.
"RANMA NO HENTAI!" came the words as Akane delivered her Mallet of Justice into her supposedly wayward fiancee.
'What did I do wrong now?' came the thought as Ranma crashed through the roof right into the open sky.
Before we proceed any further into the story … let us examine a little of what had been going on in the youngest Tendo's sister's head.
Akane OS ver 3.
And thus was Ranma's fate sealed.
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"Akane … I can't ever seem to do anything right in her eyes …
" Ranma grumbled as the eldest Tendo sister applied more ointment into the bruised parts of the martial artist's body.
"I will not make any excuses for her behaviour, Ranma but for a happy marriage to happen, you must be able to accept all facets of her personality and life. Think of it this way … the grass always looks greener from the other side. When you first spot an object from afar, it may look wonderful to you. That is what happened when you first saw her smile … As you draw closer to the object, you may come across certain aspects of it that you like and certain aspects that you don't look like. Likewise, when you draw closer to Akane, the more facets of her personality you will see … some will be beautiful and some will be ugly. There is nothing that is completely perfect without some form of imperfection in it. Neither is there something completely imperfect without some form of perfection in it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Ranma. Never forget that …"
"But all I've seen so far from Akane are the terrible parts," Ranma groaned as Kasumi massaged another sore point on his body (or to be more accurate, her as he was in girl form at the moment). 'And from you, all the beautiful parts,' came Ranma's subconscious thought.
"You've just been unlucky with her that's all. Plus you have yet to see my undesirable parts," the eldest Tendo sister replied as though reading his thoughts.
"You … Kasumi … having undesirable parts? That would mean the end of the world is near."
'Was that lightning and thunder again? Strange, there weren't suppose to be any clouds in the sky … were they?' he thought.
The sound of rain began to hit the roof.
"No one could compare up to you in terms of beauty or kindness. A man would virtually have to be crazy not to desire you. Even the animals and plants love you …" Ranma blurted out before he could stop himself.
"Ranma-chan, I appreciate your love for me. I always have and always will," Kasumi spoke causing Ranma to blush in reply.
"But please give the engagement with my younger sister one more chance before giving it up completely. I do not want you to regret any decisions that you make for the rest of your life. You will know what to do when the time is right. Besides nothing is perfect. Not even me …" Kasumi added in her usual gentle voice as she began massaging Ranma-chan's injured body.
"Kasumi-" Ranma spoke but was interrupted by Kasumi's finger to her lips.
"Appearances or first impressions can be deceiving. You will know where your heart truly lies the day you return from the night … Rest Ranma-chan for you will need your energy for tomorrow …" Kasumi added cryptically with her usual smile on her face, her hands moving steadily and gently across Ranma's body.
"Kasumi-chan!" a muffled female voice cried out as the eldest Tendo sister's ministrations grew in pleasure and in intensity.
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"What a strange dream … "
Hikaru thought before opening his eyes. He got up from bed with a bound and made his way to the furo.
'I feel different today … Stronger, faster … ' came the thought … and took a quick look in the mirror.
A shock came over him.
Gone was the scrawny-looking boy that girls avoided at school and in the market. In its place, stood a handsome young man with a strong athletic body with a look in his eyes that could take on the entire world and win.
Hikaru realised another thing. As he studied his physical body, he was able to see clearly without his glasses.
"My poor eyesight … It is gone! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much for everything!" he cried out loud. Tears of joy welled up in his eyes. "It wasn't a dream, after all. Thank you, whoever you are!" What was her name again? He wondered.
For some reason, he was unable to recall her name.
Mingle … a voice clear as crystal seemed to echo from nowhere.
"Oh man … I got to hurry … I'm going to be late … " Hikaru thought as he cleaned himself up as quickly as he could.
He ran downstairs, grabbed breakfast along the way … and rushed out the door. Quickly he made his way to school.
At school …
"Hello Hikaru … " a voice spoke. He turned to face the speaker. It was one of the prettier girls from the next class that he was usually to shy to approach.
"It's me, Kei. How are you this morning?"
"Good." He replied.
"How would you like to join me for recess?" the girl asked.
"That's a good idea! We could all get to know one another," another voice added.
Kei scowled at the speaker.
"Gomemasen! I am Yuki! I would like to join you for recess. What's your number?" the girl added quickly before Kei could say a word.
Without any hesitation, Hikaru Gosunkugi gave his number much to the other girl's consternation though she took care to take the number down as well.
'A date finally … ' he thought. 'I can't believe it!'
The school bell rang.
"Got to go now Hikaru! See you later!" the first girl spoke quickly before departing in haste.
"See you soon!" the second girl replied.
The resident nerd and mage of Nerima managed to stop himself from involuntarily giving out a cry of joy.
'Akane, my love, we will soon be together!' came the delirious thought.
Elsewhere … a certain Tendo sister prone to widespread violent, shivered inwardly for no apparent reason.
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I've decided to remove all Star Trek/AVP/C&C/Terminator references from this Lords of Twilight derivative to my Rise of the Machines series where it actually belongs. And now for my first Omake …
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Chapter 3: Chapter 3

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Update: 150205, 080305, 170305, 170405, 230805, 311005, 060306, 270406, 120307, 100608
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 3: Eclipse
One year later …
In a certain place in China that was cut off from modern civillisation, a place which escaped the scrutiny of the nefarious Psi-Corps and the ever-present malevolent eye of a powerful yet paranoid dictator ...
Thank Heaven
A certain pigtailed martial artist had just dug himself out from the debris ...
"Damn! Saffron really did it this time! Akane? Where are you?" There was no sign of the doll that held the spirit of Akane. Suspecting the worst, Ranma expanded his senses to encompass the surroundings but there was no sign of Akane's ki signature ... or Saffron's ... or anyone else's for that matter.
There didn't seem to be an exit from what he could see either. He was all alone with the darkness of the cavern to keep him company. Darkness? Since when could he see so clearly in the dark? He could see every feature of the wall, the stones on the ground and even the holes in the ceiling of the cavern.
Still, he would have to get out of this cavern and there was no exit. Looks like he would have to create one. Just as he was about to blast his way through the rock wall, something else came to him. A memory ... Pooling his energies together, a strange darkness darker than even the darkness of the cavern appeared on the surface of the rockwall. Ranma placed his palm on the rock wall which seemed to sink into the darkness with no resistance. He took a step and his foot went right through the knee into the rock wall.
Taking a deep breath, Ranma stepped through the darkness ... to emerge in the gentle light of the moon.
It was night. He was in the valley at the foot of the mountain in Jusendo ... Phoenix Mountain. The site where he fought Saffron for Akane's life. Speaking of Akane, where was she? There was no sign of the Nerima Wrecking Crew either. Anyway, it was time to go back to Nerima ... to that hell of a place he called home.
He could have arrived home sooner using the same method that he head earlier used in the cavern. But he had decided to take his time. Ever since he discovered something different about himself. Or to be more accurate, herself.
There was no denying it. While leaping into the water in a nearby river, his eyes chanced upon the reflection of his female form. Instead of the usual short, petite, cute, red-haired girl that he usually changed into, his form now took on the form of a tall, cyan-haired, voluptuous woman of breathtaking beauty and charisma. His stunning appearance which put all his fiancees to shame very nearly gave him a heart attack.
The changes to his physical appearance were more than just cosmetic. Which he discovered the hard way while flying through the air to ... land on the other side of the river. Now, Ranma Saotome was a martial artist of no lean ability. Normally, he would have been able to correct the direction of his body before landing or position of his body before landing ... but stunned into immobility by his physical appearance he did not.
So we can guess the results. Ouch! A feminine shriek of pain could easily be heard through the night as someone landed on the hard rocky ground right in the 'sensitive area'. Elsewhere throughout the world, all females of various races had a sudden collective urge to protect certain areas of their physical anatomy without knowing why.
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Ranma slowly picked himself up from the ground on the opposite end of the river bank after examining himself for physical injuries. There were none which puzzled him to no end. He now addressed the second question. How had he leaped across the entire river? Granted, he had only intended to land somewhere in the middle of the river.
Yet the strength of his leap had carried him across the river to the other end of the river bank.
Had his strength changed that much? Just to be sure, Ranma leaped upwards. As before, the height of his leap took him by surprise. Whereas he could leap a hundred feet in his male form before, he could easily do a thousand feet in his female form now.
Granted, his male form was no slouch when it came to physical strength, but it seemed to pale into insignificance when compared with what he could accomplish with his female form. Well, after trying out his new female body in various ways, he came to the conclusion that 'all' his male physical attributes paled into insignificance when compared with his female form.
Though, loathed to admit it, but if it ever came down to a fight between his male and female forms, his female form would wipe the floor with his male form. And that was just pure physical fighting one on one.
There were other things to consider as well. His female form had access to abilities or powers that his male form did not such as becoming a moving shadow, creating a doorway of darkness, throwing a blast of dark energy, creating a shield of the same dark energy that enveloped his or to be more precise, her body, etc ...
He hadn't really tested out all of them yet as he was still trying to find the limits of his abilities and there were so many of them. Not to mention, he was also able to cast magic spells and perform magic rituals in his female form, something he had never been able to do before as he simply lacked the ability to do magic.
Yet the powers, abilities and knowledge were conspicuously absent when he was male. But would reappear in his female form, instantaneously though with a splash of cold water. Like it was always there. Much to his consternation. Ranma had tried to acquire or at the very least remember them in his male form but they would just disappear before he was able to do anything. It made duplicating them with his male form impossible. And very aggravating.
Another disturbing discovery, however, happened during his martial arts practice. He did not tire in female form. He could go on for days without stopping, without taking a breath of air. Now that he noticed it, he hadn't breathed once in female form since exiting the cave. Something he believed to be impossible.
For all living things breathed. Yet his female form did not show the need to breathe. Or drink. Or for that matter, eat. He had yet to remember a time when his female form was hungry or thirsty. It was downright disturbing. In male form, the familiar sensations of hunger or thirst would return.
The only thing his female form seemed unable to do currently was to throw ki blasts. For some reason or other, his female form lacked ki. Ranma found this absence of ki to be rather disturbing as ki had been the very core of his martial arts and his life since the day he was born. All the boost to his strength, speed, reflexes and accuracy came from his ki. Ranma tried breathing in order to draw ki but failed miserably.
Why was this happening? He wondered. Ranma knew that all living things needed a certain amount of energy in order to stay alive. So what was driving this body? It did not appear to tire or show the need for rest. Which Ranma thought to be inhuman. Even the world's greatest martial artists needed to rest or ... a source of energy to stay alive.
Ranma drew his senses inward to find his answers and there he made a startling discovery. His body was using energy alright. Only it was an energy which he was not familiar with as he had never seen it with his new senses before. All the new abilities that he had including his magic spells appeared to be powered by this source of energy. Which was present in vast amounts, evenly distributed throughout his body in every vein, muscle, tissue and cell.
Whenever he used an ability such as throwing an energy blast be it a beam of heat energy, light, electricity or darkness (he discovered he was able to do four types without having to use magic), the energy present in his female body would drop by a certain amount.
It also appeared to drop after a certain number of movements that he made in a single day. Ranma counted it. Every twenty-four hours, this energy appeared to drop by a certain amount. Even when he was doing nothing.
A certain panic filled him. What would happen once the energy in his female body had run out? An inner voice told him it would be a really bad thing and he resolved never to find out. Looking around, he noticed the same energy present in the trees, rocks and animals. Just like ki.
Could he draw on it? He went close to the tree and touched it. Focusing on drawing this new energy just like ki. Much to his relief, it worked. The energy flowed into his body like sweetened honey, replenishing his energy reserves and then more as he continued to draw.
Suddenly, there was a breaking sound like something snapping. Ranma removed his palm from the tree to see it topple to the ground in a heap. Right in front of his eyes, the tree began to wither and die as its very life was drained out of it. Just to be sure he wasn't dreaming, Ranma reached down to the bush next to it and continued to draw while watching carefully.
First, the same energy present in the bush would drain out and then its very life energy would follow ... That was when the bush began to wither ... Quickly, he stopped the drawing. The bush did not wither any further much to his relief.
'Crap! I've become some kind of energy vampire like Hinako! Looks like I've to draw very, very carefully to avoid killing everything in my surroundings.' was the first thought that came to his mind. 'One last time, just to be sure,' he thought as he reached for the grass beneath his feet. He watched with a mixture of morbid fascination and dread as their life essence left them as they withered away beneath his touch.
Deciding he had enough, Ranma looked around for some warm water and found none. And the only source of water available was the nearby river. 'Man, I wish I had a bucket or container nearby, so I could scoop up some of the water ...' he thought as he stared at the rock jutting out of the river.
Suddenly, the large rock shifted before his eyes into the shape of a bucket as he felt energy leaving him. 'How did I do that?' Ranma whispered under his breath. 'All I did was I wanted a ...' On impulse, Ranma willed the bucket to assume the shape of a long pole and then ... hey presto ... it did like magic.
A few minutes later ...
Ranma discovered he could shaped the rock into anything he liked or anything he could imagine in his mind. The only thing that dampened the fun was the slow rate of recovery at which his energy was replenishing itself. And the constant danger of running out of that same precious energy.
After scooping some of the water out of the river with the bucket, he was about to heat it up with his newly-found abilities when ...
... he caught sight of a large snake curled around the trunk of a tree. Drawn towards the snake by some primal need, he walked towards it and caught the snake in his hands. The large snake struggled but Ranma held it easily within his hands. Trying to free itself, it bit the pigtailed martial artist causing him to crush its head instantly with his hand.
Acting on instinct, Ranma drew on the dying creature's energy which appeared to double in amount as it left its body for him. Feeling satiated, he dropped the now dead serpent to the ground and headed away. Unnoticed by anyone, the snake's body decomposed rapidly until it was nothing but dust.
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And the Lord said, "The man has become like one of us, knowing both good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever ..."
- Genesis 2:10
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What a day it had turned out to be …
Testing out his new abilities … and trying out the limits of his new female form. It was incredible … breathtaking … flexing his or to be more precise, her strength and power … It was different from the time when he was the petite red-haired Ranko. Much as he did not wish to accept 'Ranko', he knew without a doubt that the 'pigtailed goddess' as some virtuous kendo man would so kindly put it … was a part of him.
Unlike this new female form of his. Completely new … alien even … dare he say it … as though … it had been remade … and grafted in some arcane fashion onto his body.
This strange feelings all served to convince him that somehow … this new female body with all its wonderful inner workings of energy in harmony did not belong to him. Thus a reference to her as though she were a separate person altogether. What was more, the pigtailed martial artist got the distinct feeling that this person … whoever she was … was very much aware of everything he did with this female body.
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Clip! Clop! Clip! Clop!
The sound of approaching footsteps and ringing chains could be heard from the distance. From time to time an agonizing scream punctured the silence of the Great Hall. Finally, a prisoner escorted by a full contingent of heavily armed guards rounded the corner and came to a stop before the throne of the High King of Kastuul. It was clear from the prisoner's disheveled and unkempt state that she had seen better days. All manner of cruel wounds could be seen covering her exposed body as evident from the blood dripping to the ground of the palace.
"My Lord, we have brought the prisoner as you requested," a man who appeared to be the captain of the guard spoke as he knelt before the throne.
"Leave us," the one sitting on the throne replied.
The guards as one left the room without another word, leaving the prisoner alone with the High King and his chief advisor.
"Ariana …Queen of Lami-ra … Age … Twenty-four winters … Occupation … Magi … Place of Origin … Azvin-ra … Parents … Adopted …"
The woman's head jerked up, suddenly, in response to the last word spoken, the expression on her face, a mixture of puzzlement and disbelief.
"Don't look so puzzled, Ariana. Such ignorance is unbecoming of your bloodline. You … were unique …A half-blood, so to speak. Half Azvin and half Lunarian. Combining the best traits of both worlds."
"Yes, I know your true parents just as I know all about your endless quest for Endymion. Mighty hero … Gallant prince … Esteemed heir to the Dragon Throne of Atlantis … what woman wouldn't want him? Midas, however, didn't want you pursuing his cherished son, not when he wanted to form a political and military alliance with the Lunarian Union. So he sent you away into exile under the pretext of founding a new settlement … For the good of the people … of course."
The High King paused for a moment before continuing.
"Unfortunately for you, Midas was not the only one opposed to your relationship with the Crown Prince. There were other factions within the Atlantean government who were opposed to a marriage between you and Endymion as well. Some more ruthless than others. One such group was led by Chief Advisor Rathan who decided to get rid of you permanently. His agents sabotaged your expedition and later used powerful enchantments to destroy the vessel that you were on killing everyone on board or so it was believed. You, however, survived and found yourself shipwrecked on an island inhabited by hostile beasts and deadly creatures of all kinds. In your weakened state, you were no match for them and cried out for help. The powers that rule the forbidden lands answered your call, saving your life …Yes … it's true … isn't it? It's said that the passing of day and night on Crystania is not determined by the passage of the sun in the sky … but by the strange forces that permeate the forbidden lands … and from there they gifted you with the knowledge to control the creatures and inhabitants of the place you were on to form what is now the province of Lami-ra."
"So what do you want? If you want me dead, just get it over with!" Ariana snarled angrily.
Her life had been a sore point for her.
Suddenly, without warning, lightning and fire arced over her body, aggravating her wounds and causing her to convulse wildly in agony … screaming …
He was up in an instant … his well-trained body ready to dispatch any threat coming at him … and yet … other than his disheveled bedroll and the sound of his own voice … he saw and heard nothing … But memories of that scream disturbed him … Had he been dreaming?
After awhile … with nothing but silence … the pigtailed martial artist was able to breathe easy again.
A dreamonly a dream … he thought. But still he couldn't help but feel that what he had seen and heard had been more than just a dream. The dream had been particularly vivid especially the part when Saluvan ... Saluvan? This was getting strange. Somehow, he knew the name of the man who had struck the woman in his dream. A man he knew to be dangerous in the extreme … A man he had never encountered nor heard off in his entire life … but dangerous nonetheless …
Since sleep was now impossible, Ranma rolled up his bed and decided to relax by doing what he did best … all his life. He slid his hands and legs into a combat stance and began moving, his mind relaxing as he did so … his hands and legs moving swiftly through the air …
"Another strike!" the sword swung through the air only to hit the blade of another sword with a loud clang.
"Another, Ariana!" the blade continued to swing.
"Give it your best shot! Don't hold back!" Once again the two-handed sword wove swiftly through the air to hit the person's vest.
"Good hit! Keep it up!" the voice of the man instructing her continued.
Her blade continued to move swiftly searching for its target.
"Do not hesitate. In combat … hesitation could very well mean your death!" the man called out as he deflected another of her blows.
Suddenly … the deflected blade slid downwards and bit into his unarmoured arm … drawing blood.
"Endymion!" the woman called out ... her voice tinged with concern.
"I'm fine! Just a scratch, dear!" the man spoke, trying to reassure her.
Not buying into his act, the woman chanted a healing spell … causing the wound to disappear from sight.
"You shouldn't lie to me … Endymion. It's very unbecoming of an Azvin Prince!"
"Is that so?" the man challenged as he drew up close to her suddenly … causing her heart to beat wildly.
Both man and woman exchanged deep meaningful looks ….
The man drew down towards her lips … and then …
Ranma found himself back at the glade … doing his kata. Another one? While I'm awake? Am I still dreaming or what? The pigtailed martial artist wondered. I really got to stop having all this hallucinations.
When he heard a scream ….
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The little girl ran for dear life ... panting as she did so.
They were coming. Those men with the nasty loud smoking guns were coming with their sharp knives to cut her heart out.
'Please somebody … Help me!' she mentally shrieked as one of those evil men stepped in front of her with a rope.
His face contorted into an evil smile as he cried out, "Found the sacrifice!"
More footsteps thundered through the woods and the little girl took a step back … crying in fear as she did so.
The man threw the rope around her feet and gave it a pull. The little girl fell to the ground in a heap and tried to get up to her feet.
"No … we can't have you running off again …," he spoke and continued to tie the rope around her expertly.
The little girl cried uncontrollably in fear as the man lifted her up unto his shoulder..
'Please God … save me … I will never steal ice-cream again … ' she prayed while struggling futilely in his grasp.
God must have heard her prayer for somebody appeared … and it was a face she would never forget …
Nor would she forget the cries and screams of the NASTY EVIL MEN that followed as they were taken down by a certain pigtailed boy in rather PAINFUL and memorable ways …
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"So who're you, my Prince?" she asked playfully.
"Ranma. Though I'm not a prince. I'm just a martial artist. You're lucky that I happened to be nearby. So why were those men after you?" he asked in turn.
"Said they wanted to sacrifice me … to the GreatMetallium, Metallios or something ..."
"Metallia …" the pigtailed boy repeated … but the name echoed off his tongue differently … resonating through the surroundings with power … and then … a voice full of malevolence and hatred … echoed through his mind …
Who dares call on me?
… with great force.
The strength of the mind-voice increased dramatically forcing Ranma to grip his head in pain.
The vision of a being of immense power, spitting out flames of death and decay filled his mind …
I see you, human!
Flames engulfed him … burning … Ranma screamed … and then the flames disappeared abruptly …
There was a shriek of anger and then the vision faded swiftly …
"Ranma … Ranma …" he could feel small hands tugging rather insistently onto his clothes.
"Huh?" the pigtailed boy mumbled unintelligently.
"You were spaced out like for a few seconds … And your clothes they were on smoking … like they were on fire …" The little girl cried out.
"Fire … Is that so …?" He asked unintelligently again while checking his clothes.
They seemed to be alright apart from a few scorched marks …
"Yes …" came the reply.
The pigtailed boy simply shrugged his shoulders before asking "Where do you live?"
"Not from here …"
"In that case, we had better get going. Little girls should not be out so late at night," Ranma answered as he lifted her onto his shoulders and leaped into the sky.
"Put me down! Weee!" came the reply.
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They must have been traveling for less then five minutes when they finally came towards a hut.
"Grandfather!" the little girl cried and ran into her grandfather's arms.
"Yes … Little Flower … got into trouble didn't you?"
The little girl looked sheepish at this remark before turning to the pigtailed boy behind her.
"He saved me, Grandfather," she said quickly.
"I'm sure he did." He replied before turning towards Ranma once more.
"Thank you for saving my granddaughter. I am what many would consider a fortune teller. Would you like your fortune to be told? It's the least I can do after what you did for my only grandchild."
Feeling a little hesitant, Ranma agreed.
"Let's see … Your aura is strong … and vibrant. That is good … You will continue to attract those of the fairer sex till the end of your life and will never suffer from a lack of lovers …"
Ranma cringed inwardly at that statement as he remembered a certain insane gymnast with a creepy laugh and a mallet wielding tomboy with a terrible temper. Followed by a no-holds barred Amazon with a one dimensional personality and … a money-faced Tendo sister whose first love was money.
"You … possess great power … the strength of ages past … It stems from ... an ancient force … long-forgotten by man … and … was lost to the sands of time … This power is tied with your destiny … and that of many others … including both friend and enemy … by … another … beyond the stars … It is not natural … however … and will … bring great danger to you … and those around you …"
The voice and face of the fortune teller dimmed and faded away as though in a dream until Ranma could barely make out what he was saying. Something else began taking shape in his view from the background … the sight of a large antechamber filled with many beings of power …
"The Dark brought us perfection. Perfection of mind, body and power. This malady that ails us is not a form of sickness or the spell castings of an unknown enemy. It's like existence itself does not want this new state of mind, body and power that is now our heritage."
"Any reason as to why?"
"Life itself means change. Perfection means no change. We have remained unchanged through the centuries. Our minds and bodies untarnished throughout history. Existence itself is not perfect and strives to be perfect. So it rejects our unchanging state of being."
"Not a single one of us has ever suffered from fatigue, nor physical hunger and thirst or the need to breathe air. Furthermore there is not a single blemish on our bodies or any physical deformities or mental defects that we suffer from."
"And this is most unnatural to existence itself?"
"Yes, for some reason existence does not like our unchanging state of being and is forcing a change on to us ... by wiping us out …"
"Hello …" a voice interrupted.
"You were staring into empty space," the fortune teller explained.
"Sorry … I must have dazed off,"the pigtailed martial artist replied.
"You've been having visions?" the old fortune teller enquired.
"Sort of … Except that they happened in the past."
"In the past?"
"Yes … Like I was somebody else … a woman …" the pigtailed martial artist explained … his face a little red with embarrassment.
"I see … that can be problematic. Sometimes a person's past life can be so different from his or her present life that they would seem like complete strangers to each other," the fortune teller answered.
"I know what you mean … but I'm sure that this woman is not my past life. She's someone else altogether … Like another soul attached to my own …"
"Attached? How?"
"I used to have this Jusenkyo Curse … Cold water changes me into a red-headed girl. Hot water changes me back into a boy."
"You are a Jusenkyo victim then … That explains many things …"
"But now …"
"You are not a red-headed girl."
"Yes … It's like something changed the girl form of my Jusenkyo Curse with that of another."
"Meddling with a Jusenkyo Curse is dangerous. The spirits of Jusenkyo guard their works jealously. They would never knowingly allow another force to tamper with their victims. Anyone who would do so, does so at their own peril …"
"They risk their very lives …"
"Correct … or the person was someone desperate enough to do so …"
"Desperate? But who would be powerful or insane enough to defy the Spirits of Jusenkyo?"
"And that is the question … who? Already I see many forces converging around you. They gather like vultures awaiting their next meal. Sorry … about that, Ranma. But that's what I see. They come from the shadows … bringing the night with them … So be ready …" the old fortune teller turned to leave.
"Wait … who are they?"
"It is not my place to know of such things. But They know you … from long ago, Ranma … Speak with Her when you can … for she knows them too … and time is running short … Good speed."
And with those words, the old man returned to his hut.
That night …
It had happened at long last. Somebody had finally dared to strike down the High Priest bearing the daily sacrifice to the masters of the Empire. The High Priest, a bald man in his fifties, was brought down by an arrow through his chest. The soldiers guarding the sacrifice immediately began looking around for the killer but there was no sign of the killer.
"The High King will have our lives for this! Find the murderer and kill him!" the captain of the guard ordered.
The crowd grew more restive as the soldiers pushed past them searching methodically for the killer. The sacrifice ... a twelve year old girl was thrown to the side ... forgotten in the chaos.
Finally, a hooded man in a large thick robe was caught trying to flee the scene of the crime. He was beaten and promptly stripped bare before the crowd. A hush fell over the crowd as a bow and a quiver of arrows fell out. The soldiers tied him up and the captain ordered him to be prepared as the sacrifice.
"HOLD!" a voice cried out stunning those in the city square.
Such was the strength of the voice that everyone turned in the direction of the speaker to see an old man in a similar robe looking at them.
"Kill him not because I told him to."
"And you are?" The captain asked as he approached the robed man steadily.
The robed man showed no signs of fear.
"It's been a long time Captain Ramsey. Our masters have been treating you well, haven't they? Until they have no further use for you, of course."
"Treason!" the captain shouted as he drew his sword.
"Do you fear hearing the truth? Do you fear confronting the truth? We have all been that way before. Afraid but who wouldn't be against Them? They have brought wealth and glory to the empire ... but at what cost?" the robed man asked, his voice loud enough in the marketplace.
The captain continued his forward charge but the crowd listened. Emotions and feelings which have long been kept suppressed were brought to the surface.
"In the beginning, they demanded a living sacrifice for all they have brought us, but what have they brought us? Today, it's a lot more. These evil deeds must be brought to an end. First, it was the criminals. Then it was the traitors. Today they are using our firstborn. Tomorrow who? Maybe yours? Can we keep afford to keep paying this price for our entire lives?"
"Hear me! Today, I ask all of you here to make a stand to fight for our lives! We shall live and die as free men! Not at another's whim! Fight for your freedom! Fight for your destiny! For the future!" the old man shouted.
The words stirred the crowd to a fevered pitch.
"Arrest him!" the captain ordered.
The soldiers moved forward. The crowd became unruly.
"Be still! Do not be deceived by the lies of the Dark Wielders! There is no future with them!" the old shouted and pulled a thin mask off his face

The scene ended abruptly … followed by another in its place …
There was silence for a couple of minutes before those present continued with the matter at hand.
"We have little time left before our enemies decide to put an end to us. Already, the people on the streets are becoming restless. Sooner or later, there will be a rebellion."
"And we will grind them into the dust like we have always done with all those that oppose us."
"They are our people! Not our enemies! If we slay them like wild beasts, we will become no better than those we once swore to defend them from. We are the preservers of life. Not destroyers of the living."
"We are long past that stage. Already word is out there on the streets that we are no better than the demons that we once fought from the abyss. The masses cringed in fear and seethed with hatred from our very presence. We will be facing an insurrection most likely within this decade."
"Come what may. Soon it will all come down to a choice between them and us. So, what is it going to be? Our survival or theirs? All in favour of our survival?"
One by one all the members of the Ruling Council voted.
There was no one.
"So be it. The resolution for our survival has now been passed. Prepare all our defenses and troops. This is going to be one battle that we cannot afford to lose. Our very lives and souls are at stake."
"To the survival of the fittest!"
The voice carried on … its strength like the waves on the seashore reaching the ends of the chamber … before being joined by the others … their voices adding strength to it …
The pigtailed martial artist leaped into the air … that voice … it possessed a strength of power of its own … had woken him up. He got up … rubbed his eyes … and went to the sink, taking a look in the mirror as he did so. The face of a petite red-headed girl looked back at him from there. He was in his original cursed form? Shaking his head, Ranma rubbed his eyes. The petite red headed girl was still there!
There was something strange going on here … The petite red-headed girl looked as startled he was … and reached her hand out towards him … She spoke but he couldn't hear anything … Not believing what he was seeing, he lifted up his male hand towards the mirror as she did so … and as their hands were about to touch … the hair on his skin stood … there was someone or something …
Instinctively, he looked behind him … and saw … no one.
But he could have sworn that he felt something or someone behind him a moment ago. Was he imagining things? He studied his surroundings for a moment. Not a dust stirred. Apparently, he had been made a fool of.
Turning around, he looked once again at the mirror and … merely saw his usual male face looking back at him … in puzzlement …
Had he been dreaming?
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Chapter 4: Chapter 4

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Update: 120307
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 4: Blank
Will be added soon.

Chapter 5: Chapter 5

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Genre: Anime/Non-Anime
Date: 110404
Update: 150205, 080305, 170305, 170405, 030505, 230805, 311005, 010306, 060306, 220306, 121006, 120307, 111107
Type: A Ranma/Babylon 5/Palladium/Sailormoon crossover
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Manhunter and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 5 : Omens
One month later ...
He was home ... home at last. In his male form. Which he had done with great difficulty. Going up to the gate, he opened it and knocked on the door. There was a bustle of feet and the door in front of him opened. It was Kasumi. And she appeared to be in shock, open-mouthed as she stared flabbergasted at him ... without the usual 'Oh my'. "What's wrong, Kasumi?" Ranma asked, growing concerned at the eldest Tendo sister's behaviour.
"What's wrong onee-chan?" another voice, Ranma identified as belonging to the Mercenary Sister, Tendo Nabiki approached the door. Her eyes fell on him with the same expression as the elder Tendo sister. "Nabiki? What's the matter? It's me, Ranma!" the pigtailed martial artist spoke.
There was a hustle of feet and two men came up to the door. It was his 'pops' and Uncle Soun. The moment their eyes fell on him, they became still and did not move.
"What's the matter with you people?" the pigtailed martist asked.
"You all look like you've seen a ghost!" he remarked.
"Ranma ... " It was Nabiki. It seemed like the Ice Queen was the first to recover.
"Yes ... " he replied.
"I don't know how to put this to you but we ... we ..."
"We ... what?"
"J-j-j-just had your f-f-f-funeral s-s-s-service last week!"
"What? That's the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life! This is not funny, Nabs. What the hell is going on here?"
"R-r-r-ranma. Y-y-y-you died a-a-a-t Phoenix Mountain. We b-b-b-buried you at the Nerima C-C-C-Cemetery last week."
"What are you talking about? I'm right here see. Solid as a rock," he said as he moved forward to touch them.
"G-g-g-get b-b-b-back! He's got to be an imposter! The real Ranma's dead!"
"Call the exorcist! This is got to be a ghost!"
"That's enough! I'm alive! See?!" Ranma spoke and waved his hands in front of their faces.
It did no good. The entire Tendo family including 'pops' retreated into the house and bolted up the front door.
Ranma could of course have gotten into the house with little difficulty but he did not do so, not wanting to aggravate the situation any further. Still there was one thing he could do ... and that was to go and find the Old Ghoul ... assuming she was still around that is.
It took but a minute to get to the Nekohanten. The place which usually seemed full of activity was silent. Walking up to the door, Ranma knocked on it. There was a bustle of feet on the other side and then the door opened.
"Ranma?! Cannot be! Ranma die at Jusendo!" cried the lavender-haired girl which was usually so full of life and activity seemed pale and full of sadness.
"Shampoo, what's the matter?" Ranma asked.
"I saw you die! Phoenix King killed you!" She exclaimed, her voice filled with sorrow.
Suddenly, a small blur interposed itself between Ranma and Shampoo.
It was the Old Ghoul. And she narrowed her eyes.
"You look like Son-In-Law. You smell like Son-In-Law. And you even sound like Son-In-Law ... " She spoke candidly, yet there was the slightest hint of suspicion in her voice. A splash of cold water hit him from nowhere activating the curse at the worst possible time. "But your aura is not! Who are you?" the Old Ghoul asked, the tone of fear evident in her voice.
'Impossible! He has no ki!' she thought.
"Don't worry, my Shampoo-chan. I'll rescue you!" a voice Ranma identifed as belonging to the near-blind Amazon sounded out.
Suddenly, dozens of sharp metal blades and chains flew at Ranma. Responding to the danger he was in, Ranma reflexively used a power, one he had never used before. The horde of potentially lethal metal weapons froze right in front of his face as though stopped by some unknown force.
'Strange. How did I stop Mousse's attack? All I wanted was for it to stop moving ... ' Ranma thought as he studied all the sharp metal objects hanging in front of his face.
'Maybe that's it. So it works on metal as well ... ' Ranma willed the various sharp metal objects into the shape of a large metal ball, which it did, startling the onlookers as it happened instantly. Cologne was able to mask her expression but Ranma was able to sense her growing fear which for some unknown reason seemed to please and invigorate him on a subconscious level as he drank in her fear.
"I am Ranma, Old Ghoul! What the hell is going on?! Why is everyone saying that I'm dead?" the pigtailed martial artist-turned female asked before picking up the ball with his right hand and giving it an affectionate squeeze.
"That is because we saw Ranma die at Jusendo. He gave up his life so that Akane might live. The question is 'who are you?'" the Old Ghoul asked once again trying her best to mask her fear but with mixed success.
"I am Ranma!" the pigtailed martial artist insisted, his female voice rang out strong and clear.
"YOU LIE! I don't know what you are but I will not have you besmirching Son-In-Law's name!" the Amazon elder screamed before launching herself into a full-scale assault.
Ranma managed to leap out of the way just before the Old Ghoul struck the ground beneath his feet.
"Chestnuts Roasting Over An Open Fire!" she cried as she struck Ranma a thousand times. Not wanting to hurt the Amazon Elder, Ranma merely parried and dodged her attacks. It was strange. The Amazon Elder was moving so much faster than she had ever moved before yet the pigtailed martial artist was unfazed by the speed and ferocity of her attack.
"Listen ... "
Dodges a kick-punch combo ...
"Old ... "
Leaps into the air ...
"Ghoul ... "
Parries fifty hand strikes ...
"I .."
Leaps over a leg sweep ...
Parries a combination of palm-punch-finger delivered shiatsu attacks ...
"Want ... "
Dodges another thirty hand-leg-cane attack ...
"To ..."
Somersaults into the air ...
"Have ..."
Deflects a hundred thrown objects ...
"To ..."
Avoids a triple ki blast attack ...
"Hurt ..".
Parries another 40 hand-leg-cane combination attack ...
"You ..."
A powerful explosion rocked the area.
The imposter was gone. There was no sign of him anywhere. Cologne carefully examined the area with her ki senses. Still nothing.
Turning to her granddaughter, she spoke, "Shampoo. Tomorrow, we leave for China. We got to warn our people of the coming darkness. It's a sad thing that what could be the greatest champion of light would have fallen before the coming war."
"But he ... "
"Is not Ranma! The Masters of Darkness have many forms and can easily take on the forms of our loved ones! The imposter's aura was too different and powerful to be Son-In-Law's."
Shampoo looked questioningly at her Great Grandmother.
"He had no ki. We must warn the Saotomes and the Tendos as soon as possible," came the simple reply.
Both Amazons entered the Nekohanten and the doors closed for the night. Elsewhere, on a narrow street, a ripple appeared beneath a street lamp and the figure of a pigtail youth clad in black gear shimmered into view.
'Great! Just great! Even the Old Ghoul thinks that I'm dead. Maybe, I had better go and check the Nerima Cemetery.'
Ranma arrived at the Nerima Cemetery without further incident. Quickly, he looked for his supposed 'gravesite'. Finally, his sharp eyes fell on a tombstone that bore words written in kanji. It read, 'Ranma Saotome. Died at Jusendo. Missed by all. Date: 12th December 2250 AD.'
'Impossible! This has got to be a trick.' Ranma thought as he removed the earth from the ground with but a simple application of his newly-found power. There was a coffin inside. With a dismissive gesture from his hand, the cover of the coffin flew open next to reveal ...
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... The source of Ranma's consternation and trouble.
Inside the coffin, lay a body. The familiar pigtail and kungfu clothes of the person gave little reason to doubt the person's identity.
'It can't be. This has got to be a trick. But I have to be sure.'
Quickly, he looked around for some water and found a pipe not faraway from the gate. With a single bound, he was right next to the pipe with the coffin in his hands. Turning on the tap, he watched nervously as the hair colour of the corpse took on a fiery red. Not believing what he saw, he moved the coffin away and broke off the nearest tombstone. He willed it into the form of a container and let the water from the pipe flow into it.
Next he heated the water with his powers until the water became warm. Carefully, he lifted it from the ground with his hand and poured it on the corpse in the coffin. It turned back to the form of the male figure he was so familiar with. Himself. Not satisfied, he poured some more cold water on the corpse. It turned back to the red-haired girl.
'This is becoming ridiculous. If the guy in the coffin is Ranma Saotome then I can't be Ranma Saotome. But I have got to be Ranma Saotome because of my knowledge of the Anything Goes martial arts and my curse to turn into a girl by Jusenkyo. But this isn't right. My curse form is different. Therefore I can't be Ranma Saotome, right? If I'm not Ranma Saotome then who am I?' he wondered.
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So the Lord God banished man from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life ...
- Genesis 2:10
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The Tendo Dojo ...
"He's alive!" a voice cried out.
"Was that really Ranma?" a second voice spoke.
"If it is, the honor of the Saotome and the Tendo families is intact. Ranma and Akane should get married at once!"
"That's right!"
'Not to mention, my insurance for the rest of my life.' Guess, where this came from.
"Don't I get a say in this?" cried an angry feminine voice.
"Fools! Ignorant fools! The whole bunch of you! There is more at stake here than the so-called honor of your families!" a voice spoke from the window.
"Cologne! Don't scare us like that!" Everyone in the room gasped.
"My humble apologies but what you saw wasn't Son-In-Law! That was one of their servants or even worse one of THEM!" the withered old Amazon replied.
"Them? What are you talking about, you dried-up mummy?"
"Silence! You insolent male, I ought to have you castrated for this! But time is running out! Already, the Enemy is on the move! Soon they will be in postion!"
"What enemy?"
"One that has been imprisoned since the dawn of mankind. One who bears us nothing but lasting ill-will."
"You're talking in riddles."
"Be silent! We must leave Nerima immediately for the safety of the mountains or the surrounding forests as the Enemy will be drawn towards the presence of large human gatherings."
"You haven't answered my question on who is the Enemy."
"Not much is written about them but this we do know. In ancient times, when the first cities of Man rose in fertile lands that today are little more than places of wasteland or desert, the Ba'al rose to power."
"Ba'al? That sounds like the name of a god from some ancient Sumerian or Canaanite beliefs."
"The Ba'al are as real as you and me. The earliest writings depicted them as benevolent sorcerers who became kings and queens of the people they ruled before they ended up being worshipped as gods by their subjects."
"If they're benevolent, what have we got to worry about?" Genma shouted.
Cologne frowned at the outburst and continued her explanation.
"They were the first magicians of the ancient age, the first lorekeepers of antiquity and the first wise men. But their arcane knowledge which helped bring the rain and healed the sick were not enough for them. They wanted more ... too much perhaps, as is often the way of men. Their ambition brought to them, lasting damnation."
"Nothing new there. It's good to be the king. It's natural to always desire more. So what did they desire?" the middle Tendo daughter laughed.
"Long before the first records of man were written down, strange creatures and mighty beasts of all kinds moved to and fro across the Earth making it their playground. Dragons, gryphons, demons, angels and many other nameless creatures ... all these ... they were the true masters of the Earth. They fought, warred, killed and enslaved each other for control of the Earth, some say for centuries before the first man appeared."
Cologne paused for a moment before continuing.
"In time, they would leave and become nothing more than a fable to mankind, but by then, they had captured the interest of the Ba'al who sought to uncover the secrets to their power and immortality with all their energy. Their hunger for power and their craving for knowledge led them down paths that no mortal had ever dared before tread. Though the fruits of their labour were sweet as honey in the beginning, like wine, they left behind a bitter aftertaste as they were destined for ruination," Cologne admonished as her voice grew solemn ... so much so that everyone became silent.
'Where have I heard of this before?' Nabiki wondered.
"Hmm?" Everyone asked.
Nabiki was about to apologise not realising that she had spoken out loud when Kasumi came to her rescue.
"Because thy has said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into the heavens. I will set up my throne above the stars of heaven. I will sit above the mount of congregation. I will be like the Most High.' Yet thou shalt be brought down to the grave and laid low before the nations so that they may behold thee asking, 'Is this the one that made mankind tremble at his feet? Is this the one that swore to bring down the nations of the earth?' Thou shalt be a terror and thou shall never be anymore."
Everyone turned in surprise towards the older Tendo sister who merely gave them, her enigmatic smile.
"Where did you read that passage?" Cologne asked, her curiosity aroused.
"The Bible. That's why I thought it sounded so familiar," Nabiki replied in her sister's place.
'So the book the Westerners call the Bible has some similarities with this message. This bears looking into,' Cologne thought before continuing.
"Now, chief among the Ba'al was a sorcerer called Molek."
"Molek? I thought it was supposed to be Marduk." Nabiki interjected.
"He had more than a dozen names. Marduk was one of the names he used."
"Ba'al Marduk. How quaint. I supposed he had a father called Enki and a mother called Damkina somewhere. Cute. A nice big happy family. Unlike some families I know."
"Hey?" the sound came from everyone.
"What was that supposed to mean?" Soun asked for the first time.
"Nothing ... " Nabiki replied with a wink.
For some reason, everyone at the table felt uneasy at Nabiki's comment.
"Enki was his chief adviser and yes ... Damkina was his mother," Cologne spoke finally answering Nabiki's question.
"And he won't happened to be related to Apsu and Tiamat would he?" Nabiki spoke.
"Yes, he is connected with them although not necessarily in a good way. How did you know?"
"I would have you know that I'm quite familiar with Sumerian and Babylonian mythology," Nabiki replied.
"To quote the ancient texts, it wasn't long before Molek used new magicks and called on alien powers from other worlds."
"I didn't know that they had telephones at that time. I wonder if it would be possible to get them to bring Ranma back ..." Genma replied as usual without thinking and quickly fell silent when he saw the glare in Cologne's eyes.
"His call was answered and Molek walked the Earth no more."
Nabiki was about say something when she saw the twitch in Cologne's face. Sensing that the elder Amazon was about to burst, she wisely chose to remain silent.
"In his stead rose Moloch, something far greater and far baser than any human that ever lived for Moloch needed the lives of others to feed his growing power."
"Forgive me, Elder Cologne but I don't understand why he would need the lives of others to become more powerful other than trying to launch attacks against his enemies," Nabiki spoke as politely as she could managed without insulting the old ghoul.
"I'm not talking about power in the conventional sense. I'm talking about power that belonged to beings that come from beyond this universe. Moloch was but the first. His lovers, his servants and his acolytes became beings like himself. Forever changed by the strange forces they called upon, they became a terrible plague unto their land. Under their rule, every family had to give up their firstborn to be cast alive into the flames. In doing so, they changed from benevolent leaders to ruthless masters and tyrannical overlords."
"So, let me get this straight. It wasn't long before a rebellion broke out among their subjects."
"Yes. What started as a small-scale riot in one of the cities soon blew up into a full-scale war that engulfed the mighty sea-kingdom of Atlantis and the star-faring civillisation of the Moon Kingdom. The ancient manuscripts describe it as a war of unbelievable magnitude that was waged on multiple fronts that soon saw vampiric and demonic involvement. This period of Interregnum went on for several generations with neither side able to gain the upperhand. It wasn't until twenty generations had come to pass did the tide begin to turn."
"Twenty generations? You're telling me that this so-called war went on for more than two thousand years? That's ridiculous. Impossible. Insane. Absolutely f#ckng crazy. And you expect us to believe that? Nothing would be left!"
"Say what you may. I'm merely quoting the ancient texts. The records hold that the destruction was so great that when the war ended, all the worlds had been thrown out of their positions and the surviving people reduced to a mere handful. Atlantis itself had ceased to be and the Moon Kingdom brought to its knees. Human civillisation would not rise again for another millenia."
"Atlantis? The Moon Kingdom? What's going on here? I thought you said that Ba'al ruled the first human civillisation on Earth."
"They were the first. The Atlanteans were said to be a nomadic race of humans that migrated to Earth from another dimension and the inhabitants of the Moon Kingdom were said to live on the Moon itself."
"Cologne, is this some kind of a joke? Because this stories of yours is like something I would expect from a science fiction movie."
"I have no time for jokes," the elder Amazon replied coldly.
"She may have a point."
"Kasumi? Surely you are not taking her seriously?" Nabiki turned towards her sister in disbelief.
"It's just that what she said had something similar to this other verse. Here, take a look at it." Kasumi pushed her Bible towards Nabiki.
"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal. His days will be a hundred and twenty years.' The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterwards when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, mighty men of renown." Nabiki read out loud.
"Sis, are you trying to tell me that these Nephilim may be another reference to the Atlantean race?"
"I'm not assuming anything. It could just as easily be the so-called 'sons of God'. 'God' is often associated with 'heaven' or the 'sky'. So the term as used in this passage could refer to beings that came down to Earth from the sky. Prehistoric men in olden days did not have a word for 'aliens' or ETs so the best description they could come up with for people that came down from the sky were the words 'sons of God'."
Cologne cleared her throat. It quickly got everyone's attention.
"You can figure all that out later. Now back to the story. According to the writers of the ancient texts, fierce and savage was the War, fought with bronze shields and spears, winged chariots that soared flaming into the heavens and mighty spells that laid waste to entire cities. Renowned champions of old walked the earth and many others, battling the monstrous horrors summoned by the Ba'al from the myriad planes of existence. It was then the First Guardians from above made their appearance in ships of light that travelled beyond the stars and rained sky fire upon the great city of Moloch. The destruction of the city was staggering, the slaughter so great that nothing but dust remained. And thus, the Guardians brought with them the end of the Great War, bringing hope to the enemies of the Ba'al. Their intervention, however, proved one thing."
"What thing?"
"The First Guardians had never been known to interfere in any matter at all unless something disrupted the natural order and balance laid down upon the creation of the universe. Something about the war disturbed them greatly, so much so that they interfered for the first time."
"Goodness. Winged chariots of fire? Ships of light? Fire from heaven? Who was the writer of this ... "
"The Chronicler," the elder Amazon interjected, "was a woman called Alania, Lorekeeper of The Moon Kingdom and The Writings were commissioned by Her Majesty of the Royal House of Serenity."
"Now if you would excuse me, I have to get back to warn my people."
"Wait a minute, you haven't told us what happened at the end ..."
"Ahhh ... My memory seems to be failing me. I must be getting old. Oh yess ... The Ba'al and their kind were brought low by the Powers arrayed against them. Their hosts were slain, their monsters banished. And facing destruction, the Ba'al fled through the Mirrorwall, to the Lands of Night, a land where the sun never rises. And safe in the darkness, they wailed and gnashed their teeth, to see their great cities torn asunder, their mighty armies shattered, their power gone."
"I don't get it. If they lost their power, why should we worry?" Nabiki asked.
"Let me finish it. Now, in the Lands of Night dwelt the Formless Ones, a race that had never found a shape of their own. And the Ba'al came upon them, and used their magicks to enslave and slay them. And some Formless Ones were fashioned into warrior monsters, and others forced to take the form of men on Earth to better serve as slaves, and still others were slain and cast out. And the Ba'al became the Ba'al-ze-Neckt or the Lords of Night. So as you can see, they have never really died and they've taken over that world of twilight. And they're coming back. To Earth. To finish what was started with our forefathers thousands of years ago. With a grudge that spans the ages."
"I still find it quite difficult to accept. If the Ba'al had entered this so-called Lands of Night, why didn't they return back earlier when they had the chance? Mankind had been seriously weakened and very much reduced in number by the end of this so-called war."
"It was said that at the end of the Great War, the survivors of the Interregnum, banded together and cast a powerful spell that prevented the Ba'al from ever leaving that twilight dimension they went to. It would have failed too if it hadn't been for the Queen of the Moon Kingdom who gave up her life when she utilised the power of the Silver Imperium Crystal to seal the Ba'al in their place of refuge, now turned prison. Since that time, the Ba'al have sworn vengeance upon the House of Serenity, the whole Atlantean race as well as the descendants of Nimrod and his followers who turned on them, which unfortunately includes all of us."
"Ba'al meaning Lord. And Nimrod meaning He-Who-Rebels. And Nimrod became a mighty hunter before the Lord. Strange guy for a person your records claim to be our ancestor." Nabiki shook her head.
"Whatever do you mean?" Cologne asked.
"What kind of a man would want to call himself He-Who-Rebels? That's like painting a large billboard sign onto himself that says 'SHOOT ME' to the authorities," Nabiki pointed out.
"And what is this Lands of Night anyway?"
"Behind every mirror is another world that exists parallel to this world. It is like this world in every respect except for one thing. There is no sunrise. It is forever shrouded in darkness and is filled with strange and fearsome beasts of all kinds which occasionally cross over to this world. You have seen them before."
"What do you mean?"
"Vampires, demons and werewolves ... The creatures which the Sailor Senshi usually battle to keep this world a safe place. Isn't that right Nabiki?"
For once, Nabiki was silent. So were the rest of the Tendos and the Saotomes.
"Well, my time is up. May be the blessings of the gods be with you." the elder Amazon spoke and was gone in the twinkling of an eye.
The Tendos and the Saotomes gathered at the table remained still for a moment.
"So what do we do, Nabiki?" Akane asked.
"I don't know. Something tells me she's telling the truth. Cologne won't go out of her way to play a joke of this sort on us. She has nothing to gain from it," Nabiki replied.
"She said 'to avoid places of large human gatherings'. Does this mean that Nerima would become a target for the this so-called Enemy?" Akane asked again.
"I don't know Akane. I just don't know anymore." Nabiki replied.
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That night ...
In the Tendo Dojo ...
The Tendo sister woke up with a start. It was that strange dream again. The dream that had been happening with greater and greater frequency. The dream of a creature. A horrifying creature ... of unimaginable power and evil that ruled a vast empire that spanned the multiverse. Oddly enough, she does not fear it for the creature seems familiar to her in some way. Like she had known it all her life. Yet when she tried to dig deeper into her memories to recall the terrible creature, nothing would come out.
'The name. I know that I know its name. Yet I cannot remember it. Why?' she wondered as she shook her head.
Furthermore, when she tried to get a better look at it, it would recede into the shadows. Before fading ... completely away from sight.
She had often thought of talking about the dream with her sisters but it was pointless to make them worried over nothing. Besides, it was just a dream and dreams are foolish things ... right? -
Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance.
Shaking her head, she looked at her clock. It was almost time to get up anyway. To get ready for the day. Quickly, she got up and about to do her daily chores for the family.
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Psi-Corps Headquarters ...
Site of the most powerful and dangerous organisation on Earth ...
"Recently, our agents have detected an upsurge in the number of disturbing dreams or nightmares of the population at large throughout the world as well as the EA colonies."
A map appeared in front of them displaying all the population centers of Earth followed by its colonies.
"The red circles denote the prevalence of the dreams in brain pattern activity which run from EM-6 to EM-20. Normal brain activity when asleep is EM-1 to EM-5. As you can see, this increase in dream activity was noted during the Second World War, the Middle East Crisis, the Dilgar War, the Global Civil War or each time an event of cataclysmic proportions is about to happen. Our allies operating throughout the dream realms have also reported an increase in the number of dream storms making travel through the dream realms an increasingly risky proposition."
Blue circles highlight all the areas that are spoken off by the speaker.
"There is also a major buildup of potential psychic energy in many regions throughout the world. The Giza Pyramid in Egypt, the Standing Stones of Carnac in France, the Andes Mountains in Peru, The Devil's Gate at St. Louis, the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet, the Golden Gate Bridge in New York City, the Old Mayan and Aztec Temples in South America, the Bermuda Triangle, Mexico City, Stonehenge, Calgary, Ireland, Transylvania, Easter Island, the Marianas Trench, Mecca, the old site of ancient Jerusalem, the Vatican City in Italy, Antartica, the Death Railway connecting Thailand to Burma, The Devil's Triangle south of Kyushu, Jusenkyo in China and of course, the Juuban Ward in Tokyo itself."
"Paranormal activities have been on the rise especially in East Asia which includes the countries formerly known as China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Recently, many of our agents have detected a sudden massive spike of potential psychic energy when a mountain was vaporised which was explained away as the work of 'terrorists' by the local media and the Chinese government. We have requested access to those areas but the local authorities have proven most uncooperative."
"So has the Japanese government which has resisted all our efforts to investigate the 'Sailor Senshi' in the Juuban Ward in Tokyo, Japan. It seems the 'Sailor Senshi' have acquired a celebrity status and the local authorities are unwilling to do anything about it for fear of a popular backlash."
"Still, all hope is not lost. President Clark has been busy pilling pressure on both governments to allow us to enter their respective countries. It would be only a matter of time before we can gain free and complete access. And then the Senshi and their secrets will be ours. The second area of interest is the Nerima Ward. The main person that we have been keeping under observation is a sixteen-year old boy called Ranma Saotome who we believe is the key to all these events."
"Ranma Saotome? Didn't they just bury him in Japan? He was reported to have died in China. They even carried his body to be buried in Japan."
"He was listed as dead by the Japanese Government. This recent photograph of Ranma Saotome at a park in Nerima, however, suggests otherwise. Being that all kinds of paranormal activities tend to centralize around this Ranma Saotome, it was not difficult for us to understand why the government wanted to be rid of and bury this loose cannon as soon as possible. Ladies and gentlemen, we must be ready. The signs are there. All this happenings point to some major event that is about to take place throughout the world."
"How can you be so sure?"
"How can you be so sure that it isn't? To be ready for anything is better than to be caught unprepared. Do you dare take the risk that this is just a false alarm?"
There was silence. There were telepathic activities among the leaders and senior members of Psi-Corps for a moment before they ended with this message.
"The decision is made. We will begin by first looking for Ranma Saotome and the Sailor Senshi."
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Watch the reaction of Babylon 5, President Clark, Nightwatch and Psi-Corps to Dark Day as the Ba'al return to Earth for a long-awaited reunion. I've also explained as best as I can as to why a certain Tendo sister behaves the way she does in the Ranma 1/2 series in this fanfic. For those of you, who have read Rifts World Book 4: Africa, you will know the reason why.
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Chapter 6: Chapter 6

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Genre: Anime/Non-Anime
Date: 070407
Update: 020907
Type: A Ranma/Babylon 5/Palladium/Sailormoon crossover
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Manhunter and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 6:
It was no use trying to figure out who he was by just standing there. In the past, the Jusenkyo-cursed martial artist would just ask the middle Tendo sister for the information but since he was driven out of the Tendo home, that option was now out of the question. Still ... there was another way ... albeit a longer and more difficult route. He would have to find the necessary information himself. The best way to get the information, of course, was to use the town library.
Without any further ado, the Jusenkyo-cursed martial artist quickly made his way there.
"Where should I start?" Ranma wondered as he studied the books on the shelves ... that were neatly arranged into rows.
There were too many books here ... It would take ages for him to get through all of them. Wait a second ... he thought. If Nabiki were in a situation like this ... what would she do? She would analyse her situation ... find out what category they belonged to ... and ... without any further hesitation ... he headed for the historical section of the library. There were many books ... A History of Japan Before The Second World War ... not this one ... The History of Europe Before 1500 ... nope ... The Role of America in Globalisation ... no ... History of Asia ... still not right ... The Cradle of Human Civillisation ... Ranma was about to skip the book when something drew him to it ...
The Cradle of Human Civillisation ... Taking the book down from the shelf ... he took it into his hands and started reading it ...
blah ... blah ... blah ...
The Cradle of Human Civillisation ...
Chapter One ...
Civillisations of the ancient world ...
It is not known with certainty which civillisation was the first to appear on Earth ... or when it first appeared on this planet ... but the first human settlements began near the river deltas and the seas since agricultural products were a vital necessity for the fledging settlements ...
The ruins of Sumer ... Ancient Egypt ... Canaan ... Phoenicia ... Mesopotamia ... Akkad ... Ganges ... all reveal this trait ...
He continued reading carefully, looking for clues as to what he was looking for ... Nothing caught his interest until he came across the following words ...
Cultures and Religions ...
In the old days ... people did not worship gods like they do today. Their vision of the gods was more primal and much closer to the elements than the ones today ... a result of having to deal with ... some might say survive ... the primordial forces that seem to dominate the ancient world from to day to day ... such as the winds, the seas, the forests, the valleys, the mountains and ... even the wild beasts that scour the land ... in search of prey ...
It was only later ... that they began to have their gods adopt more human-like traits and characteristics as they grew more civillised. The earliest known being ... Moloch the Sacred Bull, Lord of The Sacrifice and Atonement ... the first known god to accept sacrifices from worshippers in the form of living creatures ... in exchange for the coming of a new day and ... protection from the consuming darkness ...
He remembered the name from his dream.
Something about him and his connection with the Ba'al.
He continued reading ...
Offering the firstborn child of the family to him, however, was considered the highest sign of sign of loyalty to the deity which was usually looked upon with great honour ... Devotees of Moloch, also known as Ba'al, would usually 'pass a child through the flames' in his name that the deity may grant them his favour ...
Many scholars have originally believed this ancient practice ... to be some form of human sacrifice ... but modern archaelogists nowadays dispute this interpretation of the ancient practice ... believing it to be more of a purification ceremony ... nonetheless a dangerous one which the child was required to undergo ... in a quest for eternity ...
Quest for eternity? Did the author mean living forever?
He took note of it in his mind before moving on ...
... Asherah ... Isis ... Venus ... Rhea ...
His thoughts were momentarily interrupted by the flawless, picture-perfect figure of his unnatural cursed form ...
... the Queen of Heaven ... the Morning Star ... or in Biblical terms ... Lucifer ... traditionally considered to be the Ba'al counterpart to the sun god ...
... Shamash ... Ra ... Mars ... Apollo ...
Just as Ba'al Shamash was considered to be the sun god and ruled the natural forces that transpire during the day as the sun moves through the sky ... so was Asherah ... considered to be the ruler of the night as the moon moves through the sky in the night.
The term Ba'al was never meant to be the name of a god. It was an official title or state of address that one used for the owner, master or lord of the household or region. There were many Ba'al in the old days ...
Ba'al Hadad ... Ba'al Asherah ... Ba'al Astarte ... Ba'al Shamim ... Ba'al Hammon ... Ba'al Ashtart ... Ba'al Ashtoreth ... Ba'al Anat ... Ba'al Eshmun ... Ba'al Atargatis ... Ba'al Elyon ... Ba'al Shalim ... Ba'al Resheph ... Ba'al Yarikh ... Ba'al Kothar ... Ba'al Mot ... just as Moloch was Ba'al ...
Deities of ...
... reapers of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge ...
... the fallen sons of the morning ...
Ranma blinked his eyes ... looking at the words again ...
... rulers of Eden ... Kastuul ...
... the legendary Kingdom of Sorcery ...
The words were no longer there! Was he seeing things?
He blinked his eyes again.
... an ancient civillisation steeped in magic ...
Did the words just move?
... lost to the sands of time ...
Then right before his eyes ... it happened. The words changed.
... destroyed in a cataclysm ...
Their characters written in flaming fire ... that seemed to move with a life of its own. As the page he was reading turned pitch-black from the inside out ... their words written in a script that he had never seen before ... which oddly enough he understood ...
The flames moved again to form strange hieroglyphs and drawings on the black page ...
You who seek the knowledge of the past ...
When he reached the end of the last character ... the words drew together and then reformed once again ... in their scarlet flames ...
The ancient wisdom of the Ba'al ...
As before the letters and the script changed ... the flames moving in and out of their pictographic alignments ...
Be warned ...
As before ... they reformed ... into ... the strange ancient script ...
There is a price to be paid ...
before fading away to burn archaic inscriptions in scarlet flames on the black pages ...
For the answers that you seek ...
and then the darkness disappeared ... leaving the normal book in his hands once again ...
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Feeling a little spooked by the incident ... Ranma dropped the book on the floor drawing the stares of a few people. He ignored them and eventually they turned away.
This book incident was strange even by Nerima standards. He was sure it had something to do with his cursed form ... but much of it was still guess work and speculation.
More information was needed. Maybe he could contact the writers of the books or something ...
Hey! That was it! He would call up and speak to the book writers in person or by phone. He made his way to a telephone booth.
Just as he was heading outside, a familiar figure at the doorway met his eyes.
"Hello Ranma," the girl spoke.
"Nabiki? What are you doing here?" the pigtailed boy asked.
"It's the rest of the family. They want to meet you. Sharp at eight tomorrow morning. Be there at the Tendo Dojo," the middle Tendo sister answered before taking her leave.
"Wait!" the pigtailed boy shouted.
"See you there!" Nabiki called out in reply, her steady footsteps taking her further away from the Jusenkyo-cursed pigtailed martial artist.
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Chapter 7: Chapter 7

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Genre: Anime/Non-Anime
Date: 070407
Update: 020907, 100608
Type: A Ranma/Babylon 5/Palladium/Sailormoon crossover
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Manhunter and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 7 :
Begin flashback ...
"Hello Ranma," the girl spoke.
"Nabiki? What are you doing here?" the pigtailed boy asked.
"It's the rest of the family. They want to meet you. Sharp at eight tomorrow morning. Be there at the Tendo Dojo," the middle Tendo sister answered before taking her leave.
"Wait!" the pigtailed boy shouted.
"See you there!" Nabiki called out in reply, her steady footsteps taking her further away from the Jusenkyo-cursed pigtailed martial artist.
End flashback ...
Operation Free Ranma was set. Nabiki simply shook her head ruefully. Somehow Genma had managed to convince her father and the rest of the group that Ranma was possessed though as to how that could have happened was anybody's guess. But then again … outside of fighting, the Nerima Wrecking Crew had never been very bright when it came to deductive reasoning. The Kunos were a prime example of that … being unable to think any further than their daily obssessions.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder with little muscle in between the ears. Nabiki shuddered inwardly at the thought. People like that should never have been allowed to breed.
Ryoga and Akane were little better compared to the Kunos that Nabiki was not surprised when they accepted Genma's words at face value.
"Ranma is possessed and a danger to all around him." The old panda had begun.
"I knew it! The pervert! He must already be sneaking into the ladies' washroom with that female body of his!" Akane added hotly.
"Ranma! For defiling the purity of all the innocent maidens, prepare to die!" the Lost Boy continued .
"Vile sorcerer! What evils he must be planning even from his grave!" the Kuno boy had answered.
Nabiki simply rolled her eyes at their words.
When were they going to learn?
When? She wondered.
They were all there … in their hiding places … heavily armed to the teeth and more with the exception of the Amazons who had gone back to China to prepare for war against the oncoming 'darkness' whatever that was … the middle Tendo sister still had trouble believing Cologne's words … thinking it more likely that the Amazon Matriarch had gone cuckoo … at long last.
Magic … she could accept. Alien invaders sure … but immortal sorcerers with longstanding grudges from another dimension poised to attack the Earth over something that happened more than twenty thousand years ago? Come on! That was rich!
Even with big sister, Kasumi agreeing with the Amazon Matriarch. There was only so much that one could believe in … after all … Or maybe not … Nabiki frowned …
Knowing Ranma … and the weirdness factor that followed him … it would just be his fortune ... some might say misfortune ... to piss off an entire race of immortal sorcerers with long term memories and god-like powers. Remember Saffron? This was Nerima after all … where common sense did not exist while the strange and ludicrous walked hand in hand.
She glanced back at the doorway.
At this moment they were still waiting for Ranma to show up … yes … the idiots had decided to lure him back with the promise of acceptance back into the Tendo home if he showed up.
Nabiki surveyed the surroundings quickly. Big sister Kasumi was well … doing things like she normally did any other day … and consequently treating the big occasion in which to ambush the pigtailed martial artist as nothing significant. In fact, at this moment … she appeared to be sweeping the house, washing the clothes and humming a tune to herself. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for the oldest Tendo sister … but then again … nothing ever seemed out of place for her … or set her alarm bells ringing for that matter …
Not even once when Akane was kidnapped …
When Nabiki told her about it … all her elder sister seemed to say would be, "Sand is sand. Rain is rain. Grass is grass. Dust is dust. What must come to pass, must come to pass. What will be, will be," before going back to whatever she was doing.
And sure enough before too long … Akane would be rescued and everything would be back to normal … well as normal as their lives could be anyway.
Sometimes the middle Tendo sister wondered if Kasumi had studied Zen or had the ability to see the future … as she seemed so calm and sure in the midst of all the chaos that Ranma had brought into their lives that nothing ever seemed for certain again …
Stepping up to the medical cabinet, she opened it to see that it was unusually full of bandages, antiseptic and other medical herbs.
Most ominous …
Nabiki fingered her chin thoughtfully.
Most ominous indeed …
It seems that Big Sister must have precognition, Nabiki thought before closing the door to the cabinet.
Finally the time came … as the pigtailed martial artist stepped through the door.
"Tadaima! I'm back!" he called out before knocking on the door.
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The moment he stepped through the door … all hell broke loose.
The pigtailed martial artist didn't even get a chance to reply as he receive a full dose of Kodachi's knockout gas in the face.
"What are …" his voice trailed off as he tumbled into an unconscious heap on the ground.
"Bind him!" The Lost Boy and Ukyo ran forward without hesitation and bound him so securely that even if he were to wake up … he would not be able to move.
"Take him to the dojo!" As one, Ukyo and Kodachi lifted up his unconscious body and took him to the prepared room for the exorcism rites.
The old priest whom Genma had invited over for the occasion was also here.
He began by throwing strange smelling incense into the air, mixed with silver powder and lighting the candles around the unconscious martial artist in a well-drawn circle and pentagram. Around the circle and pentagrams were strangely drawn symbols … Wards were also drawn around the circle to neutralize the demon just in case it tried to stay around and possess someone else other than Ranma.
Mumbling strange chants and barely audible phrases … and as magic gathered in the air … the old priest finally came to a stop and shouted …
"Begone, foul one and never return!"
… Everyone braced themselves … expecting something dramatic to happen … an explosion … the demon exiting the body in great anger to extract revenge upon its tormentors … or a Ranma screaming as if all the lost souls of Hell were trying to break out of their fiery prison ... but nothing prepared them for the pigtailed martial artist slowly stirring and yawning … as if he was getting up from a deep sleep.
"That was it?" the youngest Tendo sister asked nervously.
"Strange … Normally … the ritual won't be so calm and peaceful …" the old priest answered.
"Hmmm? Is the demon gone?" Ukyo asked nervously.
"Are you sure that the victim was possessed by a demon?" the old priest asked thoughtfully.
"Yes," The Saotome patriarch replied instantly.
"Because normally there would be signs of a struggle as the demon would fight the ritual in a situation like this. Even a lesser demon would have shown signs of a struggle … before being forced to return to its hellish dimension." The old priest explained.
"Pops! Akane! Ukyo! Somebody let me go!" a familiar voice called out again.
"Quiet! We're trying to listen here ..." the youngest Tendo sister answered coldly before swinging her trusty mallet into her 'beloved' fiancee's head, knocking him out like a light.
… Quickly, she shouldered her mallet, giving it a kiss as she returned it to subspace storage.
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A few hours … and many bruises … and bumps later …
"This is weird … I've tried every exorcism and banishment ritual that I've known but for some reason … it's not working on him … Are you sure this guy is possessed?" the priest asked once again.
"Could it be because Ranma is not in his cursed form?" Nabiki asked.
"Cursed form? Explain …" the old priest asked with interest.
After a minute of explanation, the old priest answered … "You should have told me earlier. Now I will have to repeat the whole process again on his cursed form."
"What's going on? Untie me this instant!" came a shout from the floor.
As one, everybody turned to the badly bruised and tied up martial artist on the ground.
""D#N! He's becoming immune! Looks like I've to put more power into that swing!" Akane hissed under her breath before swinging her famous mallet into her 'beloved' fiance's head with more strength than usual, knocking him out cold for the rest of the day.
"There … that should take care of it …" the youngest Tendo sister added coldly before shouldering her mallet as if she were a gunslinger shouldering her favourite gun.
Upon seeing everyone's stares … Akane glared.
"Why's everyone looking at me? You want some too?" she asked … everyone wisely turned away … not wanting to be on the receiving end of her mallet strike-.
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Once again … the exorcism ritual restarted … with no better results than the first time.
"I don't think your son is possessed, Genma." The priest shook his head. "You had better untie him."
"There's no need …" a female voice answered sinisterly.
"Ranma … he's awake!"
Like before, Akane swung her mallet towards Ranma only to find herself being thrown through the air into the wall by some unseen force. She struck the wall on the head and collapsed to the ground in a heap.
"Son! Apologize to your fiancée this instant!" a voice shouted.
"Not this time, Akane! I've had it with you all!" Ranma shouted as he broke the ropes binding him easily in his female form.
"Ranma! For hurting Akane, prepare to die!" the Lost Boy leaped towards the cyan-haired woman only to find himself being thrown through the air by a dark beam of energy from her fingertips.
"Get lost, P-chan!" the woman smiled cruelly before firing two more of those strange beams of dark energy that send him flying through the wall of the Tendo Dojo.
"Hah! Shameless harridan! You shall fall before the might of the Black Rose!" Kodachi shouted as she threw her razor sharp ribbon around Ranma only to see it halt in mid air before turning itself and wrapping her around her body … binding her snugly.
"The Black Rose … Hah! More like the Plucked Rose indeed!" the cyan-haired woman laughed as she saw the insane gymnast struggling futilely with her bonds.
"Divine goddess! Though it pains the Blue Thunder, I have no choice but to subdue you for your own good!" came the voice of the Blue Thunder as he charged forward …
…. Only to run headlong into a massive wall of electricity … that had appeared out of nowhere …
"The Blue Thunder? Hah! More like the True Blunder! Where's your thunder now … Oh mighty Kendo Man?" the cyan-haired woman sneered as the electrical wall continued to shock the Blue Thunder, making him spasm uncontrollably.
"I … fight … on …" he trailed off before collapsing to the ground in a spasming heap.
"Forgive me … Ran-chan," Ukyo cried before launching herself at Ranma only to find her combat spatula wrapping itself around her legs … binding them together … causing her to fall to the ground.
"Forgive me … Uc-chan," the cyan-haired woman repeated derisively as she saw the Okonomiyaki chef struggled to break herself free of her combat spatula.
Suddenly, the cyan-haired woman appeared to snatch something out of thin air … with one hand. Her grip tightened as an invisible body struggled to free itself.
"Ah … what have we here? A practitioner of the fabled Umisenken, an art so dangerous that it was sealed away by its creator, Genma Saotome … for fear of misuse. You have to do better than that, Pops!" the cyan-haired woman chided as if berating a child before throwing the invisible martial artist into the electrical wall, knocking the Kuno boy out with it.
"Ahhhgggg!" the bald-headed martial artist cried out as he was shocked in the electrical wall repeatedly.
The old priest narrowed his eyes at the scene before flinging a hail of prayer strips and wards at the cyan-haired woman, who let them hit her … with no ill effects.
"I'm not a demon that you can just banish or get rid of, old man!" the cyan-haired woman sneered haughtily.
She was about to retaliate when she felt a pair of eyes looking at her from the kitchen. Her eyes turned and saw … a beautiful and gentle woman looking at her with much tenderness … concern … and … affection … in her eyes …
"Kasumi …" she whispered with longing in her voice as their gazes locked onto each other.
The desire to humiliate her family and 'friends' left her in an instant.
'I will not fight them in front of her. Another day then …' The cyan-haired woman thought before turning into a shadow and sliding away from sight … much to the disbelief of onlookers.
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Later ... that night ... when all was come and quiet ...
In Nerima's case ... it could also mean unconscious ...
A lone figure walked the street ... as if heading towards a certain destination ... There were few people around ... for the streets are not safe at night ... Still, the lone figure went on heedless of the dangers that might appear ... when all of a sudden ... two shadows blocked the path.
"What have we here?" a voice asked mockingly.
"Wow ... sister ... beautiful ladies like you shouldn't be coming out so late at night ..." another figure added.
The beautiful girl shrugged.
"Be off with you," she said.
"Say that again? I didn't just hear that ..." the first unsavoury punk replied.
"Leave and forget all that you saw ..." the beautiful girl answered, her voice becoming hypnotic in quality.
"I hear and obey ... " the second punk turned around as if to obey ... before bursting into laughter loudly.
"Lady ...you're Psi-Cop or something? Well ... we got news for you. We're not like some wussy humans that you can order off like Obi-wan Kenobi. That Jedi mind control trick of yours won't work on us," the first punk sneered derisively while the rest joined in laughter.
"Even those te-eps jerks from Psi Corps elite division couldn't do jack about our minds," one of the punks behind her laughed at her apparent helplessness.
"And we taught them the error of messing with our minds ..." another punk continued sinisterly as he felt the girl began to probe his mind.
The girl became silent at the reply and became still as a statue. It wasn't long before they tired of laughing at her and proceeded with the next step ... action.
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One of them had finally done something. Apparently tired of waiting, he moved right next to her ... and began to ... caress her.
The punk held the demure yet beautiful girl by the throat and began to lick her face.
The girl did not move a muscle. Nor did she even twitch.
In most circumstances, this particular girl would merely respond with an "Oh my." But right now ... she was as still as a statue.
She had also seemingly stopped doing the martial arts (most assumed she was merely saddened by the loss of her mother but that was not true). The truth was that this girl was way stronger, faster and tougher than any human or martial artist could ever hope to be. She didn't realise just how tough she was until that road accident ...
... in which a large trailer transporting flammable gas tanks ran her down while going to market one Sunday. She emerged without a single scratch although her clothes were torn and covered with dirt. The same could not be said for the driver of the trailer or the vehicle itself which was destroyed in the resulting explosion.
Now if the punk had any sense at all or even an inkling of what he was actually facing, he would have boarded passage on the fastest ship available and made a beeline for the outer reaches of the galaxy never to return. But of course he didn't, much to his misfortune.
Now, faced with the punk in front of her, the girl reacted in the same way a person might react to an annoying insect. Namely, squash it like a bug. Which she did as she swung her hand and slammed her palm into him. The punk flew more than a hundred feet back and went crashing into the gutter. "That's not nice," she mumbled in traditional yet classical housewife fashion, a slight frown marring her beautiful face.
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Watch the reaction of Babylon 5, President Clark, Nightwatch and Psi-Corps to Dark Day as the Ba'al return to Earth for a long-awaited reunion. I've also explained as best as I can as to why a certain Tendo sister behaves the way she does in the Ranma 1/2 series in this fanfic. For those of you, who have read Rifts World Book 4: Africa, you will know the reason why.
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Chapter 8: Chapter 8

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Update: 140404, 080305, 170305, 230805, 311005, 150206, 220206, 220306, 270406, 190506, 120307, 020907, 100608
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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"And what does the book of Revelation mean?"
"The unveiling of the truth …"
- Overheard
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Part 8: Revelation
In a dark street somewhere in Nerima …
After a certain beautiful and demure-looking girl had just struck a nasty punk more than a hundred yards across the street into the gutter …
His buddies, who were not too pleased at seeing what had happened to their friend, reacted accordingly.
One of them sprouted wings and shifted into a large winged serpent that hissed menacingly. His other buddies changed into a large bear with four mechanical arms that drew four blades of dark energy and a large panther devoid of visible fur readied itself to pounce.
All three charged at the harmless-looking girl with the intent of grinding her into dust.
Not faraway …
A certain pigtailed martial artist had been walking down the street pondering his dilemma when he heard the sounds of fighting across the street.
'Seems like trouble. Better find out what it is …' he thought and in a single bound had covered the distance towards the sound of the fighting.
What he saw, made his jaw dropped
Kasumi? He thought as he saw the Tendo sister holding her own against what he believed to be three monsters … attacking … her?
A large winged serpent with claws outstretched swooped down for the kill on the Tendo sister only to be thrown crashing through a large van by a strong punch from her.
Its companion, the bear struck at her simultaneously with its four blades of dark energy, intent on skewering her to pieces only to find the spot the girl occupied, empty, as she leaped away to engage the panther that dove at her. They met in a wild flurry of blows, before the panther went crashing into the garbage dump, courtesy of a palm strike from the eldest Tendo sister.
Her other two opponents quickly renewed their attacks, throwing blasts of dark energy from time to time, the majority of it coming from the winged serpent. Kasumi remained unfazed, however, and continued to fight on with ease even when the first punk she struck, leaped in to join the fray.
At just the right moment, she would sidestep her opponents, her palm or foot outstretched at just the right time to hit, trip or parry her opponents' blows. She would sail in and out with the speed and grace of a grandmaster, as she weaved in and out of her opponents' reach, striking them whenever the opportunity presented itself. Each blow of hers, sent them flying into the surroundings with a loud crash whenever it made contact. The eldest Tendo sister never looked more graceful and alive than she did at the moment. She was not only using the Art, she was the Art itself, personified.
Ranma watched entranced not wanting to disturb the incredible spectacle before him.
"Kasumi … " he whispered under his breath, "What are you?"
Add in
"Kasumi … " Ranma spoke his voice full of questions.
As usual, the eldest Tendo sister's eyes were full of love and caring, captivating his heart and attention in a way no other person ever could. But then, Kasumi was no ordinary person … he surmised from what he had seen earlier.
"Ranma … We all have our secrets and stories to tell. You have changed," the eldest Tendo sister commented.
"How long … have you … " Ranma spoke in way of reply.
"Come … follow me. I know you have many questions," Kasumi spoke as they both disappeared from the street without a trace.
Back in the eldest Tendo sister's room …
"Let's begin with the obvious," Kasumi spoke after they settled down on the floor..
"You are not human," Ranma pointed out.
"Never said I was," the eldest Tendo sister smiled, making Ranma's heart flutter.
"Who are you, really?" Ranma asked after he regained control of himself.
"I wish I knew. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, a childless couple travelled through the dead of night in a rush towards a certain place. On the way, they had an accident causing their vehicle to go wild. Quickly, they got out of it and went to check out the situation. Much to their surprise, they found a woman lying unconscious in the middle of the road. They took her to hospital and quickly discovered she had no name, no family and no home for them to send her to. In short, a Jane Doe. Unwilling to let her brave the dangers of the street in her amnesiac condition, they decided to take her to their home and adopted her as their first child. They gave her the name, Kasumi, while waiting for her to regain her memories. That was thirty years ago."
"Thirty years? But you don't look a day over … " Ranma spoke after getting an idea of Kasumi's age.
"I have no memories of my actual childhood or my adolescence, for that matter, Ranma.
Something tells me that I didn't have an actual childhood to begin with, unlike everyone else, and the chances are also high that I was never really born or conceived at all. I have tried to find out what I knew about my past but it continues to elude me. The only thing I do know about my past is the absolute certainty that I was once someone very different from what I am now, currently."
Lightning flashed in the sky and thunder rumbled ominously in the background interrupting the eldest Tendo sister's explanation.
"Your turn … " Kasumi spoke gently and Ranma began relating everything that happened to him after his arrival at Phoenix Mountain.
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In a place cut off from the effects of the Timestream ...
A certain green-haired senshi frowned upon the events taking place on Earth. She looked through the Time Gates and examined all the possible outcomes and ... frustration and then a sense of hopelessness tore through her. Setsuna wanted to scream. It just wasn't fair!
She had tried her best to prevent this chain of events from happening but the situation proved irredeemable. Powerful forces were hard at work conspiring to destroy her vision of the future - Crystal Tokyo. It was becoming increasingly likely that Crystal Tokyo would never happen.
Despite her best efforts, she had failed her Queen. Right from the beginning, she had manipulated events from behind the scenes, ensuring certain events would happen to give Crystal Tokyo a chance of coming true.
But the chances were remote. She had even travelled back to the beginning of Time to ensure the survival of the mysterious Shadows when they rose up and attacked the First Race. To prevent the Vorlons from becoming too powerful a force in the galaxy. Not to mention manipulating the destiny of the Younger Races for all time. She was however, unable to prevent the Vorlons from tampering with the DNA of mankind on Earth. Just as she was unable to stop the Ba'al from ever existing in the first place.
Setsuna had stopped trying to spy on the Ba'al through the Time Gates ever since she discovered how dangerous it was to do so. The one time she tried it, she discovered the so-called Ba'al looking right back at her through the Time Gates before getting up and approaching her from his towering black throne! Shaken by the encounter, she had dispelled the image ... when she found to her horror that ... she wasn't able to! The Ba'al got closer and closer to her position before finally ... in a fit of desperation ... she plunged her Timestaff into the Time Gates causing the image to blur and then shut down.
Unable to affect the Ba'al directly, she had then resorted to subterfuge ... with limited success. Once again she had travelled back to the past to prevent an alliance from forming between the Ba'al, the Undead and the forces of the Netherworld. She had been more careful in this regard, hiding her hands from all three sides and enjoying the fireworks thereafter. Thanks to her machinations, the Dark Alliance never materialised.
Although the Ba'al had won the war that followed, this event had delayed the Ba'al's return to Earth by more than a thousand years.
After her failure in destroying the Ba'al with the unwitting help of Demons and Vampires, Setsuna had begun looking into other timelines. She had even secretly manipulated the Horde, (a race of artificial lifeforms hellbent on destroying all organic life from another timeline) into attacking the Nightlands, hoping to destroy the Ba'al. It was a calculated risk as the Horde would have attacked any and all organic lifeforms after they had destroyed the Ba'al. Setsuna had hoped that she would have been able to build a time barrier to contain the Horde in the Nightlands.
Much to her surprise and disbelief, however, the Horde had been containederadicated … and defeated … if such at thing was at all possible. Defeat … Such a word did not even begin to register when it came to describing the relentless, soulless, mechanical Horde. They were supposedly unstoppable … unbeatable … innumerable and invincible … Yet here they were … defeated by the accursed Ba'al, no less! How could that have happened?
More importantly … how could the Ba'al have done something once thought to be impossible?
No mortal race had ever succeeded in defeating the Horde! All these questions raced through the Time Guardian's mind as she examined the reasons behind it … and there … after some careful examination through indirect means … Setsuna discovered the reason. And the answer truly frightened her.
Somehow those ancient abominations no longer needed magic to affect reality! With their complete mastery over matter and energy (limited only by force of will and imagination), they had erected a barrier that disintegrated all non-organic or non-living matter all around the Nightlands! Any non-organic matter or synthetic material such as metal, plastic, rock, water, etc ... would be vaporised instantly upon entry into that twilight dimension! A feat unequaled by any race she had ever known with the possible exception of the creation of the Time Gates and the Silver Millenium Crystal.
Still it did not frighten her as much as what happened to the last horde of Demons that attacked the Nightlands three centuries later. In 1895 A.D., a huge force of demons poured into the Nightlands in the region corresponding to Eastern Europe. The monsters whose numbers were as the sand on the seashore had overrun several city-states. Despite their numbers and savagery, the Demons were no match for the combined powers and armies of the Ba'al.
The Ba'al had responded swiftly and surely driving the demonic invaders back through their gateway to the hellish dimension they came from. After the battle, the High King and his Viceroy had led a magical ritual that combined all the powers of the surviving Ba'al. Using this energy (which was enormous indeed to say the least), the High King caused the entire dimension that housed these creatures, to collapse in onto itself, destroying everything within. A dimension of the Netherworld, easily the size of Hell itself, had ceased to exist. Since then, none of the Rulers of the Netherworld had dared attack the Ba'al directly.
Setsuna really felt like screaming. Despite all her efforts in stopping the damnable Ba'al, they had become more powerful than she had ever dreamed. The Vorlons as occupied as they were with the up and coming war with the Shadows (which was as much a result of her own past manipulations) would be unlikely to help like they did in the past. And now what was worse, a covert intelligence group was beginning to paying serious attention to the Senshi's activities.
This was bad because when one group began to do so, others would be sure to follow.
The spell that was cast thousands of years ago to seal the Ba'al was eroding daily thanks to the Earth's weakening magical field and the Ba'al's persistent attempts in breaching the barrier. Setsuna had done what she could in maintaining the barrier but she knew that it was a lost cause. It was only a matter of time before the energy powering the spell ran out and the barrier itself would disappear. The accumulation of Earth's mystical energies at all those ley lines, junctures and points was the Earth's last attempt in rejuvenating its dwindling mystical energy reserves.
Once the energy was gone ... Setsuna shuddered at that thought, the barrier would come down ... and ... the Ba'al would be ... free ...
And the Senshi ... the Senshi ... They were not ready to face their enemies. Whereas before in the past they had the backing of a powerful interstellar empire armed to the teeth with magic and technology ... Now they had no army to back them. And the Ba'al ... where there were less than a hundred before in the Silver Millenium when they first fought the Lunarian Union, now there were more than a thousand of those ancient abominations. Each of which ruled a large domain and commanded a mighty army of his or her own. They had also made contact and found new allies in the astral worlds despite her attempts to stop them ... And this time the Senshi had no Atlantis to help them like they did in the past.
Her only hope were the Vorlons but they were unlikely to commit themselves like they did in the past in driving the Ba'al into packing their bags and leaving, too pre-occupied were they with the coming war with the Shadows. The Minbari, the Centauri, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds had no reason to help and even if they did, their help would come at a price ... one that would be too heavy to pay.
For the first time in her long life, Setsuna gave into her pent up emotions and the green-haired Senshi began to cry.
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Back in the most heavily guarded facility on Earth …
"Sir, Secretary Marshall Roosevelt wishes to speak with you ... privately."
"Tell him to meet me in Room 6."
A few minutes later ...
"So what does the Secretary of the North American Conglomerate wish to speak to me about?"
Clark's eyes narrowed.
"From Psi-Corps. I have come across some information that you would be interested regarding their activities. They're all in here," the man spoke before pushing over a red folder to him.
A few minutes later ...
"Get Nightwatch! Alert Central Command! Rouse the security forces! I want every Psi-Corp operative dead or behind bars within twenty-four hours!" a loud voice rang over the intercom.
Psi-Corp Headquarters ...
"Sir, Clark has declared martial law and all our assets have been seized!" a voice spoke.
"Sir, Nightwatch has surrounded the entire building! They're asking us to surrender! In ten minutes before they storm our headquarters!" spoke a second voice.
A sinking feeling entered all the Psi-Corps officers and their commanders as they observed the movements of the security forces outside the building.
"I have a suggestion," one of the officers spoke up.
"To get us out of this?" asked one.
"It would take a miracle," Another replied.
"Then consider this godsend. I have been keeping in contact with a secret organisation known as the Assembly of Night."
"Assembly of Night … What kind of funky name is that?"
"They are our only chance. I can contact them if you wish … on Psi-Corps' behalf," the officer added.
"How? All our communications are monitored. There's no way we can contact them without the President finding out."
"There is always another way," the officer replied.
"Really … " another officer said doubtfully.
"Alright … just make contact, PSI-ONE." The head of Psi-Corps spoke.
"Sir, I don't believe you are taking this seriously … "
"Enough. We don't have a choice. Do what you have to, PSI-ONE," the commander of Psi-Corps ordered.
"So what is this supposed to do?" the doubtful operative asked as PSI-ONE stood in front of the largest mirror in the building and remained still … "Shhh … " he replied. The same person was about to ask another question …
… when the large mirror in front of them turned pitch black … A darkness so dark that it was darker than the night itself. A strange scent emanated from it. The doubtful officer could have sworn he had even heard a few sounds like footsteps coming from the mirror itself.
"It is done. They will be expecting us …" PSI-ONE spoke as he stepped through the mirror causing everyone's jaws to hit the ground.
"Come with me if you want to live," came the words as his body disappeared through the large mirror that had suddenly turned darker than the night.
The sound of broken glass and locks erupted through the hallways as footsteps pounded on the ground signifying heavily armed soldiers.
"Sir … they have broken through the …" one of the officers spoke before static blazed through the communicator.
Having little choice, the Psi-Corps officers and their commanders quickly made their way, one by one, into the dark dimension of the Nightlands.
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One week later ...
Rei was sweeping the leaves at her shrine when she saw a familiar figure outside the gate.
"Setsuna, it's a surprise to ... what's wrong?" Rei asked when she caught sight of the state, the green-haired Senshi was in. Her eyes were puffy and red and she looked like she hadn't slept for days.
"Call the others. Get them here as soon as you can. Something urgent has come up."
"Sure ... come on inside." Rei replied before activating her communicator.
Half an hour later, all the Senshi were gathered in the room.
"This had better be good, Setsuna. Haruka and me were in the middle of a most 'enlightening' session," Michiko spoke with an emphasis on the word 'session' leaving without any doubt as to the meaning of the word.
"And I had to cancel my date with a most wonderful hunk!" The Senshi of Venus grumbled.
"And I had to eat half the amount of ice-cream that I usually ate!" a third voice added in.
"Enough! We have more important business to attend to than your daily lives! Now as to why I called you here ... How many of you remember the Silver Millenium?" the Senshi of Time strenghtened herself regally as she went back to business.
"It was an age of great wonders and accomplishment," Luna chipped in.
"The Moon Kingdom was on the rise towards becoming a major force in the galaxy. It was all heavenly as Queen Serenity ruled the Solar System wisely and well," Artemis added.
"Correct. But she did not ruled the Earth," Setsuna pointed out.
"Now I remember, Earth was ruled by the Atlanteans and ... Bell?" the Moon Princess wondered.
"Ba'al." Setsuna corrected.
"Ba'al. Sounds like some ancient Canaanite or Sumerian god." Ami spoke for the first time.
"Ba'al was not an individual. And he was most certainly not a god! Ba'al referred to a collection of individuals. A collection of individuals that ruled the Earth as kings and queens. They were the main cause as to the fall of the Silver Millenium. And they are our eternal enemy," Setsuna spoke.
"Now I remember. The Great War started because of them," the Senshi of Venus frowned.
"The Ba'al had become energy vampires that needed the lives of others to feed on and grow stronger. It was a common practice in those days to bring a condemned criminal to be executed by being burnt alive before the Ba'al so that those energy parasites could feed on their dying agonies and grow stronger," the Senshi of Time explained.
"That's awful."
"There's worse."
"As they grew in power and increased in number, their need for daily sacrifices in gruesome rituals became more and more. Soon there weren't enough prisoners to be killed and they began a war with their neighbours with the intention of procuring more living sacrifices for their daily meals. Nation after nation fell before their might until only Atlantis remained. Seeing that Atlantis was not an easy target as the Atlantean race were powerful mages and warriors in their own right, the Ba'al halted their war of conquest and focused on their conquered subjects instead."
"Their rule was nothing short of merciless. All families of their conquered subjects had to sacrifice one of their children to the bonfires so that the Ba'al might lived. When the family protested against the ruling, they were taken away, never again to be seen in the light of day. It was those continuing acts of cruelty that eventually started the Great War. The rebels were led by a man whom we later found out to be Nimrod. Ironically, he was the Ba'al's greatest champion, one of their decorated war heroes. What made him go over to the enemy camp is unknown. Familiar with their war tactics and strategies, he inflicted severe damage upon their forces before disappearing into the wilderness."
"Why didn't Queen Serenity do anything about the Ba'al?"
"She did. She had been secretly preparing her forces with the Atlantean authorities for months. They knew that a showdown with the Ba'al would come. It was not a matter of 'if'. It was more like a matter of 'when'. Both sides had been studying the Ba'al's strengths and weaknesses as well as sharing whatever information they could get their hands on. Unfortunately, none of us were able to move against them until the threats from outside the Lunar System had been dealt with."
"Threats from outside?"
"There were threats from outside, both extra-terrestrial and supernatural. Before the Great War, there was the ever-pervasive fear that the Drakh, servants of the Darkness would launch a full-scale attack on the Moon Kingdom. Fortunately, their attacks were limited to minor raids and skirmishes along the border in deep space without growing into something more. Then, there was the underlying suspicion that the Orieni were subtly trying to manipulate the fate of the Moon Kingdom like their masters had done with the rest of the Younger Races under the guise of peaceful enlightenment and diplomacy. You must understand ... relations with all the great powers were never great. The Drakh hated us for promoting peace throughout the galaxy while the Minbari shunned us for rejecting their masters' manipulations. That is why neither side can ever be trusted or relied on to keep its word."
"So we're alone in all this?"
"In addition to that, there were the three Demon invasions from the Netherworld that had to be met and dealt with. After that was all set and done, we were finally free to give our full and undivided attention towards the growing problem in our backyard, namely, the Ba'al."
"Oh, I see ..."
"When the rebellion started against the Ba'al, they took that as a sign. Without any further hesitation, the Atlantean Army and the Moon Kingdom launched a joint attack against all the city-states of the Ba'al."
Somewhere on the Moon Kingdom …
"Your Highness, all the citizens of the Kingdom of Sorcery have launched a general uprising against the Ba'al. They're denouncing Moloch as an evil monster and ruthless tyrant. What's strange here is that they're being led by Cain," the same military officer knelt before the throne.
"Commander Cain of the Kastuulian Army? I thought he was one of Moloch's most trusted servants. I guess fate can be fickle. Setsuna?" the Queen turned to the green-haired woman by her side.
"Now is the time," The Senshi of Time replied.
And with those words, the second stage of the Great War began … in earnest.
"So that was how the Great War started …"
"Yes …"
"And they were destroyed?"
Setsuna shook her head.
"I wish I could say yes but sadly no … what started as a war of liberation turned out into a battle for our very survival … especially when Whose-Cursed-Name-Must-Not-Be-Spoken entered the fray. The war was nothing short of spectacular. It pitted Moon Kindom magic and technology as well as Atlantean wizardry and warrior discipline against the Ba'al's dark sorcery and their fabulous power over matter and energy."
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"Whose-Cursed-Name-Must-Not-Be-Spoken … Who in the world is that?" asked Minako.
"Look but do not speak the Cursed Name lest you draw its attention," Setsuna instructed as she wrote the Cursed Name on a piece of paper.
"Meta-ugh!" The Moon Princess found her mouth covered by the Senshi of Time's hand.
"I said look! Not speak! Every time you say the damned creature's name, you draw its blasted attention and give away your position. Not to mention ours as well! Do you understand?" the Senshi of Time corrected sternly.
The Moon Princess nodded her head meekly.
"A day and a year after the onset of the Great War, dimensional rifts opened up all over the Solar System and demonic hordes poured out of them attacking all the territories of the Moon Kingdom and their Atlantean allies. This was when the Cursed Name sent them … Their attack wiped out ninety percent of our defenses and sealed the doom of the Moon Kingdom."
Somewhere on the Moon Kingdom …
"Your Highness, I have bad news. We are being …" a man in military uniform rushed into the throne room.
"Attacked and our positions overrun … " the Queen deduced quickly as a powerful explosion rocked the palace to its foundations, toppling many pieces of roof tiles and concrete to the ground.
"By demons. They rifted in to our holdings everywhere and attacked them all simultaneously," the military officer added.
"Demons? Setsuna?" the formidable monarch of the Moon Kingdom asked turning to her longtime advisor and friend.
"Forgive me … your Highness. There is no avoiding this. The Netherworld has launched an all-out attack on the Silver Alliance while we are having our hands full dealing with the Ba'al." The Senshi of Time knelt before the Queen, her hand gripping the garnet rod tightly.
"This is the end of the Silver Millenium?" the reigning monarch asked as another explosion shook the ground they were standing on.
Unable to voice a reply, the Time Senshi simply nodded her head. Another piece of masonry fell from the ceiling, narrowly missing them.
"How will this end, Setsuna?" came the million-dollar question.
"Ba'al will be defeated but … "
"But what, Setsuna?"
"But I … forgive me … what must come to pass, must come to pass. There … is …no … escaping … destiny … On They came … defeated yet strong … Three and fifty … few but mighty ..." the Time Senshi recited … from memory.
"The Writings of the Dark. In other words, they will be coming back in the future. If that is to be the case, activate the Delta Disruption Matrix. The Lunarian Union is not going down alone. We're taking Kastuul, and as many of those abominations as we can, with us …" Serenity vowed.
"Your Highness! The Enemy has penetrated the second defense perimeter surrounding the Palace. They're battering at our emergency shields," a voice called out from the communication device.
"Setsuna, return to the Time Gates and watch over the Senshi when they return."
"Your Highness … Surely not …?"
"Re-route all power to the Delta Disruption Matrix. Kastuul must be destroyed!" the Queen ordered.
"RE-ROUTING!" the voice sounded.
Lights began flickering in the throne room. The three people look around them … waiting for the first threat to materialize.
Suddenly there was static and then the throne room was plunged into darkness.
A disturbing presence began to assault the very minds and souls of the three people in the room.
"Well … well … well … " a voice spoke, full of sweetness and decay. It echoed from within and all around them at once.
"Go now, Setsuna! If it gets you, there will be no future! Remember, your stewardship is a priority! All other concerns are secondary!" The Queen ordered as she focused all her power and energy into the Silver Imperium Crystal.
The pressure building up against them lessened though it did not go away completely.
Eyes tearing up, Setsuna took one last look at the Queen of Lunarian Union struggling futilely against an overpowering adversary, an infernal force from the depths of the Netherworld. Even without looking, the Time Guardian knew that Serenity was not coming back from this fight. The Queen was powerful, no doubt about it, but against an enemy such as this? Not a chance in Hell (mind the pun). Not for a long time to come … perhaps for all eternity.
"What have we here?" the voice asked in mockery as a bright red flame lit up the throne room blinding all with its brightness. The pressure increased suddenly, forcing the soldier beside her to his knees. Blood began dripping out through the pores of his skin.
"Better … On your knees. Where you belong … like the rest of your wretched species," the voice continued.
"Metallia, Devourer of Souls and Supreme Commander of the Infernal Legions. Why have you attacked my people?" The Queen asked as the power of the Silver Imperium Crystal continued to build in response, its silver light fighting back the red light emitted from the flame-covered monstrosity slowly filling up the throne room.
"Any last words, my precious Queen … before I rip you beyond the bounds of oblivion?" the voice asked, choosing to ignore her question.
"JUST TWO. F#CK YOU!" the Queen replied as the bright light within the Silver Imperium Crystal brightened even further lighting up the palace further.
For one moment, it seemed that the sun itself had materialized in the palace of the Moon Kingdom. In many different places around the palace, many of the Lunarian soldiers who were near death and exhaustion, suddenly fought with renewed vigor against the hellish invaders as their wounds closed up and many of their foes vanished from sight as they came into contact with the light.
"That's four … but I'll take them, any way. Any day …" The creature replied, unimpressed by the display. "Besides, Hell is always open … twenty-four hours a day."
The bright light from the Silver Imperium Crystal pushed hard against the burning hellish flames of the creature forcing it back.
"Impressive … for a mortal," the creature grudgingly acknowledged. "Unfortunately, for you … I am no mortal. My turn …"
And then it extended its will. Hellish flames of death and decay erupted out from it, pushing the light from the Silver Imperium Crystal back and then more as it expanded out from the throne room into the corridors of the palace. Soldiers who had once been fighting with renewed vigor and increased morale against the demonic invaders were incinerated on the spot as they were consumed by the flames from the inside out. This scene was repeated everywhere on the surface of the Moon Kingdom.
Serenity, augmented by the power of the Silver Imperium Crystal, gritted her teeth, throwing more and more of her precious power reserves into the duel. To her credit, she lasted a whole hour as neither side made headway in the duel of power and magic. Sweat graced her forehead. She would not lose. She couldn't afford to. But desire and reality were two completely different things as the Lunarian monarch knew … all too well.
Her strength was not limitless while her once massive power reserves were rapidly fading …
'This is the end,' she thought as the last of her power went into the Silver Imperium Crystal.
Give up. No one can stand against me. A voice seemed to say from nowhere.
'No! I cannot give up!' she thought desperately and threw her very life force into the Crystal.
Come on. Why prolong the agony? The same voice continued in a mocking tone.
At these words, the Queen became incensed.
"NEVER!" the words left her lips in a shout as the light from the Silver Imperium Crystal became blindingly bright.
Laughter greeted her reply.
That's what all those that dared to stand against me said too before I ended their miserable lives. Anyway, like my friends used to say, resistance is futile.
'Please, … Someone … Anyone … Out there … I beg of you … Give me the power … to vanquish this abomination!' Serenity prayed desperately with all her heart and soul.
Give up, foolish mortal. I'll even make this quick. The mind voice implored.
Youthful hands began to dry and roughen … as it aged. Vibrant hair that once drew the eye of many male and female admirers turned coarse. Body fat disappeared as all of it was burned up to provide energy for the Silver Imperium Crystal. Beautiful skin became shrunken and wrinkled. Eyes sank into their sockets. Body muscles groaned in pain … before giving way …
Exhausted beyond belief, the once proud monarch of the Lunarian Union stumbled to the ground, little more than a heap of skin and bones. There was no doubt about it. She had aged more in this duel than she ever did in her entire life. But Serenity did not care. She was beyond caring at the moment …
"Serenity lost … but that's not possible. If we lost, then why is Me-Cursed Name not ruling the world?"
"A good question."
"True … so how did Serenity win?"
"Against all odds you mean?"
"Yes …"
Two bright lights appeared in deep space. From out of it, two living ships of light appeared above Forceria. The energy output of those ships increased suddenly as a bright ball of energy began to coalesced between their limbs. Entire armies began to scatter and run in panic for their lives.
Down in Kastuul, a large portal into a world of darkness opened.
A group of powerful beings entered the portal, to this world of darkness, their servants in armour, clutching their weapons closely, streaming in rapidly after them in step.
"Close the gateway!" a being who appeared to be the leader spoke.
"My lord, many of our valuable servants and equipment are still on Forceria."
"Do it now! Or die where you stand!" came the order.
Flames coalesced into being around the speaker.
"Forgive me, my lord. Close the gateway, now!"
A look of horror appeared on the faces of those who had yet to cross over, many of them breaking into a stampede in an effort to reach the fading portal to safety …
From the heavens, two ships of light discharged their primed weapons. Twin beams of light rushed down from the skies and then … there was a sizzling flash … the smell of something burning … the ground shook … as ruptures began to appear … a large pillar of smoke rose high into the air … and a mighty city that once stood in defiance of the host of heaven and the earth was no more …
On many different worlds, those who came with evil on their minds did the same. Many disappear magically. Those who do not are, suddenly, without warning, cut down by powerful beams of energy sweeping down like cleansing flames from the heavens …
"Whoa … So who were those aliens that showed up?"
"An alien race from beyond the stars. They are our best hope and at the same time ... our greatest danger."
"What do you mean?"
"I have studied the Vorlons as much as I can. Still I can't make any sense of them and what they actually want. Their agenda is a mystery. And so are their adversaries, the Shadows."
Seeing the blank looks on the other Scouts' faces, Setsuna explained.
"The Shadows and the Vorlons are remnants of the first race that evolved in the galaxy. Some old Moon Kingdom and Atlantean records hold that they are not two races at all but one race that somehow or other, branched out along two separate paths of evolution. Whatever the case maybe, there is no denying this. Both are powerful forces in their own right. Yet, strangely enough, they have never attempted to rule the galaxy. The only other thing I do know about them is both have opposing philosophies and one will avoid all forms of contact with the other unless they are looking for a fight. The Vorlon philosophy begins with the question 'Who are you?' while the Shadow tenet begins with 'What do you want?'"
"That's ... bizarre," Ami replied.
"You're not the only one. I feel very much the same despite having studied them for a long time. In fact, I doubt anyone alive can ever understand them at all," Setsuna spoke, shaking her head wearily.
"I don't think I like the sound of that."
"No one does but that is the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in," Setsuna replied before continuing her explanation.
"Now, listen carefully …"
The rest of the Senshi quickly became quiet upon hearing Setsuna's request.
"Wait a second here, you still haven't told me how Serenity defeated Me-Cursed Name one on one?"
At this request … even the Senshi of Time paled.
"I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" the Scouts asked simultaneously.
"I mean what I said. I don't know!" Setsuna insisted.
"I don't get it … you're supposed to be Setsuna Meiou, … the mysteriousalooflegendary Guardian of Time and sole survivor of the ancient Lunarian Empire … and an all-round voyeur who sees and knows everything under the sun … " Ami commented.
"Including the place where the sun don't shine …" Minako added slyly.
"Right … and an all-round jerk who loves to stump the rest of the senshi with her mysterious answers and riddles ..." Makoto continued.
Makoto … Minako … and …Ami … Consider all of your boyfriends … history… Setsuna swore quietly … and a strange chill settled down over the three scouts causing them to shiver involuntarily.
"And who has the sole privilege of never having to answer any question or do anything she doesn't wish to with the famous 'Such a thing will disrupt the timeline …' quote, " Rei added.
Rei … You're going to die a sex-starved virgin as well …the Time Senshi thought darkly as she mentally added the Fire Senshi to her growing checklist of people who were doomed to live celibate and lonely lives.
At this words, a strange chill traveled up the spine of the Fire Senshi causing her hair to stand on end. grins
"Many times I know you think that I'm all-knowing and I like to think that I'm that way too … but I'm not omniscient!" the Senshi of Time replied, glaring at the speaker.
"What do you mean?"
"This event went unrecorded by the Time Gates … alright?" Setsuna answered.
"But who in the world would have the power to defy the Time Gates?" Rei asked.
"I already told you … I don't know!" the Senshi of Time insisted.
"Have I everlied to any of you?" the Senshi of Time asked, her face … the very essence of child-like innocence. smiles her sweetest smile
There was silence for a moment … and then … all-round laughter … as Setsuna's words sunk in.
That does it! You're all staying celibate until the next millennium! The Time Guardian swore for the second time that day.
A chill settled down around the room dampening the mood.
"Who knows? Next you'll tell me that Bell … sorry … Ba'al have all the combined powers of all the senshi put together …" Makoto laughed.
The Senshi of Jupiter found the Time Guardian looking seriously at her.
"You're kidding right?"
The Senshi of Time's serious expression remained unchanged.
"Come on … it was just a joke …" Makoto commented attempting to lighten the serious atmosphere that had suddenly taken root around the Time Guardian.
The Time Guardian, however, remained ominously silent … before answering ...
"That was no joke. Which is why I have never been able to confront them directly one on one even with my temporal powers and connection to the Time Gates. Their abilities to sense dimensional disturbances through the Timestream and manipulate dimensional energies are incredible, making any form of teleportation, scrying, rifting, temporal maneuvering and space-time warping activities a very dangerous game."
"Is that all of it?"
"The Ba'al are also master sorcerers, the first among the early shamans to carve their knowledge in tablets of stone. So their knowledge and understanding on the uses and limits of magic is great."
"If they are so powerful and knowledgeable like you say, how did we ever beat them in the first place?"
"We didn't actually beat them. We fought them to a stalemate. And that was with the help of the Atlantean Empire and a large interstellar fleet."
There was silence for awhile as what was being said sank in.
Surprisingly the next sentence came from Usagi, the 'airhead' senshi.
"It must have been the mother of all battles."
"You have no idea."
Somewhere on Forceria …
Clouds began to cover the sky … blocking out sunlight from hitting the lands below.
From the North, thousands upon thousands of soldiers in full scale armour could be seen marching in rank and file through the open plain, heedless of the danger it would present.
"Sire, Moloch's armies have arrived. Our forces are in position. Shall we open fire?"
"Not yet. Move our sky ships into position, first." The King of Atlantis replied as he peered through the spyglass overlooking the battlefield.
"Two thousand paces from our position and closing in."
"Tell the archers to open fire now!"
"Not yet! Deploy our Vailixi carriers!"
"One thousand five hundred paces and closing in!"
A hail of arrows were launched forward meeting the enemy targets only to rebound off what appeared to be force fields surrounding each and every individual combatant on the field.
"Sire … they're shielded!"
"Launch our missiles now!"
The Vailixi assault carriers released hundreds of missiles which smashed into the opposing force with deadly accuracy, engulfing the land with ground-shaking explosions. After a few moments … there was silence.
"That was it? Kastuul's mighty army that grind the opposition to dust?" the Atlantean general pointed out in a mixture of disbelief and scorn.
"Something's not right …"
"Command the sky ships to …"
The ground trembled beneath their feet and suddenly, without warning, cracks opened up in the ground swallowing up portions of the Atlantean army.
Around them, the winds began to howl in fury as dark clouds began to fill the horizon. Heavy raindrops fell from the skies wetting the ground beneath their feet.
"Incoming storm!"
Flashes of lightning streamed down from the skies burning entire sections of the land they were on. The winds blew harder and harder as the rain fell faster and faster. Funnel clouds began to turn and twist tearing into the Atlantean columns with impunity ...
The army began to run for their lives as the ground behind them began to roll up as if it were paper. As they ran forward past the place where they destroyed the enemy force earlier …
The 'slain' enemy troops got back up to their feet, grasping their weapons and grinning evilly.
The surviving Atlantean soldiers upon seeing the return of the 'revived' enemy troops had no choice but to engage them in a battle to the death.
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Meanwhile in orbit around Forceria …
The Lunarian battlecruiser, The Queen's Justice, let loose volley after volley of energy blasts on the enemy below. Unlike the Lunarian Union, Kastuul did not have a space-capable defense force. Too bad for them, the captain smiled grimly in satisfaction as the ship's sensors gave him the numbers of Moloch's troops wiped out in the attack. Thirty thousand so far and rising fast … he noted with satisfaction. At this rate, the battle would be over in no time. And the genocidal Ba'al would finally face justice.
"Sir, I'm picking up a massive buildup of potential psychic energy on Forceria."
"No, Sir. The power buildup is Kastuulian in origin."
"Kastuulian … Shields at maximum." The captain ordered.
Kastuul did not appear to have a space-based defense force or even defenses against attacks from deep space but their was no point in taking chances with the enemy.
Lights began to flare in and out as the power in the ship fluctuated. Warning klaxons began to come from all over the ship.
"What's happening?"
"The ship appears to be loosing hull integrity, Sir."
"How? Are we under attack?"
"I don't know. Sir, our reactor's loosing stability … We're losing containment!"
"Eject the-" the captain ordered.
That was as far as he had got as a powerful explosion engulfed the bridge. If the captain had been able to see the ship from deep space, he would have been treated to a most unbelievable sight. The large battlecruiser ripped apart from the inside out with no visible attacks on the ship whatsoever.
"Whoa …"
"You can say that again. It was really bad. We couldn't figure out why our ships were being destroyed … apart from the few emergency signals we could get until a lucky transmission from one of the doomed ships told us that a powerful force had ruptured the ship … from the inside out! Can you imagine that? They were able to destroy our ships with impunity without having to fire a single gun. At first, we thought that it was magic and reacted accordingly by protecting our ships from magical effects … but to no avail. For the ships in our fleet continued to be destroyed at a maddening pace. Naturally these got us worried and at the cost of countless lives … we finally figured out the terrible truth. The Ba'al were not using magic! Not any that we recognized … of course."
"So what were they using?"
"Somehow … they had linked themselves to the Dark … an incomprehensible force from beyond this existence. Thus giving them control over the very elements of the universe itself. We didn't realize the true extent of the dire situation we had gotten ourselves into until very much later … which was by then … too late for us to do anything."
Lunarian Galactic Agency Report #2122-0667
Status: Awaiting Full Disclosure To The General Public.
Clearance Level: Currently Military Only.
The Ba'al have vast powers over the forces of nature. Over the howling winds of the earth and the rushing waters of the deep. Over the roaring fires of the furnace as well as lightning from the heavens. In addition to that, all manner of rock and stone formations, both natural and man-made heed their call. Metal bends to their very will. Their total mastery over matter and energy gave them complete control over the very elements of the universe itself.
Lorekeeper: Alania
Agent: N
"This is bad."
"Does a recording of the Great War exist? I would like to take a look at it," Ami asked, changing the subject.
"Yes a recording of this entire war exists. You can watch it after we leave."
There was silence for a moment before the green-haired senshi continued speaking.
"Yes we must leave Earth. The barrier that kept the Ba'al in that prison of theirs is collapsing within three months. Once that happens, they will be back."
"We're running out on a fight ..."
"Abandoning the Earth ..."
"Leaving everyone to their mercies ..."
Suddenly, her words were interrupted as Setsuna sank to the floor on her knees.
"Forgive me, my Queen ... I ... I .. I .. have failed you ... I .. h-h-have t-t-tried everything I could conceivably think of to stop this day from happening but ... Dark Day is unavoidable!" Her voice choked as she lay unmoving with her face to the ground.
A hand touched her.
"Rise Setsuna, I command you ... " a voice spoke with authority.
"Serenity ... " the rest of the scouts spoke with wonder.
"I will not lay the blame on you for this, Setsuna."
"But ... "
"Carry out the rest of your plan, Setsuna. We don't have a choice. For all our vaunted powers and stature as the sailor senshi, we are still ..." she paused momentarily before continuing, "... only human."
"But what about our families?"
"Our friends?"
"How can we leave them behind?"
"They're coming with us. I'm sure Setsuna must have seen to that. It won't do to have any of the senshi's families or relatives be used as bargaining chips in this coming war, right?" the former air-headed senshi spoke, displaying a wisdom and foresight that was unheard of among the senshi.
Setsuna merely nodded her head.
"Then, I believe we should go now. Setsuna?"
"Your Majesty?"
"Do what you must ... "
"Yes. Your Majesty."
"Are there any further questions? If there are not, this meeting is adjourned," the blonde senshi spoke.
There was silence for a moment.
"One last question, where are we going?" one of the senshi asked.
"You will know it, soon enough," Setsuna spoke before leaving the room like she always did.
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Chapter 9: Chapter 9

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Update: 070407, 250407, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 9: Exodus
It had not been an easy thing to do … getting their families, relatives and their closest friends to come to their departure zone but finally they had done it. After weeks of pleading, cajoling, threatening and to some extent … kidnapping … the bone-headed ones who stubbornly refused to believe in the Coming of the Ba'al … despite all they had done … they were finally here.
"Usagi … if this is one of your stupid tricks or ideas … consider yourself grounded for life," her father spoke.
"Mom … Dad … I have already shown you the truth. You know that I'm Sailor Moon," the blonde-headed girl replied.
"Yes … you have which is just about the only thing that convinced us to go along with this insane idea of yours. I still can't believe that you would take a stranger's word at face value. I thought that I taught you better than this," her mother chided.
"She is not just any stranger, Mom. She is Sailor Pluto … the eternal Guardian of Time. The one person who can see the future."
"Usagi, do you take me for a fool? No one can see the future …"
"Please Mom … Be patient … She'll be here …"
"When we get back, Usagi …" her father threatened.
The Moon Senshi shivered beneath her father's gaze.
Not faraway … the other Senshi were not having an easy time either.
Usagi could hear Makoto having a very long and difficult discussion with her parents.
"But Mom … We had no choice. Our enemies are coming in less than a week. If we do not leave now … we will never be able to leave again. And there will be no safe place on the Earth"
"Enough! Hiding a secret from us was one thing. Fighting a war behind our backs is quite another matter, Makoto!"
"We had no choice. If we didn't-," The Jupiter Senshi protested.
"Quit giving me the 'We had no choice' excuse. This is not some game, Makoto!"
"You could have been killed many times over! It's a miracle that you aren't a corpse yet!"
"The Earth must be protected." Makoto started once again but was cut off.
"When this is over, you're grounded, young lady!"
"But-" the Jupiter Senshi protested.
"No buts!"
There was a collective groan farther away … and judging from the loud voices and sullen looks on their faces, Minako and Ami were having just as difficult a time as she was having.
Finally … the sounds of their chattering were broken by … the sound of something large rising from the sea. It cut from the sea to come ashore like a large whale and slid to a stop in front of them.
"See Mom! It's here … The Time Guardian is here!" the Moon Princess cried out excitedly.
A strange unidentified man stepped in his fifties out of the alien vessel towards them.
He looked the group over before saying, "Highness … Your vessel awaits. Please come aboard my ship and make yourself comfortable."
"I don't believe it. It's a relic from the Old Kingdom!" Ami exclaimed excitedly.
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"We must depart immediately. Before unwanted visitors arrive." The man spoke.
"Unwanted?" the Moon Princess asked.
"That's right. Come aboard the ship quickly." The man who appeared to be the captain answered.
They were about to step aboard the ship when a voice they knew so well called out "Dead Scream!" much to their shock and surprise.
The captain of the ship fell to the ground without a sound … his chest blasted through by the time wave attack.
"What is going … ?"
"Take cover! That won't stop him for long!" The Time Guardian shouted.
The ship's weapons activated and opened fire on the Senshi and their families …
"SILENCE WALL!" … only to hit an impenetrable barrier.
"What's going on?" the Moon Princess asked.
"Run! Now! I can't keep this up for long!" The Senshi of Silence shouted, straining to keep the barrier up in place against the relentless pounding by the ship's main guns.
Without hesitation, everybody ran for cover as fast as their legs could carry them …
Unfortunately for everyone … nobody alive could hope to sustain a barrier forever especially when said barrier was being pounded continuously by the main guns from a frigate-size class ship … even when said person was the Senshi of Silence. Sooner or later … said barrier would have to come down … and when it did … the sight was not pretty …
"Mom … No!"
Another explosion rocked the area killing scores of people.
"Naru! Shingo!"
"No! I never knew that it would end like this! Our hopes … dreams …"
Multiple circles of lights appeared around all the Senshi and their families as gunfire continued to rain down on them, scorching them with the heat from the powerful beams of energy and leaving nothing but dust and ashes in its wake … Smoke filled the air … and then a voice barked out a command.
"Cease fire!"
There was silence as the ship's cannons were powered down.
After a few minutes of studying their handiwork, a voice announced.
"All targets have been eliminated!"
"No, you fools! They've escaped. Management would not be pleased …"
The captain answered as he got up from the ground, the cavity in his chest shrinking rapidly as he did so.
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Everyone looked around in a state of befuddlement and disbelief ... as they studied the vast metallic room they were in. The place was poorly lit. The lights so dim … that they could barely make out one another.
"What place is this?"
"It looks like an abandoned warehouse or something."
"I don't know … The Time Gates never revealed anything about this place before … This was not in the plan!" Time Senshi answered nervously.
"What do you mean … you don't know? You're the Guardian of Time! Nothing escapes you!" The Senshi of Mars shrieked.
"That's right! You had us all go to Easter Island for our Exodus from Earth and you don't know where we are? We've been manipulated, threatened and shanghaied from one zone to another for our personal safety, not to mention d#mn-near just about blown to bits and you don't know where we are?" Usagi's father shouted.
"Be quiet everybody … Let me do a few scans … that's not right! Something's blocking my scans …" The Senshi of Mercury answered.
"Let me go check the Time Gates …" Setsuna offered when a voice interrupted her departure.
"Now … that wouldn't be necessary … would it?" a voice spoke.
As one … Everyone turned in the direction of the voice to see a long-haired broad-shouldered man stepping out of the shadows.
"Marcus?" The Senshi of Time gaped in shock at the figure of the man as he came to a stop before them.
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"You have failed, Ozymandiaz." a voice purred ... sweetly, the stench of death and decay quite evident in its voice.
"There was outsider interference! External events I had no control over," the captain growled.
"Flimsy excuses … Go .. give that excuse to Management … See whether Management is as understanding and merciful as I am …" the sweet, syrupy voice purred again.
"I don't have to justify myself before you Dilgar worm! If I recall correctly, that batch of drugs that you so painstakingly prepared for distribution was destroyed by the Senshi as well! Let's see how you explain that to Management!" the captain retorted.
A voice boomed loudly through their heads, the pressure so great that it caused both persons to drop to their knees clutching their heads in pain.
"As you wish … Mighty One," the Dilgar Warmaster cried as blood exited the pores of her skin in spades.
"No Master … Have mercy …" the man pleaded … his blood flowing as freely as the person beside him.
"I will not fail you … mighty master," The man answered with difficulty.
"She?" the man spoke a little nervously.
A dark shadow solidified in the room into the figure of a beautiful violet-haired woman …
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Chapter 10: Chapter 10

Part 4: Vendetta
Update: 220306, 270406, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
Part 10: Vendetta
"And the human vessel opened fire on what it perceived to be an act of hostility from the aliens."
-Archivist 2480.
Explosions rang throughout the crystalline structure of the alien ship damaging it … a little. Fortunately, there were no casualties aboard that ship during that incident except for one. Unfortunately, for everyone concerned (especially Earth Alliance), that one person who died happened to be Dukhat, a key figure in the Minbari Federation, which did more harm to Earth-Minbari relations than the destruction of a hundred Minbari warships. The response was immediate … and profound … from the Minbari.
"DIE HUMAN SCUM!" came the cry of righteous indignation. Like a mother who had just witnessed the death of her child at the hands of some murderer, the Minbari reacted with deadly force. Within days of the Dukhat Incident, a thousand Minbari warships set sail through hyperspace for the human territories of Earth Alliance. Unfortunately, for the humans and everyone else concerned, the Minbari war fleet did not differentiate between Earth Alliance humans and the Exiled Humans.
As far as the Minbari were concerned, all humans were the same whether they were Earth Alliance, Exiles, young, old, infirmed, weak, strong, healthy, sickly, males, females, black, white or yellow (or whatever colour they wanted to be).
And since they were the same, they all deserved the same fate - death at the hands of the righteous Minbari. Ignorance was not an excuse so it didn't matter if the human knew about the incident or not. All it mattered was that they were human and they deserved to die. Thus, the Minbari went about their grim task vigorously.
Let's not get it wrong here. The Minbari as a whole are not an evil race. They were just reclusive, self-righteous (tend to treat the other sentient races with a holier-than-thou attitude except for the Vorlons), honourable (from their point of view, of course), elitist and rigid in their mindset and culture (similar to the Japanese society in the days of the Shogun). They held an unwavering loyalty to their leaders and carried out their appointed tasks with a sense of devotion and cammaderie quite uncommon even among the Younger races.
Yet it was those qualities that very nearly caused them into driving the human race into extinction. Ironically, it was the Earth-Minbari War that caused the Global Civil War between Earth Alliance and the Terran Exiles under the Decahedron Compact to come to an end. Survival was more important than bringing the "lost" sheep back into the fold, after all. Even President Morgan Clark of Earth Alliance was smart enough to call off the war with the Exiles as the war with the Minbari drew to the forefront (survival tends to make strange bedfellows).
The war was going badly for both Earth Alliance and the Terran Exiles as Minbari warships penetrated deeper into human territory. It was a war for the survival of the human race and everyone knew it. The Minbari were not taking prisoners. They sterilised entire worlds of its population once they took over never once responding to any pleas of mercy or gestures of peace from the human populace.
Another Exile ship blew up into smithereens, courtesy of a shot from a Minbari war cruiser. A Nial fighter flew by, opening fire on a Whitestar, destroying it before moving to another target. It destroyed another three EA fighters before an Earth Alliance fighter flew into it, gutting both ships in the process, reducing the enemy fleet by one ship.
On board a hidden ship from the scene of battle …
"We need better weapons, Sir. The Minbari have better ships and outnumber both the combined fleets of Earth Alliance and ours by more than three to one."
"Do you have a way out of this, Damora?" a voice said studying the scene of carnage from the bridge.
"Look out the window." She replied.
Alexander did so. There was a ripple in the darkness of space before them and the outline of a massive ship appeared out of it.
Most of the crewmembers on board the stealth ship drew in their breath at the sight of the large vessel.
For a moment or two, it remained transparent before solidifying into a dark grey metal-like colour punctuated with blue glows and white highlights in certain spots across its long body.
"Behold the Salvation of the human race. It will now engage the Minbari," the green-haired vampire replied.
The large ship faded from sight like it was never there.
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The Minbari are an ancient and mysterious race … by human standards at any rate. If one assumed that with age comes wisdom, one would only have to look at one's history to be proven wrong.
When the first contact between human and Minbari happened, it brought about the Earth-Minbari war which nearly ended in the complete destruction of the human race. Weakened already by the splinter group of Earth colonies that formed the Decahedron Compact, Earth Alliance was in no way ready to fight, much less stop the mighty Minbari war machine.
Still the humans did have a number of ace cards that the Minbari and even they were not aware of. First and foremost was the Guardian of Time and her plans for Crystal Tokyo (which she had never truly given up on despite the odds against it happening). Second was the fact that the Minbari were just another playing piece in a power game between forces of unknown origin.
That this war, being waged by them, against the humans was just one prime example of being manipulated by outside forces into doing a job for free never occurred to them.
That it was going to be the humans and the Minbari who were going to do all the bleeding, hurting and the dying on a grand scale in the war never crossed their minds.
That in the end, it was going to be the Minbari and the humans suffering like never before never even registered in their thick skulls.
Such was the price of ignorance, pride, stupidity and bull-headedness. An eye for an eye, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, such was the Minbari credo and way of life (though in the case of the Minbari, it was more like a thousand eyes for an eye, a thousand ears for an ear, a thousand teeth for a tooth). They conveniently forgot the next part that made the credo complete.
An eye for an eye, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and the whole world becomes blind, deaf and toothless.
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Chapter 11: Chapter 11

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Update: 070407, 250407, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 11: Meeting
"Let me go check the Time Gates …" Setsuna offered when a voice interrupted her departure.
"Now … that wouldn't be necessary … would it?" a voice spoke.
As one … Everyone turned in the direction of the voice to see a long-haired broad-shouldered man stepping out of the shadows.
"Marcus?" The Senshi of Time gaped in shock at the figure of the man as he came to a stop before them.
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My name is Setsuna Meiou and I am the oldest immortal of all. With my link to the ever-changing streams of Time and access to the long-forgotten magic of the Silver Millenium, I am also arguably the most powerful immortal that ever lived apart from THEM, of course. Not to mention, there are few things that could surprise me in this time and age such as the figure of my supposedly dead husband looking me in the face … very much alive and well.
As the saying goes, with age comes wisdom. The thing was … had I grown any wiser over the millenia? Many people assume that with old age, comes wisdom but I have seen many instances in which this belief does not hold true. The old generation is slow to change, in many cases, clinging stubbornly against all odds to their precious ideals. Memories of the lycan-vampire war filter through my mind … Amelia, Sonja, Lucian, Selene and then …Viktor.
Am I one of them? A strong wind that howls eerily begins to blow
God … I hope not.
Well, like the saying goes … time will tell (mind the pun. I am the Mistress of Time, after all-) as I continue to peer relentlessly through the Time Gates, looking for threats to Crystal Tokyo and the Sailor Senshi. And being the Time Mistress, I have all the time in the universe. Unfortunately ... even as I go about my task, I know that this Second Wonder of the Silver Millenium may not be enough to ensure a lasting victory. It is just not possible to eliminate every single possibility of failure or defeat for the Sailor Senshi. There will always be an element of uncertainty or chance involved in every fight (whether with words or in the battlefield) with the enemies of the Senshi even with advanced intelligence and knowledge obtained through the Time Gates. Why?
To answer this question, let me explain something about this wondrous artifact of the Silver Millenium that all refer to as the Time Gates. When people imagine a time machine such as the Time Gates, like in most of those sci-fi flicks I've seen, they think of a device with all the utility functions complete with time display, view screen and all those nifty little buttons at the user's fingertips. All the user had to do would be to punch in the number or the date required (the machine would power up) and … Poof … the observer would suddenly find themselves viewing or in the desired time.
Hah! That description of a temporal device is pathetic! A total joke! I might add.
The reason being time itself is an illusion … a creation given form by an observer to better remember a particular event or a chain of events. Consequently the very nature of time itself is subject to the interpretation of the observer.
Meaning to say that dates and numbers for use on a temporal device like the Time Gates is meaningless. They are mere creations of the mind to be used as labels or reference points to certain events in time when using the device. This is why the observer has to be really awake when using the Time Gates or the events viewed can be very deceiving. And in some cases, disastrous.
For example, if I were to travel from the present to the past. Two thousand years to be precise … am I traveling two thousand years as in Earth years or two thousand years as in Pluto years. Take note, one Pluto year is not the same as one Earth year. The problem is more apparent when the observer is in the past. One Earth year then is not quite the same as one Earth year now. Let's not talk about what happens when the planetary body didn't exist then. Or time traveling into another dimension, for that matter. This is bad enough.
For this and many other reasons, the Time Gates were created using the mind of the observer as the reference point. Thus, memory plays an important part in it. In the early days of the creation of time travel technology, many test subjects of varying ages, gender and race were selected taken from different worlds to see their suitability as a recipient for the Timestream Procedure (I was chosen for my loyalty, eidetic memory and resilience to insanity). The Lunarian Union was aware of the dangers an enemy who possessed powers over time would have and was looking for an ironclad security measure against them. Out of a total of four thousand two hundred and eighty-seven test subjects, they found only one that made it through the Timestream Procedure intact … me.
As for the rest who did not make it … shudders … many are the whispered rumors about those who failed, each tale more terrible than the last. Three quarters of them died or disappeared without a trace, baffling even the best minds in the Union … I pray for their souls. As for the others, some became comatose while others were driven completely insane by the experience and had to be put down. A direct link (both physically and mentally) to the Timestream takes a toll on the mind (some say the very soul) of the recipient.
I was the first and the last successful recipient of the highly-classified Time Shield Project in the golden era of the Silver Millenium. A last ditch measure against all outside enemies (especially the Ba'al) who had or sought the ability to manipulate time itself as a weapon against the Lunarian Union.
Many people assume that my control over time itself and my link to the Time Gates ensures victory in any conflict for me and my allies. They couldn't be more wrong. If that were the case, Crystal Tokyo would be a hundred percent guarantee and the old Lunarian Union would encompass the galaxy.
The use of the Time Gates definitely provides a distinct advantage in every conflict but it does not completely eliminate the possibility of failure or defeat. The risk of dying in any conflict, no matter how remote, is still there. I can try to manipulate the outcome of the fight to increase the chances of the Senshi winning and so on but I cannot completely guarantee a victory or a desired outcome.
Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has seen to that. My past string of glories include keeping the Vorlons from dominating the galaxy by allowing a counter-balance known as the Shadows to survive the war with the First Ones (that was a tricky thing to pull off), the three failed invasions of the Lunarian Union by the forces of the Netherworld, maintaining the Minbari-Drakh Standoff (ensuring that the Drakh never attacked the Moon Kingdom), the imprisonment of the Ba'al in the Nightlands and the Second Coming of the Senshi.
My string of failures include the appearance of the Nightspawn (they were not supposed to have existed in the first place frowns), the appearance of the Merovengian (what is it going to take to get rid of him? scowls), the return of the Ba'al to Earth (yes Dark Day is inevitable, dear readers sighs), … that's all. Strange … I've a feeling there should be more. Did I forget or miss something important, somewhere? The loud crash of thunder echoes through the background
But still, how could I have not foreseen this event coming to pass? A myriad wave of emotions assail me as I gaze upon the supposedly dead figure of my husband …all smiles as he welcomes me back with his open arms …love, anger, fear, doubt, confusion, shock, joy … they threaten to overload my senses but I reel them back in … with my iron-clad discipline that came from centuries of practice and life experience …
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"Greetings, Damora … but much as I would like to … I cannot claim that distinction. He … however … can …" the man pointed behind the group.
As one, they turned to see another man, identical in every respect to the first man standing in black and purple robes looking at them.
"It's been a long time, Damora …"
"Marcus? How did you get here? And that is … Wi-?"
"William, my twin brother." The man smiled.
"How?" The Time Senshi asked in shock.
"When you spilled your blood over me the night my brother and I were slain by the vampire bitch and her paramour, I not only regenerated from death … I gained access to the memories hidden in your blood. The memories of a lifetime … or should I say lifetimes? You never knew the true value of the knowledge or experience that lay hidden within your blood. The memories of the Silver Millenium, the lost kingdom of Atlantis and … the Dark Wielders of Kastuul. I know all this now and more … just as I know everything that you would become. And the quest that you've been fighting through the ages … your goal of Crystal Tokyo … a noble gesture albeit a futile one nonetheless …"
"What is he talking about Setsuna?" the Moon Princess asked.
"It can't be … the amount of blood that I spilled did not even come up to an ounce," the Time Senshi cried out.
"That is where you were wrong … and right … in some regards. You carry the legacy of my father's blood in you. The blood of one who came before me … the only one stronger than I am … coupled with that of the properties of your Plutonian blood … it was more than enough to restore me to full health. And this place of yours … on Pluto is quite a marvel, isn't it?" the man answered.
The Time Senshi shook her head …
"No it can't be … This can't be right …"
"The man who offered you his blood …" the man pointed out.
"Alexander Corvinus …" the Time Senshi gasped as comprehension dawned onto her.
"How else would you have been able to survive the sun, Damora?"
"All this time …"
"And you thought that it was your Plutonian heritage."
"Still it doesn't explain how you got here?"
"You are the key. When you gave your blood to me … you not only gave me the lost knowledge of the Silver Millenium … you gave me access to the Gates of Time itself … Thanks to you … I can now go anywhere and any when!"
The Senshi of Time narrowed her eyes in suspicion at the figure of her husband …
"Worry not, Damora. I would never harm you or those close to you. I love you then … when we first met … and I love you now … even as you stand. But these foes of yours … what makes you think you have a prayer of a chance of defeating them? You are on a fool's errand." The man answered as he shook his head ruefully.
"Setsuna … who is this man?"
"And why does he keep on calling you Damora?"
"Is he your husband?"
The Time Senshi shrugged her shoulders before saying, "Yes."
"How did this …?"
"Start? It all began the day that I died."
It was a day that started out like any other day. A monster running loose in the city, sending Mr. and Mrs. Average scurrying for cover and hollering at the top of their voices. The security forces would cordon of the area, taking guard positions to limit damage to the surroundings while waiting for reinforcements to arrive. The senshi would be alerted to the threat, and respond to it accordingly. Then the usual posing and intimidating gestures by the monster would take place while a member of the senshi team would announce their arrival with their usual fanfare and speech.
The opening move would then be made by the monster in launching all kinds of strange and powerful attacks at the senshi. The senshi would then retaliate with each of their respective attacks on said monster. From there, the fight would end in one of three ways.
One … the monster was either a weakling or too stupid to know anything besides launching random all out attacks and did not need teamwork to put it out of action. Then the senshi would return home while the citizens who were there, would quickly cheer their respective heroines. A news crew would usually be onsite to cover the fight. Damage to the surroundings in the form of broken glass, dented automobiles and cracked walls were considered to be minimal. No further elaboration was needed.
Two … the monster was moderately strong or smart (sometimes both) and needed at least all the Inner Senshi to hold its attention with teamwork while setting the monster up for a Moon Tiara Action attack by a certain clumsy member of theirs.
Things such as "SHABON SPRAY!", "VENUS CRESCENT BEAM!", "MARS FLAME SNIPER!" and "MOON TIARA ACTION!" would be heard before the monster would finally end up dusted or atomised.
Then the senshi would also return home while the citizens would once again cheer their respective heroines. As before the news crew would be onsite to cover the fight. Damage to the surroundings was usually moderate. End of story.
Three … the monster was very strong with brains (a dangerous combination) and needed both the Inner Senshi and the Outer Senshi in taking it down. It also required a great deal of team work.
New words such as "DEEP SUBMERGE!", "WORLD SHAKING!" and "DEAD SCREAM!" would be heard (though if a "DEAM SCREAM!" attack was heard, it would mean that the situation was very serious). The news crew was unlikely to be around as said monster usually took an extreme dislike to be on national TV for unknown reasons. Not to mention, it also tended to be very generous and indiscriminate with its use of powerful attacks which usually had the potential to vaporise anything in its path.
Still, the senshi would finally triumph with a last desperation move bringing down the monster though without the usual cheers and cries of support from their fans and supporters (too frightened and scared away by the monster). They would leave in silence in this situation. For home. To be once again ready for school like they usually did.
Except that none of the above endings happened. Instead, there was a soft wheezing sound and one of the senshi fell dead with a bullet hole in her head.
There was another soft wheezing sound and another of the senshi fell dead in the same manner. The green-haired senshi quickly disappeared from sight after shouting a warning to the rest.
"What? We all died?"
"Yes …"
"I don't understand. But why are we still alive?"
"I don't know. There are certain things that I've been unable to recall for some reason." The Time Senshi answered before she continued relating her story.
There were drops of blood on the ground where the green-haired senshi once stood.
Setsuna reappeared at the Time Gates, blood dripping from her body. She was mortally wounded, she knew and had not long to live. In her current state, it was very dangerous to use the Time Gates. But she had no choice. She had to save the future. How had this event taken place without her knowledge? She should have either seen it through the Time Gates or … her future self should have returned to warn her about … A sudden realisation hit her. Her future self was probably dead and in most likelihood unable to help her.
'But that was not how Crystal Tokyo was supposed to end!' She mentally shrieked. She had survived too long and endured too much to …
Her vision blurred. Time was running out … She stepped forward to the Time Gates.
"It can't be …" the green-haired senshi mumbled in disbelief as she examined the timeline while her blood continued to drip to the ground until it had formed a small pool of red liquid around her feet. The senshi had fallen, one after another, not to the unnatural powers of some supernatural foe, but to a sniper's bullet, of all things. Setsuna tracked the sniper down through the use of the Time Gates, determined not to let any threat to the senshi out of sight.
What she discovered through the Time Gates intrigued her somewhat … despite her current state.
The elite sniper that had killed off the entire Senshi team was one of many faceless assassins that belonged to a shadowy organisation known only as the Damocles Society who had only one solitary goal in life :- The prevention of the rise to power of any individual, empire or organisation from dominating the entire world. The name of the organisation itself was a parody, taken from an old Greed legend in which a sharp sword was hung by a thin thread from the ceiling above the king's head (the Sword of Damocles).
From age to age, the members would strike from behind the scenes, eliminating key leaders, disrupting critical supplies and sabotaging technological research from one side or the other to stop any one leader, country or organisation from becoming too powerful.
This was in complete contrast to the goals of the Illuminati, which sought to unite the world (under its banner, of course). Eventually, however, like any organisation that existed, the members soon became corrupted by their desire for wealth and power (money is the root of all evil, after all). And their love for money replaced their desire for maintaining the balance of power in the world. Subsequently, they turned mercenaries and sold their talents for murder to anyone that could meet their asking price (which was always high).
'An organisation of faceless assassins, whose love for wealth is as great as their love for power. But their costs are prohibitive. Who hired them?' the Time Guardian wondered before blacking out completely.
Unseen by all, the green-haired senshi fell forward though the Time Gates to some unknown destination …
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A man was scrounging in the forest looking for some prey when his keen sense of smell picked up the familiar scent of blood. Quickly, he ran forward in the direction of the smell and came upon the body of a beautiful woman dressed in strange clothing that he had never seen before. Her facial features were radically different from the women he had encountered in the past. And he had seen many in his time over the years. The strange attire she wore coupled with her exotic looks only made her seemed all the more beautiful.
Those weren't the only things about her that caught his eye. In both her hands, lay a strange garnet rod that she cradled protectively to her chest. Whatever the artifact was, it seemed important to her, so much so that she was unwilling to let go of it, even at the point of death. Her fragrant beauty and the deep mystery surrounding her only added to her appeal.
She drew him like a moth to a flame in a way that he rarely knew before. Right there and then, he knew one thing. This woman had to live. And there was only one way to do it. Bending down, he smelt and touched her pulse. It was nearly gone. Quickly, he bit on her, transmitting the strange virus in his body that he carried to the woman.
Within seconds it was over. Now, he only had to wait for the woman to come out of her unconscious state.
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She revived faster than he had expected. Her wounds once fatal, healed rapidly before his eyes which was unusual considering that she was just newly turned compared to him. Judging by the looks on her face, she was hungry ... so he threw a stag, or … was about to - when she bowled him over to the ground, surprising him with her strength and speed. The buck was already dead, its neck twisted to one side as the woman lifted the neck to her mouth to feed.
Getting to his feet, he watched from one side as she fed on her prey, drinking in the blood greedily. He remained silent watching her antics.
Finally, he called to her. She looked at him blankly as though not understanding. A sudden thought hit him. Perhaps she was a foreigner and that was what accounted for her silence. Pointing at himself, he said, "Marcus."
"Marrrr-ccccus," she repeated, the word coming out slowly.
"What is this offal? A new toy?" a female voice asked from the doorway.
Marcus growled beneath his breath. It was that annoying woman, again. Viktor's number one bitch in heat and … lapdog, Amelia.
"What are you doing here, Amelia? Have you found my brother?" he snarled.
"Come to check things out. Just to make sure that our 'father' is safe from harm. Wouldn't want anything unfortunate to happen to the great father of our kind before we begin the hunt. So who is she?" Amelia turned to the woman in the room.
"She's a foreigner. She wouldn't understand your words."
"I see … So are you planning to keep her for long, O Great Father of the Vampires?" the female vampire mocked.
"I don't know," Marcus replied, ignoring her rudeness.
"Ahhh … the blessed bliss of ignorance. Such sweetness. Such wonder. When you get tired of her, turn her over to me, alright?" the female vampire suggested in a non-too-innocent manner.
"Go away, Amelia. I'm not in the mood for one of your games," Marcus warned.
"That's not a very polite way to treat your children, you know. But since you asked …" she licked her lips before turning around in as sultry a manner as she could manage, which only succeeded in annoying Marcus all the more.
Her next words threw Marcus off.
"We have found your brother's tracks."
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Across the snowy white plains … under the cover of darkness …
An army is marching … an army of the undead … on the trail of a very dangerous creature …
"Brother … what have you done?" the first vampire whispered under his breath as he studied the trail of destruction left by his twin sibling at the village.
Beside him, the green-haired woman that he saved the day before, as if sensing his plight moved to hold his palm reassuringly.
"Damora … If only you could understand … " As before, she could only look at him with eyes of love and affection … without saying anything.
Marcus held her hand in his. Taking the horse by the reins, she drew alongside him and leaned onto his armour, silently drawing a few stares. The moment was broken by an announcement from a female voice. It was Amelia.
"They're all dead, my lord. None survived. We must burn the bodies quickly before they are turned."
"This has gone far enough! Your brother has got to be stopped!" Viktor barked.
"He is not to be harmed as per our agreement," Marcus reminded.
"But he has to be kept under control. This petty sentiment you have for that creature is totally unbecoming of you," Viktor replied, disgust evident in his voice.
"You know the consequences if either me or my brother were to be slain," Marcus pointed out.
"Yes … If you die … we all die! But it will be done my way!" the angry lord retorted.
Damora remained silent, watching the heated exchange. She had yet to say anything other than her name.
"Burn the bodies!" he ordered his soldiers.
Marcus was about to join them but …
"Marcus, you stay beside me," Viktor commanded.
"I can defend myself," Marcus countered.
"No … you stay here beside me," Viktor repeated his command as he waited for his soldiers to report back.
Suddenly, there was a howl from one of the huts as one of the soldiers screamed. At once, everyone turned in the direction of the scream. Out of the hut, came a half-transformed lycan rushing aimlessly in all directions. Amelia fitted an arrow to her crossbow before letting it loose at the lycan. It fell to the ground without much struggle …
However … some of the burning bodies began to move and shift … causing the soldiers to step away from them.
"They've turned!" a voice shouted.
"Everyone! Draw your weapons!" Viktor ordered.
An armed soldier was dragged to the ground from his horse as a lycan leaped at him from the roof. Another charged at Marcus who simply drew his battleaxe and loped its head off with it. The shouts and sounds of battle filled the air.
Damora speared a lycan that got too close to her for comfort before finishing it off with her sword. Viktor cut down another lycan with his broadsword. Seeing the increasing number of their fur-covered opponents heading for them, the vampire lord ordered Marcus to flee for safety. Marcus hesitated at first, since he yet to locate his brother but he soon departed the area on the snow-covered trail from the village. Behind him, Damora followed suit, cutting down any lycans that got in their way.
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Damora sighed. Things had been getting more difficult for her ever since Viktor laid down the 'one awake, two asleep' rule regarding the elders for his so-called coven. Marcus might be the Source but Viktor was still the Boss. Being the lord of the land and such, the army still answered to him and therein lay the real power. Marcus held no control over the army whatsoever and was essentially relegated to an elder in name only with no real power over the coven, despite being the first true vampire.
Publicly, all the vampires still had to defer to him since he was one of the elders, of course. Privately, they held nothing but contempt for him and rubbed it into his face whenever the situation presented itself. A situation he despised and hated with all his heart.
This situation was never clearer than the night they went in pursuit of Marcus's twin brother, William in which Marcus complained about the way his brother was being treated when held prisoner but Viktor simply ignored his pleas. Instead, he broke his word to Marcus right in front of everyone in taking Marcus's brother prisoner, contrary to Marcus's wish. Damora still remembered the words of the heated exchange that night clearly despite not understanding a word of it at the time.
"And what is thy will, my Lord?" Marcus spoke, his head bowed, not wanting to endanger his brother anymore than he already was, though his heart seethed at Viktor's broken promise.
"My will is that your brother will be imprisoned away from you for all time!" The lord declared loudly for all to hear.
Damora who had ridden alongside him, despite not understanding the words, sensed her sire's plight and moved to comfort him. He had not responded at first being too deeply mired in his thoughts … but then … later that night … when they got back … he had fallen upon her in a frenzy of lovemaking. She had responded instinctively and … in a short time, had Marcus groaning and moaning aloud in pleasure with skills that she never thought she possessed.
"Damora … you are the only one who cares for me … The others … I will not forgive them for this!" he declared to her with all his heart, his eyes glinting dangerously. Not understanding his words … she pulled back in fright at the emotion in his voice thinking that he was angry with for some wrong she had committed, but Marcus quickly drew her back to him, saying, "Do not fear me, Damora. For I will never harm you. Come drink of my blood and be one with me for all eternity!"
Having said this, he cut his hand and blood flowed from his hand. Damora hesitated upon seeing the blood flowing from his hand at first, but lowered her mouth to it when he indicated that she should do so. Quickly, she drank from it … it tasted deep and delicious. After awhile, she drew back, having drank enough. She hesitated at first on what she was about to do next. But courtesy demanded that she offered nothing less in return. Before she lost heart, she took a knife and slit her wrist with it. Holding her hand up to Marcus in return, she drew him closer with her other hand. He was about to drink from it when there was a knock on the door.
Marcus grumbled beneath his breath. Who was it this time? Along the way, he grabbed his clothes and hurriedly put them on. He opened the door to find Amelia standing before him. Her face lit up, a mischievous twinkle on it upon catching the expression on Marcus's face.
"Hope I wasn't interrupting anything important, was I?" the female vampire smiled.
"What do you want, now, Amelia?" Marcus grumbled.
"Me … nothing. Viktor, on the other hand, wants to see you now," Amelia spoke, her face radiant with joy.
"We will continue where we left off, Damora," he promised as he left the room.
Amelia turned to the female vampire on Marcus's bed.
"You're something, you know … to have caught his eye … and all that … He's usually colder than the freezing nights of winter," the female vampire spoke as she stepped into the room.
Damora eyed the female vampire warily.
"Your skills must be pretty good to have Marcus go off like that. Let me sample them," she replied as she began removing her clothes.
"A pity you don't understand a word. Otherwise, we could be such good friends," the female vampire winked at her suggestively before advancing upon her.
Damora was about to get up when Amelia stepped in front of her.
"Come, now … just relax … Let me do the rest. Don't worry. I won't bite," the female vampire spoke as her fingers traced the curves of Damora's body while her lips moved along the edge of Damora's neck.
"You're gorgeous … do you know that?" the question was superficial since the vampire elder did not expect a reply.
As her lips descended, her tongue went into play. Instinctively, Damora leaned back against the female vampire, her back pressing into the bosom of the other vampire and … before long … they were exploring each other's body vigorously with eager hands and lips …
Their lovemaking session ended an hour later. Amelia had her hands wrapped around Damora, reluctant to let her go.
"I can see why he wants you so much. You're incredible … Damora. It's like you're born to pleasure those around you. Join me. Rule by my side. You're better off with me than with him," Amelia offered, her hands spread outwards before her in a welcoming gesture.
Damora could find nothing to say to that.
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Marcus returned a week later to tell her about Viktor's new rules. He was selected to go first into hibernation mode that night since Vampire Elder Viktor was to rule first. Not that he could disagree with him in the first place being that Viktor was the lord of the land and all. But did he have to rub it into his face that often? Marcus swore under his breath and cursed the man for what appeared to be the hundredth time that day. As usual, Damora listened without replying to the strange language the man before her spoke.
Suddenly he lost his composure and wrapped his arms around Damora.
"I don't know what they will do to you once I'm gone but take this with you should you decide to leave," he spoke as his hand fished out a strange metallic staff from under the bed.
Damora looked at it uncomprehending until Marcus placed it in her hands.
"Thank you." She spoke.
Marcus looked at her incredulously.
"Say that again?" Not quite believing his ears, he asked again.
"Thank you, Marcus," she replied in his language with a smile that that lit up her eyes.
"You understand me?" He smiled as he held her in his arms.
"I didn't before but I do now. I don't know why but I do. Thank you for taking care of me," Damora spoke without a single mistake in her intonation or pronunciation of words.
"Damora … If only I could share this moment with you forever. But Viktor … Curse his soul … He insists I rest first … " He hugged her tightly.
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Since that night, Damora had not seen Marcus at all. Inwardly, she wondered where he was. Neither had she seen Viktor. The only vampire elder she had seen was Amelia who had been paying more and more visits to her room. Kraven had wanted to sample her skills too, but she had rejected him. Something about the man disturbed her.
He would have forced himself upon her, except that he didn't want to anger Amelia, one of the most powerful vampire elders on the council. Nonetheless, he continued to hound her and did not stop doing so until the day a new vampire joined the coven. Since then, he had turned his attention to this new vampire and for that Damora was grateful.
Oddly enough, the new vampire did not like him as well and preferred to keep him away at arm's length. Damora would have wanted to get to know the new vampire better but the coldness of the new vampire unnerved her … somewhat. Besides, not geting close to the new vampire wasn't that bad of a situation, since such a thing might have drawn Kraven's unwanted attentions again.
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Things had gone steadily downhill since Amelia entered the crypt to rest. For Viktor had moved quickly to cement his control over the coven. Dissidents who did not agree with him were demoted, exiled or removed without a trace. His own daughter Sonja, was executed publicly for having an affair with the lycan leader, Lucian. The last straw came, however, when Damora learned of Viktor's sole massacre of an entire family just because they knew something that they shouldn't. Damora, who had never liked Viktor to begin with, resolved to leave the coven as soon as possible.
The air of arrogance, cruelty and decadence she experienced at the coven only made her decision easier.
Deprived of both Marcus and Amelia's company (both were in hibernation mode and thus, unable to help her), there was no longer any reason to stay. Besides … she had caught Kraven's leering eyes on her back again just the other night when he thought she wasn't looking. To avoid him, she had spent more time in the library with the archivist, Tanis. The situation did not last, however, since Tanis had been banished into exile by Viktor for his heretical ideas and opposition to Viktor's brutality. Picking up her belongings, she decided to leave the coven that night.
There were many guards on the battlement as she exited the entrance. Fortunately, the other vampires had not even bothered to look at her when she left through the main hall.
"Where are you going?" a voice asked. Damora sighed inwardly at the voice. Unfortunately someone had seen fit to inform Kraven about her departure that night.
"I'm leaving," she answered without turning around to look at the speaker. Neither did she stop walking towards the gate.
"The situation is very unsafe outside as we are in a state of war with the lycans. No one's allowed to leave without my explicit permission," Kraven declared.
"I can take care of myself," Damora replied and continued walking.
"Bar the gates!" Kraven ordered the sentries. As one, they locked the gates. Damora turned around to face Kraven as the tension in the air grew. A crowd had gathered to watch the face off between the two vampires.
"Am I a prisoner now? And on whose orders?" she mocked.
"No one's a prisoner. But understand this. We are in a state of war. The situation outside is tenuous. And very insecure I might add. Who knows what might befall you outside this walls?" Kraven sneered.
" I do not need your protection, Kraven. I will deal with it when it happens. Now open the gates!" Damora ordered the sentries. The vampire guards looked at her briefly before turning to look at Kraven.
"I think not, Damora. Your safety is a priority to me. Marcus and Amelia would be very displeased if they found out that something happened to you when they awaken."
"Marcus and Amelia would be even more displeased if they found out how you treated me when they were asleep, Kraven," Damora pointed out, her back to the gates.
Suddenly … without warning, she spun around and leaped to the top of the gate.
"I'm leaving whether you like it or not!" Damora declared .
"Stop her!" Kraven shouted.
The sentries reacted by moving to intercept her at the top of the gate. Before long … a full-fledged melee had broken out with more and more guards running towards the source of the commotion. For a whole minute, it raged until a loud voice, strong and commanding broke through the sounds of the fighting.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned in the direction of the voice. It was Viktor, the imposing lord of the land.
"My lord … she's …" Kraven spoke.
"Let her go!" Viktor commanded.
"But the lycans … " Kraven protested.
"You heard me!" Viktor turned to Kraven with a dangerous glint in his eye.
"As you wish, my lord," Kraven replied with deference, his head bowed before Viktor, though anger raged through his heart like a bonfire.
"Open the gates!" The gates lifted and Damora was finally free … to leave.
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'Just you wait … Viktor … You, Marcus and Amelia. Think you're so great, eh? One day, I will rule these lands and you will be the ones at my mercy!' he swore furiously in his heart.
'And as for Marcus's bitch … she's just about to have an unfortunate accident,' he thought darkly.
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The next day … while fighting in an isolated place …
"Easy Lucian. I come in peace. Call your wolves off … I have come to talk," the long-haired figure announced as he fended off Lucian's attacks with his sword.
"Burn in hell, Kraven! There's nothing that I want from you bloodsuckers except maybe YOUR LIVES!" the lycan leader shouted as he lashed out with another blow from his sword that came dangerously close to skewering the vampire commander's head off.
Kraven leaped to the side to escape the lycan leader's furious attacks.
"I believe we have certain issues of mutual interest to both our sides," the vampire commander replied as he parried another blow from the lycan leader.
"Mutual interests? I have nothing in common with you, bloodsucker!" Lucian spat on the ground as he drove his blade forward, pressing hard against Kraven's blade.
"Not even in getting rid of Viktor?" the vampire commander replied as he twisted out of the path of the blade that the lycan leader threw.
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The lycan leader did not bother to reply but his blade did come to a stop before touching Kraven's neck.
"Speak! For my patience grows thin!" Lucian growled.
"To save time, I will be as forthright with you as I can. Your forces need a period of peace to replenish your fallen bethren. Unfortunately, there can never be peace while Viktor lives. Facing Viktor in a direct fight is suicide as neither of us is a match for Viktor in hand to hand combat. Our best chance of taking Viktor out lies in the time he enters the crypt to rest. The thing is, Viktor will never rest until you are dead. Should Viktor think that you are dead, however, he might be persuaded to rest earlier than expected. The first person to kill you will be richly rewarded by him. If I were to bring back evidence of having killed you with my own hands, he would place me in charge of all the coven's affairs while he hibernates. With me in charge of the coven, I will keep the Death Dealers of your back while you build up your forces," the vampire commander explained while ignoring the blade at his neck.
"Why should I trust the words of a vampire?" Lucian snarled.
"Because you don't have a choice. The lycans are not ready for war. The Death Dealers are experienced soldiers while you are not. Many of us have spent entire decades fighting your kind. Even as we speak, the lycans are being slowly hunted into extinction. In about a century or two, your kind will cease to exist. As a gesture of good will, I offer to you a vampire who will be travelling alone by herself."
"A woman? Are you telling me that you, Viktor's mighty second-in-command can't even take care of one woman? How the high and mighty hath fallen. Besides, I fail to see how the death of one vampire will make a difference in this war," the lycan leader sneered.
Kraven bristled slightly at Lucian's mocking words before answering.
"Do not underestimate her, Lucian. Though she is not an elder, even Viktor is wary of her. Furthermore, she is close to both Marcus and Amelia. And thus, the only other vampire capable of challenging my command."
'For that remark, your death will not be a quick one, Lucian. The time will come when I will have no further use for you … and then … '
"And you think of using my kind to get rid of someone you that you can't deal with, yourself? What do you take me for, Kraven? A fool?" the lycan leader mocked.
"No, a smart man who recognizes a good deal when he sees one. So, do we have an agreement or not?" the vampire commander asked.
There was silence.
"Help me dispose of her and I will help keep Viktor and the other vampires off your back," Kraven offered.
Lucian simply narrowed his eyes before nodding his head slowly.
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They had come out so quickly … she couldn't believe it. The lycans … from behind the trees they fell upon her, thickly like falling apples.
She had taken many of them down. But she was only one and they were many while she had suffered grievous injuries. They continued to stalk and strike at her giving her no rest whatsoever. Or time to recover for that matter …
It was like they had known where she was going … How had they known anyway? Did anyone reveal her whereabouts …
Damora winced in pain as another crossbow bolt slammed into her back. The crossbow bolts would not kill her but they hurt like hell and would slow her down, giving more time to the lycan tracking parties to hunt her down.
D#N! Damora cursed. It was nearly dawn already! And the first beams of sunlight were about to break over the horizon.
Then a sight caught her eyes. A large manor up ahead. Two miles … she thought. Dawn was breaking … could she make it before the sun rose?
Damora gritted her teeth. She would make it. If she was going to die, she would die in a place where she would take as many of her assailants with her to the grave as she could. With a final burst of energy … she threw all her remaining strength into her legs in a mad dash towards the manor.
At the manor …
"Drink … ," the man told her as he offered her his wrist.
Damora did not argue. She drank the man's blood greedily until the man told her to stop. Reluctantly, she ceased her actions and withdrew back into her chair.
"Thank you. You saved my life," she said when she was finally able to speak.
"Now … tell me about yourself," the man replied.
Calmly, Damora sat down and began to relate her life story and quest to the man in front of her.
The man listened … in his chair impassively until she finally reached the end of her story with these words, "The only clue that I have regarding my past is this strange metal staff. My husband told me that he found it in the forest the same night he found me," she took it out of her wrapped bundle and showed the metallic staff to the man who studied it carefully before returning it back to her.
"There is an old temple five hundred miles east from this place. I have heard many tales regarding the caretakers of the temple who are rumoured to possess strange abilities such as moving objects with the power of their minds alone and turning themselves invisible to all forms of sight. Go to them. They might be able to assist you in regaining your lost memories," the man suggested.
"Thank you, my lord. You have my utmost gratitude. Perhaps one day, I may be able to repay this kindness that you have shown me," Damora spoke before leaving his presence.
"And that was how I came to meet Marcus's father for the first time. At his safe house."
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Chapter 12: Chapter 12

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Update: 140404, 080305, 170305, 230805, 190506, 310506, 120307, 080407, 250407, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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"And the fifth angel went out and poured his vial onto the throne of the beast and his kingdom was plunged into darkness."
- Revelation 16:21
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Part 12: Penumbra
Two months later ...
While strolling through the park in his human form, Ranma was to receive his first clue to that identity question. In the wee hours of the morning, the skies suddenly turned dark. So dark that it became like night. 'Damn! Can't see a thing. Where are the stars?' he wondered as he looked up into the skies. There were no stars. No moon to give its light. Just that one single solid sheet of darkness.
'If only I were in my cursed form, I would be able to see.'
As if in answer to the thought in his head, water splashed on top of him from somewhere turning him into his female form. Instantly, he was able to see clearly without any problems.
"My thanks," he whispered to the skies.
"You're welcome." came the reply.
Ranma looked around for the speaker but there was no one present.
'Creepy.' he thought and left the area with a single bound to the top of a ten storey building.
'Something's going on. The strength of my powers and the rate of replenishment of that strange energy in my body have more than doubled. It's like the mystical energies of the planet itself have been reawakened. How?' he wondered as he studied the city from his position. With his keen eyesight, he was able to see people running back and forth in a panic.
He was about to go down and help them when he felt a large source of magical energy heading for him. 'Not good! Not good!' he thought as it drew closer. He leaped down from the building to the bottom only to have the source of magical energy strike him right in the back.
"Arrggghhhh!" he screamed as the energy flooded his body and entered every pore and reacted with the strange energies already present in his body.
CRASH! The sound of Ranma getting smashed through the hard surface of the ground.
"OWWW!" The sound of Ranma screaming as a result of the pain coursing through his whole body.
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Eighty seconds later ...
'What's happening to me?' Ranma thought as the world shifted around him.
'Things seem to be getting small and then big all of a sudden. If this continues I'm going to throw up.'
'Focus on regaining control of the energies in your body.' A voice seemed to say.
"Who said that?" Ranma shouted.
'I did.' The voice replied.
"Who are you?" Ranma asked.
'Your cursed form.' came the reply.
'Listen carefully, Ranma or we might not make it out of this alive. This shouldn't have happened but it did. The huge source of magical energy that struck us has screwed up the energies of your male form, your female form and the Jusenkyo curse. They are all out of alignment. Focus on regaining control of the energies coursing through your body or we might come apart at the seams.'
"Alright!" Ranma spoke and focused on the various energies running wild through his body. There appeared to be four types. First was the ki energy of his male form which he was so familiar with. Then there was the vast reservoir of mystical energy of his female form followed by the patches of Jusenkyo magic moving randomly in all direction. Last was that new pool of magical energy that had just been forcefully inserted into his veins.
Ranma took a hold of them and carefully pushed them together. The vast reservoir of mystical energy, the random patches of Jusenkyo magic and the new pool of magical energy easily came together. But the ki energy refused to mix with them and stayed separate no matter what he did.
'Ranma look out!' The voice spoke.
Ranma turned around and saw a group of six men heading towards him like soldiers. Right before his eyes, their clothes, flesh and skin melted away, giving way to skull-faced humanoids in black metal skeletal armour. They all looked the same except for one with ornate horns and black cape which Ranma correctly assumed to be the leader.
'Stupid illusions.' the voice in his head said.
They headed towards him shoving any object (living or dead) out of their way none too gently.
"Watch it, assh#l!" one man shouted and was ruthlessly cut down for his trouble by the nearest skull-faced humanoid with his black metal spear.
The others ran towards him, their black metal weapons in readiness ...
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The skies had turned dark … like one solid sheet of darkness descending upon them. There was not even the slightest pinprick of light in the sky. No sun, no moon and no stars either. It was as if all the heavenly bodies had agreed to pull a disappearing act simultaneously or the Earth itself had decided it wanted some time out from the rest of the universe … Whatever the case was, for two Tendo sisters it was downright disturbing. Something about the darkness felt unnatural and wrong … like it was not supposed to be there at all.
Earlier on … they had barred their doors and latched their windows when the skies had gone dark without warning … like someone had thrown off the light switch in a dark room except that this was the sun itself … Even the old panda and their father was on edge as they gazed out of their doubly barred windows into the seemingly never ending darkness of the sky.
"It's dark … really dark outside, sis. The sun's gone and there's not even a star in the sky. What's happening?" Akane asked.
"I don't know. Let's find out what's on the news." Nabiki answered.
"And now for the special news bulletin at 8.00 am. This is news anchorman, Mr. Hirokawa reporting live from Okinawa Province."
"So … Mr. Hirokawa, what have you got there?"
"The same thing that everyone else is experiencing. The sky has gone completely dark and has remained so since it first happened an hour ago … at 7.00 am."
"Any explanations as to this unusual phenomena?"
"Well … our scientists and experts are still working on it. I have here with me, Professor Sadako of Tokyo University. So Professor Sadako, what do you think of this event?"
"Well … my first thought was that this was an eclipse caused by something big … I mean really massive … blocking the sun but I ruled that out due to the fact that the entire sky was dark. If this was a solar eclipse, the darkness would have covered the sun only … not block out the entire sky. For something of this magnitude to occur, since the entire sky was and is still completely dark, something really big would have to be used to cover the entire world. But that's impossible because … even if it were big enough … it would have to cover the entire sky simultaneously to achieve an effect like that."
"Any ideas as to how long this thing would continue?"
"To be honest, none."
"Thank you Professor Sadako."
"And now a word from our Minister of Defense, Mr. Yamada. Mr. Yamada what do we have on this strange event?"
"Preliminary readings of the sky suggest that there is nothing in orbit around the Earth at the moment. Which should explain our loss of contact with all communication satellites."
"All communication satellites?"
"Yes. All communication satellites in orbit around the earth. We are currently maintaining contact with all nations around the world through our archaic undersea fiber optic cables and microwave beam towers on Earth.
"Mr. Yamada, did you say all nothing is in orbit at the moment?"
"Yes. I did."
"Does this mean that the moon has gone missing?"
"Yes, as difficult as it is to believe. All scans indicate that the heavenly bodies such as the sun, the moon and the stars have disappeared completely from our charts. As to how this was done, I have no idea."
"And one more thing Mr. Yamada, could this event be a massive hallucination or setup by hostile forces?"
"Well … if it were … I would say those people who accomplished this feat deserved an EA Emmy's Award … for pulling it off successfully on an entire planet!"
"Thank you. That's all we have for now from Channel Nine. We now return to our regular broadcast …"
Nabiki flipped the channel.
"And now live from the ISN channel. Mr. Adams what do have regarding this strange event that has taken place around the entire world?"
"There have been several theories put forth … by experts … in both science and religion."
"So … what do we have?"
"Well from the religious side of things … I will have begin with the Holy See from the Vatican City."
"So … Our Most Holy Father … what does the Vatican have to say about this unexplained occurrence?"
"Well there is a verse in the Bible that may or may not be a reference to this occurrence."
"What verse?"
"Let me read it to you. takes out his Bible And the fifth angel went out and poured his vial onto the throne of the beast and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Revelation 16: 21. That is the best clue that we have as to what this is at the moment."
"Holy Father … you sound rather apocalyptic."
"Apocalyptic? Maybe. But then God has always placed emphasis on his Second Coming and this could be one of his little reminders that He is still around."
"Thank you, for sharing with us your message to the world. Many religious groups believe that this darkness covering the earth is a sign of the end times."
Behind the reporter can be seen … many people worshipping on the ground and holding placards bearing the words JUDGEMENT DAY IS HERE.
"In the Middle East … tensions are rising rapidly as many of the Moslem countries have declared a state of emergency and are up in arms … believing this to be a sign of the coming of the dreaded Al-Dajjal, the so-called Sick Man of Humanity. The Arch-Deceiver, enemy to all that is good predicted to appear in the end times in the Hadith."
"As usual, scientists are, of course, looking at the religious 'end' with a pinch of salt. The most common explanation being that the sun has undergone an 'inverted nova' so to speak causing its light to draw inwards instead of outwards."
"Is that so? How does that explain the disappearance of the stars?"
"Well … they're still trying to figure that part out."
"And what is your explanation, Mr. Adams?"
"It's a bit embarrassing for me to say it out … It sounds far-fetched …"
"At this point in time … anything will do …"
"Alright … Here goes nothing …. takes a deep breath This event is actually a massive blackout engineered by aliens out to take over the entire world. he laughs"
"That's a good one, Mr. Adams. Who knows … with that explanation, you might even win the Nobel Prize when this is over! In the meantime … citizens are urged not to panic and to stay indoors until this unexplained phenomenon is over. Also as a reminder … all forms of communications from Earth to its colonies remain down …"
The lights in the house flickered and then dimmed completely. There was nothing but darkness in the room …
"Crap! Looks like the power is out." Nabiki spoke as she got up from the sofa.
"Sis … I'm scared … I'm getting the feeling that there's something terribly wrong happening … Do you think this has something to do with what-" the youngest Tendo sister answered.
"Cologne told us before? The whole Ba'al thing? Maybe … maybe not … If Kasumi were here …" before realizing something important.
"Akane … have you or has anyone here seen Kasumi?" the middle Tendo sister asked.
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CRASH! The brick wall crumbled as a pole-length black metal axe went smashing through it, narrowly missing Ranma as he dived beneath it.
'My power appears to be restricted when it comes to living things or magical artifacts, Ranma,' the 'other' voice spoke. The pigtailed martial artist turned beauty queen had earlier tried to stop them with his powers only to find them rather useless.
"Now you tell me." Ranma growled beneath his breath as he leaped upwards avoiding another fast forward slash from one of those creatures.
While in the air, he threw a blast of dark energy at the leader which (much to Ranma's surprise) it deflected with its large black metal sword into a nearby van that exploded showering them with shrapnel.
'Well ... I knew those weapons were enchanted but who would ever guess they were resistant to my powers?'
"You got anything else to share with me that I didn't already know, O Wise One?" asked the pigtailed martial artist rather acidly.
Three black metal weapons combed the air where Ranma was previously only to be disappointed. Ranma dropped to the ground, rolled below the swinging weapons and quickly lifted up the nearest car he could get his hands on and threw it at the attacking creatures (which Ranma deduced to be non-humans as he could see their metallic tails and claws).
It went up in a thundering explosion as a black metal axe cleaved through it to reveal the black metal creature behind it.
'Not yet. I would let you know as soon as I do though. You got to remember I've been out of the loop for a few millennia. Things have changed quite a bit since the last time I saw them.' the all-too familiar voice replied calmly.
He was broken out of his thoughts by the sounds of people running back and forth smashing windows, setting the places on fire and tearing the place apart.
"What's going on? Why are they tearing up the entire neighbourhood?"
'Human behaviour has always been a mystery to me.'
"Got it this time!" Ranma cheered as his blast of dark energy vaporised one of the metallic creatures as it leaped to the top of a three storey building alongside him. Acting on instinct, Ranma ripped the metal ladder from its rungs with his alien powers and sent it careening towards the group of metal creatures coming at him.
One of the metal creatures batted it aside only to have the metal ladder suddenly wrapped itself around it like rope with sharp spikes that pierced its metal armour killing it instantly.
Undaunted by the death of their compatriot, the four remaining creatures made a rush towards him. The pigtailed martial artist was about to leap to safety when he heard the voice again.
'Ranma, create an armour of electricity around yourself.'
Ranma did so and his body was enveloped by an aura of crackling electricity. Two of the creatures were unable to stop their forward charge and the speed of their momentum carried them straight into the large sphere of electrical energy that extended outwards from the pigtailed martial artist in a ten-foot radius. Consequently ending up … deep-fried. Both creatures fell to the ground in a heap.
The leader was able to stop itself, however, and swung its large black sword at the solid foundation of a large tank of water, cutting through it like a hot knife through butter. Thus … sending it toppling in Ranma's direction.
In response, the pigtailed martial artist turned beauty queen grabbed hold of the structure with his alien power and threw the entire tank right back at the leader. It deftly avoided the blow by leaping away with its companion to disappear into the streets below.
Quickly, he chased after it, dispelling his aura of electricity as he did so, substituting it with a sleek suit of black metal armour instead that fitted his body like a second skin. When he arrived at the edge of the building, the creature seemed to ... his combat instincts prompted his hands to catch hold of a black metal spear that came flying towards his face.
Grabbing hold of it, he leaped downwards, narrowly avoiding another swipe from above and parrying very quickly what looked like black chains striking at him with the speed of a viper when he felt the disturbing sensation of magic. Something struck him, blinding him momentarily followed by the crash of thunder. Much to his surprise, it hurt. Another blinding flash followed by the crash of thunder and then more pain.
'Magic. The fool's armed with magic.' Ranma realized as his eyes rapidly adjusted to the changes in light enabling to catch sight of the enemy.
A dozen winged humanoids (which briefly reminded him of angels) with skin as black as night and chains attached to each of their limbs were hovering in the skies. Their hands carried black metal weapons identical to those used by those skull-faced humanoids.
'One or more of them's using lightning spells. Go indoors. That way they won't be able to use it.' the voice suggested.
Without wasting anytime, Ranma smashed his way through the brick wall throwing himself into the darkness of the room, just in time to avoid what appeared to be another burst of electrical energy from the skies.
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Chapter 13: Chapter 13

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Update: 140404, 080305, 170305, 230805, 190506, 310506, 120307, 080407, 250407, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 13: Merger
Meanwhile … deep within the inner recesses of our favourite pigtailed martial artist's mind, a conversation is taking place with between him and the mysterious voice …
"So … Who are you … really? I mean I can't keep calling you, 'you' or 'cursed form' or 'Wise One' all the time," Ranma asked.
"Friends call me Beryl," the voice which sounded distinctly female replied.
A memory tugged at his mind.
The large metal doors opened to reveal the figure of a very beautiful and well-formed woman in black robes. The servants and guards manning the gateway bowed low at her passing, as though they were in the presence of a greater being. This was not far from the truth as there was a new power flowing through her … a power that differentiated her from them … a power greater than any magic she had ever known … All easily available at a moments notice … at her fingertips …
The woman stopped and knelt before the High King.
"Rise, my servant." He beckoned.
"Yes, Master," she answered.
"You shall henceforth be known as Ba'al Rhea, Mistress of the Moon."
"Beryl … Ba'al Rhea … Mistress of the Moon … The Order of the Black Crescent? Than you're the trai-" Ranma concluded, as her inner 'eyes' narrowed.
"The Traitor of the Silver Alliance? I wouldn't say that. Have a care, Ranma, before you start condemning me!" the voice replied sharply.
"But why?"
"The answer lies within you! We are going to be one after all …"
"Ariana … Don't do this," a voice pleaded.
"You cast me out … and you tried to kill me. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't bury you all right now," the Shadow Queen replied as she cut down another Atlantean soldier rushing at her.
"Midas is your father, Ariana," the woman spluttered as she crawled to his side.
"A likely story." Lightning surged forth killing another Atlantean soldier who had thrown himself in front of the bolt to protect the King.
"Ariana, please … He couldn't let you marry Endymion with good reason. You and Endymion are siblings," the woman tried.
"Bullsh#t! If he were, I would already have known about it!" the Shadow Queen shouted.
"Endymion is your half-brother. You didn't know because traces of your ancestry was hidden from everyone by none other than the one who brought you into this world, the Archmage Zyrina herself. No mage who lived had sufficient skill or power to penetrate her enchantments." The man beside the King answered.
"Rathan! How nice of you to speak. I thought you had lost your tongue!" she sneered as flames suddenly came into existence around the man.
Her face twisted into a scowl. "I'm still not good enough for your Crown Prince, am I?" she jeered.
Flames burned the man but he stubbornly refused to scream.
"Ariana please … You'll kill him!" the Crown Prince pleaded.
The skies turned dark.
"That's the whole idea! Did you know that he was the man who tried to kill me during the Third Expedition Foray?" the Shadow Queen pointed out.
"Please Ana-shan …" the Crown Prince pleaded once again.
The entire court including the King and Queen turned to face the man.
"Ana please …I promise you … we will get to the bottom of the matter …" the Crown Prince pleaded.
"Anything for you … my love." The Shadow Queen answered with a wicked smirk on her face.
The flames winked out as suddenly as they had appeared.
"Is this true, Rathan?" the King asked.
"Yes … your Highness …" the man replied reluctantly.
"You were my closest friend and my most trusted associate. How could you do this?" the King asked in disbelief.
"You're too compassionate for your own good, Your Majesty. Lord Ahriman Aerihza remains your greatest political opponent and most dangerous enemy in all of Atlantis. If the affair between Endymion and Ariana had become public knowledge, the political fallout would have been immeasurable. It would have given him and his followers a pretext to bring down the Azvin Government that had ruled Atlantis for centuries, your Majesty. Whether the power grab would have succeeded or not was another thing entirely but it would have resulted in a civil war at a time we could ill-afford. The war would have dragged on for generations. This outcome had to be prevented at any cost," the man answered.
"At any cost? Even cold-blooded murder? Do you know how many people perished in the destruction of the Third Expedition Foray, Rathan?" the Shadow Queen asked.
"Four thousand six hundred and forty-two soldiers not counting the women and children."
"Yes … and you did it without raising an eyebrow."
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Atlantis would not have survived a civil war."
"I'm amazed at your sense of justification and morality … the second highest in authority in all of Atlantis and the Chief Advisor to the King giving the order for mass murder in the name of maintaining peace and prosperity. Am I hearing this right?" the Shadow Queen remarked acidly.
"Better to let one die than to have the whole nation go down in flames." The man snapped.
Lightning struck down from the heavens hitting the Shadow Queen, blinding everyone around her. Thunder crashed in the background, deafening those within range. When the light cleared from their eyes, they could see a large sphere of electrical energy dancing in and around the palm of her hand.
The Shadow Queen held her other hand out to the Crown Prince.
"Please my love … You have heard his vile answer and twisted sense of fairness. While he speaks of justice, he murders the innocent. Come with me. There's going to be nothing left of this place once the High King is here."
Endymion was about to get to his feet when the King answered …
"No, his actions do not speak for the Crown much less Atlantis! If we started justifying everything we did even the small ones, eventually everyone would be able to justify their deeds and commit atrocities throughout the lands en masse in the name of order…and there would be no end to this debacle. Unfortunately, Rathan's right. You cannot marry Ariana. And there will be no trial."
"What?" Endymion shrieked in outrage.
"So now … we get a fair sense of Atlantean justice," The Shadow Queen replied sarcastically.
The Chief Advisor smiled thinly in reply.
"But why? Father? Why?" the Atlantean Prince shouted.
"Be silent, Endymion!"
"Let me answer for him. Because any trial of the Chief Advisor would have brought this affair to light. And that is something even the King wishes to avoid. Isn't than right, Your Majesty?" the Shadow Queen replied mockingly.
The King ignored her.
"Chief Advisor Rathan … as punishment for your terrible crimes and deeds … you and all those who follow you shall be cast out from all of Atlantis for all time! Never again will you set foot into any of our dwellings and our cities! Never again will you speak to any of our people! Never again will any Atlantean ever render any form of aid to you and all those who have taken up with you until Forceria ceases to be! Should you or any of your followers break my decrees, action shall be taken against you without an ounce of mercy. You and those who follow you are now banished and cut off, root and branch, from House Azvin and the rest of the Clans forever! This I proclaim!"
The Chief Advisor became silent upon hearing the King's pronounciation of his sentence.
"As you wish, my King. I could not have asked for anything more," the Chief Advisor knelt.
"Now begone from my sight!" the King ordered.
The man left without any further preamble. A slight tremor rocked the ground, jolting them slightly. The Shadow Queen cursed softly.
"They're here … Endymion … come with me, quickly." The Shadow Queen gestured.
The Crown Prince quickly got to his feet and headed in her direction. A radiant smile lit up her face upon seeing her lover's approach.
"Endymion! No!"
"Don't do this!"
"Please, my son … I beg of you!"
"Your Highness … Don't do this to us!"
There was a sudden commotion behind him. Turning around, Endymion saw to his shock, his father, mother and the entire Court as well as the elite guard on their knees before him.
"Mom … Dad … Why are you doing this?" he asked looking at both the kneeling entourage before turning back to his lover.
"You really do not know what you are doing … do you, my son? We will not rise from the ground until you give us your word that you will not follow her," the King spoke from his kneeling position on the ground.
The ground trembled more strongly beneath their feet.
"Endymion … please hurry. I cannot hold off the High King's servants forever. Already, they are beginning to break through whatever defenses I have placed," the Shadow Queen pleaded.
"Endymion … I didn't know you loved …" Ranma whispered.
The scene continued … unabated.
The Crown Prince looked back and forth alternately between his true love and the Atlantean entourage kneeling on the ground several times … not knowing what to do. It was a very difficult choice.
Family … or his one true love? He could only choose one … but not both.
So … whom should he choose? He pondered his dilemma ... there was just no way of coming out of this unscathed.
Even without looking, he was aware of the fact that both sides were studying his reactions intently.
One way or another, the Crown Prince knew that his next action would determine his destiny and all those involved … for all eternity.
Finally … he gave his reply.
"I can't. My place is with them …," The Crown Prince answered.
The Shadow Queen did not answer. There was no need to. Her next action spoke louder than any words she could have used.
There was a powerful explosion knocking everyone back more than twenty feet.
"Then DIE!" she roared for the first time in their lives, leaving them in shock. Her hands blazing with power ….
For one moment, the Crown Prince thought that his end had come … at the hands of his beloved. He had never seen her so angry in his life. It was a complete irony. He had expected to die in battle at the hands of his enemies. Not at the hands of his one true love.
But then again, who could foresee the future?
Suddenly, he found himself lifted off the ground by the neck and face-to-face with his true love as …
"Is that what you want?! Death?!" The tone of her voice was harsh, belying her anger.
"I'm sorry … I sort of lost myself there …" she spoke, her voice softened after having once again forced her emotions back under control through sheer strength of will.
The blinding energies surrounding her hands faded away … leaving only her gentle hands that once brought much comfort to him.
"Endymion, you once promised me that you would never disappoint me. Make love to me like you always did …"
Her harsh gaze softened.
"Show those liars that they can't keep us away from each other. Show the world what our love means. Show them what true love is …" she spoke candidly though lacking the usual confidence that it usually did.
The Crown Prince looked into her eyes … her very hopeful and loving eyes … Though there was also something present … a silent plea … and something else he had not seen in a long time from Ariana … fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of abandonment. She drew him closer into an embrace … until for a moment, their lips could almost touch …
Ariana … please. Don't do this to me. Endymion prayed.
He was torn. Part of him just wanted to forget the world and give her what she wanted … what she desired …
Be with Ariana. Forget duty. Forget destiny. Everything would be alright with this one …true … kiss … It said.
The other part of him said NO. Not after what he had learned about their bloodlines. She was his half-sister. It just wouldn't be right.
The Crown Prince cursed inwardly at his choice. Why did things have to turn out this way? This wasn't fair! This wasn't fair at all! Not fair to him! And certainly not fair to Ariana!
What could he do? What should he do?
Endymion did the most difficult thing he had ever done in his life.
He turned away.
"No. This isn't right. What … we … did … was … a … mis … take …" he managed to choke out.
Forgive me, Ariana.
No sooner had he finished uttering those words when he suddenly found himself lying on the ground … his breath all knocked out of him …
"Mistake! Is that all you can say? What about our hopes? Our dreams? What about us? Have you just decided to dump everything we had between us just because of what they said?" The Shadow Queen cried out in anguish, her face transformed into one of pure fury.
"Aria-" the Crown Prince was about to say before being interrupted.
The scene ended.
"Endymion … he … he … betrayed me! We were meant to be together! Yet I never forgot him!"
"Oh …"
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Another set of memories washed over him.
"Endymion! It is not safe here! Come follow me! My servants will bear you to safety!" A familiar voice called out.
"Beryl…" Endymion's voice was soft yet chilling. She was here.
Slowly, he rose from the ground to face his forbidden love.
"En … dy … mi … on?" the beautiful woman called out hesitatingly as uncertainty crept into her voice.
"Or should I say your real name and title, Ba'al Rhea, Mistress of the Moon …" he addressed her formally.
"You have betrayed us to the very forces that we strove to protect mankind from. Not only have you betrayed everything we fought for, you have sealed the doom of mankind as well."
"But Endymion … everything I did, I did it for us. For the both of us! For the love that we shared! And for my people as well! Sealing the Ba'al with my people in the Nightlands is hardly something I would consider benevolent. You of all people should know what the Ba'al are like, … my love. And what they are capable of …" the Shadow Queen explained, her voice turning into a plea.
"Then we are opposed to each other …" the Prince of Atlantis replied. His decision made, he drew his magical weapon, the Sword of Atlantis, from its golden metallic scabbard. Its golden blade began to glow brightly in the darkness of the tower.
"It doesn't have to be this way … Endymion. The Ba'al have gifted me with their great powers and knowledge as well as everlasting life! I can do the same for you! All they ask for in return is their freedom and Forceria. They don't want the Nightlands. Come with me! We can build a new kingdom together and rule the Nightlands happily as king and queen forever and ever! Let us be what we were always meant to be! Endymion … please," the Shadow Queen pleaded, desperation creeping into her voice.
It broke his heart but Endymion managed to give his soul mate a cold, hard stare that nearly forced her a step back.
"In another lifetime … perhaps … but for now … humanity cries out in distress … and … its future must be preserved!" the Prince of Atlantis readied his magical weapon and drove forward with all his might. In the blink of an eye, he had covered the distance separating his former lover from him.
"Endymion …" Beryl spoke, her eyes widening in disbelief at the prince's action.
His aim was true. His purpose firm. In one swift blow, the Prince of Atlantis had plunged his sword straight through the heart of his former lover to come out from the other side of the Shadow Queen's body. Blood spilled to the ground as she wavered unsteadily on her legs beneath the attack.
"En … dy … mi ….oo….nnn … do … you …truly … desire … to … kill … me … that … much?" she cried, stunned at the actions of her lover.
Endymion did not answer the question. In actuality, he did not know how to answer it. Without a word, the Prince drew his blade back out from the Shadow Queen, causing her to fall to her knees. Much to his disbelief (and surprise), Beryl's wounds closed rapidly right before his eyes. Apparently, she was neither bluffing nor delusional when she told him that the Ba'al had gifted her with their great powers and abilities. Though if that were the case …
"You have changed," he replied as he readied his weapon once again.
Endymion knew he had to act quickly. Despite the Shadow Queen's current inability to attack him at the moment (more from shock and grief than anything else), the situation could change quickly. More than that, he could feel the presence of not one … but several powerful entities entering the portal. The Ba'al must already be on their way back to Forceria.
"So have you. Why?" came the question, her voice, clearly a mixture of pain and anguish.
She had risen to her feet but had made no move to attack nor defend herself from him.
"The needs of the many outweigh … the needs of the few, Ana-shan …" the Prince of Atlantis replied sadly as tears streamed down from his eyes.
With all his strength, the Prince drove his magical sword … not into the Shadow Queen's body … but into the ground of the tower.
Cracks appeared in the floor beneath him and … her.
Suddenly, without warning, the section of the ground the Shadow Queen was stepping on gave way taking her to the bottom of the chasm.
"En … dy … mi … oo … nnnn … Why?" came the faint cry again before the chamber he was in was once more shrouded by silence.
"Ana … forgive me … I swear I will make it up to you somehow … someday …" he whispered before pressing the button in the center of the crystal. There was a blinding flash of light as the Tower of the Black Moon erupted in an ear-splitting explosion, destroying the portal to the Nightlands forever.
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Outside of Ranma's mind …
A powerful explosion rocked the ground reminding Ranma that the chase was not over yet. Quickly, he made his way through the room only to come up against another brick wall. Without wasting his time, he smashed his way through it, to find himself standing on the railroad tracks of the underground subway station …right in the path of an inbound train.
'SH#T!' was the only thing that went through his mind as it approached him at breakneck speed.
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Deep within the inner recesses of Ranma's mind …
"Yes. It was I who betrayed the Silver Alliance. It was I who turned against the Moon Kingdom. Why? They deserved it! For denying true love its place! For committing mass murders in the name of justice! For sealing the Ba'al in the Nightlands and leaving my race to their tender mercies! Their lack of appreciation is galling! Many of my kind were hunted down and slaughtered like animals. They were the lucky ones. Those who weren't … "
Suddenly, Ranma had a vision of the terrible war and the aftermath that followed. The screams of their prisoners would echo through his nightmares for many weeks to come.
"The Ba'al are monsters, through and through. To them, we were nothing more than cattle to be butchered, broken and devoured at their whim. We fought them for centuries in the Nightlands for the sake of our very souls. The war of attrition ate at both sides and countless numbers died. Countless more disappeared. Until one day a gigantic projection of the self-styled ruler of the Ba'al that filled up the dark skies over our heads appeared. He had a message for us. Peace in exchange for eternal servitude. We would have spat upon it but Moloch was not done. Power and knowledge to those who joined the Ba'al. Death and damnation to those who refused. Naturally I rejected it since I saw this as nothing more than a ploy to sow confusion and division among my people. But there were others who disagreed. Those who were tired of the fighting and running. Chief among them, Chancellor Wiseman and the Black Moon Family. They coveted the secrets of the Ba'al despite the fact that they were our enemies. They piled pressure upon me in the Inner Chamber until I had no choice but to give in to their demands," Beryl explained.
Ranma was about to ask why when she replied.
"Our people were faced with the prospect of disunity, a situation we could have ill-afforded right there and then. Despite the support of my four top commanders and the Black Crescent Army, Chancellor Wiseman and the Black Moon Family 's hold on my people could not be dismissed so easily as they commanded a great deal of influence in both the political and economic arena respectively. It was a terrible and difficult decision to make."
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Outside of Ranma's mind …
He leaped upwards at the incoming train in the one spot that he knew would give way to him easily – the train window. There was the loud sound of breaking glass as his body smashed right through the window. He landed on the rail of the moving train rolling to the ground as he did so much to the surprise of the passengers on board.
"Excuse me …" he said before picking himself up from the ground and making his way to an empty seat. With but a gesture, the broken glass collected themselves back together from the floor of the train before becoming the glass window from before. With another gesture it attached itself back to the window frame much to the disbelief of the passengers.
For a moment there was silence as all the passengers tried to comprehend what had just happened. Unfortunately, nobody could. So the trip proceeded in stunned disbelief. And denial. Typical human trait.
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Deep inside the inner recesses of Ranma's mind …
"I still remember it like yesterday. Endymion, Prince of Atlantis, he proposed to me and I accepted. But Rathan, chief advisor to Midas, King of Atlantis, opposed his marriage to me. He was biased against my kind and feared them in general. His job was made easier with the Ba'al's imprisonment in the Nightlands."
"What do you mean?"
"Our kind are living doubles of all the humans that ever lived. Just as the Black Crescent is the counterpart of the Moon Kingdom in the Nightlands, I was the Nightlands counterpart of Queen Serenity herself! Her living double and twin sister! Maybe even closer than that, for I was an exact duplicate of her … in both mind and body. You realize it now … do you, Ranma …"
"No …"
"Yes, deny it all you want. We are Doppelgangers, shades of the living. We cast no shadows in strong or dim light nor do we have any reflections in mirrors or clear water." her voice trailed off.
"You lie! I have a reflection and cast a shadow!" Ranma shrieked.
Ignoring the pigtailed martial artist's mental outburst, the Shadow Queen continued.
"Until our earthly double dies, that is. Once that happens, our shadows and reflections become visible to sight."
"No … It can't be true …"
"I know it is difficult to face the truth but you are not the real Ranma. You never were. I 'm sorry. I wish there was an easier way of putting it to you but there isn't."
"No! I can't accept that! Sixteen years worth of memories must mean something! I possess all of Ranma's skills, his abilities and knowledge. I am him!"
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The passengers next to the cyan-haired woman began to stare and moved away from her as the expressions on her face took on a more outwardly intense cast.
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"All Doppelgangers possess the memories and skills of their earthly doubles. You may carry his face and even his curse but you are not him. The real Ranma is dead. You saw his body yourself," the female voice replied confidently.
"You're lying! I'm going to get Ka … " that was all Ranma managed to say as the merger between his essence and the spirit neared completion.
"No … Ranma dear … you are certainly not going to get Kasumi to break our bond and consequently get me killed in the process. I've been dead long enough already …" the female voice replied with a sinister edge to her usual friendly tone of voice.
"And I whole-heartedly wish to live …" she added to no one in particular.
"What do you want from me? I know that you don't want me dead otherwise you won't have gone to such great lengths to preserve my life," the former Queen spoke with resignation in her voice.
"What do I want? A very good question. Actually it all depends on whether you want to live or die. Serve me and rule by my side. Refuse and die horribly. The choice is yours. My servants and advisors think that I'm wasting my time in doing this but I believe that you will make the sensible choice. So what is it going to be, Ariana?" The High King asked. "To live or die?"
The former Queen of Lami-ra answered in the only way she could … and would … for many generations to come.
"I … choose … to live."
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Even thousands of years from that incident … those words, continued to haunt her every action and word in life.
'Will I never be free off the reach of the Dark Wielders? Of having to make life and death decisions?' Beryl wondered.
The beautiful cyan-haired woman's expression softened as the inside battle between the two personalities came to an end. Ignoring the stares around her, she leaned back in her seat and relaxed. Soon enough, all that remained of Ranma's essence and memories would be fully assimilated within her, making all his knowledge and abilities, hers to use. And improve upon, she mused. And once ready, she would lead her people to victory over their hated enemies, the Ba'al-ze-Neckt.
The train came to a stop.
"Nerima Ward." A female voice announced over the speaker.
The doors of the subway train opened. Some of the passengers in the train got out and a few other passengers got in.
A beautiful woman with black, shoulder-length hair and form fitting dress sat down in the empty seat beside her with a shopping bag.
"Hello Ranma-kun …" she said, her familiar voice turning the Shadow Queen's inside with dread.
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Chapt er 14: Chapter 14

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Update: 070407, 020907
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 14: Draft
The Shadow Queen turned around and groaned inwardly.
"Hello. Fancy meeting you here … Kasumi?" were all the words she could muster as her eyes fell on the speaker.
'Curse it! Of all the people … why did it have to be Kasumi? I don't believe it! She's powerful … more powerful than Ranma gave her credit for! But that can't be! She's not a Dark Wielder! Nor a Senshi! What is she?'
"It's a small world after all, Ranma. Now I would like to speak with him if you don't mind," the elder Tendo sister said with a knowing smile on her face.
The conversation of all the other passengers in the train had ground to a halt as if some important and … rather breathtaking event had just taken place.
'D#AMNT! She knows!'
"It's going to be awhile. Ranma's rather tired at the moment. I'm filling in for him," the Shadow Queen replied quickly.
"Is that so? Then you wouldn't mind me tagging along to meet him, would you?" the beautiful Tendo sister suggested with her ever-so-sweet and innocent smile …
'She's just mocking me! She can't be that daft!'
"I can't. Wherever I'm going, its pretty dangerous. Especially for lone housewife-types like you," the Shadow Queen insinuated hoping that her bluff worked.
'Come on … come on … ' the Shadow Queen pleaded inwardly.
"All the more reason why single girls like us should stick closely together, don't you think?" the Tendo sister countered as she drew closer to the Shadow Queen, her lips almost touching her ear. "After all, there is nothing like true love," she added in a whisper-like-tone of voice.
The other passengers (especially the men) who had been staring (and drinking in the sight of those oh-so-perfect-beautiful women) drew back subconsciously.
'This is bad! She loves him!' The Shadow Queen thought desperately.
"My affair with Ranma is private and I intend to keep it that way," the Shadow Queen answered as firmly as she could.
Unfazed, the Tendo sister replied, "If you say so. However, I must insist on hearing from him myself."
"I can't do that. Do I look like Ranma's mother to you?" the Shadow Queen asked.
The tension in the air began to tighten as the auras surrounding the two women became visible. The lights in the carriage began to flicker wildly and the screen displays began to blur.
Everyone standing and sitting around the two women started to edge away from them as much as they could in the packed carriage.
Cracks appeared in the glass windows before it erupted in a shower of broken glass. Then darkness … as the lights above them exploded, terrifying all their fellow passengers.
"No, you don't. But it would be bad for somebody who isn't Ranma's mother to keep away his true love from him, right?" the Tendo sister chided.
At this question, all the remaining (including the previously leering male) passengers cleared out from the seats around the two girls in an awful hurry, leaving the usually packed carriage empty.
And as they reached the next destination … the entire subway train. grins
Yes … Kasumi Tendo strikes again! Hallelujah!
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Metal spikes rose upwards from the body of the train to wrap around the Tendo sister in a vise-like grip … crushing her and grinding her to dust.
The Shadow Queen felt a sudden ripple behind her and moved swiftly, her lightning-fast reflexes and centuries of constant exposure to danger saving her from a blade of pure energy that sliced through the seat faster than a hot knife through butter. Another ripple from the side and she danced out of range, an aura of fire forming around her in a ten-foot radius, incinerating anything within range on the spot. Paper burnt, plastic melted and the metal bars turned red-hot. Still it did little to slow down much less weaken her deadly foe who was moving faster than she had believed possible.
"You've been holding back," the Shadow Queen concluded before lowering her head to avoid an upward thrust by her swiftly moving opponent.
"So have you," the Tendo sister answered as she disappeared to avoid the sharp metal spikes that had speared her body … only to reappear behind the Shadow Queen.
The Shadow Queen moved aside quickly to avoid her transparent blade that cut through the metal bar of the train and the row of passenger seats showering both combatants with shrapnel. While moving, Beryl gathered her powers and then she used them to bring down the ceiling of the train on top of Kasumi. A transparent force field appeared … holding the ceiling's collapse in check as a burst of electrical energy erupted from the Shadow Queen towards the eldest Tendo sister … who disappeared from sight to once again reappear behind the Shadow Queen.
This time Beryl was ready. Blasts of shadow energy rained down onto the eldest Tendo sister who simply brought up a shimmering force field holding all the blasts in place.
"You're not a Dark Wielder. What are you?" the Shadow Queen asked as a sharp sword with a blade as dark as night appeared in her hand to parry the eldest Tendo sister's strike who had once again reappeared behind her.
The carriage buckled wildly as both combatants continued to lash out at each other with their weapons and powers. The very air itself crackled and rippled with energy as both their powers continued to smash into each other with little to no effect.
"I am what I am. Now give Ranma back to me! I insist … before I get nasty!" Kasumi ordered, her voice taking on a sterner quality.
Power gathered in her hands and a massive distortion of light formed around them before covering her completely and warping the very air around her, the light growing to blinding intensity …
"Remember … if I die, Ranma dies with me …" The Shadow Queen answered boldly as she did likewise … her powers over light, shadow, fire and electricity covering her like a second skin.
To that … the eldest Tendo sister simply replied, "The living know that they shall die but the dead know not anything …And you … you belong with the dead!"
Their powers collided with terrific force … twisting, melting and warping their very surroundings until the elements that made up the universe screamed at being treated so … and that was all the punishment the already badly-damaged subway train could take … before it shook violently one last time … rearing up into the air like a snake … into the roof of the tunnel … with the force of a battering ram …
A large fiery explosion roared through the subway tunnel in all directions … consuming everything in its path as it leaped skywards … lighting the dark surroundings … for miles around …
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Runes of light lit up the area and then time itself came to a standstill …
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Chapter 15: Chapter 15

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Update: 120307, 111107, 100608
Disclaimer: Ranma and the Nerima Wrecking Crew belong to Rumiko Takahashi while Rifts and Nightspawn belong to Palladium. Babylon 5, Nightspawn and Sailormoon belong to all their creators respectively.
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Part 15: Draft
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There was a blinding flash of light and then everything came to a standstill. The duel, the palace, the Ba'al … they all faded away like leaves being blown by the wind … leaving the gentle light. But wait! … S-she was not alone! As a matter of fact, s-she could feel a presence … a strange presence that took away all her worries and exhaustion from her previous battle, enabling her to re-collect her thoughts.
Who are you? A voice seemed to ask before she could say or do anything, though.
Its voice was warm and comforting, a deep contrast from the mind-voice earlier.
For a moment, Serenity hesitated before she answered, "One who defends."
What do you want? The voice asked again.
"To vanquish all that seek to destroy and enslave us."
Why are you here?
That was a strange question but somehow Serenity knew she had to give the right answer to whoever was asking her.
"To serve and protect," she answered.
Where are you going?
"To save the future," she answered.
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The impossible began to happen. The flames surrounding the creature began to shrink before dying out. All around the palace the same scene was repeated.
"Divine intervention …" the creature growled, its hellish red flames intensifying in return as it poured more and more power into fighting whatever force was driving them back …
… all in vain, however, as the flames simply retreated back to it, causing the creature to fade in and out repeatedly without stopping. It was having great difficulty in maintaining its presence, Serenity mused as she looked on, rooted to the spot by the miracle that had taken place right before her eyes. Finally, after what seemed to be one last futile attempt to stem the changing tide of battle, it gave up.
"A thousand curses!Lorien …You will regret this …" It snarled and with a final curse, disappeared from the palace like it never was.
"Lorien? The First One?" the Queen asked, as though not believing her ears. "I thought you were a myth."
Many do. Your time, however, has come.
"What about the …" Serenity asked again.
Worry not about them. Come … follow me.
The body of the Queen faded into motes of light before disappearing from sight.
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In an unspeakable place that no one ever deserved to be sent to ... and where demons fear to tread ...
"The Old Ones stir. Their influence over the waking world grows with every second. We must do something before they awaken completely," a voice hissed from the darkness.
"Easier said than done. The First Ones stand in our way," spoke another, its voice rippling like waves through the surroundings.
"The First Ones? Why should they try to stop us? They want the same things we do! The Old Ones eliminated forever!" a third voice joined in.
"You've never met them. You do not know. Serenity … she escaped damnation at my hands." The first voice answered as an old memory resurfaced.
"Impossible! We survived the taint of the Old Ones! No mortal can stand against us!" The second voice countered.
"I'm not talking about the mortals! I'm talking about Lorien!" the first voice hissed and crackled like flames on the ground.
"Lorien?" a new voice echoed from all over the surrounding darkness.
"Yes. Lorien stopped me more than twenty thousand cycles ago,"the first voice swore loudly.
"Only because you let him or perhaps you have grown weak?" the second voice sneered.
" He's an obstacle! Just get rid of him!" third voice roared.
"Grown weak? Perhaps you would care to test your strength against mine?" the first voice implored.
"Perhaps I might ... and again I might not ... Still it is a tempting proposal ... Another time then ..." the second voice echoed sinisterly.
"Very well. Another time then ... after we have dealt with Lorien, First One among First Ones!Lorien was there when the first stars appeared … and he will still be there after the last star has disappeared. Killing him would be something to remember!" the creature laughed as it recalled the ancient battle with the Moon Kingdom and the First Ones.
'FOOLS!' the third speaker thought but refrained from speaking its mind.
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