Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction ❯ In the Shadow of the Moon ❯ Chapter 12 Explorations ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
disclaimer - I don't own Ranma 1/2, Sailor moon, Ruroni Kenshin, or Negima. this work is purely for entertainment and not for profit

Chapter 12 - Explorations

Xian Pu after leaving the arcade went into the closest alley and stepped behind a dumpster to gain cover from the street. A few moments later a grey and lavender cat came out from under the front of the dumpster and approached the front of the arcade. Hopping up to the sill in front of the window and finding a shady spot behind a shrub Neko-Xian settled in to watch the senshi.

Making her report about the confrontation to her grandmother went well. The elder accepted her reasoning that if a senshi was plotting harm to someone who could not defend themselves it was best to shift their attention to someone who could defend themselves. The elder made clear she knew this was justification after the fact and warned Xian Pu to be more cautious in the future. The elder was currently working on putting names, senshi and civilian, for the faces Xian Pu sent through the link

The short haired blond was just now picking herself from the floor. Xian Pu noted that the girl's pride made her refuse her from the others. She could not hear what was being said from her vantage point but often more can be learned from body language anyway.

Haruka was still struggling to take a full breath climbing back into the booth next to Michiru. The others girls had recovered from their shock and were anxiously inquiring if she was all right. Waving them off, Haruka focused on breathing. Eventually she gets her breath back and growls, "I will get that little bitch."

With a stern voice Usagi asks, "For what? From where I am sitting you attacked her and she defended herself." The other girls nod their agreement, except for Michiru who just looks away.

Trying to defend her position, Haruka replies,"Usagi, she threatened me."

The twin ponytailed blond sadly shakes her head, "No you asked her a heated question and she responded in kind."

"She intruded in a conversation she had no business in." Haruka returns unwilling to retreat.

Usagi is now glaring,"No you insulted and threatened people she apparently knows and cares about in a not so quiet voice. She calmly stated she would not let you harm or insult someone who could not defend themselves. I am surprised more people in the arcade did not hear you."

Seeing a new avenue, Haruka ventures, "What kind of coincidence was it that a chinese girl happened to be sitting near us and just happened to know the people in question, when they lived in a different district?"

Usagi blink-blinks, "I had not thought of that, but it does not excuse your actions. I would say it would be best to leave her alone in the future. It seems she knows how to handle herself very well."

Haruka presses on. "She could not be a normal person. What if she is part of this new problem we are having with the random demon attacks?"

Usagi does not like the turn of conversation. she offers quietly, "I agree her presence here seems convenient, but this sounds like your trying to justify using your senshi abilities against her next time because of your wounded pride."

Haruka attempts to make a come back to this but fails. She does succeed in imitating a fish for a few moments, opening and closing her mouth. Finally she concedes the point and settles into a sulk.

Usagi continues, "We should investigate using what we have at our disposal. Michiru can you try using the deep aqua mirror to try and get a reading on the girl? Ami you said you have been running a constant scan did you get any readings?"

Ami pulls out the mercury computer and looks at the readings. Michiru similarly pulls out a small hand mirror and concentrates on its surface.

Ami quickly goes through the data and responds. "There are no abnormal pattern readings. The scan shows that the girl had very strong life energy readings but that is not unusual for martial artists, which I assume she is. I saw her enter a while after we did and she was simply enjoying her ice cream until Haruka stormed in."

Michiru lets out a groan of frustration. "I can't get a good reading. It is like looking at afterimages." Continuing before Haruka can interject. "That is not an unknown event though. I have some friends who are dedicated artists that are known for the unpredictability of how they play a music score that behave similarly."

Usagi chews on her lower lip while thinking this over. "Rei, perhaps we should try a fire reading and see what the result is?" Seeing Rei nod in approval Usagi asks, "By the way Haruka where is Hotaru-chan?"

Haruka blink-blinks and Michiru checks her watch, and lets out a small 'eep'. "We need to go now and pick her up from a piano lesson." Michiru hastily replies, and the two girls make their way to the door.

The other girls shake their heads and look to Usagi, who has her eyes closed and is rubbing her temples. Opening her eyes Usagi says to the remaining girls, "Shall we go to the temple then? I feel like I have lost my appetite for the moment."

The other girls nod and they all make preparations to leave.

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Xian Pu watched the two girls leave but Mu Se was already in position and ready to follow them. The concern over a senshi having a desire to harm Ranma had made Ku Lon dub them the higher priority, and therefore warranted a tracker with higher mobility.

Putting together their senshi persona with their physical description proved easy for Ku Lon. Determining civilian identities was proving more difficult and more information was needed. The elder was concerned that if they would turn their powers on humans the effort to win them over might not be worth it.

The scene Xian Pu observed and the other girls reactions to this Haruka's desires had calmed her and the elders fears that the inner senshi and the moon princess might have similar motivations as the two outer senshi they had seen.

As the other girls left the arcade Xian Pu followed them. They walked at a normal pace so the neo-cat had no difficulty keeping up.

During the walk Mu Se reported in that the other two girls had picked up a younger girl that also seemed to resonate the ginzuisho's power and returned to what appeared to be their home. Ku Lon congratulated the teenagers having successfully found all of the senshi but the "Guardian of Time".

Ku Lon and Xian Pu where debating which of her group held the highest priority to follow when they split up. Fortunately the expected split did not occur as all girls arrived together at a shrine. The girl with the long black hair,who had been identified earlier in their conversation as Rei, was greeted by having two crows land on her shoulders. The birds released their perches as the girls walked into the shrine. Xian Pu found and open window to the side and made her way carefully into the rafters above the shrine.

Rei left the others in the entrance of the shrine. This group consisted of Ami and the princess who had been identified as Usagi. The tall girl with brown hair was identified as Makoto. The second blond Usagi had met with was identified as Minako.

Rei returned to the group. Having changed into the red and white robes of a miko. Her hair also looked damp so she likely had gone through a ritual purification. She leads the others into an inner chamber. Xian Pu carefully follows them through the roof rafters and discovers a ritual fire is burning in the room.

Xian Pu hears Ku Lon's mental chuckle through the link. Inquiring of the elder what was so funny, she is informed that the senshi are going to do a fire divination. This is likely to learn more about Xian Pu, but Ku Lon assures her they will not have much luck. Ku Lon on the other hand, can make use of this nicely.

Rei kneels in front of the fire and begins to concentrate on the swirling flames. This goes on for several minutes with sweat forming on her brow. Eventually the girl sighs and sits back from the fire. "I am afraid that I can not get a reading on her. all I saw was afterimages and briefly an image of us here in this room."

Usagi is about to speak when the fire begins to glow golden and an image of a robed woman appears in the flames. The image is of a much younger Ku Lon, which looks a great deal like Xian Pu except her hair is more blue than lavender.

While all of the girls gape, Ku Lon's image bows and begins to speak. "Greetings to the princess of the moon and her guardian senshi. I wish to speak with you of things that concern the safety of all life on this earth."

Usagi manages to find her voice, "Who are you and how do you know this place."

The image replies with a smile. "I am called Ku Lon. I am simply an old woman who still feels young in spirit and have knowledge I wish to share with you. I know of this place because I felt you questing in the fire for knowledge of my great granddaughter." Some theatrics and misdirection never hurt.

Usagi recovers somewhat. "You mean the girl from the arcade?"

The image of Ku Lon bows again, "Yes, I must apologize for her rash behavior but until recently the boy whose family was threatened was the one she hoped to wed. I fear this is quite a sore spot for her."

Usagi nods at this. "What information is it you wish to share with us? Do you have anything to do with the demon attacks?"

The room is filled with warm laughter from the image of Ku Lon. "Ah child you are wonderfully trusting to believe I would tell you truthfully if I was part of the demon attacks. I can say I am not but would that be of value? I wish to share information with you about the attacks but it would be better for me to give you the right questions to ask your "Guardian of Time". First ask her why she has not offered you any information as to where the enemy is coming from. You will find this is beyond her power to know, because while she can control time and space she can not look into different planes of existence. Second, ask her what they desire. The truth of this is it relates to why the senshi were founded during the rise of the silver millennium. Lastly and most importantly, ask her about the true cost of the dream of Crystal Tokyo. If you receive an answer to this question look deep into your hearts, all of you and decide if you feel it corresponds to what you wish stand for."

Usagi takes a moment to think before she responds, "Why are you telling us this?"

Ku Lon's phantom image smiles at the young girl. "I have been given the charge to assemble and guide young people who are willing to face death to fight these demons. I was asked to try and make allies with the reborn champions of the moon kingdom." with a small shrug she continues. "Wether I succeed in doing that or not, I will carry out my charge. I would caution you of letting your friend Haruka have too much free rein, she is far to willing to lash out at others with violence. With her powers as Sailor Uranus that makes her more dangerous then the demons you face. I would also caution you to be wary of Setsuna Meioh's true intentions. Living so many millennia for the sake of a dream can blind them to the cost. I will leave you to your considerations now. If you wish to contact me in the future seek me by name in the fire and I will come to you."

With that the image fades and the flames return to normal. The girls glance around recovering from their shock. Xian Pu sends her congratulations on an excellent performance through Voulge. Ku Lon responds the best method to achieve a goal is to use what is available. The girls break into many conversations and Xian Pu settles in to wait them out.

Ami stares at the display of the Mercury Computer. Throughout that entire display with the fire there was no power used she could detect. If event was something her equipment could not identify did that also mean there were things even Pluto could not know?

By the time the girls finished their discussion, Xian Pu has grown quite hungry. Fortunately having found the Outer Senshi's home address had given Ku Lon a lead in looking for the other girls. Jingu running across the other girls in their high school registry had been a true stroke of luck. Knowing the temple's location led her to the young priestess' full name. So the observation was called off and Ku Lon offered to meet the youngsters at a good restaurant as a reward.

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The next day dawned peacefully for the group at the Hinode shrine. Before breakfast Ranma and Noriko joined the others in their morning Tai Chi practice. After that was finished, Kasumi and Nodoka began practice of Kendo under Noriko's watchful eye. Akane somehow convinced Nabiki to join her in jogging laps around the inside of the compounds inner wall before going to practice the meditation exercises they had been given.

Ranma had relearned all the kata he knew in both his forms while in the time shifted space. Now Ranma was working on developing new kata to take advantage of his new gift of flight. He thought his greatest difficulty would be not going too high over the exterior walls.

He found staying close to the ground without actually touching it proved even more difficult. His flight ability allowed him to defy gravity and have leverage for kick and punches. The time shift city had been without wind and it seemed he was being pushed around by every erratic breeze. Everyone was called in for breakfast. Which Noriko had fixed after setting her charges to continue practicing techniques she had set them too.

After breakfast all of them saw to getting cleaned up. Ranma assumed his girl form. Akane chose not to comment but still felt a twinge seeing Ranma's girl form was now almost as tall as Noriko and towered over her. She had always been taller than the previously petite black haired girl.

Once cleanup was done Noriko and Nodoka sent all the children off to study and settled down to chat and catch up on news reports on the TV in the common room. Nabiki had dealt with getting Ranma's computer setup the evening before. Ranma had set to studying with much better diligence then she expected. For once the afternoon passed with calm.

--------------------------------

Ukyo and Konatsu had been up late getting their suite put to order. They awoke to a knocking at the door.

Ukyo made it to the door first. It opened to reveal a woman about the same height as her with long blond hair and glasses. The woman noting Ukyo's somewhat bleary eyes introduces herself. "Ohayo Gozaimas Himura-san, I am Minamoto Shizuna. Takahata-sensei has classes to teach until this afternoon, so he asked me to show you around."

Ukyo nods sleepily and invites the woman in. Normally she would not do this but Noriko and Takahata-san had assured her there was no danger to her here. Ukyo finds Konatsu entered the main room and handled the introductions. Seeing how they had both just woken up Shizuna-sensei offers to fix them breakfast while they go test out the baths. This idea appeals greatly to Ukyo and they leave with supplies and fresh clothes in hand.

Shizuna examining the kitchenette notes there is a lack of supplies for the purpose. Shaking her head she calls the cafeteria and requests for food to be delivered quickly to the suite. The understanding Chef she speaks with promises that the food would be delivered in less than 15 minutes. She sits back to wait.

The food is delivered in good order and Shizuna is getting the table set as the two teenagers return. The two soon to be students eat gratefully. Ukyo now more awake registers with a slight bit of envy, 'I guess she must put some effort into exercise to maintain such good posture'. After finishing the food Shizuna hands each of them an envelope. Ukyo opens hers and her eyes get larger as she counts the bills. There was one hundred thousand yen in the envelope. Ukyo sees similar surprise on Konatsu's face.

"This is a stipend for buying clothing and household supplies that Noriko-san left for you both. She also setup a weekly allowance for the both of you, that I will be responsible for giving you until she comes back into the area when the new term starts." Shizuna-sensei explains.

Ukyo recovers and puts the money securely into her wallet. "I assume then that you will be showing us to the store this morning."

Shizuna nods and the three of them prepare to leave. They find out that the academy is almost a city unto itself, complete with stores, boutiques, and movie theatre. Everything is in walking distance and roof hoping is generally frowned upon. Ukyo discovers she is allowed to keep her combat spatula with her but will be expected to put it away at school. The first store they reach is a women's clothing store. Ukyo happily shops for more feminine clothing with Konatsu Shizuna sensei's advice on purchases. Konatsu politely declines to buy clothing here.

"Ukyo-sama we have both been given a chance to be more like our birth genders. I would like to take at least a small step in that direction myself." is all Konatsu says.

Shizuna sensei offers to take them to a salon to have their hair and nails done. Ukyo declines since she likes her long ponytail as is. Konatsu only smiles

They proceed to a men's clothing store and Konatsu spends a great deal of time considering but settles on several pairs of slacks and a quite a few more long sleeve shirts of various styles that look quite becoming on him. Konatsu is still almost to pretty for a guy but there is nothing to help that.

At an electronics store they split the cost of a TV. The kitchen appliances were already in place

The last store they come too is a martial arts supply store. With a wink Shizuna-sensei takes the to where there is a good selection of the close fitting garb Konatsu is used to wearing. The ladies share a smile that turns to chuckles watching Konatsu happily go through the stock to find several sets he likes.

Returning to their suite and dropping off their purchases. Shizuna-sensei notes it is time for lunch and shows them the way to the large cafeteria where there is three stories of shops where food can be had for differing numbers of meal coupons. Ukyo looks longingly at the okonomyaki shop and is invited to take over the grill for cooking the groups orders. The cafeteria is filled with students and quite a few are drawn by Ukyo's expert handling of the grill. After happily spending an hour filling orders, the chef in charge of the shop gives them their meal for free and invites Ukyo back anytime she is free.

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Paru had been dodging Yue and Nodoka's question about the trip to her mothers all morning. When lunch came along she could escape no longer. Paru told her friends about her mother's reaction to reading the file and to her abbreviated version of Ranma's life story.

"Mother believed what I told her about Ranma's condition and would still like to meet her nephew or niece. Now the only problem is I have no idea how to contact Himura-san to ask about it."

Yue and Nodoka are at a loss to find possibilities. They could not ask Negi-sensei since he did not meet her before the day they did. They walk around the cafeteria and find themselves distracted by a young woman expertly flipping a okonomyaki of a hot grill onto a plate five feet away. This feet is accompanied by cheers from those watching.

They order up some of the okonomyaki for themselves, just to see the trick again. They eat their food and are about to leave when the usual chef talks to the girl taking off her apron.

"Himura-san you definitely have earned you and your friends meal. Please come back anytime and we can discuss what kind of wage you would like then."

They watch as this Himura-san makes her way over to eat with Shizuna-sensei and an almost to gorgeous to be true young man.

Nodding to each other they make their way over to the table. Shizuna takes care of the introductions.

Ukyo quickly asks upon hearing Paru's name, "Ah Saotome-san would you happen to be related to Ranchan."

Paru barely contains her excitement. "We are cousins but I have never met him. My mother did not get along with his..." Paru's voice chokes at trying to think of a term to describe her family's dislike of the man.

Ukyo notices the younger girl's clenched fists, "I have fallen to calling the old bastard the fat panda over last few years sugar."

Paru relaxes visibly, "I guess you are familiar the curses then. The name seems fitting do you mind if I use it myself."

Ukyo nods, "I have watched Ranchan deal with his since I found 'em about a year ago. I wanted to make Panda Okonomyaki when Noriko-san told me what Ranchan went through and what could have happened to me if I went with them. I like Noriko-san's idea better though."

Paru puzzles at this statement. "Himura-san aren't you a member of Noriko's family?"

Ukyo smiles, "Only since yesterday afternoon actually. Before then I was Kunoji Ukyo, but please call me Ucchan I am still getting used to being called Himura-san"

Paru gasps at hearing Ukyo's former name. "You're the one whose dowery was stolen. I'm so sorry Ucchan. You must not think much of my family."

Ukyo shakes her head, "No Saotome-san, I blame the fat panda and my father. I found he was declared ronin long before he crossed paths with my family. I went seeking vengeance for what my family put me through after the yatai was stolen. Up until just this last week, I tried to convince Ranma to marry me so I could reconcile with my family. I am liking the arrangement Noriko offered me. I hope Ranchan will still want to be friends after I helped make his life hell."

Paru quietly responds, "I don't know Ucchan. He sounds like a forgiving guy to me. I just hope he might give myself and my family a chance as well. My friends call me Paru by the way, Saotome-san makes me look around for my parents."

The two girls shake hands.

Paru finally remembers what she wanted to ask. "Do you happen to know a way to contact Noriko-san? My mom would like to see if we can possibly talk to Ranma before the new term starts."

Ukyo grins while pulling out her new cell phone,"Sure sugar, I have her cell phone number just let me call and ask if I can give it out first."


notes:

yatai - small mobile food stall common in Japan. used for selling hot foods

Chapter 11
Chapter 13
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