Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction ❯ In the Shadow of the Moon ❯ Chapter 23 Fight or Flight ( Chapter 23 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
hmm.... almost three weeks without an update. Looks like after a month of frantic updates inspiration finally decided to let me alone for a while. Most people describe muses as dressing in robes and playing a harp. Mine must carry a cat of nine tails.

That said, If anyone is looking for inspiration or just an interesting read let me pose a visualization question to you. Imagine shy, unassuming Hyuga Hinata from Naruto raised by Queen of Flash Yoruichi from Bleach. I can see the trail of blood in her wake now, without fighting needed. The rest of the story is reasonably good. So I recommend checking out Wind Lord by DarthValgaav

(/ /) translated speech

(' ') thoughts or telepathy


Chapter 23 - Fight or Flight

The foraging party had made it through several vendors when they passed by Noriko and Nodoka having lunch at an outside cafe with Kenji. This lead to them being delayed by Nodoka insisting on getting several pictures herself, and Kenji latching onto Ranko and Inhoshi.

Inhoshi decided to carry the cute little boy around with them. The reason she gave Ranko was that it would help cover her not talking to the food sellers herself. Kaede quietly agreed with it being a good strategy.

Ranko stared at the shape-shifted kunoichi. "You can understand cats?"

"When you train alone in the mountains it is beneficial to learn how to speak with animals. Then you can bribe them into standing sentry on your camp while you sleep." She replies with her normal grin.

The striping of the islands commercial food supplies continued. The sellers however were left with smiles and calling for repeated patronage. Inhoshi and Ranko shared their part of the take with the new accomplice. Much to the small boys delight.

"Inhoshi-chan how can you eat all of that?" Kaede finds herself forced to ask after she watched a three scoop ice cream cone disappear almost instantly.

Inhoshi grins while licking her lips. Ranko snickers while hugging both Inhoshi and Kenji . "I would love to see Chardin try to take her in an eating contest, not that I would let that pervert near Inhoshi in the first place." Ranko visibly shivers. Kaede tries to make sense of what Ranko mumbles after this, but decides she would rather not know more about kisses that make you feel like the main course.

After hitting all the food sellers around the beach, Kari collects Akiri and Kenji. Atsuko decides she wants to get to know her niece/nephew better, and Paru helps pull Ranko away along with Nodoka. Inhoshi having discreetly changed back into her cabbit form waves from her perch on top of Kaede's head.

Ranko looks somewhat worried, but the now normal sized Kaede promises to look after her until they get back to the hotel. Akatsu winks at her sister and volunteers to explore the Island with Honya and Kazumi. Nabiki joins them on the premiss of learning more about Mahora. Kazumi's wink while pointing at her camera's digital display make that a likely secondary outcome. Noriko smiles and heads back to the beach herself.

Kaede finds a secluded booth in a cafe near the hotel and lifts the cabbit off of her head. "So what are you plotting that you need my help with?"

/Something I think you will enjoy./ The little cabbit replies with a fox like grin.

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

Ami and Usagi find themselves in a strategy meeting with the Amazon Elders and Har Bo in the newly reopened Nekohanten in Minato ward.

"So what do we know about the current situation?" Usagi asks.

"Over the last week, all but the strongest demons seem to be trying their best to flee back where ever they came from as soon as they arrive." Har Bo replies.

Ami shakes her head. "Something is scarring them worse than the fear of death. Elders have you ever seen anything like this before?"

Mas Cre shakes her head and looks to Ku Lon. "I have never seen any confirmed accounts of this before." Ku Lon quietly answers

Sensing something being left out Usagi asks, "What about unconfirmed reports?"

The Elder sighs. "I have little more than speculation at this point, but the demons that seem to be trying to flee are the ones that are most like humans or Youkai. Meaning, they generally have a more human like intelligence and are not simply driven by desire."

Har Bo confirms this with, "The large ones that we have had to fight recently have been mostly classified as greater fiends."

Ami groans after another sensor sweep reveals nothing on her computer. "We can confirm this began after we encountered the Marids in the bay. They summoned something before we destroyed them but what?"

Usagi frowns, "Ami can the mercury computer detect other types of spirits with the new sensors?"

Puzzling Ami replies, "What do you mean?"

Usagi shifts uncomfortably. "Noriko-san mentioned there were other types of spirits that could frighten demons. She called them celestials."

Ami checks her computer. "I can scan for other energy patterns but it would be helpful to know what to look for."

Usagi barely looks up to meet the elders curious gaze. "Noriko-san said their energy patterns were much like ours in our senshi forms."

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

The being known as Astarte lounges on a couch in the private office of the owner of the dance club she took control of the night she arrived on earth. Before her is the owner of the club, his eyes shining with his desire to serve her.

"I am afraid I can not find more information on the senshi for you than this my queen." He says sorrowfully while indicating the stacks of magazines and videos he had placed before her.

Astarte smiles at the man. "You have served me well otherwise so you are forgiven. I noticed several of the senshi when I entered your club. If I can not locate them to bring them back to serving my lords vision they will simply be removed."

The man bows obsequiously and leaves the room while she turns her attention to the four female servants in the room. "Report on your activities children. I wish to know how the task of collecting energy goes."

The four human girls she brought under her thrall present her with the energy crystals they had gathered. The most attractive of her pets, tall with blonde hair like her queen, reports for the group. "These crystals are what we were able to gather last night." The girl nervously continues. "My queen, I fear unless you allow us to expand our activities it will be many months before we can collect enough energy for the task of summoning the master."

"I am not worried about the time it will take child." Astarte replies with a throaty laugh. "My lord and I have been preparing this world for his vision of many millennia. A few months will amount to little."

"Yes my queen," the girls reply in unison.

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

Early morning almost a week after the meeting with the amazons Ami picks up a reading of energy being used similar to the senshi's own. She is slightly confused when it also reads as a Marid being in the same area but no gate had been created.

Ami quickly alerts Usagi and the other inners and they converge on the roof of a five story apartment building. Rather than finding an attack they find a young woman with honey brown hair dressed in a blue t-shirt and black jeans. She is drawing what appear to be magical seals on the white colored roof surface. They are soon joined by Mu Se and Ku Lon.

Pulling out her computer to verify, Ami announces. "The energy readings are coming from the seals. They don't have a resemblance to any known source in the mercury database. Do you recognize them Elder Ku Lon?"

"I do not recognize the symbols themselves child but they have the styling of a gate. " Looking at the girl who still has her back to them. "I do wonder what she is using to make the dark blue colored ink."

"I do not desire to hurt you, servant of Artemis, but I do not appreciate being talked about like I am not there." The woman says as she turns to the group, revealing that she is using her own blood slowly flowing from a gash in her arm.

"I do not plan to remain here much longer. If you and the guardians of a fallen empire wish to speak with me, please do so quickly." The woman finishes while looking directly at Ku Lon.

After trading a few glances the group moves to the same roof top, careful not to disturb her seals on the ground. Usagi steps forward to speak for the group.

"How do you know who we are?" Usagi tries to say with as much authority as she can while looking into the woman's sea green eyes.

"I can sense that you carry the Ginzuisho your highness. Just like I can sense the other girls link to it. I can sense the technique the old one uses to store power, and recognize it as well." The woman says while holding a towel to the cut on her arm.

"Who are you? If your a demon why did we not detect you entering this plane?" Usagi continues.

"Ah names. What name could I give you that would mean anything?" The woman laughs quietly. "I was once called Circe and that should do for now. I was born on this plane and have lived my life here. Right now I am in the process of leaving for a different plane."

trying not to stare Usagi returns. "Why do you wish to leave? Where are you trying to go?"

"Ah princess so full of questions." Circe chuckles at the groups' bewildered expressions. "I suppose I can answer, if only to keep you from trying to interfere. I wish to leave because I have no wish to be used in the plans of a more powerful being. I plan to go visit my father on the celestial plane."

Circe gives a vehement shake of her head. "I may be bored there but at least he is protective enough I will not have to be worried about being someone else's pawn."

Ami takes over for her princess. "Why does your blood show demonic traits as well as celestial?"

"Celestials are not what you would normally call caring, except perhaps to their own children. If another being can be useful to them they will subjugate them. Otherwise they will remove them." Circe sighs sadly. "My mother was what the greeks called an Oceanid also called a Marid by the Arabic world. She lived for as long as I knew her absolutely devoted to my father, but after he dominated her mind, she did not really have a choice."

Ami recovers from shock enough to ask another question. "And you intend to go to him?" Her voice is not a shriek, but not by much.

Circe smirks. "As Helios' eldest living daughter he does his best to dote on me. At worst I expect to be bored. That is far better than being pressed into the service of the queen of lust."

Ku Lon perks up at this. "Who is this queen of lust?"

Circe smirks. "Many legends give her different names. The one I know she is fond of is Astarte. Though in the time and region I was known as Circe she was known as Venus." Looking Minako she laughs. "Don't think that will buy you any leeway with her if you don't intend to help bring about her lord's vision."

"Who is it she serves?" Ku Lon asks.

"About the time of the fall of Rome she fell under the sway of another celestial and started calling him her lord." Circe shrugs, "We were friends before that. I have no idea who he is, but she has become ruthless since then."

Ku Lon looks at the woman questioningly. "If legends are to be believed you know a great deal about being ruthless yourself."

"You should know not to take homer's biased account at face value." Circe says with a snort. "Those men were murders and thieves. I simply turned them into the pigs they were. Odysseus only redeeming value was his loyalty to his wife. That is the only reason I let them go after having him as my play toy for a while."

Checking the angle of the sun Circe says, "I must finish this soon or I will miss the noon apex and have to start over tommorow." The last is punctuated by taking a dagger and reopening the wound in her arm.

Ku Lon asks, "May we be allowed to watch you finish?"

Circe sighs and replies. "If you will ask me no more questions and stop distracting me."

Usagi dismisses the other inners. The rooftop empties except for her, Circe, Ami, and the two amazons. Ami sets to record the glyphs and the order they are laid down while Ku Lon studies the process intently.

Near noon, a paler Circe declares her labors finished. stepping into the center of the "gate" she turns to Usagi as the formation begins to glow. "I wish you well princess." With that the glow intensifies and becomes a beam of light towards the sun. After the beam vanishes the seals of blood have turned to ash that disappear in a errant breeze.

----------

Genma was not a happy man, or panda as the case was at the moment. After a few days in the hospital he learned that Tendo Soun had failed his psych evaluation and was quietly sent to a facility where he could get proper counseling. Deprived of his only likely ally he had to face the mounting stack of charges by himself.

Somehow Noriko had even helped them track down all of the bar tabs Genma had run up using Ranma's name, the boy owed it to him after all. The courts were not seeing it that way and charged him with fraud for each instance.

After he recovered enough to judge himself ready and before the doctors declared him fit to be transfered to the Tokyo Police lockup he made his escape. The Umisenken made that quite easy.

Then his plans had started to go terribly wrong. Even with the Umisenken they still seemed to be able to get an idea of his general location and he could not sleep and maintain the technique. The dogs being able to smell him somehow was a surprise too.

So now Genma had been on the run for two days straight and had been a panda for most of that time since he could not get access to hot water quickly without risking being trapped inside a building by the police.

He had however succeeded in grabbing a pair of bolt cutters from a tool chest and could now remove the damned bracelet. He felt a sense of relief as the lock on the bracelet parted and it fell from his wrist.

The relief was short lived as there was a flash of bright light as soon as the tracking device fell away and he found himself falling rapidly through a blue sky. Twisting in mid air he was able to see the ground rapidly approaching and positioned himself to land and roll off his momentum.

While he had seen his landing sight was free of obstacles he failed to realize that the sandy surface he saw was very deep and very hot. Which he landed in and promptly sank.

A shriek of pain escaped from the panda's mouth as he jumped out of the sand dune and had to run around for a while before the sand embedded in his fur cooled down.

While jumping from paw to paw on his hind legs the panda-man finally was able to assess his new surroundings. which was nothing but blistering hot sand and sun as far as his eyes could see.

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

"Master, MASTER!!!" The demented puppet was screaming as she came racing out of the basement. "Our guest has finally arrived."

Eva grinned. "So is our guest enjoying the desert with his nice thick fur coat?"

"I think he is just starting to simmer nicely." Chacha-zero replies to her mistress. "Would you like to play with him master?"

"I am in far to good of a mood to deal with that fat fool." Eva says while waving dismissively. Smirking evilly at her minion she says, "I will leave him in your care. Make sure he enjoys the offerings of the resort well, but do not let him die. If he should happen to become too comfortable with his current surroundings shave his fur and throw him into the tundra instead."

With a whoop Chacha-zero returns to watching her charge, leaving her mistress to continue practicing the technique she had been given by Noriko. Eva does send a message to Akatsu to inform her former sensei of this recent development.

----------

Akatsu does inform Noriko of the situation, and receives a hug from the older woman.

Noriko whispers in the cabbit girl's ear. "Please thank Eva for her assistance in this situation, and please do not inform the others. I think it would be best if, as far as they are concerned, that creature dropped of the face of the earth."

"As you wish Oka-san." Akatsu replies with a smile.

-----------

Kaede still found herself a bit shocked at Inhoshi's "plan" a week later. She had actually opened her eyes to look at the cabbit.

/You can't tell me you don't like my partner./ Inhoshi had miyahed at the cafe.

"So how far do you plan to go tonight?" Kaede asked Inhoshi after obtaining more than a few bottles of wine to share with Ranma, as well as food that they had officially left to purchase.

/I don't think my partner is ready for much./ Inhoshi replies from the top of her head. /I think his emotional maturity in dealing with girls might be slightly better than Negi-sensei or Kotaro-kun, but what we want to deal with for tonight at least is his/her fear of close contact with the female of any species./

"So all this is to lower Ranma-dono's inhibitions so we can cuddle with him." The kunoichi states before entering the hotel.

/Sounds like wonderful fun to me./ The cabbit replies. /It was annoying that it took me this long before I was able to make sure we could have Ranma to ourselves tonight./

"My interest in Ranma-dono is easy to understand, but what is your motivation?" Kaede asks as they enter an unoccupied elevator. "Would it even be possible for the two of you to have children?"

/I have quite a while yet before I would be mature enough to reproduce. Even then I would not need a partner personally for that task. I would just need to find partners for my off-spring to bond with./

Inhoshi gets her fox grin again, which Kaede catches in the elevator window reflection. /Since I have a human form why shouldn't I enjoy the benefits it offers?/

Kaede shrugs at having an odd aid to reaching her goal. "Are you certain your as young as you claim?"

/I have only been awake for less then a month./ Inhoshi replies around her wide grin. /That does not mean I was completely inactive. I have simply been waiting for my partner to show up, and I have waited a long time. If you want to be my partners life mate, like you claim, its going to be a long process, but we can start by making Ranma and Ranko both feel comfortable with your touch./

Kaede tilts her head and takes the cabbit off her head to look into her eyes. "Isn't your partner the same person regardless of form?"

The cabbit mimics her eye smile. /Yes and no. My partner is still adjusting to the new body Oka-san gave Ranma. Ranma is still mostly Nodoka's child but there is only one reason Ranko's hair is that red. My partner will need all the acceptance and support that can be made available while the who is being sorted out./

They find Ranma engrossed in the RPG game inhoshi thought he would like. "Welcome back." He says without turning his eyes from the TV. "So why is this Balmung guy so cross with Kite and Black Rose. I mean the bracelet might be dangerous, but it is also the only lead there is to saving Orca."

"I am afraid I am not to familiar with this game Ranma-dono." Kaede replies.

Inhoshi quietly pulls out her card and says adeat. /I know a bit more about the game, but I haven't played it myself. Why don't you tell us what we missed while we eat./

"There were lots of fights in the first field and then all kinds of messages and news posts to sort through. The animation and the story line is cool though, you need to see it." Ranma is interrupted by his stomach growling. "You want to play through the opening again while I grab something to eat Inhoshi? You can skip the field and go straight to the dungeon."

Inhoshi accepts the controller and restarts the game after making sure Ranma had saved his game. Ranma blushes a bit at Kaede's smile when she hands him a sandwich and a drink.



notes:

Chardin - Chardin Piccolet III from the Ranma series. Heir to the La Belle France restaurant and dojo. A master of a speed eating "martial art" with a large distended mouth. Ranma meets him and loses his first challenge in volume 16

Balmung, Black Rose, Kite, and Orca - characters from the original quartet of games in the .hack series for the PS2. depending on how quickly played it can be over an hour into .hack//infection before Balmung is introduced.

Chapter 22
Chapter 24
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