Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction ❯ In the Shadow of the Moon ❯ Chapter 44 - Dreams and Reality ( Chapter 44 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
single quotes (' ') denote thoughts or telepathy
forward slashes (/ /) denote translated speech

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the series mentioned in this story. This story is created solely for entertainment and no intention of profit.

Chapter 44 - Dreams and Reality

A crystal blue sky looks down on a unending vista of color. Roses of every possible shade embrace each other tightly, leaving only a few paths between them. Nothing disturbs the tranquility of the scene, even the small spot of white traveling down one of the paths seems to be made up of all the colors there.

The young albino girl wanders aimlessly along an open path between the waist high rose bushes. Sayo smiles blissfully as she looks over the the view that had once existed only for her. 'There was no color here before Ranma held me.' She muses as she looks down at the one thing with the most color of all. A pure golden rose wraps itself around her right arm, all of the thorns carefully turned away from her flesh.

Sayo walks to a place where the path widens into a small clearing thickly carpeted in rose petals. The girl turns and simply falls backward with a giggle, completely sure that nothing here would hurt her.

The thick layer of petals catch her more gently then even the softest mattress could. Sayo turns on her side and curls up almost purring like a cat, completely unconcerned about how her short golden tunic rides up her bare legs.

"I really should tell the others this place is real." The girl musses out loud. "They think what happens here is only a dream." Sayo does purr at the memories of making out and more with Ranma right in this same place. "Kazumi and Madoka definitely were fun to play with along with Ranma last time."

Sayo stretches her arms and legs out and arches her back of the bed of rose petals and sighs. "If I tell them they may not want to play anymore." She whispers softly.

"You might be surprised Imouto." An older female voice calls out. "Some of them might dog pile you for the chance to play without concern for consequences, but they will be more likely to be angry if you keep taking advantage of their ignorance here."

"Kitsu-nee!!" Sayo tilts her head back to look at her visitor before rolling onto her stomach and nearly flowing into a kneeling position. "Would you play with me?"

The tall silver grey haired girl walks over and gives the smaller girl a hand up and pulls her into a hug. "Hai hai, Nee-san will take care of you, but first we need to visit with oba-chan."

Sayo whispers quietly. "I don't have any family, I don't even remember them if I did."

"Well technically she is my aunt." Kitsune says while holding the other girl gently. "Though since you're my little sister, I am sure she would be happy if you considered her family as well."

Sayo nuzzles into her chest and purrs as Kitsune runs fingers through her white hair just above her ear, exposing a small pink bat-like wing.

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

Haruna and Tomoyo chuckle while going over video from the last two legs while plotting.... planning what to do in the finale. "I still think putting an endless supply of carrots in front of Inhoshi was a mean way of tripping her up and causing the blue team to loose in the third leg." The manga-ka says with a wink at the races' sponsor.

"All their team had to do was peel and chop five pounds of carrots for use at the cafeteria the next day." Tomoyo states with a smile. "At least her teammates were still having fun even though they had to keep going back for more stock."

Giggling at overhearing them, Kari adds her thoughts. "It is not like they will be left out if Ranma wins. Nodoka and Ranma certainly would not leave Inhoshi behind, and Sayo goes where ever Kazumi does. I certainly have no intention of missing a chance to spend time with my sister, and I could easily bring the other two girls with me." Kari smirks at the shorter girl. "What do you call that four way joust competition to start the last leg?"

"That was perfectly fair." Paru says defensively. "I assumed Negi-sensei would do well with that. I did not think he and Kotaro-kun would go at each other to the point of completely ignoring Ranchan and Mitoto-san. If anything it was evil of Mitoto-san to simply poke Negi-sensei in the back, knocking him off the platform, after he defeated Kotaro-kun."

"I admit it was funny watching Ranma's reaction after that." Nabiki giggles, before continuing in as serious a voice a possible. "That line Mitoto-san used before handing him a slice of humble pie was priceless, 'I am afraid that Ku Fei-chan and the others are counting on me, you are a hundred years too young to have hope of besting me with a staff child.' "

"At least the green team was still in good spirits at the end when they simply could not outrun Negi-sensei and Asuna to finish the leg." Haruna says quietly.

Tomoyo claps her hands. "Enough reminiscing girls we have only the afternoon tommorow to set everything up for the three remaining teams. The aeronautics club is going to be problems enough by themselves."

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

A young woman, appearing to be in her late teens, with pale blue hair comes awake with a small start, her lavender eyes open wide as she looks at the stars moving past her window. "That was a very odd." Sighing she turns and stands. "At least these girls seemed very nice." She says with a smile around a yawn.

Strolling from her bedchamber she finds her way to a larger chamber with comfortable seating wrought from living wood. A young woman with blond hair and dark skin is going quickly through screens on a holocomputer display while sitting in one of the lounge chairs.

The slightly older looking woman jumps to her feet upon seeing her entry. "Sasami-hime, thank you so much again for agreeing to help me look for my Onii-san. Did you sleep well?" She gets out in a rush while hastily bowing.

"We have been friends for years Mihoshi, you really don't need to thank me." Sasami say with a grin. "It is honestly the least I can do after you and Mikami have been so helpful in informing me before my grandmother can show up out of the blue with a new suitor for me." Rolling her eyes, she sighs. "Besides I doubt I could get away with trying to use the excuse of having a convenient case of wanderlust again." The princess of Jurai smiles as this earns a giggle from the other young woman. "Have you been able to find anything out about the Sol system?"

"There is almost nothing since a civilization that had the potential for space travel collapsed there shortly after your father was born. Just within the last year there was a entity going through unaffiliated star systems, and destroying them that apparently disappeared around this area." Mihoshi grins. "Just within the last month though an entry has been made in the family census database, naming the heirs to Duchy of Senus."

"That name sounds familiar." Sasami muses.

"It is a binary star system that has no planets, the gravitational forces between the white dwarf star and its active partner ripped any other large bodies apart. It does have a rich supply of asteroid bodies and a small population consisting mostly of workers in habitats and processing stations." Mihoshi offers.

Sasami snaps her fingers. "That's right father made it a duchy when I was little because of its resource value. He was able to contact the reclusive person who set up automated machines quite a while ago to develop and defend the system, and making it a duchy was the bargain they struck for access. Anyway you say that heirs? have been named for it."

'I keep forgetting she is older than my mother is, the duchy has been around since before she was born.' Sweat-dropping slightly Mihoshi continues. "Currently residing on the planet Earth in the Sol system a brother and sister of the Hakubi family have been named the heirs. There is a request on file to have the system's name changed to their local name for it of Sirius."

"Do they have pictures and names for these siblings?" Sasami asks mildly.
Mihoshi pulls up images for the two. "The younger sister is Ranko Himura Hakubi and the older brother Ranma Himura Hakubi."

"A duke then." Sasami muses with a small smile at Ranma's picture. "That would do nicely. I might have to see if it would possible to meet with these two while we are on earth."

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

Ranko lays her head on the desk despondently, mid afternoon on a saturday and she is stuck in Negi-sensei's extra help session. Worse to her mind, "Why am I Baka Gold," she grouses to no one in particular. Inhoshi miyahs in support from her shoulder.

"I like being Baka White." Sayo chirps from beside her. "Everyone seemed to have fun during the study sessions last year. I suppose it is good that Yue improved her grades, but it is sad not seeing her here." Kaede just grins at the sign saying Baka Blue in front of her, with Kitsune curled up behind it.

Makie on the other hand frets about not being able to get away from school quicker. "I hope they don't have to wait for me too long."

Ranko looks up at the small girl speculatively. "Have a hot date Makie-chan?"

Makie blushes to her hairline, and looks discretely at Negi. "No my cousin who lives in Tokyo is coming up to visit for the weekend, and I am supposed to go meet him and his friends in an hour at Mahora central station."

"Why didn't you say so earlier Makie-chan?" Negi pauses in getting out exam sheets. "I will try my best to get this finished quickly then." Setting actions to words Negi passes out the sheets.

The team of six girls set to quickly going through and translating the english phrases. Ranko sighs audibly in relief when she gets her sheet back with seven out of ten being correct. Asuna grumbles at her own score. "Ranko-chan why is it you have trouble with written stuff when you can converse with Negi-bozu in english with no problem."

"It just makes sense to me when people are speaking." Ranko says with a shrug. "On paper it is still a bunch of gibberish."

Sayo is interrupted in happily showing her score to Kaede when the door is abruptly yanked open. "Ojo-san I believe it is a bad idea to interrupt while they are still studying." They hear a man's voice say.

A feminine snort accompanies a blond haired girl, with a walking stick topped with a small skull, sweeping into the room. "I feel no need to wait in meeting this Negi Springfield mother insists I give up my pursuit of Ukinari over." The girl's blue eyes turn to the only boy in the room, and start to sparkle. "How adorable." She coos before latching on to the surprised teacher.

"Great another blond haired Shota-con to deal with." Asuna gripes. "Her attitude is nearly as bad as Ayaka's." the man wearing a dark suit at the door does his best to suppress a grin.

"Let go of him, he is too young to play with, and is already starting to turn blue!" Sayo shouts, out of concern, or self interest, the other girls converge on the new blond radiating auras of violent intent.

Ranko sweats nervously and tries to keep the others back as the new girl puts her staff on the floor and a five pointed seal appears on the floor before her. "You will not touch me." The girl yells before the room goes up in an explosion. Ranko had succeeded in shielding the others, but was blown out the window as a result.

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

Fukuyama Kazuharu was having a very good day, by their parents orders he had come along with his younger sister to have an omiai for her with a young man not named Sasaki Yukinari. Which led him to come to this fine establishment of learning teaming with beautiful women. A fine example of which he had just been fortunate enough to catch when she fell through the air.

The well endowed young lass was currently staring at him with wide blue eyes. 'She must be taken with my roguish good looks.' He thought smugly, completely ignoring that one of his hands had in fact slipped up her skirt, and the other was extending far further then necessary around her upper torso and squeezing something it should have left alone. "Are you alright miss?"

Hearing a hiss Fukuyama looks up to find a rabbit eared cat thing arching its back and snarling at him while floating in the air. Feeling an impending sense of doom he looks back down at the red headed girl. 'Eyes glowing a malevolent yellow color is most likely not a good sign.'

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

A group of four girls and one boy step off of the train with overnight bags and look up the long avenue leading to stairs and finally the World Tree. "Amazing look at the size of that tree." A small blond haired girl cheers. "It is even bigger then the one Lisa-nee made appear back home." Pointing what looks like a deformed plushie seal with arms at the boy, she asks suspiciously. "Why didn't you tell us about this place earlier?"

"It really just slipped my mind Tomo-chan." The boy says nervously. The pink haired Miharu just smiles at him supportively.

the tallest girl helps him out. "So how long before we are supposed to meet your cousin, Yukinari?"

"About twenty minutes Kirie." The boy mumbles while looking at his watch. "We did get here a bit early."

"So we have a couple hours after that before you two are supposed to be at the headmasters office." The girl turns to Tomo and the quietest girl of the group, who is slender with black hair. "I can understand why Koyomi would be here for an omiai, but it makes no sense for the both of you to be meeting with the same young man as a prospective fiance."

"Well..." Koyomi starts hesitantly. "I did not get all the details from Nanae-san but it seems the boy in question is too young to marry anyway and she thought meeting a non-threatening young man might help me. Becoming friends with Yukinari has some."

"But how would anyone on earth even know of you two." Kirie pauses to rub her temples when Tomo stares at her. "Okay aside from Fukuyama's antics at the TV station."

"Nanae-san said this was a favor to the head of the region's magic association, I am mostly just here to chaperone." Tomo says a little loudly. "Apparently this Negi has strong magic that might help make sure any children Koyo-chan has with him bear the seikon marks."

"Tomoka!!!" Koyomi squeals in embarrassment.

"I admit this place is really nice but magic?." Kirie says with a sniff. "Even having been to your planet I find that hard to believe."

Before anyone can respond there is an explosion. A few moments later they are all swept up in a greenish black dome, shortly thereafter they start hearing a girlish scream followed by even louder explosions.

Kirie groans and holds up her hand. "Please just don't say anything. I know I asked for that."

"Hey doesn't that scream sound familiar." Tomoka wonders aloud.

They sigh when a blond haired boy runs out from between a group of buildings into the wide avenue. "Why am I not surprised." Kirie mutters when a girl literally flies out of the alley behind him surrounded by floating energy orbs and looking pissed."

"Come back here and die you pervert." The red head shrieks, while throwing another barrage of red energy orbs after the fleeing boy. When Fukuyama succeeds in dodging these, they find out both the source of the earlier explosions and the scream.

A small long eared red furred creature flies along in the girls wake. It snarls and draws half a dozen orbs to a single point in front of it, generating a red beam of energy that misses Fukuyama by a hairsbreadth, but raises the pitch of his scream considerably.

"Why can't you do something like that Ebi?" Tomoka looks down at the creature in her arms. "I guess we will just have to train then." The girl states, while Ebi shivers uncontrollably.

Fukuyama approaches the platform, completely missing their groups presence in his fear filled rush. Kirie steps out and catches him with a clothesline hook with her arm. His momentum carries his legs into the air and Kirie slips underneath him and turns the flight back to the ground in a pile driver. "GO Cause Trouble in Hell." she yells as his head impacts the ground.

Turning to the pursing girl and creature, both staring at her in surprise. "I won't say he is should be forgiven for whatever he did, but I can assure you he is not worth killing."

Kirie's brown eyes go completely wide in shock as Fukuyama's hands wrap around to grab her chest from behind. "Ah Kirie my angel. You followed me all the way here to be with me. I swear I have eyes for no one but you."

"I will gouge out your eyes later right now I will take care of your arms." Kirie snarls as she proceeds to give the twit a beating of a lifetime, surprisingly only his second today.

Miharu takes the opportunity to try and make apologies to the young woman their sometimes friend made angry, only to find she had taken out a notepad and was hastily making notes.

"Are you getting this Inhoshi." Ranko says to her cabbit, who miyahs with an evil grin while watching the carnage.

"Um are you alright." The small pink haired girl asks hesitantly.

"I think I will be fine." Ranko grins eagerly. "Are you friends with that girl? I really want to talk with her when she is finished, she has some nice moves." Seeing them stare, she composes herself and bows to the small group. "I am Himura Ranko, and this is Inhoshi." She finishes indicating her cabbit who waves.

Before they can respond the group from the classroom arrives. "Yukinari?" Makie calls out in surprise.

Into this Happosai walks up and shakes his head sadly at Fukuyama's predicament. "I have done many foolish things in my life, but never have I been as suicidal as this boy." Earning a suspicious look from Ranko and a chuckle.

introductions are exchanged and Ranko gives Inhoshi the thumbs up to drop the barrier after Kirie had finished working out her frustration. With the barrier dropped the lane fills with people strolling again. Happosai makes a phone call and a medical team arrives with a stretcher to carry the boy off.

"You have impressive form." Happosai observes to Kirie. "Would you mind joining my student and I for lunch to compare techniques."

"We could actually make it lunch for everyone." Ranko states while looking over where a much more subdued Lisa is talking with Negi along with Tomoka and Koyomi. Asuna and Makie are developing distinct nervous twitches watching over that group after hearing the reason these girls are here.

"Well I guess this means we can skip any stuffy meeting then." Tomoka says with a grin, while walking back over towards Ranko. "Do you think you could tell me about that technique you and your partner used." The little girl says with big hopeful eyes.

"I ahh... we just learned how to do it ourselves." Ranko says quietly.
"Maybe you would learn more if you spend more time around Kazuharu-nii-chan." Tomo offers helpfully. "He is really nice to me."

Ranko shivers and hastily declines, muttering under her breath. "Just because he is not a loli-con does not make him worth hanging around."

Happosai answers his phone quietly, hanging up he turns to Ranko. "Well if it makes you more comfortable the boy is being held under guard at their hotel. Are you going to want to press charges against him?"

"I will think about it." Ranko is faced with pleading eyes from Tomoka. "Just keep him from causing trouble until they leave." She finally says with sigh.

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

In her office in the science building Winry gets off the phone and gives a very evil look to her husband. "I think it is time you take that boy in hand."

The steel in her gaze leaves Edward Elric, alchemist, explorer, adventurer, and international spy, cringing in fear at the dire consequences of not obeying.

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

The group had settled in for a late lunch at a stir fry and barbeque buffet, the new arrivals had insisted on an all you can eat place. Ranko had to keep from falling out of her seat in shock watching the quantities of food the small pink haired girl was making disappear.

Her contemplation of this, while eating her own food, was disturbed as Midori walked up with a distinguished looking grey haired gentleman. "Hello Ranchan, it seems you had some interesting stuff happen today." Ranko just shrugs.

"What are you doing here uncle Alphonse?" Lisa says from across the table.
Ukinari and Makie blink in surprise at this statement. The man looks nervously to the closed door of their group dining area. Finally sighing, his form shifts to that of a blond haired man in his late twenties with his blond hair in a long ponytail. "I suppose I should introduce myself. Until recently I went by the name Sasaki Arata, and I am Makie and Ukinari's grandfather. My actual name Is Alphonse Elric and my older brother Edward under another alias is Lisa and Kazuharu's father."

Lisa looks down at her plate. "Now I see why Kaa-san was so adamantly against me dating Ukinari." Perking up a bit she grins. "At least it was not because Onii-chan's arguments were effective, and I could still get to know Negi-sensei." The girl cringes back at the glares she receives from other girls at the table.

"So Midori-nee is this the fiancee you were telling me about?" Ranko's simple question brings all other conversations to a halt. Midori just nods in response and braces for the tidal wave of questions that follow.

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

"You did not need to come along." Mana grates out between gritted teeth, studying the area from a roof top with her binoculars.

"I just wanted to see what my new student gives up a chance to have some fun or training time for." Yoruichi says mildly behind her mask.

"The headmaster is paying me to keep watch on the situation in Minato ward." Mana says with a groan. "I have no need to participate in some childish competition."

"Correct me if I am wrong, but you are a child, and need to act like one sometimes before you loose the opportunity completely." Mana could almost feel the smirk behind the older woman's mask. "I don't see any reason you should be in desperate need for money anyway. I think you just don't know how to have fun."

Mana desperately tries to keep from crushing her binoculars, screaming or both.

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

Midori grumbles all the way back to the dorm that evening. "You did not help at all there Ranchan."

"I did not think there was much I could do to help." Ranma simply shrugs while he and Kaede walk along beside her. "You have to admit though it was better to get that out of the way early. Compared to Al-sensei's revelation yours was minor."

Ranma sweat drops as both girls start giggling. 'I never will understand girls.'

"I will see you in the morning then Ranma-dono." Kaede bows and walks away from the two cousins as they enter the dorms. heading directly for Kazumi and Sayo's room. Already knowing both girls were in the room, Kaede knocks quietly.

After the taller girl enters, Kazumi asks quietly. "So what did Noriko-san and Kari-san have to tell you?"

Handing Kazumi the cell phone like minicomputer, Kaede grins. "She was agreeable to the idea of you two becoming retainers, and depending on whose authority we look at registered concubines for Ranma-dono." Sayo blushes slightly but grins widely at this last.

Kazumi hardly seems to have heard as she opens the computer. "What's this?"

"Noriko-sama gave that to me for us to look over Ranma-dono's assets." Kaede stated simply while waiting to see Kazumi's reaction.

"This is an accurate exchange value?" Kazumi asks quietly. Seeing Kaede nod, she shrieks. "This is more than the gross domestic product for all of Japan last year! Your telling me Ranma is worth this much?"

Kaede and Sayo glance at the display. Kaede clears her throat. "No Kazumi-dono I believe you will find that to be the profit after reinvestment for the last galactic year. It seems the greater part of the galaxy bases their years off the planet Jurai, which apparently takes two and a half times longer than earth to orbit its own sun. I had to ask Noriko-sama to explain a few of these things to me. Ranma-dono and Ranko-dono's official net worth is further down the list."

Kazumi scrolls the screen further down and her eyes almost dilate completely. After several minutes of complete shock, Kazumi looks at the other two girls. "You realize this is as good as painting a giant target on Ranchan's back." Sayo looks at the other girls worriedly.

"Then it is good we are there to make sure no one will ever get the chance to aim at it." Kaede says mildly. "Speaking of which Noriko-sama is already getting paperwork ready for Sayo, but as expected there will need to be permissions given by your parents."

Kazumi nods absently, too deeply involved in studying every bit of information the small computer had to offer.

"Did you find anything out from Kari-san?" Sayo asks quietly.

Kaede grins and opens one eye to look at the ghost girl. "The details were a bit hard for me to grasp, but the short version is Kazumi and I will be around for some time to come, degozaru."

"Ano...I need to." Sayo says quietly before her voice is completely muffled by a soft embrace from Kaede.

"Your rose garden is quite enjoyable." Kaede says quietly. "Perhaps if we are lucky Ranma-dono's thoughts will bring him there and we can tell him the truth of it, but otherwise we can play by ourselves tonight."

Sayo sniffs back tears as she hugs the taller girl tightly in response.

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

Haruna smiles at the camera in front of a completely blue back drop. "Welcome to the finale of the Mahora race. For this last leg we have a true test of the racer's metal." The camera pulls back to reveal that she is standing on top of a field of white canvas. "One member has been selected from each team for this and will be required to complete a tandem skydive from this blimp 4000 meters above the school. They will get to begin their jumps in the order that their teams arrived in."

The camera switches to a nervous looking blond haired girl wearing a purple jumpsuit. "Our master martial artist, Ku Fe, will be representing the purple team and going first. Followed by Kagurazaka Asuna for the red team." The mentioned carrot top waves nervously for the camera before moving on to another red headed woman wearing a gold jumpsuit. "Himura Nodoka will go last for the Gold team. Good luck to all of you in this final sprint."

Ku Fei grins as she walks with her jump instructor out onto a platform and gets hooked up and ready to go. With a cheer they are off as Asuna and Nodoka make their way to the end of the platform.

The view switches to the waiting team members in a field near the university science building. "I do hope they are all okay." Mitoto says quietly while watching for the parachutes to appear. Ranma seems to be wearing a path in the field pacing back and forth.

Cheers go up as the first parachute opens, and more than a few people sigh in relief.

Ku Fei is the first to reach the ground and the Purple team gathers around as she hands Happosai the first clue. Opening the envelope he reads aloud. "Assemble and Complete."

"In this final leg each team must face all tasks." Haruna says as she walks up to a maze with a robot running through it. "In this first task teams have a to find the parts and assembly instructions for their robot. Each robot is different, and the items they need to find are hidden in different places on campus. There are only three robots so the last team to start will have to take what is left."

The Purple team heads into a large workshop where diagrams of the robots are displayed. Each are a different size and shape. after a quick discussion they take the largest design thinking it will be the simplest.
The Red team comes in next and the take the smallest on the assumption that it will be the most maneuverable.

The Gold team is the last to arrive. Ranma sighs at seeing that they are left in a fix without a choice. Kaede just shrugs, while looking at the pictures. "Only time will tell."

----------

Nabiki looks up from the various camera displays. "So Hakase you designed this one, is there a right choice here?"

The young genius grins. "They are all workable, and can complete the maze. They all were separated into the same number of pieces, but..."

"Let me take a guess." Nabiki says with a smile. "The largest is the simplest, but the pieces are heavier. The smallest is light and fast but the pieces are tiny and could be difficult to assemble."

"Quite so." The younger girl smiles. "Remember that in case Paru needs lines for a voiceover later."

Nabiki sighs. "I am not looking forward to splicing all the footage of this scavenger hunt together."

----------

Because of the size of the parts the Purple team has an easy time with finding theirs and return to the workshop first with their plans. Followed not long after by the Gold team. The Red team is the last to arrive and the Purple team is already running theirs through the maze.

Ranma and the three ladies on is team are just starting the maze as the Purple team opens their clue. The title is Raiders.

"For the next challenge, setup by the Archeology department, each team must make their way to a different less travelled part of Library Island by following a map they will receive at random from Li-sensei and retrieve a scroll that will tell them where to go next." Haruna says in a voiceover, while the camera shows a smiling brown haired young woman. "All teams must safely make it back to the entrance of the catacombs before they may open their scroll."

it is almost a dead heat between the the Gold and Purple teams as they make it to the entrance of the Island. Sakura holds out the three rolled up maps to them, and the captains each take one with a polite bow to the teacher. "Be careful we have found almost all of the traps that are on these paths and disabled them, but I can not guarantee they are all disabled."
The statement proves to be prophetic as the teams make their way down the dusty corridors, they both eventually find traps. Kaede having dealt with them before is able to gain extra time for her team by quickly disarming them. Leading to the gold team finding their scroll first and starting back for the entrance as the red team arrives.

Ranma and his group makes it to the entrance and with a nod from Sakura open the scroll. Ranma reads aloud. "The final test in the race is to obtain a perfect circle in this journey." This is all of the clue, Ranma and the girls look on in puzzlement while Nodoka laughs softly.

Visibly having to contain her laughter, Nodoka explains. "Why Ranma, a perfect circle on any journey always requires a return to the begining."

-----------

Nabiki looks up at a grinning Kari. "How exactly do you expect me to keep any tension about the ending now?"

"You have done a fine job in editing so far Nabiki-chan." Kari squeaks out between giggles. "I am sure you will come up with something."

Nabiki shakes her head and returns to watching the camera feeds. Red just getting their scroll. Purple returning to the entrance and Gold with the finish in sight.

----------

Haruna and Konoe Konoemon stand on a raised platform in the World Tree Plaza with both sides lined by the other eliminated teams as the Gold team reaches the top of the stairs and is congratulated by the headmaster.

"You have finished first and are the winners of the hot springs trip, which you all can enjoy during the Golden Week holiday." Haruna finishes just before taking off her microphone and turning puppy eyes on Nodoka. No sound is heard but a good lip reader could make out her pleading with "Auntie Nodoka" to let her come too.

----------

Mana turns her head from the fight in the far end of the alley at the sound of the masked woman laughing at something on the display of a small cell phone. "What is so funny?"

"Your cousin, Li-sensei, has just sent me a text message saying that her soft hearted best friend has agreed to extend the invitation to all participants in the Race as well as some of their family and friends to go on the hot springs trip, as long as everyone can agree on where to go." Yoruichi grins at the girl behind her mask and waves a finger. "You on the other hand are drafted into going on the trip during golden week and don't get a choice, Sensei's orders."

The young exorcist does her best not to snarl or scream at the woman who had been tagging along after her like a mother hen for the last two days.
They both turn back to watching the sailor scouts fight at feeling a build up of power, Sailor Moon was charging up one of her attacks while the others tried to keep the shadow creature distracted. Usagi yells out "Moon Healing Escalation", and bright beam of light leaves her scepter. The monster smirks as it melts away, leaving the two women caught in the firing line.

Yoruichi quickly calls up a barrier, but Mana not noticing this tries to jump out of the way and is smashed back into the wall by the attack. The young woman screams and the white cloth ties holding the tails of hair framing her face catch fire.

When the light disappears a pile of her clothing is the only sign of the exorcist.

notes:

Mihoshi - Kuramitsu Mihoshi - Mitoto's daughter and Ku Fei's Aunt (In this story)

Shota-con - shota complex - this is a term used to describe an interest in young or young looking boys. In Negima the class representative, Yukihiro Ayaka, is often shown taking this to a non-sexual extreme.

All of the new characters in the visiting groups are from Girls Bravo, check out the wikipedia page.

Chapter 43
Chapter 45
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