­Hgeocities.com/Tokyo/Dojo/1449/advcd13.htmlgeocities.com/Tokyo/Dojo/1449/advcd13.htmldelayedx═╝НJ                    ╚агэS╩OKtext/htmlђџ &S╩    bЅ.HWed, 15 Nov 2000 07:21:16 GMT#3Mozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *╠╝НJS╩ advcd9

A.D.V. Curses and Demons Chapter 13

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications.
 

        A Different Viewpoint: Curses and Demons:
                Chapter 13

    Resting quietly in the sun next to a luxurious hot spring where Usagi and Rei were currently arguing,
Luna tried to relax, shutting out the sounds of the two girls squabbling.  Her rest, however, was short
lived.

    "Happosai!  You I kill!"

    Luna woke fully at the sound of an angry shout,  < That was Shampoo?  Shouting about....>  She
didn't get to finish her thought.

    "Hotcha!"  The little lecher in question had just bounded over the wall separating the men's and
women's sides of the spring.  Luna stood, hissing at him, but he hardly noticed as he leapt, moments
before Shampoo's bonbori crushed in the wall section he'd been standing on. Luna leapt away in
fright, having nearly been hit by the Amazon's weapon.  Shampoo came through her newly created
entry as Happosai nimbly dodged several small yellow and black projectiles.  He landed on Makoto's
head, bounced onto Rei's chest for a quick feel, then Usagi's for good measure.  Shampoo leapt
down to attack, even as Sailor Mars started up her signature fire attack.

    "Don't hit me!"  Usagi pleaded, and ducked below the water.

    Makoto was headed out of the water to get some room.  In order to dodge the combined attacks
from Shampoo and Mars, Happosai leapt gleefully onto the tall girl's backside.  "Oh so big, so firm,
so stacked!" Happosai chortled as he felt her up.  With a cry of rage she batted him off, but he was
already headed for his next victim.  He bounded over the far wall after groping a young women from
the hotel staff, who had come out after hearing the commotion.  She gasped, then pointed at the wall
with the huge hole in it, her hand shaking.

    A towel clad Ryoga, holding another handful of bandanas was climbing through the hole.
"Happosai!  How dare you run... away?  Eep??"  The last came as Ryoga caught a glimpse of the
many unclad bathers in front of him.  He fainted even before the blood could reach his nose.

    Shampoo shook her head, reverting back to her more familiar mode of speach with the stress of
the fight.  "Stupid pig boy."  She turned to the girls from Juuban.  "You is Sailor Senshi right?  You
help me catch Happosai, then others not be in any danger, yes?"

    Rei and Makoto were already pulling on their robes.  "Let's go get the pervert!"

    Usagi hesitated.  "But isn't he gone already??

    Shampoo shook her head.  "No, he not visit pool yet!"  As she said this, shrieks could be heard
from that direction.  "See?"  She bounded off, followed by the Senshi.

    Luna hurried after them.  "Sailor Moon, tighten your belt!"

    Usagi hurriedly complied, but not before a few lucky souls got an eyeful.  She landed red-faced.
"Oh, I think I'll die... after I kill that little demon!"  Shampoo and the two other Senshi were already
far ahead.  When Sailor Moon and Luna rounded the hotel to the pool side, chaos was having a field
day.  Angry girls and guys at pool side, (some guys not so angry, since Happosai had already
divested some sun worshipers of their vestments),  were chasing the letch around the pool.

    Happosai was easily evading their amateur attempts to stop him, and was feeling marvelous.
"Hotcha!  Whata bod!  Come here baby!"  He hadn't had this much fun in months.  Suddenly, he
noticed the girl he had mistaken for Ranma earlier.  < Heh, that one is no threat.>  The girl was in a
fairly good imitation of Ranma's stance, but it was obvious to the master that she wouldn't be a
problem.  Still, he gave her a quick feel, and took her suit before moving on.

    Artemis swung again at the old man, frustrated by her lack of success.  "Damn you old geezer, hold
still!"  She hadn't noticed her missing apparel yet, and started chasing him along with the others.  A
blast of flame alerted her to the others' presence.  "Hey, Mars, get this guy!"

    At the sight of the boiling mad amazon and her two companions, one shooting off blasts of flame
and the other crackling with electricity, most everyone else gave up their pursuit of the old master and
ran for the safety of the hotel.  Luna and Sailor Moon, arriving by the pool as the mass exodus began,
found themselves shoved and pushed, (in Usagi's case), and stepped on and kicked, (in Luna's) both
ending up falling into the pool.  Happosai, not really worried about the Senshi, decided to play for a
little longer.

    From a third story balcony window, Nabiki watched the scene with mounting annoyance.
Happosai was easily avoiding the Senshi's attacks, and more often then not leading them into blasting
one another or his more skilled playmate, Shampoo.  Already her outfit was little more than tatters,
and the two Senshi's robes were in the pool.  Sailor Moon was struggling to get back out of the pool,
but her own waterlogged robe was hampering her movements.  A girl Nabiki recognized as 'Diana'
from Ranma's martial arts class was trying to help her, only to be tripped into the pool again by
Happosai.  Dr. Tofu had left, running down the nearby stairwell to aid the Senshi.

    As she watched, Nabiki muttered darkly to herself.  "Even without his strength, Happosai is too
much for them."  She continue to watch as Dr. Tofu arrived on the scene.  He was apparently trying
to sneak up on the lecher, who was again fondling the busty girl Nabiki had originally mistaken for
Ranma.  At the last moment, Happosai appeared to notice the Doctor out the corner of his eye, for as
Tofu leapt at him, Happosai bounced off his head and landed next to Nabiki.

    He looked surprised to see her.  "Nabiki Tendo?  Hotcha!"  She got in a good blow as he headed
for her chest, and he looked even more surprised.  "So, you've been practicing?"

    Nabiki  kept her face expressionless as a masked man snuck up and grabbed Happosai from
behind.  "Gotcha."  he said softly.  Happosai realized he wasn't strong enough to break the man's grip,
so he hit several nerve spots on the man's arms.  The man flinched in pain, but didn't release him.

    "So, you're Tuxedo Mask?"  Nabiki asked the tall masked figure.  < He does look familiar.>
Nabiki thought.   < But shouldn't he be wearing a Tux?>

    As the two looked at each other, Happosai reached out and touched the wall.  "Breaking point!"
With a small explosion, the balcony bent away from the blasted wall.  As Nabiki started to fall, the
young man abandoned his grip on Happosai to grab both her and the doorway's edge.

    "Got you."  The masked stranger huffed in a low voice.  Happosai, deciding finally that he'd had
enough fun for one day, bounded to the next balcony, then to the roof for the rest of his stash.

    Nabiki, frustrated at his escape, yelled at the masked man.  "Now he's escaped, you idiot!"
Below, Shampoo and the Senshi gathered what they could of their dignity, (and clothing), and looked
up at the two. He pulled Nabiki roughly above him and into the doorway, before swinging up into the
hallway himself.  He then ran past her.

    "Sorry."  He said in almost a whisper, "Maybe I should let you fall next time."  he turned the corner
before she could get her breath to retort.

    Nabiki, annoyed, went after him, but as she turned into the main hallway he was nowhere to be
seen.  < Did he duck into a room?  I don't hear him running down the stairs, and the elevators are
closed.>

    Outside, Sailor Mars was glancing at Sailor Moon. "Was that Tuxedo Mask?"

    Jupiter frowned.  "He was dressed up sort of like a ninja, it couldn't have been him, unless he's lost
his memories again."

    Moon pouted.  "If he's forgotten me and starts saving Nabiki instead I'll never forgive him."
Shampoo listened in, confusion growing as they talked.

    Finally she broke in.  "We fail, Happosai escape.  We need to learn to work as a team."  Jupiter
and Mars turned to her and nodded.

    Moon pouted somberly,  "You're right, that was terrible."

    Sailor Mars scowled at her 'Leader'  "Who are you to talk?  You were no help at all!"

    Moon glared back.  "It's not my fault I was pushed into the pool!"

    "Yes it is, you're just too clumsy!"

    "And you're mean!"  Moon shouted back.

    Jupiter was glancing around nervously.  "Later you two, let's get out of here before anything else
happens."  She pointed to the wrecked balcony above, where Nabiki had just returned, looking out
from the doorway.  "Anyway, let's get out of here before she recognizes anyone." She gestured to
Artemis and Luna.

    Her friends stopped glaring at each other and nodded.  "Ah, right." Sailor Moon said.

    "Quick, get back to the hot spring you two." Mars said in a half whisper.  The five girls began
running in that direction.

    Shampoo watched them leave, and yelled after them.  "We practice later, is OK?"  She then
walked over to her Airen.  "Is Tofu alright?"

    He nodded, a bemused expression on his face.  "Ah yes.  Shampoo, are you sure those were the
Sailor Senshi?  Don't they usually wear... a costume?"  < Or something at least.>

    Shampoo's brown creased in frustration.  "Tofu-chan no worry. Shampoo recognized... I mean, I
recognized them from when I fought with them before.  That was Sailors Mars, Jupiter and Moon.
The other two I don't know, maybe Sailors in training?"  Shampoo then pointed up.  "Who was that
save Nabiki?"

    Tofu  corrected.  "Who was it that saved Nabiki?  I don't know, Shampoo.  When did you fight
with the Sailor Senshi?  I mean, other than the time you were possessed."

    Shampoo frowned at that unpleasant memory.  "Was day Taro beat me, you remember?  He beat
me because I was tired after fighting demons with Senshi.  He almost beat Ranma too, but you saved
me."  She melted against his, gave him a long kiss.  "Thank you again, Airen."

    Nabiki headed downstairs.  < I'm sure I've seen that guy somewhere before.  He sort of looked
like that guy in class, Mamoru Chiba, but I don't think it was him.  He looked... well I suppose it
could of been him, with that hood and mask, it'd be hard to tell.  I need to ask some questions.>

    At the front desk she cornered the hotel manager.  "Oh, hello."  He stammered, apparently quite
disturbed.  "Oh, this is very terrible miss!  Someone rob many customer's rooms, someone been
harassing customers at pool!  It very terrible trouble, very bad for business!  Is you being robbed
too?"

    Nabiki blinked.  < I haven't checked the room yet, but I'll bet I know what this thief stole.>  She
shook her head.  "I don't know. I have a question for you though."

    The manager shook his head.  "Oh no, too, too sorry miss customer, no refund on room."

    Nabiki grinned just slightly to herself.  < And once you have their money, never, ever give it back,
Rule of Acquisition #52.>  "That's not it."  She told the man,  "I was wondering, has anyone staying
here... asked about Jusenkyo?  Or have you seen a tall, European fellow, wears black, black hair,
with a bunch of Japanese girls, or...."

    The man was nodding vigorously, happy to be on another subject. "Very funny you ask that.  Yes,
yes, a man and group, very beautiful Japanese girls stay here, only one day ago.  That same man, he
back today, he say, 'You see me? Tell me when you see me last, where I go to.'  I tell him, yes sir,
just see you this week.  He look surprised, he say, 'Oh, but you see me many month ago?'  I think, I
say, yes sir, I think you was here, 8, 9 month ago, you still looking for legendary valley?  Jusenkyo?
You find it sir?  He say, 'I was looking for what?' I tell him, You say you looking for legendary valley,
called Jusenkyo, you maybe loose memory, maybe meet Amazons near there?  He say, 'Yes, yes that
was me, where you say I should look?'  I told him same as before, he should look by village of
Amazon womans, north of village maybe, in mountain pass, if legend true.  He say, 'Thank you very
much.'  Very strange no?"

    Nabiki nodded.  "Very strange yes."  She paused to fish a picture out of her purse.  She showed it
to the manager.  "Is this the man?"

    He nodded quickly.  "Yes, yes.  You know him?  I see you here in picture."  Nabiki nodded
slowly.  "He here, room number 315.  He leaving tonight he say.  You want me to send him message
you is here?"

    Nabiki shook her head.  "No, thank you.  Is he here alone?"

    The manager nodded.  "Yes, he arrive yesterday, was nobody with him."

    Nabiki nodded.  "I think I'll stop by, surprise him.  Thank you again, you were most helpful."

    The manager nodded back.  "Very glad I could help my customer.  You have nice stay now."

    Nabiki stepped back to consider this discovery, glancing briefly at the photo as she replaced it in
her wallet.   It was a shot of Johnathon and Kasumi, a few days before their wedding.  Nabiki and
Soun were in the background.  Akane had surprised them all with the pictures, Nabiki especially.  <
It's a really good shot.  When did Akane get so sneaky?>

    As she mused over the picture, she noticed someone entering the hotel from the hot springs
entrance.  < Ah, the three Sailors, and... two cats?>  She watched them head around to the
elevators.  < OK, the mystery deepens.  Is Johnathon really here, or more likely his nosy brother
Michael?  Who was it I saw with the Sailor's by the pool, was that really Diana?  And who was that
redhead that looked like Ranma? Was that really the mysterious new Sailor Earth?  And what do the
cats have to do with it?  It seems like there are just too many cats lately. The cats that caused
Ranma's phobia, Shampoo, then Johnathon and Onnichan, the cats Johnathon used to cure Ranma's
phobia... hmm, didn't Akane say that there was a black one and a white one?  The cats that attacked
Dr. Tofu, Shampoo attacking like she's got the cat fist.... Now the Senshi have a pair of cats, a black
one and a white one.... didn't Akane tell me those were the Psychologist's cats?  Ranma was going to
teach her niece and friends... are they the same cats?>  She sighed.  < I don't know, but it sure seems
like a pretty big coincidence otherwise.  Now, what do I do about Michael-san?  If it is him, and not
Johnathon with a memory gap...>

    Her thoughts were interrupted as Dr. Tofu and Shampoo came in, leading Ryoga.  She waved to
them, and they came over.  "Ok guys, I think it's obvious that we need to talk to the Sailor Senshi.
You guys are going to have to work together if you're going to beat Happosai."

    Ryoga looked blank. "The Sailor Senshi?  Where?"

    Shampoo just nodded.  "You is right, Nabiki-san.  Where will we find them, though?"

    "You are right, Nabiki." Dr. Tofu corrected gently.

    "I'm glad you both think so."  Nabiki smirked slightly.  "Finding them shouldn't be a problem, I
booked them next door to us.  Come on, we'll pay them a visit."

    In the room in question... "Hey!  Someone's been in here."  Rei said as she opened the door.
Everyone rushed to check their luggage.

    Usagi was at her purse.  "Well, my money is still here."

    Makoto frowned, going through her large purse.  "Our costumes, Rei, they're gone!"

    Rei was groaning.  "Oh great, all my underwear is missing."

    Luna and Artemis said together, "Happosai."  Luna looked anxiously at Usagi.  "The silver crystal,
is it...?"

    Usagi made a face at her.  "Nah, here it is."  She produced the locket from mid air.  "I haven't left it
out of my reach in months."

    Luna sighed in relief.  "Thank goodness.  If that's all he got away with, we'll be alright."

    Rei muttered under her breath. "This from someone who's used to running around naked."  Luna
pretended not to hear.

    Makoto was shaking her head doubtfully.  "He's got my tiara again, I'm not any good with my
lightning without it."

    Artemis shrugged.  "Time you learned how to do with out the prop, Makoto."

    She sighed in response.  "I guess."

    A knock on the door caused them all to tense up.  "Hello?  Are you in?  We need to talk."  It was
Nabiki Tendo's voice.

    Luna shook her head ruefully.  "You might as well let her in... 'Sailor Moon', though perhaps you
should all get dressed first?"

    A few minutes later the four from Nermia were standing across from the three Senshi from Juuban.
"No fukus today?"  Nabiki inquired.

    "...Too obvious" Sailor Mars answered after a short pause.

    Dr. Tofu could feel the tension building in the room.  "Now, we're all on the same side, correct?
We're allies, and, as such, we need to learn to trust one another, or we are doomed to fail."

    Sailor Moon nodded in agreement.  The other two Senshi watched this, then Jupiter nodded
slightly as well.  "OK."  She looked at each of the four.  "So where's that other guy, the one in the
black mask?  Shouldn't he be here?"

    Shampoo answered, puzzled.  "What you mean?"  She shook her head suddenly.  "What do you
mean,  He is not with you?  Where are your friends, the other two girls from pool?"

    The Senshi looked at each other, Moon glancing at the bathroom for a second.  Nabiki noted this.
Sailor Moon finally answered for them. "They're not Sailor Senshi, they are our... friends.  They don't
usually fight with us, because they don't have any powers."

    Nabiki nodded to herself, and Ryoga spoke up.  "So, does anybody know who this masked guy
is?"  Nabiki considered offering her opinion, but decided to wait and see if anyone else had any
ideas.  No one else spoke up however.

    Dr. Tofu turned to her to ask,  "Nabiki, you got the best look at him, can you describe him for us?"

    Nabiki complied, recalling what she'd seen and heard from the moment she noticed the man in
black sneaking up behind Happosai.  Dr. Tofu had her describe the man's mask twice.  It was two
pieces you say?  Hmm.  < Interesting, it almost sounds like....>

    Nabiki nodded.  "I told you, a sort of black bandana covering his hair, and a black mask, it looked
like leather.  His shirt was kind of floppy around the arms, with really old looking buttons, square, not
round.  Black jeans maybe, and leather boots.  A sword belt too.  I didn't hear him move."

    Shampoo asked her to clarify something else.  "You say Happosai poke man in arms?  Can you
show where?"
 
    Nabiki frowned thoughtfully.  "Uh, I think so.  Ryoga, would you grab me around the arms?"  She
positioned him until her had her grabbed firmly.  "He grabbed Happosai like this, and Happosai
poked him here, and here."  She demonstrated on Ryoga's arms.

    Shampoo watched closely.  "Tofu, you see?"

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "Yes... hmm, interesting."

    Sailor Mars said impatiently.  "So he poked him in the arms, big deal."

    Dr. Tofu said softly.  "Perhaps not too important, but it does tell us something about our mystery
man."  he looked at Ryoga.  "This will probably sting a little."  He then touched Ryoga in the arm
where Nabiki had before.

    Ryoga's arm shook, and he reflexively released Nabiki.  "Ow."  He said, rubbing his arm slightly.
"Nerve strike huh?  I couldn't hold on.  Happosai's used that on me before, I think."

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "Yes, without his strength, Nerve strikes and Chi attacks are all Happosai has
offensively, yet this man in black wasn't affected."

    Nabiki grinned to herself.  < Nerve Strike huh?  That pretty much clinches who it has to be.>

    Jupiter noticed her grin.  "You know something, don't you, Nabiki?"

    Nabiki shrugged.  "I don't 'know' anything for sure.  But it seems Johnathon and my sisters did stay
here about a week ago like they planned, and this morning, a man who resembled Johnathon enough
to fool the Manager was asking questions about them."

    Jupiter snapped her fingers.  "Michael Dwire!  John-san said it was odd, his brother giving up so
easily."

    Nabiki smiled.  < John-san said, hmm?  He told me the same thing.> From the bathroom Nabiki
heard a faint moan.

    Ryoga nodded.  "It makes sense.  "Michael Dwire's supposed to have a really high pain
tolerance... that's how he didn't let go of Happosai."

    Sailor Moon said.  "We should find him, maybe he can help us."

    Mars retorted.  "Sure, how are we going to do that?"

    Nabiki spoke up.  "Well, maybe we should start by knocking on his door?  He's in room 315."

    Shortly the seven of them were standing in front of that door. "Hey,"  Said Sailor Moon.  "It's
open."  Inside, the room was obviously deserted.  Evidence of hurried packing and a note taped to
the TV were all that was left of the previous occupant..

    "It's for you, Nabiki."  Ryoga said, pulling it off.

    Nabiki read it out loud.  "Dear Miss Tendo, when I saw the look of recognition on your face, I
knew I had to leave.  You won't stop me from finding out the truth."  There was no signature.  Nabiki
frowned. "Conceited isn't he.  Well, I guess he's off to Jusenkyo then."

    Out in the hallway, Luna was banging her head quietly against the wall while Artemis watched
dumbfounded..  < Why didn't I tell anyone, damnit!  I should have known he was going to do
something like this.>

    The rest of the afternoon was spent in planning, after a quick check of the hotel and the
surrounding area head turned up no sign of the elusive Dwire.  The expedition returned to Nabiki's
slightly larger room for a long planning session.  Later, most everyone slept well, notable exceptions
being Luna and Nabiki, who were both feeling upset over Mike Dwire's sudden involvement in things
Jusenkyo.  The morning dawned bright, and Nabiki's rented van and driver arrived.  Soon the journey

was underway in earnest.

    "If they didn't vary from their plan."  Nabiki was saying,  "They should be at Jusenkyo in five more
days.  According to Shampoo, the trail the driver will let us off at tonight will put us about three or
four days walk from Jusenkyo.  We're getting a bit closer because the bus they planned to take
doesn't go as far into the mountains as the road we're taking.  We have to get there first.  Hopefully
we'll find them along the trail, but if we don't we need to beat them to the springs.  If they haven't
arrived yet, Shampoo can fetch a little help from her village.  It's only a few hours farther along the
same trail."

    Shampoo nodded.  "Elders sure to author lots of hunters to get Happosai, he was very bad man to
Amazons many years ago."

    Dr. Tofu corrected.  "That's authorize, Shampoo."  (Nah, the author thinks lots of amazons should
get Happosai too!)

    Sailor Moon asked curiously.  "Why don't we send Shampoo to the village right away?"

    Nabiki shrugged.  "To dangerous for her to go alone.  Besides, we'll need her help if we run into
Happosai."

    There was only slight delay.  Their driver stopped to help another rental driver's car out of a muddy
ditch.  "He only competition in area."  The driver explained.  "If I no help him, I no get time off."

    Nabiki swore under her breath hearing that, the other car being several minutes back and driving in
the opposite direction.  It was too late, but... "Did he say who his fare was?"  Her driver shrugged.
"No, he just say, customer very impatient, start walking, no wait."

    "That doesn't help us much."  Mars said.  "It could have been anyone."

    "Whoever it was has lost a few hours at least."  Dr. Tofu pointed out.

    They had to be patient with that, for no other sign of others passage were evident.  An hour later
the van reached its final destination.  They all piled out, putting on their packs.  Shampoo said
excitedly.  "We are very close to Mt. Phoenix now, see?"  She pointed out the blasted slopes of
Jusendo.  "Here is beginning of trail, we go now OK?"  Though it was already approaching dusk, they
agreed to hike a few hours until it was full dark.

    When they set up camp, they were still in the foothills, the mountain pass just ahead.  As they
finished building a fire, everyone gathered around the warmth for another conference.  Just as
everyone was getting settled, a sudden squall caught them unprepared.  The number of humans
around the fire remained constant, even as the exact humans differed.  Dr. Tofu stared for a long
moment before politely averting his gaze, Shampoo leapt into Dr. Tofu's lap, Ryoga bweed his
startlement.

    Nabiki was nodding knowingly.  "They are the same cats aren't they."  It wasn't a question.  "In
fact..."  Nabiki peered closer at Luna.  "You're Diana?"  She couldn't conceal her astonishment.
"How... How is that possible?"  She pointed at Artemis, who was trying to hide behind Jupiter.  "Then
you're Atlanta?  I've... I've heard you talk! How did you learn to talk?!"  For once, Nabiki was
dumbfounded.
 
    Sailor Moon sighed.  "Ever since we met you, Nabiki, I figured that it was just a matter of time, no
matter what we did, before you would figure us out.  Ranma had to know our secret of course, if he
was to properly train us.  Ranma-sensei couldn't have kept it from Akane-san, we understood that.
Asking Johnathon to keep it secret from Kasumi-san was very hard, but she learned our secret on her
own, much to my relief actually."

    Nabiki tried hard not to frown.  "But you... they... couldn't trust me with your secrets, is that it?

    Sailor Moon sighed deeper, still speaking in the voice her friends had come to recognize as her
'Serenity' persona.  "Trust is not easily earned Nabiki-san, as I'm sure you are aware... and your
reputation might lead one to believe that you aren't the most trustworthy of people."

    Nabiki's face was turning red.  "Hey!  That's not fair.  Everything I did, I did for...."

    "For your family...."  Sailor Moon finished for her.  "I know.  Even Ranma has admitted as much.
We did consider telling you before all this happened.  Johnathon believed you could be trusted, and
Kasumi also believed in you.  I have come to trust their judgment.  I myself... I liked you when I met
you, but..."

    Nabiki waved her hand slowly.  "It's a big secret, I know.  I was pretty pushy... OK, sneaky about
trying to find out what was going on." She sighed as well, hanging her head a bit.  "I just couldn't stand

knowing that everyone seemed to share a secret that I didn't know."  She looked up at the Senshi.
"And... you don't really have to tell me now..."  A loud Meow! and Bwee! protested.  "But I guess
I'm not the only curious one."
 
    Sailor Moon nodded.  "If we are to face battle together, we should trust each other."  She looked
at her friends and 'guardians'.

    Jupiter shrugged.  "It's alright with me."

    Mars growled.  "I guess it makes sense."

    Dr. Tofu spoke up then suddenly.  "I'm honored, but perhaps we should all sleep on it?  Important
decisions should never be made when you're tired."

    Nabiki nodded, surprised to find herself agreeing.  "He's right, it can wait until morning."

    Sailor Moon nodded back serenely.  "Perhaps your right.  Goodnight then."  Everyone trundled off
to their tents.

    Elsewhere, a the Ghost Cat was disappointed.  "Ah well."  He said to his slaves.  "It might have
proved a useful piece of information, but it really matters little.  Come to me my dear Shampoo."  He
pondered. "They look like cats, those two, but they can't be, for I've had no luck reaching them."

    Shampoo's absence was not discovered until morning.  Dr. Tofu was angry... at himself.  "I should
have known, when she didn't try to sneak into bed with me... ah... anyway, what can we do about it?
There's no use searching for her, not as a cat.  Besides, this is her home, she knows it far better than
we do."

    Nabiki frowned.  "She didn't change back before leaving?  No, how could she?"  Nabiki reminded
herself.  "No hot water.  Speaking of hot water, we should change Ryoga back."

    Mars nodded.  "I'll do it."

    As the Senshi of Fire restarted the ashes of their campfire, Sailor Moon wondered, "I hope
Shampoo's not possessed again."  No one answered her, as they were all fearing the same thing.

    Soon enough, everyone was ready to leave.  Sailor Jupiter thought to ask.  "Sailor Moon, do you
still think we should tell them?"

    The moon senshi shook her head.  "This doesn't seem safe anymore. If whatever took control of
Shampoo does have her again, they could attack at anytime.  We should keep our eyes out for
danger."

    Mars nodded, for once in agreement with her 'leader'.  "Right. There'll be time for secrets later.
Now we better hurry and find our friends."

    The made their way along the trail cautiously.  It was fairly easy going at first, but the trail gradually
got steeper and rougher as it began to ascend.  By noon Nabiki was getting fairly tired, and the two
ex-moon cats were also feeling rather ragged, having to walk on just two legs all day being new to
them.  They took a longer break than originally planed, and Dr. Tofu eased their aches as best he
could as they ate.  When they began plodding on again, Nabiki felt better, but the relief from pain
didn't last, soon her legs and feet were aching again.  Luna and Artemis conversely, were doing fairly
well, having finally adjusted to their two legged stride.  They were already used to walking most
everywhere they went.  Even Dr. Tofu was starting to feel the strain however as evening approached.

    The group was finally on top of the pass.  The mountain ledges rose high on either side.  After their
long day, no one was particularly looking for trouble, but Ryoga was getting a bad feeling.  He was in
front with the Sailor Senshi. Mars was taking her turn leading him. Nabiki and Dr. Tofu were just
behind them, and the two ex-cats were bringing up the rear.  Ryoga kept looking around at the rocks,
his intuition bugging him.  "You know what?"  He said slowly.  "This would be a great place for..."

    "Oh ho ho ho ho ho!"  A terrifying laughter rang down from the rocks behind them.

    "An ambush."  Ryoga finished.  Ahead in the dying light, they could make out a huge figure flying
down from the cliff face, a much more feminine figure came out from behind a boulder as it landed.
The laughter's source appeared as Kodachi bounded down behind them, her gymnastic apparel as
obvious as her insane laugh. A young man in a purple gi was beside her.

    Only Nabiki really recognized him, though the Senshi had seen him once before.  "Happosai and
Kodachi behind us, Pantyhose Taro and... Shampoo ahead."  Nabiki summed up for the others.
"This doesn't look good."

    Happosai lead off the attack with his paralyzing chi 'fear' blast. As he had expected, Dr. Tofu
began fighting it almost immediately. Nabiki was completely paralyzed with terror, and she screamed
in horror, reliving Happosai's abuse.  The two girl/cats were frozen as well.  To his surprise, Sailor's
Jupiter and Mars were quickly breaking free of his attack.  Sailor Moon, having stared into the eyes
of Metalica, The Death Phantom, and Mistress 9, was already wrapping up her biggest attack.

    Happosai screamed as his perverse little soul was blasted with a light brighter than anything he'd
ever encountered.  He saw himself for the first time as he really was.  He screamed again, then
fainted, the shock having been too much for him.

    Ryoga hadn't been affected by Happosai's attack, as he had leapt and was airborne as soon as
Taro landed.  Their first exchange of blows was surprisingly successful, at least surprising to Ryoga.
< It's like his heart isn't in this fight.>  Ryoga realized.  < I may actually have a chance.>

    Shampoo had used the opportunity provided by Happosai's chi attack to jump kick Dr. Tofu.  The
pause was long enough for her to catch him unprepared.  Her first kick was followed by a punch to
the midriff to bend him over, then bringing one shapely leg high, she axe-kicked him into the ground.

    Kodachi also made used of Happosai's attack to entangle Sailor Jupiter in her ribbon.  Jupiter,
shaking off the fear, tried to send an electric charge down the ribbon, but only ended up delivering a
slight shock as Kodachi was still airborne.  The insane gymnast  was only slightly frazzled.  She called
out, "Hoop!"  One was delivered to her, (though Jupiter couldn't see her assistant,) and she wrapped
the end of the ribbon around it.  She then sent the whole apparatus flying into a cliff face, knocking
Jupiter off her feet as she was pulled along. Mars gave a quick 'Fire Sniper' at Kodachi, but the agile
girl wasn't there when it struck.  She called out, "Clubs!" and started a barrage of the weapons at
Sailor Mars.

    Mars took a glancing blow to the temple as she tried to dodge the multiple missiles.  < Dodge,
dodge!>  Her mind screamed even as she braced for an impact... that didn't come.  Kodachi looked
annoyed as well, and glanced back at her assistant's position.  Mars glanced as well.  Gosenkugi was
laid out in plain sight, obviously unconscious.

    Mars glanced behind her suddenly as some sixth sense kicked in.  She ducked as Shampoo came
at her with a high sweep kick.  Mars leapt away to gain some breathing space.  As she did, she
noticed Sailor Moon's unconscious form, blood trickling from her temple.  Suddenly Shampoo found
herself fighting a mad woman.  Too angry to shout any command phrases, Mars' hands ignited, and
Shampoo was hard pressed to just stay out of reach of those flaming fists.

    Nabiki meanwhile had finally shaken herself out of the paralyzing fear, just in time to roll out of the
way of the pair.  She got to her feet only to see Kodachi pulling out a spare ribbon, and begin to twirl
it in preparation for an attack.  Nabiki charged her, hoping to get close enough to make the ribbon
unusable.  < I'm out of my league.>  She realized as Kodachi almost casually leapt backwards and
entangled Nabiki in her ribbon.  A moment later Nabiki was bracing for impact, as Kodachi flicked
her toward the canyon wall.  She fell short.  A dark figure leapt out from behind a boulder next to
Gosenkugi, and a bright blade severed the ribbon.

    Kodachi started her traditional ribbon attack with the considerable amount of ribbon still available.
Nabiki watched from her prone position as she struggled to free herself.  She discovered the wire
hidden within the ribbon, even as Sailor Jupiter had a few moments before.  Nabiki groaned, and
started rolling around on the rocky ground in an effort to get free.

    A few unsuccessful attacks from Kodachi had her frustrated by her opponent, as he easily parried
the ribbon, even going so far as to cut off a few more pieces.  She considered going for her rope/rod,
and dueling with him but decided not to face him in his arena.  Instead she dived away from his
assault, and rolled past the battling pair of Shampoo and Mars.  She set her ribbon spinning again as a
distraction, and  then tossed the two clubs she had grabbed as she rolled.  Nabiki shouted out a
warning, but the dark clothed man was ready.  As Kodachi tossed her weapons, he reached behind
him and pulled out an even longer blade, this one so thin it seemed more like a whip.  His thin blade
smacked the clubs aside, and he leapt in with a lunge, his new sword ending inches from her throat.

    "Surrender, Lady."  The stranger said softly.

    Nabiki looked up from where she was finally removing Kodachi's ribbon.  "'Don't trust her!  She's
tricky!"

    Kodachi spared her a withering glance.  "Ignore the peasant my lord.  Surely you are of noble
house!  What magnificent swordsmanship!" She said in her sultriest voice.  "I am utterly undone, and
at your mercy.  Please, oh good knight, accept a token of my esteem."

    While Kodachi was pulling this, Taro and Ryoga's fight had escalated into a no holds barred, rock
cracking powerfest.  Unfortunately, Ryoga was being outclassed in both power and maneuverability.
Ryoga's massive endurance was wearing thin.  As they traded hits, he thought wearily.  < In a bit, I
won't be able to avoid the second blow... then he'll finish me.>

    Luna was shaking herself awake.  On her way to Sailor Moon, Shampoo had struck down both
Artemis and herself,  Artemis had apparently been struck harder, she was still out.  Luna gave the
battle a quick look.  < Dr. Tofu, Artemis, Jupiter and Nabiki down... Nabiki's almost free though.
Happosai is down, Shampoo's on the ropes, Kodachi is... who is that?>  All this came to her in one
glance.  Seeing Ryoga's plight, she shouted to the figure over Kodachi.  "Help Ryoga! I'll handle
Kodachi!"

    In the distraction, Kodachi had brought her hand up to her face, blowing a powder at the masked
man's face.  He reeled back, holding his breath, and she sprang to her feet.  Disarmed, she sped
away from the battle towards her assistant's bag, but the masked man was too closely pursuing her,
she passed on by and kept running.  "Oh ho ho!  I will yet return!" She promised, leaping towards the
highest rocks.

    Meanwhile, Happosai had also regained consciousness.  Freed of the hypnosis's influence, he was
playing possum, considering his options. Luna knelt by Nabiki to help her up, and was astonished as
the girl pulled a supersoaker out of her jacket. Shampoo had finally gotten past her enraged
opponent's guard with a solid blow, but before she could press her stunned foe, she was deluged with
a powerful blast of water. She hissed angrily and made a quick withdrawal.  Nabiki tossed the still
incensed Mars the water gun and pointed at Taro.

    Rei understood, and she blasted the monster with a superheated blast from the watergun.
Transformed, Taro simply smirked, and continued to smack the pig-boy around... or tried to.  Ryoga
managed to grab the first punch, and he started squeezing backwards.  Taro soon discovered to his
discomfort that the power question had gone the other way.  He kicked free and the fight started
again in earnest. Jupiter cursed as she strained against the wire in Kodachi's ribbon, cutting herself in
several places.  She continued to strain, however, and the ribbon began to break.

    Luna rushed to her.  "Hold on, don't hurt yourself!"  Before Luna could stop her, Jupiter finally
broke free, cut in several places.

    "ARRGGHHH!!!"  Jupiter screamed in rage, crackling with electricity.  "I am going to fry her until
her eyes glow!"

    Seeing an enraged Jupiter and Mars approaching him, Pantyhose Taro tripped Ryoga and jumped
away, noticing that all his allies were fallen or fled.  He pulled out his ever present canteen and doused
himself, transforming into his monster form.  Rather than face Mars, Jupiter and Ryoga all at once he
fled, flying rapidly for the horizon.  Mars and Jupiter both fired their attacks after him, but the
Jusenkyo cursed monster dodged and kept flying.

    Mars growled in anger and turned around to check on the others. "Don't bother, Jupiter, he's out
of range.  Sailor Moon's been hurt!" She started running back to where the future queen of the earth
was shakily trying to sit up.

    "Ohhhhh...."  Sailor Moon moaned loudly.  "What hit me?"  She felt her head and winced.
"Ouch!"  Bringing her hand back she noticed traces of blood.  Feeling extremely dizzy and weak she
wavered.  "I think I'll... lay back down for awhile...."

    Nabiki went over to Dr. Tofu, who was still unconcious.  "The Doc looks OK... I think.  He's
breathing alright, anyway."

    Mars knelt by Sailor Moon's side and checked her head.  "Stay still, Sailor Moon, you might have
a concusion.  Shampoo hit you from behind with one of her Bonbori."  She smoothed her leader's
blond hair out and sighed in relief.  "You're bleeding a little, but it doesn't look too bad.  You just cut
your scalp when you hit the ground."
 
    Sailor Jupiter checked on Artemis, who was still out cold as well. "Artemis looks like she has a
pretty good black eye... I think we need a doctor."

    Luna glanced around and noticed Ryoga starting to wander off. "Ryoga, stop!"  She ran up behind
him and turned him back in the direction of the group.  "Come with me.  Where do you think you
were going?"

    Ryoga blinked.  "Er... I was looking for Happosai.  Didn't Sailor Moon blast him somewhere
around here?"

    Luna glanced around.  "You're right... but where is he?"  She looked all around her.  "He's not the
only one missing.  Gosenkugi was over there, and he's gone too... and that swordsman is missing as
well."

         ******************************
 
    Hikaru Gosenkugi crawled for his life.  < Have to get back to the mistress, I have to tell her what
has happened!>  Having woken up in the middle of the battle, he had waited for a distraction and
slipped away, using what ninja skills he had learned from Happosai to make good his escape.
Suddenly he stopped as a young man in a purple gi came out of the bushes in front of him.  Gosenkugi
smiled in relief.  "Happosai! You got away!"  He nodded, getting to his feet.  "Very good, now I want
you to hurry ahead to the mistress and inform her of what's happened."

    Happosai just stood there for several seconds, then started to chuckle.  "I don't think so."

    Gosenkugi blinked then looked angry.  "I command you, go!"

    Happosai laughed louder.  "You haven't got a clue, have you?  I'm free, you pitiful little flea!  Do
you have any idea what I'm going to do with you?"  Gosenkugi stiffened in shock, suddenly imagining
several possible fates Happosai could inflict on him.  Without a word he turned white and fainted
dead away.  Happosai smiled.  "Now that's more like it!"  He rubbed his hands together in
antisipation.  "Happi's back!"

            End Chapter 13

 

Hot Links

Main Page

Previous Chapter
Next Chapter

 
 
 

I hope you liked it! C&C is always welcome!
 
 

If you have comments or suggestions, email me at tagan1@hotmail.com
This page created with Netscape Navigator Gold

 1      1