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Sailor Ranko: Just Add Water: Chapter 9, The First Victim.
by
Rebecca Ann Heineman

Ranma 1/2 and the characters therein are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. Based on "Sailor Ranko" by Duncan Zillman and "Twice in a Millennium" by Kevin D. Hammel.

I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me or call me at dinnertime to ask me to refinance my house. The answer is still NO!!!



Ucchan's had a full crowd. Ukyou was totally swamped filling orders for her famous Okonomiyaki. She wished that Ranma could come and help out once in a while. Who was she kidding? She wanted him to help out forever.

A group of kimono clad girls entered and Konatsu wrapped up taking an order from another customer to escort the girls to the large circular booth in the back. Konatsu did a double take as he noticed that Ranko and Akane were among the group. "Ranma? Why are you dressed in a kimono?"

Usagi looked up at Konatsu, "We were at bridal training!" She smiled and tried to slide into the booth. Her hair got caught in the seat cushions. "OW!" She worked it loose and slid to the center of the chair.

Konatsu was green with envy. "Bridal training? You're so lucky. I never had bridal training. Is there more room in the class for another student?"

Akane and Ranko giggled while Usagi kept up the conversation, "I think so. I'll ask Nodoka if she can take..." Ranko elbowed Usagi.

Ranko told Konatsu, "It's private training from my mom just for us."

Usagi whispered to Ranko, "That was rude."

Ranko whispered back, "He's a guy."

Usagi looked at Konatsu, she whispered back, "Did she fall in Jusenkyo?"

"No, he is a guy. He just dresses like a girl."

"Oh." Usagi was completely convinced that Nerima was another planet. She was not on earth.

Konatsu heard what was said through his ninja skills. He felt a little sad that Ranko would insult his lifestyle. He pulled out his order pad, "What can I get for you girls to drink?"

"Coke. Diet Coke. Water. Water. Tea. Tea. Diet Coke." The girls called out.

"I'll get your drinks." Konatsu turned to Ranko, "I'll tell the mistress you're here." Ranko nodded an approval. Konatsu went to get the drinks.

Usagi faced Ranko, "She's a guy? Are you sure? She sure looks like a girl to me?"

Akane leaned forward and spoke in a soft voice, "It's a long story." She turned to Ranko, "Don't hurt his feelings and don't talk about that anymore."

Rei was flabbergasted, "Everything is a long story around here."

Minako laughed and put her head on Makoto's shoulder. Makoto moved a bit to accommodate Minako's tirade of laughter, "What's so funny Minako?"

Minako looked Makoto in the eye; "You've finally found a guy that doesn't look like your old boyfriend!" Everyone started to giggle except Makoto. Makoto groaned.

Ukyou called out from the grill. "Ran-chan! Could you give me a hand?" Ranko looked at Akane. Akane shrugged and both got up to go over to Ukyou.

Ukyou was flipping eight pizzas at once. "Hey you two, could you help out for just a few minutes?" She pointed to some finished okonomiyaki with her spatula. "Those go to the booth in the front and that one goes to the guy with the hat at the end of the counter."

Ranko and Akane took the meals to the proper customers. They already had practice working at Ucchan's. In a few minutes, all the food was served. Konatsu took the orders from the other girls and Ukyou started cooking the usual orders for Ranko and Akane.

Ranko went back to Ukyou as she was cooking their group's meals. "So Ran-chan, who are your friends? Are they the ones from Juuban?"

"Yep. We all showed up for bridal training that my mom was teaching."

Akane sat next to Ranko at the counter. Ukyou noticed that all of them were wearing kimonos. "Bridal training? YOU were in bridal training? Ha ha ha..." She almost dropped the okonomiyaki she was flipping because of her laughter.

"It was my mom's idea."

"Here sugar." She handed Ranko a plate with Ranko's meal.

Munch. Munch. "More please?"

Ukyou shot a gaze to the ceiling for a second. "You're a bottomless pit, you know that."

Akane nodded her head, "That's Ranko."

Ranko smirked, "Hey! I'm a growing girl."

"Girl? You really are Ranko now aren't you sugar."

Ranko waved her hands in front of her kimono. "Would Ranma wear this?"

Ukyou put her spatulas down and held her arms akimbo, "If it would piss off Ryoga. YES!"

Ranko was wondering about her old rival, "Hey! Where has pork butt gone? Have you heard from him lately?"

"Hadn't seen him since his wedding. Akari probably chained him up at the farmhouse so he wouldn't get lost again."

Akane played with a spatula, "I miss P-chan."

Ranko put her hand on Akane's shoulder, "He's happy now that he's married to Akari."

"Yeah I know. But I still miss that little piggy."

Ukyou raised her eyebrows and had a revelation. Akane knew about P-Chan. "Uh... Akane, how long have you known about Ryoga?"

Akane looked up to Ukyou, "Oh, about three or four weeks ago."

Ranko put her elbows down on the table and rested her head in her hands. "Yeah, and you tried to kill him. You chased him all throughout the hospital, through the refugee camp and out into food center. It wasn't until he jumped into my arms and I tele... Oops."

Ukyou was shocked and confused, "Refugee camp? Hospital? What are you talking about?"

Akane dropped her face onto the counter. Ranko was remembering events in an alternate timeline. A timeline that only the Senshi knew about.

Ranko smiled a huge grin. "Oh, nothing. Nothing at all."

Ukyou gave a look of suspicion to Ranko. "Nothing at all? Yeah right. Out with it sugar."

Ranko made a sheepish look, "I can't talk about that. Sorry."

Ukyou dropped her gaze to the grill. It must have been Senshi business. She felt truly left out.

Akane sighed and went back to the booth. She tugged on Ranko to follow. Ranko glanced at the other girls and turned back to Ukyou, "I've got to join the others. I've ignored them too long."

Usagi waved to Ukyou. She asked Ranma, "What was her name again?"

Ranko drank her water, "You forgot? It's Ukyou Kuonji. She was one of my fiances."

Usagi saw Ukyou's sad face as she was cooking, "And she isn't trying to drag you off to the wedding chapel?"

"She would if I gave her the ok. She's my best friend. I've known her since I was a little girl uh... I mean boy." Ranko shuddered at her slip of the tongue.

Minako nodded in approval. Akane leaned back and enjoyed the new shade of red Ranko turned to as she started to squirm. Konatsu started placing plates of food in front of the girls. He put down the mayonnaise bottles and the sauce jars in the center of the table.

Usagi squirted mayonnaise and made a mess in front of her. She took a bite of her pizza, "This is pretty good!"

Rei and Ami both nodded in approval. Makoto was amazed, "Wow! I want the recipe!"

Ukyou stood at the edge of the table, "Well if you ask nicely, maybe I might share my secrets."

Ranko reintroduced the other girls to Ukyou. Ukyou reminded Ranko that she had met these girls at her birthday party a while ago but was happy to be reintroduced again. They exchanged small talk with Ukyou leaving the table from time to time to cook meals for the other customers.

Ami asked the Saotomes, "Why does she wear that giant spatula?"

Akane put down her spatula, "Oh, she's a martial artist. She practices martial arts cooking. She uses it as a weapon or for cooking large okonomiyaki."

Makoto dropped her jaw. "Is everything in this town based on martial arts?"

Ranko swallowed her food, "Yes."

Akane added, "Definitely."

Ranko noticed the time, "Oh no! I've got to get to work in ten minutes!" Ranko jumped out of the booth and ran to the girl's restroom to get ready for her job.

Akane wiped her face with her napkin and got up. "I've got to help her with her makeup. Be right back."

Ami gave it a thought, "Does she work around here?"

Minako nodded, "No, she works near Tokyo Bay. There is no way she's getting to Juuban in ten minutes by train."

Ami shook her head. She knew how Ranko was getting across town, "I wish I could teleport by myself."

Makoto took her last bite, "Me too."

Konatsu was listening to the conversation. His ninja skills allowed him to hear them without them noticing. He bowed to a customer as he left the restaurant. He noted that there were only five other customers left and they were all at the front. They were all out of earshot to the girls in the back.

Konatsu went back to the five girls and asked if they needed anything. He paid attention to each one's faces. He wanted to figure out which Sailor Scout each was. He couldn't make the connection. He was certain that these were the Senshi. He was amazed that they were all just young girls.

He heard Ranko complaining about her kimono's bow. He went to the restroom door and knocked. "Do you need any help in there?"

Akane answered, "No, we're fine." A moment later, Akane came out and stood guard to the restroom door. When Konatsu went to front of the store, she tapped the door twice and a flash of light came from under the door. A moment later another flash occurred and Akane went back in the restroom to make sure Ranko didn't leave anything behind. Akane went back to the booth.

"Usagi, Ranko went to work. So it's just us now." Akane started to finish her meal.

Usagi was bummed, "Why can Sun teleport by herself and I can't?"

Rei coughed and hit Usagi hard with her elbow. "Can it."

"Rei! Stop hitting me!"

"Teleport?" Ukyou was standing by the edge of the table.

Usagi backpedaled like no one's business, "Yeah, wouldn't it be neat to teleport like in the cartoons?" She smiled.

Ukyou checked if anyone was listening. "Are you Sailor Moon or Venus?"

Usagi turned pale. "I wish I was Sailor Moon. That would be neat."

Akane was chewing her food really slowly.

Ukyou crossed her arms, "I wasn't born yesterday sister." She pointed to Makoto, "You're Jupiter or Mars." She pointed to Ami, "Mars or Mercury." She pointed to Minako, "Moon or Venus." She pointed to Rei and jiggled her hand in contemplation, "I would bet that you're Sailor Mars."

The girls were wondering how they could dispose of Ukyou's body without attracting attention. Rei spoke up, "You think I look like Sailor Mars? I'm touched. I mean she's the cutest of them all." Usagi coughed.

Ami was curious, "Why do you think I look like Sailor Mercury?"

Ukyou pulled up a chair. "I'm not stupid. You can pretend all you want." She sighed and looked away. "Don't worry, I won't tell." She made a very sad expression on her teary eyed face and went back to her grill.

Ami saw Akane's demeanor. "Akane? Does she know about you?"

All the girls put Akane on the spot. Usagi whispered, "Does she know! It's supposed to be a secret!"

Akane put down her spatula. "I didn't tell her."

Ami leaned closer to Akane, "The disguise field is supposed to keep people from finding out. How did... Oh, she's Ranko's best friend. I get it."

Akane knew they were going to punish Ranko for this. She had to defend her, "It wasn't her fault either."

Usagi was gripping the table in anger. "What do you mean by that?" She wanted to punish someone.

Akane made sure that Ukyou was out of earshot. "Konatsu spied on all of us. He got pictures. Ranko found out and destroyed the evidence but she couldn't erase their memories. Those two know about us."

Ami corrected her, "They know about you. She didn't seem to be sure about me or the rest of us."

"Yes, they know about Ranko and I. Ranko kept it a secret even from me until recently."

Usagi sighed, "Can we trust them?"

"I've known them long enough. Yes, we can trust them."

Konatsu appeared out of nowhere, "Thank you! It is an honor to be trusted by the Senshi." He bowed.

Rei looked around, she could have sworn that Konatsu was standing at the front of the restaurant just a second ago. "How did you? Uh..."

Konatsu bowed again, "I am skilled in the techniques of the kunoichi. If you ever need my services, please call upon me. I will be happy to serve my princess." He bowed directly at Usagi.

Usagi sat up and was happy. She was about to say something when Rei and Akane bumped her to keep quiet. Konatsu went back to the front to fill the customer's water glasses with a smile on his face.

Akane tossed the last of her food in her mouth. "Well you've got another loyal subject your highness."

Ami slid out of the booth. "Well we'd better go before the rest of Nerima figures out our identities."

Ukyou saw the girls were getting ready to leave. She went over to them. Usagi trembled a bit. She was afraid of more embarrassing questions. Ukyou was trying hard to show a happy face. "It's on the house girls!"

"Thanks!" They said.

Akane was getting out her purse, "You sure Ukyou?"

"Any friend of Ran-chan is a friend of mine." She directed her words to Usagi. She had a feeling the she or Minako was Sailor Moon, the leader of the Senshi.

Usagi answered, "Thanks Ukyou." She and the others went to the entrance to leave.

Ukyou held Akane back. "Akane, if you ever need help. You can count on me." Ukyou actually became full of life again.

Akane finally understood why Ukyou was so sad. "Sure Ukyou." Akane left to join the others.

Ukyou walked outside and watched the girls walk out of sight. Konatsu stood beside her. "Ukyou, they follow a different path than we do."

Ukyou stared at the people walking by, "I don't know if I want to follow my path anymore. I just don't know what I want anymore."


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Nabiki patted Kasumi's back to help clear her throat. Nodoka had already recovered from her coughing attack. "Ok you two. What gives?"

Nodoka cleared her throat. "Nothing gives Nabiki. I'm just surprised that Kuno would risk the wrath of the Sailor Senshi."

Kasumi breathed slowly and coughed. "Why are you still selling information to Kuno?"

"You already know Kasumi. Dad barely makes enough more to pay the electric bill. If I didn't bring money into this household, we'd be out on the street in a month."

Nodoka sat erect, "Nabiki, you make money in stocks and investments. You don't need to also make money from extortion and pornography."

Nabiki took offense, "I don't sell porn mother."

Kasumi put her teacup down and held her hands together in front of her. "You sell photos of Akane and Ranko in underwear and swimwear. That was close enough Nabiki."

Nodoka grasped her cloth wrapped katana, "Ranma has told me about your methods of extracting money from him. I would call that extortion."

"Mother, I do what I need to do to keep our family afloat. I'm not trying to hurt anyone." Nabiki relaxed a little bit. "Why do you think I'm happy that Tatewaki seems to be obsessed with someone other than my sister. The Sailor Senshi can take care of Kuno. I saw it myself when Sailor Io beat the stuffing out of Kuno."

Nodoka held her katana tightly, "You saw Sailor Io? Where?"

"I was at a restaurant with Kuno a week ago." She held her head in hand to cover up the bad memories, "How was I supposed to know that Ranko worked there. Kuno grabbed her and caused a scene. Sailor Io shows up drags Kuno outside and throws Lava at him. She beat him over the head with a mallet and left him in a crater."

Kasumi and Nodoka exchanged worried looks. Nodoka asked, "So what did you give Tatewaki?"

Nabiki laughed, "Give? I never give anything to him. He bought some photos I got of Sailor Io and Sailor Sun. They were really nothing special. He was so obsessed with them that he was willing to pay any price for any pictures of those girls."

Kasumi breathed a sigh of relief, "Can I see these photos? Do you still have them?"

"Sure sis." Nabiki reached into her bag and handed her the photos. Nodoka slid next to Kasumi and they looked at all the pictures. They were just action shots and simple poses but nothing that would give away their true identities. As each photo was seen, the two women became more casual and relaxed. Nabiki was very curious why they had an interest in these pictures in the first place.

Kasumi went back into her patented smile, "These are nice." Nodoka took the pictures and looked at a photo of Sailor Sun throwing a fireball down a street. Sun was a warrior in combat against a lethal foe. She was proud at seeing her daughter protecting love and justice.

Nabiki had had enough. "Ok you two. Why do you care about the Senshi?"

Kasumi was surprised, "They are the defenders of love and justice. How can you not care about them Nabiki? They risk their lives to protect us from evil."

"That's why I'm glad that Kuno is pining over them instead of my sister and her husband. The Senshi have nothing to fear from Kuno. If anything, it's Kuno who should be the one that's afraid."

Kasumi and Nodoka couldn't see a flaw in Nabiki's logic. She was actually trying to take the heat away from the Saotome couple but she had no clue that the two Senshi were the same couple. Nodoka thought of an escape clause, "Nabiki, here is some advice for you. If Kuno does something stupid to the Senshi, they might find out who gave him the information and come after you. Do you want to make enemies with the Sailor Senshi?"

"No. Not really."

Kasumi reached her arm out and held her sister's shoulder. "I know you mean well Nabiki. Please, don't get the Senshi mad at you." Kasumi pointed to the wall that Shampoo destroyed a few weeks ago but was currently repaired. "It the Senshi came here looking for you, they could level our home in a few blows. I really don't want to have to call the carpenter to rebuild our house again."

Nabiki thought about how much that was going to cost. A Senshi or youma attack was specifically not covered in their homeowner's insurance policy. It was hard enough getting insurance that covered crazed martial artists.

"Ok, I'll try not to make the Senshi mad at me."

Both older women nodded their approval. Nodoka didn't believe that Nabiki would offer a blanket promise to avoid the Senshi. This promise was at least a start.

"Oh, wait a minute." Nabiki remember that she needed to talk to Ranma. "Do you know where Ranma is right now? I need to talk to him."

Nodoka didn't trust her, "Why?"

"I have something to warn him about."

"Warn him?"

"It's Kodachi. She is challenging Juuban to a game of martial arts volleyball. He needs to know that Kodachi is on the team. She'll be cheating."

Nodoka accepted this answer, "Ranko is at work at Edokko sushi. She should be there around now."

"I'll call her then during her break." Nabiki poured herself some tea.


========================================


Jusenkyo. The pools of sorrow, the pools of pain, the pools that ruin lives or were the source of rebirth and salvation. It was among these cursed springs that thousands of people throughout the ages found their lives ruined, destroyed or turned around for the better. The gods that created the springs never let their true intentions be known. They worked for their own ends.

Happosai approached the guide's hut. He had strapped to his back a steel drum. He stopped outside the hut and put the drum down. He turned to see the bamboo poles sticking out of the low-lying mist covering the springs.

"Ah! Welcome honored guest to training grounds of cursed springs, Jusenkyo." The guide emerged from the hut. Plum was sitting in the window and looked at the new victim, uh... customer.

Happosai bowed to the guide. "I have come a great distance. I have need of water from the Nannichuan."

"Honorable sir. It is very bad you fall in spring! Why you want Nannichuan? No affect you. You man already."

"It's for a friend. Please point out the spring of drowned man."

"I take you. Follow me." The guide took the old fossil to the spring that some people would kill to jump into. Happosai put down the empty drum. He glowed a sickly yellow color and the guide stood back. Some water floated out of the spring and flowed into the drum until the drum was full. Happosai put the lid on and sealed it.

"Thank you for helping me. Now, I must go back home." Happosai hopped onto the top of the drum. He began a chant in an ancient tongue and he and the drum slowly faded away.

"You very strange guest." The guide went back to his hut. He didn't want to miss his soap opera.


========================================


Happosai appeared near the Juuban gymnasium locker room. He appeared with the drum on top of a platform he constructed on the building's roof. He quickly attached the drum to the water intake. He was pleased with his work.

In a demonic voice he spoke to the trapped mind of the real Happosai, "Soon your favorite female will be no more."

Happosai spoke in his normal voice, "Ranma won't fall for it."

The voice changed to a low bass. "Yes he will and you won't get to touch those lovely breasts anymore."

The normal voice spoke, "I said I'm sorry already! Why do you torment me like this?"

"You don't understand do you?"

Happosai pleaded, "What's to understand? You get off in torturing me."

"So you do understand. Good. After the girl is dead, then I will deal the final blow to you."

"Please, don't do that. I can't live without that. You know that."

The demon was pleased. "That's the idea." The demon cut off Happosai's ability to speak. It wasn't sure that the Nannichuan was genuine. It needed to test it. The demon invoked a deep magic to tie the Nannichuan to its powerful aura. It changed the curse. It made it permanent. Happosai grabbed a super soaker water gun it had hidden and filled it with the magic water. He pumped the gun and pulled the trigger at a wall. The gun worked perfectly. He gave out an evil laugh.

"Hmm, who could I test this on that would cause terrible pain and suffering other than on Ranma? He scanned Happosai's memory and found someone worthy of inflicting pain onto."

"Oh, that's a good one. Ha ha ha!" He chanted and disappeared.


========================================


North of Itabashi, in the foothills laid a small pig farm. Akari Hibiki was getting water from the well when water hit her from nowhere. "Hey!" The voice dropped an octave. "Watch what you're doing! Wait! AHHHHHH!!!! RYOGA!"

Ryoga jumped out of the second story window from the farmhouse and landed on the front driveway. He ran as fast as he could to the stranger's voice. He got to the well and saw Akari soaked in water facing away from him. She seemed to have grown a few centimeters and gained some weight. "Akari! Is there someone with you?"

He grabbed his wife's shoulder and spun her around. He held back a scream as he saw that his wife was now a he. "Akari?"

"Oh Ryoga!" Akari grabbed Ryoga around the waist. He was still shorter than Ryoga and his hair was still black with pink highlights. Akari was now a man. It disgusted Ryoga. He couldn't return the hug. He saw Happosai fade away holding a squirt gun.

Ryoga gritted his teeth and shouted in pure rage. "RANMA!!!! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!"



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It make me feel oh so happy and prevents me from killing all my neighbors.

Last edited on November 23, 2002



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