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Sailor Ranko: Thrice In A Millennium: Chapter 15, Bird Brains.
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 make me miss my flight.



The scenery hadn't changed much in the last few hours. A sailboat was the only thing the broke up the monotony of hundreds of kilometers of ocean water. The part time panda held on tight to his mode of transportation and mused on his situation.

Genma was getting hungry.

Genma was getting bored.

Genma was utterly lost.

He was flying somewhere over the Sea of Japan and hadn't seen land in all that time. He checked on the position of the Sun to make sure he was traveling west, but until he hit land, he wasn't exactly sure if he would be over China, Korea or India.

He shifted his position on the Kinjakan to loosen his stiffening muscles and the device instantly dove downward. In a panic, he pulled back on the staff sending himself and the magic artifact straight up into the sky. He held on tight as the air thinned and the temperature dropped. He gently eased the staff forward and leveled out.

The portly man felt weak but didn't mind it. He had a magnificent view of the terrain ahead. Straight ahead, about fifty kilometers, lay the shoreline of some country. His stomach growling in anticipation for an imminent meal, he pitched down to lower himself to a more breathable altitude. "Ah, soon I'll be rid of this stupid curse." He chuckled to himself and thought of ways that he could use the Kinjakan to make a clean getaway after ransacking someone's home.

Maybe my ungrateful son would appreciate some Nannichuan water as well? He smiled. Giving him a cure would make Ranma a better man and maybe, just maybe, Nodoka would come to her senses and share with him some of that money he knew she had stashed somewhere. What an ungrateful wife, he thought. Of all the things he did for her; taking his son away on that ten year training trip so she wouldn't need to care for him, making sure he was able to bring home food and cloth so she could cook for him and mend his clothes. Bah! She'll come crawling back.

If I could bring home barrels of water from those springs, I wouldn't need Nodoka's money. He plotted to himself. I'd be rich and she'd see who's boss. Then again, I could still use the money she's hiding anyways. Up ahead, on the horizon, he spotted a shoreline. With renewed faith in his quest, he pushed the Kinjakan a little forward and increased his speed.

Two hundred kilometers behind, a small winged boy flew as fast as he could in pursuit. Saffron had thoughts of his own and they involved torturing, maiming and punishing the infidel who took his artifact. "Heh, heh, heh. The fool. It's taking him straight home. My people with take care of him and then..." His face filled with hatred and malice. "You belong to me."
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The airport loudspeaker spoke with a friendly female voice, first in Chinese, then repeated her statement in Japanese. "Welcome to Beijing! All arriving passengers, please proceed to Immigration."

Akane held her schoolbag like a purse and walked silently behind Ukyou. The chef wore a large backpack that was either oddly light for its size or the girl carrying it was stronger than she looked. The pair marched down the wide corridor among the thousands of travelers toward the luggage carousel. The sounds of light conversation filled the air as the other passengers milled about waiting impatiently for their luggage to arrive. Being in a strange place kept the pair on their guard for anything unusual, which for these two was the normal way of things.

Ukyou stopped suddenly, causing Akane to plow directly into her back nearly spilling the pair onto the carpet. Ukyou regained her balance and spun her head back with a look of surprise. "Hey, watch where you're goin'."

"Well, excuse me!" Akane snorted, crossed her arms, and looked away from her companion. "You're the one who seems to know her way around this place. Why'd you stop?"

Ukyou glanced around for something while she spoke. "For someone who wanted to take Ranma-Honey to Jusenkyo, you sure didn't study the way very hard."

The short girl shot an annoyed glance back at the cook. "It's not like he needs it anymore."

Ukyou saw the sign she was looking for and gave a sigh of relief. "I gotta take a break. Coming?"

Looking around at all the strangers and some even stranger men that had seemed to take an interest in two young Japanese girls, Akane decided that a break was in order before she would have to break someone's bone for being a pervert. "Yeah, why not?"

Ukyou led them to the women's restroom, therein, she removed her backpack and rummaged inside of a small side pocket. "It's here somewhere, oh, yeah. Got it." She extracted a small plastic compact and popped it open. "Can't forget this."

Akane closed her eyes and scolded herself in forgetting to take her pill too. She opened her schoolbag and found her plastic container for her birth control pills. She took a pill out and was about to take it when Ukyou's stare drew her attention. "What?" She asked in alarm.

Ukyou's gaze was locked on Akane's pill. "That's a funny lookin' pill. Where'd you get that?"

"What do you mean, funny? And why are you taking them too? Are you..." Akane's eyes lit up in joy. "... dating?" She thought of why they were here and drew the proper conclusion for the incomplete facts she had. "You and Konatsu? I'm so happy for you!"

"Hold on, Sugar." Ukyou turned red in embarrassment and held her open hand outward and waved it around. "No, no, no..."

The Saotome giggled as Ukyou danced around in utter denial. She watched Ukyou as she continued to utter words in a jumble. "You got it all wrong. He's not my type. Errr... Ah, hell." Ukyou slumped head first on the sink.

Akane kept on giggling as she cupped a hand under the automatic faucet and fetched some water. She placed her pill in her mouth and swallowed the water quickly. Wiping her hand on a paper towel, she continued her happy train of thought. "Konatsu's kinda cute, if you don't mind the cross-dressing and the makeup and the fact he looks more like a girl than any girl I know. Well, maybe except for Ranma." Akane growled out the last part as visions of Ranma in a bunny suit or her Sailor Senshi uniform popped into her head, reminding her of just how girlish Ranma could be if he set his mind to it. She shimmered a faint tinge of blue from jealousy.

"I'm not dating anybody." Ukyou sighed from her vantage point and promptly took her pill. She was glad that Akane was just as dense as ever in being incapable of figuring out the real truth behind people's motivations. She stood up and eyed her pills and thought of why she was taking them. Wistfully, she wished there really was a reason to keep using them since they did make her feel moody from time to time. She wasn't going to be sleeping with Ranma anytime soon and the chances that was going to happen in her lifetime were now about zero. She knew Shampoo would never think about using these pills, since her goal in life was to get pregnant as soon as possible, but Ukyou was far more practical.

Yet, Ukyou was also as stubborn as any of the fiancee brigade. Even though Ranma had been married for months now, she, like the others, were in a state of denial and hoped against hope that they'd wake up from this nightmare and things would go back the way they were and they would be able to court the most eligible bachelor in Japan.

Such dreams were not meant to be, I suppose. Ukyou thought quietly as she moved to close her pill compact. She pondered her situation and decided that it was for the best. Glancing at her medicine one last time, she was about to toss the plastic dispenser into the trash when something dawned on her. "Akane? May I see your pills?"

The shorter girl eyed Ukyou with suspicion and defensively held her own compact to her chest. "Why?"

"I just want to see something." She held out her compact for Akane to see. It was seven centimeters in diameter with a silver disk inside. On the aluminum foil were small clear plastic bubbles that each contained a tiny pill. Next to each bubble was a number that corresponded to a day. Half of the pills were missing.

Akane blinked at what she saw. She opened her compact to find the same silver disk but the pills were much larger. There was no plastic covering, but that made sense since these pills wouldn't have fit in the covering that Ukyou had. Akane's compact was half empty as well.

Ukyou was able to steal a peek inside Akane's compact and put things together. Unlike the Saotome, she formulated several conclusions and laughed out loud as the most plausible one came to the forefront.

Akane raised an eyebrow in anger. "What's so funny?"

Still snickering, Ukyou had to confirm her hypothesis. "Where did you get those?"

"From Dr. Tofu, why?"

Ukyou stopped snickering. "Really?" She reevaluated her hypothesis and dismissed it. "I'm sorry. Because those pills sure do look like Tic-Tacs."

"Tic-Tacs?"

"Y'know, those candies they sell everywhere. I even have a rack of them in my restaurant. For a moment, I thought your mother-in-law gave those to you."

Turned a bright red, Akane studied her pills and stared at Ukyou's, comparing them and saw that they were vastly different. After a moment's hesitation, she whispered, "Mom said she got them from Dr. Tofu."

Ukyou held her hands over her mouth to keep from going into hysterical laughter. She shook a few times as her chuckles attempted to escape. Once it was out of her system, she reached out one hand and asked. "Can I see one of your pills?"

Afraid of the truth, but even more terrified at not knowing, she complied and placed a single white pill in Ukyou's hand. The chef held the pill to her nose and smelled it. Inhaling a second time, she stated. "Mint."

Akane spun around and held her hands out in a defensive martial arts pose, ready to break someone's collarbone with just one blow. "Where is he?"

Ukyou stepped back at Akane's sudden change in demeanor, from a meek young teenager into a ruthless warrior in the blink of an eye. "He?"

"Where's Mint?" Akane glanced around the restroom with fire in her eyes. The look startled several other women who promptly made for the exit.

"Right here, Sugar." Ukyou held out the pill for Akane's examination. "It is a Tic-Tac." To confirm her suspicions, the chef stuck her tongue out and licked the pill for flavor. The gesture removed all doubt. "Yep, mint flavored."

"They're supposed to be mint flavored." Akane shot back, but not turning around to face her friend. "That's what mom said they were."

"Your mother-in-law? Mrs. Let's repopulate the world?" Ukyou's original hypothesis was on the money. "Face it, Sugar. You've been had."

"What are you talking about?"

"Your pills, they aren't real. Your mother-in-law probably switched them."

Akane fiddled with her plastic pill box nervously. "Why would she want to do that?"

Impersonating Nodoka's voice, Ukyou answered. "My son, he's so manly!"

Far away, Nodoka felt a warm tinge in her body, then she sneezed.

"What are you getting at?" Akane growled, angry at the insinuation that Nodoka would do anything to hurt her.

"You mean you don't know?" The chef laughed out loud. "Half of Nerima knows. She's been wanting grandkids ever since I met her."

"Well, yeah, she wants an heir to continue the Saotome line. So does my dad. And... And..." Akane froze.

"And?" Ukyou was enjoying this. "Is there an heir in the works?"

Akane turned into a statue. Cracks formed all over her, then she fell to pieces.

Miss Okonomiyaki wasn't amused anymore. She lost Ranma. Now her rival was going to bear his child. Life really sucked. "So, when's the baby shower?"

"There isn't one." Akane recovered instantly from her shock. "I'm not pregnant!"

"Whoa!" Ukyou stood back against the wall, trying to stay out of mallet range. "I'm sorry I brought it up, Sugar."

"I'm still in high school! I'm not ready to be a mom!" Akane shouted at no one in particular. "Mrs. Saotome would never do such a thing, but... Oh... Honestly, if Mr. Saotome was behind this..."

"He was behind getting you married."

"Look who's talking!" Retorted Akane. "You and Shampoo tried to get him to sign a marriage license when he was using that love band-aid."

"Oops..." It was all Ukyou could say. She forgot about that little mishap. "But at least I wasn't trying to bear his kid yet."

"Yet? Wadda mean yet? You aren't going to be bearing his kid, ever! I am!"

A raised eyebrow was Ukyou's response. "So you're pregnant?"

"I... Uh... No, I'm not!" She shouted in fury. "I'll prove it to you. I'll see Dr. Tofu when we get back and I'll prove you wrong!"

"Okay, Sugar." Ukyou tried to calm the girl down. "You're not pregnant. Maybe those pills are some new kind. You're right though, seeing Dr. Tofu would be a safe bet."

Akane picked up her school bag, shot a suspicious glance at the chef and stormed out of the restroom.

Ukyou took a deep breath to calm her nerves. She spoke softly so Akane couldn't hear her. "I know Tic-Tacs when I see them."
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kasumi finished drying another dish and placed it lovingly into the cupboard. She hummed a happy tune to help drown out the sounds of her father crying. Suddenly, she heard the front door open and a familiar voice greeted her.

"I'm home!" Nabiki shouted. "I gotta be quick. I have to be downtown in an hour." She turned and ran upstairs to change from her high school uniform and into something a bit more businesslike.

"Welcome home, sister!" Kasumi cried back, loud enough for Nabiki to hear her. She opened the refrigerator and selected ingredients to make some sandwiches so her sister could eat on the train. Juggling the meats, vegetables and jars of condiments like a waitress, she went to the counter and carefully placed the items in a row. She was about to open the breadbox when a terrible feeling overtook her.

Kasumi looked around the kitchen in fear. Something was happening, yet she couldn't figure it out. She focused her mind and it told her the Earth was in pain. It didn't make any sense to her. As quickly as the feeling came, it was gone. She rested against the counter, trying to make sense of what just happened when a flash of light appeared next to the koi pond.

It was Sailor Sun, although she had seen better days. Her uniform looked fine, but it was obvious in how she stood against the compound wall that she was exhausted in some way. The girl took a step toward the house, then she shouted
"MOTHER!"

The eldest Tendo sister was confused. Nodoka was in Juuban, not here, yet Kasumi felt as if Mrs. Saotome was upstairs. She shook her head to reconcile what was happening to her. Maybe Ranma would know something? She looked out the window and heard Sun shout something else, but she couldn't make out exactly what she said.

Kasumi's world erupted in fire and pain. An awful bright light engulfed the kitchen and everything was set aflame. She held her gloved arms in front of her and protected herself. The flames stopped affecting her, but she had already suffered severe burns. "I have to protect..." Summoning her might, she focused on protection. "Save..."

With an ear shattering roar, the house all around her was blown away and she was knocked down by the cabinet. All the while she never lost focus. She had to keep focus. Lives were at stake. Her life. Her fellow's life. Channeling energies she never knew she had, she protected Sailor Sun. How? She had no idea, but she was doing it. After ten seconds of agony, she couldn't hold it up anymore and she...

"Sis?" Nabiki asked. "Is there anything wrong?"

Kasumi awoke from her trance. It was so real, but it wasn't. The kitchen was intact, everyone was okay, and that terrible feeling was completely gone. Wordlessly, she gazed out the kitchen window and only saw the clothes hanging out to dry and a backyard with her father in a corner performing a Shinto ritual. "I-I don't think so."

"You sure you're okay?" Nabiki was worried. Her sister has never zoned out before.

"I'm fine." She smiled. "Oh, my, give me a minute and I'll get your dinner ready." It was at this moment Kasumi noticed Nabiki's attire. "You look radiant today."

Wearing a tailored business jacket, matching blouse and pencil skirt, Nabiki looked like she was ready to argue a case before a judge. "Why, thank you Kasumi. I just got this yesterday, although I borrowed the blouse from Akane."

"When did you borrow it?" Kasumi spread the mayonnaise on the bread. "You really should return all of Akane's clothes to her."

"I'll do that next time I see her."

"Please do so, it's rude to impose and she's away from home now so she needs everything that belongs to her."

"Tell you what. I'll put her stuff back in her room when I get back from work."

"Don't forget." Kasumi softly reminded her sister. "Here's your dinner."

"Thanks sis." She snatched the bag and instantly ran toward the front door. Just before she exited, she said. "I'll be home late!"

Kasumi waved goodbye. Then stopped for a moment. She looked around her all too familiar kitchen, hoping to find some clue as to what happened to her only a minute ago. All she got in response was the sounds of her father's weeping and his splashing a bucket of water over himself.

Instinctively, she went outside to the back yard and stood on the grass. She kneeled down and touched the soft earth. Everything was alright. She knew it.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hikaru sat, holding his evil book in front of himself as if it was going to offer some protection from the being that called itself Happosai. He looked like Happosai, but just where in the world did he come from? Better yet, just where was he that required a portal to hell to return from? He watched silently as the Master playfully fondled his mother's bra. Shortly, the evil man wore the panties on his head like a hat and spoke again. "Why are you so quiet?"

"Uh..." Started the would be sorceror. "I-I..." Then he remembered. "You have to do what I say."

"Yeah, that's a laugh. Tell me another one." Happosai snickered. "I ain't got all day. I've got to see a certain lady and give her a piece of my mind. You wouldn't by any chance know where Nodoka Saotome lives, do you?"

He shook his head, no.

"Hmm, how about Ranma?" He rubbed his hands in glee.

"I... Uh... Saw him at school yesterday, or was it the day before? Gah!" His mind was reeling. "You have to obey me!"

Happosai pulled out a pipe and a little tissue and started to clean his smoking instrument. He gave a small snicker. "And why, pray tell, are you saying that nonsense? I don't obey anyone."

"You have to obey me. The book says so."

He studied the cover of the book in question. "Sorry, but that's only for demons. Since I'm not a demon, you can't do squat. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to check out my collection back at the Tendo's." He hopped up into a tree and bounded out of sight.

Hikaru was hopelessly depressed. "I worked so hard. How can that book be wrong? I followed all the directions." He opened the Demonomicon and turned back to the page in question. There, was a picture of Happosai, but it wasn't a static image. It was a live moving picture that was following him as he traveled through the forest. Below it, read a caption, 'Awaiting quest'.

Now he was really confused. Something did happen, but what? He watched in fascination as the Master jumped out of the forest and into a ladies bathhouse. He slammed the book shut since the images of naked women was too much for the pale faced man to bear.

He was angry. "You're supposed to obey me. Get back here!"

In a flash of dark light, surrounded by tiny yellow stars, Happosai reappeared in the clearing, holding a bra in each hand. "Hotcha... Wait a minute. How did I get here?"

Hikaru answered, dumbfoundedly. "Uh..."

"You? What do you think you're doing, interrupting an old man's last days among the female species. Now, don't do that again." Without another word, he bounded off again, in search of soft fabrics.

With new found courage, he commanded again. "Come back here!"

Instantly, the Master was again in the circle of summoning. This time, he was getting annoyed. "Okay, let's get this over with." He turned to face Gosenkugi. "What is it that you want me to do?"

Now it was Hikaru's turn in the spotlight. He rubbed his hands with glee and commanded... Commanded... Hmm... What was it that he wanted again? Oh, yeah, he remembered, "I want you to beat up Ranma Saotome and make Akane Tendo marry me!"

Happosai sat there and thought about the command. "Is that what you really want?" He smiled. "Why didn't you say so? I'm off!" He once again, bounded off.

It worked! It actually worked! Hikaru was beside himself in happiness. His dream was finally going to come true. Ranma would taste his wrath, and Akane would be his! Oh, happy day! Gosenkugi danced a little jig, then fell over from exhaustion. He sat on the grass for a moment, reveling in his good luck. Oh, I can't miss this! He opened the book to watch it all unfold. The image was still tracking Happosai, and the caption was red and blinking the words 'Quest error'.

He paid it no mind, he was going to enjoy the show. He reached into his backpack to see if there was some candy or popcorn, but he came up empty. Then, it started to rain. Hard. Really hard. Gosenkugi was on top of the world. Nothing could shatter his happiness.
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"Which way do we go now?" Ranma asked his companions. The trio were standing in the middle of a busy Beijing shopping plaza. Ranma wore a green Chinese long sleeved jacket, black drawstring pants and black slippers. Ryoga wore a similar outfit, except he used some of his striped bandannas as a belt and trim. Mousse wore his usual white robes.

Mousse checked a scroll. "We have to get back to the airport."

Ryoga was not comprehending just why they'd have to go back from where they came. "Didn't we just leave there?"

Teleportation and blowing his cover sounded better and better, Ranma thought. He turned to the hidden weapons master. "Why didn't you say anything about that before we jumped out of a plane?"

I was hoping you'd die a hideous death, thought Mousse. "You didn't ask. We need to take another plane to get us close to Jusenkyo."

Ranma crossed his arms in dismay. He had had enough of air travel. "Why? We can just run there. How many kilometers is it from here?"

"Over two thousand."

Ryoga and Ranma sighed together.

"The airport's this way."

Ryoga growled. "What's the point? I don't have one of those passports. I can't fly without one."

"You don't need one. This isn't an international flight. So it's a lot easier."

"It better be." Ranma said, suspicious of Mousse's intention. "I ain't plannin' on bailing you out of jail or nothing."

Mousse got an idea. If I got him arrested... No, Ryoga would break him out. Shoot. "No, nobody's going to jail."

Ranma replied. "Good, 'cause I gotta get back to school on Monday."

"Why are you in a hurry to get back? Got bridal training?" Mousse laughed.

"How did you???" Ranma both turned red from anger and embarrassment. "You ain't supposed to know!"

Ryoga blinked. He raised an eyebrow and asked sheepishly, not really believing what he just heard. "Bridal training? You?"

"It was mom's idea, not mine! Okay!" He waved his arms in denial hoping that this conversation would end immediately.

Mousse smiled evilly. "Go ahead, Saotome, tell us all about the time you were wearing that cute kimono with Akane and those other girls. Over at Ucchan's..."

"You saw that?" Ranma made warding gestures with his hands. "I... I mean... It wasn't what it looked like!"

"You... You... You were in bridal training? With Akane? Why you!" Ryoga rushed in for the kill.

Ranma ducked aside. "Not again. Will you knock it off!"

"Stand still and take it like a man!"

"What's with you, P-Chan? Why are you so slow?" Ranma dodged to the side as Ryoga ran past, holding his umbrella like a lance. "Have you slacked off your training?"

"What are you talking about, Ranma? I've been fighting Akari's pigs! What's with you? How'd you get so fast?"

I'm faster? Ranma mused on that. He had been training intensely with Akane both in that other world and as a Sailor Senshi. He gave a cocky smile. "Of course I'm faster, I'm the best!"

"Yeah right!" Ryoga smashed his umbrella down where Ranma was standing a second ago. "No more tricks. Fight me like a man!"

"Nyah! Nyah!" Ranma stuck his tongue out. "You can't..."

Mousse had smashed a large club into Ranma's head since he was busy paying attention only to Ryoga. Now's my chance. He was about to land a killing blow when a cop down the street blew a whistle.

Ranma sat up from his unconsciousness. "Pops! Who did you piss off now?" He regained his memory of what was going on and remembered that his father was back in Japan. "Uh, time to go!"

Ryoga and Mousse nodded and ran in different directions. Mousse, toward the airport, Ryoga, somewhere that wasn't the airport. Ranma leapt into the air and grabbed Ryoga's hand. "This way, P-Chan!"

They ran down the streets, carefully avoiding any police officers along the way until they finally got to the main terminal of the airport. The trio sat down to catch their breath. Mousse took a moment to pull out his scroll and looked at the departure screen. "We made it just in time. Our plane leaves in thirty minutes."

Ranma gasped for air. "Finally, some good news."

"C'mon, we can rest on the plane." The hidden weapons master led them down the terminal to the ticket counter. There, he smiled at the woman as the desk. "I'd like three tickets please for flight thirty five."

She tabulated the total. "Very well, that will be 3,850 Yuan."

"That's no problem. Ryoga, can I have the money?"

Ryoga froze. "Money?"

Ranma snidely commented. "Yeah, didn't Mousse put the money in your backpack?"

Ryoga growled. "And who lost my backpack?"

Ranma shut up.

"Ranma!?!? You lost the money!?!" Mousse shouted in frustration.

"It blew out of my hands!" Ranma got defensive. "It wasn't my fault. I was too busy keeping pig boy here from biting my hand off."

"Now what are we going to do? We can't walk to Jusenkyo, it will be too late." Mousse cried.

Ranma asked, "Too late for what?"

Ryoga got depressed. "No cure?"

Sensing another fatal dose of depression building up from his old rival, Ranma knocked his brain around, looking for an answer. Again, a transformation, a beat down, then a teleportation came to the forefront, but he couldn't let these two know about his alter ego. Then the lights came on. "That visa! Don't you have that visa card?"

Mousse cheered up. "Yeah, we could pay for the tickets with it!"

"Really?" Smiled a happy Ryoga. I'll be free of the pig! "It's in my back pocket."

"Give it to me." Mousse held out his hand in anticipation. "C'mon now, she ain't got all day."

"Great! It's in the back pocket of my back..." He glared at Ranma. "PACK!" He charged him again.

"Not that again." Ranma groaned. Thankfully, Ryoga was wide open and Ranma poked him in the back on a pressure point. Ryoga fell over asleep instantly.

"This sucks!" Mousse was angry. Now he was stuck in Beijing, thousands of kilometers away from his beloved and in the company of his worst enemy. If he could kill with a look, the city would have been in flames.

Ranma poured water on Ryoga. He plucked up the sleeping pig. "C'mon, we got a plane to catch."

Mousse sighed. "Don't lose our clothes this time."

Back at the Tokyo Airport, a groundskeeper was rejoicing at the money he found in an abandoned backpack.
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Gel sat in her hut, reading an ancient text, when the curtain that covered the enterance was pushed aside revealing another shriveled up old woman. She didn't pause in her study nor look at her visitor. "Greetings, Cologne."

Cologne scowled back at her rival. "What are you hoping to accomplish?"

"Accomplish?" Gel finally looked up and stared at her opponent. "Nothing at all. I'm just obeying what our ancestors laid down for us."

"You won't get away with this."

"Get away with what?" She answered smugly. "I'm not the one who asked the council to ignore three thousand years of Amazon history. The law is quite clear. Shampoo must pay for her crime."

"She obeyed the law. She tracked Ranma back to Japan. That was no mean feat. Ranma is one of the best warriors I've ever seen."

"Blasphemy!" Shouted Gel in righteous fury. "How dare you claim that an outsider is better than our people? Shampoo's not worthy to be called an Amazon. If she was, she would never have been defeated by that
BOY!"

"Is that what this is about?" Asked Cologne incredulously. "You're upset that quite possibly the best Amazon warrior of this generation was born in a male body?"

"A boy could never be an Amazon!
NEVER! The very idea you proposed still makes me sick to my stomach! How dare you spit in the face of our history and even consider that this BOY could be considered as one of us? It turns my stomach to think that someone of your stature could have even conceived such an outlandish idea." Gel spat in disgust. "You make me sick. If it was up to me, I'd have you executed right this instant for treason."

"Treason?" Cologne grew wide eyed. "How dare you accuse me of treason?"

"I didn't need to. Your own words damned you." She lifted up the corner of the scroll exposing another parchment beneath. She slid it out and allowed Cologne to see what it was. "This is the text of your proposal. You claim that Ranma is male in body, yet female in spirit. That alone is grounds for treason."

Cologne chose her words carefully. "Why is that treasonous? We've indoctrinated others in the past who were freed by the Nyannichuan. Why is she any different?"

"Are you blind?" Shouted Gel in frustration. "I'm aware of those in the past. And what did they have in common that your
BOY doesn't? Hmm? I'll remind you. They were Amazons! They wanted nothing to do with their male bodies and when the Musk visited, they had their curses locked. It was a joyous occasion, celebrated by our new sisters and what does your Ranma want? He wants to be rid of the curse. That alone makes him unfit to be called an Amazon."

"What makes you think he wants a cure?" Cologne prodded.

"You are blind." Gel spoke softly and slowly. Her opinion had fallen even further than before. "I have plenty of witnesses who've seen how he behaved around Shampoo and Mousse. Even his visit here drew suspicion. It's not every day we are visited by a Panda bear and the Jusenkyo Guide. It wasn't hard to figure out that he was also carrying a curse. Then we hear from Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung about how he behaved and I've also got the Jusenkyo Products merchant who sold him a packet of Instant Nannichuan for the expressed purpose to remove his curse. Cologne, your warrior is nothing but a worthless male."

Shampoo's great grandmother needed time. It was not an item she had in abundance. "What has this got to do with Shampoo? If he's so worthless, why did the council order her to bring him back?"

"Don't try my patience." Gel stood up and held her hands down on the table in front of her. "The law is clear. If an outsider male defeats one of us. He is to be brought in for discipline. The Amazon will be duty bound to break him as her husband."

Gel reached for a book near the floor. She opened it and slammed it on the hard wooden table. "Here's the marriage roster. For the last thousand years, all women that took a husband using that law threw their fights."

Cologne listened intently. She knew all this already, but wanted to hear what Gel had to say and kept quiet.

Gel slammed the book shut. "That's because no man can defeat an Amazon. Yet, Shampoo lost against her will. Not once, but at least three times against the man she's charged with breaking. If that doesn't strip her of her status, I will do it by decree."

"You ..." Cologne held her staff tight in fury. "You don't know what you're risking."

"I don't you say?" Gel laughed as she placed the roster back where it belonged. "In fact, I know exactly what I'm risking."

"And what about the Sailor Senshi? Don't you think they would have a say in the matter?"

"If what you say is true, but I know it isn't." She rolled up her scroll and slid it into a protective sleeve.

"How can you know it isn't true. I know that it is. I was visited by the Sailor Senshi personally."

"Hogwash! You lie! The Sailor Senshi would have nothing to do with Shampoo! She's not worthy to be an Amazon and they wouldn't taint themselves by being associated with her in the slightest. Once, we were the honor guard for the Sailor Senshi. We, the Amazon people, were the only people on Earth that earned the trust of the Moon Kingdom. They only associated with the best of the best of our people. Just to be in the presence of a Sailor Senshi was a great honor and you're implying that they would let an honorless woman circulate among them. Preposterous!"

"That's where you're wrong." Cologne retorted, furious at the assassination of her great granddaugter's honor. "She fought alongside them more than once."

"It's your word against mine. And your word is losing value daily."

"That's where you're making a fatal mistake. Shampoo has the respect of the Sailor Senshi and to dishonor her is to dishonor the Senshi."

Gel's fingernails dug into her table. "Oh, really. Once the Sailor Senshi know the truth about her, they'll see things my way."

"Your way? Or Shampoo's way?" She let the challenge stand. She had learned enough. She turned on her cane and hopped out of sight.

Gel sat back down and pulled out another scroll for study. "We'll know tomorrow. Either Shampoo hangs, or you do."
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I hope they don't lose my luggage." Ukyou whined. "I hate these small airlines."

"When are we supposed to arrive?" Akane asked, hoping that this leg of the journey would be over quick. The plane was nothing like the jumbo jet they took to enter China. It was a small forty passenger commuter plane, filled with dogs, pigs, chickens and other assorted freight.

"Six hours." Kuonji groaned. "It'll be dark soon, so better get some sleep."

"Six hours? Honestly." She pushed away a chicken that had somehow escaped its crate and was running free.

Ukyou looked around the cabin. "Funny, I have that feeling again."

Akane grew pale. "You're not thinking that the pilot reminds you of your old boyfriend, are you?"

"Hey, I can't control what's happening to me, okay? I did apologize to that agent didn't I?"

"I'm glad he didn't want to marry you. You were kinda holding him the wrong way. And you going on about how he looked like your old boyfriend didn't help."

The chef sunk in her chair. "I hope they can find a cure for this. Now I know what it's like to have one of those curses."

"It's not fun, is it?"

"No, it isn't. Still, I'm still getting that feeling, like Ranchan is close by."

Akane wistfully replied. "Me too."

In the back of the plane, there was a large barrel. Inside sat a girl up to her waist in rice wine. On her shoulders sat an annoyed pig and a duck. Ranko was sloshed. "How... Dry... I... Am... Hic..."



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and prevents me from sending hordes of brain eating zombies into your neighborhood.

Last edited on January 28th, 2007



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