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Sailor Ranko: Thrice In A Millennium: Chapter 5, Bird Stalking.
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 have me test live bombs with a hammer for quality control.



Hair billowing outward in the breeze, Konatsu sat hidden on a branch in a tall tree. He had been keeping his body completely still and quiet to avoid attracting any attention from his prey. He squatted low so that the bird woman he was tracking wouldn't detect him from his perfect vantage spot. The white haired woman had flown over half of Nerima to settle on the rim of a tall smokestack in an abandoned factory at the edge of the ward. The kunoichi kept vigil as the winged girl collected material from the nearby trees and created a nest. It was very large and appeared to have the strength to be able support the weight of several hundred kilograms.

Konatsu glanced at his watch under his ninja sleeve to check the hour as time passed by. He needed to be back at Ucchan's in time for his mistress' arrival so the two of them could get the restaurant open for the after school crowd. He saw that he had just enough time to get back before Ukyou did if he left in less than a minute. He reached into his ninja costume, pulled out his digital camera, and took a few more silent snapshots of the odd happenings before jumping out of the tree and running back to his home at Ucchan's. He kept out of sight as he roof hopped away.

Kiima stopped tying two branches together with a cord to glance around. She felt a chill for an instant as if she was being watched. She hid in the nest until her combat senses told her that it was all clear. She resumed her work creating a temporary home since she felt that she was going to be spending a few days in Nerima to get the map of Jusendo from the people helping Plum.

A sound of someone climbing the ladder attached to the smokestack attracted Kiima's attention. She pulled out her sword in preparation to lop off the head of the uninvited guest. She heard a familiar grunt and relaxed her guard since she was familiar with the person who made that sound. Masara popped his head over the rim of the smokestack with a happy look on his face. "We got it!"

Kiima's stern look melted away into a face of cautious joy. "You did? Excellent! Did the landlings give you any trouble?"

The avian archer climbed into the nest holding a brown paper bag with yellow arches on it. "No. No trouble at all." He turned around to help up his companion over the rim and into the nest.

Koruma held out an identical bag as Masara. "I got one too!"

Kiima nodded her approval then slid her sword back into its sheath. "Well, give me the map." She held out her hand expectantly.

The two men looked at each other in confusion. Masara shrugged. "The map? We didn't get that."

Kiima blinked in confusion. She smiled at the only other possible reason her men had come back to her. "Where did you take the girl then?"

Koruma paused as he thought of his Captain's request. "We didn't get her either."

Kiima's eyebrow twitched. "Then, what DID you bring back?"

Koruma reached into his bag and pulled out some trading cards. "They had them in stock today at McDonald's."

The Captain's face fell in stark realization that she wasn't going to like what she was going to hear. "McDonald's?"

Masara was giddy with glee as he held out his newly acquired prized possessions. "I got the Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

Koruma held out his Yu-Gi-Oh card that he had found in his happy meal and proudly displayed it to his Captain. "Mine's better! I got the Dark Magician!"

Masara glared at Koruma for such a false statement about his Yu-Gi-Oh card. "No, the Blue Eyes is a better card."

"No, the Dark Magician is the better card. Look at the stats!"

"Blue Eyes!"

"Dark Magician!"

Kiima's battle aura increased with each sentence the men spoke in their pitiful argument.

"Blue Eyes!"

"Dark Magician!"

Kiima shouted with the volume that rattled windows for kilometers. "You MORONS!" The men froze as the fear of a horrible doom was to be cast down upon them. Kiima continued her rant with slow, methodical use of words, with each syllable containing more anger then the previous one. "You were supposed to stake out the Cat Cafe until they left the map unguarded and you got TRADING CARDS!" Her voice echoed across the landscape.

Masara trembled. "But they just got today's shipment of cards."

Koruma sheepishly whispered. "I've always wanted a Dark Magician."

Kiima stepped closer to her minions, clenching her fists as she approached them. "You want dark? I'll give you dark." The beatings continued until morale improved.
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The figure stood at the edge of an empty pool holding a wooden bucket filled with bathing supplies. A statue of a falcon sat nearby with a small 'Out of Order' sign hanging from its beak that was in reality a water spigot. The presence spoke with authority to his elder servant. "This does not please me."

An old Chinese man with feathered wings that covered his back trembled in sheer terror as he bowed down before the foreboding visage in front of him. "My Lord, we are working on the problem."

"Working on the problem?" The lord of the manor shouted. "I don't want you to be working on the problem! You are to be working on the solution!" He threw the wooden bucket in fury at the old man's head.

The old man stayed down and rubbed the top of his head to relieve the pain coming from his new lump. "Lord Saffron, you have every right to be displeased. Rest assured that we are working on a solution and will have your bath ready soon."

Saffron frowned, and then pointed his finger at his servant. The almighty lord of the realm was dressed in white regal robes befitting of his station as the supreme ruler of Phoenix Mountain. The leader showed his distaste to the situation at hand with a scowl and clentched fists. "I haven't had a hot bath in four days. I do not wish to smell like a commoner. You will fill this tub with water before the sun goes down or you face my wrath." He held out a strange looking metal staff with a meter wide circle on one end. The staff glowed with an unnatural reddish light contained within. "Cold water will be acceptable for now. I will heat the water myself this time, but next time, I expect the water to flow as it should and at the proper temperature."

"As you command your highness." The elder waved to some handmaidens who were hidden out of sight waiting for the old man's signals. They ran in and tossed buckets of water into the empty pool then ran out to get more water. The maidens ran outside to call the others of the village to join them in flying to collect water for their lord. The spring that sat in the middle of the courtyard was dry as a bone. The nearest source of water lay at the base of Jusendo falls, several kilometers away. It was going to take the efforts of the entire village to collect enough water to satisfy their master's needs.

Lord Saffron gave a look of pure disgust at the water filling his bath. "Common water. Bah! The depths I have to sink to accommodate your carelessness."

The old man tried to explain. "We didn't expect..."

"
SILENCE! The only reason I spare you is because you have served me well and my time is at hand. But hear my words, if you fail me in preparing for my ascension..." Saffron held out his brightly glowing weapon to emphasize his point. He touched the tip to a small stone statue of a falcon and the bird disintegrated on contact. "Don't fail me."

The old man crawled away with a promise. "I won't fail you my Lord." The elder thought quietly to himself as he left his Lord's bath chamber. "Kiima, please get back quickly. I don't know how long his patience will last."
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Akane rolled her eyes to the sky as she gave up trying to avoid her friend's questions. "Okay, okay, the Senshi are... Well... They are..." She tried to put what it was like to be friends with the Senshi into words and failed as miserably as her husband's attempts to say something without putting his foot in his mouth.

Yuka and Sayuri had googly eyes as they waited for Akane's answer. Yuka egged Akane on with a gentle poke in the Tendo's shoulder. "C'mon Akane. Tell us."

She thought about how the Senshi came together as a team and how they worked with and trusted each other without question when they were in combat. It was like something she was born to be a part of. Born to be... "It's like a family." She said proudly.

Yuka cocked her head at the mystery of Akane's statement. "Family? Are they related to each other?"

Akane choked a laugh while dreading the thought of being actually related to Usagi. Though the idea of being related to Kuno was worse. At least seppuku was an attractive and available option in the latter case. She blinked her eyes as she formulated a response, hoping she wouldn't be chewing on shoe leather in the next few seconds. "No, umm... They're close to each other, kind of like siblings. Why, Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars fight each other like kids all the time."

Sayuri sat up. "You sure about that? I heard that Sailor Mars nearly died for Sailor Moon more than once." She held out a manga that had the details. She opened the book and pointed to a page near the end. "See, here's where she told Sailor Moon to go on and defeat Queen Beryl."

Where did they get that information from? Akane thought silently wondering if what was in the manga was true, or the figment of some author's imagination. She nodded to confirm Sayuri's question on what she know to be correct. "That's true. Mars got burned pretty bad saving Moon from a Godzilla's fire breath attack. I know for a fact that she would rather die than let anything happen to her. Honestly, all of the Senshi would give up their lives to protect the Moon Princess." Akane paused for a moment as she realized that she meant every word she said. She would gladly give up her life to protect Sailor Moon just like all the others. She proudly smiled at herself.

Yuka was holding her cheeks in shock. "Sailor Mars got burned? Where is she? What hospital is she at?"

Sayuri shivered. "Can I send her flowers? How about a get well card?"

Akane snapped out of her trance to come back to reality. "Don't worry you two. She's fine now. One of the things a Senshi can do is heal really fast. They can heal even faster than Ranma."

"They can?" Yuka looked around for Ranma. "I heard that Ranma had all of his bones broken once and he was only at Dr. Tofu's clinic for a few days. The Senshi can heal faster than that? Wow."

Akane remembered that. It was when she was under the influence of the Reversal Jewel and after it was removed, she belted him across the street. There, he was pummeled by Kuno and Ryoga. Even though Ranma was covered from head to toe in bandages, he was out of there in only three days.

Sayuri looked around for Akane's husband as well. "Where is Ranma anyways?"

The Furinkan clock tower chime rang out signaling the end of lunch break. Akane looked around and saw Daisuke and Hiroshi sitting at a lunch bench but Ranma wasn't with them. "Oh, great. That pervert's probably stuffing his face with Ukyou's okonomiyaki again."

Yuka hit her fist into an open palm in thought. "That's right. Ukyou was talking to him a little while ago."

"Well that settles it." Akane held her hand over her eyes to block out the sunlight as she scanned the area for her wayward husband. "Where is that idiot?" She closed her eyes, focusing her Martial Arts senses to detect her spouse's ki signature. She felt his presence at the top of the main school building with the clock. "Found him."

Sayuri took a step back from Akane. "A-Akane, what did you just do? You were glowing blue."

"Huh? Oh, that. It's just a ki manipulation. Ranma taught it to me."

"You can manipulate your ki? You mean... Could you do that light thing that Ranma does when he fights?"

Akane aimed her hands at the ground and focused her ki. "You mean, like this?" She formed a small ball of blue ki in her hands, then fired it at a small rock in the grass, shattering it to pieces.

Yuka looked away as pebbles peppered her face. She turned to examine the tiny crater in the ground. "Wow, Akane. That's really cool!"

Sayuri crossed her hands in front of her chest. "Why didn't you use that on Kuno?"

"Nah, that's overkill. All he needs is just a good swift kick in the..."

"Mrs. Saotome, are you being a delinquent?" A pint-sized teacher commanded the former Tendo while holding a certain five-yen coin in a threatening manner. "There will be no use of ki attacks at this school. Besides, you're not a student here anymore nor are you wearing the proper uniform if you were." She looked up and down at Akane's sailor style high school uniform.

Akane stepped away from the chi-vampire. She didn't want to end her day as a dried up husk. "We're leaving right now. Just let me find my husband, okay?"

Miss Hinako smiled. "Don't be a delinquent, Mrs. Saotome." She slid her coin into her dress pocket. "Just don't let it happen again." She skipped away toward the main school building humming the theme song of the "Powerpuff Girls".

Yuka and Sayuri stared at each other for a moment. They turned to Akane and Sayuri spoke up. "Boy, she's in a cheerful mood. She usually drains first and asks questions later."

Akane shrugged off the incident. "I'm not going to push my luck. See you later." She waved at them and ran over to the school building at a very high speed. She jumped up three floors in a single bound, bounced off a windowsill and disappeared over the lip of the roof.

Yuka gasped. "Since when can Akane do that?"

"She's married to Ranma. What did you expect?"

"You'd almost think she was a Sailor Senshi."

The two girls instantly froze. They slowly turned to face one another and held that look for a quiet moment in deep thought. They both shook their heads in unison. "Nah!"
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"I'm sorry, Ranchan! I didn't mean to hit you! Oh, dear, I'm acting like Akane." Ukyou shook Ranma to try to revive him, failing miserably. She held his head in her lap and patted his cheek to awaken him.

Nabiki let out a simple sigh. "It's no use. He's going to be out for a while. You'd better get to class." Nabiki left the roof through the stairwell.

"This is just great. Here it is, I finally get some time with him alone and he's out like a light." Ukyou drooped in defeat. "I can't ever get a break, can I?"

Ranma whispered something in his sleep. Ukyou paused and heard him say something again. She moved her ear closer to his mouth to make out what he was saying. Ranma whispered again and the words pierced her heart as if she have been impaled by a javelin. "I... love... you..."

Ukyou gasped in hope and fear. "Ranchan... Y-you... L-love..." She trembled at the words she thought she had heard from her best friend in the world. "Please Ranchan... Tell me it's true."

"I love you..." He turned his head in her lap and held out his arm as if to grab someone. "Akane."

Ukyou's head limply rolled backward as she lost all feeling in her soul once again. "Why! Why do I keep torturing myself?"

"Torturing yourself? Honestly, being around him is torture enough." Akane kneeled next to Ukyou to get a closer look at her sleeping spouse. "So, why's he like this?"

Ukyou looked away in embarrassment. "He, uh..." She dropped her head in shame. "I did it. I hit him. I'm sorry."

Akane scowled at Ukyou for a second then grinned at the chef. "Did he deserve it?"

Ukyou shot a look at Akane seeing that the short haired girl wasn't mad. She grinned back. "Actually, yes, he did deserve it."

The two girls giggled for a moment. Ukyou heard the tardy bell ring again. "Oh no!" She shot up, knocking Ranma off of her lap and onto the gravel that covered the roof. "I'm going to get my ki sucked out. Gotta go!" Ukyou ran to the side of the building and jumped off. She landed perfectly on the windowsill of her classroom and jumped into her seat just as Miss Hinako walked in.

"Miss Kuonji, please use the door next time." She was very happy and chipper as if nothing was going to ruin her day today.

"Yes, teacher." The chef sat at attention in hopes of keeping her ki intact.

Akane brushed away some gravel from Ranma's face to clean him off while he was sleeping. Akane sat alone, placing her husband's head in her lap. The short haired girl ran her fingers gently through his black bangs as she savored this peaceful moment together. Ranma whispered again. "I love you, Akane." He reached out again and held her waist. Akane resisted the immediate urge to mallet him for being a pervert, but then allowed him to hold her.

"I'm so sorry, Ranma." She felt his cheek and lightly scratched his back. "I don't really mean to hit you. I want you to touch me." She felt his breath on her navel as he breathed faster. She scratched his head the way he liked it when they were in bed together.

"Oh, did you get the number of that truck?" Ranma rubbed his head as he regained consciousness.

Akane blurted out an answer she made up on the spot. "It was 452-XYZ."

"Huh?" Ranma's eyes regained focus as he digested the information given to him. The world appeared twofold and shimmered and drifted until he saw only one image. The face of Akane smiling at him came into view once the world stopped spinning.

"Did you have a nice nap?" She smiled.

Ranma sat up with little yellow stars still orbiting his skull. "Remind me not to insult Ukyou's taste in Anime."

"Oh, is that why she decked you?" Akane rubbed Ranma's shoulders. Ranma was suspicious since Akane wasn't usually this nice. Akane used the heel of her hand to put pressure on his spine making Ranma grunt in pleasure.

"Yeah, a little lower. Lower." He squeaked as she touched a little too low in the back. Ranma spun his head in all directions hoping that a member of the fiance brigade wasn't watching Akane's public display of affection. "Too low!"

Akane shifted her position to sit directly behind Ranma, and then kneaded his shoulder blades. "Is this better?"

"Yes." It was all Ranma could utter as his brain shut down and gave in to muscular ecstasy. Ranma wanted desperately to ask why his wife was acting weird but wisely decided to sit back, shut up and enjoy the ride.

She rubbed his back for another minute before getting back to business. "Let's get back to Juuban before someone else shows up."

Ranma's eyes flipped open and he regained all motor control once again. He stood up slowly then took in their location. "Well, Juuban's a twenty minute run or..." He produced his henshin stick. "A one second teleport."

Akane shouted out her transformation phrase. "Io Lumina Power! Make Up!" Sparks and flames announced the arrival of the Senshi of Io.

Ranma did a check of the area to see if Nabiki was lurking anywhere. A transformation later, the Senshi of the Sun held onto her wife. "Sun Beam Transport!"
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Cologne felt a surge a power coming from the direction of Furinkan High School. A moment later, it was gone. She giggled to herself. "Showing off again, eh, Sunny boy?"

Mousse came out of the storage room holding two cases of uncooked noodles. Cologne pointed to where she wanted the boxes placed. "Put them over there." He nodded, and then moved over to the corner to gently put the boxes down on the floor.

A knock came from the back door, and a middle-aged Chinese man stood in the doorway. Shampoo approached the visitor then leapt to glomp him the instant she recognized him. "Father!"

The man was knocked down so suddenly, that his hat remained in the air for a few seconds while he and Shampoo flew out into the alley. He landed on his back on top of a black plastic trash bag. He returned the affectionate hug to his energetic child. "Daughter, I missed you."

"Father, Shampoo miss you too." Shampoo hugged her dad in a bone-crushing embrace usually reserved for Ranma. Her father gasped for air.

Cologne tapped on Shampoo's shoulder with her cane. "I think you'd better release your father before he dies. You must never forget how fragile men are."

Shampoo relaxed her grip, but she still held on to her father's waist. She had a look of joy on her face for being in the presence of her parent. "Father come to stay with Shampoo?"

"Yes. I've come as Grandmother has asked." He inhaled deeply as the Amazon crush of death was released from him.

The Amazon matriarch gave a slight bow to her grandson. "It was fortunate that you were absent recently, you missed the problems we've had with that demon Happosai. It is good that you're finally here, for your presence is a welcome one. We are in need of your labors since the cafe is doing well and we are short on good workers."

"I'm sorry it took so long for me to get here. But there was an earthquake near the village and I had to wait until the roads were declared safe."

The elder raised an eyebrow at this unexpected news. "Earthquake? What earthquake?"

"Don't worry, Grandmother. It was not close enough to the village to cause any harm. The only area that was really affected was over near Jusendo falls."

Cologne widened her eyes at the news. "What more can you tell me about the falls?"

The Chinese man pulled on his long mustache as he thought. "Hmm... Not much more. Oh yes, the falls seem to pour more water out than usual, but they still flow."

The elder filed away this information for later use, since Phoenix Mountain was close to Jusendo falls. "Have you any news from home that you can share with us?"

"Yes." He reached into a deep pocket in his Chinese robe that he wore and pulled out several scrolls bound with string. "The council wished for you to receive these."

Cologne knew official edicts from the council when she saw them and she was seeing them now. She took the scrolls from her grandson-in-law worrying about what they possibly could contain. "Thank you. I'll leave you two alone to talk about your journey. I must read these in private."

Shampoo hopped over to her great-grandmother and peeked at the rolled up scrolls. "What news from home?"

The elder gave a look of seriousness that she usually didn't direct at her great-granddaughter. "I have to read these in private my dear. They're official business. Please show your father to his room and make him feel at home."

"Okay!" Shampoo happily bounded off.

Cologne hopped on her cane to her room, locked the door and opened the scroll with a wax seal. She trembled as she unrolled the message. She slowly read the official edict. She read it again. She read it slowly during her third pass growing in anger at the words present on the parchment. "Damn them! Damn them all!"

She unlocked her filing cabinet and tossed the scroll into the bottom drawer in disgust. "Of all the times they could do this, why now? I was promised at least another year." She eyed the remaining scrolls. "I hope one of these other scrolls has word on what's happening on Phoenix Mountain."
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Nodoka was sitting in the tiny living room examining the photos of four homes that she had decided that she wanted to take her children to see. They were all expensive, but with the money she had, the down payment would make the monthly payments affordable. She glanced at the untouched school bags and worried about her son.

A flash of light in the bedroom laid her fears to rest. "Ranma? Is that you?"

Sailor Sun peeked out of the bedroom. "Yep. It's me."

"Oh, good. Are you finished with your duties for today?"

Sun paused in thought then looked down at her Senshi garb. "I think so. There's no use in going to school right now since it's pretty much over for the day." She shrugged. She wasn't in the mood to go to school on any day and having a good excuse made it all the better.

"Excellent, my son, I'd like to take you and Akane with me. Could you get dressed? I want to take us to some places that we could live." She brushed off Sun's mini-skirt with her open hand. "I don't think you'd want to go out in your Sailor Senshi uniform. Or do you?"

Sun stood up straight and tall. "And why not? It would be an honor for me to escort you around town, Mom."

Akane came out of the bedroom after dropping her Sailor Senshi guise. She was back to wearing her Juuban High uniform. "Can it, fire bug. Go get dressed into something less flashy."

Sun concentrated to make the Senshi uniform vanish and was clothed in a silk red shirt and black drawstring pants that were a bit too big for her. "Nag, nag, nag." Ranko went into the kitchen to get some hot water to change back to her birth form.

Akane turned to her mother-in-law. "Where're we going?"

She held out the four photos. "These places are the best of the bunch. If we hurry, we can see them all today."

Ranko craned her head to get a good look at one of the maps. "I can teleport us in a jiffy."

Akane and Nodoka looked at Ranko as if she had turned purple and sprouted wings. Akane shook her head. "Ranma, we're supposed to keep our identities a secret. Teleporting all over town with your mother is going to give you away. Besides, it's going to make her sick."

Ranko scratched her head in embarrassment remembering that the Senshi aren't affected by the teleportation, and normal people could get sick from the vertigo. "Heh. I forgot about that." She poured a glass filled with hot water onto her head to change back to being Mrs. Saotome's son. "That's much better. If only I could change back directly into a guy when I drop the Sailor Sun form."

"Well you can't, Mr. Senshi." Akane joked. She tossed a towel at Ranma who grabbed it and quickly dried his hair.

Nodoka picked up a wrapped bundle and held it closely to her chest. Ranma glanced at the Saotome honor blade that hung on the wall of the apartment. His mother gave it to him for his birthday a few months ago. "Mom?"

Ranma's mom stopped just before she reached the front door. She gently turned to look at her son. "Yes, dear?"

"Your katana. Where did you get it? Is there another Saotome blade?"

"You mean this?" She held the cloth wrapped sword tight. "It's..." She turned away. "It's a family heirloom."

"It is?"

"Yes. But please, let's go now. I don't want to keep the real estate agent waiting." Without another word on the subject, she opened the door and left. Ranma and Akane exchanged worried glances and followed her to the first house on the list.
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Usagi Tsukino, the future queen of Crystal Tokyo, was lonely in class and soon would be lonely at detention for being fashionably late to school again. Ranma and Akane hadn't shown up when class started and they hadn't arrived during lunch break either. She tapped her fingers on her Senshi wristwatch communicator hoping that it would vibrate signaling a message from her two missing warriors.

She got her wish as she felt a tingling in her wrist signaling an incoming message. She pressed the button to acknowledge that she was present but couldn't answer. She read the message on the display. "Sun, Io Found. No worries. Luna."

Usagi blew on her bangs to push them away from her eyes. She felt much better now. She was going to have to ask why those two didn't call in on their status. She had sent Luna over to their apartment to find out what happened and it appeared that it wasn't serious. If it was, Luna would have sent a more urgent message.

Usagi was worried when they hadn't come to school and she wanted to know if they were okay. The moon princess was a nervous wreck and had the other Inner Senshi all worked up in panic thinking that Sun and Io had been kidnapped or worse. The words Akane and kidnapping for some reason went hand in hand.

She sulked at her desk, not really paying attention to the teacher as he explained the history of World War II to the class. She quietly thought to herself. "I wish Mamo-chan was here to help me with my homework." Her face fell forward onto the desk as she drifted into a little nap. A flying eraser brought her back to rapt attention.

"Miss Tsukino, please stand in the hall."

"Ah, man." She got up to take her punishment. "When I become queen. You're on my list."

The class chuckled. Usagi smiled in response. If they only knew what she knew.



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and makes me stop listening to the voices in my head. They tell me many things. Happy things... Hee hee hee...

Last edited on January 25th, 2007



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