Chapter 10: A Fistful of Yen

                       C&A Productions Presents

                   A Work of Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction

                     Ranma 1/2: Curse of Darkness

                     Chapter 10: A Fistful of Yen

                   By Chris McNeil and Aaron Peori

The story so far: In the beginning, there was darkness...and a bunch
of stuff happened.  After a little while of that, the arch-mage Amigi
Diatonobi of the ultra-secret group DMSESREPBHPTT (pronounced
dem-ses-rep-bfft) arrived in Nerima and transformed the nature of
Ranma Saotome's curse, giving his female half an evil personality all
her own!  Also, thanks to a magic scroll, this female half (who goes
by the name Senchi) has fallen for Ryouga.  Using the threat of
harming Akane, Senchi has blackmailed Ryouga into promising to date
her.  But meanwhile, disappointed in Amigi's apparent lack of results,
his masters have sent the hunter Shiad to deal with him and Ranma...

(Opening scene: the Tendo residence, where the entire clan is
gathered, along with many of said family's...err...associated
personages.  Shampoo is there, glomped onto the recently-restored
Ranma like a second skin.  Akane is also there, introducing Ranma to
the floor via a creative use of the television.  Ryouga is comatose on
the floor, thanks the to the feminine assault of Senchi.  Cologne
chuckles to herself as the yelling match between Akane and Shampoo
escalates; Soun and Genma celebrate while Nabiki idly calculates the
profits from her latest extortion scheme against Ranma and Kasumi
calmly continues to dry the walls.  In fact, the only one not acting
normally is Ukyou, who is leaning against the wall, removed from the
others.  She looks down upon the object cupped in her hands.)

Ukyou(whispers): I didn't know... (the silver spatula gleams
accusingly in her palm) [Now, its energy is gone until the next
(As she thinks, she involuntarily remembers the words spoken not a
dozen minutes ago...)

Ranma-chan:, not that!

Ukyou: [He didn't want it to happen...even for that, he didn't want a
cure if I was the only one...] (Ukyou's eyes shimmer with suppressed
tears) [He'd rather face his darkest secret than be with me...]
(Unnoticed by anyone in the house, Ukyou flees.  She moves in a slow,
restrained fashion, but with her features set in a wholly unnatural
position for the usually cheerful okonomiyaki chef.  As she leaves the
home, she begins to run, eyes closed, not watching where she's going.
And so it is that she trips over the prone form of Tzubi, only her
martial arts training instinctively kicking in saving her from a bad
scrape.  Rolling into a kneeling position, she stares at Tzubi, who
has a large hole burnt through the back of his jacket and strange
black lines across the exposed flesh.  Immediately, her eyes clear.)

Ukyou: Tzubi!  (she reaches over and shakes his shoulder, but he
doesn't respond) What could have happened... (her face sets into a
determined expression) I'd better get you inside.
(With seemingly renewed vigor, Ukyou picks up the boy and begins
staggering back to the Tendo dojo.)


(Scene: an unknown, empty lot.  The myopic warrior Mousse stands among
the shreds of several straw dummies, his weapons buried in the walls
and ground around him.  Sweat drips down his face, his glasses are
fogged by his own acrid breath, and his robes hang like lead weights
over his strained muscles.)

Mousse: [I lost!] (he swings out a morning star and crunches a hapless
log post) [I -can't- have lost!] (he kicks, daggers flying from the
cuff of his pants and into the wall) [I had -everything-!] (he punches
another dummy apart with spiked knuckles) [All the advantages were
MINE!] (leaping, he sends chains out, snagging more dummies from a
pile and placing them into the ground in random patterns) [I -should-
have -WON-!] (he spins around, launching egg-bombs with unerring
accuracy and blasting dummies to bits) Damn you, Ranma!  You shouldn't
have won!
(Mousse falls to his knees, breath coming in ragged gasps, face ashen
from exhaustion.)

Mousse: Akane... (he punches the ground) First Shampoo, and now her
too...he's always taking them away from me!
(Mousse climbs to his feet again, his jaw set in a determined

Mousse: Can't... (takes a deep breath) ...stop now.  I have to get
better!  Good enough to beat him!  (he lifts his arms, grimacing at
his aching muscles) Don't care (deep breath) how long it takes...  (he
fires a chain out and grabs another dummy off the pile) No matter how
long... [But no matter how good I get, it will never be enough.] NO!
(Mousse tears the dummy apart with a single punch, but once more his
thoughts intrude) [He's always ahead of me.  He knows techniques I can
hardly dream of performing.] I don't care!  (Mousse picks up another
dummy and shreds it with claws) [Even with sight I couldn't beat him.
And, I don't even have that.] DAMN IT!!!
(Mousse dives at the pile in a whirl of swords and chains; when he
emerges, there is nothing left of his targets.)

Mousse: [Ranma is better than me.] (Mousse staggers back as if struck)
No... [Ranma will always be better than me.] (Mousse's voice falls,
filled with an unfamiliar emptiness) Please... [I will never beat
Ranma.] (Mousse falls to his knees, tears flowing freely) I won't beat
Ranma...I can't...
(Mousse staggers, zombie-like, out of the lot, his shoulders slumped.)

Mousse(almost inaudible): You win, Ranma Saotome.


(Scene: the Tendo's, once more.  Everyone is quiet as Kasumi tends to
the burns on Tzubi's back as he lies, still unconscious, on the table.
Shampoo is sitting next to him, making worried sounds and stroking his
cheek.  Nabiki stands away from the group, her face calm, no hint of
emotion marring her cool beauty.  But her eyes are locked on Tzubi
like lasers, refusing to move, refusing to close; her body is so
rigid, even as she leans against the wall in a seemingly casual
position, that it seems a strong breeze might knock her over.  The
others are talking.)

Ranma: Who could have done this to him?

Ryouga: Someone strong.  It took a lot out of me to beat him even when
I was super-tough, and even then I didn't knock him out like this.

Cologne: Hmm... (she looks up from Tzubi, having been examining the
wounds on his back) These appear to be electrical burns.

Ukyou: But they're so small...they shouldn't have hurt him this bad.

Cologne: It wasn't the burn that did it.  Whatever hit him channeled
most of the electricity straight into his nerves.  It's a miracle his
heart is still beating.

Akane: Could Rouge have done this?

Ranma: (shakes head) Not her style.  Besides, why would she attack

Ukyou: (piku) Rouge?

Ranma: I'll explain later.

Cologne: Whomever did this is powerful indeed.  I suggest you all stay
on your guard.  (Ranma nods) Come, Shampoo.

Shampoo: But o-baba, Shampoo want stay with 'Zubi!

Cologne: He will be fine, great-granddaughter.  We must discover who
did this.

Shampoo: Hai.  (eyes narrow dangerously) No one hurt Shampoo's
(Cologne pogos out, with Shampoo in tow.  Meanwhile, Kasumi puts down
the wet cloth she was using to clean Tzubi's back.)

Kasumi: I'll go make some tea.

Soun: That's very kind of you, Kasumi.  (she gives her father a cutsie
smile and then enters the kitchen; tears of joy roll down Soun's face)
Oh, I must be blessed to have such a daughter!

Genma: A true treasure, Tendo-kun.
(At this point, a sound comes from the front of the house, a sound
that would signal horror, save for the blissful ignorance of the
occupants.  The sound...was a knock.  And then, the true terror of the
sound became revealed...)

Kasumi: Oh my, could someone get that?  It should be Doctor Tofu...


(Scene: the laboratory of the man everybody loves to hate, Amigi
Diatonobi.  He is garbed in his usual evil sorcerer outfit, and is
busy performing some sort of ritual.  Suddenly, he stops, eyes
narrowing, and then whirls, arm sweeping upward in an overly dramatic

Amigi: Reveal thyself, interloper!  (his hand begins to crackle with
green flames) Before I destroy you where you hide!

Voice: Really, Amigi?

Amigi: (flames flicker out; his face goes ashen) No...
(There is a sudden movement, and the mysterious warrior known as Shiad
drops from the ceiling, landing easily.  Amigi recoils from her.)

Amigi: Shiad...
(The hunter from DMSESREPBHPTT (pronounced dem-ses-rep-bfft) holds
forward a palm at the cringing wizard; it begins to seethe with an
electric corona.)

Shiad: The Circle isn't happy with you.

Amigi: (drawing himself up in an attempt at dignity) I report to the

Shiad: The Circle supercedes Sanctum.  Surely you know that.

Amigi(desperately): But Circle surrenders say-so over supplying

Shiad: Simple semantics.  Circle says that so Sanctum does not oppose
Circle's ascension.

Amigi: But I'm still working on this initiate...

Shiad(flatly): You take too long.

Amigi(pleading): She's worth it, she has power...

Shiad: You were needed and didn't show up.  We lost a great deal of
ground to the Illuminati because of you.

Amigi: (pales) She's worth it.

Shiad: I doubt it.  (she thrusts her hand at him) BAKURAI-HA!
(A bolt of lightning leaps from her hand at Amigi, but the wizard is
already chanting.)

(He sweeps his arm up and a half-shell of shimmering white energy
forms in front of him; the lightning bolt collides with and runs along
it, dispersing harmlessly.  Not pausing for a moment, Shiad leaps into
the air.)

Shiad: Amusing trick, but now face BAKURAI REPPA!!!
(She shoves both arms at Amigi, releasing two bolts of energy which
smash into the wizard's shield, pushing him back.  As she lands she
releases two more bolts, which visibly stagger Amigi.)

Amigi(shouts): You'll never take me!
(He waves his hand, creating a dazzling cloud of smoke and flashing
lights.  Seeing Shiad is momentarily distracted, he spins and lunges
for a pentacle drawn in the floor.)

(The pentacle glows and he leaps onto it, disappearing in a flash of
light just as Shiad steps through the smoke.)

Shiad: Hmph.  Don't think you've escaped from me that easily...


(Scene: back at the Tendo's, where Dr. Tofu is seeing to Tzubi's
wound...or at least that's what he's -supposed- to be doing...)

Tofu: (twisting the thankfully unconscious boy's arms into a braid)
Why thank you Kasumi, those cookies sure look good!

Kasumi: (giggles, holding packets of lotion) These aren't cookies,

Tofu: Of course not!  (he absently flips Tzubi over and twists the
poor boy's leg around his head) They're pickles!
(Kasumi giggles again as Tofu puts one in his mouth.  Meanwhile,
across the room-and a safe distance from the good doctor-the other
continue to talk about what's going on.  Nabiki has apparently left.)

Ukyou: We're concentrating too much on the "how" here guys, and not
the "why".

Akane: Ukyou's right.  We need to figure out who did this and why.

Ranma: But who has it out for Tzubi?

Tofu: (lifting a bowl of water onto his head) What a generous gift,
Kasumi!  I needed a new hat!

Kasumi: That isn't a hat, doctor.  (giggle)

Tofu: Oh, right... (he pulls it down and looks at it quizzically)
It's...a frisbee!
(Tofu sends the bowl flying across the room.  Of course, there is only
one person who could be struck by it.)

Senchi(laconically): We really -must- stop meeting like this.

Ryouga: Eep. 
(He dives for cover, but Senchi is already walking towards him.)

Senchi: Ryouga-chan, a girl could begin to think you don't want to see

Ryouga: Of course I don't want to see you!

Senchi: (looking at herself) Of course you don't, I'm an absolute
mess.  You just stay here while I get ready for our date.

Ryouga: D-date?

Ukyou: I think she's finally gone off the deep end...

Senchi: (smiling evilly at Ryouga) You remember the date you
-promised- (nods her head towards Akane) me, right?

Ryouga: (bows head; forced) I...I remember.

Senchi: Great!  So you just wait there while I get dressed.

Akane: Wait, what about Tzubi?

Senchi: (walking towards the stairs; doesn't bother to look back) What
about him?
(They all stare silently as Ranma's darker half strides up the stairs,
humming to herself.)

Ryouga: (sighs) Don't worry,'ll be fine.

Akane: You don't have to do this.

Ryouga: (clenches his fists) If...if I want to protect you...I do.  I

Akane: (surprised by his vehemence) Ryouga...


(Scene: same place, a little later.  Ryouga is sitting at the table,
slouched over as if the spectre of doom were upon his shoulder.  Akane
is trying to convince him not to go along with it, while Ukyou looks
on in pity.)

Ryouga: [I'm doomed...]

Senchi: Okay, I'm ready.
(They turn as one to stare at Senchi, who is standing at the bottom of
the stairs.  She is now wearing a pale yellow blouse, tight around the
chest, with a knee-length light blue skirt. She's also redone her
hair, allowing it to fall to her shoulders in curly waves like liquid
fire.  It is further obvious that she has applied makeup, but not
exactly how or where since her face seems to have...changed.  Her
cheeks are both softer and more pronounced, and her entire face seems
outwardly unchanged but just more...-there-.  She glides across the
room to Ryouga.)

Senchi(softly): So?  (does a half-turn in front of him) Think it looks
nice?  (hastily) I didn't really have much to work with.

Ryouga: (swallows) Uhh... (sweatdrop) You look good... [This is a
-guy-!  This is RANMA with a concussion or something!  She...HE is not
pretty!] (dejected) You look great.

Akane: (staring) Hey!  That's my blouse!  And my skirt, too!

Senchi: Hai... (she wrinkles her nose as she looks down) ...and they
don't fit very well, either.  I guess I'll have to buy a new wardrobe.

Akane: But you can't just...

Ukyou: (puts a hand on her shoulder) Let it go.  (shakes her head) I
don't like it either, but we don't really have much choice.  Besides,
I'm sure Ryouga won't do anything...ungentlemanly.

Ryouga: Ungentlemanly?

Senchi: Ryouga-chan can be as ungentlemanly as he wants; I won't mind.

Kasumi: (shocked...well, shocked for Kasumi) But Senchi, it's only
your first date with him!  It wouldn't be proper!

Tofu: D-d-date!?  (keels over)

Ryouga: (gets it; eyes widen and clutches his nose) No!  I won't be
doing any of that!

Senchi: Aww...
(Genma and Soun are playing Shogi and diligently attempting to ignore
the whole scene.)

Senchi: Come along, Ryouga-chan... (she begins dragging him out the
door) ...we have lots of hot clubs to hit!

Ryouga: (voice receding) I thought you used clubs to hit people, not
the other way around...

Ukyou: (sigh) Well, that cuts our group again.

Akane: (nods with a sigh) And whatever is going on with Tzubi...well,
if whoever did that can take out -him-...
(Ukyou and Akane exchange dejected glances.  Then the entire house is
rocked by a tremendous roar; the walls shake and everyone stumbles a
few steps.)

Ukyou: What in...!?
(Akane and Ukyou run to the porch and stare out, along with an
indignant looking Soun and Genma, at the figure standing in a small
crater in the back yard.)

Amigi: (stepping out and dusting his lapels) Ah, excuse my rude
entrance, Mr. Tendo.  I assure you I shall compensate for any material

Akane(yells): You!

Ukyou: (whips out her combat spatula) What do you want?

Amigi: Well, that is the question, isn't it?  The short answer is that
I need your help.  That is, if I am to save young Saotome's life.


(Scene: the Nekohanten; Cologne and Shampoo have evidently just
arrived.  Shampoo closes the door and turns to find Cologne staring at
her intensely.)

Cologne: This can't go on forever, Shampoo.

Shampoo: (piku) What you talking, o-baba?

Cologne: You know perfectly what I mean.  Are you going to be clinging
to Mousse's shoulder tomorrow night?  And what about the next man who
beats you?  Will it be Ryouga, or perhaps Tarou?

Shampoo(vehemently): They no good enough to beat Shampoo!

Cologne(pointedly): Neither was Mousse, as I recall.  (Shampoo sinks
into sullen silence) What you do is lawful, daughter...but not
correct.  You should have chosen a man long ago.
(There is a moment of terse silence, but then, unexpectedly, Shampoo
sinks to the floor, clutching her knees to her chest.)

Shampoo: Shampoo no know...

Cologne: It is customary in these situations for the strongest to

Shampoo(softly): They no love Shampoo.

Cologne: What?

Shampoo: 'Zubi...he say he hurt Shampoo if she come near him.
Mousse...Mousse no love Shampoo anymore...

Cologne: (after a pause) And what of Ranma?

Shampoo (shakes head) Shampoo no know when she figure it out...but
Ranma no love her.  He no want hurt Shampoo's feelings, but... (she
lowers her head) ...but he no love me.  (Cologne stares as bright
lines begin drifting down her great- granddaughter's cheeks) Shampoo
only think... (sniff) ...if she be good enough either 'Zubi or Ranma
come 'round...

Cologne: ...  (hopping forward, she reaches out and brushes a tear
from Shampoo's cheek; more kindly) I know a way to see for certain,
Shampoo.  To see if, inside, any of them can love you.  (Shampoo looks
up hopefully) We will simply have to wait until whatever is happening
dies down.


(Scene: Tokyo is noted for its nightlife.  Bright lights and large
crowds, roaring clubs and drunken businessmen bar-crawling to the
tunes of karaoke.  A wonderful place for two teenagers to find fun and
excitement together.  Unfortunately for Senchi and Ryouga, they are
not anywhere that remotely resembles that.  Instead, they find
themselves standing in the middle of a deserted street, coated with
dust and grime and lined with dark grey, sagging buildings.  From a
nearby alley the clatter of metal on metal echoes, accompanied by the
screech of an alley cat.)

Senchi: (tapping her foot; hands on hips) A quaint little bistro, you
said.  Not far from the dojo, you said.  Ryouga, my brain must have
been turned off for me to trust you to lead us!

Ryouga: (scratching his head) It was just around the corner, I was

Senchi: You said that a half-hour ago!

Ryouga: (embarrassed look) Eh-heh...maybe we should head somewhere

Senchi: Like where?  (looks around) I don't even think we're in Tokyo

Ryouga: (sighs) Right.  So you lead the way, then.  There's nothing
for us to do here with no one around anyway.

Senchi: (perks up) Oh so... (evil grin)

Ryouga: (backs up a step) Senchi?  (sweatdrops) Uh, Senchi...what's
that glint in your eyes...

Senchi: (swaying up to Ryouga) I can think of a few things we can do
all alone...

Ryouga: Ack!  (waving hands frantically) N-now now, let's not be too
hasty!  (voice cracks) We just have to find out where we are!

Senchi: (mischievous smile) Does it matter?

Ryouga: (backs up another step) of course it does!  How do yo...we
plan to get back?

Senchi: (sighs) Fine, Ryouga-chan... (she turns away, as she does
Ryouga gets a good look at her; against the dull buildings she seems
to glow as if with an internal light) Just let me find a phone; the
company can trace it and...

Ryouga: (not really hearing her) [She's pretty!  Not that it matters,
she's still deluded and evil and all I hate about Ranma...but she can
be cute too...] (he looks away sharply) [She's RANMA!  She's just
forcing me to be here, and she's only following that magic scroll
anyway.  She doesn't even really care about me...]

Senchi: Ryouga-chan... (snaps her fingers) Are you awake or what?

Ryouga: Hai, Senchi... (sighs) I'm awake, I guess.

Senchi: Well, I found a phone.  I need ten yen for the call, though.

Ryouga: I don't have any money...

Senchi(erupting): You WHAT!?  You took me on a date with no money?
Did you expect ME to pay for everything!?

Ryouga: (shrinks back, fingers in patented Takahashi position) Aah!
No!  I didn't expect anything like that!

Senchi: (fists on hips) What kind of girl do you think I am?

Ryouga: I don't think you're any kind of girl, really!

Senchi: (vein pops out on her temple) You don't think... (draws it
out) ...I'm any kind of girl?

Ryouga: (just realizing what he said) I didn't...I couldn't...I
wouldn't... (Senchi's eyes blaze, she takes a step forward) I'll get
you money!  Ten yen coming right up!  (turns to leave) Ten yen for
bishoujo Senchi!
(Senchi stops dead in her tracks as Ryouga runs off.)


(Scene: the exterior of Amigi's mansion.  Pantyhose Tarou, scourge of
Ranma's existence, is walking towards the main doors.  In his hand he
tosses a tiny tuning fork up and down.)

Tarou: [Don't know why I bothered taking this from him.] (he snorts
derisively and rings the bell) [It's useless.  Who needs magic when I
can do more damage with my brain?]   
(Tarou waits a few seconds, then begins to look impatient.  Tapping
his foot, he rings the bell again.)

Tarou: Diatonobi? Amigi!  I won't wait forever!  (after another few
moments, he shrugs) Fine, I'll keep your... (suddenly he looks sharply
to the roof; his eyes narrow and he backs up a step.  Seeing nothing
he relaxes somewhat, but still looks ready to spring) I guess he isn't
home...I'll have to come back later.
(Turning, Tarou walks down the path and out the front gate.  A silent
figure leaps from the roof, hiding in the garden behind him.)

Tarou: (walking steadily) [Well, what now?] (as he moves, the figure
silently trails him, staying in the shadows) [Damn, I can't tell
exactly where...I'll have to choose my ground.  Someplace I know
well...and I can't risk the restaurant...] (he smiles evilly) [I know
-just- the place.]
(Tarou strides off purposefully.  Behind him, Shiad peers from the
shadows which serve to disguise her.)

Shiad: (smirks; whispers) So, another ally, Amigi?  (evil giggle)
Well, this one shall lead me right to you.


(Scene: the Tendo's, not long after we last left them.  Amigi is
standing over Tzubi's unconscious form, holding a blue card with a
strange symbol on it.  He nods sagely.)

Amigi: Shiad's work, without a doubt.

Ukyou: (still holding her spatula) So who is she, and why should we
help you?

Amigi: She is an Enforcer, a tool of the will of DMSESREPBHPTT, though
it would do her more justice to call her an assassin.  She...removes
those elements most disruptive to the Circle.

Akane: And she's come to kill you?

Amigi: (nods) I should have returned long ago.  But young Senchi is
the only person ever to utilise the Art of the Black Hand; I could not
leave her to her own devices.

Ukyou(flatly): So she wants to kill you.  Like I said, why should we

Akane(shocked): Ukyou!

Ukyou: (sighs) I don't want to see him dead, even if he does deserve
it, but he can take care of himself.

Amigi: Indeed, but it is not I whom you must worry about.  (smiles) It
is young Ranma.

Akane: Ranma?  But why?

Amigi: Shiad will be working under her usual orders, which means she
will attempt to eliminate all evidence of my work here.  And as the
Saotome boy's...predicament is of my doing, she will kill them as

Soun: WHAT!?  (grabs Amigi and shakes him) First you give Ranma that
awful curse and now you will cause his death!?

Amigi: (unruffled) Calm yourself, Tendo-san.  Ranma-and Senchi-can be
saved if we work together to defeat Shiad.

Ukyou: How can we do that?  From what you've told us, Shiad doesn't
stop until she's finished her work, no matter how badly she's set

Amigi: There is one setback she cannot recover from.

Ukyou: (eyes widen) You don't mean...we can't...

Amigi: (smiles evilly) Come now, what did you think I meant to do?

Akane: (looking ill) Why don't you do it yourself?

Amigi: No member of DMSESREPBHPTT may directly harm another.  A
magical compulsion forbids it.  Only special Enforcers under command
of the Circle, such as Shiad, may do it.

Ukyou: But you attacked Tzubi...

Amigi: He is...-was- my apprentice only, not a full member.

Ukyou: So you want us...

Akane: I can't!  I won't!

Amigi: To tell the truth, I was hoping Senchi would be present.  But I
will settle for what is available.

Voice: Interesting.
(Everyone turns to see Tarou leaning against the doorframe to the

Tarou: So this assassin is the one that's been following me...

Amigi: (turns white) Following you...

Tarou: (smirks) Yes.  I went to your place to return something, and it
appears your little friend has been trailing me ever since.

Ukyou: Then what are you doing here!?

Tarou: I... (he suddenly whips to the side and rolls away as an energy
blast blows a chunk out of the door) ...think that would be her now.

Voice: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  (Shiad leaps from one of the trees to
land in a graceful crouch) So this is where you fled, Amigi.  (she
smiles evilly) You should have known you couldn't hide from me.
(The DMSESREPBHPTT Enforcer tosses her long brown ponytail over her
shoulder and stands, her loose pants rustling in the breeze.  Grimly,
Amigi raises a shield in front of himself.)

Amigi: I won't go down without a fight.  
(Soun and Genma hide behind him; Shiad laughs.)

Shiad: And who is going to do your fighting?  These...girls?  (she
gestures contemptuously at Akane and Ukyou)

Ukyou: (pulls her spatula into combat position) I wouldn't
underestimate us if I were you.
(Tarou raises an eyebrow and leans against the wall.)

Akane(hisses): Ukyou!

Ukyou(whispers back): We don't have to kill her...just knock her out.
We'll decide what to do with her then.
(Akane nods reluctantly and takes up an offensive stance.)

Shiad: (laughs again) Oh puh-leez... (pulls back both hands) BAKURAI
REPPA! (she releases a bolt at both girls, whose eyes widen...)

(...than Ukyou grunts as her spatula seems to fly from her hands.  As
it spins in midair, both bolts strike it and the weapons flies
blade-first into the floor, smoking slightly.)

Ukyou: Nan da...

Tarou: (stepping from behind Ukyou, glances at the smouldering
spatula) Metal conducts electricity.  (turning to Shiad, he cracks his
knuckles) That was my employer you just tried to fry, bolt-girl.  I
feel obliged to take exception to that...

Shiad: (smiles, a corona surrounding her) You may have been able to
feel my presence, little man, but it remains to be seen what you can
do against my skill.

Tarou: (stepping into his Mien Chu'an stance) We'll have to see, won't
we?  (evil chuckle) I wouldn't lay good odds on you, though.


(Scene: a fancy restaurant; Diners sit at tables, conversing in a low
buzz that fills the room.  Waiters move about, quietly serving, and
patrons are seated or examine menus.  A place of order and
tranquility.  It can't last.  Without warning the door bursts open and
Ryouga runs in.)

Ryouga(roars): Ten yen!  I need ten yen!  (he slams his fist into the
wall, punching a good-sized hole in it) Can anyone spare ten yen!?
(Suddenly a shower of bills and change fall at Ryouga's feet.  He
looks around to see everyone staring at him nervously, their hands

Ryouga: (shrugs and rummages through the piles) Argh!  No ten yen
pieces!  I need ten yen or she'll kill me!  (he scoops up the money)
I'll go get right back!
(He exits.)


(Scene: a convenience store.  A clerk is quietly sweeping up, when the
wall collapses in, allowing Ryouga to run through.)

Ryouga: Ten yen!  I need ten yen!   (he looks around wildly and spots
the gaping clerk) Do you have change for this?  (he hold out the large
pile of money)

Clerk: AHHHH!!!!  (he runs out the door, voice receding) Take it all!

Ryouga: Uh...thanks!  (he wrenches pen the register and looks inside)
Damn, no ten yen here either! (he tosses it on his pile)


(Scene: a department store.  Two women are fighting over a dress while
a distraught saleswoman looks on.  Then the floor explodes and Ryouga
climbs out.  He is now carrying a sack over one shoulder; it is
stuffed to overflowing with cash.)

Ryouga(pleading): I need ten yen...
(The two customers toss their purses and run screaming; the
unfortunate saleswoman faints.)

Ryouga: (looks through the purses) Dammit, there's no ten yen pieces!
(he throws his head back; roars) WHERE CAN I FIND TEN YEN!?


(Scene: a bank.  The teller is evidently closing up shop for the
night, but is interrupted as Ryouga parks himself in front of the man,
carrying several sacks of money which, altogether, are as big as he

Ryouga: (dropping the sacks on the floor) Change.  

Teller: (sweatdrops) What denomination...sir?

Ryouga: Ten yen.

Teller: (wide-eyed) That will take forever!

Ryouga: (bashes his head against the wall, sending cracks up under the
convenient "do not crack wall" sign) Damn!  I don't have -time-!

Teller: (gulps) Of course...we could always make an exception this


(Scene: a familiar decrepit street.  Senchi is standing next to a
lightpost, looking thoroughly irritated at everything in particular.)

Senchi(grumbling): Can't believe I was stupid enough to let him walk
off...stunned just because he called me bishoujo Senchi...
(A blond girl with twin pigtails bursts out of a nearby door, wearing
an somewhat...abbreviated school uniform-like costume.)

Girl: I am Sailor Moon!  Champion of justi...oww!
(Another girl, this one with long black hair, reaches out the door and
grabs the first by a pigtail.)

Other girl: She said bishoujo SENCHI, not bishoujo SENSHI, stupid!

Sailor Moon: But Maaaarrrrs...WAAH!  That hurts!
(The other girl pulls the first back inside.)

Senchi: (shaking head) That's it...I'm outta here.  (mutters) That
jerk Ryouga will pay for this...

Ryouga's voice: Senchi!

Senchi: (stops) Well, it seems you actually made it back (turns
around) you je...e...eee...ohh...
(She stares at Ryouga, who is standing carrying a -gigantic- sack,
coins spilling out of the top.)

Ryouga(proudly): I got ten yen!  Are you still mad?

Senchi: ... (opens and closes her mouth mutely for a few moments)

Ryouga: Are you okay?

Senchi: (jumps on top of the bag) Where did you get all this!?

Ryouga: I just asked for ten yen and people gave it to me...

Senchi: (throwing up the money so it showers on her head)
Moneymoneymoney...huh?  Oh, sorry, I wasn't listening... (frowns) Now
we only have to figure out what to do with all these ten yen coins...

Ryouga: Make a phone call?
(Senchi leans over, clinging to the bag like a spider, and smiles,
face to face with Ryouga.)

Senchi: Poor naive Ryouga.  With this much cash we don't have to pay
to make calls...we can BUY the phone company!  WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
(She leans back and laughs, giving Ryouga a rather...impressive view.
He tries to look away, but is blocked by the bag.)

Ryouga: you mean it?
(Senchi looks down again, blinking at Ryouga's relieved expression.)

Senchi: Mean what?

Ryouga: About buying the telephone company.  Seems it would be more
trouble than its worth...

Senchi: (giggles) I was joking, Ryouga-chan.

Ryouga: what are we doing with all this money, then>

Senchi: You, dear Ryouga, are treating me to that new wardrobe I was
talking about earlier.

Ryouga: What about the date?  (Senchi blinks) I have to fulfill my
obligation, Senchi.
(Senchi stares at him for a long moment, then leaps down.)

Senchi: Ryouga...put that down for a moment.
(With a sigh of relief, Ryouga puts down the sack and begins to rub
the circulation back into his shoulders.  Senchi backs up a few steps
and then stands, her hands clenched in the small of her back.)

Senchi: Ryouga...what if I were to call this date null and ask you to
date me again?

Ryouga: (pauses) You'd hurt Akane, wouldn't you?

Senchi: That's why you're here.

Ryouga: (sighs) I'd do it.

Senchi: And if I wanted another date after that?

Ryouga: As long as you don't hurt Akane.

Senchi: What if I wanted more than a date?

Ryouga: Like what?

Senchi: Like...everything?  All the way?

Ryouga: (backing up) N-now Senchi...we can talk about this...

Senchi: I'm not asking you to do it, Ryouga.  Just if you would, if I
asked you...

Ryouga: If the choice was between...that and Akane dead, it wouldn't
be a choice.

Senchi: (flinches as if struck, but nods) I see.

Ryouga: So what do...

Senchi: (turns away) Go, Ryouga.

Ryouga: Go where?

Senchi: Leave, go on your way, go back to Akane.  All that kind of go.

Ryouga: But what...

Senchi(voice thick): I won't hurt Akane because you leave.  I promise
I won't force you to do anything you don't want because of her.

Ryouga: (shocked; casts for something to say) ...what about the ten

Senchi: Leave it.  I'll take care of it.

Ryouga: I... [What is she doing?  It's some sort of trick...]

Senchi: Just go, Ryouga!  (her voice grows even thicker) Just...leave
me alone.
(Ryouga pauses for a few breaths, then turns and leaves.)


(Scene: the backyard of the Tendo Dojo.  The night wind rustles the
trees as Tarou and Shiad face off.  Nearby, Amigi is kneeling, a
translucent dome of pale blue light surrounding him.  Behind him, and
thus also indirectly protected by the field, Soun and Genma have set
up their go board.  Akane and Ukyou watch from the porch; Ukyou's
spatula is still buried in the ground beside Tarou.  Kasumi has
finished cleaning the living room and has moved on to the kitchen,
presumably to make tea for her guests.  Doctor Tofu has recovered
thanks to Kasumi's absence and is treating Tzubi, but occasionally
glances up at the other two fighters.)

Tarou: (evil chuckle; flexes his fingers) You plan on starting this
anytime soon, bolt-girl?

Shiad: (locks eyes with Tarou; her corona intensifies) As you wish.
(Tarou casually sidesteps the bolt of energy, which goes flying past
to disperse harmlessly along Amigi's shield.  He chuckles evilly
again, folding his arms and leaning casually against the spatula.)

Tarou: Quite the one-shot wonder, aren't we?

Shiad: (leaps at Tarou, holding eye contact) I have more tricks than
(Tarou evades a dropkick and lashes out with a jab, but she rolls
under it and springs to her feet a few metres away.  Quickly
reestablishing eye contact, she leaps at Tarou again.  The Chinese
warrior slices at her with a kick, attempting to knock her from the
air, but she pulls up, swinging her hands between her legs to grasp
his extended ankle.  Then she flails her legs at him from her sitting
position, forcing him to bend back to evade.  With a snarl, he
continues bending then flows with the motion into a backflip that send
Shiad spinning into the air.  Rolling in midair, she shoves a fist at
him, releasing another lightning bolt that Tarou spins around as he
lands from the flip.  He rushes at the assassin as she lands and
tosses a foreknuckle.  She ducks, but, counting on this, Tarou lifts
himself from the ground with his own momentum and drives his knee into
her shoulder.  She jerks with the blow, but manages to slap his shin
as he flies past, releasing a charge upon impact.  Tarou grunts as he
lands near the pond, his leg wobbling slightly underneath him.  Shiad
stands, rubbing her shoulder with her good hand, and the two turn to
face each other.)

Tarou: [She's fast...and my leg is numb from that contact charge.] I
underestimated you.  It won't happen again.

Shiad: (evil laugh) You won't have a chance to do so again.
(Holding eye contact with him once more, Shiad rushed forward and
tosses a kick; he easily blocks it and responds with a punch.  She
ducks to the side and weaves under his guard to lash out with an
uppercut, still looking him straight in the eye.  Tarou manages to
backpedal and launches an ankle kick, but it only nicks her and she
doesn't even acknowledge it.  Continuing with her uppercut, she leaps
and spins in midair to send a crescent kick at him.  Blocking it,
Tarou grabs her foot and tosses her to the ground.  She rolls with the
impact and comes up with a growl, her fist coated in a corona of
electricity.  With an evil chuckle, Tarou steps back and strikes his
bracer with his other fist; the spring-loaded bar inside flies out,
smashing into her hand.  Immediately the iron channels the charge
outward and beings to draw it down as the bar falls.  Startled by the
unexpected tactic, Shiad has no chance to dodge as Tarou buries a
foreknuckle in her face with the force of a cannon.)

Tarou: Like I said... (he smirks as Shiad smashes into the garden
wall) ...I won't underestimate you again.
(As Shiad pulls herself to her feet, Tarou reaches into his sash and
palms a small object.)

Shiad: That's far from enough to beat me.

Tarou: (smiles) I didn't think it would be.
(He flicks his hand at her; the object within flies at her like a
bullet; Shiad dodges to the side, holding eye contact.)

Shiad: You missed.

Tarou: Not quite.
(Shiad blinks and turns to the wall, where a tiny tuning fork is
buried prong-first in the stone, quivering slightly.)

Shiad: What...
(Her eyes widen as a flash of danger warns her too late that Tarou has
closed and delivered another foreknuckle.  She rolls with the blow and
bounds into the wall, preparing to leap off and counterstrike...but
just then the wall explodes as the vibrations grow too intense.
Throwing herself forward in an attempt to get clear, she is met by a
smirking Tarou, who smashes her from the air and drives a knee into
her stomach as she falls.  Gasping for breath, she rolls away from her
opponent and leaps to her feet.)

Shiad: (breathing heavily) N-not all...

Tarou: (standing with his hands on his knees in a horse stance;
smiles) I suggest a tactical withdrawal, bolt-girl.

Shiad: Never!  BAKURAI-REPPA!
(Tarou dodges the energy blasts; pulling his remaining bracer bar out,
he spins and tosses it into the last oncoming bolt.  In the ensuring
explosion, Tarou dashes in behind the flash of light and strike, but
Shiad was waiting for this and has already leaped above.  She hurls
down a flurry of bolts, forcing Tarou to take evasive action.)

Shiad: (landing near the pond) WAHAHAHA!!!  Now you know why I am an

Tarou: I already know why.  You're stupid enough to work for them.

Shiad(yells): I have stood enough of your mockery!

Tarou: But I haven't even gotten started...

Shiad: (slams a fist to the ground) DENTAI!
(A blue corona coats the ground where she struck; Tarou leaps to the
right, but Shiad only smiles and hurls a bolt with her free hand that
catches Tarou in the arm.  He gasps as he lands, clutching his burnt

Shiad: (rising) I can cheat too, little man.
(She rushes towards Tarou, who dodges once more.  She spins to fling a
blast and Tarou ducks, sliding under her extended arm to catch it with
his good one but Shiad leans back.  Forced to put his weight on his
numbed leg he is thrown off-balance, but Shiad gets no chance to
capitalize on it as Tarou throws himself forward.  Shouldering her
aside, he rolls to his feet several metres away.  Shiad regains hers
just as quickly an responds with another bolt, which Tarou evades,
along with the next one.  Shiad is beginning to slow down, however,
the effects of Tarou's multiple hits beginning to catch up with her.
Tarou himself isn't in prime shape either, one arm hanging limp and
the opposite leg numbed.)

Tarou: Alright, bolt-girl.  Now I'm annoyed.
(Back with the observers, everybody watches with breathless silence.
Or, at least, they -were-...)

Ukyou: This isn't going too well...

Akane: (clenches her fists) If she can match -Tarou-...

Amigi(dryly): Why don't you go help him?

Ukyou: This isn't our fight.

Amigi: (glances at the charred spatula, then looks pointedly at Ukyou)
It wasn't his either, yet he seemed willing enough.

Ukyou: (also glances over at her weapon; frowns) He just protected his
assets.  Now he's stuck in the fight.

Tofu: (walking up) I just hope he doesn't strain those muscles.  If
poor Tzubi is any indication, the nerves in his arm and leg have been
shocked into paralysis.

Ukyou: (fingers a mini spatula) Maybe we should help...
(Back at the combat, Tarou flexes the knuckles of his good hand.)

Tarou: Round two.

Shiad: (laughs evilly) Anytime you're ready.


(Scene: a department store.  Senchi has apparently converted all the
ten yen pieces into cash-how she did this is a question which shall
remain unanswered-and is browsing through the women's section.  Her
face is worn, however, her movements listless.  Picking out an outfit
at random, she walks to the mirror.  After glancing dully at the
reflection, she turns to leave...)

Voice: (ethereally) [Senchi?]
(Senchi turns with a start, to see Ranma in the mirror.)

Senchi: [Oh, it's -you-...I must really have been distracted to let
you sneak through.]

Ranma: (moths moves in synch with the ethereal voice) [Distracted?]
(looks around) [Oh, great...I hope you're not planning on wearing any
of those...]

Senchi(bristles): [So what if I...] (stops) [Leave me alone, Ranma.]

Ranma: [Like you ever give me any time to myself.  If I hadn't learned
your little trick, I'd be constantly listening to your chatter.]

Senchi: [Get lost, or you might find yourself stuck in skimpy lingerie
in the women's bathroom.]

Ranma(dryly): [Care to be less infantile, Senchi?]

Senchi: (sighs) [Ranma...just please go away.  If it makes you feel
better, I've promised not to hurt Akane.]

Ranma: [Nani!?]

Senchi: [Don't get any ideas, Ranma.  I just did it
because...because...] (she closes her eyes and clenches her teeth)

Ranma(surprised): Senchi?

Senchi: [I could have had him...all of him.  Just a threat here and an
insinuation there and it would have been over.  But he wouldn't really
have been mine...]

Ranma: [...]

Senchi: [So I promised not to hurt her.] (tears slip out of her eyes)
[It might be nice to think I did it out of some nobility, but you'd be
wrong.  I did it because if I didn't, he would never love me.  I never
thought about what he wanted...only what would give me the best
chance!] (she chokes slightly) [And I'm only doing that because it's
what I was programmed to do...]

Ranma: [Senchi, listen to me...]

Senchi: (opens her eyes with a snarl) I said... (screams) LEAVE ME
-ALONE-!!!  (Ranma looks surprised as he de-rezzes and is replaced by
Senchi's reflection) That's better...
(She turns to find everyone else in the store staring at her.)

Saleswoman: (to clerk) First that weird boy coming out of the floor,
and now this...

Clerk: (nods) Tokyo just isn't safe anymore.
(Senchi turns red, a giant sweatdrop behind her head, and quickly
turns around to continue shopping.)


(Scene: a street.  Ryouga is wandering along, obviously lost.)

Ryouga: Great, I finally get Senchi to leave me alone and I can't find
me way back...  (stops, crossing his arms and looking around) [I still
can't believe she actually let me go...she knew I was ready to do
anything...maybe she...]

Ryouga: (looking at the wall from behind which the explosion came)
Hmm...something's happening over there.  (he pulls back his hand,
extending two fingers) Better take the direct route!


(Scene: in the Tendo yard. Shiad tosses another bolt at Tarou, who
dodges.  The poorly-named martial artist is sporting another burn on
his ribs, while Shiad has been decorated with a black eye and is
clutching her side.  Both wear grim expressions as they study each

Ukyou: (pulling out more spatulas, which she fans between her fingers)
That's it...this is getting too serious.

Akane: (nods) I think you're right.

Tzubi: (moans) My head... (begins to rise)

Tofu: (gently pushes him back down) Woah, young man.  You need to rest
more before you're recovered from that blast.

Ukyou: Let's go!
(She leaps, tossing a full hand of spatulas at Shiad.)

Shiad: Huh?  (she dodges aside, blasting a few from the air with tiny
bolts of lightning) So...three on one, now?

Akane: (closing and launching a kick, which Shiad ducks) Only to get
you to leave us alone!

Tarou(growls): Fools.  (he quickly moves forward) Stay out of this!
You'll get yourselves killed, maybe I should let you...

Shiad: (leaping back out of range) Very well, I'll simply have to step
things up to the next level! 
(Shiad smiles evilly, her corona flaring.)

Tarou: (eyes widen) Damn it!  Get back!
(Tarou dives back, rolling away, but Ukyou and Akane have already
leaped at Shiad and are unable to escape as she begins to glow

(There is a tremendous concussion as a giant lightning bolt forms
around her and leaps into the sky.  Ukyou and Akane are sent flying
back, scorched.  Just then...)

(The wall near Shiad explodes outward, forcing her to leap aside.
Tarou holds up a hand to block the dust as Ryouga steps from the hole
he just blasted.)

Ryouga: What's going on?  (he stares at Akane, who is starting to
struggle to her feet) AKANE!

Shiad: And who is this?  Another pawn, Amigi?  (she laughs evilly,
then winces as she takes up an offensive stance) I suppose I can crush
him too, if I must...

Ryouga: (looks at her; his eyes narrow) You did this to her?

Akane: (looks up shakily) R..ryouga?
(Ryouga darkens, his eyes glowing through the aura of menace which
coats him like a shadow.)

Ryouga: -Nobody- does that to AKANE!

Shiad: (backs up a step, suddenly aware of her injuries) Perhaps four
at once is a bit much...

Ryouga: DIE!  (he charges towards her, fists clenched)

                        TO BE CONTINUED...

Author's notes: Okay, it was a -long- time between the last chapter
and this one...

Blade: It's not -MY- fault!

Epsilon: (flat look) I had work to do.

Blade(dryly): All summer long?

Epsilon: Okay, so it's not like you haven't had writer's block...

Blade: <MML> See?  Blame him, not me!

Epsilon: 9_9 Fine, fine.  The point is that work is back on track now.
I hope to have the next part out soon.  It's tentatively titled
"Berzerker Unleashed", detailing the finale of the Shiad saga and
showing the full power of a love pushed to the edge...

Blade: _o_ Zzzzzzzzzzzz....

Epsilon: -_- I don't know why I bother.  I'm leaving.
(Sound of footsteps receding, then a door opening and closing again.)

Blade: (yawns; groggily) Did you say something?  Oh well.  As always,
all comments and criticism are appreciated.  Epsi's lost Net access
for the time being, so make sure to direct everything (except flames;
I'd tell you where to direct those, but this is a family-oriented
fanfic) to me at Don't worry, if Epsi starts
taking too long again, I'll hit him with my bokken until he writes or
dies, whichever comes first. ^_^ Jya ne!

All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.