Chapter 11: Berserker Unleashed

                       C&A Productions Presents

                    A Work of Ranma 1/2 Fanfiction

                       Ranma: Curse of Darkness

                   Chapter 11: Berzerker Unleashed

                   By Chris McNeil and Aaron Peori

The story so far: Amigi Diatonobi, that annoying wizard of the Dark
Mysterious Secret Evasive Society of Really Evil People with Big Hair
and Part-Time Traveling Thespians, has apparently peeved his own
organization.  And thus, the Circle has sent the lightning-wielding
assassin Shiad to remove him-and any of his "allies"-from the picture.
After severely injuring Tzubi and forcing Amigi (who is magically
constrained from harming her) to flee, she follows them to the Tendo
Dojo.  There she enters into a brutal battle with Tarou, but
frustrated with the stalemate she uses her ultimate technique, which
ends up flash-frying Ukyou and Akane.  Unfortunately for her, it was
just in time to see this that Ryouga returned to the dojo...

(Opening scene: the backyard of the Tendo Dojo.  The participants and
voyeurs of the melee- those still conscious, anyway-stare at the
figure who has appeared in a recently-opened hole in the wall.  Waves
of dark energy roil up from him, and his form is cloaked with shadow.)

Ryouga(roars): You hurt Akane!!  You die!

Shiad: (spits some blood onto the ground) High expectations, boy...

Tarou: (shakes his head as he stumbles over to sit by the door;
mutters) Is she naturally stupid or does she work at it?

Ryouga: (charges) Say your prayers!

Shiad: [Inferior tactics...] (smirks) [I can take him.] BAKURAI-HA!
(Snapping her arm in an overhand toss, she launches a bolt of
lightning at the lost boy, but he weaves so the blast skims over his
shoulder harmlessly.)

Ryouga: DIE!  
(He pulls back a fist and extends his other hand like a shield.)

Shiad: Imposs...
(Ryouga pumps his forehand back and delivers a fist into Shiad's
stomach with enough force to send her flying like a ragdoll into the
far wall.  It cracks into several pieces and Shiad disappears beneath
the rubble.  Ryouga stares at pile of the rock for a moment, hard
enough that one is surprised his gaze doesn't melt it.)

Ryouga: You don't get off that easy!  BAKUSAI TENKETSU SHOCKWAVE!
(He kneels and slams two fingers into the ground, creating a small
furrow of earth towards the debris pile.  Ryouga nods and launches
himself in the air.  Meanwhile, Dr. Tofu sets Akane gently down on the

Tofu: That boy seems to be very aggressive...

Soun: (nods) However, that girl deserves what she gets.
(The ripple of earth reaches the remains of the wall just as Ryouga
sails over it.  With a loud sound that almost resembles a thunderclap,
the pile explodes in a geyser of chunks of rock, shrapnel and...Shiad.
Time seems to slow to a crawl as Ryouga floats directly over her.
With a soundless roar, he pulls his as high over his head as possible,
knuckles down, while drawing both knees to his chest and his other
hand near his neck.)

Ryouga: [I didn't protect her...] (his glow intensifies) SHISHI
(Ryouga thrusts his head downward and rockets towards her like a
comet, a blazing green sphere of heavy ki surrounding him and pulling
him down with a force greater than gravity can rival.  He slams into
Shiad, both smashing into the ground with a titanic concussion that
sprays a cloud of dust in all directions.  On the porch, everyone
covers their eyes and turns away as the dust cloud rolls over them
with enough force to not only ruffle their hair and clothes but to
topple interior furniture and push them inches backward.  Akane
groans, clenching her hands to her ears.)

Akane: Someone turn off the alarm...

Soun: (hugs Akane fiercely) You're alright!

Akane: Oof!  Dad...?

Ukyou: What hit me?

Tzubi: Shiad.  Hard.  (he nods towards the epicentre of the
now-thinning dust cloud) It appears that Ryouga hits harder.

Amigi: Noticeably so.
(The dust clears and Ryouga sits, hunched, in the eight-foot wide, one
and a half foot deep crater.  Shiad lays in the centre, compressed
into the ground as if sunk into snow.  The lost boy stands, back to
the others, eyes locked on Shiad's prone form.  Abruptly he begins to
turn away, but is stopped when her hand clenches his ankle in a death

Shiad: (raising her head) It takes... (coughs) more than

Ryouga: (slowly turns back to her) Then I will kill you. (he pulls
back both hands, extending two fingers from each)

Ukyou: She just doesn't know when to quit...

Tarou: Quite the knack for understatement you have there.

Akane: What's Ryouga doing!?

Amigi: (smirks) What you were incapable of.

Ryouga(snarls): BAKUSAI TENKETSU!
(Ryouga smacks a finger next to Shiad's arm and the ground explodes,
knocking his foot free...but he doesn't stop there.  Instead he
strikes again, next to her stomach, blowing her to the side.  Before
she can land he strikes again and blasts her over, the shrapnel
tearing gashes into her.  Again and again he strikes, blasting Shiad
around as he attacks as fast as he can.)

Ukyou: Oh my god, he's going to kill her!

Amigi: (cackles maniacally) I knew one of you young fools had it in

Akane(screams): Ryouga-kun!  Stop!  You'll kill her!
(Ryouga methodically continues his attacks, having given no indication
of hearing Akane's plea.  Desperately, she runs over to him.)

Akane: Stop Ryouga...we're fine!  (she grabs his shoulder) Ryouga!
Don't kill her!
(Ryouga stops suddenly, his eyes seeming to refocus on Shiad's
unmoving body, which is covered in rips and gashes.)

Ryouga: I... (he turns to look at Akane) You... (shakes his head)
You're okay... (he straightens and steps away from her, then looks at
her more closely) You're still hurt.  You need to rest.  Go get the
doctor to look at you.
(He turns again and walks away, to stand at the edge of the koi pond.)

Akane: Ryouga...
(Ukyou comes up and leads Akane back to the porch.)

Ukyou: I think he needs some time to calm down, Akane-chan.

Tofu: Hold still, Ukyou.  (he pulls up her arm and appraises the
multitude of small burns) I think you'll be fine.  The blast only
shorted out your nerves for a short time.  Thankfully, it wasn't
enough to cause cardiac arrest.

Tarou: (flexing his injured leg slowly while looking towards the two
of them) I don't believe she can deliver a lethal dose.  Not all at
once, anyway.

Tzubi: (rubbing his neck) Though you almost wish she could when you
wake up.

Amigi(sneers): She is quite capable of killing you all.  And she will
not stop unless you finish her off first.

Tzubi: I'm long finished doing your dirty work, Diatonobi.  And these
others are even less likely to help you than I am.

Amigi: (stands up) You are all fools.  You have already sided with me,
whether you like it or not. (He steps to the side and disappears .)

Tarou: You had to have a conscience, didn't you?

Ukyou: It has it's advantages.

Tarou: Oh really?  Name one.

Ukyou: ...

Tzubi: He's right.  Shiad won't stop until she knows the wizard and
all his so-called allies are dead.

Akane: We'll just have to find another option.

Tarou: We could always kill Amigi for her...

Ukyou: You're not helping.

Tarou: (smirks) But it's so much fun.
(Meanwhile, away from everyone's attention, in the crater, Shiad's
hand begins to twitch.  Across the yard, Ryouga stares into the koi
pond, his reflection wavering in the moon's light.)

Ryouga: [I couldn't protect her...]
(He sees Akane's unconscious form in the pond and slowly clenches his
fist, veins bulging out of his hand like cords.)

Ryouga: [I tried to keep her from being hurt by Senchi...and I wasn't
here to protect her from this...] (he closes his eyes and raises his
head to the sky, teeth grinding as he bares his fangs in a wide
grimace) [And even with Senchi it was her choice to spare Akane, not
my actions, that protected her...]
(Ryouga...collapses.  There is really no other way to describe it.
His posture slumps and his face falls to his chest as he seems to
shrink in upon the life had simply drained out of him.)

Ryouga: I can't protect her.  (he shudders slightly) Not when she
needs me the most.  (he sits down, hard) [And...and if I can't protect
her as myself, I can't protect her as P-chan either.] Damn it!  I
won't give up! (he slams his fist into the ground, then slumps even
more) [But who am I fooling?  All I can ever do...all I have ever avenge her...] (he stares at the crater his fist has just
made, which slowly fills with water over the lip, merging with the
pond) [What good is power if you can't use it to save someone, but
only to avenge them?]

Akane: (having walked up to Ryouga after his punch) Are you okay,

Ryouga: (turns his head and stares at her) [She's so beautiful...]
I'm...fine, Akane-san.  I think.

Akane: We're okay Ryouga, really.  (she smiles at him) No need to
worry about Shiad anymore.

Ryouga:'s not that. [Damn!  Why does she have to make
everything so -hard-?] I'm not fine, Akane.

Akane: (frowns) Are you hurt?

Ryouga: [More than you can imagine.] No.  She didn't hurt me.  Akane,
I have to...

Akane: (eyes widen) That's it, isn't it?

Ryouga: (blinks) Huh?

Akane: It's Senchi, isn't it?

Ryouga: (turns away) No.  Don't worry about her.  She promised me she
wouldn't hurt you.

Akane: Ryouga-kun, you don't have to give into her.  Whatever she's
forcing you to do, forget it.  I'm not worth it.

Ryouga: (sighs, turns back) [I wish I had your strength, Akane.  Real
strength.] She isn't forcing me into anything.  She's giving you an
unconditional pardon.

Akane: How do you know?

Ryouga: Well...she said so...

Tarou: (snorts in disbelief) And you believed her, of course.

Ryouga: (sighs) What else could I do?

Ukyou(hisses at Tarou): Stay out of this!

Tarou: (gives her a flat look) If pig-boy wants to be an even bigger
imbecile than normal, let him.  Senchi can play any games she wants
with him and Akane both.  (he stands up) If you'll excuse me, I'll be
leaving. (he exits)

Ukyou: Damn insensitive jerk... (she grumbles under her breath)

Akane: You can't let her manipulate you, Ryouga...

Ryouga(interrupts): It's not her!  (he swallows quickly) I'm sorry I
raised my voice, but...I have something to tell you, Akane.  Something
you need to know.

Akane: (raises an eyebrow) What?

Ryouga: [Please hate me, Akane.  Because I'll never stop loving you.
Not even when all the suns have died.] Ever since I first met you I've
been hiding something from you.  Something I can't bear to conceal
anymore...something that will change the way you look at me forever.

Akane(confused): Ryouga?

Ryouga: Akane, I am...

Shiad: MINE!
(She leaps up behind him and smacks both palms into his temples.  As
she connects, a corona of electricity surrounds Ryouga's head and
creeps down his body.  She grins maniacally, her battered and torn
body shaking with repressed laughter as Ryouga shakes like a
marionette under her assault.)

Akane: Ryouga!

Shiad: (pulls her hands away, letting Ryouga collapse, smoking, to the
ground) He'll live. (she stands, hand firmly gripping his collar) For

Akane: You bitch!  Let him go!

Ukyou: What does it take to get you to stay down?

Tzubi: A brain transplant.

Shiad: HAH!  There is nothing on this world or the next that can stop
me.  (she lifts Ryouga off the ground and tosses him over her
shoulder, throwing a contemptuous glance at Tzubi) Tell your master
that I'll take away his allies one by one until no one can help him!

Tzubi: ...
(With a final smirk she leaps onto the wall and bounds away.  The
glint of moonlight on steel follows her as Ukyou traces her path with
swirling spatulae.)

Ukyou: Damn, she's fast.

Tzubi: (stands up) Among other things.

Akane: We have to follow her!

Tzubi: It won't do you any good.  She can easily throw off unskilled
pursuers such as yourselves.

Ukyou: Ourselves?

Akane: Won't you help?

Tzubi: (shrugs) Why? I owe Ryouga nothing, and have other matters to
concern myself with right now.

Ukyou: That's cold, Tzubi.  I thought you'd changed.

Tzubi: I have. (waves hand dismissively) He isn't in danger now; wait
until she goes to ground.  That will give you a chance to flex those
underused brain cells as you decide what exactly to do to her when you
catch her...or the other way around.
(Akane and Ukyou stare at his back as he moves inside.)

Voice: Hey...
(The two girls leap and turn to stare at...Ranma, who is sitting on
the wall staring at the devastation.)

Ranma: Did I miss something?

Akane and Ukyou: ...


(Scene: Nabiki's room, the young extortionist lies on her bed absently
kicking her legs while reading a volume of tankouban...Sanctuary, by
all appearances.  There is a knock at her door, which repeats itself
before she responds.)

Nabiki: It's unlocked.

Tzubi: (stepping in) I'll take that as an invitation.

Nabiki: So you're up and around, then.  What do you want?

Tzubi: (walking over) It's part of my business to heal quickly.  I
came to see if you had been hurt.  You were the only one not around
the battle.

Nabiki: I decided to catch up on my reading.

Tzubi: (pulls the book free from her fingers and flips it over before
returning it) I've heard they make more sense right side up.

Nabiki: (looks at him for a few moments expressionlessly) Practice.
You never know what you may see in a mirror or window reflection.

Tzubi: You have an answer for everything, don't you?

Nabiki: That's part of MY business.
(She sits up, and Tzubi settles himself at the opposite end of the

Tzubi: She kidnaped Ryouga.

Nabiki: So?

Tzubi: That isn't her modus operandi.  (Nabiki arches an eyebrow;
Tzubi leans back and smiles) I think I have a way of dealing with her
permanently, but I'll need your help.

Nabiki: (eyes him curiously) You do realise you'll owe me one.

Tzubi(dryly): I'm sure you'll think of some way to repay the debt.
(Nabiki smiles evilly)


(Scene: downstairs.  The clan, minus Nabiki and with the addition of
Ukyou, are sitting around the table.)

Akane: ...and she leapt away with Ryouga.  That's pretty much

Ranma: (nods) I get it.

Ukyou: Umm...what's Senchi's reaction?

Ranma: I don't know... (grimaces) ...and I don't really care.  She's
shut herself away in some sort of wall-like thing and I couldn't tell
her if I wanted to...which I don't.

Soun: (places a shogi piece) That isn't like her.

Ranma: ...

Akane: She usually loves to eavesdrop when she can.

Ukyou: Lets her blackmail Ranchan more effectively.  (both nod)

Rama(snaps): Will you stop talking about her like she's a real
person!?  (he slaps his hand to the table, hard enough to tear a
good-sized chunk off) She's just some freak personality disorder made
by a weird combination of magic!  Nothing more!
(Akane and Ukyou stare at Ranma for a long time.  Soun has run into
the corner and is sobbing about "mean Ranma" while Kasumi comforts

Ukyou: If...if you say so...

Ranma: (sighs and bows his head) I'm's just that everyone
seems to be...even Ryouga's beginning to think it.

Akane: What about Ryouga...oh, Ranma!  What happened on that date?
When he calmed down, Ryouga was saying something about me being

Ranma: (shakes head) I don't know.  Senchi told me some real weird
stuff later.  I think she's trying to trick him into liking her by
letting up on you for awhile.

Akane: Are you sure?

Ranma: (nods) She even tried to convince me she was upset or
something... (scratches his head) It didn't make much sense.

Genma: Women seldom do, my boy.
(Akane, Ukyou and Ranma all manage to hit him at about the same time
from three different angles.)

Ukyou: We still have to decide what to do about Shiad.

Akane: And Ryouga.

Ukyou: (nods) And Ryouga.

Ranma: (waves hand dismissively over his head) I'm sure he can take
care of himself.

Akane: (flat look) We have to rescue him, Ranma.

Ranma: (sighs) If you say so.  How, then?

Akane: I'm...umm...still working on that.

Ranma: (cracks knuckles) Just lead me to her.  If that slimeball
Pantyhose can give her a run for her money, I should mop the floor
with her.
(Ukyou and Akane exchange worried glances.)


(Scene: a darkened room.  A low hum fills the background, as if some
huge factory were left to idly in its operator's absence.  The room is
an ellipse, blunt at one end where doors lead out to someplace else
entirely.  A bunch runs the length of the curved walls, curtains
covering windows above.  In the centre of the room there stands a
simple table that appears only as a dark blur in the dim shadows of
the room.  Finally, at the far end lays a mass, slumped over a bench.
With a moan, the mass shifts position slightly and tumbles loudly to
the floor.  With another groan, it rises up slowly, and the figure
becomes clearly human, hands clasped behind his back and supporting
his weight on his shins.  His head bobs groggily from side to side as
he attempts to take in his surroundings, without much success.)

Ryouga: Now where am I?  (he shakes his head) How did I get here...and
why does my head hurt so much?
(Not being prone to philosophy, the lost boy decides on a direct
approach to discovering his current whereabouts.  He begins to rise,
shifting his feet underneath him to stand straight, but as he does so,
his back bends sharply back, dragging him off balance and causing him
to fall on his rear.  Muttering curses under his breath, he turns his
head to look behind him, and sees a thin silver cord wrapped about his
wrists with a simple know on one end.  The other end appears to be
embedded in the wall, but the shadows hide the exact mechanics of
this.  Grunting, he shifts his wrists in an attempt to get at the
knot, but this proves fruitless.  After a moment, Ryouga leans back
against the bench, smiling wryly.)

Ryouga: [There are some advantages to being powerful...]
(Shifting his weight again so he rests on his knees, he leans forward
and grins.  Then he flexes, his shoulders heaving as he brings his
hands apart with a violent jerk.  Or at least, that was apparently his
plan.  What actually happens is considerably less impressive...

Ryouga: (blinks) [How?  It's too thin to be that strong...]
(He tries again, with much the same result, then frowns and looks back
at his wrists.  The cord is definitely wrapped tighter, and large red
welts have rubbed themselves in the flesh under the bindings.
Gritting his teeth, Ryouga turns back and flexes again; this time he
doesn't stop as he strains to break the bonds.  His muscles know and
cord, veins bulge out in his neck, his bared teeth grind slowly and
sweat flows down his brow in rivulets as he slowly but surely
increases the pressure.  Yet still the bonds refuse to snap; if
anything, they grow tighter.)

Voice: I would advise against that.
(Ryouga immediately snaps his head over to look at the source of the
voice, his muscles relaxing only slightly.  Across the room one of the
doors has opened, leaving Shiad's figure silhouetted by the light
streaming in.  And when I say figure, I mean -figure-, as the
DMSESREPBHPTT assassin leans against the doorframe in such a manner
that every curve is quite visible.  Indeed, the darkness makes it
impossible to tell what clothes she has on, or even if she has any on
at all.  Ryouga squints for a second, then decides he really isn't
interested in the status of her garments and looks away.)

Ryouga: Why not?

Shiad: (chuckles) Because the cord binding you is magical.  It exerts
an amount of force against you twice as powerful as that which you use
to attempt to break it.  (she steps to the side, out of the light)
Traditionally it is also tied with a loop around the neck to
discourage struggle, but I felt this was unnecessary.)

Ryouga: ...who are you?
(The lights flick on and we see the room in full, although little more
is being revealed than the brown wood paneling of the floors and the
varnished gleam of the benches.  The table is made of grey marble,
which may be of interest to some.  What most are probably more
interested in, however, is the condition of Shiad's raiment, or lack
thereof.  Unfortunately for all the hentais out there, she is indeed
clothed...and in a different outfit then last we saw her, although
this is not very surprising, considering that one was ripped to
shreds.  This one is considerably more form-fitting, and although it
covers her from neck to toe, the intricate patterns of deep blues,
dark greys and somber blacks play tricks with the eyes and lead to the
illusion of the assassin being clothed only in shadows.  She glides
across the room and sits cross-legged at the edge of the table.)

Shiad: My name is Shiad.  I watched you struggle, you are indeed quite
strong.  With proper training, you would be almost a match for me.

Ryouga: Take off this rope and we'll see how much training I need.

Shiad: Don't flatter yourself, boy.  You faced me after had already
slaughtered your friends and taken a mild beating...hardly a fair
(Turning back, Ryouga gets a good look at Shiad and gasps audibly.
She appears completely untouched, none of her earlier injuries in

Ryouga: You're long was I out?

Shiad: (cackles) A few hours at most.  I know techniques that speed my
healing beyond your wildest imagination.

Ryouga: (looks up at her) What do you want?

Shiad: I was sent by DMSESREPBHPTT to destroy Amigi Diatonobi.  You
have made a grave error in allying yourself with him.

Ryouga: (barks out a laugh) You think I like Amigi!?  That wizard is
responsible for half my problems!

Shiad: (smiles evilly) That makes things easier.  (she leans back)
Then you are going to assist me in destroying both him and his deluded

Ryouga: (eyes narrow) Like Akane?

Shiad: Whom?  Oh, that girl I had to teach humility to.  Yes, her and
all the others.

Ryouga: I won't let you hurt her!  (he tries to leap up but his
snapped down by the cord)

Shiad: You are in no position to argue.  (she smiles predatorily)
You'll learn obedience soon enough.

Ryouga(growls): Obedience?  What am I, some sort of pet?

Shiad: (laughs again) Not quite.  When this is finished, I shall take
you back with me.  You are the only person ever to immobilize
me...even in my weakened state, that was impressive enough to justify
recruiting you.

Ryouga(incredulous): Recruit!?

Shiad: I'll take you back to my base, where I shall...reeducate you.
Train you to help me effectively.  (she leans forward) A powerful
young man like you could assist me greatly on my missions.  I'm sure
we'd be...very close.

Ryouga: (blinks) You're mad.  You're completely out of your mind!

Shiad: No.  I know potential when I see it.
(Ryouga growls...and slides down, his arms arch back and obviously
dislocate at the shoulders as they swing up above his head.  He
thrusts forward along the ground, legs kicking out like pistons and
connecting with the base of the table upon which the DMSESREPBHPTT
assassin sits.  The table snaps from the floor, a solid block of
carved marble sent tumbling end over end.  Shiad's eyes widen and she
tumbles off just in time to avoid being crushed as the table rips a
trough in the ceiling before falling to the side.  She quickly rolls
forward to avoid being struck as it falls into the curtains, causing a
staccato tinkle of breaking glass.  Eyes narrowing dangerously, Shiad
stands up.)

Shiad: I see you still must learn some lessons.  (she begins to glow
as a corona of sparks crawl around her fists) Very well, I have plenty
of time to teach them.  Perhaps it may even be pleasant...for one of
us, at least.
(With a laugh, she launches a bolt into Ryouga, draws back and blasts
him again...and again...and again...)


(Scene: a backlot at Furinkan High School, night.  Nabiki leans
against a wall, her eyes scanning the shadows slowly.  Finally, she
settles on the far corner of the school's grounds as a shape walks out
of it.)

Man: Konbanwa, Tendo-san.

Nabiki: (glancing at the moon's nearness to the horizon) Or ohaiyo, as
the case may be.  Did you find it?

Man: (nods) It was an unusual request...but there is only one that
came into Tokyo recently.

Nabiki: I thought so...where?

Man: (hands her a piece of paper) And the negatives?
(Nabiki calmly reaches into a pocket and tosses him a small cylinder;
he clutches it eagerly.)

Nabiki: Your wife will never know.
(With a murmured thanks, the man scurries away, but Nabiki has already
lost interest as she examines the address on the paper.)

Nabiki: So, he was right...


( Nabiki's room, her and Tzubi both sitting on the bed.)

Nabiki: You can't be serious!

Tzubi: (chuckle) Shiad wouldn't go anywhere without it.  Finding it
shall be easy...and then you have found her as well.

Nabiki: No, after listening to you tell me about her I can believe
that part.  What I was referring to is your intention to go along.

Tzubi: (leans back) Somebody has to.  I don't think the girls would
carry out my plan.

Nabiki: You don't have to go.  You owe Ryouga nothing and you know it.
Ranma can deal with Shiad himself.

Tzubi: (eyes her) Can Ranma kill her, though?  That is what must be

Nabiki: Death is so drastic...I'm sure we could find some other way to
deal with her.

Tzubi: (shakes head) She can't be bribed, blackmailed or bludgeoned
into leaving.  I'm afraid this is the only way.
(Nabiki stares off into space for a few moments; when she speaks
again, her tone is even and cool.)

Nabiki: Will it be dangerous?

Tzubi: (nods) We may not win.  She went toe to toe with Tarou, and if
I may not like that man's ways I respect his skill.  He's better than
me, by a lot, and I'm better than Ranma and Ryouga won't be able to
help us...

Nabiki: So...?

Tzubi: Nothing in life is certain.  But you know how it goes:
"maximize gain, minimize risk".

Nabiki: What if she comes back in the meantime?

Tzubi: (stands up) Hide.

Nabiki(dryly): How reassuring.

~End Flashback~

Nabiki: (crushes the paper in her hand) [His plan won't work...I know
it...] (she pauses thoughtfully) [All I have to do is throw this away
and it's over.  He'd have to come up with another plan.  Maybe bring
in Tarou and Mousse to help...] (with a sigh, she opens her hand and
begins reflattening the paper) [But he's right.  I just hope...he
doesn't make a worse enemy in the bargain then he's going to lose.]


(Scene: a rooftop across the street from Ucchan's.  Tarou sits upon
the tiles, wrapping a bandage around his thigh.)

Tarou: (grunts) [That girl does pack a wallop, I'll admit.  But now I
know her weaknesses.] (he chuckles evilly) [Mess with me again,
bolt-bitch.  I dare you.]
(He frowns and looks over his shoulder.  Seeing only shadows, he

Tarou: Come out, Diatonobi.  I know you're there.
(Amigi fades into view.)

Amigi: Perceptive youth.

Tarou: Your trick may hide your body but not your presence.  Even
fem-boy could have spotted you.  (Amigi harumphs and sits back;
Tarou's lips twist in contempt) What do you want, old man?

Amigi: I see you found a use for my trinket.

Tarou: If you want it back, go dig it out of the rubble. (he waves a
hand dismissively) I was returning when the bitch caught my trail, so
consider yourself lucky I don't blame you for my injuries.

Amigi: (snorts) Don't presume to speak down to me, boy.  (he waits
expectantly for a snappy comeback, but there is only silence)   I wish
to contract your services...

Tarou: (evil chuckle) Do I look like an assassin for hire, wizard?
(turns away) Shiad is your problem, not mine.  And after that debacle
with Mousse there is nothing you can offer me that would make me
willing to work with you again.

Amigi: I am the only one who can...

Tarou(sneers): Who can -what-?  I already have everything I need.  (he
flexes his fingers, knuckles cracking) Fem-boy practically put his
heart in my hand, and Senchi is one step behind.  Unlike you, I
control my surroundings.

Amigi: Without me, you will never gain your new name.

Tarou: We shall see.  I think we're done here.

Amigi: (stands up) You will regret not assisting me when you had the

Tarou: I doubt that very much.
(Amigi steps sideways into nothing and Tarou chuckles again.)

Tarou: Only one piece missing now... (he smirks) ...and then I can
finally get out of this insufferable town... (he stands up) ...and
everyone in it.


(Scene: the dojo, as Ranma, Akane and Ukyou discuss battle plans.)

Ranma: (nods, apparently in response to Ukyou) If you think we should
try reasoning with her, then sure, let's do it.

Ukyou: (blinks) Ranma...

Ranma: (looks curiously at her) What's so surprising?

Ukyou: Never mind...

Tzubi: (appearing beside Akane) Greetings.

Akane: Aah!  (she pulls back, fingers in the Takahashi pose)
You...don't do that!

Tzubi: (smiles) Habit.  (he steps back and leans against the wall) If
you want to save Ryouga, I think I can help.

Akane(cooly): I thought you "owed Ryouga nothing"?

Tzubi: I don't.  I never said I wouldn't help track Shiad down, simply
that giving chase would be foolish.  And my more important business is

Ranma: Whatever.  (he cracks his knuckles) If you can lead us to her,
then let's quit yapping and go.

Akane: You -can- lead us to her?

Tzubi: (adjusts the daisho at his side) Of course.  Shall we go?

Ukyou: (picks up her spatula and slings it over her shoulder) Right.


(Scene: outside a large warehouse in a seedier section of Tokyo.  The
moon's light is even now dipping below the horizon as dawn approaches.
A peculiar bulge, covered by a tarp, sits atop the building.  Across
from the warehouse, in an alley, our four heros skulk...well, except
for Tzubi, who is standing in the shadows and eyeing the others like
one might eye a pack of lepers.)

Ranma: This is a little cliched, isn't it?  I mean, an abandoned

Tzubi: (removes a bag from his jacket and weighing it critically)
Shiad is fond of cliches.

Ukyou: How did you find out where she was?

Tzubi: (stashing the bag and drawing his katana) Later.  Time to get
(Without another word, he leaps into the street and starts to dash
across.  With few other options, the others follow as quickly as
possible.  Reaching the door, Tzubi raises his sword in a batter's
stance, the lamplight flashing off the polished blade.)

Tzubi: HIKATANA KEN! (his sword hisses forward like the reaper's
scythe, catching aflame in mid-swing and sending fragments of the
now-destroyed door flying into the room beyond) Quickly!
(With barely a pause to slash a few remaining fragments of door aside,
he bounds into the warehouse.  Ranma, Akane and Ukyou move to follow,
then stop as they see Tzubi has fallen still only a few paces inside,
staring.  They follow his gaze up to the ceiling.  There, a structure
descends, a cigar-shaped steel pod with curtained windows along the
front end and solid metal along the other.)

Akane: What's that?

Tzubi: It's...
(He leaps back, barely avoiding a lightning strike which flies from
the shadowy rafters.  Ranma smiles slowly, cracking his knuckles.)

Ranma: You weren't kidding about those bolts.  This could be harder
than I thought.
(Shiad's laughter echoes throughout the warehouse from her hidden
point on the ceiling.)

Shiad: You have no idea, little man.

Tzubi: Too cowardly to face us?

Shiad: (appearing on top of the structure) Hardly, Meskiro.  (smirks)
I do seem to recall you being unconscious after our last meeting.

Tzubi: (smiles) That was, of course, after you ambushed me...

Shiad: All is fair in the games we play.  (she lifts a hand, glowing
with a corona of white lightning) BAKURAI-HA!
(The group scatters as her attack gouges a hole in the floor where
they previously stood.)

Ukyou: Have to get her down somehow...
(She flings a volley of spatulas in mid-leap, but Shiad contemptuously
blasts them from the air.)

Shiad: Your toys don't frighten me.

Tzubi: (landing next to Ranma) Keep her busy.
(He leaps into the shadows, leaving Ranma to stare after him.)

Ranma: Some plan... (dodges as another bolt slams into the floor)
[Maybe I can take her out...] (leaps away from another blast) [Those
attacks have to superheat the air...] (looking up, he raises his
voice) Hey, Shiad!

Shiad: And whom might you be?

Ranma: (ignoring her) What kind of moron are you?  Kidnapping a loser
like Ryouga, all you did was give us a way to track you down!

Shiad: (frowns) What are you talking about?

Ranma: (grins) You're slow, Shiad.  (he looks up, fists on hips) If
you hadn't taken him, you could have picked us off one by one.  But
now we can take you all at once, and you can't defeat us.

Shiad: I can defeat all of you! (slings a bolt at him) All of you at

Ranma: (dancing sideways) You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
(dodges another blast) How are you supposed to beat us with this
pathetic attack?

Shiad(enraged): Stand still!  (blast, blast, blast) You only delay the
(Ranma smirks as Shiad continues to blitz the area with billions of
volts of electricity.  Akane and Ukyou shield their eyes from the
blinding flashes.)

Akane: Is he insane?

Ukyou: (blinking away afterimages) I don't...wait, look at the scorch

Akane: (looking down at the small blast craters) Wait...that
(In fact, the pattern is a spiral, drawing itself in tighter towards

Ranma: [Almost there...just need her to go all out...] I'm surprised
you don't fry yourself!  It seems the safest person to be around here
is your target!

Shiad: Impudent fool!  CHOU RAI JITSU!

(Ranma tosses his fist skyward just as a flash of light blocks out all
else...and as it clears, a twisting funnel of air rises into the air,
strewn with arcs of white lightning.  Like a gluttonous snake, the
tornado snaps the end of the cigar-like room off and swallows it
whole.  Slowly, the vortex dies down and rubble begins to rain outside
the room.  In the centre of a spiral of trenches gouged in the floor,
Ranma stands, hair standing straight up and tiny sparks traveling
along his scorched form.)

Ranma: (breathes out a puff of smoke) Ow...
(At this point the majority of the rubble comes down...on top of

Ranma's voice(slightly muffled): Ow...again...

Akane: I don't think he thought that out completely...

Ukyou: Ranchan!
(Running over, she starts using her spatula like a shovel to clear
away the rubble...after a moment, Akane moves over and begins to
assist her.  Eventually, the two girls uncover Ranma, who crawls
slowly from the rubble.)

Ranma: I don't think I'll try that again...

Shiad: No you won't.
(Ukyou, Akane and Ranma leap up, fingers in the Takahashi position.
Turning, they see Shiad looking at them with a slight frown.)

Shiad: The Hiryuu Shoten Ha...impressive, if futile.

Ranma: How did you...

Shiad: (cackles maniacally) At the last, I recognized the pattern you
were drawing my bolts into.  So I sent my Chou-rai-jitsu upward... (we
see a diagram with a little SD Ranma at the bottom tossing the Hiryuu
Shoten Ha and a tiny SD-Shiad at the top, hurling a giant bolt upward)
This superheated the air above me, thus pushing the cold air around me
downward.  (an arrow labeled "Hot" rises up from Shiad and two curving
arrows labeled "Cold" draw in showing air flowing beneath her) This
created a cushion that, when struck, tossed me free.  (the tornado
pushes the "Cold" arrows up and these push SD-Shiad out of the way;
regular view resumes) And thus, all I had to do was wait for the
rubble to fall and crush you.  (she laughs again, decorated with
transient sparks) Now all that is left is to deal with that coward

Ukyou: (placing herself in front of the battered Ranma, with Akane)
Don't count on it.

Shiad(sneers): I've seen how impressive you two are.  (titters
insanely) I'm hardly intimidated.

Ranma: (pushing Akane and Ukyou aside) Get behind me!

Akane: Ranma!  You're hardly in any condition...

Ranma: (stumbles forward) I can take her...

Shiad: (snorts) Such heroic nonsense...BAKURAI-HA! (Her bolt catches
Ranma in the chest, tossing him back)

Ukyou: Why you...
(She charges Shiad, swinging her spatula, but the assassin nimbly

Shiad: I thought I already taught you your lesson?

Ukyou: (swings a downward arc that cleaves some of the rubble Shiad
was standing on) I skipped that class.

Shiad: (ducking aside again) I guess I'll have to find a more
-permanent- solution... (her hands begin to seethe with electric fury)

Ukyou: [Where is that jackass Tzubi!?] (she tries a last desperate
shot, which Shiad easily evades; this time, as the spatula slices
through the rubble, a distinct "ouch" is heard) Huh?

Shiad: (blinks) Oh...the boy...
(The rubble shifts, and from it emerges Ryouga.  To put it lightly,
he's seen better days.)

Ryouga: (groan) Now where... (cough) am I?

Akane: Ryouga! (she runs over to the lost boy) What happened to you!?

Ryouga: Whu... (shakes head from side to side) Who...Akane?  Oh no...

Shiad: Leave him be, girl!
(She tosses a bolt at Akane, but Ukyou yanks her out of the way.  The
bolt strikes Ryouga instead, tossing him out of the rubble and to the
floor.  The silver cord binding his arms flies free and he falls to
his back.  Meanwhile, Ranma has risen to his feet.)

Ranma: Whoa...Ryouga?  What did you do to him?
(Shiad quickly strides over, grabs the battered teenager's bandanna
and lifts him up, turning to sneer at the rest of the group.)

Shiad: A useful piece of bait to draw you to me.  He was a tad
disagreeable (puts hand to mouth) so I disciplined him.
(megalomaniacal laughter ensues)

Tzubi: (stepping out of the shadows, bouncing his pouch in his hand)
Which was your last mistake, Shiad.

Shiad: (cocks an eyebrow) So, finally decided to come out of hiding?

Tzubi: (smiles) Just waiting until I could use my secret weapon.
(He tosses the bladder at Shiad, but the assassin easily sidesteps.)

Shiad: You missed.

Tzubi: Did I?
(There is a popping sound, followed by several splutters.  Shiad turns
to see that Ranma isn't there anymore; instead, a very wet Senchi is
looking around, an annoyed expression on her face.)

Senchi: I thought I said I wasn't to be de...where are we?

Shiad: Wh-what!?  Jyusenkyou?

Senchi: Who's the witch?

Tzubi: (crosses arms) The one who kidnaped Ryouga.

Senchi: Ryouga?  (looks down) Ryouga-chan?  What... (her eyes narrow,
she looks back to Shiad) Who did this?

Shiad: None of your business.  (she points a crackling palm at Senchi)
(The blast of lightning flies with unerring accuracy towards Senchi,
but never reaches her, as a dome of pure darkness intercepts it.
Shiad staggers back a bit, eyes wide, as the dome evaporates into the
glowing black hand of Senchi's technique.)

Senchi: (darkly) Answer me!

Shiad: Ra shin...ginkiri... (her voice raises several octaves)
Impossible!  It cannot be!


Shiad: You...bakurai-ha!
(Shiad slaps a palm to the ground and it explodes upward in a shower
of debris.  Senchi shields her eyes and leaps forward through the
shrapnel cloud, but Shiad is no longer there as Senchi emerges.  There
is a brief yell, cut short into a yelp of pain.  Senchi spins to see
Ukyou falling back with a large burn on her chest.  Shiad tosses
Ryouga over her shoulder and holds a crackling fist to his head.)

Senchi: Put him down!

Shiad: Back away.  Or he dies.

Senchi: (clenches and unclenches her fists) You... (she grudgingly
backs up a step)

Shiad: Heh.  Intelligent.  It appears I'll have to reexamine my
strategy.  (she leaps, Ryouga still over her shoulder, and yet
amazingly manages to reach the capsule-like room) I'll be back!

Senchi: DAMN!

Akane: (kneeling over Ukyou) Ukyou!  Are you alright?

Ukyou: Hurts...

Senchi: She'll live.  That one won't.  (she glances around the rubble
and finally dashes over to where Ryouga emerged from the debris) Not
for long, anyway.
(A hiss echoes through the building, startling the small group.
Looking up, a blast of light obscures the ceiling.  Slowly the glare
diffuses and a view of the sky becomes clear, along with loud retorts
announcing the connection of several pieces of ceiling with the

Akane: What...a...

Tzubi: Blimp.

Senchi: A blimp?
(A blimp.  Rising slowly through the new hole in the ceiling is a
large, football-shaped balloon, the damaged cigar-shaped room revealed
to be its undercarriage.)

Akane: There's no way we can follow her now...

Senchi: Shut up.  (she grabs a long, silver cord from the rubble)
Don't make me break my promise.
(Tzubi watches with a small smirk as Senchi crouches low and then
launches herself skyward.  The silver cord flashes around in a
near-solid disc as she spins it beside her.  As she rises higher,
however, her momentum begins to peter out.)

Akane: What's she trying to...

Tzubi: Watch.

Senchi: [You are NOT getting away!] (the whirr of the cord rises to a
high-pitched whine) [C'mon!  I need heat!]
(The whine rises to a fever pitch and a red flash starts bursting
intermittently along the spinning cord.  Seeing this, Tzubi's eyes
widen and he staggers back, his usual cool demeanour replaced by

Tzubi: My technique...what IS she!?

Senchi: [Now...cold...] (finally the air friction becomes too much,
and the cord erupts in flames just as she reaches the peak of her
leap) [Hold in the rage...] (and she flings the blazing circle beneath
her, throwing her fist down into the spiral) HIRYUU KUUTAI JITSU!
(The cyclone erupts from the circle of flame, bursting into the floor
like a drill.  A shower of debris rains across the area, whipped about
by the raging winds.   Then the wind explodes upward, tossing Senchi
like a cannon ball...meanwhile, in the blimp's forward room, Shiad
steps through the back door and smiles at Ryouga.)

Shiad: And now they cannot follow us... (BANG) What in the...

Ryouga: (sitting up with a groan) You'd be surprised.
(Over the lip of the opening ripped through the undercarriage a blur
shoots into the room.  Shiad steps back and narrows her eyes as Senchi
steps into an offensive stance.)

Senchi: Pray to whatever gods you believe in.

Shiad: DIE!  (she flings a blast of lightning; like the last it is
nulled by Senchi's shield) Then I'll kill him... (she shifts her aim
to Ryouga)

Ryouga(quietly): I don't think so.  (he taps the floor beneath him)
Bakusai tenketsu...
(The floor erupts downward and Ryouga disappears into the hole.)

Senchi: RYOUGA-CHAN! (she dashes forward and looks into the hole, but
sees no sign of the lost boy) No...

Shiad: honourable option... (Senchi's head snaps up...and
then she begins to glow....well, not so much glow as seem to create a
spot of non-light around her) Then I shall kill you instead.
BAKURAI-HA!   (this time, the blast catches her full in the shoulder
and sends her spinning to the floor) Heh.  Pathetic.
(Then Senchi gets up.  Her aura has flared even farther, flowing
around her like a living thing.  She looks her eyes on Shiad, but all
life seems to have left them, as if she was not seeing the assassin at
all.  Then she bursts forward.  Shiad launches another blast, which
Senchi sidesteps without even breaking stride and continues.  The
DMSESREPBHPTT huntress fires again and again, sending streams of
electricity bursting like bullets at her target, but Senchi weaves and
dodges between them like some strange ballerina, never once letting
herself be touched.  As Senchi reaches her opponent, Shiad pulls back
and snaps a kick at her head, but is caught by the ankle.  Senchi's
hand turns deep black and a concussion drives Shiad back, her foot
twisting and snapping loudly as she is bounced against the wall.
Attempting to stand, Shiad limps forward and begins to charge her
power.  Senchi doesn't give her the chance.  A vicious palm strike to
Shiad's arm ends with a thunderclap as the black hand unleashes its
energy.  Shiad screams and falls against the wall, her arm hanging

Shiad: [Perhaps...I should reconsider...]
(As she thinks this, a thin cord of cloth shoots from the hole in the
floor and sticks into the base of the marble table.  Slowly, Ryouga
pulls himself into the room.)

Ryouga: I need a few weeks of rest...

Senchi: Die.
(She grabs Shiad by the throat and easily lifts her from her feet.
The hand clasped around the assassin's neck begins to turn deep

Shiad: You can't... (gasps) ...defeat me...

Senchi: ... (the dark aura grows deeper, and Senchi's lips curl

Ryouga: NO!  Senchi, don't kill her!  Not like this!
(Senchi turns and sees Ryouga...and Shiad slams a lightning-coated
fist into her side.  Senchi falls to her knees and releases the
assassin, who manages to land on her good leg.)

Shiad: (cackles) Thank you, Ryouga...

Senchi: No more delays.  (she flings her fist upward) DIE!
(The sphere of darkness doesn't even have a chance to form before
Senchi unleashes the full fury of her technique.  A stream of pure
darkness engulfs Shiad and sends her through the ceiling as if it were

Ryouga: Wait...the blimp!
(And there is light.  When it clears, the deafening retort of the
explosion can still be heard as what is left of the flaming airship
begins to fall to earth.  In the debris Ryouga clings to a piece of
the cabin and his consciousness with an equally tenuous grasp.)

Ryouga: Hydrogen... (he looks down...and sees that he is well over a
thousand feet up and falling fast.) We'll be killed!  No...Senchi!
(He looks up and quickly spots the young woman.  She is definitely
unconscious, covered with burns and plummeting headlong towards the
ground.  Above her, and in considerably worse shape, is Shiad.)

Ryouga: Damn...
(Ignoring his injuries, Ryouga pulls himself up and kicks off the
wreckage towards the two women.  Instinctively extending his arms like
a sky diver, he shoots into the girls like a rocket.  Snatching one
into each arm, he pushes them down to stabilize himself.)

Ryouga: (looks at Shiad) [I could just let her everyone a
lot of pain...] (his face twists)  No.  No more destruction.  I won't
just destroy anymore!  I won't!
(He looks over, the view below clearly showing that the wind and the
blimp have blown them over the bay.)

Ryouga: No... (clenches teeth) Not water! [I might have been able to
cushion the impact on the ground...but there's no way P-chan will
survive this!] (he begins to glow with a soft green light)  No... (his
glow intensifies) All my power and I can't even save Senchi!  (his
aura begins to light up the sky) I'm worthless!  (he has fallen to a
mere nine hundred feet now) Useless!  (eight hundred) Hopeless!  (six
hundred) NOT AGAIN! (four hundred) I WILL NOT FAIL!  (two) SHISHI



(The evening news would later call it a stray meteor pulled into
Earth's atmosphere that struck in Tokyo Bay, the strange green glow
merely an aftereffect of ionized gas that burned up on entry.  The
illusion of it expanding suddenly before contact with the water simply
an illusion caused by the reflection.  The explosion above, merely a
freak coincidence for some unfortunate blimp.  However, the reality of
the tsunami caused by the impact was unmistakable, causing billions of
yen in damage and putting many in the hospital.  No deaths were
reported, and it was eventually dismissed by most as a freak
coincidence.  The people living in Nerima ward, however, knew better.)


(Scene: a beach.  The dawning sun casts a gentle red glow on the
lapping waves.  A solitary figure lies upon that beach, the waves
breaking against its prone form like a soft, cold caress.  Suddenly,
the figure stirs and sits up.  Senchi looks around in obvious
confusion, her clothing torn in numerous places and multiple cuts and
bruises decorating her flesh like some bizarre pox.)

Senchi: Where am I?  What happened...
(She looks down and sees P-chan lying next to her.  The little pig
looks much worse for wear than she does.  A piece of red fabric, still
clutched tightly in his teeth, tells her all she needs to know.)

Senchi: I remember... (she gently picks up the limp P-chan) You saved
me.  That woman... (she looks around suddenly, but seeing no sign of
Shiad she relaxes) My hero.
(Then an evil grin spreads across her face and she carefully lays
P-chan down.  Pulling a large kettle out of nowhere, she pours it on
the unconscious pig.)

Ryouga: (leaping to his feet) HOT!  HOT!

Senchi: (glomp) Ryouga-chan!  My knight in shining armor!

Ryouga: Ow!  Not so tight!

Senchi: (looks down) Or lack thereof.  (she nods appreciatively)

Ryouga: GAH!  (he breaks away from Senchi, covering himself with his
hands) I'm not decent!

Senchi: You look decent enough to me.

Ryouga: (sweatdrop) Go away! (he begins to back off)

Senchi: (her grin widens) I know what's bothering you!  It's hardly
fair for you to be naked like that with me here.

Ryouga: Umm...yeah, but...

Senchi: Well, I can fix that.
(Her hands rise to the buttons of her shirt.  Ryouga stares for a
moment, then realizes her intention.  Throwing politeness to the
winds, he runs backward as fast as he can, one hand still covering
his...umm...private parts, while the other tries to control his
furiously gushing nose.  Senchi gives chase, letting the partial
opened shirt fly free.)

Senchi: What's wrong, Ryouga-chan?  That's only fair, isn't it?

Ryouga: No!  I mean, yes, but not!  I mean...

Senchi: So we can do this later?

Ryouga: Aah!  No!  That is...
(Senchi launches herself in a flying tackle, but Ryouga takes the only
expedient escape route and dives into the water.  Senchi, grinning
evilly, pulls out another kettle and jumps in after him.)

Senchi: Come back, Ryouga-chan!  I'll make your boo-boos all better!

P-chan(despairingly): BWEEEE!!!

                        To Be Continued...

Author's notes:

Blade: Well, this is it!  One more chapter and CoD has reached its
midway point!  Betcha thought we'd never make it, huh?  Huh?

Epsilon: I think the shock of getting two chapters in two months has
given all our readers heart attacks.

Blade: Hmph.  Wimps.  Just because we got sidetracked for awhile...

Epsilon: A year...

Blade: Oh, and whose fault was THAT, huh?

Epsilon(smug): Mine, of course, since I'm the one who actually DOES
the writing. (WHAP) Oww...

Blade: (waves his bokken threateningly) Trifle not with me, foul

Epsilon: No, I prefer pies if I must throw dessert.

Blade: (sweatdrop) (piku as the horrendously bad pun hits him)
(snarls) DIE!
(Fade out as Blade chases Epsilon around, swinging his bokken...)

Handy Special Move Guide:

Hiryuu-Kuutai-Jitsu  - Flying Dragon Air Body Manouevre

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.