Note: Well it's been next to forever since I've updated this story hasn't it. Nearly three years. You might want to take a look at the earlier chapters just to remember what has happened earlier. I'll save anymore comments for the end of the chapter, for now, enjoy yourself!

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Uncles
Chapter 05
by Cory D. Rose
(c) 2002
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Ranma was sitting on his bed, he was still in his underwear since Hotaru hadn't returned from his apartment yet. On the other side of the room Ami was ignoring him as best she could by working on her computer, he had retrieved it from the subspace earlier and hadn't looked up since. Ranma didn't think much of it, though he wasn't used to being ignored by the girls around him. He'd seen her take a glance at him every now and then and figured it wasn't any of his business. He had been thinking about his fight with Ryoga and come to some realizations that he didn't like. Ryoga had pounded the crap out of him in ways that hadn't ever achieved, it would be several days before he got back to normal and could help out again. The girls would be on their own with that new enemy running around out there and he wasn't sure if they could handle things on their own.

"Here Ranma check this out." Ami said suddenly.

He looked up and saw that she was holding the little computer out to him. "What's that?"

"I completed that program I've been working on and found the reason you kept your curse and Ryoga didn't."

"Really!" Ranma said and moved to sit down beside her.

"Yep." Ami said and blushed a little as she desperately tried not to watch him to closely, it wasn't often that she had a half naked guy walking around in the same room she occupied, more along the lines of...never, but it didn't seem to bother him that much so she would deal with it. She turned bright red and nearly passed out as her shyness gene overloaded a few seconds later.

"So what happened?" Ranma said as he leaned in close to get a better look at the tiny screen.

Ami nearly passed out a second time and had to take a couple of calming breaths to make her heart slow down. "Um...it's because you were in girl form at the time and Ryoga wasn't. When the curse isn't activated it's held in a dormant state inside your body, sending out tiny bursts of magic so that it can be activated again and again, but as soon as it's activated it is spread through out your whole body and impossible to isolate."

"That means what?"

"You weren't cured because your curse was active and Ryoga's wasn't, Usagi's magic did..."

Ranma gasped. "Does that mean that if Usagi was to blast me as I am now I would be cured?" He jumped up to run into the front room, but Ami reached out and grabbed his foot before he got to far, it didn't help that he was now face first on the floor and in pain from the fall. "Hey, what's the big deal!"

"It won't work anymore." Ami said sadly, trying to ignore the fact that it was easy to look right up the leg of Ranma's boxers from the position he was in. She only wished she could see something, but that was simply impossible so she had to settle for imagining it.

"Won't work anymore?" Ranma said as his shocked mind tried to wrap itself around the idea.

"I'm a-afraid not, the magic did s-something else to you." Ami said sadly, fighting her surging hormones with everything she had and suddenly understanding why Makoto and Minako were so boy crazy.

"Oh great, now what else can go wrong?" Ranma grumbled and pulled himself into a sitting position.

"I'm not to sure yet, the readings were a little vague and hard to understand. It'll take some time to get everything together and sorted out enough to understand what happened completely."

Ranma slumped to the floor. "Mr. P gets rid of his curse and I still have to live with mine, how pathetic can that be?"

"Your curse isn't that bad Ranma, being a girl is a lot of fun."

"You don't understand the curse Ami."

"Then explain it to me, why is it so bad to turn into a girl?"

Ranma sighed, no one had ever asked him that, at least not before jumping to some weird conclusion and trying to kill him because of it. "Well you see it's like this, I was raised to be a man among men, to be anything less means my death..."

Ami paled.

Glomp! Glomp! Dog pile!

"Nooo!" Someone yelled.

Ranma suddenly found himself at the bottom of a pile of well endowed female bodies as they all tried to hug him at once. He struggled to get away, he was in his boxers after all and someone had just touched him where they shouldn't have, but they grabbed his arms and held him in place through cunning and devious ways. Minako crawled out of the pile and nodded to the other girls as they all backed off, she was holding a long rope and a couple of other things that trailed down to Ranma. They had trussed him up as best they could, tying his legs together, his hands behind his back, and gagged him .

Hotaru was still plastered to his waist crying her eyes out. "We won't let you kill yourself!"

"Mmmphhhmm." Ranma said through the gag.

"Where'd all of you come from?" Ami asked.

"We have to stop him from committing suicide!" Minako yelled.

"Huh?"

"We'll protect you!" Makoto said and made sure the knots were still firm.

"Mmmm mmmph!" Ranma glared.

"Guys, I don't think that's what Ranma was talking about." Ami said as the tried to undo the gag around Ranma's head.

He nodded frantically, but no one seemed to notice.

Makoto stopped Ami from undoing the gag and shook her head. "We have to talk him out of it before he gets past this stage into actually trying to do it." She said in a sage like voice.

"But..."

"Let us take care of this Ami." Minako said.

Hotaru just continued to cry.

Ranma sighed and rolled his eyes, it seemed some of the insanity from Nerima had followed him after all, man would it ever stop?

Attracted by all the commotion, Usagi and Rei edged into the room. "What's going on here?" Rei asked, and after a quick explanation that had both Usagi and Rei in tears, Ranma found himself being pulled into the front room of the shrine. He struggled to get out of the bonds but found that they just wouldn't budge, so he had to sit there and wait for the girls to back off a little before he could do anything.

"I won't let you kill yourself Ranma!" Hotaru wailed some more.

"Mmm Mphmmm." Ranma mumbled and tried to pat her on the head with his chin, but she just started crying even more.

"We have to set up a twenty four hour guard on him until these thoughts go away." Minako said as all the girls sat down around the table to discuss him. "I'll go first. I still have my nurse uniform. This will be so much fun!"

"Um..." Ami tried again, now slightly nervous.

"Agreed, where will we keep him while we do that? My place?" Makoto asked.

"You really need..."

"Ryoga must have been to much for him if he's even thinking of ending it all." Usagi said and broken into tears.

Rei pounded on the table. "I have plenty of room here."

"You should..." Ami pointed out.

"He's so cute, I don't want him to die!" Minako wailed.

"WHAAAAAAAA!" Hotaru joined Minako.

"Listen to me!" Ami yelled.

They all turned to look at her and she blushed a little. "Sorry. How is Ranma going to explain himself if he's gagged?"

"That's a good question Ami." Usagi said. "Take out his gag and let him explain why he wants to die.

They all turned to where Ranma was laying and blinked, the spot was empty. "He's gone!" Yelled five of the six girls as they started running around.

Bending his body and crawling like a worm, Ranma was making his way down the hallway that led to the kitchen, he had to get free of these insane girls. There were bound to be knives in there that would allow him to get out of these ropes before the girls caught him. He was almost there when he heard the girls start yelling and knew that they had noticed him missing, he sped up as he wormed his way along the wooden floor. He figured he had at least a minute before they got there so he moved as fast as he could as he made it into the kitchen and seconds later had the ropes off.

The girls all piled into the kitchen, except Ami who looked a little embarrassed, and dove for him as they yelled for him to stop. Ranma groaned, cursing all insane girls, and dove out the window while he still had the chance. He landed in a roll and startled a couple of school girls that had just come to visit the shrine, smiled at them, and ran into the woods around the shrine. Rei, Usagi, Minako, Hotaru, and Makoto all dove out of the shrine and quickly followed after Ranma. The school girls just blinked for a second then burst into giggles as they recalled Ranma in his boxers and how they moved as he ran.

"Can I help you?" Rei gasped out when she noticed that she had guests.

"Who was that cutie?" Miyaka asked.

"Just a friend." Rei said.

"He looked really good with no clothes on like that." Yuri suggested.

Rei blushed. "I wouldn't know."

"Right!" Both girls said and giggled.

"What can I get for you?" Rei growled out as she ground her teeth together.

"Can we get some charms for school?" Miyaka asked innocently.

In the back ground Ranma is running in circles around the shrine as all the other girls chase after him. Ranma sighed, he was getting very tired of running in circles and wondering what in the world had happened to cause this, all he had been doing was explaining a bit of his life to Ami and then suddenly he was bound and gagged and being accused of being suicidal.

Desperate times sometimes require desperate actions according to his old man, so he jumped to a tree and flipped into one of the open windows along the wall of the shrine to get away from the girls. The instant he landed he glanced around to make sure no one was around and crouched down in a weird stance and concentrated.

Usagi ran up and skidded to a halt and glanced at Ranma at the exact time that he seemed to waver and vanish from existence. She gasped with the other girls and wondered what had happened. "Oh well, he got away."

Minako, Hotaru, and Makoto seemed to rise above her like giants as their battle auras flared. "WHAT DO YOU MEAM BY THAT, HE'S GOING TO KILL HIMSELF!" They yelled in unison.

"Eeep!" Said Usagi as she cowered down.

"Where in the world did you girls get the idea that I was going to kill myself?" Ranma's voice asked out of thin air.

"Ranma!" Hotaru gasped and started looking around.

"Where are you?" Usagi asked.

"I'm using a martial arts technique to hide my presence."

"I won't let you kill yourself." Minako said and started to wave her arms around to find Ranma.

"You girls are good at jumping to conclusions." Ranma muttered.

"We all heard you." Makoto yelled and copied Minako.

"Ami was asking about my history and I was explaining something to her."

"We all heard you Ranma, if you can't be a man among men you have to die." Hotaru said.

"If you would have let me explain I would have said, I was raised to be a man among men. If I failed I would have been forced to commit seppuku on my honor for breaking a promise to my mother."

Usagi started giggling. "Oh yeah, you explained all that to me and Rei when we visited you in the hospital."

Minako and Makoto blushed as they looked at Usagi.

"Hotaru, if your back that means you were able to get me some clothes." Said Ranma's disembodied voice.

"I dropped them in the hall outside the room where you and Ami were resting." Hotaru said with a blush.

"Thank you." They all heard his foot steps as he walked away.

With Ranma gone the three girls all turned on Usagi for not telling any of this stuff.

"Um...well you see it's like this..." Usagi started nervously.

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He found his clothes right where Hotaru had said and quickly dressed before dropping the Umisen-Ken. He hadn't used it in some time and his strained body was proof of that, he promised to seal the moves, but he still used a few when he needed them though.

Most of the others he did not intend to use again until he had a chance to perfect them into non-lethal versions of what his father had created. Once he was dressed, he made his way back to the front room and saw that all the girls had gathered around the table. Rei had finish selling some charms as well.

"Now we're not going to have anymore of that nonsense are we?"

"Sorry." They chorused.

"Whatever, next time just give me a chance to explain before you jump to some weird conclusions."

The girls nodded.

"Fine then, what's this I hear of a new enemy?"

"How did you know about that?" Rei asked.

"I heard all of you talking about it earlier."

Mamoru looked at Ranma. "Her name is Commander Hibera, she seems to have some link to the Earth, just like I do."

"She has the same powers as you do?"

"My powers have always been less than the girls, though I have enough to get by, but mostly I can create a rose that hits with a lot of force and some limited teleportation whenever Usagi is in trouble. Hibera seems to have access to all of the powers this planet has to offer, and it makes her incredibly powerful."

"Full power? Like the Scouts here?" Ranma asked.

"We don't have full access to our powers yet Ranma." Ami pointed out.

"You don't?"

"No, we started out with about 20 of our full power when we went up against Queen Beryl's generals and first Youma, we have slowly built it up over time. The last time I checked we were running at about 53 or so."

Ranma blinked. "That's it?"

"That's enough to do some extremely dangerous things Ranma, we reached our Super forms at about 40 and that gave each of us enough power to level a good portion of this island if we let loose with an unfocused attack and used every bit of our power at once."

"No way!"

"She's right, Ami here is the Scout of water and if she set her mind to it could probably create a tidal wave that could easily level or destroy most of Japan." Mamoru said.

"If you've got that much power why don't you use it against your enemies?" Ranma asked.

"Because to use everything at once would kill us and even if we survived the attack, we would be unable to do anything else until we recovered the used up energy and that would take days, we always have to be careful and conserve as much energy as we can during an attack. It's pretty rare when we get a chance to let loose, usually it's during a life or death situation that requires it." Ami said.

"So you're saying that this Hibera has nearly twice as much power as you do currently?"

"That's about right." Ami said. "We've had this happen before with some of our other enemies, but we managed to take them down as well. At the moment I'm not sure how we can do it. Hibera nearly leveled Mamoru's apartment building during their fight."

Ranma folded his arms and leaned back in his chair, he was strong, but this went way beyond what he thought the girls were capable of using. In a straight hand to hand fight he could take all of them at once and not even break a sweat, but those transformations of theirs made them incredibly powerful and with their magic attacks he wouldn't' have stood a chance.

That demon that had possessed Ryoga had given the jerk a similar level of power and he had barely survived that fight, the Scouts had taken the Lost Boy down in the end with their magic. He wanted to help, but if this was the kind of power they were going up against he didn't know if he could much more than be in the way.

"Ranma? Are you alright?" Hotaru asked.

"I'm fine, just beginning to understand what kind of power these monsters are capable of."

"Don't worry about it Ranma, we'll find a way to defeat her. We always do eventually, it's the way these things work." Usagi said.

"I'm a martial artist, It's my duty to help out those people who are to weak or unable to help themselves. I have to help you, with Hotaru here it makes it my duty as well to make sure she isn't hurt in these battles."

"Our powers protect us Ranma."

"I know, and what happens when you are caught without them?"

"Huh?"

"Once transformed you have plenty of power to call on, but the instant you return to normal you don't have that advantage. Especially Hotaru here with her weak constitution. She's family, so I have to keep her safe, but I need to get a lot stronger than I currently am to fight against this kind of threat."

"You've been a lot of help so far Ranma." Rei pointed out.

"Maybe, but this new enemy is twice as strong as you are, how am I supposed to fight against something like that?"

"As best you can Ranma." Usagi said.

"No, that isn't enough, there has to be some way to even the field without placing all of in danger."

The girls all look at each other.

Ranma stood up. "I need some time think about this, I'll be back later." He said as he walked out of the shrine.

It was about twenty minutes later when Ranma found himself walking though the park. He had been racking his brain for a plan or some way to fight these monsters, but he kept coming up blank. For all his strength he was completely outclassed in a battle like this and that made him next to useless, he would not accept that under any circumstances. There had to be away for him to fight back.

Unfortunately he kept coming up with one idea that just sucked, going to the Old Ghoul and asking for special training. It had merit, but there were too many flaws to think about. The old woman would make him pay a high price for that kind of request, far more than he was willing to pay.

About the only other person he could think of was the old freak, but he was almost as bad as going to Cologne. Who knew what he would demand for his help. Happosai was totally unpredictable at times and as much as he hated to admit the old fart was the head of his school. To bad respecting the pervert was completely impossible as well.

That just wouldn't do, there had to be something he could do to get stronger without having to resort to going to the either Cologne or Happosai. Ranma let off a sigh and walked over to a tree and sat down, trying to think out his problem was giving him a headache. Normally things like this were pretty simple, but this was proving to be a lot harder than he'd thought it would be.

Of course his luck would have to run out an instant later when a lone sprinkler nozel rose up between his legs and shot him right in the head, instantly changing him to a her as several other sprinklers came up and started watering the grass. Ranma was too tired to care and continued to sit there, she knew they would eventually turn off and it wasn't like moving would be of much help now.

She leaned back against the tree and looked up into the branches as his mind went over everything he had ever learned about Ki control, lessons he had been practicing for some time now.

Ever so slowly she went over all the fights she'd had that involved the use of her Ki, the recent one with Ryoga first, going over it several times and noting down where she had made mistakes that needed to be fixed.

There was a good possibility she would have to subject herself to the Breaking Point training to get stronger. That would be a great advantage. Being able to take a hit with these monsters seemed to be an exceedingly good idea. From all the fights she'd had with Ryoga she kind of already knew it. Out of respect she had decided not to use it unless she was placed in a situation where it was the absolute last resort.

Ryoga's latest actions had been almost to much to bear, but she was still willing to forgive him since being possessed wasn't exactly his fault. Though she planned to whack him upside the head the next time she saw him to make sure he went to Hotaru and apologized in person.

Whenever he screwed up like this the Lost Moron tended to vanish for months at a time before anyone saw him again and that was usually completely by accident. Ranma was still mad at him for getting cured of his curse when she hadn't been, but there wasn't much she could do about it now.

She sighed as another blast of water washed over her from several different directions. It seemed that a nearby sprinkler was malfunctioning and that she seemed to be the cause of it. Her foot was in the way and causing the water to spray out in a long stream that was spraying all over the place.

Moving it out of the way corrected the problem and the pressure went back to normal, the sprinkler lazily moving back and forth again. Ranma blinked, that reminded her of something that Hinako had talked about in class a few weeks back.

She hadn't been able to sleep since that vampire drained her every time she even thought about dozing off to her droning voice. They had been talking about compression and pressure, air pressure, water pressure and things like that. She'd almost forgotten about it because of just how bored she was by the time class ended.

Now she was kind of glad she had stayed awake after all, an idea was forming in her mind. Something she knew just might work, but it was dangerous, very dangerous. She had to find out if it was even possible to apply to a basic Ki blast.

Would it be possible to even form a ball of Ki and apply enough force to keep it under pressure? Or to compressed in her hands to make it grew stronger before releasing it at a target. Nothing she had ever read about Ki said it couldn't be done, though the opposite was just as true, she just wasn't sure about the consequences.

Now normally she wouldn't have even thought such a thing was possible, but ever since Saffron she had been able to use her Ki at much higher levels than ever before and with a little practice she knew she could now do things that even Happosai had no clue about.

If she was going to pull it off she needed a target of some kind. Normally she would have used a lake to practice in and later collected the dead fish for dinner, but there wasn't a lake in this park and for once she wanted to have a bit of privacy.

The only thing this park had were running paths and other things that were next to useless for a test like this. That meant she had to find something else that might work. Standing up she ignored the sprinklers as she slowly walked out of the park while considering her problem.

She absently wrapped her aura around herself and just it to quickly dry her clothes. The more she thought about the problem and went over it in her head the more she was convinced that it was possible. There would be several drawbacks to the move though.

The biggest, as far as she could see was the build up time. That of course was only if she didn't blow her hands off trying to collect the energy in the first place. She was also fairly positive that simply emotional Ki wouldn't do for this particular move.

It would require far to much energy to pull off. That meant to even practice she would need to find a different way to generate Ki at a higher level. Again Happosai or Cologne might know of a way to help her out of this mess, but they were just to unreliable.

The Scouts had explained to her that they were directly linked to the life energy of their planets. They hadn't gone into any detail though. Life energy, now that she thought about it seemed to be what every enemy wanted in one form or another.

Her Ki abilities were generated by pooling her own life energies within her own body and controling how it was used. Those monsters absorbed it somehow and used it to fuel their own powers. If she wanted to fight these things he might have to do something similar, but not by stealing it from all the people around her. That would have to be her first step since it seemed to be at least possible with her Ki abilities.

Some kind of reverse Ki blast of some kind, though she was pretty sure that no one had ever thought of using Ki in this way before. She clutched her head and groaned. Thinking gave her a headache. All she wanted to do was go out and blow something up. Not to think about it.

A third name popped in her head and she realized that it was the perfect solution to her problem. Dr. Tofu knew more about Ki than anyone else she knew outside the two old freaks. The only problem was that he had vanished over a year ago and no one had seen him since.

Even his old man had made a comment or two about the guy after his clinic had been shut down. If he couldn't help there was a good chance that he would know someone that could help her. For once the answer to this one was pretty easy and it wouldn't cost her any money. Ami could use that little computer of hers to help find him.

"Ranma."

She turned and saw that Sailor Pluto was standing nearby. "Pluto?"

"What seems to be the problem?"

"I need to find a way to fight these monsters and the only way I can think of doing that is to get stronger and develop a new kind of move."

"You're only human Ranma, there are limits to what you can do. Let the girls handle it, they have the magic and the power to stop this invasion."

"I'm doing this to protect them as well as those I care for Pluto, I heard all of you talking earlier. These things are adapting to your magic and learning how to counter it a little more every time they attack you. They are even adapting to me and I need to find a way to keep that from happening or find a one shot attack that will kill these things in an instant."

"Maybe, but how much longer will you be able to hold your own Ranma? They learned how to defend against Ryoga after two of his blasts and you've fired more than that. There isn't a thing your blast will be able to do to them now. Let us handle this, it's our job."

Ranma frowned and shook his head. "No, I can't do that."

"I can't talk you out of this?"

"No way, I made a promise to help and I'll keep it. Besides Hotaru is involved and she is family, there is no way I will allow her to fight this alone."

Pluto sighed. "Ranma I have been working with the Time Gate for a few hours now and if I really concentrate I can make it work for a few minutes without my staff and what it's been showing me isn't pretty. These things mean business, they will kill anything that gets in their way and all the different time lines I see where you follow this course of action end in your death."

"My...death? Why?" Ranma gasped.

"Your stubborn pride keeps forcing you to do things that place you in danger, situation after situation, unless you find a different way to help us you will be dead within the month. That's the longest you lasted, the rest were quite short, less than a week from now normally."

"Why are you telling me this? It doesn't seem like something you would do."

Nodding, Pluto sighed and threw her hands up in the air. "This force is different than the others we've faced, they adapt better and know how to work together as well as any team. They are dangerous and if we fail to stop them the earth is doomed. Your help, even by dieing, will help the scouts out considerably, but it will hurt them even more when you die."

"I'm not that easy to kill and I have skills that these monsters have yet to encounter, I haven't even used my absolute full power against them yet. I've made promises not to use certain moves, but I will to protect Hotaru and with what I learned on the slopes of Phoenix Mountain I should be able to hold my own for a while yet." Ranma said stubbornly.

"That maybe, but even with those attacks, if they are the one's the Gate showed me, you still fail in the end. You need to come up with a different strategy, one that will allow you to survive this."

"You seem to be all for me living, why? When just a few days ago you and those other two maniacs were out for my blood." Ranma growled. He didn't want to tell this woman about the idea he just had. If it worked he would have a serious advantage in the next fight.

"I told you when we talked last time that you were a better influence alive than dead. You still mess with the time gate in some way, but not enough to endanger anything very much." Pluto said as she danced around the subject.

There was no way she could allow Ranma to know about Crystal Tokyo just yet. The gate had shown her that much. In a few years, if he lived beyond this battle, then it would be fine. If he learned of it now he wouldn't understand what it truly was and jump to some odd conclusion and fight the whole team tooth and nail to prevent it.

"Then if that's the case, where would you suggest that I start if I want to live through this?" Ranma asked with a glare.

"You have two supreme martial arts masters at your disposal, a little sacrifice is a small price to pay if you want to live through this. They have skills that haven't been seen in centuries, things they have sealed away for the protection of all. Learn from them." Pluto said.

"You have got to be kidding, the old pervert would have me stealing bras and panties right off peoples clothes lines, while the old ghoul would have me drugged and taken back to China the second the opportunity presented itself." Ranma growled.

"Ranma, I've looked into their backgrounds as best I could and developed a massive migraine because of it, but I learned enough to know that they would both be willing to work with you if you work with them. Happosai did tech your father and his friend and look at how good they are. There are only a few people in the city that could touch them Ranma. They are dangerous and powerful enough to have earned their reputations. Look at Shampoo and how good she is too, Cologne taught her everything she knows and she can hold her own against you when she sets her mind to it."

"I know that!" Ranma shouted. "I've learned some of my best moves from Cologne and I give her respect for that. But she has also been instrumental in spreading the chaos in my life and that is harder to forgive, she is next in line after Nabiki for causing me problems.

To her I am a second class human, no better than prized slave the instant I'm brought through the gates of her village. To Happosai I'm the ultimate student, one who can learn all his perverted tricks and someone to molest the instant I drop my guard. I can't put up with that kind of crap anymore! I'm sick and tired of it, that's why I'm here you know." Ranma snapped

Pluto nodded. "See, this is what I meant. Your stubbornness will be your downfall. A small sacrifice to one or both of those two and you just might live, but if you go this alone you will die."

"There has to be something else I can do?" Ranma said. He was now convinced that he had to take his third option.

"Maybe, but without my staff I wasn't able to see all the possibilities, just the ones that were most likely to happen." Pluto said as she decided it was time to leave. "Make a decision Ranma, you have very few options left if you want to make it through this."

Ranma growled as she closed her eyes and with a bit of strain seemed to step backwards into the suddenly visible Time Gate and vanish before he could complain anymore. Every time he met one of those three he wanted to beat a little sense into them just to prove that they weren't as high and mighty as they thought. He hadn't meant to utterly destroy her staff, but the more he talked to that woman the easier it became to justify his actions.

They weren't friendly to him, they insulted him every time they saw him. For now he was going to ignore this current threat as well. He had a third option that Pluto hadn't said anything about. What she didn't know was an even better advantage in his book.

Jumping up on the fence, he hopped to a nearby roof and headed back across Juuban. About twenty minutes later, he bounced over a house and landed in the back yard of the Hikawa Shrine. If anyone could help him out he knew it would be Ami and that little computer of hers.

The girls were still there sitting around the table eating some snacks that Makoto had just finished making when he walked in and sat down. "I just had a very strange talk with Pluto."

"What did she have to say?" Usagi asked.

"She told me that if I continued to fight along with you at my present level of ability that I'd be dead inside a month." Ranma said mildly as he took one of Makoto's brownies.

The gasped and Hotaru looked like she was going to faint.

"Now don't go jumping to conclusions again!" He snapped as the girls all started to get teary eyed.

"Does this mean you are going to let us do the fighting from now on?" Rei asked. "I would be better if you left this stuff up to us."

Ranma shook his head. "Not a chance. I need to find someone that I haven't seen in over a year. He just might be able to help me out where a couple of others would not." Ranma explained as he looked at Ami. "I don't understand computers that much, but I know you are good enough to use one to help me out."

"Who did you want to find?" Ami asked.

"A Doctor named Tofu. He used to have a practice in Nerima, but he vanished about a year ago and I haven't seen him since. He has skills and knowledge that just might be able to help me achieve the next step in my training."

Nodding, Ami pulled out her computer and started typing. "What's his full name?"

"Dr. Tofu Ono."

"What do you need from this guy Ranma?" Hotaru asked as she gave him a worried look.

"He knows things about Ki that very few people know. I need his knowledge to see if this idea of mine has any possibility to of working."

"What did you have in mind?"

"A compressed Ki blast."

"How is that different from what you normally do?" Rei asked.

"Well it will use a different kind of Ki and be about ten to twenty times more powerful. I'm hoping the Doc. will know of a technique I can learn to pull it off or someone that might point me in the right direction."

"It's a solution, but I'm not sure it's the answer Ranma." Rei said.

Ranma gave her a look. "What do you mean? I seems like the ideal solution. A stronger attack to take these things down."

Rei shrugged. "Sometimes more power isn't what's required and they adapt so fast that it won't be effective for very long."

"It's all I've been able to come up with."

"I know, and it's a good temporary solution, but I think we need something they can't adapt to. Do you really think this Tofu guy can give you something that really will help in anyway?"

"We'll have to wait and see, because he's the only option I trust at the moment." Ranma admitted as Ami stopped typing.

"Found him." She said as she wrote an address down on a piece of paper and handed it to Ranma. "He's not to far from here."

Ranma took the paper. "A…retreat?"

"A lot of people go to places like that when life gets to be to much for them. They go to relax, make decisions, and many other things."

"Makoto goes to one every year for her martial arts training." Rei explained.

Ranma memorized the address and nodded. "It shouldn't take me to long to find him. Thanks!" He yelled as he leaped out the window and roof hopped away from the temple.

The girls just watch him for several seconds. "Wasn't he injured a little while ago?"

oooooooooo

The disk of energy flared with ethereal energy and flashed to life. Slowly a picture of Hibera formed. The woman was sitting in the middle of a rather run down room, dirt, litter, and grime covered the walls and ceilings. Kakome shuddered a little as she spotted some bugs crawling around on the floor.

"Commander."

Hibera looked up for a second. "Mistress, how may I serve you?"

"Did you accomplish your mission?"

"No, I attacked the only other person who was connected to my element a couple days ago, but he managed to run away even when I flooded his home with lava. It was quite a surprise."

Kakome frowned. "Why haven't you finished him off yet?"

"I've been studying him. He went straight to those girls I was warned about. I wasn't aware he was part of the group that I had to eliminate. Since then I've been evaluating my strategy."

"Very well, I'll give you another week Commander. In the mean time I'm going to be sending out a Trog to several locations around the planet. The Item just might be here with this many enhanced humans on one planet. It always did have a way of protecting itself."

"Thank you Kakome. May I have the use of a half dozen Trogs as well?"

"After you earn them Commander. I do not tolerate failure. Now get to work."

"Yess Mistress."

oooooooooo

The large wooden gate rose above him by nearly fifteen feet and stood open to anyone that wanted to enter. Ranma had never entered one of these places before, but knew his old man robbed a few during the early days of the training trip. He just hoped no one here would know the Saotome name and try to blame him for his father's actions.

Just past the gate was a series of sculpted steps that reminded him of the steps that led up to Rei's temple. This wasn't a temple though, it was a place where men could get away from their lives. Shrugging, he made his way to the top with a couple of impressive jumps.

Quiet serenity greeted him as he landed at the top. Trees and nature spread out from there in all directions. Off to the side he spotted a trail leading deeper in to the trees. It made few twists and turns, leading him past a beautiful water fall and a large pond. A couple of minutes past this he came across the first person in this place.

He was a large bald man wearing the simple robes of a monk. He was sitting on a rock and looked like he was completely asleep. His eyes snapped open as he approached though. "Who are you boy?" The voice was gravely with lack of use.

"Ranma, I'm looking for someone that's supposed to be here."

"People come and go all the time kid. Why do you need to see him?"

"He's and old friend and I need some advice."

The man grunted. "Who you looking for?"

"Tofu Ono."

The man nodded. "He's still here, has been for nearly a year now."

"Where can I find him?"

"It's up to you to find him kid. If he wanted to be found that easily he wouldn't have come here. Now go." The man pointed to the side of the trail and slumped back down into his original position.

Shrugging again, Ranma turned off the trail and headed into the thick woods. He wasn't worried about getting lost though, ten years on the road gave him a good sense of direction and if he came across any animals he could just blast them. Several yards into the trees he came across another trail, though this one wasn't used as much as the other one.

It curved around several trees and small hills until the forest just opened up into a small clearing. Ranma could even see a little creek moving through the area. It wasn't hard to spot the rather ragged looking individual sitting on a log. A small fire was also burning in a small hole in front of him.

Ranma strolled over and the man looked up. His clothing, a pair of jeans and a dirty shirt appeared to have seen much better days. A thick beard covered his face and he was in desperate need of a hair cut. He frowned for a second, as if trying to remember something, then slapped his thigh and laughed. "Ranma!"

"Tofu, it's been quite a while."

"Indeed, almost a year now. So what brings you all the way out here?"

"You actually, needed some advice and I've found that trusting the two old farts back home just isn't healthy anymore."

Tofu nodded slowly. "I'm not sure I can help Ranma, I've found I'm just a little to unreliable of late."

"You were always good for some advice when you were in Nerima Doc, I don't think now will be any different."

Tofu gave a bitter laugh. "Except whenever K-Kasumi came around. Then I'd completely lose it and end up hurting people."

Ranma shook his head and sat down on the ground across from Tofu. He used a stick to stoke the fire a little. "No one was ever hurt for very long Doc, it wasn't that bad."

Tofu just looked away. "It's why I'm here. To learn control."

"Has it worked?"

"No." Tofu growled.

"Then you need to try something else." Ranma told him. "This isn't like you Doc, not at all."

"I need to learn to control myself Ranma, so that I don't accidentally hurt anyone else."

Ranma narrowed his eyes. "You just need to come to terms with having Kasumi around Doc; this isn't about control at all. You care for Kasumi, that isn't any secret at all."

"I can't work when she's around me!" Tofu yelled as he jumped to his feet.

Ranma smirked inwardly, but didn't let it show on his face. This was a situation where his father's insulting techniques would actually come in handy. He figured Tofu needed to do something other than think about Kasumi all the time. "Yeah right, I've seen you do it Doc, you're just being a coward."

The insult worked like a charm and Tofu dived at him over the fire with a scream. Ranma let his smirk show as he just rolled backward and sent Tofu flying into the air with his legs. Tofu landed in a roll, came to his feet instantly and lashed out at Ranma with a scream.

Knowing better than to get within hitting range of Tofu's fingers, Ranma did a number of twists and dodges that kept him just out of reach, he just needed to keep the man off balance for a few minutes. Ranma even bounced off Tofu's head a couple of times, just like he did with Akane so long ago.

After about twenty minutes Tofu fell to his knees and gasped for air. Ranma just landed a few feet away and crouched down. "Feel better now?"

Tofu just shook his head. "Yeah, as a matter of fact I do."

"Good, now can we talk without all this other crap getting in the way?"

"Sure, pull up a log. You said you needed some advice?" Tofu said as he made his way over to the fire.

Ranma didn't relax completely, he still remembered the time Tofu used that pressure point to make his legs stop working. Akane never let him forget that she had to carry him home either. Once they were settled Tofu used his skills to make them up some tea. "There's a situation in one of the nearby districts where these guys are attacking everyone. There's this group of girls trying to stop them, but they adapt to any kind of attack that's sent at them, no matter how strong."

Tofu sipped his tea and just nodded for him to continue.

"Well me and Ryoga tried to help out, but things haven't been working out as well as they usually do. At the moment Ryoga isn't able to help anymore and this group is able to defend against almost anything I could send against them. The girls are being beaten worse than ever with every attack."

"What kind of group are we talking about here?" Tofu asked.

"Strong fighters with powers of some kind."

"And the girls?"

"The Sailor Scouts." Ranma admitted.

Tofu froze for a second as he heard then name. "Well, that certainly makes this situation a lot more difficult."

Ranma nodded. "I need to find an attack these things can't adapt against, but so far nothing has worked."

"You do have some potent attacks Ranma."

"I know, but this enemy just bats my Ki blasts out of the way. The only thing I haven't had a chance to use on them is the Shoten Ha that the old bat taught me. I've been keeping that in reserve. I've got a couple of versions that I can try, but only if one of the attackers uses either hot or cold energy."

"I see, I think I might have something for you to try, but the book I'm thinking of is back in Nerima."

Ranma was a bit surprised. "Are you kidding?"

"Nope, I've learned a lot of things over the years and come across techniques that I've never been able to master. You on the other hand just may be able to learn anything put in front of you."

"I'll try anything. One of the girls told me that if I didn't come up with something that could stand up to this enemy I'd be dead within the month."

"Let me see, that would be Sailor Pluto?"

"You know her?"

"She's got a bit of a reputation within certain circles. I know of her, but I've never met her before. I had thought she was a myth actually." Tofu said as he gazed into the fire and scratched at his beard.

Ranma nodded. "Me and her don't get along very well."

Tofu just laughed a little. "You do tend to have girls either really like you or really hate you. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground."

Shrugging, Ranma stood up and looked around. "Want to leave tonight? Or head out in the morning?"

"We might as well go now, I need to get home to clean up. I wonder what my mother is going to say. I haven't talked to her in some time."

"Eh." Ranma muttered. "If we start walking now, we can be back by morning."

"Sooner than that. We're going to get on a bus." Tofu explained.

"I don't exactly carry any money around on me doc."

"Not to worry, I've got plenty." Tofu said as he rounded up his few belongings. "We will need to make a stop before we get to Nerima though."

"Where?"

"A place right on the edge of Nerima. An old teacher of mine lives there and he's even more skilled than I am in these things. I also think he might have a copy of the scroll I'm thinking of." Tofu explained as he finished his packing.

oooooooooo

The small shape giggled as it jumped the short wooden fence and headed down the street. Not even half a second later the fence exploded outward. Sailor Uranus and Neptune ran through the gap in the fence, spotted the small monster running down the street and took off after it.

Even at their full speed they had a hard time keeping up with the little monster. It stopped for a second to grab a nearby parked car and lob it at them. They ducked as it sailed by and Uranus fired her attack at the thing. It ripped the sidewalk to pieces and slammed into its back.

She smirked a little as it was knocked off it's feet and tumbled several yards. The two scouts were nearly on top of the thing when it shifted with alarming speed. Neptune only had a second to cry out as she was backhanded off her feet. She slammed into a wall and slumped to the ground with a groan.

Sailor Uranus on the other hand took an even worse hit. The little monster suddenly powered up her own attack and sent it right into her stomach. She grunted as the explosion sent her flying across the street. A large crater formed where she had been standing only moments before.

The little monster grinned at them for a second and giggled. Turing around it broke into a run, but just as suddenly ran head first into a pair of legs. Stumbling back it looked up into the face of a pissed off Ryoga Hibiki. It didn't even have time to move before Ryoga brought both fists down on the things head in a massive pile driver.

With a high pitched scream the thing crumbled to dust. Eyes glowing, Ryoga surveyed the damage to the area and spotted the two girls. He checked on Neptune first. A part of him recognized her uniform, but he'd never seen this particular Sailor Scout before. She seemed to be unconscious but alright.

The other one was in worse shape. Her entire front side seemed to be covered in small cuts and her uniform was nearly gone. There was nothing left to cover her modesty, but her own blood. The old Ryoga would have fainted at this point, but he was different now and wasn't as swayed by such things.

He would have to help them. "What the hell do I do with them?" He muttered out loud.

The blond haired girl groaned, but didn't do anything else. Smirking a little he checked what was left of her clothes for one of the scout's communicators, but she didn't seem to have one. After giving up on that he picked the girl up and slung her over his shoulder like a sack.

Moving back across the street he glared down at Neptune and kicked her foot a few times to wake her up. He really wasn't in the mood for any of this crap, but that wouldn't stop him from helping them. He just needed to kill Ranma and things would be a lot better. For now he could help the girls and they just might lead him back to Ranma.

Neptune groaned and looked up and gasped. "Wha…"

"Your friend is hurt. We need to get her to a hospital or something." Ryoga growled.

"Where's that thing?" She asked as she jumped to her feet.

Ryoga was really starting to like these short skirts. Smirking a little he nodded in the direction of the dust pile in the middle of the sidewalk. "Over there. I caught the freak by surprise and took it down."

The green haired Scout gaped at him for a second then shook herself and nodded. "Right, give me my friend and we'll be on our way."

"No, she needs to got to hospital."

"We have healing magic, she'll be alright in a day or two and doesn't need to go to the hospital." Neptune said.

"Feh." Ryoga muttered and tossed the half naked girl to Neptune. "Whatever. You might want to be more careful next time. You girl's don't seem to be up to the challenge if that monster was all they've been throwing at you."

Neptune glared right at Ryoga as the boy started laughing. He deliberately stomped in the pile of dust as he walked away and vanished around the corner. She sagged a little once he was gone though. Her magic senses had been screaming at her since the second she woke up.

Whoever that kid was he held a lot of power and felt as evil as the monster he just defeated. Uranus chose that moment to snuggle a little deeper into her arms and murmur something about strawberries and chocolate. Blushing, she started running for home so she could help get her lover cleaned up.

High above the scene, standing on a floating rock, Commander Hibera nodded to herself and made several notes. Her prey hadn't shown up. She wondered why these girls seemed to always take care of things. On any other planet, it was usually men that needed to be killed, but here it was the opposite. What was different about this particular planet?

Was her prey as useless in a fight as he seemed? His powers would seem to put him in a position of importance, but he didn't show up to help. Maybe she would need to do something bigger than a Trog. She knew where he was as well, but wanted to take him down during a fight.

Ambushing him sounded boring. That meant she would have to do something more spectacular to capture everyone's attention. Kakome wanted the girl's defeated so she had taken down at least one of them for a few days. There rest of them would be just as easy to take care. The Trogs had the measure of their powers now.

"Time to have a little fun."

oooooooooo

The moon was well above the city by the time Ranma and Tofu reached Nerima by bus. One thing stood out in Ranma's mind though, he would never ride the bus again. He had never been so bored out of his mind in his life. He could have ran the distance in a third of the time. Tofu was just amused by his reaction and told him to learn a little patience.

Ranma huffed. They walked several blocks in silence. As usual the streets seemed to be a maze of houses and businesses, but they eventually reached a small estate. The place was entrenched in the middle of the maze so well that he hadn't even realized they arrived until Tofu stopped in front of an almost hidden gate in the middle of a wall.

"This the place?" Ranma asked.

"Yes, Sensei Kuli's house."

"How did you even find this place."

"Wasn't that hard, you just need to know what to look for." Tofu explained as he opened the gate and they stepped through.

A monk stood in the shadows of the wall on the other side and stepped forward after they entered. "May this one be of assistance?"

Tofu glanced at him for a second before nodding. "I'm Dr. Tofu Ono, I'd like to speak with Sensei Kuli about some obscure scrolls he has in his library."

The man gazed at them for several seconds before touching his ear, listening to something, and nodding. "Who is your guest?"

"This is Ranma."

"Follow me please."

They the area beyond the gate was a well manicured garden of grass and trees full of birds. Ranma realized that he could even hear the sound of a small brook a little ways off and wondered just who this guy was supposed to be. He glanced at Tofu, but the guy seemed to be as normal as always so he just shrugged.

This was a situation that would mean trouble if he was with his old man, but that sense of danger wasn't the same with Tofu so he just followed along to see what would happen. Of course the six guys in hiding among the trees following them didn't bode well, but they weren't doing anything.

"Who is this guy Doc?"

"He used to work for the government, but these days he's retired and keeps to himself. You can sense the guards?"

"Yeah, they aren't well trained, but they're good enough for regular people." Ranma said and their guide nearly tripped over something. Tofu just laughed a little and made sure the man didn't fall.

The main house came into sight a few steps later. It wasn't that impressive, but it spoke of wealth anyway. The guide led them around the outside of the house to a small cave in the back. An ancient man sat on before a small fire meditation. He too was wearing the robes of a monk.

Ranma wanted to snort at all this posturing but a glance from Tofu stopped him. Genma had taught him to be wary of certain types of people over the years and Ranma supposed this guy fit that description. They stopped across from the fire and knelt down. Tofu bowed before the man.

"Sensei, it is good to see you again."

The old man opened his eyes. They were the milky white of a blind man and Ranma had to resist the urge to snort again. "Ono, it has been nearly a decade."

"Yes sensei."

"I'm too old for useless crap, what do you want?" The old man wheezed.

"My friend here needs to see read the Scroll of Lunami." Tofu explained.

The old man's eyes widened completely as he sat forward. "That information is dangerous Ono, why would your student be worthy of that?"

"He's fighting an opponent that adapts to his every move almost as soon as its used."

"This is about that situation in Juuban?"

"Yes Sensei." Tofu didn't sound surprised that the man knew about the situation.

Nothing was said for several minutes and Ranma was about to say something when the old man finally nodded. "The scroll is yours Ono, but it must be used wisely. Are you up for the challenge? For you will find things on that scroll that could help you more than your friend here."

"I'm prepared Sensei."

He waved them off and several minutes later Tofu and Ranma were standing outside the main gate. Ranma was glad to be out of that place. His senses were still screaming at him to get out of there before he died a very gruesome death. After all that he was sure that they were only allowed to see what that old man wanted them too.

"Ready to go Ranma?"

"You trained under that guy?"

"Yep, kind of intimidating isn't he?" Tofu joked.

Ranma just nodded. "So what next?"

"Well we can head to Nerima or find somewhere else to look at this scroll."

"Let's skip Nerima. I won't be going back there any time soon." Ranma muttered as they walked down the street. "I think heading back to Rei's temple will be the best idea. Then I need to track down Hotaru."

"Who?"

"Ah, a niece I didn't know I had until recently. I have to make sure Genma doesn't find out about her."

"Why is that?"

"Her current guardians are rather wealthy and pops is a thief. I don't want him to drain them dry."

Tofu laughed and nodded as he handed the box to Ranma. "Your father was always a little lazy. Here, you look through that and see if you can use any of it."

Taking the box, Ranma carefully opened it to see the yellowed scroll inside. "Let's get to my friend's place so I can sit down and read this. I'd do it here, but someone might see it that shouldn't."

"Sounds like a plan."

oooooooooo

"Come on!" Minako said as she ran down the street.

Behind her, Makoto and Hotaru tried to keep up, but the hyperactive blond was in her element. Makoto could cook better than anyone, Hotaru had her own super cute talents, but Minako could shop like a pro. She knew of all the best places to buy whatever she wanted and right now she had plans, big plans.

So she was a little irritated that Hotaru and Makoto couldn't keep up with her. She would run ahead and have to stop just to wait for them to catch up. So once again she was half a block ahead of her friends when she looked back and saw they weren't there. Huffing, she frowned and stomped her foot.

"Come on, we don't have all day." She snapped.

"Keep your skirt on Mina." Makoto snapped back. "You know that Hotaru can't run like you do."

"Of course she can, it's shopping! Skirts, blouses, and underwear!"

Several guys suddenly looked in her direction and Minako sat up and forced herself to grin. It looked fake, but she kept it up until the three of them were a couple of blocks away. Makoto just laughed at her friend. After knowing her for all this time Minako never changed.

Hotaru just giggled at her friend's antics.

"So Hotaru, got anything you want to buy when we get to the mall?"

"I want to buy some work out clothes for when Ranma gets back. He said he'd start training me now that I've got breathing down right."

"Oh, that's a good idea!" Minako gasped. "

"Oh yeah, how about some spandex?" Makoto suggested, winking at Minako.

The two girls laughed suddenly. Hotaru gave them a weird look then shrugged and continued towards the mall. She wasn't as naive as the two older girls thought she was. Haruka and Michiru talked about the Inner scouts all the time and how some of them acted.

Hotaru was pretty sure that Minako and Makoto were up to something. If her guess was right it probably involved Ranma in some way. Of course she wasn't quite sure what the two girls saw in her long lost relative, but figured they wouldn't hurt him. After all they were always chasing after one boy or another.

The mall was packed with people as they walked towards the main entrance. She had to stop and rest at one of the benches before they went in though. It surprised her that she had made it that distance without taking a break sooner. It made her feel better to know that she might actually be a little stronger because Ranma taught her to breath differently.

"You alright Hotaru?" Makoto asked, a note of concern in her voice. She wasn't used to hanging out with the younger girl for any length of time. Behind her Minako nodded.

"I'll be fine, just need to rest for a few minutes. I normally can't walk that far without stopping several times for rest." She said and gave them a shy grin.

Looking relieved, they pulled her to her feet and they headed into the mall. Hotaru had only been here a few times, so she didn't know her way around. The other two knew the place quite a bit better and headed for the second floor instantly. A few minutes later they were standing in front of a department store bustling with dozens of young girls running around as far as they could see.

"Make up! Clothes! Everything I ever wanted!" Minako crowed as she ran into the store. The other two girls did their best to keep up with the hyperactive girl, but they soon lost her between the jewelry section and the lingerie section.

Still, it only took Makoto a few minutes to make her way over to the sports section. There weren't any girls in the area. Hotaru was thankful for this as she found a foot stool and sat down, gasping for air. "I'll never be able to keep up with you two." She muttered.

Makoto just grinned at her. "You just have to get into the flow of shopping and it'll energize you."

Hotaru just sighed.

The tall girl started grabbing several packages and comparing them with other items. It took Hotaru a couple of minutes to see that she was collecting spandex shorts in various colors. She had to admit that they would probably look pretty good on Makoto with her athletic body.

Minako suddenly came racing over to Makoto. "Look at these! Aren't they the cutest thing!" She held up a very skimpy pair of panties with a little panda on the back end.

"Those are kids underwear Minako." Makoto said, glancing at them. "They are cute though. Want to buy a pair Hotaru?"

"Humph, I'm only a couple years younger than you are Makoto." Hotaru muttered.

"Sorry, sorry, didn't' meant anything by it."

Minako wasn't even slowed down though as she pulled out about five other pair of panties and held them. These were a lot more risqué and colorful underwear. Hotaru wondered why a couple of them didn't seem to have a back side to them. The girl just grinned and blushed.

"Oh! Do you think Ranma would like them?" Makoto asked, giggling a little.

"Who wouldn't?" Minako said and nodded. "I'll save those for later. Now we need to find the perfect shorts, top, and of course shoes. Something we can use but it has to be sexy."

They giggled.

Rolling her eyes, Hotaru got up and started checking out some of the shorts. There were several different styles, but as always she went with black, or in this case gloss black. Makoto noticed her looking at shorts, grinned, and dove into a nearby pile. She came up with a couple pair and hand handed them to Hotaru. "These will be perfect for you."

Behind her Minako nodded and grinned. "The boys are going to get to see just what you have to offer with those things on, even Ranma." Her eyes started to sparkle.

"These aren't my size." Hotaru said as she looked them over. "Their way to small, I won't be able to breath."

"Forget breathing, you want to make a man notice your body, those are the shorts for it. He'll take one look and forget to breath too." She said dreamily and giggled again.

Makoto nodded. "You have to get these a size or two smaller because they are skin tight and will stretch around your waist to highlight your curves."

"I don't want my curves highlighted." She protested.

The girls gasped. "You need to forget that idea right now. Those shorts were made for you! Go try them on!" Minako ordered her.

"I don't think you can try spandex shorts on in the store Minako." Makoto said.

"Of course you can, why would they provide dressing rooms if you couldn't?"

"For dresses."

Minako snorted. "Likely story."

Now Hotaru couldn't help but giggle. These two always made doing things fun and interesting. They were normally wrong and usually ended up being horribly embarrassed, but that never stopped them. Makoto held up a pair of green shorts and frowned. "Maybe we need to get some leotards instead. Men love to see girls dressed like that."

"N-no need to go overboard." Hotaru said hastily. "The shorts are perfect!"

"Hey, a leotard, that's a pretty good idea and they show off curves even better than spandex."

"Where are they?" Makoto asked herself and started looking around.

Now she really wanted to leave. Hotaru glanced around and saw that there were several shirts nearby. She wandered over and started moving through the black ones and found a little half shirt that had in a little built in chest support. Grabbing that, she snuck away from the two girls and grabbed some underwear too.

Living with two lesbians made here quite aware of the different kinds of underclothing that was available. Haruka and Michiru walked around in next to nothing during the night and weren't afraid of being seen like that. Hotaru found what she was looking for a few minutes later.

She heard Minako squeal several aisles over and blanched a little. They must have found the leotards. Bad enough the shorts were going to show things off, a leotard left nothing to the imagination at all. She'd seen girls wear them before. Heck the Sailor uniform was like a padded leotard, just a lot stronger.

"Not gonna wear a leotard." She muttered to herself as she headed off to pay for her items. Of course she hadn't noticed that she was carrying a certain pair of panda panties. Haruka on the other hand would noticed about a week later and tease her for hours because of it.

A few minutes later she was waiting outside, sitting on the bench again, when she heard a muffled noise. Straitening up, she turned to look at the doors when they flew open and Minako came racing out. Her long blond hair streaming behind her. Just a few paces behind her was Makoto, covered in what looked like purple paint.

"Bound for it!" Minako yelled as she raced to the side walk and headed down the block.

"Minako get back here!" Makoto screamed as she chased after her.

"BWHAHAHAHAHAH!" Minako laughed as she held something up. "Never!"

That was when Hotaru noticed that Makoto's top was a little more bouncy than normal, as if she wasn't wearing a bra in fact. She couldn't even keep up with the two girls as they ran and she soon lost sight of them. In a way she was thankful they were gone, she just didn't see what was going through their minds sometimes.

"Hiya kid."

She spun around and grinned. "Ranma."

"What was with those two?" He asked, pointing in the direction Minako and Makoto had run off in.

"They were just playing around mostly." She explained, then noticed the older scruffy looking man behind Ranma. "Who…"

"This is Dr. Tofu, the guy that's going to look at your Ki problem."

The man leaned over and adjusted his glasses. "Hmm…your Ki really is messed up isn't it. This should be a challenge to fix." Hotaru noticed that he had a stick stuck in his beard.

"She can barely get around as it is Doc."

Hotaru nodded, but her nose worked just fine. The strange man smelled like smoke and burnt grass. She wondered where Ranma found this guy and how long he would be around. Hopefully it wouldn't be for long.

Something made Ranma laugh and she turned to look at him. "Wha…"

"Not to worry kid, the doc needs to get home and get cleaned up and then we can start working on your problem. He's been living out in the woods near her for the last few months."

She just nodded.

"What you got in the bags?" Ranma asked.

"Just some shorts and a new shirt, for when we train at the shrine. I needed something I could move around in."

Ranma smiled. "Sounds good. I'll meet you there tomorrow."

"Okay!" She chirped.

"Ranma, we need to get to your mother's place soon if you want to read that scroll tonight. It's rather long."

He nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow Hotaru. Tell Michiru and Haruka I said hello."

"Alright." Hotaru said as they walked down the street.

Sighing, she headed for home and wondered what would happen next. Things had sure been interesting lately.

oooooooooo

To Be Continued...

Notes: Not the most action packed chapter I've ever done, but that was a great place to stop this chapter. Three years ago when I finished chapter four I never planned on having such a long length of time between chapters, but even back then I was starting more stories than I was finishing. So this story and several others went on hold as I worked on some of my other, longer fics. Now this one is active again, but I can't say just how long it will be till the next chapter, only that it won't be that long. I've got the ending pretty much planned out, I just need to manuver things towards that goal.

After this I think I'll work on a new chapter to Playing With Ranma, which I've already got about halfway done as it is. After that, which should be done in a week, I'm going to try and work on Princess of the Moon. Later!

Comments are always welcome!