You can guess the crossover. Ranma won't wear a fuku, and also no tuxedo. He won't be some re-incarnation. He is just... Ranma. I want to avoid numerous stuff that became the norm in these crossovers but that actually is pretty stupid. I also will make it clear that while Ranma and the Senshi learn new techniques, I won't sink to the insane levels of the canon, where it became an absurd arms race in the later parts of both series. It's a common weakness in anime series that the power level increases to ridiculous levels. (In my opinion, DBZ is the worst offender in that regard in the anime world) I will try to stay on Earth and try to give everything a bit more realistic feeling (as much as it as it is possible) but don't worry... hilarity will still ensure!

Needless to say that I will slaughter the canon of both series, but I guess you expected this. Also I don't have any rights to both series, but I guess you know that, too.

Finally Ami and Ranma meet and start to prepare for Ranma's entrance exam. That, and other familiar faces will show up...

Note that this is the updated chapter, it is significantly better from the original one, as my writing skills have improved a lot over the years.

Chapter 2: Meeting a new Friend

Ami Mizuno was busy with learning.

That actually wasn't anything new, as most of her time was filled with learning, although she didn't need it to keep herself at the top of the school grades. With her high IQ she didn't need cram school or going through the whole content of her school work three times. She did so because there was little else for her to do. However, that didn't mean that it actually was fun for her. Not anymore.

There had been a time when she had enjoyed learning for its own sake, but this was now in the past. Learning didn't fulfill her any longer. She saw it as what she needed to walk in her mother's steps and become a doctor of medicine, but further than that the thirst for knowledge had lost its sparkle for her at the same time as her life had started to become empty.

Ami didn't like to think about that part of her life, but the memories came nonetheless.

She had always been a sort of outsider. Her unusual smartness meant that many of the children would avoid her as they thought that she looked down on them, calling her the 'high-nosed egghead'. The older she became, the worse it got. Then two years ago, during her last year of middle school, there was the break. While before the others had only avoided her, the situation changed significantly in that year.

The private school she'd attended was for gifted people, and even there she was far ahead of the others. At the beginning of the year she had been declared the role model pupil of the year of her school. Normally a place of honor, but not in her case. Needless to say that many actively disliked someone like her in that place, as it meant that they would be expected to become like her. A feat practically impossible. They had started to actively resent her for putting the bar that high, and made her life hell.

It became so bad that her mother had to transfer her to a different school. Before she had been at a school for gifted children, but now she went to a normal, public school. Her mother's reasoning was, that maybe she could blend in better in that environment. Ami had been embittered that all her learning had made her an outcast. But there also was little else for her, as she was so scared by that experience that she didn't ever want to be noticed again.

Sure, she still was the top student at the Juuban High School, but she had learned to fade into the background as if she didn't exist in the first place in the mass of students. She had become a shadow, there and yet invisible. Many knew hername but next to no one what she looked like. Of course that also meant social isolation, leading her to fill her free time with even more learning.

How much she had learned to despise learning, yet she masochistically still did it.

Ami sighed. Even though most of the students at her current school actually hadn't an opinion about her at all and thus weren't biased against her, she would never be able to make friends. She simply had become too scared of another possible rejection. Simple human contact was difficult for. That was twice as bad for her as a girl that was growing up into a woman right at the moment, feeling all the urges that came with it. Seeing how other girls started to live the parts that involved being with boys only depressed her even more.

This was something she propably would never have.

At that moment she heard the front door open, meaning that her mother was home. Before the incident Saeko had pulled extra long shifts to give her daughter a life free of financial trouble. But after what had happened she had realized that she really needed to be there for her daughter in person, not just financially. So she had reduced her workload to a more normal level. Ami liked it this way, her mother was the only person who she could talk with about all kind of things. The only one who truely understood her.

Well, aside from her father, but he wouldn't be home until summer break, as per his schedule. Other people were always whispering about the arrangement her parents have found, and with which the three of them could live well enough. It was unusual but they actually found this to be working for the best. The best times of the year were those where he'd be home during school break.

Closing her book, she greeted her mother in the living room. "Hello Mom."

"How was your day, dear?" Saeko asked Ami. However, she actually already knew, as it was always the same.

"It was all right, Mom."

Translation: "I had another miserable day." Exactly as I feared... Saeko again felt that she had failed with Ami. "Ami, there is something I have to talk with you about. It involves your free time."

Ami rolled her eyes, annoyed that her mother again brought up this topic. It started to get old; her mother trying to get her involved into social activities. She still shuddered at the last attempt which had involved trying to get her interested into clubs at school. After seeing the chemistry club's activities, she'd told her mother to never mention it again.

"Mom, we had this more than once already. I'm no little child anymore. That, and I have no idea what else I could do to fill my time," she told her directly.

Saeko had expected this reaction, thus ignored it. "I was not about to suggest meddling with this. No, I said this because there is a favor that I, or better, a friend of mine, needs from you. You remember Mrs. Saotome?"

"Yes. Considering how conservative she dresses, she is hard to forget. She is nice but a little strange. However, what could she want from me?" Ami remembered the woman who had visited them several times, although the details slipped her for now.

Saeko knew that this would be a longer explanation. "You see, her husband took their son away on a long training trip, to make him a martial artist. They returned recently and her son, who is named Ranma, had been in an accident and ended up in hospital. During his stay it turns out that his upbringing was a total disaster with him almost unable to function in a modern society. The reason she asks for your help is, that his school attendance record looks like a swiss cheese with huge gaps. Without help, he will be unable to get through the admittance test for the high school."

Ami now had an idea where this was leading to. "Mom, I can't tutor him. My cram school makes it impossible for me to spend so much time on him, if it is really as bad as you imply."

Saeko held up a hand to tell her daughter to be silent. "Please don't try to think of me as a fool. I'm not blind. I know that first you don't even need to go to cram school any longer, and second you actually don't like going there but haven't found another way to fill your time."

How does she know? Ami wondered. "But I never..."

"Your mother might not be as oblivious to your problems, as you might think sometimes," she told Ami with a slight smile. "I know you would like to fill your time with something different. So why not by helping someone with all the knowledge you have learned? This way you use it for a good cause."

Ami didn't know. What if that Ranma would reject her flat out just because of how smart she was? Also she was afraid of leaving her routine for something new. With so little information, she couldn't make a decision. "Before I decide anything... What kind of boy is this Ranma?"

"I wouldn't worry that he could be mean to you. From everything I saw I can conclude that he simply is too nice to be mean to someone, unless he gets really angry. But you must remember that he grew up with a father that never ever taught him how to play by society's rules. So he could say something rude without even noticing. He might seem dumb, but that's clearly a false impression. However, he has great trouble to concentrate his energy on school work, which is another effect of his upbringing," Ami's mother explained to her.

Ami thought about it. This Ranma sounded like someone socially inept, although that clearly wasn't his own fault. But truth to be told, she also hadn't the best social skills anymore. So it couldn't hurt to try it to break out of her current monotonous life. Who knows? Maybe he is nice enough. If not, I can still bail out. "All right, I'll give it a try, although it means I'll have to quit cram school. When actually do I start with it?"

"I think this would be best after he is released from hospital. It will also give you enough time to prepare. Uhm...Ranma has a little problem that is not my place to tell you. You will understand when you meet him," Saeko said vaguely. She felt it wasn't her place to give away Ranma's burden of shifting gender.

"Huh?" I wonder what she could have meant by that? Ami wondered.

...Shanghai, China...

Xian-Pu looked over the city in twilight, while wondering what to do now.

She was far from home right now, and as loathe as she was to admit it, it was solely her own fault. Thanks to her being a sore loser she had fucked up and now was forced to chase this red-haired outsider girl to kill her. This was why she was right now on the roof of a apartment block, preparing for the night.

#This is my own fault. I should not have given her the kiss of death in my anger. The Elders had looked quite annoyed...# she thought.

Life had never been easy for her. Especially since practically she had no friends in the village apart from Mu-Tsu. While he tried to be nice, he sometimes became a little too obsessive and his refusal to wear his glasses at crucial situations also didn't help. Being groomed from the beginning by her great-grandmother Ku-Lon to become a member of the ruling council in due time had brought her nothing but rejection. Her striving on becoming a warrior was another thing that had led to this.

The older warriors saw her as an upstart with too big of an ego, and thus humiliated her whenever possible. And right when she had finally gained their respect in the last tournament, her blunder had happened. The elders saw her still as a child far too eager to ascend, not taking her serious. The men thought of her as a spoiled princess who always got what she wanted. And the ones of her own age avoided her. The boys either disliked her as a typical 'warrior-bitch' or feared her enough to stay away from her. The girls were either jealous of her position and thus disliked her, or they thought of her as a brainless trollop who got everything only by heritage.

Xian-Pu knew that this wasn't exactly helped by the tensions in the village. The deep rift that had formed between the genders, with both sides becoming more bitter with each year. Her great-grandmother had told her of all the hardships the tribe had went through in the last 30 years, and how these had strongly contributed to the growing anger of the men, who no longer wanted to be restricted to what the matriarchy wanted them to.

#Wen Shizang... No!# Xian-Pu didn't want to think about that. It was simply too depressing.

Fact was, that this one bad incident years ago had forced the council to take action and forbid the kisses of death and marriage. The rule had proven too dangerous and had resulted in a horrible defeat of her tribe. That she had fucked up and violated this rule had made her look really bad. And now she was bound to fulfill this oath, if she wanted or not.

#All this only because of my stupid pride...# After calming down she had discovered that she found it difficult to think of killing this girl. She was trained to kill in battle, yes, but to murder someone cold-blooded, that was something totally different. The more she thought about it, the less she thought she could do it. Others might call her weak, but that was how she felt.

However, what was she to do?

#They do not expect me to bring back her head. So maybe I can fake it. But only outside of China...# She knew that to pull this off, it would have to be further away than this. That, and she already knew that the girl had crossed the ocean to the island of Japan as some dock workers had told her, since red hair was easy to spot.

Looking again over Shanghai, she decided that the outside world was interesting and that she should take her time before again tracking the girl. What she would do when she had finally found her was to be seen. She hadn't it urgent to return to Joketsuzoku.

After taking all this shit from the others for years, she finally had the choice to enjoy herself. And she didn't want to waste that. It felt strangely freeing to be so far away from the village, whose walls now seemed so constricting.

#"The search can wait. Now it is time for myself."# she decided. However, first she had to get some more mainstream-clothes and some black hair dye to blend in. She really wanted to be one of many who wouldn't be singled out.

And who knew what kind of fun she could have in this place?

...a few days later...

"Woah, feels great to be finally out of there!" Ranma had started to seriously dislike being stuck in hospital. Not that the personnel didn't try to be nice to him, but he had become bored out of his mind and embarrassed each time his inability to get up reared its ugly head. And being unable to get out of bed also had almost driven him nuts since he was a person who needed to be physically active.

The doctors had been baffed by the speed his ribs had healed and had almost made him stay longer. Of course his leg was still broken and he was covered in slowly healing bruises. It would need a lot of energy to heal his leg, and that would take time as well. Too much energy, so he partially had to let nature do its work. This of course made anything beyond his lightest excercises impossible, meaning that he needed to find something else to occupy his time with.

At least his curse hadn't been triggered in the last few days, that was little condolence though. During the travel back to Tokyo he'd been spash with frightening regularity, which had made him especially irritated.

"I'm sure you will like your home. Are you sure you do not remember it?" his mother asked him while they rode to the Saotome home with a taxi.

As much as he'd tried, he simply was unable to remember anything about his mother or his home. Ranma shook his head. "Nope. Wouldn't recognize it if I was standing before it. Pop made sure of that."

Nodoka knew that this was to be taken literal. After getting to know her son better, it became clear that he hadn't had any real memory of her or his home because of the deep shock he had suffered during the neko-ken training. It'd damaged his memory of events from before the pit. These memories were lost forever, another reason why she regretted her decision to let Genma leave with their son.

For now there was a different concern for her. "Son, we have to work on your speech habits. You sound like you come from the deepest backwater with the accent you have."

"Mom, I did travel through the backwater for ten years," Ranma reminded her. His training trip rarely had brought him to big cities, so it was no wonder that he had adopted such a heavy accent. "It's the way I grew up."

Nodoka sighed. She had forgotten the hardships of being a mother. And after all what she had heard, teenagers were even more difficult. She too, had so much to learn. "Granted... Still, no one will take a sensei serious who speaks like some poor pauper." She knew that this was the best way to ensure that he would try to improve his speech patterns.

Ranma had to admit, it did make some sense. He'd never get respect with poor speech patterns. After all, all the sensei he highly thoguht of had spoken without a hint of accent and very clear. He would have never guessed how many things beside fighting a martial arts sensei had to be capable of. A sensei had to have a college degree, be capable of interacting with his fellow people and have social skills. Everything he didn't have right now.

Of course he did have the will to try and learn this since he wanted to beat this challenge, but he had no idea how to get himself to learn boring school stuff, thanks to his Pop. His very active life had resulted in him getting bored when sitting still for too long. How had his father expected him to become a sensei then?

That reminded him... "Mom, where's Pop? Haven't seen him since the crash."

"I told your father to stay away, otherwise you wouldn't have gotten any rest. Also I told him that under no terms will I accept him simply freeloading off me. If he wants a place in the house, he has to get work for an income," she explained.

"Isn't that kind of...hard? I never saw pop on a job." It was true that Genma seemed to have an aversion against honest work, preferring to use less honest ways to get what he wanted.

"I know it sounds unfair to you right now. But after everything that your father confessed to me he did in all these years, being forced to have a honest income will be for the best." That, any hopefully it will remind him of when he actually was a honest man, she silently added hopeful.

"Hell will freeze over before Pop manages to hold a job for longer than a day..." Ranma remarked. He doubted that Genma would manage to hold a job, since he had very little skills; outside of stealing of course. Work and his father usually meant him being forced to do it.

Nodoka sighed. Her son knew the current Genma much better than she did. So as much as she hated to admit it, she feared that her son was right. Probably she would need double the patience, for Ranma and for her husband.

Finally they arrived at the Saotome home.

"Wow, it's really nice," Ranma commented when seeing the house. It was a mostly traditionally built house, although there were some obviously modern additions to it, like the TV antenna on the roof. It wasn't a mansion, but big enough enough to hold a big family. It was surrounded by a nice and well-cared garden with a separated, empty, sand-covered area.

"Is that a training square?" he wondered.

"Yes, nowadays I used it for some of my forms. It's where you father kept himself in shape when not visiting a local dojo, and where you did your first attempts to beat him up." It awakened memories of little Ranma hitting his father's knee with his little fists strong enough that Genma had walked funny for two days.


"Oh, great..."

Hearing a girl's voice, Nodoka looked to her son and saw a red-haired girl in his place. A wet girl at that. When the taxi had driven away it had splashed Ranma when driving through a puddle, triggering the change that Nodoka yet had to see. Now there was no doubt that the curse was all too real. Nodoka had to admit that Ranma looked really cute as a girl, but she would never dare to tell him that as it would deeply hurt his feelings.

She also could see herself... In her youth her hair had been brighter, close to the red hair of her son-turned-daughter. Something she'd gotten from her grandfather on her mother's side. This was probably what Ranma would have looked like, if born as a girl. That, and she was quite a bit shorter now, having a little trouble with the crutches.

"I wouldn't have believed it days ago that this is possible... Son, is the change really complete?" she wondered, seeing that Ranma now filled his, no, her shirt really well.

Ranma sighed. It was one of these uncomfortable topics she'd wanted to avoid. "As far as I know, yes. I didn't check myself. I hate it to be like this and change back soon as possible. I feel funny like this, as if I don't have a right to even look at myself."

"Oh dear..." She hadn't had any idea that her son was this scared of his female side. Scared, and ignorant. "Ranma, how much do you actually know of the female body?"

Ranma scratched her head. "Uhm, not really that much. Up to now I only know that I have balance trouble with this extra weight in front and I can't take a leak standing, got a real mess the one time I tried."

Nodoka let out a sigh. It was even worse than she had thought. "I won't force you to anything, but you will have to learn a lot about your girl body. It is now as much you as your real one and you shouldn't be ashamed to learn about it... But I think this is for another time."

Mentally she added that Ami really needed to explain the female body to Ranma as well. She knew that she herself wouldn't be able to do so without making a complete fool of herself. It would have been different for her if Ranma would have been a real daughter, but now she propably wouldn't be able to get out .

Ranma didn't know what to think of that while they walked down the way to the house.

She'd had this body for a little over three weeks now and actually knew very little of it. She would never admit it to herself, but she was a little scared to actually learn more about it. She felt really strange, different, when being in this girl body. Although she undoubtedly was still fully Ranma, the body seemed alien. Her hesitation to see anything more than absolutely needed of course meant that she had no real idea of her girl-side's anatomy.

It felt like someone inside her head told her that it wasn't her place to know anything more about it.

...Ranma's room, later that day...

Lying on his bed -an actual bed that was much more comfortable than the hard futons of the past- Ranma now was back in his birth form and thought about everything he had encountered in the house up to now.

He had been right when thinking that his mother had learned an art judging by the way she held herself. The first thing he had noticed when entering the family room were some trophies on a shelf, taking a place of honor. His mother was quite proud to admit that she was practicing the art of the sword, Kendo. That she had won several times in the woman's division of some tournaments proved how good she was.

This helped him to give her even more respect than he already did. He did respect other fighters who are good at an art of fighting. In a way it also helped to connect to her, seeing that she was a fellow follower of a fighting art. She had suggested that maybe some day he might be interested to learn the basics form her.

Why not? Couldn't help to be able to fight with a weapon as well...

The rest of the house was radiating something like warmness, as if welcoming him. It did feel like a home, a real home. His own room on the other hand was rather bare. Apart from the bed he had a dresser, a desk with a lamp and a chair. Nodoka had said that she would leave it entirely to him how to decorate his room. If he only knew what he should put up, as he hadn't much.

All his belongings fitted in the backpack currently resting in the closet. Thinking about it, the fact actually was depressing.

Really fitting, that's essentially what my life is reduced to. The thought was sobering. He might look a little stupid on the outside, but inside he was capable of some serious thinking.

Lunchtime had come and his mother had proven to be a really good cook, although she admitted that it had been very long since she had cooked for someone other than herself. It was quite obvious that she was giving him especially much attention. His mother wanted really bad to make up for letting go of him all these years ago, even he saw that.

He even felt a little embarrassed with how much attention he got.

His mother had told him he would have a tutor so that he would be able to pass the entrance exam for the school. Ranma shuddered at the mere idea. Remembering the kind of teachers he'd had during his school attendance in middle school, it would be either some conservative old hag or some old I-am-the-sensei teacher. Both prospect were not very charming.

Also he doubted that they could make him actually learn something. He'd propably fall asleep within the first few minutes, being bored out of his mind. He couldn't help it, it just happened. His mother however had been silent about it when he'd voiced his concerns, saying it would be a surprise for him.

Talking of surprised...

Genma had returned barely half an hour ago. Still looking fearful to Nodoka, he had announced that he actually had found a job. That had surprised Ranma as his father was not known to grab a chance for real work, meaning that his mother must have really scared him or he simply didn't dare to go against her. That, or a mixture of both. Sure, the job wasn't that great, just being a help for manual labor in a warehouse near the harbor, but it was at least a beginning. Also, the job was literally dry to prevent hard to explain incidents.

His musing was interrupted when he heard someone at the front door. Listening, he heard his mother answer the door and then voices downstairs. However, he was unable to discern what kind of person the tutor was. Some minutes later there were steps up the stairs.

Probably my tutor wanting to examine the terrain. Geez, I wonder what kind of boring person Mom has chosen...

Getting up and taking his crutches, he didn't want to meet whoever it was while lying on his bed. He maneuvered himself to the chair at the desk. He had just sat down when he heard knocking on the door. "Come in, it's open."

His mother appeared in the door. "Ranma, your tutor is here and I thought you want to get to know her before you two start trying to figure out what you need to work on." That said she stepped aside to show him the person who was conscripted into helping him.

Ranma blinked, then looked to his mother. "Uhm, Mom? Isn't she a schoolgirl herself?"

What he saw was a girl that looked like she came fresh from school, still wearing her seifuku uniform whose prominent colors were white for the blouse and dark blue for the skirt and collar. Ranma knew at once that this was a uniform he would never wear as a girl, not even if threatened with torture. He guessed that she was as old as he was, having black hair with dark blue highlights and looking somewhat uncomfortable.

"Son, I think one of the things I need to show you is how to greet someone properly..." Nodoka sighed. Seeing her son wince she got the statisfaction that her words had worked. "This is Ami Mizuno, the daughter of my friend Saeko. Do not let her appearance fool you, she is easily capable of helping you to catch up. I thought you would be more likely to listen to someone of your own age."

"Oh... Uh, hi. I'm Ranma..." he greeted the girl rather awkwardly. He had little idea how to deal with girls of his age, no thanks to his father telling him all the time, that girls were only a distraction from the art.

Ami on the other hand was surprised how nervous the boy was just because of simply greeting her. "Hello Ranma. I hope I can help you as best as I can... if you want me to."

"Why not? Let's give it a try..." Ranma then noticed his mother returning with a glass of water. He knew what that meant. "Ohhh, Mom! Do you really have to?"

"I want to get this right out of the way. Otherwise it will only cause trouble." That said she emptied the glass over Ranma's head, who sported a look of defeat.

Ami was confused for a second, then she saw... she blinked, hoping that she had seen right. Her mind was in direct danger of shutting down when seeing something that should be totally impossible according to the laws of logic. Seeing Ranma turn into a busty, red-haired girl almost a head smaller really threatened to put her mind into a destructive loop.

That's impossible... totally impossible! she repeated again and again while staring at her.

"Mom, I think we broke her..." Ranma commented when seeing Ami still staring at her after a full minute.

That finally broke Ami out of her thoughts. "How...?" That was all she could get out. She was still trying to fit this totally illogical event into her logic-dominated world view. A feat almost completely impossible.

"Believe it or not, it's magic." Ranma had learned to accept that magic did exist, although it had been really hard for her at first. "Pop took me to that place in China. Turned out he can't read Chinese and ignored the warnings. Pools of Sorrow. You fall into one, you take the form of whatever drowned in it with cold water. Warm restores you. I got girl, my pop got panda. That's the short version."

Ami tried to get herself together while hearing this.

There had to be a logical explanation. But then, magic went against logic, probably because it was illogical in its very nature. This meant a logical approach wouldn't work. So instead she tried to concentrate on learning more so that she could deal with it. "Where does... where does the mass go?" That earned her a confused look. "I mean... your girl body is quite a bit shorter, so where does the extra mass go?"

Now Ranma understood. "No idea. I gave up on understanding magic and simply accepted it as the way it is."

Ami hated it if there was no explanation for something, but had to accept that Ranma didn't know as well. Then she blushed when she asked next "Uhm... is the know... really complete?"

"No idea. Never saw a girl naked, so I have no idea what's different besides the obvious parts. And no way I want to...uhm... put my hands down there..." Ranma felt uncomfortable with that topic, grabbed her crutches and made her way to the door. "Mom, I change back. One moment."

Nodoka waited until Ranma had left, before looking to Ami. "Do you still want to tutor him?"

Ami didn't answer for a second, before looking up to her. "He's weird, this curse is weird... However, that isn't a real reason to deny your request. I'm still going to do it." Ami had decided to mostly ignore the illogical nature of the curse, or she would get a headache. Sometimes ignorance was bliss. "He seems nice enough."

"If it isn't any trouble for you, can you please also give him an extensive explanation of the female body? I'm in no position to tell him this, as I would lose my nerves and make a fool of myself," Nodoka asked Ami and hoped that she would say yes.

Ami also wondered if she could gather her nerves for this. Ranma seemed truly ignorant of these matters. And to explain to a boy who can turn into a girl the fine points of the female body... "Not for now. Maybe later after we have covered most of the work. I don't think it will be too urgent." And secretly she hoped that she wouldn't have to do it at all. The idea alone made her blush.

Ranma then returned, having turned back to his birth form. Nodoka then left them alone left to tend to the house and make sure that Genma wouldn't try to smuggle any alcohol into the house as she had a strict no-alcohol policy. After what she'd seen him doing while being drunk, she'd take no chances.

Ami readied her books and papers, deciding that she would find out first, where to start. "Ranma, what was the last thing you learned in your first high school year?" she asked him.

Ranma shrugged. "What high school year? You should know my Pop. Haven't seen a school from inside for over a year now after finishing middle school." Genma never had thought much of his education, so his school record was practically a disaster. Not that his father cared at all, preaching that school was useless for a martial artist anyway. Strange since without school he now knew, he could never become a sensei.

Another thing where my old man fucked up royally, Ranma thought, feeling that his father had almost destroyed his dream of becoming an instructor of the arts.

Ami almost dropped her book when hearing this. "Oh my!" Houston, we have a problem... the same time, London...

Sitting on a rooftop during the deepest night, Sailor V, better known as Sailor Venus alias Minako Aino, was wondering what to do now.

She had won the fight and yet she had lost a lot. Katarina thought now she was dead after the explosion of the warehouse where she had defeated Danburite, thus destroying the Dark Agency. However, the victory had come with more revelations that made it more clear for her that she should leave London.

Alan and Katarina were a couple! How could she have been so blind to not see that? And then there was the issue of Danburite's curse that she shall never find love. Was it real? She was tempted to think so after what she had seen, knowing that magic was a real thing. She only knew that her stay in London would be over anyway, her parents wanted her to return to Tokyo as soon as possible.

"Artemis, what do you think I should do now?" she asked her white mooncat.

He was the only one who she could talk to about these things. Ever since Artemis had entered her life and revealed to her that she was destined to become a powerful magic girl named Sailor Venus, he'd become her closest friend. She'd at first not believed that a cut could be this smart. However, by now she'd accepted it as the most normal thing in the world.

"Now that the Dark Agency is done for, we should start looking for the Moon Princess. She is the key to securing the future and only her power can hold up against possible future evils," Artemis explained to her.

Artemis knew that finding the princess and the other Senshi now had top priority. Minako alone was powerful, but surely she was no match for more serious enemies. The Dark Agency had been relatively weak, practically a joke compared to the horrors he did remember. That, and he hoped to find Luna. He knew she was out there somewhere and he actually missed her. Her sarcastic, wonderful self that he actually found attractive.

Minako knew that this would have come sooner or later. She had done all this disguising as Sailor V to pose as the princess and dupe the enemies. Problem was that despite this they'd no idea where to find the real princess.

"But Artemis, how am I supposed to recognize her, if she has been reborn as a Jane Doe?" she asked her advisor.

"Actually, I have no idea. While I managed to track her location down to you home city, Tokyo is still huge. It makes me wonder how we can find her," Artemis told her. He had used every trick in the book to get a closer lock, but it was useless. "It is like the literal needle in the haystack."

Both of them had went through a lot since meeting for the first time almost half a year ago, awakening the power of Sailor Venus within Minako. There were some difficulties for a 16-year old girl to be a superhero and a teenager at the same time. She had needed quite some time to get used to being a Sailor Senshi. She had thought meeting a talking cat was a strange dream. And after her first transformation... Artemis had needed almost a week to convince her that there was no other way than to use THAT costume. She was still embarrassed that this ultrashort skirt flashed her panties at every small movement of hers. Should her mother ever see her in that thing, she would have a stroke. Whoever had designed the suit had been either a huge male pervert or a hardcore lesbian.

It was exhausting to be a super heroine. Beside herself going against crime, she had stumbled over the Dark Agency quite fast. Good thing that her disguise as Sailor V was a double-insurance to stay anonymous. After a while, the lead had led her here, to London. And now it was over, the evil defeated.

Artemis meanwhile had other thoughts. He was still embarrassed that he had been unable to find any of the other Senshi. He'd even stubled over Minako more by accident, as if being drawn to her. Maybe it was the connection to her still there from her previous life. Hopefully they could be re-united soon with the other Senshi. Only together they were strong.

Minako sighed. "Artemis, how can we find her under millions of people, not to speak of the other Senshi that yet have to awaken?"

"Do not fear. The princess' location is well known to me."

"Who is there!" Minako was alarmed at once, jumping up to confront the intruder. She was prepared to blast this woman -the voice was clearly female- with a Crescent Beam but stopped when seeing what she looked like. A woman with long, dark-green hair -THAT was unusual- wielding a long staff and wearing a Senshi uniform like her own, only that her skirt and other highlights were all black and she wore long boots. Combined with the fact that this was a grown-up woman, she radiated dignity.

"Do not fear me. I am not an enemy," thewoman calmly told her.

"Who are you?" Minako stayed careful. This could be a trap of their enemies to trick her into letting down her guard, so she was ready to blast her should she make one wrong move.

The woman looked to Artemis. "Don't you remember me, Artemis? It was a long time since we last met. Many years have passed since then, so I won't fault you if your memory has gaps after being so long in suspended animation."

Artemis looked closer at this woman. He knew her somehow. These damn memory gaps! Finally a name came up. "Sailor... Pluto? The mistress of time?"

Pluto give him a small smile. Living for years like a normal woman had been really good for her emotional health. "I see you do remember me after all. Don't worry, with time all of your memory is going to return to you."

"Sailor Pluto... Artemis, does this mean she is one of Senshi we are looking for?" Minako asked Artemis. She felt a little intimidated by her, feeling like a little kid compared to this woman.

Artemis felt some of his memories returning, now that he had something to start with. "Some of my memory is returning... She is one of the planetary warriors. Like your domain is linked with Venus and love, hers is linked to Pluto and time. But I wonder why she is here, since I remember her as being reclusive."

"Before I speak, please drop this disguise, Sailor Venus." Pluto then waited. Minako trusted Artemis' judgment that this was an ally, and returned to her true form of Sailor Venus. Pluto then continued. "It is true that I was reclusive. I learned that I can't any longer sit back and do nothing. So I came to help you, guide you on your path. As the Senshi with the most experience I feel that this is the best way for me to help you. Now, I think you have lots of questions."

"Pluto, what did you say about the princess?" Venus asked her.

"The princess is safe. Her location is known to me, and in due time she will awaken. So do not burden yourself with looking for her. She will reveal herself at the right time. Your main objective will be to locate the Senshi of Mercury, Moon, Mars and Jupiter," Pluto explained. She knew that the search for the princess would be a wild goose chase, since it was Usagi herself, so she wanted them to do something more useful than that.

"What about Saturn, Uranus and Neptune?" Venus wondered further.

"These three will be of my own concern. Like the inner Senshi are to be the guardians of the princess, the outer Senshi are warriors to hold off outside dangers. It is my job to find them and lead them into battle," Pluto explained.

Pluto knew, she would need to do a gentle job with Michiru and Haruka, otherwise the shock of the repressed memories would be too much for them and make them rather ruthless. As for Hotaru... the time wasn't right yet but she'd not again let the poor girl suffer her original fate. Hotaru deserved better than that.

"I will do what I need to do," Venus said confidently. "That however still doesn't solve the problem of finding them."

"Do not worry about it. The Senshi are naturally drawn to each other. You'll find each other naturally. Just return to Tokyo and your search will be successful in due time," Pluto explained further.

Venus knew that she propably couldn't expect more than this. "All right."

"Very good. I saw that the evil will awaken soon. You and the other Senshi must prepare youselves to protect the princess when the time comes... I need to go now. I shall meet you soon again to ensure that you can contact me."

Pluto was about to teleport away, but then stopped. "Oh, and Artemis... Luna will be with the Senshi when you find them. So do not worry, you are about to meet again vey soon." Pluto then disappeared.

Artemis wondered how she could know that, but also was happy that Luna was still with them. Seeing Minako's grin however made him stop cold. he sighed. Now the Senshi of love would not stop until he'd spilled his guts over his crush on Luna.

In another part of London at the same time...

Danburite really hurt. This little Sailor V-bitch had done quite a number on them. All his love for her had turned into hatred. So if he couldn't have her, no one else should have her. He had barely escaped the fire and was already thinking about how to get even with her. It would surely be messy.


He felt his blood run cold when he looked up and saw a man with white hair, wearing a grey uniform with a white cape. He recognized his superior. "General Kunzite, I..."

"Silence! You have totally screwed up, you loss. We gave you enough power and equipment to deal with this one Senshi girl, and you totally failed." Kunzite's voice was even and yet full on venom.

Danburite paled when hearing this. "I...I...I can explain..."

"Spare me you explanations. Your services are no longer needed." Then, without warning, beams shot out of his hand, setting Danburite on fire. His victim screamed for a few seconds before death came through the unnaturally hot fire. Kunzite looked down at the burned corpse. "This is the price for wasting the time of the Dark Kingdom."

Turning around he had no further eye for the smoking body. Queen Beryl had bigger fish to fry right now, with her trying the find the Silver Crystal. But of course it was them who would have to do all the work by investigating all the leads, something that would cost them a lot of time. Zoisite had made it clear that she would demand more time from him to deal with the stress, and he had nothing against that.

Kunzite then disappeared, leaving behind the body.

...Saotome home, some days later...

"Yes, if you hit an opponent weighting 80 kilograms with the power you calculated, he would be thrown back one meter. Well done."

Ami felt that she was finally on the right track with her tutoring. The first day had been a total disaster. She had tried to simply duplicate everything from her books and school and it had been a total failure. It had resulted in Ranma actually falling asleep. She had been ready to give up right then, when she'd had the right idea.

Until Ranma would learn that learning school stuff wasn't so difficult and boring, and she saw the first signs of it starting to rouse his interest, she would package everything in a way that would arouse his interest, to make him see how useful it could be and have a real connection to the world around him. Quite some of it had more or less connection to his art. And it did work. He didn't fall asleep after the first time and actually became interested.

Of course it was still hard work.

She almost had fainted when hearing what exactly he could remember from his school time, and the first test of the waters proved that it would be a hard uphill battle. His mathematical skills were underdeveloped, his knowledge of physics and biology slim and his handwriting looked plain horrible. While his Katakana and Hiragana could pass as decent enough, his Kanji were barely readable and he hadn't mastered quite a number of them -actually never learned them in the first place.

At least he was willing to learn. He had said that he wanted to become a martial arts sensei, which meant that he would need to learn all this to get a degree. Him actually having a motivation made her work a lot easier. And truth to be told, underneath his social ineptitude -of which she already had gotten her share, causing his mother to lecture him on the right behavior several times by now- he was actually quite nice.

Quite rough around the edges, but nice.

Ranma meanwhile again felt as if there was smoke coming out of his ears from straining his brain so much.

He had went through numerous challenges in martial arts and had considered himself capable of mastering any obstacle. However, being confronted with a challenge so different than what he was used to really taxed him. But he wasn't one to give up. Grinding his teeth together, he would master it, even if he needed to ask Ami more than once about something. Good thing that she had a lot of patience.

Also he didn't want to disappoint Ami. He had seen how hard she had taken it on the first day when he had fallen asleep because he simply couldn't keep himself awake during the boring lesson. He had felt immensely guilty after seeing how disappointed she was, obviously thinking it had been her fault. Thankfully it had become better the next day, with her trying to make things interesting for him, and it did work.

At first he hadn't had any idea how to relate to Ami's obvious superiority in all things school-related. He had finally decided to simply treat her like many of the martial arts sensei he had met during his travels, of whom he had learned to respect a number of. She was a master of knowledge, and he the learner, it was as simple as that. And while he did have very limited experience in dealing with girls, he didn't buy most of the bull his father had told him, although some of it did stick without him knowing. He opted to simply treat her like a buddy.

"It's so much easier once you know what to do," he remarked, while putting down his notes. If he could do this stuff really fast in his head, it could be useful during a match to target an opponent's weak spot.

Ami knew he meant her way of teaching him these things. "Yes, but this is only the beginning. Enough math for now. We now go to Kanji."

Ranma felt like groaning. It was one of these things that were difficult to package. So she had told him that getting a better coordinated hand was always good. And truth to be told, it frustrated him that there was a big number of Kanji he simply didn't understand. "I feel like a small kid."

Ami had to admit, these Kanji usually were taught in middle school. "It's no use to cry over spilt milk now. With hard work we can correct everything and get you ready." She had to admit she liked using all her knowledge to help him. However, she would keep a healthy distance.

They were interrupted when Nodoka entered. "I hope my interruption is not inconvenient, but I need to ask you two a favor."

"Both of us?" Ranma wondered.

It seemed she had expected this question. "I do not want you to sit in the house all the time, even with your injury. And since you are new in the city, you need someone to guide you... Look, Ami, do you know the Hikawa Shrine at the five hills?"

Ami nodded. "Yes. It's famous with school girls, although I have never visited it personally as I had no reason to."

Nodoka had to admit that a shrine could hold a reputation for so long, that was quite a feat. After all it alread yhad this reputation while she'd went to school. "I got a call from the head priest. He got something I asked him to acquire, but I'm unable to go to the shrine right now. Ranma, are you interested...?"

...Hikawa shrine...

The bus left the station in front of the shrine entrance, allowing a girl wearing a school fuku and a boy with a leg cast and on crutches, to make their way to the shrine.

"You know, I wonder how your mother made me agree. Thought I only wanted to tell her that it would cost our lessons quite some time to do this," Ami wondered while they slowly ascended the stairs, which was a little awkward for Ranma.

"One thing I learned fast is, that Mom can be quite... persuasive" Ranma at least now understood the comment his father had made two days ago, that she always got what she wanted. He then almost cursed when narrowly avoiding slipping off one of the steps with one of the crutches. He couldn't wait to finally have that damn cast off! "She only needed to look at me during lunch and I fell in line."

He remembered the incident. He had used his usual eating habits, learned because of his father always trying to steal his food in the name of training, until his mother had looked at him as if seeing a barbarian. It wasn't even an angry look, but it had made him swallow hard and eat at a much slower pace. Obviously she had asked Genma later about it, since he had spotted his father from the window of his room being busy with pulling out weeds in the garden.

Finally they reached the top and entered the shrine yard, greeted with a young shrine maiden of their age, whose long, black hair reached to a little below her waist, being busy with sweeping the ground. But then she stopped, without looking up. "Something doesn't feel right..."

"Hi!" Ranma greeted her.

"AHHH!" the miko jumped up, startled by the voice, at once a spirit ward in her hands. However, only seeing two people wanting to visit the shrine, she grumbled "Ha ha... very funny!"

Ami decided that she should better defuse the situation, before Ranma could say anything offensive that would make the girl angry. After all this miko didn't seem to have a high bullshit tolerance. "Sorry if we startled you. We're looking for the head priest."

The miko still looked a little miffed to Ranma, but then dropped it after giving him one cool look. "My grandfather? Well he is..."

"Oh, Rei, we have visitors! What a nice girl! Maybe you want to work here after school?"

The miko rolled her eyes when seeing the source of the voice. A man in his very late sixties, bald and wearing the robes of a shinto priest, barely reaching her height. "The head priest, my grandfather. Please excuse him, he is all right but he has a thing for watching teenage girls." She then turned to her grandfather. "Gramps, these two are looking for you."

The priest looked to them, his features showing that he was intensely looking at Ranma. "Oh yes, Nodoka called me to tell that you two would come to get the special wards I've created... Ranma, you have grown really a lot since I last saw you. Your mother must be really proud of you."

"You know me?" Ranma wondered. He couldn't remember the priest at all.

The priest was a little taken aback by this question. "Of course I know you. Your parents were wed here at this shrine, I conducted the ceremony. It was me who blessed you after your birth. Your mother comes to me when she needs spiritual guidance. How could you forget me? As a little kid you were always happy when you visited, since I always had a lollipop for you."

Ranma hated it to be reminded of his missing memories. "I had an training accident almost 10 years ago. Sorry, but I forgot most of my childhood memories from before it."

"Training accident?" The priest's mood darkened considerably. "Please don't tell me that your father is the one responsible..."

"He was. Mom is really pissed at him for it... You sound really pissed at my pop as well." Ranma wondered what his father had done to the priest. Although by now, only little did surprise him.

"You probably don't remember it. You and your father visited me as the first stop on your journey. Genma had asked if I had any scrolls on techniques. I didn't. But after you two left I found out that he had stolen a big sum from the shrine's funds. I never told Nodoka as I didn't want to burden her with it." The priest still looked angry over it, probably since it was a big taboo to steal from a shrine.

"His father robbed the shrine?" Rei couldn't believe that someone would do such an act. This Ranma's father must be quite a ruthless thief to do this. She had never met him, but already her opinion of him wasn't the very best now.

"Sounds like him." That was another thing on the list of Genma's faults. "I'll tell Mom. She'll drag him here by the ears and force him to work for the shrine to pay forwhat he'd stolen. His job leaves him enough time for it."

"I'm sure she will..." the priest remarked, working hard not to show much he looked forward to it. He then looked at the cast on Ranma's leg. "How did that happen? I hope not another training accident."

"Nah. A truck threatened to kill my Mom. Got her out of danger but then had a date with the radiator. Got this from the impact," he explained to the priest.

The priest's good mood returned. Ranma indeed had turned out much better than his father. Doing such a selfless act really spoke for his character. "Hmhm, and who is this young lady with you? Such good-looking girls are indeed rare, you got really lucky to have her as a girlfriend."

Ami, who up to now had only watched from the side, was now the center of attention and blushed heavily when hearing this. Now, that was a really big misunderstanding. "Eh, I'm only his tutor... I'm preparing him for his school entrance exams."

There is no way I could ever do something like this! I would bail out and run away... she told herself. She'd get a panic attack before even coming close to having a boyfriend.

The priest looked a little disappointed. He'd hoped that a young man like Ranma would have a nice girlfriend, not a brainless bimbo but a nice girl like this. "Oh, too bad. But where are my manners? Come, there is nothing to do and I would love to hear how you did all these years while having tea and cookies."

Rei watched her grandfather walking away with these two.

He had been somewhat more serious than usual, a side of his she didn't see often. He was a lot smarter than he often let on. And his comment about Ami being beautiful... She wasn't ugly - far from it. But she also wasn't a beauty queen. She more looked pretty normal, a little bland, nothing really outstanding. But she had learned that beauty doesn't automatically mean that someone was nice. She had learned that and she would always remember this lesson.

At least grandfather is occupied. If any girls come, he won't be there to look like an old man with a perverted hobby... she thought, while returning to her task of sweeping the yard.

to be continued...

Next Episode:

"Nerima shaken to the Core"