Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 14 of 26

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Destiny's Child

The dreams were getting more annoying. In four hundred years of life, Ranma had seen enough nightmares to recognise the signs of tampering and intrusion.

When he had trained in India, he had the pleasure of training under a dream walker. A dream walker was someone who could cast their spirit into another person's dreams, and talk to them or influence the dream. What he was seeing did not bear those sorts of signs.

His work in Tibet, where the Monks taught him magic and demonology ensured a solid knowledge of those subjects too. When he had first started having these sorts of dreams - around the same time Ryoga showed up - he leapt to the obvious conclusion that it was his demonic friend that was to blame.

Ranma had lain his traps well. He had meticulously constructed a layer of demon traps and dream wards. It took him two days to build them, and most of an evening to place them, and when he was finished, he was sure that no demon should be able to pass such defences without at least raising an alarm.

While a greater demon, or a force of demons would definitely be able to pound their way through, they would leave definite signs, and he would be aware and able to counter attack. There was simply no way for Ryoga to be able to attack him with his dreams the way they stood.

That night, secure and snug in her bed, little Tomoe Hotaru had dreamed again, waking bathed in sweat, and thinking of a Queen of radiant beauty and kindness. All the wards were in place, and no sign of demons.

If 100 years as a Monk had taught him nothing else, it was patience (actually, this was one thing that it failed to teach him, but he was better than when he was young). Starting from scratch, he rebuilt all his wards, and again placed them. He included every charm he could think of, and even placed a few of the wards that Rei had created while they were training together.

Before he went to bed this evening, he erected the most powerful magical barrier that he could. It would take a mighty spell indeed to break through, and considering it had taken him two hours to cast, he should have some notice when things attacked. About the only thing which could break through without a fight would be the Kami, and even some of them would think twice.

That night, Ranma dreamed.

It was a simple metal shaft. Nearly eight foot long, and a plain, dull grey in colour. His wife looked down on his work and smiled, and he smiled back. When Queen Serenity had healed him, she did not really change who he was, she just helped to quieten the voices that he heard. She let the calm and love of his wife enter his soul even deeper, and let his love enter his wife.

No-one had really expected the results of this however, aside from his wife. Before the healing, she had always said he was talented, and in touch with the magic of the universe. Now everyone would be able to see it.

His ability did not lay in casting the great magic which ran the Kingdom. His lay in the ability to feel the subtle changes and effects of the magic around him. The very day that he had been healed, he had walked the halls of their castle, marvelling at how the magic infused everything. Showing a flower to his lovely wife, he looked in her purple eyes and told her of it's beauty. When he described the way the magic touched the flower, melded with it, and was born anew by the life of the flower, she could only sigh in awe.

His was a great talent, and if he had the patience for it, he could have been a great scholar, imparting great wisdom to the world. However, he was a fighter, a man who was of short temper and quick, strong feelings. He was more apt to burn a book than read it, and the idea of helping those people who had hurt and tormented him for most of his life held little appeal.

Only two people held his loyalty. His wife, and his Queen. As the time had past since his healing, he had travelled the Kingdom, watching as it's magical defenders had wielded their powers to defend and protect. When his Queen had called, he had gone, and he had served, as only he could.

Now he had found a way that he could do something for his wife. Ever since he had met her, he had felt like a whole man, and had found peace and love. All he had been able to give her had been a return of that peace and love. It was all she ever asked, but now he could give her more.

Looking down at the plain iron shaft, he smiled up at his wife. "With this, I shall craft you a magical item like no other in the system."

His wife settled back and picked up her book. Every day for a month he had come down to their cellar to stare at the metal rod. Plain iron, that was all it was, nothing more, nothing less. She loved and trusted her husband, but she also worried about him. One day, while he was out, she called in a powerful mage that worked in her castle. Plain iron, that was all it was, nothing more.

After this had been going on for three weeks, she had finally turned to the one person she loved and could trust in the same way she trusted her husband. Stepping into the entry room, she bowed to Queen Serenity.

"Arise, please, there is no need for such formality between friends."

"Your Majesty. I... I'm worried about my husband. I know you cast a healing on him, but... But recently he had been acting strangely. Could, could I ask you to visit us some time, please. If you could see him... He had become so serious, so obsessed."

The Queen smiled and stepped down of her throne. Walking up to the smaller woman, she took her by the hand and strolled around the boundary of the vacant reception hall. "Let me guess. He has become obsessed with a piece of metal. Plain iron if I am not mistaken."

She gasped at her Queen. To know such things, she must be one step closer to divinity than anyone ever suspected. The Queen laughed at her subject's amazement. "No, it wasn't a vision, I don't have any special new powers. He's been to see me, you know."

"He has?"

"He has. Four times in the last month. The first time, he just walked in here, ignoring all of the guards and stood here all day. All he did was watch me and stared at the Moon Sceptre. I can tell you that the King was just a little bit nervous.

"He was back two days later. Just walked straight in again and wandered up to the throne. Sailor Jupiter was giving a report at the time. I'm sure you can understand how happy she was.

"When Jupiter was finished, the two of us adjourned to a private room, and he showed me the most marvellous painting I have ever seen. There was every colour imaginable, and it was beautiful beyond description. Somehow, he had painted the Moon Sceptre, but he had painted the _magic_ of the Sceptre, not it's outwards appearance.

"'Is it right?' He asked me. When I finally realised what it was he was showing me, I studied the Sceptre. All I could see was the strongest currents in the painting, the greatest lines of power. He had drawn them all, detail so minute it must have taken the finest of brushes to paint."

Queen Serenity sighed and though of that day. The painting still existed. It was in her private office, where no-one visited. Perhaps some day the painting would allow them to duplicate the powers in the Moon Sceptre if they needed to.

"He only came twice more, and then he came to watch me cast, not to ask any more questions. I think he realised that I could not see the magic in the detail that he could. He has no real magic of his own, but his sight! It is truly incredible.

"The first time he came was to watch me cast a healing. The second time was to watch me when I destroyed an asteroid which was approaching. Both times he was here before I cast the spells, despite the fact that I had not told anyone of my intentions. He said he could see the magic gathering, as though for a great purpose.

"It was that second time that I enquired of his interest. He said that he was making you a staff. A special staff that would stand you true in the test of time, and be with you always.

"Plain iron he said. The bane of all magic I told him. He only smiled at me and touched his nose. I don't know what he has planned, but I look forward to seeing the results.

Her questions answered, and her fears laid to rest, she let the Queen lead her to the exit. With one hand on the door, Queen Serenity paused and looked at her again.

"I asked my advisors about it, not mentioning any names. They said that no magical staff could possibly be constructed from iron. Iron is the antithesis of magic, it is the pure elemental earth, the metal which breaks and dispels.

"They also told me that to create a magical item requires great magic yourself. The Moon Sceptre was created long, long ago at the founding of the Moon Kingdom. Legend states that twelve great mages forged it with their life, giving all their power so that it would exist to serve forever more.

"I look forward to seeing what he makes. I should be something... special."

She looked up with a sudden start. A loud bang of metal on metal brought her back from her memories. After a month of sitting and staring at the rod of iron, he had done something. The sound was the first strike of his hammer as he beat the metal. As she saw him heat the iron and strike again, she realised how long it could take.

It did take a long time, almost two years to complete, but it was a labour of love. As time wore on, she could begin to see the shape coming out of what was being produced. Over time he would roll it and fold it, layer upon layer upon layer. At times, he would spend weeks carving intricate channels in the heat softened metal, only to fold the iron again, and bury them within.

Every time she would broach the subject he would only smile and say he was creating her a gift of his love. It was to be a reminder of her love for him, and his love for her. When it was complete, all would see the power of their love.

It was two days since she had been down to the cellar. The last time she was there, he had cheerfully folded a magnificent sword back onto itself, and beaten it back into a shaft. By the time they had left for bed, he was left with a shaft almost exactly the same as he had started with.

She was tending the flowers in her garden, healing the sick ones, and pampering the healthy when she heard footfalls behind her. Surprised when she saw her husband, her jaw almost hit the ground when she saw what he was carrying.

It was eight foot tall, an almost completely plain staff, topped with a pair of wicked looking blades. She did not know what it was, but there was no way that he could have created something so... perfect... in two days.

He smiled even wider and posed before her, weapon held beside him. "In the last two years, I taught the metal. I forged the metal, and built in all of the tracks by which the magic flows. The metal is not just in the shape of the weapon, it _is_ the weapon. To the very heart of the metal, every gram of it's substance is the weapon.

"When I finally brought the weapon to the outside, and gave it exterior form, it was just the same as polishing a gem stone. The work was done, it was only the final gloss that was needed.

"This is a weapon like no other in the Kingdom. Every other weapon carries the power inside it. This is a lens. A lens for your spirit.

"Others fear you power because they think it is great magic. I say it is not the greatness of the magic, but the purity of your soul. You have the strength of the heart that is needed to do the greatest of tasks.

"Using this as a focus, your powers will be magnified enormously. Because it is iron, it is also the ultimate magical shield. When you use this, you will always know it is as unique as our love. I would not, could not, ever create it's equal for anyone else."

He offered it to her and she took it carefully. It was heavy, a solid weapon, of solid iron, no wood or crystal anywhere. It was simple in appearance, and completely devoid of decoration. Try as she might, she could also not sense any magic in it. The weapon was as dead as any other piece of iron.

But he said it was a lens. Gently, carefully, she gave the slightest tracing of soul, her heart, her spirit, her power, into her hand, and channelled it through the weapon. When she felt the massive power which coursed through the staff, she almost dropped it in shock. It was a lens of amazing proportions.

She looked at him, and their eyes met, his blue-grey locked with her purple. As ever, she looked into him, and felt the bottomless pit of love which he had. This time he had something new. Pride.

"Sailor Saturn," he intoned formally. "May I present the Silence Glaive."

Hotaru awoke, looking around the room in wide eyed horror. All the seals were in place. All the wards untampered. Nothing had even tried to disturb his sleep. That fact alone worried her even more that the substance of the dream. Because if the dreams did not come from without...

Hotaru was worried again, and the fact that she was worried, worried her even more. Worry was bad, it ate away at the soul, it distracted you, blurred your aura, and slowed you down in a fight. Worry was the enemy of the mind, and life had taught her that you need a clear mind at all times. The only thing to do at a time like this is hit something.

Hmm, there was still school to go today, and she was supposed to train with Rei-san tonight... Better have a quick workout in the garage. Heading past the kitchen she waved hello to Kaolinite... No, wait, she was calling herself Kaori now.

"I'm going to the garage for a bit... I'll be back in a couple of hours before school."

The woman smiled and kept putting together a fancy breakfast for her 'father'. Hotaru shrugged. She had seen love in enough people to know what it looked like. It looked like Kaori had fallen quiet heavily for Tomoe Souichi, and it looked like she was really trying to catch him.

If Hotaru had really be his daughter, she might have felt something: jealousy or happiness, but she was really just a boarder in the house, so she was happy to watch the melodrama unfold. He hoped that she would succeed. He too had been in love once, and he knew just how special it was.

In the garage little Hotaru ignored the restrictions she imposed to fit into the act that she played, and concentrated on training. After going through a few of the most basic Kata to calm her mind, she closed her eyes and relaxed. Standing dead still in the middle of the garage, she slowly eased all of the constraints she placed on her aura.

Her Ki - developed over hundreds of years of intense training - slowly expanded as she relaxed. Normally she showed only the weak spirit of someone feeble and untrained, but this was just because she continually exerted a large force to keep her 'soul' from expanding to it's proper proportions.

Part way through the relaxation, she began to glow faintly, nothing more than a faint blue outline to her body. As she continued to relax, the aura grew, becoming fully visible to the naked eye of even the most untrained. When she was finished she stood proud, glowing bright enough to hurt anyone looking directly, a sphere of glowing blue power centred around her naval, and taking up as much space as a small car.

She rarely let herself relax like this these days. It was too easy for people to see her, and if a little healing scared them, what would they think of a human firefly? So thinking, she cast a minor levitation spell and slowly began to circle the room. Around and around she went, raising the spell to true flight to allow her some acrobatics.

After a time she started casting small fireballs, and shooting them down with Ki blasts. A flagrant waste of mana and Ki, it was beautiful none the less. All around the room, lights flew and burst, like fireworks on the Emperor's birthday.

All too soon there was a knock at the door. Killing her spells and quenching her Ki, Hotaru dropped the last couple of feet to the ground. Even as Kaori opened the door, the blue light was fading, and the last sparks were fading into the darkness. Smiling at the confused looking woman, Hotaru slipped past her to go for breakfast. 'I wonder what she thinks she saw? And by the looks of it, hitting things is not the only way to relax.'

School was school was school. Suffice it to say that too many hours of mindless suffering were only mitigated by the few classes she enjoyed, and the times when she did not have to think about the other students.

Changing after school, Ranma made a phone call. "Hino-sensei, this is Ranma. Can you tell Rei-san that something has come up, and I will be a bit late... Thanks... See you around seven... Yes... Bye"

That over and done with, Ranma could afford a little more time for some recreation. He had tried half a dozen dojo by now, and no-one really measured up to the standards that he would require of his own students, let alone their teachers. Tonight would be a little different. Tonight he was just going to try the simple tactic of calling out a challenge to the dojo, and find out how strong they were.

He was at his second dojo and had just called out his challenge when the sensei walked up to him. He was an old man, well into his eighties, and looked every year of it. He even walked they way you would expect an eighty year old would.

"Sir, I am the last Sensei of this dojo. I only teach self defence for school children, and some exercise classes for the old folk like me in the area. I ask that you may forgive me for declining your challenge."

Ranma looked at the old man. He couldn't be more than four and a half foot tall, stooped and withered, but his face held pride. Pride and determination. Ranma bowed.

"Sensei, of all the dojo I have fought, yours is the only one I can respect. There is no dishonour in growing old, there is only honour and respect. When I grow too old to challenge others, I can only hope that I may still be respected as you are, to be trusted with the lives and learning of the future of our country, and the lives and wisdom of the past.

"I have always been told that true strength comes not from muscle, but from brains and the wisdom to use it.

"I would beg of the Master the wisdom to learn at his feet, and to assist his school, teaching what I may."

The old man nearly fell over. Too often in the past he had seen these brash young men come in, seeking to prove something. All to often they had shown scorn, not realising that they too would be this way some time in the future.

Now he had a fine young man in front of him. A fighter by all indication. A man who wished to learn at his feet and teach at his side. If the man was as good as he implied, the future of the dojo was assured, at least until his grandson was old enough to take over. The man returned Ranma's bow and accepted his offer.

Even as he spoke, the doors opened and a stunning young woman with long locks of luscious blue hair stepped in. When the two men faced her, she pointed at Ranma. "Shampoo challenge!"

Facing his new teacher, Ranma smiled. "Sensei, if you do not mind, I shall take the lady's offer. Hopefully I shall show you that I am worthy of assisting your school."

Turning back to the girl, she glared at him. "Less talk, more fight!"

Ranma smiled. As soon as he settled into a defensive stance, the woman leapt at him. Backing up quickly, Ranma dodged a flurry of kicks and punches. Finding himself backed against a wall, Ranma jumped and bounced off the ceiling to land behind her.

Even as he moved, she retaliated with surprising speed. Moments before his feet touched the floor, she struck, launching a trio of side kicks at him. He blocked them all, but was stunned. Finally a formidable opponent! A woman of skill, someone to challenge his abilities somewhat.

They danced together for a few more moments, closing and retreating. While her offensive skills were superb, her defence left much to be desired. Then again, she seemed fast enough to be able to defeat most opponents before they could strike at her. Finally seeing an opening too good to miss, he snaked out a foot to trip her.

Shampoo of course expected this and jumped over it. Knowing that his next move was one of several logical follow-ups, she blocked two and evaded a third. It was the forth attack, a repeat of the initial foot sweep which took her down. Martial Arts at this level was a lot like chess, it was a matter of how many moves ahead you could plan. Actually, it was more like a physical version of chess, with more dimensions, fewer pieces, and lots of pain... but the analogy still holds.

Shampoo lifted herself back to her feet and growled at the man. He stood there so calm, hardly even breathing heavily, while she was giving her utmost. Could this be a man to beat her? Never! She would never give in! It was not just a warriors body which allowed her to win, it was her knowledge. Shampoo was backed by 3000 years of Amazon tradition and knowledge.

Taking positions again, the two closed and began to play. After just a few moments, Shampoo was close enough, and launched her attack. "KACHUU TENSHIN AMAKURIGEN!"

Instantly, he arms became blurs as she launched over two hundred punches at him. None could stand before the power of Amazon techniques. It was true, even as he moved and blocked to his greatest, Ranma could not stop them all, and almost a dozen blows rained down onto his body, throwing him back, crashing into a wall.

"Aiya! Shampoo win!"

Then the body moved, and Ranma climbed back to his feet. The side of his face was a bit red where she struck once, but other than that, he looked fine. "No yet. Not by a long shot. I wanted to keep this nice: just straight out fighting. If you want to bring special attacks into it, you're in for a real shock."

Again they closed, and Ranma could almost weep at how open Shampoo left herself. All she could see was the power of her own attack, never realising that her opponent may be her equal or superior. After all, someone that could block almost all of her Chestnut Fist without using a special attack...

This time when she called out her attack, he called at the same time, and that was the end. In the second that she had, Shampoo threw exactly ninety eight punches; Ranma counted them. He also blocked them. One handed. While punching her, blow for blow. And while holding back from full speed and power.

Shampoo gradually awoke, feeling like she had been beaten all over with a baseball bat. Actually, that was not quite right. Not all over, the man - the victor - had somehow been careful with his blows. Not once had he struck her pretty face. Not once had he hit the tender flesh of her breasts. No where else had been spared, but all of the most painful, vulnerable points had been missed. She sighed happily. Not only was her husband incredibly skilled, he was caring and compassionate.

Hearing her sigh, her husband and the old man came over to where she lay resting on the floor. Opening her large eyes fully, she took in his handsome face and sighed again. She really was lucky. Latching on to his neck, she said the only words that mattered. "Wo da Airen."

Ranma looked at the girl askew. She was holding him around the neck and purring in a most disturbing fashion. Since she spoke in Chinese and seemed to have a heavy accent, he decided to try that language. <"I'm sorry Miss, I'm not your husband. My name is Ranma. Do you have a concussion?">

<"Aiya! You speak Chinese! You defeated me in combat, so you now must marry me. It's the law">

<"What? What sort of law is that?">

Shampoo pulled out her trusty Amazon law book and opened it to the correct page. It was a well worn page, she had read it many times trying to find a loophole. Fortunately, it did say defeat, not just 'give a decent challenge' otherwise she may have weakened and married some lesser man. She was glad she waited.

Ranma read the rule and his eyes went wide. 'I did not want to get in to this sort of thing.' Flipping over to the front, he looked at the cover. 'Joketsuzoku Book Of Law, Third Revision, Published 1802'. <"Revised addition? What is this garbage? Here!">

Pulling out his own copy - 'First Edition, Date Unknown' - he opened it to the relevant page and pointed out the paragraph saying that an Amazon need not marry another Amazon after a challenge unless the fact that it was a marriage challenge was stated clearly before hand.

<"Silly husband! You're not an Amazon. See, this page.">

<"Are you a Joketsuzoku Amazon, or do you just carry their Book Of Law?">

<"I am a proud Amazon.">

<"Then I don't have to marry you. Unless I have been cast out by a full Council of Mistresses, I am still an Amazon.">

<"Silly husband! You think you know some of our laws and can confuse me? Never! Only a Mistress requires a full Council to be cast out, and I knew all the Mistresses before I left. You are not a Mistress, you are not an Amazon. So, you a now my husband!">

Ranma mumbled under his breath and checked the time. Damn, almost time to meet Rei-san. I don't have time for this. "Shampoo, I am a Amazon. I am not your husband, and I have to go. Nice fighting you."

While Shampoo hesitated, trying to switch back to her faulty Japanese, he stood up and left the hall. Seeing her husband leaving without her, she too rose, fighting off the weakness of being pummelled into unconscious just fifteen minutes prior. Seeing him leap to a roof she followed, and managed to keep up for most of the way. Then he dropped down to the street and vanished.

She went to where she last saw him, but there was no longer any sign. After prowling the streets and yards for almost two hours, she could not see him. But she knew where he was, roughly. She knew her man, she knew his description, and there was no way that she would let such a perfect mate pass through her fingers. Time to get some help.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 14 of 26

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