Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 18 of 26

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Destiny's Child

After the excitement of the last few days, things seemed to settle into a fairly mundane routine. A mundane routine that included Daimon attacks, run-ins with cursed pig demons, magical girl warriors, quasi- immortal super-powered martial artists and time travelling Senshi-in- training. Both 'mundane' and 'routine' all depend on your definitions, really.

This particular Friday looked like it was going to throw a spanner into the works. Nothing exciting had happened all day, and by the evening everything still seemed to be in place for a quiet girls' night out.

Usagi and her friends had headed into one of the many shopping areas that they preferred. Having come straight from school, all the girls were still wearing their cute little sailor style school uniforms, and it was only the absence of the glamour spell that they normally wore that prevented people from saying "Hey, there's the Sailor Senshi, but their all wearing the same colour!"

Two of the regular crowd had not showed up yet. They were Chibi-Usa and her friend Hotaru. Although Sailor Pluto had warned the Senshi that there was something suspicious about he girl, Usagi and her daughter had put their foot down: until they had hard evidence, they were not going to ostracise an already friendless girl.

The pair of Junior School girls were late because Hotaru needed to stop off at her father's place after school to pick up some medicine. While Chibi-Usa waited just inside, Hotaru dashed downstairs and returned moments later having already drunk her medicine. Her face was a nasty green sort of colour for a while, but walking in the fading sunshine of the early evening seemed to clear that up fairly quickly. Chibi-Usa had no idea what sort of medicine her friend was on, she was just glad that she did not need it. It seemed to make Hotaru sicker than whatever illness it was supposed to treat.

They had almost completed their walk to the arcade where they would meet the others when Fate struck again. They had been walking calmly, talking about nothing when a tall girl sprinted in and grabbed Hotaru, spinning her around in the air.

For the first few moments, Hotaru was at a complete loss. Normally her impeccable danger sense warned her of any attack, how could it fail now? Then the woman's words finally penetrated: "Ai-chan! Ai-chan! It's been so long! How are you? I can't believe it! You haven't changed a bit! What are you doing? Where are your parents? Who's this? Why didn't you write?"

Hotaru eventually managed to push herself away from the woman long enough to get a decent look at her face. Instantly cold fear settled into her stomach. 'No! How could she have found me? Just a few more months and I would have been cured!'

"U... Ucchan?"

As Ukyo nodded her head, Tomoe Hotaru (aka Tendo Ai, aka Tendo Ranma) was simultaneously engulfed in another hug. Looking at this woman, Hotaru sighed in defeat and decided to give in to the inevitable reunion. "Ki-chan! I don't believe it! What are you two doing here?"

After a while, the girls put Hotaru down and looked at her sternly. Both of them were quite normally developed eighteen year olds, and towered over her by at least a foot and a half. Kikyo put on her sternest face (which is almost as stern as Kasumi ever got) and waved a finger at her. "Look here young lady. Do you think you can just run away from your best friends and never write to them? We've been worried sick about you and Ranma."

Before she could begin to defend herself - or even think of a good explanation - Chibi-Usa stepped in and again saved the day. Placing herself between the taller and older girls she looked up at them then back at her friend. "Hotaru, do you know these ladies?"

Ukyo looked dumb struck. "Of course she knows us. We went to school with Ai... Hang on... Hotaru? Are... Are you Ai's little sister? I'm mean you look just like her. I guess... well..."

Slightly ashamed at how she had deceived her friends, and then later ran off without more than a note, Hotaru nodded her head. "It's me. But my name's Hotaru. Tomoe Hotaru. When I moved in to live with my father, I took the name. It was his daughter's name, and since I'm officially his daughter now..."

Chibi-Usa was stunned. She knew that Hotaru and Ranma had gotten around a bit, but she never realised that Hotaru would have lead an entirely separate life. These must be friends of Ranma who did not mind if she was informal with them. After all, they must be almost six years older than she or Hotaru. Then again, the ladies had also said that they went to school with Hotaru; it must have been one of those really big schools that goes all the way from start to finish, how else would they have met across such an age difference?

Before her friend could get started on a lengthy reunion, Chibi-Usa gave a slight cough and tried to look as innocent as possible. She did not want to be rude, but she wanted to be introduced before her best friend forgot all about her.

"Sorry, Chibi-Usa. Guys, this is Chibi-Usa, she's one of my best friends now. Chibi-Usa, this is Ukyo and Kikyo."

Chibi-Usa bowed to the ladies and gave her brightest smile. "I'm pleased to meet you Ukyo-san, Kikyo-san."

Ukyo was a tall, glamorous looking girl, who was filling out well. She had long brown hair that she had tied back in a white bow. Her face was also very nice, with long smooth planes, and would have been called cute before she was old enough to have matured into her current beauty. While her face and body were good, it was her clothing that caught the most attention. The black leggings and blue jacket that she wore were tight enough to leave little to the imagination. The thing that garnered the most attention was the bandoleer of small, sharp spatulas that she wore, and the huge - try five foot long - spatula that was strapped to her back.

Her companion - Kikyo - was much more understated. She did not have the fit, lean, energetic look that Ukyo had, despite the fact that she still seemed fit. She was also a much plainer looking girl. Her clothing was less complementary, since she wore a normal looking skirt and blouse. It was a pale blue skirt, and a yellow blouse, decorated with small paint brushes on the collar. Over her back she seemed to have a large tube... maybe it was a drinking straw, just to keep in fashion with her friend.

Both the ladies cringed at being called 'san' by the childhood friend's new best friend. Kikyo bowed back. "Pleased to meet you also, Chibi- Usa-san."

Chibi-Usa made a face like she had just been handed a wet and slimy frog and everyone laughed. Carefully avoiding the rabbit ears, Kikyo patted Chibi-Usa on the head. "Tell you what: I'll call you Chibi-Usa if you call me Ki-chan and her Ucchan. Deal?"

She bobbed her head and smiled in that cute way she has. "Mmmm."

Kikyo turned back to Hotaru and looked her in the eye, well, she looked down at her and stared into her eyes. "Come on, Ai... I mean, Hotaru. Spill the beans. Tell us everything. Where have you been for the last three years?"

"Um, well I've been here for the last three years... I've been living with Tomoe Souichi. He's... He's taking very good care of me."

Ukyo picked off one of her mini-spatula and waved it in a vaguely threatening manner at her. "So... you still training, or can I kick your butt?"

Immediately Chibi-Usa took a couple of steps forward and tried to impose herself between Ukyo and her best friend. She knew how sick Hotaru was. She didn't know what how these girls might have picked on her when she was younger, but there was no way she would let them do it now.

"Grrr, just you stay away! I'm not letting you or anyone else pick on Hotaru-chan!"

For a moment Ukyo looked confused, then she broke out into a massive smile. Beside her, Kikyo had literally fallen onto her backside she was laughing so hard. For so many years Ucchan and Ai-chan had fought at every meal, training and pushing each other to be better. Kikyo had eventually moved on to become a painter, but she still trained with Ukyo occasionally.

Back in their youth, Ukyo and Ai had been the best fighters in the whole school. Although she was smaller than Ukyo was when the departed (and was even smaller now), Ai would still win almost every time that they fought. The very idea that this small girl would need to defend Ai was ludicrous.

Seeing Ukyo collapse to the ground laughing as well when an angry Chibi-Usa brought up her tiny fists, Hotaru decided it was time to step in. If this continued much longer, someone would get hurt: most likely Kikyo would pass out from lack of oxygen, she was laughing so hard. Placing a hand on Chibi-Usa's shoulder she thought of an explanation that would keep everyone satisfied without answering too many of the real questions.

"Hey, calm down. It's OK. They really are friends of mine. Don't worry, Chibi-Usa. When we were younger Ucchan and I used to train Martial Arts together every day."

"You... you used to fight with them? But their so much bigger than you are! And you're always so sick!"

That killed the laughter off immediately. "You're sick?"

Hotaru struggled to phrase what she wanted to say correctly. One word out of place could leave everyone with the correct idea of the way things were, and that just would not do. "I was an early bloomer. I was this big a while ago, and then I stopped growing.

"I never told any of you this, but I've seen lots of doctors, and they all agreed that I would never really grow up any more. I would be stuck this size forever. Can you imagine never knowing that you would never be as tall as your friends?"

Everyone nodded their heads. Chibi-Usa thought Hotaru was about the right height, but doctors could tell all sorts of things these days. Perhaps... actually, she had no idea why Hotaru would stop growing. Maybe she should ask Ami-chan, she was really smart. Ukyo and Kikyo were nodding because it offered the answer to why she looked the same age she did when they last saw her three years ago.

"Don't worry to much, you see, the man I'm living with, my father, he and his friend actually have a means of curing me. It's taking a while, and the medicine is terrible, but in a couple of months we should see some results."

Chibi-Usa was the first to respond. "So... It's actually the medicine that makes you sick?"

"Yes. But, I need to take it every day as part of the treatment. They've known about my problem for three years, so they've been trying to treat it for a long time. I just keep telling myself it's worth it.

"Three years of vile medicine, weakness and all that sort of thing, in exchange for that, I'll have the rest of my life to be me, fully grown, and never having to worry about only being a little girl.

"I just have to believe that it's worth what I'm going through, and worth the reward in the end."

"So that's why you never tried to get in contact with us."

Hotaru looked up at Kikyo then dropped her head. "I... I had hoped that in a few month's time I would be cured. Then I could spend some time finding old friends and showing them. Just a little longer, and you would never have seen me like this again."

After giving Hotaru a brief hug, Ukyo started leading them down the street. The reunion had made them late, no need to make them later just by staying here. "On the subject of people that just don't write, how's my fiancée?"

""Wow! You're engaged? That's great, Ucchan! Congratulations. Is it anyone that I know?"

"I think you know him, it's your brother."


"Ranma honey. You know I'm engaged to Ran-chan, don't you?"

In silence, Chibi-Usa felt a tear slide down the side of her face. No wonder Ranma was always so nice but distant to Rei. He must be pining away for his fiancée the whole time that he is with her. Poor Rei, this will crush her when she finds out.

While Chibi-Usa was digesting the fact that Rei's would-be boyfriend was engaged, Hotaru was struggling to breath again, choking and coughing in startlement. After a few swift pats on the back, from her friend, and concerned glances by everyone, Hotaru grabbed Ukyo's lapels and pulled the taller girl down so that their faces were the same height.

In a cold steely voice she said, "What do you mean you're engaged to Ranma?"

"Ai... Hotaru, calm down. I arranged it with your parents. Since we loved each other, I asked them if we could get married. Hotaru, I don't blame you for this, but is your sickness the reason Ranma never contacted me? Is he just waiting for you to get better so he can come back to me and get married?"

Hotaru let go of Ukyo and walked away for a moment. It was hard to believe his life could become such a mess in such a short time. For three centuries, the most excitement consisted of learning a new spell or new attack. Now, in the space of a couple of months, she had met two girls she liked - Sailor Mars and Rei-san - gotten engaged, sort of, to two - Shampoo and Ucchan - been attacked by a pig demon, and somehow gotten embroiled in a three way battle for the pure hearts of people in Tokyo. How could life get much more confusing or strange?

After a minute of walking in silence, she slowed enough for the other girls to catch up. They could have caught her before, after all, she was suppose to be pretty sick all the time but they knew that she needed some time to think. It could be a surprise to find out that your brother was engaged for the last three years and never told you.

"Ucchan, I think you need to know something. Ranma... He doesn't know. No one ever told him he was engaged to you. When I left my foster parents, he left at the same time. No-one ever told him. I'm sorry."

Ukyo hung her head. "I'm sorry too, Hotaru. I've been searching all over for him for the last three years. I... I really love him. Is... is there anyone else? Does he have another girl?" Silently she asked herself, 'Do I still have a chance?'

"As far as I know, there's only one girl that likes him, and that's Shampoo. She's a Chinese Amazon, and want's to marry him because she lost to him in a fight. That's what she says, but I suspect she likes him too."

It was an emotional roller-coaster for everyone there. Ukyo and Hotaru for the obvious reasons, Kikyo because her caring soul cried out in sympathy for her friends, and Chibi-Usa because of her friendship to both Hotaru and Rei.

When Hotaru was starting her last sentence she had been sure that Hotaru was going to say the only girl that liked Ranma was Rei. But instead, it seems that some completely different girl has caught his eye. Poor Rei. Chibi-Usa realised how close Ranma and Hotaru were, they seemed to tell each other everything. If Hotaru did not think Rei liked Ranma, it was likely Ranma felt the same way.

For a few moments Ukyo looked like she was about to either attack Hotaru, or start a screaming debate with her. Love was always a touchy subject and considering the size of the cooking utensil on her back, it would be even more one sided that normal. Valiantly seeking any distraction she could, Chibi-Usa noted that large drinking straw on Ki- chan's back. Hmmm.

"Ki-chan? You said you were a painter, didn't you? Do you have anything we could see?"

Kikyo smiled and the blushed. She was proud of her work, but sometimes it was hard to be proud without simply boasting. She knew she was good and she had won an art scholarship to a university nearby, but it was still hard taking praise from her friends.

"Well, yes, I've got a couple of things, if your really interested..."

Everyone else immediately began to pester her, and in moments, she had the storage tube (not really another giant utensil!) off her back and was carefully removing one for the poster sized paintings she had done. It was a slightly surreal picture, showing a girl with a massive spatula making Okonomiyaki on a miniature griddle in a world entirely made up of toppings and ingredients.

By the time Kikyo had shown them two more of her samples - a portrait of her mother and a stunning landscape - they were almost at Chibi- Usa's and Hotaru's destination. Both of older girls had been invited to join them for dinner, and while there was a bit of concern about how Rei would take to Ukyo, Hotaru would not dream of abandoning her friends now that she had found them again.

Despite all the fun that they were having now that they were safely away from the topic of fiancées, Hotaru was ever alert for something wrong, and her vigilance paid itself in full. No more than twenty meters away she spotted a tall, well dressed couple sipping coffee. Green hair and blonde, it was the impostors. Wherever they were, trouble was sure to follow.

No-one could say exactly what clue gave it away, but less than two minutes after spotting the witches, Hotaru tackled Chibi-Usa, while Ukyo pushed Kikyo out of the way.

Instantly, Hotaru was rolling back to her feet and taking stock. Chibi- Usa was on the ground with a nasty scratch on her knee and was complaining about being tackled on a concrete pavement. The two witches in their impostor sailor suits were sprinting through a rapidly thinning crowd. The evil Witch from the art exhibition was also there; using her large gun to push a heavy set man out of the way. Not only that, but she had also thrown a Daimon egg at a fruit cart, which was rapidly coming to life.

Looking a few meters away at her friends, Hotaru could see why the Witch was cursing, Kikyo was screaming and crying, holding a limp Ukyo in her lap. Ukyo on the other hand was completely unconscious, with her heart crystal spinning on the ground, forced from her body by Witch Eudial's Heart Buster gun.

No matter how much her own heart called to her to go to Ukyo, she knew she only had one chance with this Daimon. In moments it would be fully formed, and invulnerable to most magic that could be cast in this populated area. Ignoring Chibi-Usa, ignoring the Witch lining up for a second shot, ignoring everything else, Hotaru crouched and placed on hand firmly on the ground, fingers splayed and channelling magical power.

"In the name of Tendo Ranma, I summon TOCHOU!"

First three, then six short blue flares burst from the ground. Like a foot tall blow-torch, these fires were the only visible manifestation of the Tochou. Tochou were spirit creatures, somewhat akin to Takuhi. Where Takuhi was a bird / human cross, these were more of a cross between crabs and cockroaches. Their big advantage was that they could move fast, and their magic fires ripped through almost anything they touched.

Hotaru grinned evilly as the Tochou lived up to their reputation. Moving like chained lightning, the two Tochou tore groves in street, and finally burst upon the forming Daimon. With a horrible squelching noise, bits and pieces of fruit, Daimon, and wooden cart flew everywhere. Another ten seconds and the Daimon would have completed it's growth, and would have been almost invulnerable to anything less than a full scale attack, but now it was gone before it even came.

No matter how well that had worked, things were going to pieces quickly. People were running in all directions, and he was sure he could see the Witch pulling another Daimon egg out. There was no time to worry about her, because bigger things were afoot. The green haired Sailor impostor had just picked up Ukyo's Heart Crystal, and was looking at it like she was buying tomatoes at the store. Time to act again.

Sailor Neptune's fingers had barely closed around the Heart Crystal when she felt a weight land on her back. Even as she jerked upright in an attempt to dislodge it, she was captured. Hotaru's small, nimble arms went around her head. With one arm across her throat and the heel of the other pressing against her head, she could feel the girl's hot breath as she whispered in her ear.

"I don't know why you want it and I don't care. Return Ukyo's Heart Crystal now if you want to live."

When they had first seen Hotaru walking along with Chibi-Usa and the other two girls, the Outer Senshi had been concerned. Their concerns had been realised when Eudial had attacked and released Ukyo's Crystal. What they had not expected was how Hotaru had reacted. They had both seen it with their bare eyes. All it took was some words and a touch and Hotaru had summoned a demon. A demon to defeat the Daimon: it was almost fitting and now they knew her for the evil that she represented. No-one on the side of love and justice would possibly traffic in spirits and demons like she did.

"Wait, I just--"

Bending her head closer, Hotaru whispered so that only her captive could hear. "I said I don't care what you want it for, and I mean it. Return Ucchan's Heart Crystal now, Kaiou Michiru. If anything happens to Ukyo because of you, I shall hunt you to the ends of the earth. Are you clear?"

Sailor Neptune went white. One of the greatest assets the Senshi possessed was their anonymity. She actually believed it was almost impossible for people to see through their disguises. If Hotaru knew who they were and considered them a threat, there was no underestimating the danger she presented. Slowly she brought her hands into position to cast her Deep Submerge. Sometimes you need to defend yourself against people like her.

Before her hand made it half way to the casting position, her head was forced over to one side. All down the right side of her neck, the tendons stood out, and the joints in her spine began to protest. Gasping in pain, she heard the girls speaking again. "No warnings, put it back or I break your neck now."

Slowly she bent down and placed the Crystal back into the girl's chest. Her only consolation was the fact that as she returned it, she had enough time to make sure that the Crystal did not contain one of the Talismen.

With Ukyo rescued, Hotaru spared the time to check the battle again. Impostor number two was attacking Witch Eudial, and she could see the sailor girls arriving in the distance. Ukyo was recovering, but during their distraction a second Daimon had formed, and taken Kikyo's Heart Crystal.

"You bitch! This is your fault!" As she leapt off Sailor Neptune's back, she delivered a palm heel to the side of her temple. Dazed by the impressively strong blow, Neptune fell to the ground, banging her head yet again as she struggled to regain full consciousness. Trusting that she could leave the witches and her friends to be taken care of be the incoming sailors, Hotaru ran for the Daimon.

Witch Eudial had initially intended to take the Heart Crystal of the painter, but then this girl had appeared. Even as the battle had started, Eudial had realised the inner strength that the girl possessed. She had still extracted the Heart of the painter, but while the Daimon's examination showed it was not what they were after, the unexpected girl was another matter. Now that the Daimon had the girl's attention, it was time to lure her away. With a little breathing space between her Daimon and the Senshi, they could harvest her at will.

The Daimon, built around a powerful motorcycle was quite happy to lure away the girl. It had no fear of dying, but it valued success for its creator, and the imminent arrival of the Senshi cast a cloud over any expected success. Turning and running, the Daimon gave a toothy, leering smile and ran away. It almost seemed that the strange girl would not follow, but when it waved the Heart Crystal, she followed like a shot from a gun.

The Sailor Senshi arrived at the scene of the battle and tried to find something useful to do. Even as they arrived, Witch Eudial vanished into the crowds, and the Daimon had already run off. Even as they watched, the two Outer Senshi also began to run in the same direction the Daimon had taken. For a moment the Senshi split up, Sailors Mercury and Venus checking on the comatose Kikyo, Mars and Jupiter went to the slowly recovering Ukyo, and Sailor Moon frantically covered Chibi-Usa in a bear hug, holding the sobbing girl close to her.

"I... I'm so sorry, Usagi. I tried. I wanted to help. But... but I couldn't transform... and... and I just felt so _useless_!"

Chibi-Usa continued to sob onto Sailor Moon's shoulder and the kneeling Senshi held the small girl to her. All the while she muttered soothing words, trying to calm her. Usagi had know what it was like to feel useless. In previous battles she had been rendered totally useless and had seen everyone else fight for her. It was not something she enjoyed.

"It's OK, we're here now. Shh. Shh. Calm down. That's it. Don't worry, we'll make sure everyone's safe. It'll be all right. The Outers have already gone after the Daimon. They'll get the Heart Crystal back."

Chibi-Usa looked around. All the girls were there and by the looks of it, Ucchan was being to recover. Kikyo was still lying on the ground, but Mercury had made her comfortable. She just hoped that the Outers managed to get the Crystal back to her soon enough. If the Heart Crystal was destroyed, or even just kept out of her for long enough, the girl would die. Chibi-Usa did not want her to die, Hotaru's friend had seemed so nice and she had done such lovely paintings.


Hotaru was nowhere to be seen! Grabbing her mother's arm, her mind in a spin, she pulled her down. "Hotaru's gone! She not here! The Daimon must have her! I didn't see what happened, but somehow she managed to stop the first Daimon from forming, and now the second on has her! Save her, Sailor Moon! Please, save her!"

Righteous anger formed Sailor Moon's face into a mask of hard steel. Immediately she let go of Chibi-Usa and gently moved her to Ukyo. "Take care of them. We'll get her back. Senshi! The Daimon's kidnapped Hotaru! Sailor Mercury, get a trace on it and let's get going!"

With a speed borne of practice, Sailor Mercury pulled down her visor and brought out her computer. In twenty seconds she had a lock on the evil magic that was powering the Daimon, and started to lead them in the right direction.

As they ran at full speed through the city, Sailor Mercury continued to refine her scan. After a short while, she had additional monitors on her visor showing where the Outer Senshi were. Their magic was easy to track, and they had a lead of a couple of kilometres on the Inner Senshi. Unfortunately that put them three kilometres away from the Daimon, and they could not track it as well as she could.

As the chase continued for over twenty minutes, the Inner Senshi managed to cut down the distance between them and the Outers. After another ten minutes running, the Outer Senshi were only 800 meters in front, and the terrain was beginning to change. For a long while they had been sprinting through the suburbs as only the magically enhanced could. Now the suburbs were beginning to thin out and break apart as the many small hills and mountains that spotted Japan made building harder.

The only consolation that could be taken was that although they were now travelling slower over the rising terrain, so was the Daimon.

At the lead of the chase, the Daimon was starting to worry. Somehow, the little girl behind it had managed to keep up this chase for three quarters of an hour. They had left civilisation a while ago, and were now running through forests. It should not be possible for a human to do what she was doing, but it was happening. Surely someone as powerful as her would have a Heart Crystal with a Talisman in it!

Just up ahead the Daimon saw exactly what it was after. A small clearing, just right for fighting in and not a soul for kilometres. There would be no escape. Skidding to a stop, the Daimon leered at the little girl who was panting like a chain smoker. Then again, she should be even worse off than that. An Olympic sprinter could almost manage their speed, but a sprinter could only do it for twenty seconds, not an hour.

Standing on top of the small hill, fifteen meters from it's target, the Daimon raised the Heart Crystal it had used as a decoy in one hand. Long ago it had realised that there was no Talisman in this Crystal. The only purpose it could serve was to make it's target angry, because an angry fighter is a sloppy fighter, and the Daimon needed this fight to be over before the Senshi arrived, as they surely would.

Even as Hotaru watched, the Daimon raised it's hand and crushed the Heart Crystal. Small pink fragments fell from it's fingers and evaporated on the ground. Hotaru's heart broke as she watched. That action had surely condemned Kikyo to death. Boiling over, she felt the anger take hold. There would be no losing this fight, vengeance would be hers!

Before the Daimon could do anything, she spoke the same words that must have been running through it's mind. "Perfect. All alone, just the two of us. No-one around to interfere. No-one around to save you. I'm going to make an example out of you no-one will forget."

That surprised the Daimon. Usually it was the bad guys that got to make threatening speeches like that. Before the Daimon could really respond, Hotaru brought her hands together in front of her, containing the power, and began to chant.

"Darkness beyond twilight,"
"Crimson beyond blood that flows,"
"Buried in the flow of time."

Sailor Mercury gave a start. Power, evil power, and it was growing right next to the Daimon. Over the course of two seconds, the power levels rose enormously.

"In thy great name,"
"I pledge myself to darkness."

Her mouth went dry. So much power. Even as she watched her visor, it kept changing scales. This was like nothing she had ever seen before. No spell should be like this.

"Let all the fools,"
"Who stand in our way,"

Mercury's steps began to falter, and the other Senshi looked at her in surprise. Not even Queen Beryl had possessed such evil as this showed. Pure, unadulterated evil. She had never even heard of something so evil.

"Be destroyed"
"By the power you and I possess."

The power spiked. This is bad. This is really bad. Screaming into her communicator, Mercury offered the only advice she could: "Everyone hit the ground!" She followed her own advice, and the other Senshi were only moments behind her.


Then the world went white.

Every Japanese child visits Hiroshima as part of their upbringing. With the education everyone receives on nuclear weapons, it was easy enough to identify this as non-nuclear, there was almost no blast, just a region of destruction. But that was about the only difference. In a massive pick explosion, the entire top of the hill, over a kilometre in radius was simply destroyed. Gone... completely.

There was little or no damage outside the spell area, just a short, fierce wind blowing the trees, but the Senshi were all glad that they had hit the ground. If they had continued just a little bit further, they would have been inside the blast, and there was little question of how they would fare. The Outer Senshi were covered in a cold sweat at this point, they were less than eighty meters from the edge of the blast, seconds of running at the speed they had been doing.

As two groups, the Senshi approached the edge of the crater. Where once there was a small hill, now there was a depression. In a perfectly smooth sphere, centred on the Daimon, eleven hundred meters of landscape was simply missing. Whoever or whatever had cast the spell had made good their escape while the mists covering the detonation cleared.

In time, the Senshi returned to Tokyo. Sailor Moon was silent and slowly crying at the same time. When she returned she would have to be the one who told Chibi-Usa that her best friend had been killed and that Kikyo was also going to die from the loss of her Heart Crystal.

As they walked back, the Senshi quietly discussed what they had seen and felt. That much power was inconceivable. Sure, in the past they had fought people who wanted to conquer the world but they had never fought anyone that could throw nuclear blasts. Had their mysterious enemy actually found one of the Heart Crystals that they were searching for? Was this the result of using a Talisman? What would happen if they decided to do that in Tokyo next time?

As they began to enter the city proper, Sailor Mars walked up to her leader and put her arm on her shoulder. Moon looked over at her, trying to understand this sudden display of affection. "I'm sorry Moon. I know this is going to be hard for you, but we need you. You're the only one that can stop this evil. I know you are."

Sailor Moon returned the hug, crying on her friend's shoulder. She knew life was hard, and she knew that the good guys did not always win but in the past they always had a chance. What could you do against this? How could you win? What allies could you turn to? Who you gunna call?

"Thanks, Sailor Mars." She wiped the tears from her eyes and inhaled a few times. "All right, we know they have a powerful attack. We know they can blow things up. But they never did it before. Maybe they can't do it again. At least, not soon."

Sailor Moon could tell that Mars believed her words as much as she did. She raised her voice so all of the girls could hear.

"Listen to this. They might have some all powerful spell. They might be able to blow up a awful section of the forest just by casting it, but it doesn't change anything.

"We are the Sailor Senshi! We fight for love and justice. We fight for what is right. We fight for the values you cannot destroy with any spell, no matter how powerful. What we stand for cannot be beaten. It cannot be destroyed.

"It cannot be defeated. The only way we can loose is if we give in.

"We are the defenders of the Moon Kingdom. The Kingdom may have been beaten for thousands of years, but it shall rise again. We stand for what is right and as long as we stand together, we shine like a light in the darkness.

"We are the light that will guide people to the future they deserve. Never forget that. It is only when you look and see the darkness of your enemies, and forget your own light, it is only then that they can defeat us.

"Stand by me, and we shall be victorious. The Moon Kingdom shall rise again. The people of the Earth shall again know peace, prosperity and happiness!"

When they finally reached the city, they saw a weeping Chibi-Usa, Ukyo and Hotaru weeping over the body that was once Kikyo. All her words felt like ashes in her mouth.

Elsewhere, the Outer Senshi had changed back to their normal clothes, and they too discussed their fears. When they reached their home, they were more concerned than they had ever been. This sort of magic was beyond their experience.

The only source of hope they had was Setsuna. She was waiting in Michiru's home, sitting on a couch reading a magazine. Joining her, they relayed all that they had seen and heard that morning. None of them could shed any light on Hotaru or her involvement in all of this and they were unsure what they should be most worried about. The fact that Hotaru could summon the Tochou, be they demons or spirit creatures; or the fact that she knew who Sailor Neptune really was.

Worse still was their uncertainty in Hotaru's role in the later events. At the end of the fight, she seemed to vanish, and no-one had seen her as they left to pursue the Daimon. Was she captured, was she hiding, or was she playing a voluntary role in what happened?

Naturally it was Setsuna that finally cut to the chase. "What you really need to ask yourself is this. Which would you prefer... That our foe can cast such magic, or that Sailor Saturn, who may be our ally is now awake?"

What Setsuna definitely did not do was reveal all that she knew, there was no way that the shaken girls could cope with her information now, they needed all the support they could muster. She knew that the magic she felt was not Sailor Saturn's. The power of Saturn's attacks was distinctly different. It was unlike that of any of the other Senshi, and Pluto could have felt it no matter where she was. What was worse, was Sailor Saturn was still asleep. She would have felt it immediately the girl awoke to her power.

Who ever had done today's deed was not Sailor Saturn, no matter what she might imply to the others. Somehow that scared her, and scared her deeply.

Even as Ranma cried over the loss of his friend, some small hidden part of him smiled. In a world that had even forgotten the name of Shabranigdo, let alone his power, what he had cast today would be fair warning.

Notice had been given: do not oppose the sailor girls and their allies, for the consequences are dire indeed.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 18 of 26

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