A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is owned by Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
As the aura subsided, 'Tim slowed midair, landed softly, then turned around and looked without emotion back at Piccolo, his eyes flaring a bright blue. The crescent moon mark on his forehead gleamed brightly enough to be easily seen from the long distance away.
The Namekkian's eyes widened, feeling the awesome energies pulsating throughout the area, focused around the pink-haired man. "NOOO!!!"
Bits of rock rose into the air and the ground began to crack underneath 'Tim. He cupped his hands together as a golden aura flared up around him, aiming at the green-skinned man.
*BLAAAAAAAAM!!!!!!* Piccolo barely managed to move aside as a massive, continuous blast came forth from his opponent's hands, utterly obliterating the plateau in a flash of fragmenting rock. "Where'd he get that much power from?!" he whispered in disbelief as he looked back across the charred landscape to his glowing opponent.
A few high-velocity pebbles deflected off of a randomly flickering spherical blue barrier around 'Tim.
Piccolo cracked his knuckles and smoothed down his mauve tutu, taking a deep breath.
This was going to get nasty.
Luna's ears pricked up.
The moon cat opened her eyes, then slowly stood up on Serena's bed and stretched, yawning. She took a quick glance around and leapt over to the windowsill.
Tonight, the sky was quite beautiful, yet at the same time, somewhat ominous. The bright white light of the full moon was visible, shining through a circular break in the rippling black and red-hued clouds.
Luna sighed. The Moon… The Moon Kingdom: her former home, destroyed untold ages ago by the Negaverse and its host of evil monsters. Unfortunately, her recollection of the Moon Kingdom and the events leading up to its destruction were sketchy at best. Try as she might, she simply could not remember enough details to be of any great use to Sailor Moon, the other Scouts… the other Senshi.
The moon cat looked down, frowning. Funny that she should choose now to make that distinction. Were the girls merely young Scouts, or were they Senshi… Soldiers? Clearly, they were young, inexperienced, and had difficulty concentrating on their mission, which was to…
Luna scowled in frustration. Could she have forgotten her mission that easily? After a moment's thought, it came back to her: Fight the Negaverse and find and protect the Moon Princess… But if things that important could slip her mind, what else could she be forgetting? Perhaps something even more important, like the fact that she held the Crescent Moon Wand, an artifact of great importance that held the key to not only finding the Princess, but also to finding the Imperium Silver Crystal, the power of which could be used to destroy Queen Beryl and the Negaverse once and for all.
The black cat laughed quietly as she hopped back onto the bed and curled back up to go to sleep. Yes, give her a chance, and she'd probably forget about that, too. Honestly, her memory nowadays was becoming totally unreliable…
Luna paused, her eyes widening as she realized the sheer, unadulterated importance of her last few thoughts. "The Crescent Moon Wand!" she half-shouted, standing.
"Luna," Serena whispered groggily as she rolled over in her bed, "can you keep it down? I'm trying to get to sleep early for once…"
"Serena," Luna said, looking up at her, "there is something important I need to give you."
"Can't this wait 'till tomorrow?" the pigtailed blonde groaned, her eyes sliding partially open.
The cat shook her head. "No, I am afraid that this cannot wait." She jumped upwards and performed a midair backflip before making a perfect, four-point landing back onto the bed.
A wand plopped down into Serena's lap. Its handle was an off-pink color, and was topped with a large, but thin, lopsided crescent moon ornamentation. Between the handle and the crescent moon was a jeweled intersection.
"This," Luna said, "is the Crescent Moon Wand."
"Oh," Serena mumbled, idly picking it up. "What does it do?"
The moon cat prepared to tell her everything she knew about the Wand and its inner workings. Most importantly, she prepared herself to tell about how it could be used to help fight the Negaverse.
Unfortunately, she was drawing a blank at the moment.
"Er, well," Luna began uneasily, "it's the…" She took a deep breath and continued in a more confident tone. "For one thing, it is the symbol of leadership among the Sailor… Scouts. You are their leader."
Serena raised a tired eyebrow. "Shouldn't, like, Terra get that, then? She's a princess, remember?"
The cat coughed. "Ah, well… Yes, that's true, Serena," she said, "but she was merely the adopted princess of the Moon Kingdom."
"That's gotta count for something…"
"Right, it most certainly does, but…"
Luna sighed and looked the girl in the eye. "To be perfectly honest, does Terra look like she would be of use leading any real fighting?"
"Okay… I guess that could be a problem. Why don't you go bug Raye about it?"
"Serena," Luna hissed, narrowing her eyes, "why do you keep trying to evade your responsibilities as a Sailor Scout?"
"I just wanna go to sleep!" Serena whined, covering her face with her pillow.
"Oh, all right!" Luna replied, turning around and laying down.
"Hmm," Serena began, putting down her pillow, "you've been really pushy since you kicked Arby out…"
"I have not," Luna sulked.
"Do you miss him at all?"
The black cat closed her eyes and shook her head. "Him? Absolutely not. Not after what he did last week."
"What did he do? You still haven't told me about it."
"Humph. I don't want to talk about it."
"Okay, whatever. Goodnight, Luna," Serena finished, then rolled over onto her side, snuggling up against her nice, fluffy feather-down pillow.
His lips curled back into a sneer and his eyes still burning a bright blue color, 'Tim stretched his hands forward toward Piccolo, who lay bruised, battered, and beaten on the hot desert sand.
"What… are you?" Piccolo asked as he inched away on his back, holding the clear-fluid-dripping stump where his arm had been a few minutes ago.
The aura around the pink-haired man flared in response, but he was otherwise silent as energy gathered in shafts to his hands, creating one large blue swirling sphere. "YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE, GIVEN FORM."
With that, he released the ball toward Piccolo.
*BLAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!!* A tremendous explosion rocked the landscape, digging a deep hole into the ground and blasting up dust and other debris.
Breathing harshly, the aura around 'Tim flickered out, and the glow of the crescent moon on his forehead decreased in amplitude before settling into a solid gold color. The energy burning in his eyes also faded. He smiled as he took notice of the destruction before him. "Oh yeah, baby… That's what I'm talking about."
After a tense moment, the dust cleared.
A black-haired man wearing a set of thick, ribbed upper-body stood, hovering above the hole that 'Tim's blast had created. A red aura around him flickered, occasionally deflecting a random piece of flying debris.
Behind him, Piccolo's jaw dropped. "Goku…?"
The levitating individual glanced back at the Namekkian, raised an eyebrow, then turned back to 'Tim and frowned in mock disapproval. "Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Beating up on a harmless Namekkian… You should be ashamed of yourself."
"He's just a hologram," 'Tim said. "He can't feel anything."
*Squelch!* Piccolo grimaced as he regenerated his arm.
"Heh. Riiight," the black-haired man said. "Of course he's a hologram." He pointed at himself and smiled. "I'm a hologram, too."
*Shing* The crescent moon on 'Tim's forehead gleamed audibly. "I doubt that," he replied, and took a step forward. "Now, could you please get out of my way: I'd really like to finish him off in an unnecessarily graphic fashion, if you don't mind." He shrugged. "You know, it's a macho thing I picked up somewhere back in the middle ages. You go draw your sword, lop off a couple of their limbs… remove their eyes, then you go and chop off a few limbs of your own to add to the general mess, then the rats come…" He shuddered. "I hate rats: They drive me crazy." He paused. "Crazy… I was crazy once. They put me in a rubber room. I died in that room. Then they put me in a little pine box. Then the rats came." He grimaced. "Rats… I hate rats: They drive me crazy." He paused. "Crazy, I was crazy once… Twice, actually. They put me in a rubber room—"
The armor-clad man stared at him. "Get on with it."
'Tim looked at him with a start. "Oh! Right… Who are you?"
"My name," the black-haired man replied, "is Kakkarotto."
'Tim blinked. "I'm sorry."
Behind Kakkarotto, Piccolo stood, frowning deeply as he took stock of the man's appearance and attire. "Wait a sec… You're not Goku, are you?"
"Who's Goku?" Kakkarotto asked, not turning around.
Piccolo warily took a step back, his eyes narrowed at him.
"He's a fictional character, like Piccolo here," 'Tim said, then chuckled. "A Sayajin."
"Really…?" Kakkarotto asked, starting to look interested. "What do you know about Sayajin?"
The pink-haired man smiled, thinking it over. "Hmmm… Let's see… When they have hair, it's black and all messed up, the smaller ones are usually more powerful, they've got this brown tail that they keep tied around by their waist…" He paused. "Actually, they look a lot like you."
"Maybe," the Sayajin replied, "that's because I am a Sayajin."
"That could be it," 'Tim admitted. "Either that, or your hairstylist had an epileptic fit…"
Kakkarotto looked at him and laughed. "Your hair looks just mine…"
"Yeah? Mine's pinker. Got a problem with that?"
"So what if I do?"
'Tim cracked his knuckles and pulled out a knife and fork. "Transform," he ordered.
The Sayajin raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"Transform. Turn into that great, big Oozaru I know you can be."
Kakkarotto was at a loss for words. "Uh… why?"
"Don't worry, I'll still be able to fight you."
"Why?" Kakkarotto pressed. "Why do you want me to transform?"
"Because it's dinner time… and I missed lunch."
The black-haired Sayajin glanced up at the sun, which was in the middle of the sky. "Dinner time, huh?"
'Tim nodded. "And you'll be the main course. Oozaru is… well, a little over twenty thousand years ago, it was my favorite. So, since I've been reviewing a few things I haven't done for a while, I thought I'd—"
"So you're twenty thousand years old…" Kakkarotto said, then pushed a button on his heads-up display, causing a few indiscernible characters to appear on the glass. "That explains a few things… Like how a human of all things has twenty—"
"Are you going to transform or not?" 'Tim asked, impatiently tapping his knife and fork together.
"Hmm… Let me think about that one. No."
Kakkarotto levitated a little closer. "I don't think so."
'Tim advanced, his arms wide. "PRETTY plea—"
The two stopped.
'Tim frowned and pulled out a three by five by one inch black rectangular device with a one-line LCD display. "Remember to take Jade to the meeting with… Oh, no, I forgot about that." He looked at Kakkarotto. "Look, I'd love to have you for dinner, but duty calls. Computer, beam me—"
*ZZR!* A quick, beam-like blast from Kakkarotto knocked the device out of 'Tim's hand. "Don't worry, it can wait," the Sayajin noted, not leaving a great deal of room for argument.
'Tim looked down at the charred remnants of his obliterated pager. "I really wish they'd stop doing that…" The golden crescent moon mark on his forehead flickered for a second, then turned a dark shade of blue.
Across the desert landscape, a ripple of crackling blue energy blew the rocks and sand away from the origin of the outburst: A pink-haired man in a green and pink gi.
Within a couple of minutes, the blast died down and the sand settled.
"Uhhh… Proved?" 'Tim muttered. He shook his head in an attempt to clear it. His crescent moon flickered back to a gold color.
"That was… different," Kakkarotto noted, unfazed.
"Okay," 'Tim said, rubbing his forehead. "Ow…" He sighed and looked at the other man. "As much as I'd like to stay, I need to go. Now." He pulled out yet another small rectangular device. "Computer, power down gravity net."
[Powering down,] the device intoned. [Six gees… Five gees… Four gees… Three gees… Two gees… One gee. Power-down successful.]
"Whoa," 'Tim said, reeling from the sudden change in forces surrounding him. He stumbled around for a second, before realizing that he hadn't requested a beam-out. "Oh… yeah, Computer, beam me up."
Kakkarotto had his finger raised for another taunting blow, but for some reason, he couldn't bring himself to stop the other man from leaving. "Dang," he murmured as 'Tim vanished in a flickering, sparkly effect.
A twig, the only twig for five hundred miles, snapped behind him.
"What?!" the Sayajin shouted, whirling around to see the Namekkian powered up for a massive blast.
"Heh heh heh," Piccolo laughed as he brought two of his fingers forward, which had been charged with horrendous quantities of energy. "Special… Beam… Cannon… FIRE!!!!"
"Oh, please," Kakkarotto groaned, rolling his eyes. He held out a hand in front of him.
*RRRRRRRRR-BLAAAA—* The Namekkian fired off a thick, spiraling red beam at the Sayajin… but the blast stopped several feet away from Kakkarotto's hand, and stayed there for several seconds as Piccolo continued his attack. As soon as the beam cut off, Kakkarotto, with a flick of his wrist, sent the energy right back at his enemy, in the same form as it came.
Piccolo looked on in dismay as his own attack sped toward him…
*BLAM!!!* …and passed harmlessly through his chest, obliterating a mountain behind him.
"What the…" Piccolo whispered, looking down to see that there was no gaping, cauterized hole through him that would normally have accompanied a situation such as this.
"Oh, and by the way," Kakkarotto said, slowly powering up for a shot of his own, "I love the dress."
Piccolo stared agape at the Sayajin, idly fingering his tutu. "Such power…" Suddenly, he scowled in angry realization. "So I am a hologram… Fine, then! Do your worst, Kakkarot!"
"Oh, don't worry, I will. And it's Kakkarotto, by the way."
*Chink* A small rock from the obliterated mountain behind Piccolo hit something on his arm. *Zrr… zrr* He flickered and vanished, then a small, thin metallic object fell unheralded to the ground.
Kakkarotto's jaw dropped, as did his arms. "Not ANOTHER weak battle!" he exclaimed in disbelief. "What kind of triple-A-plus planet is this?!"
The armored man sighed in disappointment, then tapped his scouter. He brightened at the figures that appeared on it. "Now this looks promising…"
A purple and black vortex opened above the Tendo Dojo. It crackled with electricity for several seconds before a redheaded teenage girl in a pink-highlighted sailor fuku fell from it…
*CRASH!* … right through the roof of the household, landing facedown in the middle of the practice hall floor.
A green-haired woman in a black-highlighted sailor suit that carried an ornate red-orb-tipped staff appeared next to her, pulling the girl to her feet. "We have arrived, Ranma," she said, barely managing to conceal her distain. "You are home."
"Thanks, Setsuna," the girl replied, taking a moment to stabilize herself. "That was some vacation. A weird power-up, a new level of training, a battle." She looked up at her fiancée. "Is Happosai really gone?"
Sailor Pluto smiled, her eyes narrow. "Most assuredly, but he is not the one you should be worried about."
Ranma smiled at her. "Who should I be worried about?"
She tugged at the pink bow on the front of her outfit. "I mean, with this thing, I feel like I could've fought off Pantyhose, Herb, and Saffron at the same time without breaking a sweat!"
"I wouldn't go that far," Pluto replied, making her way toward the room's exit. "Powerful though you may be, you only rate point zero… zero… zero three SVs."
The taller woman was silent for a moment. "Someone powerful far beyond what your meager imagination can comprehend. Eldest sister to that world's prince… even he fears her. Her capabilities exceed that of even the primal forces of the universe: Nature, Science, Power, Chaos…"
Ranma blinked, mulling that over. "So I'm… like, only four orders of magnitude off stuff that powerful?!" She grinned.
"Amazing," Sailor Pluto muttered, "that one so dense understands the concept of orders of magnitude…"
"Anything Goes Martial Arts Quantum Mechanics," Ranma added.
"Yes… It took you nearly a month to learn."
"Hey! It was only two and a half weeks!"
Pluto stopped, then whirled to face her. "That is irrelevant now. Ranma, I am giving you one last chance before I pronounce your everlasting torment: Renounce our engagement at once."
The redhead blinked. "Where'd that come from?"
The green-haired woman looked down at her, anger apparent in her red eyes. "Ranma…"
Ranma began fidgeting. "Er…" She held the brooch on her chest forward slightly. "Say, uh, how do I get outta this thing?
You haven't told me yet."
"Do not change the subject."
Setsuna nodded knowingly. "That's what I thought." She placed an open hand on Ranma's chest.
Ranma stood still, looking nervously at her. "Uh…"
*RIIIIP!* The Guardian of Time removed the brooch from the girl's outfit. The item in question was hesitant to leave, and made a rather excruciating tearing sound that would make one believe that more was removed than actually was.
*ZZRrrrrrr…* Ranma's skin glowed as the fuku disappeared in a shower of pink autumn leaves, soon to be replaced by her sleeveless Chinese-style shirt and black pants. "Okay, that's better," she commented as she readjusted to the feeling of having her old outfit back. She paused, and looked up at Setsuna. "All I need now is some hot water, and I'll be good to—"
Sailor Pluto silently handed him a steaming kettle.
"Oh, thanks, Setsuna!"
The redhead poured the hot contents onto herself…
*Splash!* No effect, save for a lingering… dampness.
Sailor Pluto smiled at her. "I warned you. Countless times. Therefore, a few… alterations have been made to give further encouragement."
Ranma, looking rather shocked and confused, opened her mouth to speak… but was interrupted when a short, black-haired boy in a white gi walked in.
"R-Ranko!" he started. "Where have you been for the last two weeks?!"
Ranma blinked. "Ranko…?" She glanced around. "Is Mom here?"
She looked back at the boy… then stared for a second. "Akane!?"
"Kaneda," the boy corrected, looking somewhat annoyed, "your fiancé, remember?"
Ranma's jaw dropped. She quickly glanced at Sailor Pluto, who nodded. "And things will just become worse the longer you resist," the time guardian added matter-of-factly. "As things stand, you were born Saotome Ranko, daughter of Genma and Nodoka. You are engaged to Tendo Kaneda, who does not mind the engagement nearly as much as Akane did."
Kaneda frowned and looked at Ranma. "What's she talking about, Ranko?"
The redhead started to respond, but a previously unseen panda came up from behind with a large wooden sign and batted her out of the room, through the roof.
Outside the Tendo household, the decorative fish in a large pond swam peacefully, contemplating the mysteries of the galaxy, meditating on the ways to perfection…
*SPLASH!* …then a redheaded girl crashed into the water, destroying forever that which would have become the cornerstone for universal telepathic tranquility for mute sentient beings.
A black-haired boy rose up out of the water, spitting out one of the hyper-intelligent, fish-like Koi. "What the…" the boy whispered as he noticed the change. "So I guess that means…"
"…That you, Ranma, are now a girl that is cursed to become a boy when splashed with cold water," Sailor Pluto noted, appearing next to the pond.
Ranma-kun raised an eyebrow as he stopped to consider the implications of that. "That's… kinda warped, isn't it, Setsuna?"
Pluto nodded, her expression indicating that he had just hit right upon the point of it all.
The young man frowned deeply, and climbed out of the pond. For some unfathomable reason, Ranma's mother, Nodoka, chose that moment to walk by…
Ranma-kun stopped as he noticed. "Uh, Mom?"
The middle-aged woman smiled as she approached. "Oh, how manly my daughter is!" she said proudly, looking between Ranma-kun and Sailor Pluto. "I'm so proud of you!"
Ranma-kun blinked. Hard.
A teenage girl with a pageboy haircut walked out of the house, grinning broadly as she flipped through a stack of large photographs. "Kuno-chan's going to LOVE these… I'm going to
*Oof!* In the euphoria of the moment, though, her foot accidentally caught on a stray rock, sending her slamming into the ground, scattering the pictures she had taken at some undisclosed time. "No!"
As Nabiki stood and dusted herself off, simultaneously grabbing for the flying pictures, Nodoka caught one of them. Ranma's mother froze in shock as she examined the picture. She slowly lowered it and glanced between Sailor Pluto and Ranma, her gaze settling on her offspring. "What is the meaning of this!?" she yelled in that very special horrifying way that only parents can, showing the photo to Ranma-kun.
The picture was that of Ranma, in girl form, in a pink-highlighted abbreviated sailor fuku, looking rather downtrodden at the destroyed crystal structures around her.
"UHHH… I can explain!" Ranma-kun started, holding his hands up defensively.
Nodoka narrowed her eyes, then drew her katana and leveled it at him. "YOU HAVE UNTIL I CATCH YOU!!!" she yelled, running forward, swinging her weapon angrily.
"Yipe…" Ranma-kun said quietly, then took off running.
Nodoka followed the boy around the area in a crazed, yet predictable circle as Ranma-kun tried to explain the situation, but which all came out as, "Uh… Ah… Eh!"
Sailor Pluto looked at the frightened young man as he passed near and noted that, "I will reverse all this if you will simply nullify the engagement!" she called. She paused and muttered, "Though how I was bindingly engaged to a young girl is—"
An old man in a black gi hopped on in, looking very forlornly at a bottle he carried in his hand. He sighed and tossed it behind him as he bounded away.
*SHING!* A random slash of Nodoka's katana split the bottle in twain, splashing all the contents onto Setsuna….
The muscular, green-haired man in a tight white and black sailor fuku gasped, his mouth and eyes wide in shock. "What… NO!" he screamed as he felt the change take place.
"ENOUGH!!!!!" Sailor Pluto shouted, smashing the crystal imaging globe into jagged shards with the tip of the Garnet Rod. The tall woman threw aside her staff and turned in rage back toward the towering gothic vaults of The Archives.
"Theoretical temporal simulations," Setsuna spat, "USELESS! Twenty out of one hundred fifty margin of error… BAH!" She slammed a fist into a nearby pillar, badly cracking the marble support. "Billions of years of the best collected works ever, and they still cannot find a better solution than the one I discovered earlier…"
The Guardian of Time took several halting breaths, her eyes filled with tears. "But… it is too much, even for him!" She gritted her teeth, kneeling down to pick up the time staff. "Surely I needn't go that far in achieving my goals." Her breathing calmed. "Yes… Maybe this globe was malfunctioning… I shall find another in the adjoining wing and…" Sailor Pluto cursed under her breath, slamming the end of the staff into the stone floor. "No! I MUST do it… All of this distraction; this meandering; this PROCRASTINATION is keeping me from doing what must be done." Picking up a small book from the table, the determined woman began toward the exit.
"It ends, Ranma," Sailor Pluto hissed. One way or another, it ends.
"Giddyap!!" Reenie commanded, rattling the reigns.
"Urgh… Yeah," Ranma-chan replied, then muttered, "What's this kid on?!"
Ranma-chan had been continuing her recently added duties of watching over and taking care of Crystal Tokyo's Crown Princess. Babysitting, if you will.
Small Lady, or Li’l' Mucus, as she is commonly referred to in the ancient ArbyFish anecdotes, had requested that the new Sailor Earth play a game with her.
"C'mon," Reenie urged, tugging at the rope, "giddyap!"
Specifically, the young princess had asked for a 'horsy ride'; a wild horsy ride, and there existed none that fit the description better than the recently recruited Senshi.
"Ehhh, right," Ranma-chan replied, and began to move along gingerly on her hands and knees, the content little girl on her back.
"Faster," Reenie ordered.
Sighing, the cursed martial artist plucked along the ground at an increased rate.
"All right, this is greaaat!"
Indeed it was, and the experience was nothing short of phenomenal, for the horsy ride was complete with a saddle, bit and bridle…
"You don't have to tug so hard…"
A desert setting…
"The ground's getting sorta hot, y'know…"
The midday sun beating down upon them…
"The glare's getting to me…"
*HISS!* SNICK* SNICK* SNICK*
"YOUCH! GETITOFF GETITOFF GETITOFF!!!"
*HISS!* SNICK* SNICK* SNICK!* "Oh, 'ello, madam!" *Munch*Munch*
"Yaaaah! Make it stop!" Reenie shouted, trying to brush the odd thing out of her hair.
Ranma-chan was about to continue her shouts of agony… then she realized that she wasn't in any pain, even from the snake stuck to her right calf. However, the snake was not her primary concern right now. Neither was it the cactus spines stuck in her hands and arms, which were rapidly healing from the Sailor Earth energy pumping through her. Oddly enough, it wasn't even the ArbyFish bothering her.
The main focus was, rather, the fact that storm clouds had suddenly rolled in, pouring their liquid contents all over the barren desert. Again, though, it was not the clouds, nor the rain that she was most worried about.
One might ask what was so worrisome to a boy - turned - girl - turned - hyper - powered - warrior - for - love - and - justice, considering how much she had endured and surpassed in the past. One might also answer that it was the seventy story-high wall of water headed directly for her.
"Ooooh," Reenie said in awe at the tremendous flash flood.
"I loikes it," Arby said, and clamped firmly onto one of the pink puffs of Li’l' Mucus's hair with his front flippers.
"Okay, no problem," Ranma-chan said, removing the bridle and taking Small Lady off of her back and into her arms. The wave was still several hundred feet away. "Now, if I could remember that teleport trick Venus showed me…"
The ArbyFish raised a flipper, keeping a firm grip on Reenie with his other. "I rememba'!"
The sailor-suited girl looked down at him. "Okay, how?"
The greenish seal-thing cleared his throat. "Well, ya see… Ya'z gots ta…" He paused, looking toward the approaching deluge. "Oh, look! There's 'Abberjug n' Willywug! 'Aven't seen 'em in years!" He looked at the redhead. "I gots ta go take me revenge for years a' trial n' torment. Be back in a bit."
*Splash!* With that, Arby dove into the water, somehow managing to leave Reenie and Ranma-chan confused enough to merely stand there as the flood overtook them…
Meanwhile, in the Royal Crystal Tokyo Salon, Neo-Queen Serenity and four Inner Senshi were getting haircuts…
"Just a trim and styling, please," Neo-Queen Serenity said to the hairstylist.
"Like, okay!" the orange-headed hairstylist, Kim, squealed in delight, getting out a spray bottle, a comb, and a pair of scissors, stylin' away like there was no tomorrow.
*Snip*Swish!*Snip* Four other girls, Kimmy, Kimmus, Kim-Kim, and Kimmaeus, each of whom looked exactly like Kim, joined in the conquest over the rebellious hair of the Senshi.
If you were to ask the scissors, they'd insist it was a mere police action, but…
*Shing!* The primary hairstylist accidentally severed Neo-Queen Serenity's right pigtail.
"Aaah!" Kim blushed crimson. "Um, eh heh… Sorry."
The Queen, the Senshi, and the various Kims looked in shock at the fallen hair.
Mercury gasped as she took notice of this.
"Uh oh," Jupiter muttered.
"I never thought I'd live to see the day…" Venus bubbled.
Serenity sat for a moment, then looked back at Kim. "You… You can fix that, right?"
Kim nodded emphatically. "Yes, yes, of course!"
The Queen formerly known as Serena sat straight on her seat. "Then make it so."
"Engage, Master Wharf," Venus whispered under her breath in a stiff tone, forcing a serious expression, "warped factor nine." She snickered, smiling.
*RIIIP* Serenity's hairstylist took out a large roll of a shiny, dark grey material and peeled off a section, then picked up the pigtail and immediately went to work at it.
"So," Sailor Jupiter began, "when do we get to redesign the Senshi 'uniforms?'"
Neo-Queen Serenity blinked. "Why would we want to do that?"
"I don't know," the brunette continued, "maybe because most of the foes we get are women, and thankfully, most of them aren't distracted by the… Well, you know. And then there's all that moral decay stuff we've got to worry about: Like it or not, we're role models, so I don't know what kind of message we're sending by spending twenty-four hours a day in something like this." She straightened her 'choker'-style collar for emphasis. "But aside from that," she tugged at the pink ribbon on the back of her outfit, "this bow's starting to get to me…"
"Hmm… It has never been a problem before," Mercury noted.
Serenity thought for a moment. "Do you really think we should change it? I think it's possible, but we've had it like this for I don't know how long… Should we, even?"
"We could always switch to what the Star Lights had," Sailor Mars suggested sarcastically.
Jupiter looked at her, forcing Kimmus to readjust her cutting angle. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?"
Mars blinked. "And that's supposed to mean…?"
The brown-haired girl grinned slightly. "Oh, just that you're the closest one of us to that already. High heels, red skirt… and that line you used once, 'I'll punish you in my high-heels…' All you need is leather and a whip, and—"
*Thwip-PSSH!* Venus whipped out her non-shouted-attack version of the Love-Me Chain. "There'll be no dissection in the ranks while I'm queen," she said in a slightly parodied militaristic English accent, assuming a stern posture on her seat, shifting her Chain under her arm as a general's baton.
There was a sudden shout from outside. "Wait! Stop that, stop that!" All at once, the ArbyFish fluttered in, dragging a dripping wet pink-haired girl behind him by the rabbit-ears. "They'll be no meta'phors here! This's a no meta'phor zone!!!"
"…Arby?!" everyone present exclaimed, excluding Reenie. The way Arby said it was more of a mocking sort of tone.
"In-deed!" Arby said, flinging Li’l' Mucus onto Neo-Queen Serenity's lap and fluttering over to sit on Sailor Venus's head.
"I find you all guilty of breaking the code of conduct, Sect'n Twoice n' 'Alf Ova' Again," he continued, marching back and forth across Venus's head, "moie punishment will be swift. You will all be sentenced to twelve n' a quarter-"
"Not…so…fast!" a black cat with a crescent moon on her forehead said, her voice only slightly muffled by the purple-furred kitten she was carrying in her mouth by the scruff of the neck.
"There he is," Diana said, pointing out Arby, "that's the one who did it!"
The ArbyFish suddenly leapt up into the air. "Nope, nope, nope! Ya can't prove anything!"
"We'll see," Luna growled, still holding her kitten with her jaws as she leapt up in an attempt to snag the seal-like creature with her claws. On her third jump, she got her claws within a mere millimeter of the elusive ArbyFish, when suddenly…
"Not…so…fast!" a brown-haired man in a black trench coat shouted as he entered, dragging in behind him a yellow-haired former Nemesian pilot named Jane. "I am Inspector What's-All-This-Then, and I—"
"Inspector What's-All-This-Then of the Yard?!" Diana, Luna, and Arby said in surprise.
The Inspector nodded, and continued, "I have been informed of a certain—"
*Snick* The lights went out.
There was the sound of scuffling, followed by a gunshot.
*Snick* The lights went back on.
Arby, Luna, Diana, Jane, and What's-All-This-Then lay dead on the floor.
The ArbyFish sat up. "Ha-ha! Ya'll neva' catch me aloive!"
He glowed momentarily with a green aura, and sped out of the room at a phenomenal rate. "The 'Shroom Empoya' will live on!"
One by one, the rest of the 'dead' individuals got up and followed in hot pursuit of the escapee.
Everyone remaining stared… Well, except for Reenie, who was gibbering incoherently.
Sailor Venus cleared her throat. "Anyway, as I was saying…" She held her Love-Me Chain under her arm like a military baton. "There'll be no dissention within the ranks."
Sailor Mars decided to let the topic go.
"Oh, and speaking of that," Jupiter added. "The ranks, I mean. I wanted to go and talk to Sailor Earth—you know, Ranma, but I checked around and couldn't find her room listed anywhere." She looked at Neo-Queen Serenity. "Where'd she finally get to sleep?"
The Queen looked up from her daughter. "That's a good question…" She frowned. "I don't know."
"Did she ever get to sleep?" Mars asked.
"Oh, of course she did," Venus said.
"Where?" Mercury queried.
Venus grinned. "Over at my place."
There was silence for a time, save for the occasional snip of scissors.
"What?" the blonde asked innocently.
Mercury turned toward her. "There is… one surface in your home that could be readily used to sleep in—"
"That huge, red, heart-shaped bed!" Mars cut in, scandalized.
"How long has this been going on?!"
Serenity looked sideways at the Senshi commander. "Mina…?"
Jupiter raised her eyebrows suggestively. "Perks of leadership, eh?" She chuckled, shaking her head.
*Snip* "Could you please hold still?" Kimmus pleaded, trying to keep up with the cranial motions. "Thanks."
Sailor Venus looked back at them, not blinking or breaking her grin. "I know what you're thinking… and you're wrong. There's no two ways about it." She straightened. "It just so happens I lent her my room, while I spent the nights out spiking tequila with friends." She paused, then giggled, blushing. "Oh, did I say that out loud?"
"That's… very encouraging," Jupiter said. "And just who are these friends you've been going out with…?"
"Why, the Black and Decker ArbyFish Clans, of course!"
Everyone present except for Mina winced, shuddering.
"Oh, them," Jupiter whispered.
"Hey, at least it wasn't the Purple ArbyFish Clan," Venus added with a shrug. "And all the Blue ones ever did was muck about in the water, having a good time…"
"And here I thought Saint Patrick drove all the ArbyFish out of Crystal Tokyo," Reenie muttered, her left eye twitching.
"No, wait, didn't Saint Patrick drive all the elephants out of India?" Venus asked.
"It was ArbyFish," Reenie insisted.
The blonde youngish-looking Senshi shook her head. "Elephants," she said, pointedly waving her index finger at the pink-haired girl.
Reenie stood up on her mother's lap, closed her eyes, drew in a deep breath, opened her mouth wide, and yelled at Sailor Venus, "AAAARRRRBYYYYFIIIISSSSH!!!"
Venus blinked, leaving Kimmaeus to puzzle over her customer's now-blown-back hair. "Wow… I sit corrected."
Neo-Queen Serenity pulled the little girl back down. "Small Lady…" she said, not sounding at all happy about the outburst.
Reenie looked up at her. "Someone has to get history right, Mommy!" She sighed. "I mean, if people can't remember stuff as simple as Saint Patrick banishing talking, mutated cats from the planet Earth—"
"I still say he was the Pied Piper of India," Venus muttered.
Mars shut her eyes and groaned. "Mina… Reenie… Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland!"
Mina paused, thinking over Mars's statement, then giggled.
"Oh, yeah, that's right…"
Sailor Jupiter shook her head. "Some people never change…"
Reenie was about to make a retort to Mars's statement, when a thought stirred in her cute little oversized head. "Mommy," she began, looking up at Serenity, "when I grow up, can I have a dress like Ranma's? I like the colors and—"
"Of course you can," the Queen replied, "if you behave…"
Jupiter frowned. "Wait a second… Where is Ranma?"
"Oh, she's off babysitting Small Lady," Venus said.
"…Babysitting?" Mercury asked. "What about—"
Venus nodded. "That's right, I fired that old 'Poppins' bag and assigned Ranma to look after Reenie."
"YOU DID WHAT?!?!" three Inner Senshi and one Queen shouted, standing.
"Back… down," four hairstylists urged, pulling their charges to their previous seats.
Sailor Venus shrugged. "I figured Ranma needed something to occupy her time with besides all those boring kata… And besides, Setsuna said it'd be a good idea." She paused. "Of course, then she started laughing maniacally, but…" She frowned as she suddenly remembered something crucial. "But… if Reenie's here, then…"
Neo-Queen Serenity looked urgently down at her daughter. "Small Lady, where is Ranma?"
*RIIIP!*dab-dab* Kim applied more duct tape to Serenity's previously removed pigtail.
Reenie shrugged. "We were playing horsy in the desert, then this big wave came, and…" She frowned. "Then Arby dragged me off."
"Which desert?" Serenity asked.
"I forget… It was south, I think. But it just had a big flash flood…"
Mercury suddenly turned toward them.
"Aaah! Don't do that," Kimmy gasped, barely avoiding a rather nasty styling mishap.
"I'm sorry," the blue-haired woman replied to her hairstylist, then slowly, carefully looked back at Serenity. "I have been keeping close track of the weather… and there should not have been a single drop of rain anywhere near the southern deserts."
"Ah," Venus said, "then someone with water powers must have caused it!"
"Let's not jump to any conclusions," Mercury said, then paused and glanced around. "But… has anyone seen Sailor Neptune?"
"Don't try to shift the blame. We all know you did it," Venus grinned. "You were jealous of her from the start."
Mercury raised an eyebrow, looking at her quizzically, then continued, "As a matter of fact, I have not seen any of the Outer Senshi since this morning…"
"Whatever you're trying to imply," Mars said, "get to the point."
"Hmmm," Serenity began, "I think I know what she's getting at."
Lightning flashed amongst the black clouds as the sailor-suited girl dragged herself out of the filthy, muddy river. Rain continued unabated around her, quickly washing away the dirt, leaving her fuku its normal white and pink color. Ranma silently thanked her bowl of lucky charms that Happosai was blown away. If he saw her like this…
The cursed martial artist then briefly considered the possibility that the dead can see you anywhere, anyway…
"Ugh," Ranma grimaced, considering the implications, and shuddered. "Reenie!" she called.
There was no response, save for the roaring of rushing water, the fall of rain, and the crashing of thunder…
The drenched redhead's expression darkened. "SMALL LADY!"
Ranma collapsed to her knees in the soily muck, her eyes wide in shock and realization at what must have happened. "She's gone," she whispered. The girl whom she had been commanded to protect was gone; swept away into a watery grave… Gone forever. Never again would Ranma hear sweet little Reenie's voice… Never again would she—
All of the sudden, that thought was cut off by a chorus of angelic singing…
A pillar of light fell upon the sailor-suited girl.
Ranma looked up and saw…
*AAAAAAAH!* …a tremendously huge, beautiful, majestic chocolate parfait! It levitated a few dozen meters above a dark stone castle in the distance…
Without any hesitation, Ranma stood, and sprinted off toward the castle, faster than the poor traction of the muddy ground should have allowed. It wasn't any surprise that she did this, really, considering the fact that she hadn't eaten in over a week…
Within seconds, she had traversed the distance to the castle, crossed the hedged courtyard, and—
*RIIP!* Her brooch caught on a rather sturdy — too sturdy, actually — stone cupid statue, and remained there, hanging from the bow and arrow assembly by a thin, pink ribbon. Ranma didn't even look back at the magical device, and took no notice of her de-transformation sequence, which left her clothed in her long-sleeved red Chinese shirt and black pants.
She slowed considerably, but made it to the large, wooden double castle doors, quickly becoming soaked by the heavy downpour.
*KNOCK-KNOCK!* The formerly sailor-suited girl pounded on the door, and yanked on the massive, unyielding titanium handle.
"OPEN UP!" she shouted. "C'MON, PLEASE! OPEN UP—"
*SPLAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!* A cauldron of hot, seething cheeseless macaroni poured down upon him, reversing his curse's bodily modification.
The door pulled inwardly open, and Ranma fell in…
The rather handsome, muscular, drenched black-haired boy slipped inside the castle, rolling in on a pile of macaroni.
"Huh. No cheese," the boy whispered, examining the food product, then looked up, and beheld…
"Hello," a group of perhaps a dozen beautiful women in white, robe-like outfits greeted him, smiling deeply.
Ranma climbed out of the macaroni and stood on his feet, his hair dripping with the remnants of the recent deluge.
"Welcome," another woman added, coming forward. She was approximately 5'4" with shoulder-length purplish-black hair.
"Welcome, gentle sir, to the Castle…" She paused in thought, then nodded. "Welcome to The Castle."
Ranma blinked. "The… Castle?"
The woman nodded sadly. "It's not a very long name…" She brightened. "But we are nice, and will tend to your every, every need."
"You've… got the… ice-cream here?" the young man asked.
"You know, the big, chocolate parfait—"
The woman took Ranma by the arm and started leading him away. "Oh, but you are tired and must… rest, yes, rest a while." She looked to the other women gathered around. "Haruka! Michiru!" she called, maintaining a pleasant expression.
"Yes, Hotaru?" a tall, shorthaired blonde and a shorter aqua-haired woman approached. They were attired in white outfits similar to those worn by the others.
"Prepare a bed for our guest," Hotaru ordered.
The other two smiled. "Thank you. Thank you, oh, thank you!"
The black-haired woman waved them off. "Away, away!"
Haruka and Michiru nodded, slowly backing off, their eyes full of gratitude.
Ranma stared after them. "Those two look so familiar…"
"Anyway," Hotaru continued, snuggling closer against his shoulder, "the beds here are warm and soft… and very, very big."
Ranma wasn't quite sure how to deal with this. "Well, look, I… I, uh—"
Hotaru stopped, turned, and looked into his eyes, obviously very enchanted at what she saw. "What is your name, handsome?"
The martial artist still didn't quite know what to make of the situation. "Ranma. Ranma Saotome…" He paused, giving himself a second to think. "No! Saotome Ranma."
The woman's smile deepened slightly, before she let go of Ranma and looked down at her feet. "Mine's Hotaru. Just… call me Hotaru." She once again took Ranma's arm. "Oh, but come!" She began to walk off with him again.
"L-look, please," Ranma stuttered, "I haven't eaten anything since… I don't know. Where's that parfait I—"
Hotaru looked at him. "Oh, but you have suffered much. You are delirious!"
Ranma blinked. "I saw it… It's upstairs in—"
The woman drew back, looking deeply hurt. "Ranma! You would not be so ungallant as to refuse our hospitality!"
"Well, I, uh… That is—"
Hotaru sighed. "But… Oh, I'm afraid our life must seem very dull and quiet compared to yours…"
Ranma looked around. It was indeed peaceful… Too peaceful, in fact. What could possibly be wrong with this picture…?
A thought bubble appeared over his head.
The thought bubble vanished.
Ranma sighed in utter confusion. "I can't quite place it, but there's something about this…"
Hotaru continued to lead him by the arm, up a flight of stone stairs. "We are but eight score young blondes, brunettes, bluettes, violettes, and redheads, all between physical ages of sixteen and nineteen and a half, cut off in this castle with no one to protect us…" She shivered against Ranma. "Oooh, it is a lonely life: Bathing, dressing… undressing… modeling very exciting fuku designs." She looked at him. "We are just not used to handsome young men…"
Some of this information was starting to seep into Ranma's thick skull. "Ummmm…" And as such, he started to hesitate in his steps.
Hotaru urged him on. "Nay, nay…" In another moment, they made it to an open door, at which Ranma started hesitating again.
"Come. Come." She led him inside. "You may lie here." She indicated a rather large, king-size bed in the middle of the room.
Ranma began to protest, but any words he had to share were interrupted by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to yawn. "Uh, okay, right…" He climbed onto the bed, and instantly started to doze off.
Hotaru gasped. "Oh, but you are wounded!" She pointed toward the rattlesnake attached to the boy's calf.
The young man sat up and looked at it. "Eh, it's nothing."
"Oh, you must see the doctors immediately!"
Ranma paused, then shook his head and started to climb out of bed.
"No, please!" Hotaru pleaded. "Lie down." After Ranma complied, she looked away and clapped her hands together twice.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a short, CUTE blonde girl, apparently sixteen years of age, stepped forward and stood on the right side of the bed. A youngish-looking woman with reddish-brown hair came to the other side of the bed. "Well, what seems to be the trouble?" the blonde asked.
Ranma blinked at the rather unprofessional-looking pair.
"Er, well…" Hotaru began, "they have—"
The short blonde brushed back her somewhat longish hair with her left hand and held out a handful of diplomas in the other. "An M.D. from every major medical school this planet has to offer."
The other doctor frowned, then smiled and said, with a hint of a New Jersey accent, "I've got a G.E.D." She held up a small wooden plaque.
Ranma's shoulders slumped. "Oh… Okay."
"Come, come," Hotaru said, "you must try to rest." She turned to the doctors. "Doctor Jade, Doctor Naru, practice your art." With that, she walked softly out of the room.
Soft music began to play in the background. The two doctors smiled at Ranma.
"Please try to relax," Doctor Naru said, suddenly attempting to stifle her grin.
Doctor Jade leaned in, placing a hand on Ranma's chest.
Ranma slinked back against the bedpost. "Uhhhh, is that… Do you have to do that?"
"We must examine you," the brunette insisted, wrapping her hand around Ranma's calf.
"Er, um, th-there's nothing wrong with that. Really," Ranma said, then broke off as Doctor Naru removed the rattlesnake.
"Please. We are doctors," the cute blonde doctor added in a soothing, almost seductive voice as the lights dimmed. She leaned in closer.
Ranma couldn't take it anymore. He shot out of bed and backed up against the wall. "All right, look, I know what you're—"
"Back to bed," Naru ordered.
"I-I just came to get that ice-cream I saw, and—"
"No ice-cream here," Doctor Jade noted.
Ranma looked around frantically. "I know I saw it!" He spied a curtained doorway, and flung it open. "Aha! I knew I would…"
He broke off, and it was pretty obvious why.
"Hello…" a large number of attractive females in varying states of undress greeted, smiling very deeply.
"Uhhhhhhhhhh…" pretty much summed up what Ranma had to say. He then caught sight of a purplish-black-haired woman in a very skimpy sailor fuku: basically a Senshi outfit with everything from the top of the skirt to just below the chest bow edited out, and a sharp reduction in the rest of the material used for the other sections. "Hotaru…?!"
The woman stepped forward, escorting Ranma away from the rest of the girls. "No, I am Hotaru's twin sister, umm… Firefly, yes! That's it." She nodded, continuing to smile as she assumed a very close escort position.
"Well, um, sorry for just kind of…" Ranma began, then paused, thinking something over. Finally, he nodded, and tried to pull free of Firefly's grasp. "Excuse me, I—"
"Where are you going?" Firefly asked, staying very close.
"I… t-think I should go look for that parfait," Ranma stuttered.
Firefly paused, then frowned deeply, looking down. "Oh no…" Her expression grew to shock. "Oh no! Bad, BAD Hotaru!"
"…What?" Ranma asked.
The scantily clad woman let go of Ranma, and walked a few steps. "Oh, wicked, bad, naughty, evil Hotaru…" She looked at the young man. "She has been setting alight to our beacon, which, I have just remembered, is ice-cream shaped." She looked down. "It is not the first time we've had this problem."
"It… Wasn’t real?" the black-haired boy asked, frowning.
Firefly continued to look down. "Oh, wicked, bad, naughty, evil Hotaru!" She looked into Ranma's eyes. "She is a bad person, and must pay the penalty!" Firefly paused, and looked away. "Do you think this scene should have been cut? We were so worried when Ben was writing it…" She smiled. "But now, we're glad. It's better than some of the previous scenes, I think."
"'Least moine wuz confusin'," Arby noted.
"Hey," 'Tim said, "mine had great explosions. It wasn't just copying off some movie script that guy found somewhere."
Piccolo growled. "Well, get on with it!"
Kakkarotto nodded. "Yes… Get on with it!"
"YES! GET ON WITH IT!!!" an army of several thousand One-shot Senshi from chapter twenty-five shouted, waving their assortment of magical tools.
Firefly snuggled up against Ranma. "Oh, I am enjoying this scene!"
GET… ON WITH IT!!!
"That's the only hint I need," Firefly added with a grin, turning to face a very confused-looking Ranma. "Oh, wicked, wicked Hotaru… Oh, she is a naughty person, and must pay the penalty, and here in the Castle, we have but one punishment for setting alight to the parfait-shaped beacon…" The buxom woman leaned in yet closer. "You must tie her down to a bed… and spank her."
"A spanking! A spanking!" all of the other girls exclaimed gleefully.
Firefly nodded, her expression becoming very serious. "You must spank her well, and after you have spanked her, you may deal with her as you like. And then…" She paused, then smiled. "Spank me!"
"And me," Michiru said.
"And me," Haruka added.
Firefly looked at Ranma. "Yes, yes! You must give us all a good spanking!"
"A spanking! A spanking!" the women cried out in joy.
"There is going to be a spanking tonight!"
"And then," Firefly continued, "the bed martial arts."
"Bed martial arts! Bed martial arts!"
If none of that other stuff caught Ranma's attention, that did. "Well, I guess I could stay a little longer…" he said quietly, a grin coming to his face.
Firefly nodded, grinning just as deeply as she started to lead Ranma away.
"…Ranma!?" someone called.
Ranma looked back. "Oh, hi, Serenity."
Neo-Queen Serenity looked at him for a moment, then shook her head, a frown coming to her face. "Quick!" she called, coming between Ranma and the scantily-dressed females.
"What?" Ranma asked, feeling really quite relaxed at the moment.
"Quick!" the queen repeated, pushing the boy back, away from Firefly.
"Umm… Why?" Ranma questioned.
Serenity narrowed her eyes and brought out her wand, preparing to defend herself and Ranma, if necessary. "You're in great peril!"
"No he isn't," Firefly interjected.
"Silence, foul… temptress!" Serenity shot back, enraged.
Ranma blinked. "Hey, she's not a—"
The queen forced him back further. "Come on! I'll cover your escape!"
"I'm fine!" Ranma protested.
"Come on!" Serenity urged, moving back amidst the swarm of beautiful women.
"Raaaanmaaaa!" the girls called.
Ranma stopped. "No, look, Queen Serenity, I can take 'em!"
"Yes, let him take us!" Firefly said.
"Yes! Let him take us!" the girls insisted.
Serenity shook her head, backing up. "No, Ranma. Would you hurry up?!"
"No, really," Ranma added, "I can handle them!"
"Oh, yes!" Firefly exclaimed. "Let him handle us!"
"Yes! Let him handle us!" the other advancing women repeated.
"No!" Serenity shouted, and said back to Ranma, "Quick… Quick!!!"
"Please!!!" Ranma urged desperately. "I can beat 'em! There's only a hundred and sixty of them!"
"Yes, he will beat us easily," Firefly said, coming closer, "we haven't a chance!"
Finally, Neo-Queen Serenity and Ranma reached the door…
"He will beat us easily!" the horde of girls added.
*THWAM!* The Queen threw the door open and slammed it behind her as she and Ranma exited.
Firefly (Hotaru) sighed, slumping into a kneeling position on the floor. "And here I thought we were going to get away with it…"
Haruka put a hand on Hotaru's shoulder. "Better luck next time."
"But why does Setsuna get him?" Hotaru pouted.
"We are not meant to know," Michiru added.
Continued in Part 10-C
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