Dual Destinies
Discalimer: How long has it been since I started this thing?
< >: Thoughts
[" "]: Telepathic communication 
                                  Chapter 35
                                 Fourth Trial
                        Showdown with the Demon Sisters
     Ranma Blue sighed as he watched the sunset from the porch of the 
guesthouse in the Amazon village. It had been rough so far, but he 
and his brother had managed to weather their trials against the Dark 
World. So far, the score was three to zero in favor for the Ranma 
Twins. However, the Sharoka's realm needed only one victory and 
Earth would become the new backyard for the evil denizens of that 
     "Hey bro."
     The elemental Masaki looked to one side and saw his twin sibling 
approaching. Gesturing for his brother to sit beside him, the two 
began engaging in quiet conversation.
     "Heck of a week so far, huh Red?"
     "Yep. Three down and two to go. I have a feeling that these last 
two are going to be the toughest, especially against Sharoka."
     "Yeah, I've been thinking that too. And we've just turned 
seventeen to boot."
     Ranma Blue nodded. During all the excitement, with the special 
training they had undergone, the weddings and their battles against 
Sharoka's minions, the twins had very little time to celebrate the 
anniversary of their birth. Things had been going so fast that they 
had completely forgotten that they had become a year older. They 
were given a small party when they returned from their victory over 
Ekoja, but it was simple and relatively quiet. Now, with the sun 
touching the horizon, the twins had nothing else to look forward to 
except for a night of pleasure with their spouses and the fourth trial. 
This particular trial unnerved them a bit, as their mentors had told 
them who their next opponents were. They were quite familiar with 
the demon sisters, Katoka and Makana, for they were responsible for 
ruining the lives of the Ranma Twins' most frequent rivals. As of 
now, Akane Tendo, correction, Akane Masaki now despised Ryoga 
Hibiki for his deceit. As for Mousse, he had been permanently exiled 
from his homeland for his violation of Amazon Law. 
     The twins did not know the whereabouts of their onetime rivals. 
Ryoga had gotten hopelessly lost after leaving the Masaki home in 
Japan and hadn't been heard from since. Mousse had bid his last 
farewells after their party and Shampoo had given him a heartfelt 
goodbye in the form of a tearful kiss on the cheek then went back to 
the side of her husband. The mother of the myopic Hidden Weapons 
Master had to be pried away from her son to allow him to leave the 
     Though Ranma Red loved his Amazon wife dearly and would not 
give her up for anyone, he did understand the pain that Mousse was 
feeling as he left his home for the final time. His thoughts began to 
drift back to the last time he spoke to Shampoo's unwanted suitor.
     Mousse sighed as he walked through along the mountain path. It 
had been an hour since he left the village and said goodbye to his 
one and only reason for living, aside from his mother. The way he 
figured it, he would be out of Amazon lands by the next morning. 
However, as to where he would go, he had absolutely no clue. He 
sighed again as he remembered the tearful expression on Shampoo's 
face when she kissed him on the cheek and bid him good luck in the 
future. He shook his head. His life had been nothing more than a long 
run of bad luck. The humiliation he felt when his sight began to fail 
him, making him an easy target for the other children to tease him. All 
those times Shampoo had spurned and rejected him, whenever he 
tried to win her heart. The countless times he tried to defeat Ranma 
and failed miserably. Now, the final nails in the coffin had come. Not 
only was his beloved out of his reach and married to his rival, but he 
was to be forever denied his birthplace. 
     Mousse had always believed that he and Shampoo were destined 
to be married, but it seemed that fate had other plans. Now the 
nearsighted martial artist was an outcast to his own people. He could 
never again step foot within the boundaries of his homeland on the 
threat of immediate execution, which he had no doubt that the Elders 
would enforce. He had no chance of ever winning Shampoo either as 
he was forbidden against pursuing her. Not that it really mattered. He 
had seen the look in her eyes when she held onto Ranma Red's arm. 
She was deeply and truly in love with him. He had imagined himself in 
his rival's position and had dreamed many times of Shampoo giving 
him that look. However, it was nothing more than a fantasy and 
Mousse knew that. 
     The only thing that he could console himself with was that 
Shampoo would be happy. Ranma Red was definitely a better person 
than he was before he had become twins. He would be able to give 
Shampoo the happiness that Mousse had wanted to give, but was 
now denied. Though it wasn't much, it was something.
     "I hope you can make her happy Ranma." Mousse said to himself.
     "Don't worry, I fully intend to."
     Mousse whirled around at the sound of Ranma Red's voice but 
could not see him anywhere.
     "Up here."
     Mousse looked up and saw the mystic Masaki casually hovering 
fifteen feet off the ground. His arms were crossed and he had a bit of 
a whimsical smile as he gazed down at Mousse.
     The myopic teen scowled a bit. "What do you want? Have you 
come to gloat?"
     "Now why would I do something like that? It's not like I have 
anything to gloat about." Ranma Red gently floated down to the 
     Mousse was still a bit unnerved at how easily his rival could defy 
nature's laws, but his dislike of Ranma helped him overcome his 
uneasiness. "What do you want?"
     "From you, nothing." Ranma Red shrugged. "In fact, I'm here to 
give you something."
     "I want nothing from you!" Mousse hissed as his body tensed up.
     Ranma Red shrugged his shoulders again and said nonchalantly, 
"Too bad. You're going to get it anyway." With that, he suddenly 
teleported behind Mousse and placed a palm on the back of his head. 
A red light glowed from his hand and quickly enveloped the son of 
     Mousse felt his body stiffen as the energy washed through him 
like a warm water. He tried to move but his limbs became 
unresponsive, keeping him in place. His pack dropped to the ground 
with a thud. Then he felt a cool breeze brush past his face and 
realized that his glasses had been removed and a second later, he 
heard the sounds of something being crushed.
     "My glasses!" Mousse became angry as he tried to turn around. 
Then suddenly, he found that he had control of his arms and legs 
again. In a flash, he whirled around and reached into the folds of his 
robe for one of his weapons. It was then that he REALLY saw Ranma 
     There he was, standing in front of him with his hands behind his 
back and wearing that same whimsical grin. And unlike the regular 
and partially indistinct blur that Mousse had seen him as, Ranma Red 
was now clear to him in perfect, three-dimensional and realistic color 
and detail. 
     Mousse held up his hands and beheld them for the first time since 
he was five, when his vision had begun to degrade. He then looked 
out over the landscape and saw the trees, mountains and streams. He 
looked up and saw the blue sky and white clouds that dotted it. 
Everything became crystal clear to him.
     "I can see! I CAN SEE!!!" He cried out with joy at his new 20/20 
vision. His expression then became one of confusion as he looked 
back at Ranma Red. "B-But w-why? H-How did y-you? I-I don't 
     Soren's pupil nodded as he replied, "I figured that with everything 
that's happened, you deserve that much. Maybe this will let you SEE 
the truth this time!"
     Mousse was unsure at what Ranma Red was referring to at first, 
then he realized the meaning of his words. He slowly nodded as he 
had already accepted the truth. "I know. Shampoo is… yours."
     Ranma Red nodded. "She is my wife now and we love each 
     Mousse held up a hand and shook his head. "You don't have to 
finish Saotome, I mean Masaki. I've… accepted that she's yours now. 
I guess it's just as well. I could never have made her as happy as she 
is when she's with you. Take care of her for me." The no longer 
visually challenged teen picked up his pack and then began to walk 
     Ranma Red called to him. "Mousse! Listen to me! I think there 
might be a chance that I could convince the Elders to reverse their 
     Mousse stopped for a moment, then shook his head. "Don't 
bother. I could never go back, even if they did let me return."
     Ranma Red teleported in front of him, startling him for an instant. 
"Mousse, you don't have to go. Your mother hasn't stopped crying 
ever since you left and I… well, I feel that after all that's happened 
between us, you're really not a bad guy. I'd like to help you if I can."
     "You can help me by leaving me be." Mousse growled. He tried to 
step around Ranma Red, but the mystic martial artist wouldn't let him 
pass. "Get out of my way!"
     "Nope! Not until we settle a few things."
     "What's there to settle? You're married to Shampoo and I'm not. 
Do you think I can stay in the village and see the two of you together 
every day? I've loved her ever since we were little, but now I see that 
it was all a waste. For fourteen years, I tried to win her love, but never 
succeeded. Now that she's given her love to you, there's no reason 
for me to stay. It's time I broke my ties with that part of my life and 
moved on."
     Mousse shook his head. "No. I think I should be grateful that all 
this has happened. I think that it was just what I needed to finally see 
that I had been living a lie. Now that everything has been settled, I 
have an opportunity to start over. I'll be damned if I'm gong to screw 
that up, and you won't stop me!"
     Ranma Red was about to say something else, but then saw the 
look in Mousse's eyes. His onetime rival was serious and there was 
nothing the Ranma Red could say to convince him otherwise. Ranma 
Red didn't want Mousse to leave on these terms but the die was cast. 
"So be it, Mousse. Take care of yourself." He stepped aside.
     Mousse gave him a slight nod and then walked onward. He then 
paused without looking back to say a few parting words to Ranma 
Red "Masaki… you were my greatest opponent; the one that I could 
never defeat decisively. I may not like you for taking Shampoo, but I 
do respect you. I can see in your eyes that you truly love Shampoo 
and at least I'll be happy in knowing that she'll be taken care of. I also 
thank you for restoring my life and sight. However, the time has come 
for us to part ways for good. The memories of the past should be left 
in the past. Goodbye."
     Ranma Red stood still for a long while as the figure disappeared 
over the horizon. When he could no longer see him, Ranma Red 
powered up his levitation powers and flew back to the village.
End of flashback…
     Ranma Red sighed as he watched the sunset with his brother. He 
had thought that restoring Mousse's sight would help ease the 
tension between the two of them, but he now realized that it was just 
an excuse to ease the guilt he still felt over the Hidden Weapons 
fighter's exile, and all the tragedy that had befallen him. 
     A while later, Ranma Red was walking toward his home where his 
wife awaited him. It was then that Soren appeared alongside him.
     "We all make our own decisions Ranma Red. Mousse has chosen 
the direction his life will take."
     "You know about my going to see him?"
     "Of course. It is Taron's and my job to keep an eye on you and 
your brother. You shouldn't feel too bad about Mousse. He'll do fine. 
It was a good gesture for you to restore his sight and offer to reverse 
the Elders' decision."
     "Yeah. For all the good it did." Ranma Red said dejectedly.
     "Don't worry Ranma Red. It'll all work out. Trust me."
     Ranma Red sighed and said, "Right now, that's all I can do."
     The next morning, the twins prepared to face off against the Dark 
World once again.
     The twins reappeared in the Dark World near the foothills of a 
mountain range. Before them stood the demonic sisters, Makana and 
     "So let's get started." Ranma Red said as he and his brother went 
into battle stances.
     Katoka chuckled as she replied, "My, my, my. Eager to die, aren't 
we?" She then produced from her robes a silver medallion, which had 
an image of twin females imprinted on it. "Is this what you want?"
     "Yeah, and we'll give it to Soren and Taron after we beat you." 
Ranma Blue stated.
     "Well then…" Katoka smirked as the medallion began to glow with 
a yellow light. It then floated up from her hands and went shooting 
up toward the heavens like a rocket. When it reached an altitude of 
over two thousand feet, it suddenly flared with a burst of energy and 
broke apart into five pieces. Each piece went speeding off into five 
different directions and scattered themselves across the realm.
     "What was that?" Ranma Blue demanded.
     Makana gave a short laugh and replied, "Like Ekoja, we had 
decided to make our trial a bit more challenging than just a straight-
out battle. It will be a race."
     "A race?" Ranma Red repeated with suspicion. 
     "Yes." Katoka produced an archaic-looking timepiece. It was an 
hourglass that was decorated with stone gargoyles and human 
skulls. She then turned the hourglass over and said with a 
mischievous smile, "It will be a race against time. The medallion has 
been split into five pieces and is now scattered across the Dark 
World. In order to win the trial, you must reassemble the medallion 
before the sand in this hourglass runs out. You have three hours to 
do so."
     "Is that it?" Ranma Blue asked.
     "That's it, though it's not as easy as you think. Rest assured we 
have made this trial quite lethal. Good luck, Chosen Twins. You are 
going to need it!"
     Both sisters laughed as they disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
     Ranma Blue looked at the hourglass and then faced his twin. 
"Well, where do we go first?"
     Ranma Red focused his concentration into the Light Star Blade as 
he ignited it. He then balanced the sword on his finger and held it 
aloft. The sword began spinning on his index finger like compass 
needle before pointing toward a forest some fifty miles away.
     "The nearest piece is in that forest." Ranma Red replied as he and 
his brother took off. The race had begun.
T-minus 2 hours, fifty-five minutes…
     Both twins had landed in a clearing near the place where they 
thought the medallion piece was. As they began exploring the 
woods, they were constantly alert for any signs of danger. 
Surprisingly enough, they had encountered no danger whatsoever as 
they navigated the groves of dead trees and wilting foliage. When 
they came to another clearing, they found themselves at the base of a 
large structure that resembled a Mayan pyramid. At the top of the 
pyramid, was a temple that had a stone statue of some demon-god. It 
was then that Ranma Blue spotted a glint of silver being emitted from 
the statue.
     "There it is!"
     Both boys flew up to the top and landed in front of the statue. The 
statue looked like a twisted image of Sheeba. It was over twenty feet 
tall and had six arms extended in various positions, each with either a 
bladed or blunt weapon stained with blood. Its face was a grotesque 
image with fangs and red eyes and had a crown of human skulls and 
fingers on its head. Nestled in the front like a centerpiece, was the 
first portion of the medallion.
     "I don't know… it's too easy." Ranma Red said as he and his 
brother cautiously approached the statue.
     It was then that Ranma Blue's foot stepped on a hidden switch.
     Without warning, the stones they were standing on suddenly 
opened up and released chains and manacles that seemed alive. 
Reacting like striking cobras, the chains wrapped themselves around 
the twins before they could bring their weapons to bear. Both 
Ranmas found their arms pinned to their sides and when the chains 
tightened, identical martial artists screamed in pain. It was if their 
bodies were on fire. They fell on their sides as their bonds increased 
their agony, causing them to lose their grip on their weapons.
     "Leech Chains can be rather painful, don't you agree?"
     The twins looked up at the sound of Katoka's voice and saw the 
demon sisters hovering above them.
     Makana nodded with her sister and said, "And those chains won't 
release you until they've drained you of every drop of energy from 
your bodies, including your life forces."
     "Sticky situation, isn't it?" Katoka smiled evilly as she watched 
the twins writhe in agony.
     "Don't worry Chosen Twins. We will not let you suffer. Our friend 
there will only be too happy to end your pain. Of course, he would 
also end your lives as well."
     Both sisters cackled with glee as they disappeared. It was then 
that the two Ranmas heard an ominous noise, which sounded like the 
shifting of rock. When they looked over to where the statue was, 
their faces turned white as the grotesque idol came to life. It let off a 
roar of delight as it began advancing on the downed champions, 
eagerly brandishing its weapons and drool dripping from its maw.
     Ranma Red's adrenaline was pumping like mad as he rolled over to 
where his weapon had fallen. He managed to get his hand on the hilt, 
when he saw that the monster was about to gut his brother with a 
wicked-looking spear.
     Getting on his back, he spied a chunk of rock at his feet and then 
kicked at it with both feet. The sizable hunk of stone went flying 
toward the monster and whacked it on the noggin. It didn't hurt the 
golem, but it did make him turn around in surprise.
     The magic-using Masaki suddenly had his aura light up like solar 
flare, temporarily blinding the creature. The pause was enough for 
Ranma Red to ignite the Light Star Blade and use its energy blade to 
cut himself free of the chains that were draining his power. He got to 
his feet and charged at the monster, delivering a downward stroke. 
The blade flashed and cleaved off two of the golem's arms.
     The stone creature felt no pain as its severed limbs fell to the 
ground and broke apart into smaller fragments. It continued to 
advance on Ranma Red and started swinging its weapons at him. 
Ranma Red was still a bit shaky from the Leech Chains and help up 
his sword to parry the blows. The golem kept on slashing and 
hacking away with tremendous speed, despite its massive weight and 
size. It was then that the mystic twin stumbled over a loose rock and 
fell down.
     The golem advanced on its downed foe and was about to deliver a 
deathblow when it suddenly found that it could not move its feet. 
Looking down, it saw that the rock of the pyramid had somehow 
merged with its feet, causing it to be stuck and immobile.
     Ranma Red looked past the monster in surprise and saw that his 
brother had gotten on his back and had a glowing hand on the stone 
surface of the pyramid. Despite the pain he was feeling as the chains 
slowly leeched off his energy, Ranma Blue was using his power over 
the elements to fuse the stone golem to the pyramid roof.
     "Take him down, bro!"
     Ranma Red nodded as he charged at his opponent and executed a 
reverse spin kick to the golem's head. The stone monster's block was 
smashed off and then Ranma Blue's sibling rammed into the torso 
with his shoulder, causing the body to snap off, leaving only the feet 
still imbedded in the pyramid. The golem was knocked off the 
pyramid roof and was sent plummeting to the ground below. The 
upper portion of the monster shattered with the impact and became 
nothing more than a pile of rubble. The rest of the body writhed for a 
few moments before becoming lifeless stone.
     After freeing his twin from the chains, Ranma Red retrieved the 
medallion piece from the wreckage of the golem's head.
     "One down, four to go." 
     Ranma Blue nodded at the comment as he picked up the fallen 
Storm Striker and followed his brother into the air.
     Meanwhile, from their place in the Realm of Oblivion, Makana 
frowned as she and her sister watched the twins through their mystic 
     "That was too easy."
     "Patience, sister." Katoka soothed. "That was just the warm-up."
T-minus 2 hours and 4 minutes…
     "Are you sure that it's up there?" Ranma Blue asked as he and his 
brother gazed up at a mountain before them. 
     "Positive. That's what my sword told me." Ranma Red replied as 
he began floating upwards. His brother followed suit. It had been a 
long flight toward the second piece and the journey there had not 
been a pleasant one. The demon sisters had given explicit 
instructions to their minions to hamper the twins search for the 
medallion fragments and the creatures of Sharoka were more than 
happy to oblige. Ogres, flying reptiles of various shapes and sizes, 
shadow beings and other nasty denizens of the Dark World had 
attacked the two. The twins had to expend a considerable amount of 
energy to fight them off and had lost precious time in doing so. By 
the time they reached the area where the second piece was, they were 
a bit winded and their clothes showed several tears in them.
     The twins were just about to reach the peak of the mountain, when 
they heard a series of screeches coming from the distance. As they 
turned, they saw a black cloud coming toward them. When it got 
closer to them, the twins realized that it wasn't a cloud but a huge 
flock of monstrous birds. They resembled ancient winged dinosaurs, 
but something told them that they were a lot meaner. They each 
displayed an impressive set of razor-sharp teeth and talons and had a 
look in their eyes that told them that Ranma Twins were on their 
     Seeing that they were outnumbered by more than a thousand to 
one, they decided to make a run for it. They had no time for a long 
and drawn out battle. Spotting a large cavern near the top of the 
mountaintop, Ranma Blue gestured for his brother to follow. Diving 
down toward the opening, the two landed on a ridge and began 
focusing their powers. Reaching into the knowledge contained within 
their weapons, the two learned of a new technique they could use to 
get rid of their unwanted pursuers. The two took a stance and began 
concentrating. Suddenly, they both flared with power and cupped 
their hands together. Drawing back their palms, they began saying in 
the same breath.
     "KA… ME… HA… ME… HA!!!"
     Throwing their palms forward, the twins released two beams of 
energy that made the Moko Takabisha and the Shi Shi Hokodan look 
like firecrackers. The blasts struck the center of the flock, causing the 
main portion of them to disintegrate like ashes in a blast furnace. The 
remaining were scattered about as they were caught in the jetwash of 
the double attacks. Seeing that that they had lost most of their flock, 
the flying lizards decided to do the smart thing and beat a retreat.
     Ranma Blue shook his head while smiling. Ranma Red waved it off 
as he gestured for his brother to follow him into the cavern as he 
consulted his sword to show him where the medallion fragment was.
On Earth…
     "What was that?! Akane Masaki said as she stared at the viewing 
portal. "Never heard of that one before!"
     Taron smiled as he explained. "There are many alternative 
universes out there that have developed ki techniques different from 
what you are aware of. The Light Star Blade and Storm Striker have 
access to all of them and simply gave the information to the twins." 
     Akane nodded wordlessly as she continued to watch the portal.
T-minus 1 hour, 46 minutes…
     It had been some time since the Masaki Twins had entered the 
mountain and nothing seemed to be happening. At the foot of the 
mountain, a small village was going about its own business as the 
citizens wearily strived to make ends meet. The humans were quite 
pitiful in the Dark World and were constantly tortured by Sharoka's 
followers. For them, life in the Dark World was a dreary existence and 
hope for salvation was next to nothing. Then suddenly, the villagers 
stopped in their daily chores when an ominous rumbling began. They 
looked up toward the mountain and trembled in fear it began to shake 
and quiver, as if some hidden power within it was struggling to erupt. 
Then the people of the village all screamed and began to scramble 
like ants as the top of the mountain suddenly exploded. Huge 
boulders and large amounts of debris went flying, causing several 
houses to be crushed when they landed. The villagers had thought 
that their end had come and the blessed peace of death had arrived to 
claim them. They were not that far off.
     A huge column of fire spewed out from the newly formed volcano 
and lava began to flow down from the opening. It was then that huge 
roar was heard and tremendous, leathery black wings emerged from 
the top. A head and neck, and then the rest of the body soon 
followed the appendages. The people let loose another collective 
scream of terror as they beheld what had been slumbering in the 
mountain for centuries. The gigantic dragon was awake and it was 
not happy. It had sound reason as it sported a huge gash on the right 
side of its massive head. Looking down at the village below, it 
decided to take out its rage and pain on the helpless people below. 
Spreading its wings wide, it took off, causing a massive windstorm to 
be swept up. It then dived down to wreak havoc on the village.
     Emerging from a side fissure in the mountain, the Ranma Twins 
looked up at the flying lizard as they staggered forward. Their clothes 
sported numerous burns and their bodies were slightly rare. In Ranma 
Red's hand was the second piece of the medallion.
     "Okay… so that wasn't one of my better ideas. But at least we got 
the second fragment."
     "Yeah, but look!" Ranma Blue gestured down at the village, which 
the dragon was now torching with its fiery breath. "We gotta stop 
that thing!"
     "No problem. One Dragon Slave should…"
     "No! We can't risk it with that thing near the village! We have to 
draw it away from the village."
     "Aw, man!" The mystic Ranma shook his head while pinching the 
bridge of his nose. "We don't have time for this!"
     "We don't have a choice! It's our fault that happened!" Ranma 
Blue began swinging Storm Striker by its thong, building up 
momentum. It began crackling with power and then when it had 
gained enough speed, he threw the elemental weapon at the dragon. 
     The hammer struck the monster in the temple, causing it to scream 
out in pain. Turning back toward where the hammer was returning to 
its master, the dragon let off another roar and abandoned its attack 
on the village, taking off to destroy the ones who had awakened it 
from its slumber.
     "I think you got its attention." Ranma Red remarked 
     "Gee, what was your first clue?"
     The twins took off with the dragon in hot pursuit, literally. The 
beast was launching huge fireballs at the two, intent on roasting 
     The villagers, those that were still alive, looked in awe as the beast 
suddenly stopped in its attack and flew off. They were all relieved 
that the gigantic lizard no longer held any interest in them as they 
watched it disappear into the distance. When it vanished over the 
horizon, they all breathed a sigh of relief. It was over.
     Then suddenly, they began seeing bright bursts of light coming 
from over the horizon. They became entranced by the series of 
explosions that rocked the distant countryside. After several minutes 
of this, they heard a voice that seemed to convey over the vast 
distances between them. Although they were several miles away, 
they still heard the shout as if the person was nearby.
     "DRAGON SLAVE!!!"
     A blast that resembled a nuclear explosion went off in the 
distance, causing the surrounding area to quake in the aftershocks. 
The villagers scurried for cover as the explosion sent a seismic tremor 
through the ground, making the earthquake that recently hit Japan 
look like a slight quiver.
T-minus 1 hour, 5 minutes…
     "You went a little overboard, don't you think?" Ranma Blue 
commented as they flew toward their next destination.
     "Stupid dragon. Stupid lizards. Stupid monsters." Ranma Red 
growled as he winced at the new burns he had acquired while 
dispatching the beast. The giant fire-breather had been 
uncooperative and had given a hard fight before Ranma Red was able 
to kill the thing. Things had not gotten any better as the twins had 
inadvertently run into those flying lizards again, not to mention more 
of the demon sister's flunkies. More time and energy was used up in 
battling them all. Ranma Red couldn't use any of his healing spells, 
as they didn't have the time or the energy to waste.
     "So where's the next fragment?" Ranma Blue asked.
     Ranma Red smiled a bit as he replied, "We're in luck. According to 
what the sword is telling me, TWO of the fragments are down in that 
swamp! We lucked out!"
     Ranma Blue smiled as he and his brother dived down toward the 
murky and very unpleasant mire. For a long while, there was silence. 
Then the eternal quiet was shattered with a shout.
T-minus 34 minutes…
     A bedraggled, bruised, bloody and totally exhausted pair dragged 
themselves out of the swamp. Their bodies were a sorry mess and 
still had globs of slime clinging to them and pulsating. The twins fell 
flat on their faces and let out a sigh of relief after enduring the long 
and very unpleasant experience of being engulfed inside a giant 
ameba. To their dismay, the two fragments had been absorbed inside 
the gelatinous creature and they had no choice but to go in after 
them. Their auras had protected them and their powers did allow them 
to breathe in that cytoplasm, but it wasn't an easy trip to the thing's 
nucleus. Especially when the thing was larger than ten square blocks. 
     The ameba's defenses were quite painful and the two had to fight 
off vacuoles of digestive juices and dozens of creatures that had 
been engulfed as well. It didn't help matters that the cytoplasm of the 
creature hampered their movements as well as drained their energies. 
It was like swimming through gelatin. By the time they reached the 
nucleus, their energies were just barely adequate to keep them from 
being absorbed. Using the Light Star Blade, Ranma Red managed to 
cut it free from the body. Bursting free from the goop, Ranma Blue 
avoided the numerous flagellates and such being emitted from the 
nucleus and delivered a final blow with Storm Striker, causing the 
nucleus to be splattered all over the place. Without its control center, 
the rest of the ameba fell apart and Ranma Red was able to free 
himself from the slimy mess. Of course, this also freed the monsters 
that had been engulfed and they still wanted a piece of them.
T-minus 19 minutes…
     Ranma Blue and his brother staggered in flight, then knew that 
they were too weak to maintain their altitude. They landed about six 
miles from where the final piece was, and leaned against a boulder to 
take a breather.
     "That's it. I can't fly any farther." Ranma Red gasped as held up 
the nearly completed medallion. The four pieces magically joined 
together when they came into contact with each other, forming a 
metallic disc with its center missing."
     "C'mon bro, just one more piece to find." Ranma Blue went over to 
support his brother and with their arms slung over each other's 
shoulders, they began staggering toward their final destination.
T-minus 8 minutes…
     In a small valley, Katoka and Makana were standing in front of the 
ruins of an ancient temple and waited patiently. Behind them, the 
hourglass was steadily running out of sand. It wouldn't be long now. 
Their vigilance was rewarded when they heard the sounds of battle 
being waged at the entrance.
     "Ah, the Twins must have met up with the guards." Katoka 
remarked as she leaned a bit to listen to the noises of heated combat. 
She and her sister were feeling euphoria as their magical senses 
indicated that the energies of the Ranma Twins were at dangerously 
low levels.
     A final blast was heard and the demon sisters began powering up 
their magics for the final confrontation.
T-minus 5 minutes…
     Ranma Blue winced as he felt a stinging pain in his side. That ogre 
had dealt him a wicked blow with that spiked club before he was able 
to smash in his head. As of now, he was barely able to hold onto to 
Storm Striker.
     Ranma Red was no better as he was now limping and his left leg 
sported a huge gash on the thigh. Behind him, a Chimera's body had 
been sliced to pieces.
     Both brothers nodded as they willed themselves forward, their 
battle auras just barely flickering now.
T-minus 3 minutes…
     "Congratulations, Chosen Twins. You've actually made it to the 
fifth and final piece." Katoka smiled as she caught sight of the two 
Ranmas as they entered the clearing. She held up the last fragment, 
then deposited it in one of the folds in her robe.
     "We kind of figured that you'd… have the last piece." Ranma Blue 
     "Indeed." Makana nodded as she prepared to strike. "Now all you 
have to do is to fight us to get it. And you have less than three 
minutes to do so." She gestured to the hourglass behind them. 
"Now… die!"
     Makana let loose with a sizzling bolt of magical power at Ranma 
     Ranma Red was far too injured to dodge and called up his 
remaining reserves. "POWER REFLECTOR!"
     The magical shield appeared before him, but only held out for a 
moment before it shattered like a frail mirror. The mystic twin 
screamed out in agony as he took the full brunt of the blast. He was 
tossed aside like a leaf and he landed hard on the ground. His vision 
was swimming and realized that he should be dead by now. The 
sisters were toying with them and they were at their mercy.
     Makana let loose with another blast and he was just barely able to 
evade by rolling away. The demoness smiled as she advanced on her 
injured prey.
     Katoka was also dealing out massive pain as she tortured Ranma 
Blue. She called forth shadow beings that attacked the elemental twin 
mercilessly. He felt a numbing cold each time they hit him and passed 
through his body. It only by sheer willpower that he stayed 
     One massive blast from each sister sent the Ranmas flying in the 
air. However, they did not fly far. Their battered and torn bodies 
stopped suddenly in midair as the demon sisters. They hovered in 
the grip of the telekinetic powers of the sisters and began feeling 
immense pressure being forced upon them. It would only take a 
minute before their bodies would be crushed.
T-minus 60 seconds…
     Both twins screamed out in agony as they were subjected to 
enough force to have crushed a normal person like grapes.
     "My, you're still resisting? Very impressive!" Katoka remarked.
     "Indeed. You both have been worthy adversaries. What a pity that 
you cannot provide us with more of a fight." Makana added as she 
looked at the hourglass. "Not that it matters. In one minute, it will be 
all over and the Dark World shall be victorious!"
     Ranma Red managed to get his larynx working as he gasped out, 
"That gives us plenty of time…"
     Katoka snorted in amusement. "For what?"
     "This!" ["Let 'em have it, bro!"] With that telepathic message, 
Ranma Red suddenly exploded with new energies. His brother also 
became infused with new power, which took both sisters, by surprise.
     "What?!" Makana and Katoka were blasted back as Ranma Red 
and his brother let loose with magical and elemental power, throwing 
the demon siblings off their feet. In addition to learning new ki 
techniques, the twins had learned to hide their power levels, thereby 
fooling the sisters into thinking that they were weaker than they 
actually were. With the Light Star Blade and Storm Striker giving false 
information to confuse Makana and Katoka's senses, the twins were 
able to keep a considerable amount of energy in reserve.
     Makana and Katoka were knocked back even further from the 
unexpected counter attack. Before they had a chance to recover, the 
Chosen Twins both rushed forward.
T-minus 30 seconds…
     Both Ranmas began raining a mind-boggling series of punches 
and kicks that defied description. The sound barrier was broken 
every second, releasing a constant symphony of sonic booms that 
echoed throughout the lands. The sisters were pummeled to a level 
that would have pulverized a mountain into gravel.
T-minus 25 seconds…
     Makana and Katoka became enraged at being struck with such a 
crude tactic as they teleported out of range of the Ranma Twins 
hypersonic assaults and reappeared about twenty feet away. They let 
loose with purple bolts of dark energies at their foes, which almost 
caught them off guard and sent them ducking for cover.
     "Surrender Chosen Twins! You have lost!" Makana sneered.
     "Who says we have?" Ranma Blue retorted.
T-minus 20 seconds…
     "You have failed to reassemble the medallion!" Katoka stated. 
"We still retain the FINAL PIECE!"
     The sisters launched another barrage at the twins.
     "WE know that." Ranma Red stated as he and his brother dodged. 
"That's why we had used our secret technique on you."
     "What secret technique?" Makana said as she and her sister 
paused in their attacks.
     "There is no secret technique!" Katoka scoffed. "You are just 
grasping at empty straws! We have won!"
T-minus 15 seconds…
     Ranma Blue smirked as he held up the medallion that was still 
missing the center portion. "It is true, that the medallion isn't 
complete without the final piece."
     Ranma Red then stood beside his brother and held up a hand that 
was holding… the last piece! "It's a good thing that we got the last 
T-minus 10 seconds…
     "WHAT?!" Both sisters gasped as they stared at the last 
fragment. Makana then frantically searched her robe and realized the 
truth. When Ranma Red had used those superspeed moves on her, 
he must have… 
     Ranma Red nodded as he said, "This is probably the only time 
something that Genma Saotome had taught me was useful."
     As if in slow motion, the two sisters began powering up as they 
charged at the twins. At the same time, Ranma Red moved the 
fragment toward the medallion.
     The sisters were about to release their energies.
     Ranma Blue smiled at his brother, as the fragment was about to fit 
into the medallion.
     The sisters fired off with their attack.
     Just as the energies were about to strike the twins, Ranma Blue 
held out the completed medallion in front of them. Ranma Red 
grasped the medallion as well and the two of them focused their 
power through it. A large barrier of light appeared which then 
deflected the attack away from them. When the evil energies 
dispersed, the Champions of Earth smirked and said at the same time.
     "You lose."
     Both sisters bellowed out in rage as they realized that the fourth 
challenge had been lost. No longer caring that they had missed their 
opportunity to achieve victory, they began gathering energy for one 
last, suicidal attack against the twins. If they cannot win, then they 
would take their enemies with them.
     Both Ranmas backed away at the pair as they realized what was 
going on.
     "Man, what a pair of sore losers!" Ranma Blue remarked.
     "They can't do that! We already won!" Ranma Red exclaimed.
     "Yeah, well it looks like they don't care any more!"
     Both Ranmas braced themselves for the impending onslaught, 
powering up what remaining energies they had. However, it was 
unnecessary as a bright flare of energy appeared behind the sisters 
and struck them down. The twin demonesses howled in pain as their 
flesh was burned under very intense heat. Makana and Katoka fell to 
their knees in agony, then looked up to see who had attacked them. 
Their eyes widened in fear as they beheld Sharoka standing over 
them with a look of disgust.
     "M-Master…" Katoka stuttered.
     "Silence!" Sharoka boomed. "You two have made me very 
disappointed! The Chosen Twins have met your challenge and have 
won the fourth challenge! You will accept your defeat or I shall have 
you destroyed for violating the terms of the Contract! Am I making 
myself clear?"
     Makana and her sister were about to protest, but then decided that 
getting their ruler even angrier was not wise. With the most reluctant 
of nods, they acknowledged their defeat.
     "I will discuss with you two later on this." With a wave of his 
hand, the twin sisters suddenly vanished. The ruler of the Dark 
World then addressed the two Ranmas. "Those two shall be 
punished for their breach of the Contract. Take the medallion as proof 
of your victory, but beware Chosen Twins. When next we meet, I 
shall be the victor and you shall know true pain before I obliterate 
you and your world! THIS I promise you."
     With these words, Sharoka disappeared from sight. Both Ranmas 
looked at each other with a bit apprehension and weariness as they 
were transported back to Earth.
At Shaoroka's Castle…
     Both sisters were kneeing in front of their master as he sat on his 
     "Forgive us, Master." Katoka said with deep regret. "Our anger 
had clouded our judgment."
     Sharoka regarded his two servants for a long time, then gave them 
a small smile before replying. "You two are… forgiven for your 
momentary disobedience, so long as you continue to serve me 
     "Thank you, Master!" Both sisters rose and went over toward the 
glowing sphere which was now almost ready to explode from all the 
condensed power and soul energies within it.
     "And so the final phase of my Master Plan is at hand."
     "Yes, Master. "Katoka agreed as she caressed the sphere's surface 
with a finger. "All the power that had been used before and during 
the trials have now been harnessed within this sphere. Soon, the 
ultimate power of all existence shall be within our… er, your grasp."
     "Indeed." Makana concurred. "The trials themselves held the key 
and the Chosen Twins will provide us with the catalyst to seize it." 
Sharoka nodded as he regarded the crystal. "Yes, the trials had 
provided us with the fundamentals we needed. Barada provided us 
with Power. Gaizera was for the Soul. Ekoja for the Mind, Reality and 
Space. And you two had been for Time. The six key elements for 
existence. And I now have the life energies I need to bind the 
collected energies I need to obtain the greatest prize of all!"
     Both demon sisters became puzzled at this. "Master? Do you not 
need SIX life essences to break the spiritual barrier, as well as the 
energies that represent the SIX elements of existence?" Katoka 
     "Yes, I do." Sharoka affirmed.
     "But, you've only collected five such life essences." Makana 
began counting them off. "Barada, Gaizera, Ekoja, Arcados and 
Zuruka." She had been a bit surprised that the emperor had bothered 
to collect the life essences of their predecessors, but thenunderstood 
after Sharoka had revealed his plan to them. Apparently, he had 
planned for their demise in order to use their life forces as 
instruments in his bid for ultimate power.
     "You are correct, save for one detail. I have FOUR life essences 
contained within that globe." Sharoka chuckled. "You forget that 
Barada was UNDEAD and did not have any soul for me to use."
     "Then, whose life essences are you going to…" Makana and 
Katoka paled as they realized what Sharoka was planning.
     "No, Master! You can't mean…"
     Before the sisters had any time to react, Sharoka raised a hand and 
let loose with twin bolts of dark energy, which pierced through the 
twins like daggers. Makana and Katoka staggered for several 
moments, clutching at their chests as their eyes widened in absolute 
horror and shock. Foul-smelling liquid began pouring out of their 
bodies as they fell onto the floor of the throneroom and began 
convulsing. A few moments later, they stopped twitching and felt 
their forms beginning to crumble into dust. Then, as they felt their life 
essences being pulled away from their bodies and into the crystal 
orb, they cried out in anguish and screamed out one final curse.
     Sharoka laughed as he watched their essences being sucked into 
the orb. When the last of their life forces had been absorbed, the 
physical forms of the demon sisters disappeared into nothingness. 
He then got up, walked toward the orb and said to it, "And now my 
potent beauty, you shall become my means to become ruler of all 
creation! Beware Chosen Twins, for tomorrow shall not only be the 
end of your existence, but it will be the day in which I will become 
master of all! Not even Kami-sama can stop me now!"
     Sharoka's laughter echoed throughout the halls of the castle, an 
ominous sign for the dark times ahead.
To be continued…
Author's Notes
     Well, the last three chapters are in sight and it's been some 
experience. I'd like to thank all my readers for staying with me for so 
long and I am now gearing up to finish the story that started me on 
the road to fanfiction writing. I'd like to apologize for all the times I've 
delayed finishing this as my other stories seem to have gotten me so 
wrapped up. Once again, I'd like to thank you all for your support.