Chapter Thirteen: Garden of SinEdit

"The shadow hides from the light, poisoning each step of the
righteous, and feeding from the step of the impure. Hatred grows ever more
in the village, and suspicion runs rampant. A return of a past long
forgotten purifies the soul, but not without a great loss of love and
       ~ The Book of Five Millennia

Hikaru could FEEL him.

Even hidden among the crates and metal bins in the warehouse, he could feel the presence of something greater. Something that any and all mortal men should have stood trembling and in awe of.

But Hikaru felt at home. He knew he should be fleeing, and he knew that every sense in his body was going berserk-- but something was keeping them in check. Something deep inside, akin to the black ki.

"I've brought him, Master," Kodachi spoke, and then bowed her head.

Hikaru stole a glance of the rich girl and blinked. Of the few times he had seen her (mainly at gymnastic meets or pursuing Saotome), she had been so confident and wrapped up in herself. But now, to see her bowing down-- even to... whatever it was that was in here was a shock.

"This is Saiko?" a rough voice called. Although human in origin, the voice carried something deeper inside. Like a... well... Hikaru just couldn't explain it, but it reminded him of... fire, hot and unrelenting.

A moment later, he saw him. To the naked eye, he was a mere man. A better comparison would be... an amalgamation of several men. The scar on his face that started and ended as if it were nothing, the brown eye on his left, and green on his right, but with pupils so dark, so black in colour, that it couldn't be considered normal.

And yet, the eyes spoke to him. It spoke, 'Run and cower, mortal. For I am Death, and I will come for you.' And it spoke, 'I am your protector. You need not fear me, so long as you do not anger me.'

Hikaru didn't know what to do, so he stood in apparent awe. The man was descending from the above rafters through mid-air, after all.


"Silence," the man said before Hikaru could go any further. "Do not speak." He descended to the floor and took a step toward Hikaru.

The step in itself, to the naked eye was nothing, but to Hikaru, who had trained himself in recognizing mystical actions, knew what was happening.

The step was laced with a touch of wind. A stale, rancid wind from behind the strange man.


Hikaru blinked. What...?

*Master Rogi.*

"Master... Rogi?"

The man who was Rogi smiled. "Indeed," he said. "You are Saiko. You were not merged well with this one."

*He was baptized, Master. I found it difficult.*

"Who... Who is saying that?" Hikaru found himself asking.

Kodachi was watching in confusion as her Master seemed to be having a conversation with a ghost. Then it hit her. He WAS.

"Silence, boy. You were not meant to be born this way," Rogi sighed. "But nonetheless... you are Saiko."

*I am awakened now, Master.*

"I see," Rogi continued. "But there is something else... I sense magics about this one." He squinted his eyes. "Weak, but... beneficial to us, I believe."

Hikaru's heart jumped. He had magic? Did this mean...?

"It is from and external force," Rogi said, and then concentrated. "Weak... a blue line running from his index finger to... over there." He pointed against the west wall. "And an unreturned love from the same direction."

Unreturned love? That meant... Akane?

*It is one of THEM, sire.*

Rogi's lips curled up into a twisted smile. "Indeed?" he bellowed. "Then we are fortunate indeed."

"What? What is going on?"

"The one you feel for, boy," Rogi smiled. "Shall not only be yours... She shall serve me alongside of you."

"What? Akane? I... What do you mean?" Hikaru stammered.

"Silence," Rogi spoke. "I shall strengthen the magics you yourself have wrought upon her. And then I shall take her on as another of my servants. Provided her mortal mind is not of strong will, it shall be a simple task. If not--" He curled his lips into a smile that conveyed contempt, carnal will, and... pleasure. "--I shall consume her as I have the others."

Hikaru, at long last, truly feared the man before him.

"I believe it would be wise for them to hurry," Feng Bo said, sighing. "The day grows short, and I fear Rogi may be upon us at any time."

Akane looked to the sky and narrowed her eyes. "It's still only around four o'clock. We've got some time before sundown."

Cologne shook her head. "The prophecy stated before the day was over, child. It could mean any time between now 'till midnight. But judging from what I... hear, and remember of the demon through the dreams, I would suspect he would strike at night. His element is the dark, to strike during the day would be out of character."

"Precisely," Feng Bo replied. "But not to forget, this demon is far worse than any simple creature. He made the majestic Oni look like a flea." He sighed. "I need not remind you of what happened after the first war."

"That's right," Mousse nodded. "We-- they all died."

"I can... hear her sometimes," Akari said aloud. "In... my thoughts. Outside of my dreams."

Feng Bo blinked and looked over towards her. "What does she say?"

"It started when I first saw Ryouga. Something... inside told me to have Katsunishiki attack him, and... I kept hearing this voice that told me to... change him," she said, glancing over at Ryouga who was sitting on a bench out of earshot, talking with Shinnosuke. "To... love him..." She snorted. "It's funny, I never believed in love at first sight until him."

"Maya loved Maigo before. The few times they had met, he had been tender, loving, and mindful of her... but his soul was owned by Rogi. He had to serve him..."

"In the end," Akari continued. "He helped them, though. Maigo gave his own life, taking Rogi's punishment to help them."

"I still," Akane began. "I still can't imagine this. I've felt the dreams, and even with Ranma, I've felt... Aiko, I guess. I've felt her presence in my head, telling me to... admit things to Ranma..." She gasped and quickly looked up toward Cologne and Shampoo.

Shampoo was remained completely silent, although the look on her face told Akane that she hadn't appreciated hearing those words from Akane. Cologne, on the other hand...

"Kaori could see it in the past. I would have had to be a fool to deny it now," Cologne sighed. "I'm willing to accept your love for son-in-law, but there are... other matters to discuss. Ones of greater importance right now."

*You have free time, boy,* Saiko said.

"Shut up," Hikaru replied. "Just shut up and get the hell out of my head."

*Come now,* Saiko replied. *Is that any way to speak to your past? You and I are alike, you know. I could feel it when you--*

"That WASN'T me!" Hikaru argued. "You... YOU did it. YOU killed them."

*Now why would I have done that, Gosling? When I was quite obviously enjoying every moment of your torture?*

"Shut up. Shut the FUCK up!"

*Temper, temper Gosling. It's all over now, anyway. YOU killed them. Now that the master is collecting upon the magic you so eloquently worked on that light bitch, you've got free time. Nekkyo would probably be willing to pass some time with you. She certainly was more than willing with me...*

"Her name is Kodachi," Hikaru mumbled. "Not Nekkyo. I'm Hikaru, not Saiko. Her name is AKANE, not 'that light bitch'!"

*Well, fine. You can call her whatever you want, now that the Master is collecting upon it. And if not Nekkyo, we could always look for... other means of entertainment.*

"What the hell are you trying to say?"

*Come now, Gosling. I've lived within the confines of your feeble mind, body and soul to know what drives you. I know of the fantasies you dream of at night, and they aren't of Akane.*

Hikaru paled. "What are you saying?"

*The size of their bodies. The feeling of superiority. The... innocence. You can do it now, Hikaru. There's nobody to stop you. You have power now. You can march right into one of those elementary---*

"NO!" Hikaru beat his head with a fist. "I _WON'T_! I _WON'T! They're CHILDREN, Goddammit!"

*They're weak. The strong take precedence over the weak. You've believed that for years, Hikaru. Now you are one of the strong. Won't you follow your own philosophy?*

"Not against CHILDREN!"

*There's that conscience again. We will have to see what Master Rogi can do about that. Very well, if you won't supply an old man his carnal pleasures of innocence, how about an age more socially acceptable? I'm sure you'd like to give it to some of the snobbish bitches over at Furi--*

"NO!" Hikaru screamed again.

"Please keep it down," Kodachi called over. "If you're to have a conversation with your head, you may as well keep it IN your head. Some of us are trying to catch our beauty sleep. After all, when the Master returns, we WILL have a long journey in front of us."

*Finally, someone who makes sense. Now if only she could hear me.*

Hikaru just sat himself back down and tried his best to ignore Saiko, the tears flowing freely from his eyes.

"Father? What is it?" Plum asked, looking up at him.

The Jusenkyo guide burrowed through a trunk of old things, mumbling to himself. It wasn't until Plum laid a hand upon his back that he turned to face her.

"Oh, Plum. I couldn't catch up with them, I--"

"Father, what is happening? Why are you so... frantic?"

The Guide dug around deeper within the trunk and pulled out a small box. Quickly, he brought it to the table.

"Plum, do you remember what I told you about a time where I would have to leave and perhaps never return?"

Plum blinked and nodded. "Yes, but wasn't that when you--"

"Who would have known," he shook his head and opened the box. Within it, he took out a small envelope and handed it to his daughter. "Plum, the time has come. Do you understand?"

Plum took the envelope and sighed. "I... I understand, father," she said, tearing up.

"Take this to Xining and wait. To be anywhere near the springs now would be folly," he said. "Destiny will lead you to them." He took some money out of the box, and handed to her, and then finally pulled a small book ad tucked it under his arm.

"Go to Nyuchezu. They will help you find your way to Xining, as they have before," he said, standing up. "I must go now. Should fate agree with me, we will see each other again." He bent over and kissed his daughter on the forehead, and then moved to the door. "Tell Feng Bo I've gone to Mount Phoenix."

"So," Ranma asked, his mind wandering. "Where's this Book of Four Pizzas?"

"Saotome," Tatewaki sighed. "Please do not speak, your tongue does not seem to be compatible with your brain."

Ranma blinked, then narrowed his eyes. "You're one to talk, Kuno! I mean, you still think the pig-tailed girl is--"

Kuno drew his bokken and turned. "Saotome, you will not speak ill of the pig-tailed girl while you are on the Kuno grounds."

Ranma threw his hands up in the air. "Kuno, I thought you GOT this! She's me! I am her! It doesn't take a volcano going off in your brain to figure this one out!"

Kuno blinked at Ranma for a moment, and sighed, putting his bokken away. "I... apologize, Saotome. I am... somewhat apprehensive of the entire situation."

Ranma sighed. "Yeah, I guess I can understand that," he said, looking around the room. "So where's the book?"

Tatewaki jerked his head to the right, motioning towards an oak desk on the opposite end of the Kuno library. "I had left it there," he said.

Ranma walked over to the desk and took a quick peek. "This thing?" he asked, picking up a old text, which seemed to give off more dust than information.

"Saotome, PLEASE!" Kuno exclaimed, and rushed over to Ranma. "The text is delicate. Such an ancient relic would not do well in your hands." he plucked the book delicately from Ranma's hands, and then proceeded to wrap it in a soft piece of cloth that he pulled out from the front pocket of his hakama.

Ranma shrugged and looked around the room in mock interest. "So," he said. "There sure are a lot of... uhh... books in here."

"To call such things mere books would be a misappropriated term, Saotome," Tatewaki replied, then finished wrapping the old text in cloth. Turning towards the rows of books, he gestured with one arm. "These are our histories. The past of every man, woman or child within our dome of existence." He reached over and pulled another book from the shelf, and held it against his chest. "These mere books mean more to me than anything you could comprehend, Saotome."

Ranma raised an eyebrow and tried to catch a glimpse of the book Tatewaki was clutching to his chest. While not old, the book seemed somewhat regal to the naked eye.

"What's that?" Ranma asked.

Tatewaki sighed, and held the book before him. He tightened his eyes and spoke, "The Tales of Musashi."

The light penetrated through Ukyou's eyes, causing her to squint involuntarily. Over the past while, she had become accustomed to the darkness of Okoniro's restaurant, but now... the afternoon sun hung over her, and she couldn't block it out with walls or blinds.

Akane came running up to her as soon as she left the restaurant, and she noted that the others were now standing, upon seeing her come out of the restaurant.

"Well," Akane asked, her voice oozing sincerity and true concern.

"He's... not well," Ukyou replied. "We should leave him alone for now. I've done all I can for him. His parents will be by a bit later to pick him up and take him back to Kansai."

"But... did he...?"

"Did he what?" Ukyou asked. "Take it well? His sister, and one of the only people who actually cared about him, was killed. Not just killed, MUTILATED. How do you think you'd take it, Akane?"

Akane jerked her head back, obviously hurt. "I... I didn't--"

Ukyou pushed her finger against Akane's lips. "I'm... I'm sorry. I'm just upset too, and I needed to lash out at someone. I didn't mean for it to be you, Akane."

"I see more of her in you every minute, young one," Feng Bo smiled.

"More of who, old man?" Ukyou asked, narrowing her eyes. "I don't like any of this. First we're dragged out of school to see the old bat here." She jabbed a thumb is Cologne's direction, who narrowed her eyes in reply, and then continued. "Then... GOD knows what happened to me, and the next thing I know, you're telling us we've got some sort of twisted destiny, ordained by freakin' GODS... I'm sorry, buddy. Too much, too fast, and I AIN'T buying it."

Feng Bo sighed. "Please, I wish that you would not speak to me in such a fashion--"

"Why NOT? Weird shit is happening, and you seem to know all about it. By my book, that is reason number one for you to leave us the HELL alone."

Feng Bo raised an eyebrow. "And the other reasons?"

Ukyou sneered at him. "You always were a smart ass," she muttered.

"Always were?" Akane asked. "What... did that mean?"

Ukyou paused, her eyes growing in size, and then she looked over toward Feng Bo. "I... I don't know."

Feng Bo merely smiled. "I believe I do," he said.

Cologne sighed. "I had no idea," she said. "How much longer are you expected to...?"

Feng Bo lost his smile. "Not long," he replied aloud. "My kind are long-lived, but... even I have stretched the limits."

"Whoa," Nabiki interjected. "What do you mean 'your kind'?"

Feng Bo renewed his smile. "You should have no trouble divining the information. Especially not if you are anything like your.... predecessor."

"I think I may know the truth behind it," Shinnosuke spoke up, walking toward Feng Bo.

Feng Bo raised an eyebrow toward Shinnosuke. "Oh?"

Shinnosuke laid his hands upon Feng Bo, and closed his eyes. Slowly, he ran his hands over the old mans features. "I can... discern the look of youth," he spoke. "And... the reiki feels..." he gasped and jerked his hands back.

"There," Feng Bo said. "The truth is known, now let us meet the others and retire. Rogi may attack at any time." He turned and walked down the street.

"What... what happened?" Nabiki asked, helping Shinnosuke up from the ground.

Shinnosuke tried to catch his breath and looked at his hands as if they were not his own. "I..." he looked into Nabiki's eyes, and then close his own, smiling. "It is as I had thought."

"What?" Akane asked.

"He is... or at least was, in youth... Fei Liang."

The human facial features upon Rogi's guise could not help but curl his lips into a menacing smile.

Fei Liang, indeed. It has been long. The young and foolish god who had dared interfere with destiny. The destiny which he had only prolonged rather than terminated altogether.

But now he was old. Old and senile. Older than any being, human or god should have lived. He was not reborn as the rest of them were.

But still... It did mean he would have to hunt down the Ohmikami. She certainly gave her life with the others, therefore... She had to have been reborn. And--

The smooth haired one. Yes. She had to be the Ohmikami. He sensed familiarity with all of them, but only from here could he sense strong magic.

Strong, unrealized magic.

He could attack right now, smite them all before they had a chance to manifest-- but no.

No. It would not suit his plans to kill them right now. His destiny would be fulfilled. It was written, and it shall be done.

But, the reason he came. The blue thread of magic was tied to the young short-haired one. If he looked close enough, he could see the red thread of love stopping an inch short of her pinky, flailing about, trying to connect itself using any means possible.

But there was already a line connected to her. Another of the reborn, most definitely.

He examined the situation. He could easily smite them all, but to do so would be to forfeit his plans. Even for the mere purpose of--

No. He could wait. He would wait. Tonight, he would gather his servants and attack. Nekkyo-- no, what was her name? Kodachi. Yes. He would infuse her with some of his power, and unleash her upon them, while he and Saiko's new body would take the short-haired one.

Rogi sighed. He would have to learn the names. In named lay true power, and true power lies in knowledge of names.

Rogi lingered around for a few moments longer, smirking upon identifying Maigo's reborn, and then turning to walk toward the warehouse. Yes, there was much planning to be done.

"Err, Mr. Kuno?" Inspector Hasuzi asked, running up to Tatewaki and Ranma as they exited the compound.

Tatewaki turned toward the man and raised an eyebrow. "Yes?" he asked.

"Hi, I'm Inspector Masamoto Hasuzi, Nerima Police... Can I ask you a few questions about... your sister, is it? Kodachi?"

Tatewaki's eyes popped wide open for a moment, and then returned to normal size. "I... do not have much time to spare," he said.

"Have you seen her today, Mr. Kuno?"

Tatewaki sighed and nodded. "This morning, before leaving for school," he said, and then looked up toward Masamoto. "What is wrong?"

"There was some... action today at Saint Hebereke. It seems that in the process of this, your sister went missing."

"The murders?" Ranma asked.

Masamoto's eyebrow raised. "You've heard about it?"

Tatewaki nodded. "We are... acquainted with a friend of one of the victims."

"Oh... I'm sorry," he said. "I'm been assigned to the case, and well--"

"You believe Kodachi may have been involved somehow?" Tatewaki asked.

"What?" Masamoto asked, aghast. "No... NO... I'm just concerned about her."

Tatewaki sighed. "Concern yourself not with her whereabouts, good Inspector. Be concerned with the woman herself. If she is not there, nor here, chances are, she was involved."

Masamoto blinked in shock. "You... why would you say that about your own sister? Her life may be in da--"

"Her life is of no concern to you, or I," Tatewaki said sternly. "If she has been taken by the madman which smote the life of two innocents, then such is fate. Though I fear we may not be so fortunate." He met Hasuzi's gaze and let it linger for a moment. "Come, Saotome. We must meet the others."

Ranma just nodded in mute shock, and followed as Tatewaki walked away from the Inspector, who was also staring in mute shock.

"Yo, what the hell was that about?" Ranma asked. "I mean... I know your sister's nutzo and everything, but--"

"You know nothing of her mental health, Saotome. I dare say that I believe she is sane, but--"

"HER? Sane? Kuno, anyone who could do that kind of crap willingly is insane, no matter what."

"Saotome," Tatewaki warned. "You understand nothing of us yet. Close your mouth and open your ears."

"Hey, I don't hafta--"

"No you DON'T, Saotome. But I ask that you do," Tatewaki replied, meeting Ranma's gaze dead on.

Ranma remained silent, but didn't break the gaze.

"What I am about to tell you is something I have told no one. Not even my sister... or my father," he said.

Ranma's gaze did not falter, nor did he say anything.

"Good, then you will listen," he said, closing his eyes. "My sister is not what you think she is, by any stretch of the imagination. Her sanity is often in question, but... I believe she is in full control of her faculties, moreso than even I."

"Then why would she act like that?" Ranma asked.

"Because she chooses to."

Ranma raised his eyebrows. "Chooses to?"

"This was not the first time I've seen that Inspector, Saotome. Once, long ago I saw him. He may not know I remember him, but I do."

"What do you mean?"

"Ten years ago, my mother was murdered. She was brutally raped and murdered in the garden of my own estate."

Ranma didn't say anything. He had often wondered about the Kuno mother, but had never assumed anything. Even Nabiki seemed unwilling to share anything on it, or maybe even she herself did not know.

"And," he began, sighing. Ranma could see tears welling up in his eyes.

"Hey," Ranma interrupted. "It's okay... you don't have to say anything, okay? Let's just go and--"

"No, Saotome," Tatewaki replied. "If I say nothing, nothing will be solved." He looked up toward him. "Kodachi and I... watched it all happen."

"You watched? Didn't you call the police or anything?"

"I was unable to Saotome. The police are not even aware of our presence during the crime. The servants... the servants protected us from further trauma by telling them we were inside, but the... rapist had forced us to watch while he--" his eyes began to tear up again, and he let a sob escape his throat. "-- he raped her..."

"My God," Ranma said, his eyes wide open.

"I screamed and yelled for him to stop. I did everything I could to try and break free, but Kodachi... Kodachi just watched. Not once did she shed a tear for her mother, nor did she once speak her name. But when it was all done, she looked upon the rapist and asked him a question."

"A question?"

"She asked... 'Will you come back?'"

Ranma blinked. "She... WHAT?"

"Since that time, she has been the Black Rose. Domineering... even evil at times."

"Wait... What did the man say?"

Tatewaki shook his head. "He said that they shall meet again, other than that... He ran."

"Couldn't the servants do anything?"

Tatewaki shook his head. "They were as powerless as I. They did not even know anything had occurred until after he left. It was as if there were some kind of magical barrier around us."

Ranma swallowed. Kodachi... watched? She... It was too much to take in all at once. But now... now he looked at Tatewaki Kuno in an entirely different way. While he pitied him before, his unskilled art and limited brain power... Now....

A whole new light. Tatewaki was different in his own eyes. No longer someone to pity and ignore, but someone to help. Ranma tightened his resolve and sighed.

Then Kuno spoke again. "I do not wish to see her again, Saotome," Kuno said.

Ranma nodded in understanding. He felt there was something more, but... no. He wouldn't pry.

"Not again," Kuno said. "Ever."

Soon later, Ranma and Tatewaki met up with the others. Many of which were remarkably silent, and others who were very talkative.

"I don't get it," Ukyou said. "Fei Liang? Not a reborn version, the ACTUAL Fei Liang from the dreams?"

Shinnosuke nodded. "It has to be him."

"What?" Ranma asked, breaking into the conversation. "What's happening?"

Akane looked over to Ranma. "Shinnosuke thinks that Feng Bo is Fei Liang."

Ranma looked over his shoulder. "That old goat? Didn't Fei Liang live in the end, though?"

Shinnosuke nodded. "That's just it. He _IS_ Fei Liang."

"Look at how cozy Shampoo, Mousse and Cologne are with him," Nabiki said. "He IS a Chinese god, right?"

"Tao," Shinnosuke corrected. "And Amaterasu is of Shinto, but she was in our dreams too, right?"

"Do you think Cologne could be Amaterasu?" Ukyou asked.

"I don't think so," Akane replied. "She knows a lot of stuff, but she doesn't strike me as a Shinto goddess."

"Yes," Tatewaki interrupted. "And Amaterasu's life was given along with many of the warriors. If anything, she would have been reborn."

"Can goddesses be reborn?" Akane asked.

"I don't even know how they're born," Nabiki stated. "Well, not in DETAIL, anyway. I just don't buy that facial features thing. Besides, if gods could be born from motes in your eye or snot, then who's to say that there isn't a god of shi--"

"Nabiki!" Akane yelled. "We're trying to be serious!"

"She's got a point," Ukyou said, laughing.

"The stories never speak of... gods of feces," Shinnosuke stated.

"Anyway, he's all worried about this Rogi guy coming after us. Tonight," Akane said, looking over toward Ryouga and Akari, who were busy talking over an unconscious Happosai. "When's he gonna wake up, anyway?"

"Knowing him, the first time someone shows off some cleavage," Ranma said.

"Be serious," Akane warned.

Ranma looked up towards a nearby clock. "It's getting late in the afternoon. Maybe... Maybe we should head back."

"After all this?" Ukyou asked. "As much as I... appreciate the guy right now, I think we should listen to him. He does know what he's talking about, and maybe this guy here is right."

"This guy _DOES_ have a name, you know," Shinnosuke stated defiantly.

"Sorry, Sugar. Nothing personal," Ukyou stood up and walked over to Feng Bo. She barely registered than Tatewaki was in tow.

"Hey," Ukyou called to him.

Feng Bo looked back over toward Ukyou and smiled. "Still discussing my identity?"

"Look, I don't buy this God of Winds stuff... but... I want to know something."

"Which is?"

"How come I know you?"

Feng Bo raised an eye. "Hmm?"

"You heard me. How come I _KNOW_ you? I know what you looked like as a young man. You had a nickname... Kazehito. Why, and HOW do I know this, Kazehito?"

Feng Bo smiled. "It's been long since I've heard that name, young one... But I cannot tell you yet."

"Bullshit. Why can't you?" Ukyou growled.

"Because destiny does not allow it. Yet." Tatewaki walked up next to her, unwrapping the small bundle he held in his arms. "I have brought the book, Master Feng Bo."

Feng Bo smiled. "You understand," he said.

"I have been through far too much. To... understand is all I have left to keep me sane."

Feng Bo sighed. "I apologize. I am aware you have had a harsh life."

"Your apology helps naught, but... I thank you nonetheless," he said, unwrapping the rest of the cloth, and handing the book over to the older man.

The man took the book and breathed it in. "It has been... a long time since I have laid hands on this. It has survived well over the ages," he said.

He closed his eyes for a moment, and all those who stood near him felt a sharp breeze coming from outside of the immediate area, and converging at the space the book occupied.

Ukyou and Tatewaki watched in mute fascination as the winds washed dust from the cover of the book, but broke no page. The dust blew into creases and tears the book had suffered, and then hardened. The pale cover soon became a more solid colour, and words appeared on it. Although written in pure Chinese, Tatewaki could make it out.

"Book of Five Millennia," Tatewaki said.

Ukyou's eyes were still being rubbed by her hands, in an effort to try and make sense of what she was seeing.

"What the HELL was THAT?" she asked.

"I do not expect you to understand yet, young one," Feng Bo said.

Ukyou sighed. "Look... Some of us have responsibilities," she said. "We've got to get home, but--"

"Yes, that is fine," he replied, paying more attention to the book than anything else. "I should have to study this in a... dryer environment." He looked up. "Do you have responsibilities elsewhere?"

She sighed. "There's... my restaurant. Konatsu and I should head back, but--"

"Perhaps... You should accompany Jia-- Ranma. Ranma and Akane. I believe they must go home."

"And the others?" she asked.

He looked over to Cologne. "You should take this young Konatsu to your restaurant for now, Cologne."

Cologne nodded. "And the others?"

"They should keep together."

"Wait," Ukyou said. "Why are you splitting Konatsu and I like that?"

"I am aware of a few things now, holding this book in my hands again. Other than that... there is nothing more to say. You will soon understand."

Ukyou threw her arms up in the air and stalked back toward Ranma and the others.

Tatewaki sighed. "She is... the Ohmikami, isn't she?"

Feng Bo nodded. "You will not tell her, will you?"

"As you say... Destiny must run its course," he replied.

Feng Bo closed his eyes. "Indeed."


"You know, I SERIOUSLY don't like the way these things are going," Masamoto said.

"Trouble?" Kimi asked, one eyebrow in the air.

"I went to ask the Kuno boy a few questions. He was dressed in a Kendo hakama, walking with his buddy out of the house. When I asked about his sister, he pretty much condemned her with his own words. It's like her own _BROTHER_ didn't care whether she lived or died. In fact, he sounded liked he preferred the latter."

"Ouch," Kimi said. "Doesn't sound good."

"It's nasty."

"Know what's nastier?" Kimi asked.

"What's that?"

"Two boys dead, another two near-dead. And we've got witnesses," she said, shuffling through a short file. "Outside of Furinkan. The four of them were students, other than that... not much else is known. Might be an idea to check it out, since the Captain thinks they're connected with the Hebereke occurrence."

Hasuzi's jaw dropped. "FOUR dead in one day? At two different schools?"

Kimi nodded, passing the file over to him. "Masamoto... I think something big is going down."

Even though he didn't have to reply, Kimi knew that the Inspector agreed with her.

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