A new general, Chronite, forces Ranma Saotome to join Queen Beryl in her fight against the Sailor Scouts.
It was a dark day in the Negaverse - even more so than usual, since the Negaverse was a world of total darkness even at its brightest. Queen Beryl sat slumped in her throne, mulling over the facts in her mind. Her army was gone - not a single monster remained, and Malachite, the last and greatest of her four generals, had just met his end at the hands of her greatest enemies, the Sailor Scouts. She'd even managed to capture their partner, Tuxedo Mask, and had brainwashed him into faithfully serving the Negaverse; but the Scouts had rescued him as well, leaving Beryl utterly alone in the darkness into which she had been cast so many centuries ago.
"My invasion is a failure," she moaned. "Great Negaforce, I have failed." She hung her head in shame, covering her face with her gaunt hands. "Is there nothing I can do? Am I doomed to wait here in defeat for the Sailor Scouts to come and put an end to my suffering?"
"No, my Queen," replied a gentle voice from behind the throne. "Your invasion is only just beginning."
Beryl's head jerked to attention. "What? Who said that?" She leaned over the side of the throne, twisting around to see who had spoken. The man who stood there was a complete stranger, but as her gaze lifted to his face, there was something in his eyes that -
"Ah, yes," she recalled. "Chronite, my fifth and most powerful general."
"At your service, my Queen," Chronite said with a deep bow.
Ranma leapt to the fence above Akane's head and ran along the narrow rail, easily keeping pace with Akane as they both raced toward Furinkan High School. Neither one exactly relished the prospect of being late for the third day in a row and having to clean every bathroom in the school as a punishment. The Principal had truly gone far out of his way with his latest scheme to keep Furinkan students on their toes - not content with making every minute that they were in school a living hell, he had now set up obstacles on every street within three miles of the school, forcing the students to fight for their lives from the moment they left the house. The only student who made it through unscathed each day was Tatewaki Kuno, who had grown up in a house full of deadly traps and had learned through much experience how to avoid them.
Normally, Principal Kuno's schemes were little threat to martial artists like Ranma and Akane, who usually defended the less capable students of Furinkan from their crazy headmaster's whims; but the first day's obstacles had caught them by surprise, and they had fallen into the deep pool of wet cement where the sidewalk had originally been. The next day, they had been prepared for that, but not for the concealed shark net that not even Akane's brute strength could break. So today, they were determined to be ready for anything. The trip had been quiet so far, but they knew that somewhere out there, the "Big Kahuna" lay in wait for them.
Suddenly, pineapples began to fall from the sky like hailstones. Ranma grabbed Akane and leapt out of the way of one, which exploded, leaving a smoking crater where she had been standing. They ran together, turning into an alley to escape the explosive fruit storm. "That was close," said Ranma, breathing a sigh of relief once the noise had quieted down.
"He's not just trying to delay us," said Akane. "He's trying to kill us!"
"I think we'll be safe here, for now," noted Ranma.
"But we'll never get to school if we just hide out here," Akane pointed out. She leaned against the wall of the alley to catch her breath.
"Well, we won't get to school if we fall into another one of those traps." As Ranma finished his statement, a wide black hole opened in the wall behind Akane, and she fell backwards into it. Ranma leapt forward, just catching her arm before it disappeared into the hole. "Akane, hang on!" he shouted, not knowing whether or not she could hear him. "That freak's gone too far this time!"
Ranma didn't even sense the punch coming until the fist had made its impression in his cheekbone, knocking him sideways and tearing his hands from Akane's. He watched helplessly as the blackness drew Akane in, out of sight. Ranma darted for the hole, but a foot appeared in front of his stomach and knocked the wind out of him.
Ranma stared up at his assailant and saw a tall, red-haired man wearing skintight red pants and a red tank-top. "Out of my way, pal, before I have to fight my way through!"
"You're welcome to try," invited the red-haired man, beckoning to Ranma. Ranma launched himself at the man, who promptly vanished, appearing behind Ranma at the same instant and planting a palm into the small of Ranma's back. Ranma spun to attack the man again, but he was yards further down the alley. As soon as Ranma took a step toward him, the man was behind him once again, firmly holding Ranma's arms behind his back. Ranma fought to break free, but the man's grip was too strong to break from his current position.
"What do you want with me?" shouted Ranma. "What have you done with Akane?"
"Akane is perfectly safe," replied a sharp feminine voice from the direction of the hole that had swallowed Akane. Ranma turned his head to watch the long, slender, haggard form of the Queen of the Negaverse emerge from the hole and stand before him. "She will remain safe as long as you agree to perform a small service for me."
"I ain't marrying you! I've already got more fiancÃ©es than I know what to do with!"
Beryl shook her head. "You misunderstand the nature of my request. I am simply... having a bit of trouble with some belligerent warriors in another world. They have destroyed most of my generals, and I'm trying to hire some new help. You will be paid for your service, of course."
Ranma felt a sense of extreme cold radiating from the woman. Whatever her intentions were, Ranma knew that they were not pleasant. "No deal! Let me and Akane go!" He fought once again to free himself from the red man's strong grip, to no avail.
"Chronite, let him go," ordered Queen Beryl. "I don't think he will do anything rash while his precious woman is in our possession." The hands holding Ranma released him, and Ranma nearly lost his balance. He stared into Beryl's eyes, searching for her motives, but their expressionless gaze told him nothing. "All you must do, Ranma Saotome, is destroy the Sailor Scouts. Then I will return both you and Akane to this very place and time." She paused thoughtfully. "I might even be willing to deposit the two of you at your school, if I am pleased with your work."
"And what if I refuse?" asked Ranma, knowing full well what the answer would be.
"Then Akane Tendo will take your place in my army," replied Beryl. "I will not be denied my victory, especially not by a human like you."
The tone of Beryl's voice told Ranma that not only was she serious, she had the means to do exactly what she threatened. Ranma thought of the power of the warriors that could possibly trouble a woman with as much power as Beryl obviously had, and imagined Akane trying to fight that kind of power. There was no way she would survive. "I'll do it," he agreed. "As long as you promise not to hurt Akane."
"Of course," Beryl replied smoothly. "But know this: the instant you betray me, or plot against me, she will die. It is only my power that can keep her alive in the Negaverse. If that power is cut off..." She let the sentence hang in the air and turned back to the portal. "Chronite, bring him."
Ranma started to protest, but Chronite once again was beside him before he could react. Chronite grabbed Ranma roughly by one arm and dragged him into the blackness. As soon as Ranma was completely inside the portal, it shrank to a point and vanished as if it had never existed.
Seconds later, Principal Kuno poked his head into the alley. "Aloha, keiki! De Big Kahuna got special surprise for ya!" He peered up and down the length of the alley. "Now, where did those keiki get to? De tiger goan' go hungry pretty soon if dey doan' come back..."