A Ranma ½ Alternate Universe Story
By Larry F
(based on an original story by
Gregg Sharp (email@example.com))
Introduction: This is a rework of a short story written by Gregg Sharp.
I liked the idea, so I asked for permission to put my own twist to it.
There were a number of interesting ideas in Gregg's version that I wanted
to adopt, and others that I chose to leave out because they had no real
effect on the plot. (One idea was that Ranma's mother was a Chinese Amazon,
rather than Nodoka; I decided to drop that because the new mother was
just a throw-away character.) I plan to add new material and pad out the
existing scenes, as well as rewrite the dialog to suit my own taste.
This is an Alternate History story. It is not intended to resemble the
canon story very much, so don't expect the characters to conform to the
usual standards except as it pleases me.
I will gladly listen to any comment or criticism offered in the spirit
of helpfulness, either on the FFML or privately. After all, that's
what we post this stuff for.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I do not own the rights to
the characters from Ranma ½ or Tenchi Muyo, they belong to Rumiko
Takahashi and Hitoshi Okuda respectively. The American rights to the characters
belongs to Viz Communications. I do not intend to make any money from
the use of the characters.
Prologue: In Which The Tale Is
('The Bet' segment)
An eerie individual, whose head was completely out of proportion to his
tiny body, was gazing into Toltiir's scrying pool. Summoning the image
of a human male into the placid waters with a wave of his hand, he intoned
solemnly: "I am Uatu, known to some as the Watcher."
A small demon that was standing off to one side of the pool blinked at
this. "No, you're not. You're Toltiir, using a magical puppet you
got from the special effects department."
The Uatu puppet paused, then pulled the end of a bow-tied rope attached
to a wall of the chamber. A huge cartoon anvil fell down directly on top
of the demon's head.
An arm poked out from underneath the anvil and waggled one finger in
the air. "And they did it better on that Star Trek episode 'The Corbomite
Another anvil was released, driving the first anvil (and the unfortunate
demon) several inches into the ground.
The Uatu puppet settled back into its role. "Ahem. I am Uatu, the
Watcher of Worlds."
"Among the myriad time lines, there are many where a man named Genma
Saotome, in his quest for the ultimate martial arts training, repeatedly
sold his only son for food. That he always kidnapped the boy back did
little to excuse his crime; if anything, it made it worse. Genma sold
him to gypsies and thieves, kind-hearted people who saw a chance to help
an unfortunate child, and lonely souls who had no children of their own.
Genma’s price for his son was often ludicrous. At one time he went so
far as to sell his son in exchange for two paltry fish."
"And a pickle," exclaimed the demon from underneath his anvils.
The Uatu puppet shot the anvil pile a dirty glance. "Genma never
seemed to care who he sold his son to. In one infamous incident, he even
sold him to the Nymphomaniac Yak Riders of Planet Playtex."
Toltiir, who was manipulating the puppet from beneath the rim of the
pool, blinked at that line and pulled a cue card out of nothingness. Having
confirmed that this was indeed what the script said, he sighed and tossed
the card out of the chamber window, where it sliced through the air and
into the engine of a Sopwith Camel that was flying nearby. As the venerable
aircraft, trailing smoke, sputtered erratically off into the sunset, the
pilot shook his fist at the tower. In enraged beagle speak, he cried:
"Curse you, Red Baron!"
Toltiir puzzled over the doggy growls drifting through the window for
a moment, then with as close to a shrug as a cat could manage, he turned
back to manipulating his puppet. Toltiir wasn't very good at foreign languages.
"And yet, things could have been different. Originally, Genma Saotome
was as virtuous as any man could claim to be. His scruples and moral fiber
were destroyed when he was apprenticed with his childhood friend Soun
Tendo to the slave-driving Master Happosai."
"…Now I am the Master, Genma!" said a little black-armored
Happosai marionette hanging from the Watcher's right hand.
"Only a Master of Panties!" a robed Genma marionette countered,
hanging from the left hand.
"Well, I do have my priorities," admitted Happosai
before the two figures were banished back to stuffspace.
From underneath his anvils, the demon sneered, "Would you just bloody
well get on with it? After all, Rumiko Takahashi owns the Ranma ½
concepts, Marvel Comics owns the Watcher and the 'What If' title, and
the anvils are on loan from Warner Brothers. Since you're ripping all
this stuff off, the least you could do is come up with a different take
A third, even larger anvil dropped down with a mighty clang, landing
atop the other two and causing all three anvils and the demon to be buried
even deeper in the ground.
Toltiir rose from behind the pool, casting aside the Uatu puppet. "So
"What If" Genma, instead of becoming an amoral, lying, thieving,
stinking, misbegotten bastard of an excuse for a rotten father, rebelled
against the depravity of his master? What if he chose instead to become
as UNLIKE Happosai as he possibly could?"
There is nothing quite as strange to see as an ersatz cat cackling like
the Wicked Witch of the West.
Chapter One: In Which Genma
Genma Saotome stood in a remote mountain district, before the altar of
a Shinto Shrine. He tugged on the rope, and was answered with the clattering
of bells hung from the rafter. In an age-old custom, he clapped his hands
to attract the attention of the Shrine spirits before bowing to show his
respect to them.
"Hear me, O Spirits. Today I stole food from a village. This wasn't
the first time that I've stolen food, but today was different. This time,
something happened that makes me wonder if perhaps… "
Genma stopped in mid-prayer. He didn't really believe that any spirits
were listening. He was just using the prayer as a way of sorting his thoughts,
and this was a difficult idea for him to follow to its conclusion.
"I was running out of the village with a bag full of food over my
shoulder, and one of the villagers yelled out that he recognized me. He
told the others that I was Happosai, the infamous thief and pervert. We
needed the food! Soun and I were starving! But to think that I could
possibly be mistaken for the Master… it shames me. Have I followed his
ways so long that I'm no different from him?"
—[In one twist of reality, the one thought of as the true historical
path, Genma brushed off the notion as absurd before getting even that
far in his self-appraisal, and walked back to his camp to rejoin his lifelong
friend, Soun Tendo.
They got drunk and the next morning they went on learning the techniques
of Happosai’s School of Anything Goes martial arts. When they eventually
parted company after sealing Happosai in a cave, Genma met and married
Nodoka (whose idea of a manly man was not dissimilar to Happosai’s) and
raised their only son in a rather… bizarre manner.
It all went back to that moment of decision at the Shrine. That was when
he sealed his fate for all time.
But what if he'd made another choice?]—
…Caught up in anguish, Genma sank to his knees in remorse. After a
few minutes of bitter contemplation about what a shambles his life had
become, he raised his face to the altar again.
"I want to make up for my behavior! I want to change my ways! If
there really are any spirits, if my ancestors really can hear
me, then witness this solemn vow: I refuse to be anything like
the Master! Instead, I promise to surpass him in every way save his perversity.
I vow on my very soul that the Anything Goes style will come to stand
for something besides debauchery and panty raids!"
Lightning crackled through the clear sky and a stiff wind blew, although
the air had been still a moment before. The last few rays of the sun seemed
to focus on and spotlight the centuries-old cabinet behind the altar.
Suddenly, a gruff voice spoke from behind him. "A fine oath."
Genma jumped to his feet, startled in spite of himself. Someone had managed
to sneak up on him!
There was an old Shinto priest standing just a few feet away. He
wore a severe expression, and behind his old-fashioned eyeglasses, piercing
eyes stared at Genma, seeming to look straight into his heart. By
the priest's expression, he obviously found much there that he disliked.
Still, Genma was certain that a new flame was burning in his heart now,
one that held promise for the future. Surely it showed!
The priest spoke again. "As I said, a fine oath. If you can
keep that vow, you will always be welcome at the Masaki Shrine."
"It is my intention to do so." Genma stared at the ground for
a moment. "The method by which I am to fulfill my promise is the
difficult part. The training I've received at the hands of my Master has
not been conducive to a path of virtue." Genma wasn't sure
why he was speaking so formally, but it seemed natural to talk that way
in the temple, even though he was surprised that he even knew some of
the words that were flowing so effortlessly from his lips.
A ghost of a smile played across the priest's face. "Well then,
perhaps you and your friend can stay here at the Shrine for a time. There
are many things we might speak of."
Genma was startled again. How had the old man known that his friend Soun
was waiting at the camp? It took a moment for him to get his mind back
on the discussion. "Many things?"
"Yes. We might, for instance, speak of virtue and honor, and the
difference between heroism and vainglory. We might even speak of the code
of Bushido. There are many ways a man might achieve rebirth and salvation."
Genma nodded his agreement. At the very least, it would get them indoors
out of the cold and away from the Master for a while. And who knew? Maybe
the priest's ramblings would give him an idea of how to proceed
with his new resolution.
As Genma started back to the campsite, he muttered under his breath as
he began plotting how he would get himself and Soun away from the Master.
Katsuhito Masaki watched him walk away. Ever since Funaho (the Space
Tree that had once been the heart and brain of his spaceship) had detected
Happosai in the vicinity, he'd kept a close watch on the aging pervert
and his two companions. 'Happosai can be a formidable opponent when opposed.
In the hundred years I have known him, he has always shown much low cunning.
It might be wise to follow after this young man and see that he comes
to no harm.'
Stepping back into the Shrine briefly, the priest emerged carrying a
bokken. With an agility surprising in one of his apparent years,
he leapt into the branches of a nearby tree and was quickly gone from
"…Or we might be able to ambush the Master and beat him up until
he lets us go?"
Genma thought that plan over for a second, then tossed into the mental
trash heap with the other ideas he'd come up with. The Master was
lecherous and slothful, but he was still many times the martial artist
Genma was. If it came to a fight, Happosai could defeat both Soun
and him in less time than it took to say so. The Master's knowledge
of arcane and esoteric techniques was awe inspiring. Genma had personal
experience with the way Happosai could put an opponent down for the count
with one tap of his long-stemmed pipe.
There was no possible way to win against him unless Genma were to resurrect
the Umisenken and Yamasenken techniques he'd created. That was something
he would not do. However much his honor had faded under Happosai’s tutelage,
he was not so far gone as to bring THOSE techniques back into the light
of day. To do so would have been to lose the last of his self respect,
since they were based on the actions of different kinds of burglars.
Besides, there was something even worse to think about. The gods
only knew what the old lecher would do if he discovered one of his students
had created such powerful techniques. Genma had no illusions about
being able to keep them a secret if the old man knew what to dig for.
That left guile as the only other way…
Genma liked to think that he was an imaginative plotter. They might just
be able to trick the Master if they came up with a clever plan. "And
I think I have it. If we pretend to celebrate the haul of food taken
from the village, we can get the Master drunk. Then we'll run away
before he wakes up. If we brush our tracks out behind us, he won't
be able to find out where we went. That always works in those Italian
movies about American cowboys!"
Much taken with what he imagined was the brilliance and elegant simplicity
of his plan, Genma continued on with a lighter heart.
Later that night, all seemed to be going well. Genma had shared
his idea with Soun, who could think of no way to improve on it.
They had groveled before Happosai in their most ingratiating way, and
spent hours entertaining him with singing and traditional odori
dancing, all the while urging him to drink bottle after bottle of sake.
It was long after darkness had fallen that Happosai finally drifted into
a drunken stupor. The two boys stood triumphantly over the body of their
Master, who was snoring loudly in a wine-sodden heap.
Soun whispered, "This is our chance, Saotome. Let's make a
break for it!"
Picking up their packs and some leafy branches set aside earlier that
evening, they backed out of the campsite, sweeping energetically at the
ground behind them as they walked. So caught up were they in the
task, it did not occur to them that they were sweeping a clearly defined
pathway with each and every stroke.
As they faded from view among the trees, Happosai cracked open his eyelids
to check on their progress. So they thought they could catch him
unaware? It had been plain from the start that they were up to something.
Much as he hated to waste good sake, it had been easy to dump
most of it on the ground next to him as the boys capered about trying
to amuse him. He'd even spilled a little on his clothes so that he would
smell strongly of it. He thought he deserved an Oscar for his performance;
the boys were convinced that he had passed out, when he'd really only
drunk enough for a pleasant buzz.
So it was another escape attempt? It was amazing that they still thought
it would be that easy to walk away from him, when every other plan they'd
tried had failed. It would be a pleasure to disabuse them of the notion
once again. However, there was no need to rush; the fools were leaving
a trail a blind man could follow. Their despair would be greater if he
allowed them to think they had succeeded this time.
A brief chuckle shook him. "Those two clowns are a hundred years
too young to trick me!" *
He settled down more comfortably and began to stoke his pipe, looking
forward to the coming hunt.
A half hour later, Happosai finished smoking his pipe and decided to
pick up the trail of his wayward students. Because they were putting
so much effort in the attempt to disguise their footprints, Happosai knew
they couldn't have gotten far. Leaving his pack and blankets to
await his return, he began trotting steadily along the path the boys had
so carefully swept clean of debris. Happosai thought it was extraordinarily
funny: in trying to wipe out their tracks, they had only succeeded in
brushing aside the stones and twigs that might have made his progress
more difficult. It really was a joke. All that work and they just
made themselves easier to capture. How obvious it was that they were only
suited to be servants!
When he'd taken them on as apprentices, he'd actually hoped that one
of them would be good enough to be his successor. That hope had been quickly
dashed; their level of incompetence boggled his imagination. It wasn't
that they were bad as martial artists; the fighting skills they'd already
possessed when he met them would have been a credit to any other school.
They just did not have what it took to keep up with him. Far
from standing up and behaving like real men, they crumpled at
his feet as soon as the training got tough. They were also seemingly incapable
of appreciating the fine points of women's lingerie, or enjoying the pleasure
that came from groping a lovely wench.
He was totally unable to comprehend how anyone who called himself
a man could not want to join him in his innocent little hobbies. How could
any man not want to experience the thrill of giving a pretty girl a squeeze?
After all, if one girl protested too much, there was always the next.
Besides, the Anything Goes style had originated from avoiding those women
who inexplicably chased him, blood in their eyes, when he was out on his
forays to add to his lingerie collection. Happosai strongly believed that
if one truly wished to master the style, one had to start at the beginning:
dodging buckets, brooms, rolling pins, etc…
And then there was the deepest of his secrets. When Happosai had
been a young man, and first coming into his prime, he'd learned a terrible
technique from a scroll so old that it crumbled from any but the most
gentle of handling. By shiatsu points and certain exercises
used over time, the practitioner could alter a person's metabolism in
Happosai had recognized the possibilities immediately. He'd used
the techniques on himself with no hesitation. The result was a power
that was tailor-made for his chosen lifestyle; whenever he groped comely
young lasses, or frolicked with his collection of lingerie, the endorphin
rush triggered his altered metabolism and gave him a boost in strength,
energy, and in his rate of healing. It made him almost unbeatable
as a martial artist.
The fearfulness of his chosen apprentices was too great for him to waste
the techniques on them. Genma was an outright coward, who wouldn't
do anything that might result in pain unless forced to, and Soun had proven
to have a fragile ego that was unable to handle the stress of a life on
the run. Happosai had been forced to come up with plan 'B'. He'd
keep tight rein on them, and when they got married, he would raise up
a successor from among their sons. That was why he couldn't let them just
walk off whenever they wanted to; close supervision was required, if his
plan was to succeed.
Besides, children were much more malleable and easy to enlist in his
games. For example, there was that Hinako girl he'd met while raid—
er… exploring the nurses' lockers at that hospital years ago.
Now that had been a fulfilling apprenticeship. The secret
techniques had actually helped her health, and she'd been a big help with
handling those naughty nurses who insisted on trying to chase him out
of the building. Too bad she was a girl; she would have been a worthy
disciple had it not been for her gender. Still, he would always
remember the weeks he'd spent there fondly… each and every time he got
to that part of his collection.
He had only traveled a few hundred yards when a figure in the traditional
robes of a Shinto priest stepped from behind a tree, blocking the way.
"Why, hello again. It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
Happosai stared in shock at the man before him. "Katsuhito Masaki!
Of all the misbegotten fools I had to run into… what do you
The priest adjusted his glasses, and smiled gently. "What do I want?
Nothing at all. My own needs are simple, and well-satisfied by the
frugal life I lead. My only desire is to see that others are as
content as I am. It seems plain to me that you wish a chance to
spar this evening… That is why you are following the youngsters
who passed this way earlier, is it not? I thought perhaps I might
make myself available as your opponent. Wouldn't I be a more suitable
The old priest's smile broadened as he took up a ready position with
his wooden sword.
Happosai calmed himself with a visible effort. In all of their previous
encounters, he had been defeated by that damned unusual style of swordplay
Masaki used. This was going to be different. It was time to show the old
fart that he hadn't been sitting around picking his nose since they last
He shifted his stance to improve his footing, then suddenly launched
himself into the air at a nearby sapling. Bouncing off the trunk, he used
the springiness to catapult himself even faster at another tree. This
was his new "three cushion bank shot" attack, which was designed
to build speed and to confuse the opponent as to where the strike would
come from. He hit the third tree perfectly and was propelled feet first
at the priest's back, almost too fast for the eye to follow.
Katsuhito was caught completely by surprise. This was a move he hadn't
seen the last time he'd fought Happi, and the velocity was astonishing.
However, his well-honed reflexes allowed him to turn and get his bokken
up into blocking position, just as Happi landed his kick.
The result was extremely painful for both combatants; Happi hit the priest
squarely in stomach, driving him to the ground with the wind knocked out
of him, but the raised bokken struck Happosai in the one place covered
neither by his guard nor his health insurance policy. Both men lay still
for several minutes, clutching the appropriate portions of their anatomy
and groaning in harmony.
As soon as he got enough of his breath back, Katsuhito gave his nemesis
a strained smile. "I must admit, you've gotten much better, but that
was a move for a much younger man. I think it may have cost you more than
it was worth. However, I can't deny that it was effective." He winced
in rueful appreciation. "Even just a few decades ago, I would have
been able to avoid that… Perhaps we are both getting a little too old
Happosai would have laughed, if he'd been able to stop grimacing. "Speak
for yourself, Masaki. You were ancient back when I first met you, and
that was a century ago! I've got a few good years left."
A thoughtful look crossed his features. "You know, I don't even remember
why I hate you so much. This could have been fun, to meet up and fight
again after all this time… if you weren't interfering with my business.
Those boys are mine. They signed a written contract with me, and you don't
have the right to come between us."
The priest raised an eyebrow at that. "The question is how they
came to sign it. You didn't happen to get them drunk first, did you?"
Happosai tried his best "innocent old man" look as he pointed
a questioning finger at himself. "Who, me? Whatever would make
you think that? Do you really believe I'd do anything so underhanded?"
The priest stared Happosai straight in the eye. "Without any hesitation.
You've never been one to let scruples stop you from getting what you wanted.
This time you are going to have to stop. I have decided to give those
boys sanctuary, and you know that the Shrine is off limits to you."
Happosai snorted in disgust. "I don't know how you ever got those
wards against demonic intrusion to work against me, but one day I'll figure
out the trick, and then we'll see about a lot of things, won't we?"
He sighed. "But you win this time. I'll go, but don't think this
is the end. They can't stay with you forever, and I can be very patient
when it comes to getting revenge."
He stood up gingerly, with an awkward bowlegged stance. Without a backward
glance, he began hobbling back to his campsite.
The priest nodded to himself. "I was right. There was no way that
those young men could have escaped on their own." He pressed his
fingers gingerly to his stomach, appraising his injury. "I should
never try to take on someone like Happi again without the Master Key,
as necessary as it is where I have it. I certainly could have used the
ability to shield myself this time! Still, those youngsters will be safe
from him until they are ready to stand on their own."
He had to chuckle a bit about the "wards" that kept Happosai
away from the Shrine. Happi was so caught up in his studies of classic
mysticism that it never occurred to him that there might be another reason
he couldn't get near the place. In reality, the ward papers posted around
the edge of the Shrine property simply marked the farthest range of a
force field that Funaho could raise in time of need. It wasn't a very
strong field and Funaho could only raise it for short periods, but so
far it had sufficed.
Funaho, like all the Space Trees, did not do well taking root in any
soil other than Jurai's. Since being transplanted on Earth, she'd been
weakened, and her "will" had faded. She was unable to
power anything that required large amounts of energy, and mainly preferred
to spend her days in slumber. It was almost all that she could do just
to maintain his vitality, even drawing on the power of the gems in the
Master Key. Still, he couldn't complain. It was thanks to her that his
appearance as an old man was just that: an appearance that could be dropped
if the need ever arose. In his real form, he could have passed as a man
Consequently, the force field used to hold Happi off only had enough
power to give him a nasty shock when he touched it. It was Happi's own
belief in the supernatural that supplied the rest of the deterrent. One
look at the wards had convinced him that the shock was a warning of imminent
destruction. Thankfully, he'd been too frightened to test it further,
because Funaho would have had to drop it after only a few minutes.
Katsuhito began walking back along a shortcut to the Shrine. The boys
were making remarkably slow progress, so even as battered as he was, he'd
have plenty of time to get home, clean up, and be ready when they arrived.
Genma and Soun were slapping each other on the back in congratulations
on a plan well conceived and executed when they arrived at the Shrine.
The old priest was waiting for them with tea, ready to be poured.
As they sipped their drinks, the priest watched the boys with a neutral
expression. When they had finished the first cup and been given refills,
he broke the silence. "So, you have decided to take me up on my offer.
Very well, we will begin your first lesson now. Spend the hours before
bedtime tonight in contemplation. I want you to answer this question
for me in the morning: what is the meaning of your lives?"
Soun and Genma looked at the priest in confusion, then at each other.
It was Soun who finally spoke up. "What is the meaning of our lives?
I don't understand… we're martial artists; our lives are devoted to
carrying on the traditions of our school, and passing on those traditions
to the next generation. Is there supposed to be something more?"
The priest gave them a mysterious half-smile. "That is
a very deep question, isn't it? The answer can be found within yourselves
if you search your hearts honestly. Reflect on it, and I will see
you in the morning."
The next morning dawned upon the two boys as they stared at each other
with bloodshot eyes. They'd sat up all night long trying to do as
the old man had asked, but no matter how hard they had thought about it,
or how much they talked it over, they couldn't seem to reach any sort
of epiphany. They were despairing; if they didn't pass this first
test from their new master, surely he'd throw them out, and they'd have
to face Happosai again.
When Katsuhiko came out to find them, he saw the condition they were
in and had to suppress a smile. He remembered the days after he'd
been marooned on Earth and had decided to learn the Shinto faith from
his young bride's father. He too had spent many a sleepless night
puzzling over some seemingly simple question his father-in-law had posed
to him. He was convinced that the questions had no purpose but to
put the candidate off balance, and make him more receptive to new ideas,
just as the puzzles of the Buddhists did.
It was time to let the boys off the hook.
"Good morning, gentlemen. I see that you decided to devote
the entire night to contemplation. That is most commendable.
Have you arrived at a conclusion?"
Soun was unable to raise his eyes to meet the priest's. "No,
master. No matter how I search my heart, I can find nothing that
would make my life any more meaningful than any other man's."
Genma was similarly depressed. "We tried and tried, but if
there is anything about us that truly matters, then we don't know what
Katsuhito did smile at those words. "Well, well! If
you can say that, then there is hope for you yet. The first stirrings
of wisdom come when a man realizes that he is but one among many.
It is the fool who says to himself 'I am more important than any other'.
The humble man who seeks to make his life more meaningful is the one who
achieves true greatness." Bowing with formality to the two
boys, he continued, "I am satisfied with your attitude.
Welcome to the Masaki shrine."
Watching the pair babble their thanks, he had to suppress a chuckle.
It was always so fun to pull mystic mumbo-jumbo and psyche out new acolytes!
Over the course of the following days, Katsuhito struggled to teach the
boys how to ask things about themselves that they had never thought to
question before. The process was a rude awakening for them. Almost everything
they'd learned from Happosai turned out to be petty, frivolous, or in
many cases criminal. Katsuhito came to realize that Happosai had
never intended to teach them seriously. However, he was unable to
figure out why Happosai was keeping them around. Happosai was a
master at insuring his own well-being, so there was no reason to believe
that he needed them to take care of him.
Of course, it would have been easier on the boys if Katsuhito had told
them outright what he wanted them to learn, but he preferred to hide the
real lessons in mysterious parables and seemingly pointless exercises.
He felt the boys learned more effectively when the idea that he wanted
them to grasp suddenly leaped into focus for them. Even more importantly,
teaching that way was the most fun he'd had in years. It was even
better than teaching his own daughters; they knew his tricks, and wouldn't
stand for the games he was playing with the naive Soun and Genma.
However, that didn't detract from the seriousness of his task.
The boys had some deadly faults that had to be corrected before they would
be able to grow.
Soun had grown up in a traditional martial arts family, one that had
run a dojo in the Nerima area since the days when Tokyo had been know
as Edo. He'd grown up accepting certain things, like the idea that the
Sensei was to be obeyed without question, but he took passiveness to the
extreme. Learning to think for himself was far more difficult than any
physical exercise, yet he would have to if he was to ever reopen his family's
dojo. Ever since his parents had died in a train wreck, he'd been relying
on other people to make his decisions for him, be it Genma, Happosai,
or anyone else that appeared able to give him direction. Having to make
his own choices was more than a little frightening to him.
Genma had to face up to the fact that he was a moral coward. He always
took the easy way out of any situation, without stopping to consider what
the consequences might be. That was a trait that had led him into many
troubles. Worse yet, because Soun followed his lead, he often dragged
his friend into the problems with him. It had been Genma's decision to
talk with Happosai, who'd promised to make them wealthy and respected,
that had resulted in that damnable contract. His fear of standing up to
Happosai after that day had resulted in years of misery for both boys.
Learning to take responsibility for the decisions he was so quick to make
was his hardest trial.
Both had suffered massive damage to their sense of morality at the hands
of Happosai, and had been brainwashed to the point that they thought theft
and arousing public outrage were valid training methods.
It wasn't going to be easy, either. They had a lot of bad habits.
It wasn't more than a day before Genma began searching the shrine for
sake. When the boys couldn't find anything stronger than tea to
drink, the young fools actually tried to sneak away for a night on the
town. Funaho put a stop to that by projecting a holograph of Happosai
on the path ahead of them, sending them scurrying back to the shrine.
They both would goof off whenever they thought Katsuhito wasn't around,
and tried to sneak food from the kitchen.
While Katsuhito was convinced that he could make something worthwhile
of them, the clay he had to work with looked to be very rough indeed.
Teaching them to be upstanding young men looked like it would take years…
After a few weeks of cajoling the boys into doing the basic chores necessary
for the upkeep of the shrine, he began teaching them some of the forms
of the Masaki style of swordplay, ones that were aids to meditation. The
boys were required to spend their mornings caring for the Shrine, and
each afternoon they practiced martial arts styles and sparred with each
other. Evenings were for meditation, and after dinner they talked about
As the months passed, Katsuhito began to teach them more advanced techniques,
ones that could be adapted to the styles they favored. Soun in particular
made rapid progress in blending Kempo, Anything Goes, and Masaki Kendo
techniques into his own unique blend, supplementing his family's weaponry
techniques. He gained more confidence in himself, and the conviction that
a future as the Sensei of his family's dojo was his true calling.
Genma, on the other hand, took well to the athletic leaps and dodging
that the priest taught them, and much of his style began to hinge on aerial
strikes and kicks. He came to believe that reliance on any given technique
was a weakness. Instead, he believed that a good martial artist
should be able to use any style that suited the fight he was in, be it
a weapon style or hand-to-hand.
The sparring matches began to take on the look of a hawk fighting a badger.
Soun would hold his ground and doggedly face the flowing attack and defense
Genma developed to complement his leaping style. It was hard to say which
was the better fighter; Soun used strength and endurance to gain victory,
while Genma used speed and agility, but they were remarkably evenly matched.
Of course, when they got too full of themselves, Katsuhito would challenge
both at once with his bokken and remind them that they had a long way
More than a year would pass before Soun and Genma finally left the Shrine,
splitting up to follow their separate destinies. Soun had decided that
it was time to teach others in the enlightened ways he'd learned at the
hands of the old priest, while Genma felt that he needed to atone for
his past crimes and learn much more before he could finally settle in
one place and make a home.
Although they were parting ways for the first time since boyhood, they
were not alone on their journeys. Each was accompanied by a new
bride, having wooed and won the affections of two girls; Nodoka Masaki,
a promising kendoist and the priest's grandniece, and Kimiko Hachibara,
a classmate of Nodoka's who had come to the Shrine to learn kendo from
the old priest. As they parted at the crossroads leading away from the
Shrine, the two men made a promise.
"When we finally have children, we pledge that our two families
will be united in marriage; this in honor of the years we spent together
in adversity. The eldest son born to either family will marry a daughter
of the other house, whichever way the spirits may bless us."
Nodoka and Kimiko, being fondly tolerant of their husband's foibles,
did not point out that there was no provision in case both families
had all boys or all girls.
After Genma left the Masaki Shrine, he spent long years on the road with
his wife. One day, he and Nodoka (who was faithfully carrying the heirloom
Katana of her husband's clan, which she considered a sacred duty) came
to the Bayankala Mountains of China. Genma was following an elusive trail
of hints that had eventually led them to a remote village of warrior women.
He felt that it was necessary for him to consult with the village Elders
to further his spiritual growth. As they trudged up the final stretch
of trail that would take them to the valley of the Amazons, they were
brought to a halt by the sudden appearance of a small group of well armed
and armored women.
"What do you seek here so far from your homeland, foreign scum?"
A tough looking, heavily scarred woman faced them, apparently unaware
of an old woman that blinked owlishly close by, balanced atop her walking
Genma squared his shoulders and tried to look the woman in the eyes.
"I seek the wisdom of your Elders."
The woman looked Genma up and down in disgust, as if viewing him for
the first time and seeing something best buried in the name of public
health. "Speak when spoken to, MAN. I was addressing your master."
She turned her attention back to Nodoka. "At least you have the guts
to carry a warrior's weapon. For that reason alone, I ask you again: why
should we allow passage to Japanese scum?"
The scarred woman, who obviously remembered the old animosity between
the Chinese and the Japanese that dated back to the Second World War,
suddenly snapped to a posture of attention. The old woman had hopped forward
on her staff to where she could be seen by the Amazons. A simple glare
was sufficient to stop the scarred woman from speaking further. In fact,
from what Genma could tell, it looked as if the she were trying hard not
to breathe. A sergeant, Genma guessed from the reaction, who had just
discovered the general's eye was on her.
"You forget the ways of foreigners. This man is the one who has
lead them here." The old woman regarded Genma briefly. "You
may call me Cologne. I am a village Elder. What do you seek among the
Joketsuzoku? And how do you propose to pay for it?"
Genma frowned slightly. He knew that money was NOT a form of payment
that would be accepted in this situation, even if he had any to offer.
The villagers would demand a service of some kind, but what would it be?
Still, the time had come to lay his cards on the table. "I am one
who strives to put the horrors of my past behind me. I, who once walked
the path of self-indulgence, seek now to walk a path of virtue and enlightenment.
I am searching for knowledge of how to improve myself and become a worthy
warrior, despite my former Master's misguided teachings."
He drew a deep breath. This was the risky part. "I shall pay any
reasonable price you name."
Cologne blinked and translated this for the women who did not understand
Japanese. Finally she regarded Genma again. "You ask much of us,
who would not normally teach such things to any man. We of the village
counsel will have to discuss this among ourselves. The two of you will
be taken to a house where you must wait for our decision. You will be
sent for when we have reached an agreement."
Another four years passed before Genma and Nodoka left the village of
the Joketsuzoku. Genma had worked like a slave in the rice fields during
the daylight hours, and trained each evening under brutal conditions,
watched closely by the Amazon elders. At first, the Amazons had thought
that the harsh treatment would drive him away, but his determination to
succeed had only grown more dogged with each new task laid on him. Far
from discouraging him, the regimen had toned him to a wiry toughness that
made him almost impossible to beat.
Nodoka had made a place of her own with the villagers. Her martial skills
with the sword and the unusual style of her family impressed the warrior
women, and they opened up their hearts to her in a way Genma could never
hope to achieve. She spent many a happy hour learning the sword techniques
of her new friends, and sparring in the common area set aside for the
When the Elders finally admitted that they had nothing more to teach
them, they knew it was time to move on. This time, however, they were
not alone on their journey. Nodoka proudly bore a second bundle beside
the heirloom sword; she also carried the heir who would one day wield
Chapter Two: In Which We Meet
Genma, Nodoka and the baby Ranma wandered the back roads of China for
a time, trading techniques with Chinese martial arts masters when they
could. Genma supported his family by odd jobs and the charity of the schools
they visited. The family did not stay in China for very long, however.
Avoiding the attention of the Chinese authorities could be tricky. That
they had no travel permits meant always living in fear of deportation.
Genma was steering their steps towards Tibet as their eventual goal, intending
to study Buddhist philosophy under the famed monks of that country.
When finally they reached that sad country, it was to find that the Chinese
invasion and occupation of Tibet (during the Cultural Revolution in the
1960's) had devastated the Tibetan religious heritage. Genma had hoped
to learn spiritual balance there to offset the warrior skills he had learned
from the Amazons, but the monasteries Tibet was so famed for were, for
the most part, gone. Even those that remained were closely guarded by
the Chinese, so it would be almost impossible for a foreigner to study
there in peace.
They had tried visiting three major monasteries as they traveled through
the country: Ganden, famed home of four thousand monks, had been leveled
to the ground. The local people had just begun the process of rebuilding
it, one stone at a time. Drepung had been depopulated and the monks sent
to slave labor camps to be "re-educated". Only a few hundred
remained, under Chinese supervision. Tashi-Lhumpo, the seat of the Panchen
Lama, was suffering an even greater indignity; "monks" (who
were little more than actors hired to provide atmosphere to the place)
acted out rituals so that Chinese tourists and soldiers could see the
"quaint native superstitions".
Although they were shocked to discover how badly those monasteries had
fared, they knew better than to even try going to the Tibetan capital,
Lhasa. Jokhang Temple was still the site of occasional protest rallies,
and was watched night and day by armed Chinese soldiers.
Disappointed, and heartsick for the suffering of a gentle people, Genma
and Nodoka decided to cross into India and seek the exiled government
of the Dalai Lama. The best way to go was a mountain route, crossing the
border into Nepal, through the Nepalese capital Katmandu and from there
to India. The trail was a long one through the stark beauty of the Himalayan
mountains, and many times they were forced to sleep hungry, but all roads
one day reach their destination.
When they crossed the border into Nepal, it was as if they had entered
a new world. Genma was able to get food for them by working odd jobs in
farming villages, and they could walk the roads without hiding every time
another traveler appeared. In Tibet, they had always been apprehensive
of someone catching them and finding out that they had no permission to
be in the country. Before the crossing into India, Nodoka was able to
call her family in Japan and arrange for passports to be sent to them
by the Japanese Embassy. It was as if the weight of the world had been
lifted from their shoulders.
When they reached Dharamsala in India, the city in which the Tibetan
government in exile lived, they found the monks whom they had thought
to find in Tibet. The monks proved to be more than sympathetic with Genma’s
desire for enlightenment. Hospitable to a fault, they made arrangements
to allow the family an extended stay as guests of the Tibetan people.
Genma found that the procedure to become a monk was simple, and that there
was no pressure placed on anyone to stay longer than they felt called
to. He spent many happy years as a Buddhist monk, balancing his growth
as a person with his growth in the martial arts. Nodoka found instructors
in the local sword techniques, and was able to continue her learning in
her own art as well. Both of them doted on their son, who grew like the
When Ranma was three years of age, they began training him to follow
in their footsteps. In the following years, he was sent to a daycare center
in the morning and attended classes at the local monastery in the afternoon,
learning as much philosophy as a child could grasp along with several
languages. It was always amusing to his parents to hear him, when he made
a mistake, "expressing" himself in Mandarin, Hindi, Tibetan,
English and Japanese simultaneously. Even when washing his mouth out with
soap, it was hard for them to hide their smiles. In the evening, his parents
taught him elements of both their arts. On one day, he might be taught
the sword, on another the basic forms of the Anything Goes style.
For all three, it was the happiest time of their lives.
When Ranma celebrated his sixth birthday, it was decided that the time
had come to return to Japan. The boy had grown up in foreign lands all
his young life, and needed to learn about his own people. Also, it wasn't
a good idea for him to continue school outside the Japanese system; Japanese
children who were raised away from the homeland were often considered
outsiders by those raised entirely within the system, and treated cruelly.
The offices of the Dalai Lama were able to obtain Chinese travel permits
for them (by methods best not examined too closely), so they were able
to return to visit the village of the Joketsuzoku openly on the way home.
When they arrived in the Bayankalas, the reception they got was very
different from the first time Genma and Nodoka had arrived there. Nodoka
was greeted like a returning sister, and even Genma found that the warriors
guarding the way gave him grudging respect. They had arrived in time for
the yearly battle contest, and Nodoka was permitted to participate. Although
she was no match for the best of the Amazons, her showing was by no means
poor, and at the end she held the twenty-third place overall. At the end
of the festival, just before the feast celebrating the winner, Nodoka
was awarded an honorary citizenship in the village. The Elder Cologne,
in a rare display of open affection, even adopted Nodoka into her own
After the feast, Ranma wandered away from his parents to play with some
children his own age. When he approached a group of girls who were sparring
just outside the village, one of the them ran up to him. "<Nihao!
My name is Shampoo! You're Ranma, right? Great grandma made your mama
part of our clan, so we're kind of like cousins now, aren't we? Do you
want to play? I like to spar, both with and without weapons. I bet you
I can kick your butt!>"
Ranma greeted that declaration with an eager grin. "<You're on!>"
The resulting duel had aspects of both ballet and brawl, and ranged over
half the village. Sticks and poles were snatched up to serve as impromptu
swords and staffs, unlucky pottery made temporary shields before being
shattered, and the hand-to-hand aspects often reached inspired levels.
When the dust settled, both children were dirty and their feast day clothing
was shredded. Shampoo would have problems sitting for days afterward (having
paid the price for her "butt kicking" boast), and Ranma sported
a shiner on his left eye that he bore like a badge of honor. The older
children regarded them in awe, and the adults radiated indulgent approval.
The display the two had put on was viewed by all as an entirely appropriate
and auspicious ending to the day's events.
It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
The way that Ranma and Shampoo hit it off (yes, it's a pun. Sue me.)
was duly noted by another boy. Mousse had decided that he wanted Shampoo
all to himself years before, although she repeatedly rebuffed him. She
had easily decked him when they were only three years old, and nothing
had changed since. Shampoo, like many Amazon girls, wanted to be a warrior
when she grew up, and warriors were only supposed to like boys who were
strong. In her six year old opinion, Mousse didn't make the cut.
What Mousse didn't like was the way Shampoo stayed close to her "cousin"
all evening. He didn't like it one bit.
The next morning Ranma's parents met with Cologne to discuss the ramifications
of induction into her clan. While they were talking over tea, Ranma went
outside to play. As he practiced his balance on the Challenge Log suspended
in the village commons, a boy he had not yet met walked up to him. "<You.
Your name is Saotome, right?>"
Ranma could clearly hear the anger in the boy's voice. He turned to face
the stranger warily. The boy was wearing traditional Chinese clothing,
consisting of a long coat with wide sleeves, split up the sides to the
waist, over baggy black pants. "<That's right. Who wants to know?>"
"<My name is Mousse. I am the one destined to marry Shampoo.
If you know what's good for you, you'll stay away from her!>"
Ranma had not been raised to back away from a confrontation. "<Nobody
tells me who I can be friends with. I don't know what your problem is,
and I don't care. If Shampoo wants t' be friends, then that's her choice,
Mousse lowered his head slightly, and the morning light glinted on his
glasses. "<You can't say I didn't give you fair warning. Now you
pay for your insults!>"
Ranma was caught completely off guard when weighted chains suddenly streamed
out of the sleeves of Mousse's coat. Hit squarely, he was knocked off
the log to land in the dirt below. Years of training with his parents
had honed his reactions, so he reflexively rolled with the fall and avoided
the follow-up strike Mousse had aimed to intercept him on the ground.
Back on his feet, he felt his ribs where the weighted ends had hit him.
It hurt a lot, more than anything had ever hurt before. He suspected that
at least one of his ribs was cracked, or at least badly bruised.
Whoever this new kid was, this was serious.
—> Ranma/ Mousse fight to be added later <—
When the family arrived in Japan, their first stop was the Kansai prefecture.
Nodoka's parents lived in Kyoto, and they felt it was high time that they
were introduced to their grandson. Although Nodoka wrote to them as often
as she could, and had sent them pictures of Ranma on each of his birthdays,
they were understandably dissatisfied at the long distance relationship.
When Nodoka had written of their imminent return to Japan, her mother
had sent a lengthy reply to the Amazon village. The message could be summed
up as a dire promise of dismemberment if they were not top priority on
the Saotome's travel agenda.
Her mother's exact words were: "You aren't the only one with an
ancient family sword, you know. If we don't get a visit from you and your
husband the very hour you set foot in Japan, I'll hunt you down like a
rabid dog and draw and quarter you both."
Most of Nodoka's extreme views about honor were handed down from her
mother, so she didn't regard the statement as an idle threat.
To Ranma, Japan was an eye-opening experience. He had never seen so much
electrically operated equipment in his life as could be found in his grandmother's
kitchen, and negotiating traffic was a new and unsettling hazard. On the
plus side, for the very first time ever he got an allowance of his own
(500 Yen a week!) and there were all sorts of vending machines everywhere
he went that sold a bewildering variety of treasures. On the mainland,
soda pop was a luxury reserved for special occasions; now all he had to
do was put a few coins in a slot, and a can of the stuff was his for the
taking. They even sold bags of rice from the vending machines! Back in
the Amazon village, you had to work hard in the fields to get rice. To
have it magically appear in the tray at the bottom of a machine was a
wonder to boggle the imagination.
Although it made Nodoka nervous, Ranma was allowed to wander around the
neighborhood as he pleased. He would not grow up to be manly if she coddled
and protected him the way she really wanted to. As long as he did not
go more than a block or two away, he was permitted to do as he wished.
School was in summer vacation, so except for tutoring to get ready for
the upcoming semester, his continuing spiritual training, his kendo lessons,
his martial arts training, the obligatory time letting his grandparents
fuss over him and a crash course he had to take on living in a modern,
industrialized country, his time was his own.
He was out exploring one Sunday morning when he ran across something
fascinating. A man was standing next to a big two wheeled cart cooking
something that smelled wonderful, and a kid Ranma's age was giving away
pieces of paper to the passers-by. The kid was dressed up in the same
kind of clothing as the man, but had delicate features and long hair tied
back with a white bow. He looked kind of like a sissy to Ranma.
When the kid from the cart noticed him, Ranma asked: "Hey, are you
selling the food from that cart?"
The kid looked at him scornfully. "Of course we are, jackass. You
think I'm doin' this for my health?"
Ranma was a little taken aback at the rudeness, but the food smelled
REALLY good… "Um, how much does it cost?"
He was handed one of the papers. The food was called "okonomiyaki",
and there were many different kinds of it. The problem was the prices.
Three hundred to seven hundred Yen. He only had a hundred Yen left of
the week's allowance, and he wouldn't get more until the next day. Crestfallen,
he gave the paper back. "Oh. I guess I can't afford any."
The kid from the cart looked at him speculatively. Carefully noted were
the telltale callouses on Ranma's hands and elbows, and the poise that
spoke of long practice. "You know how to fight, don't ya? Tell you
what, I don't get enough sparring time in to keep my edge, so I could
use a match. If you win, you can have anything you want for free. If I
win, you gotta help me sell okonomiyaki for my dad. Okay?"
Ranma brightened up immediately. "You bet! My name's Ranma Saotome
of the Anything Goes school of martial arts! I accept your challenge!"
"Okay, sugar. I'm Ukyou. Prepare to get your block knocked off!"
'Ukyou, huh?' Ranma thought to himself. 'That's a guy's name. He looks
kinda like a sissy, but he sure doesn't sound like one. This could be
The battle that followed, fist versus spatula, was epic. Ranma won his
first okonomiyaki ever, and over the following months many more would
follow. Thus was born his second lifelong friendship.
When school began that year, Ranma was fascinated. There were so many
new things to learn that he didn't know where to start. It took a month
for him to be disappointed by the lack of personal attention. Ranma was
used to having monks as teachers, who had always seemed interested in
his progress, and who had always had the time to explore his subjects
with him in depth. The teachers at the public school just stood in front
of the class and lectured or read from a book, and didn't seem to care
if the students were really learning anything as long as they could recite
the lessons. After the care people had taken in his education up until
then, rote learning was a real letdown, and Ranma found himself bored
almost to the point of tears. The side effect of this was that he got
a reputation as a problem student, because it was hard for him to pay
On the plus side, school was a wonderful opportunity to interact with
kids his own age. One was a young boy named Ryouga Hibiki, with whom Ranma
developed a rivalry. Ranma hadn't planned it that way; it was just that
whenever Ranma was trying to get lunch in the daily scramble in the school
cafeteria, Ryouga, as often as not, just happened to be between Ranma
and the food. But although Ranma didn't mean anything by it, Ryouga was
understandably upset that his lunch usually consisted of a mouthful of
Ranma's shoe leather.
This was a situation that lasted all of the school year, and near the
end of the final semester, Ryouga decided that he'd had enough. "Saotome!
Thanks to you, this year has been hell for me! I intend to have revenge
for the way you've abused me. Meet me in the abandoned lot near my house
tomorrow, and don't you dare try to weasel out of it!"
Ryouga is famed throughout the multiverse for his lack of direction sense,
and required guidance to get from one place to another. On the day of
the duel, however, he decided to go to the abandoned lot by himself.
The rest is history in any universe.
When Ryouga finally found the abandoned lot four days later, Ranma was
nowhere to be seen. Ryouga was furious; how dare that coward run out on
a fight? As he began the lengthy journey to find his own home, which was
around the corner from the lot, Ryouga swore that no matter where Ranma
was hiding, he would find him and take his vengeance.
A few days later, and long before Ryouga made it home, Genma packed up
his family and moved on.
This is the original story that I am rewriting.
I delete the parts that have been done.
/An okonomiyaki cart, where an engagement is refused.
A tale of a dead mother and a dying father, leaving a child alone and
unloved is sufficient that cart and child are quickly adopted. Two children
and their father, traveling across Japan and China./ An eleven year old
boy, challenging the Elders for his birthright as an Amazon. Three Trials
that he succeeds at. Acceptance into the tribe, though he could not stay./A
cousin of sorts, curious from her half Japanese relative's tales of adventure,
sneaks away to join the group./
<cue: '60s Batman theme>
/A masked martial artist, tall and strong, biffs
and bams his way through a crowd of Faceless Minions. At his sides, doing
the same, is a young masked boy, a masked girl who has substituted her
spatula with a bo staff, and a masked girl with long purple hair./ A scarred
man, holding a hand over one eye, swearing vengeance against the two whose
masks have become dislodged during the fight (Genma & Ranma). Genma
shaking hands with Detective Lee of the Hong Kong Harbor Police. He and
the detective sweatdrop as the three kids behind them go into a "sentai
<cue: James Bond music>
/ In snow covered mountains, with a blonde girl
about the same age as the others. All four parachuting down, with black
parachutes, into some installation with an odd radar dish./ Shampoo, Ukyou,
Melissa, and Ranma looking alarmed at Genma, who has just pushed a button
on the wall. All five begin running as a really big round rock begins
rolling down the corridor at them./
<cue: Star Wars music>
/Genma leaving Shampoo and Ukyou at the Amazon
Village, before Ranma & his father leave alone again./At the controls
of the plane, while the pilot watches with amusement as Ranma starts studying
the controls and instruments./Joining a noble cause and opposing a tyrant,
just because it is the right thing to do, surrounded by partisans./A small
crowd of soldiers in a mountain top villa, preparing to execute the last
group of the rebels and a dark haired girl, being interrupted as an attack
helicopter sweeps up from behind the mountain. A grinning Ranma is shown
behind the controls./Victory, with a much smaller group of partisans,
their arms raised in victory in a blasted out villa that freedom was at
last theirs. A dark haired girl seems to be hanging close to Ranma./
The rain came down in a drizzle as they entered
the village. Genma separated from Ranma almost instantly. Even though
he had lived here, even though Ranma was now accepted, Genma was still
considered an outsider by most. Not all, as many accepted him. In fact,
one reason Genma had to make himself scarce in the village was that he
kept getting challenged. Genma was strong, well known as a gentle and
virtuous soul, and had a reputation as a strong martial artist. If he
didn't make himself scarce, he'd find himself married again before long.
The first thing Ranma did, of course, was try to look up his old friends.
"<Who? Oh, it's you, Mousse. Have you seen
Ucchan or Shamchan?>"
"<For Shampoo's hand, I challenge you to
"<Are you nuts or somethin'? Shampoo's
my second cousin, sorta.>" Actually Ranma wasn't sure what a translation
of the relationship was. Cousin was the usual term used. "<Shouldn't
you be challenging her, or her legal guardian at least?>"
"<Enough! Are you a man or aren't you?>"
"<Geez, Mousse, what flew up your butt?
I know we've never gotten along, but still…>"
"<You'll meet me at the Cursed Springs
in a half hour, or you'll never see your friend Ucchan or my Shampoo again.>"
"YOU?!" Ranma stared at Mousse's ally
and tried to picture how this could have happened. He'd only been twelve
when their paths had crossed the last time.
"You and your father have caused me considerable
problems, boy." The middle aged man flicked a cigarette stub away.
"This is where you get paid back in full."
"Where's Ucchan and Shampoo?" Ranma's
eyes swept the area, not spotting them anywhere nearby. There was only
the small hut where they could have been held out of the late evening
"Your sister and cousin are safe, for the
moment, boy." Scarumanga sneered at the boy before him. In the deepening
shadows, the tsuba tied as an eye patch was an dark blob on the pale face.
"Do you know how much embarrassment you caused me, boy? The oyabun
was not pleased. However, if I bring you in front of him as a new pet,
he may relent and restore me to my previous position."
"It was your own doing," Ranma pointed
"Me and Pop were hired by one of the parents
of the missing girls. Pachinko, minor gambling, the occasional robbery
are all tolerated by the police from the Yakuza. Going off on your own
initiative with a slave ring, that pushed the boundaries."
"Enough talk, get up there and fight."
Scarumanga pointed to where Mousse rested easily
on one of the poles.
"How do I know Shampoo and Ucchan are okay?"
Scarumanga whistled. A movement on a cliff top
brought Ranma's attention to it. Two figures, surrounded by four others.
"Don't worry, they're alive. Just drugged."
Ranma nodded, probably the same stuff that had
been used on the girls that Scarumanga had been involved with earlier.
He didn't even glance at the pocket of his vest that had the transceiver.
"Okay, now get them back away from the edge of the cliff, whatever
you're planning doesn't concern them."
"No profit in hurting them, true." Scarumanga
whistled twice and the figures disappeared. "Now, get your a$$ up
there, little boy."
Grumbling slightly, Ranma removed his shoes before
leaping to the top of one of the bamboo poles. "So, I'm supposed
to fight Mousse like this? This ain't so bad, I've seen similar setups
in Thailand and Okinawa."
Scarumanga grinned. "Why do you think they
call it the 'Cursed Springs'?"
Ranma shrugged, paying less attention to Scarumanga
than to Mousse who was taking a 'Crane' stance. Mousse had some fair strength
and speed, but it had been a few years since Ranma had faced him in combat.
Mousse had always resented this overachieving youth to be so friendly
with 'his Shampoo' and apparently time had not made the heart grow fonder.
Mousse leapt to the attack, using his long legs
to good effect with a series of kicks. Ranma dodged and flipped, noting
that the uneven spacing of the poles made judging distances a little difficult.
Mousse continued to press the attack until Ranma was on a particular pole.
"Now, Saotome, our rivalry is OVER!" From the right sleeve of
his robe erupted the expected stream of chains. From the left came a submachine
gun spitting a hail of bullets.
It had been a long day. Ranma had been hiking,
running along mountain trails, and had desperately wanted nothing more
than catching up on old times with his friends and relaxing in a hot bath.
He would have anticipated spears or chains from Mousse. Guns, which would
have been unthinkable for Mousse a few years ago, were completely beyond
what Ranma would have expected.
Caught by surprise, Ranma still nearly made it
to another pole. His hand clawed the air within an inch of salvation.
Another moment and he'd have been able to get out of the field of fire,
another inch and he'd have had that moment. A bullet slammed into his
Oddly enough, his thought as he fell was not of
himself or how much this would hurt. He was instead apologizing to Shampoo
and Ukyou for failing them.
Mousse smiled in triumph. Shampoo and that sister
of his were always going on about how wonderful or how special Ranma was.
Mousse had even snuck into Shampoo's room once to find that HIS future
bride had a scrapbook of Saotome's adventures and photographs! Now Shampoo
would be his!
"<…Shampoo will be mine at last.>"
Shampoo kept her eyes closed as she slowly regained
consciousness. It took all her will not to react when she realized that
she had just been handed to Mousse and that he had cupped one of her breasts
as he took her from these drug users. No doubt by accident, though he
_had_ been getting awfully pushy lately.
"What about this Ranma, boss?" A gruff
voice speaking in Ranma's native language. Shampoo had picked some of
it up from his sister Ukyou.
"Little Miss Saotome will be no problem. Make
sure that she's paralyzed but conscious, then 'play' with her a bit. In
fact, you've all done so well, why don't you pass her around a couple
"Gee, thanks boss."
"You dirty bastards, if I could get loose…"
"Look, Saotome, see that pan over there? You
and your dad are into experiments, ain't ya? Well, I've thought about
this ever since I heard about these 'Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo.' You
fell into Spring of Drowned Girl, so now cold water turns you from an
annoying boy to a pretty young girl. Hot water turns you back. Since the
Spring you fell into was a cold one, it might be reasonably assumed that
this is why it is cold water that activates the curse, right?"
"Yeah, I get it. So you're heating up some
of the Girl water so that you can lock me into this form. Cheez, don't
you ever tire of this crap, Scarumanga? What is it with you and the slave
"It's a highly lucrative business, girl. Carries
plenty of side benefits, and the finished product is in high demand in
a number of locations. Even 'as is' you could be sold to a Thai brothel
or cage bar, where you'd be strung out on so many drugs even you wouldn't
know your own name. The really high prices go to the 'trained' models,
though. If the oyabun doesn't want you, hell, I may have my friends put
you through their training regimen and then keep you myself."
"Go to Hell, Scarumanga."
Scarumanga smiled a cruel little smile.
"You'll be there far ahead of me, girl."
Shampoo finished figuring out the opposition and
the situation. Two men with guns, one near her, one further away. Three
without guns. Mousse was setting her down on the ground. Ukyou was silent,
probably still unconscious. Ranma was over there, bound from the sound
of it. Her cousin was now a girl and about to become permanently a member
of the warrior gender. Shampoo waited until she could be sure of when
to move. She had other plans for cousin Ranma that required that he remain
a he at least part time. So did his "sister" but that could
be settled later.
"Hey boss, this Cursed Spring water stuff?"
"If it hits you on the outside, your outside
changes, right? This boy got turned into a girl, but he still THINKS like
a boy so his insides ain't changed, right?"
"Yes, Tiny," Scarumanga sounded weary.
"So if you got this Cursed Water stuff INSIDE
'em, would it change them inside as well as out?"
There was a sudden pause going through the group.
"Hmmm," Scarumanga hmmed. "Tiny,
for a moron, you're a genius."
"Gee, thanks, boss. I think…"
"Let's try this out, first. Drill?"
The unsavory type with the leer nodded, uncapped
a small flask, then turned on Mousse and threw it. A moment later Mousse
found herself lifted and pinned by Tiny.
"What the hell are you doing?! We had a deal!"
"C'mon, kid, we've got to try this idea out,
and you ain't going to be able to rejoin your village with the girl there.
I promised you a place in our organization, remember? Well…" Scarumanga
chuckled. "The Red Lantern district has some openings. Hey, kid,
we're VILLAINS. You make a deal with the devil, you better expect the
contract to undergo renovation halfway through the job."
Heated Curse water was poured over Mousse's head.
That she remained a she was duly noted by everyone watching.
"Well, that's one theory. I wonder how your
girlfriend feels about same sex pairings."
Scarumanga nodded to a subordinate.
"Damnit, stop this right now, or…"
Mousse learned the hard way that trying to yell meant that you had to
open your mouth, and this was not the smartest thing to be doing at the
moment. She spit and choked but Yag held Mousse's nose while forcing a
bottle into her mouth.
Shampoo chanced opening her eyes a slit, noticed
the gun wielders weren't paying attention and did what came natural. The
ones with the guns were the most dangerous, so they were the target of
"Hiyaaaah!" Her foot imbedded itself
into Drill's solar plexus, compressing that area by nearly inch. A gun
started swinging up to cover her, but a spear ended that attempt. The
lack of attention of those with guns had been duly noted by other eyes.
The Amazons descended in force, having been listening to Genma’s transceiver.
During the fight, Scarumanga fled using a smoke
bomb to cover his exit.
Tiny proved that while he was an idiot, he wasn't
completely hopeless, and he surrendered after being surrounded by a lot
of women with very sharp objects. He ended up being a slave farmer, and
though often verbally abused and struck by the women (at least at first)
- it was still better than he was used to.
Yag, on the other hand, tried to use butterfly
knives to cut his way to freedom. He met with Spring Of Drowned Pigeon
a few moments later. Yag later discovered that a number of Amazons practiced
the ancient art of falconry.
Mousse was still coughing up water, but the looks
she was being given were enough to indicate that the girl was going to
have a very hard time in front of the Elders later.
A week later, Ranma found himself back in Japan.
It was drizzling again, however the umbrella was quite sufficient for
the task. "Are you sure about this, father? The Guide says that it
only takes a year for the Curse to stabilize enough for me to use the
'Spring Of Drowned Man' and change back for good."
Genma nodded, but was proud of how Ranma took the
curse more-or-less in stride. Even now, with quite obvious reservations
about the task in front of them, he reasoned calmly and clearly. He had
done well in raising his son. Happosai could never have managed such a
"This is it," Genma winced as a car went
by and water flew everywhere. A quick glance revealed his daughter sighing,
eyes closed, and allowing herself a quick grumble about the only car in
sight and of course it would have to splash her.
"Well, I'm sure they'll have hot water at
The knocking door brought a girl with short hair
in a kimono out. "Oooo. Are you Ranma?"
"Yeah, kinda. Sorry, but I just got splashed.
Got any hot water? Please?"
"Saotome, my old friend. You look well."
"Soun, you're looking fairly well yourself."
Genma motioned. "May we? The weather keeps
turning chilly and this drizzle is most uncomfortable."
"This is Ranma!" Soun grabbed the short
"Oh, at last, you've come! It's so good to
finally meet you! I…"
"Hot water, please," repeated Ranma as
Soun Tendo let him go.
"What? What? You…" Soun backed away
with a shocked expression.
Nabiki frowned and gave one of the odd bulges in
Ranma's shirt a squeeze.
"I'd *really* appreciate some hot water. Please?"
Ranma closed her eyes. "And can you please not do that."
Nabiki squeezed and checked the shape and firmness.
Confirming what she thought that was. She flicked along the top. "'He'
is a girl." No bra either.
"I told you we should have waited. Would *someone*
please get me some hot water?"
"There's hot water in the furo," said
Nabiki, upset by all this. Why did this girl keep talking about getting
hot water? Why did Daddy arrange one of his girls to marry another girl?
"Actually, I can explain." Genma sighed.
This was not going nearly how he planned it.
"Well, at least THAT nonsense is over with,"
another girl said. "I'd better go show that girl where the bath things
"Oh my, father must be so disappointed."
"HE'S disappointed! Some fiancé that was!"
"As I said, I can explain…"
"This is all your fault, Daddy, you should
have made sure!"
"But Saotome said he had a son!"
"I DO have a son. Let me explain, you see…"
"Some son, she's a D cup!"
"It's quite simple, really…"
"aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" The youngest
girl ran by, grabbed a table, and prepared to run back the way she came.
"What NOW, Akane?" Nabiki rubbed her
head. What a horrible day this was turning out to be.
"I was going to wash off while I was in there,
but there's a pervert in the bathtub!"
"So, shouldn't you have just beaten him up?"
"I got scared, okay?!"
"Uhm, excuse me." Ranma stepped forward,
bowing slightly in apology. "I'm really sorry about…"
There was an opening. Akane was a trained martial
artist. She took the opening. The table impacted the young man rather
suddenly and brutally.
Genma sighed. Well, there were still other possibilities.
Shampoo had declared her interest. Ukyou was quite obviously not satisfied
with her relationship to Ranma as a sister. He had gotten along well with
Ami over in Juuban when they'd gone to the same juku. There was Melissa
in London, Sasha of the Norwegian Amazons, and a few others that Ranma
had seemed to hit it off with. There was even that young woman who was
now at the Palace, a girl of the rebels that had fought alongside Ranma
during that year with the partisans. If the Tendo arrangement was unworkable,
then he was sure that Ranma could find someone he could be happy with.
It would at least satisfy some of these problems if Ranma were already
married or at least seriously engaged, and if his son could have a happy
marriage, well - that would make Genma happy as well.
Genma started explaining the curse to the three
girls and their father. How Ranma had been trying to save a friend's life
when he'd gotten cursed. How in a year, there was a chance that he could
enter the waters of another spring and be cured of his curse.
Seeing some disbelief, Genma demonstrated on the
unconscious Ranma then got directions to the kitchen so that he could
fix some hot water.
"Ungh. Why me?" Ranma began to stir.
"Oh crap, I'm a girl again? When did that happen?"
"You were cursed while you were trying to
save your friends?" Kasumi felt some sympathy, this never happened
in her romance manga. Well, hardly ever.
"Yeah, my cousin and my sister." Ranma
groaned as she moved to a sitting position. "Oh man, what hit me?"
Genma walked in with a kettle and quickly returned
his daughter to being his son.
"Cold water turns you into a girl, but hot
water restores you?" Soun nodded. "Well, that's not so bad.
The life of a martial artist is fraught with peril."
"Tell me about it," murmured Genma and
Ranma in eerie unison.
Soun motioned towards where all three girls were
standing and looking dubiously at the new boy. "My daughter Kasumi,
she's nineteen. My daughter Nabiki, she's seventeen. My daughter Akane,
she's sixteen. Pick the one you want, she'll be your new fiancee."
"Akane seems the wisest choice," Kasumi
said. Momentary panic at the thought of being engaged to someone who spent
even part of the same time as the same gender caused Kasumi to say something
she'd later regret.
"Couldn't agree more," said Nabiki as
she got behind her youngest sister.
"ME?! Why should I!"
"Uhm, you needn't act like I'm a leper, y'know,"
Ranma mumbled. "It's not contagious."
"Because you hate boys, Akane." Nabiki
nodded and continued with the pressure, shoving Akane towards Ranma. Akane
wasn't having anything to do with it and was digging her feet in.
"Well, you're in luck, Akane. Ranma is half
"You know, this does wonders for my self esteem,"
Ranma said softly to his father. "This was almost as good an idea
as that 'I wonder what *this* button does' crap."
"Me? Marry that pervert? NO WAY!"
"EXCUSE ME!" Ranma began to raise his
voice. Being polite was obviously not being considered by anyone else
at the moment. "Would you care to explain that pervert crack?"
"You looked at me in the nude, you lech!"
Feeling at least a little satisfaction that he
wasn't being ignored, Ranma continued trying to be reasonable. "If
you would recall, I clearly placed the Occupied sign out and my clothes
were left in the changing room. Since you walked in on me, wouldn't that
"It's different when a girl sees a boy! PERVERT!
"They're already a perfect couple," laughed
Ranma stared at Mister Tendo, wondering exactly
where this perfect couple was.
"Well…" Genma winced. It sounded like
Soun was really set on this idea after all.
"Father, this obviously will not work out.
Since the limo's in the area anyway, I'll just give them a call and we
can be done with this."
Ranma half turned to his father. "This girl
hates me already, and for inadequate reason. The other two quite obviously
want nothing to do with me. I can go back to college tomorrow anyway."
"Limo," repeated Nabiki. She stopped
pushing Akane forward.
"College?" Kasumi looked up and blinked.
"Leaving?" Soun blinked.
"Good riddance! Pervert!" Akane was furious.
They were going to engage her to this shape changing pervert! And he wouldn't
even look at her when she had come in!
"Yes, well, Ranma," Genma sighed. "Soun
and I made this pledge while we were serving under a horrible Master,
to join the two houses. It was a dream that kept us going through some
"That's right, the houses MUST be joined.
It is a matter of honor."
"Is it honor to inflict a lifetime of misery
upon your daughters?" Ranma shrugged. "Besides, Father, there
are other claims at least the equal of that."
"WHAT?! Genma, what is the meaning of this?"
"Political alliances, rich & powerful,
that sort of thing," Genma sighed. Life used to be so simple.
"Limo?" Nabiki repeated again, wanting
confirmation. "Rich? Powerful? Political alliances?"
"You needn't worry, Miss Tendo. I'll have
the driver pull up in front of the house and we can leave, and with any
luck we'll never darken your door again. We only walked because I really
didn't want to waste their resources on something so… mundane."
"Excuse me?" Nabiki watched as Ranma
pulled out a flip style cellular phone. Nabiki noted that it was one of
those watertight shockproof models with a GPS display. A counter with
a yen sign started to flash numbers up over her head.
"Reginald? Ranma. Can you bring the limo by?
We won't be staying after all." Ranma sounded vaguely surprised at
the other's answer. "You're *that* close? No wonder you were so valuable
to Her Majesty's Service, you must be psychic."
Kasumi excused herself to go see this.
"What about our pledge?!" Soun started
"Well, there are others with claims too. And
some have more ramifications than just two families, as I said."
Genma looked uncomfortable.
"Since none of your daughters are willing,
we'll just have to go to the next claim."
"Oh my, such a big car."
Ranma shrugged and looked a little embarrassed.
"Wasn't my idea. After all, the money could be better invested in
a wide variety of ways."
"Money?" Nabiki blinked, scooting in
front of Akane to ask of Ranma's back as he left the house. Any attempt
to foist this boy-turning-into-a-girl thing off on her sister was quickly
being relegated to the Really Bad Ideas stack. "What kind of money
are we talking about?"
Akane opened her mouth to protest this engagement
further (fully expecting that if it came to a choice, she'd be chosen,
after all neither Nabiki nor Kasumi could get a date whereas she had to
fight her way through hormone crazed idiots every morning) when she realized
she was alone in the house. Shrugging, she happily went back to the bathroom.
At least she'd gotten out of this engagement thing.
"But the pledge…" Soun bawled, a river
of tears forming.
"It isn't that big a car, Kasumi, though it
*is* a Mercedes." The numbers on the Yen counter were now whirling
around at high speed and Nabiki didn't want to look at it. She took a
good look at the boy instead and *really* started to regret trying to
palm him off on Akane. Tall, nicely muscled, looked like he had a really
good diet while growing up, his little leather vest with all the pockets
looked good over his embroidered Chinese shirt and matched his pants quite
"Even then, it's the property of the Embassy.
Still, you'd think something more economical would be more prudent."
Ranma sighed at the waste of so many resources. "If we go straight
to the airport, I can start the pre-flight inspection on our jet immediately
and we can be in New England by tomorrow, and I can register at M.I.T.
before it gets much later."
"Economical? Prudent? *EMBASSY?*" Nabiki
frowned, she felt like she was a page behind in the script. "You
have your own jet? M.I.T.?!" The Yen counter's speed was a blur.
"Saotome? How did you get wealthy?"
"Oh, we helped some rebel forces put down
a tyrannical despot, managed to save one of the Royal Family, discovered
that there were mineral deposits that nobody had correctly identified."
Ranma snorted, and some people had thought that
his geology courses had been wasted. They didn't think that now, of course.
"Rebels. Waitaminute, not?!" Nabiki felt
faint, she'd read about this. A small mountain nation where a battle had
taken place and the vastly outnumbered rebel forces (that should have
been wiped out without even being a historical footnote) had somehow succeeded
in retaking their country from some organization called Shadowlaw. The
nation had changed its name, there was one of the war heroes designated
as the next Heir, and *diamonds* had been discovered on this relatively
worthless rock by that same war hero. She licked suddenly dry lips. "Would
that be The Grand Duchy Of Fenwick?"
"You've heard of us?" Genma looked embarrassed.
"I told them, no reward was necessary, but I suppose the symbolism
was good for the people."
Ranma paused at the door of the limo, looking embarrassed.
Talking about his problems was just so self-indulgent, he hated being
the center of attention like this. "And I keep tellin' 'em, invest
in the infrastructure and bring the standard of living up, but they keep
pulling stuff like this. Like anybody listens to the Heir anyway, it's
just a damn figurehead position."
Nabiki paused, finger up. A little voice started
going over the economic projections she'd seen for the Grand Duchy of
Fenwick (more yen than the Bank of Tokyo) and the counter came crashing
down over her head at the end, now reading "*and you blew it, you
Kasumi caught Nabiki before her little sister hit
the ground. "Oh my."
"Well, father?" Ranma looked askance
at Genma as they settled into the back seat and the chauffeur headed towards
"I *had* hopes, but as you pointed out, his
daughters just would not be happy with an arranged marriage. Too bad."
Genma sulked a bit. After their little adventure, they couldn't set foot
in the Amazon Village again. Not because they were unwelcome, quite the
opposite in fact. They'd narrowly escaped having a large number of Amazons
splitting up and piling over the two. "Well, maybe something will
"You're such an optimist, father." Ranma
smirked and leaned back. He wasn't entirely unhappy with the situation.
After all, now he could concentrate on important things. Like college.
Nabiki blinked, raised her head, saw the limo disappearing
down the street, and screamed.
"WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!"
"That's the way, Nabiki!" Soun called
encouragement to the daughter vanishing down the street, running after
the Saotomes. "Go fetch your fiancé!"
"Oh my." Kasumi smiled. "I don't
think I've ever seen Nabiki run that quickly before." And in a kimono
too. Kasumi thought for a moment about English style castles, large and
elaborate kitchens, and what it would be like to live in such a large
home. Well, if he were in college, he wasn't *that* young. Probably headed
to Narita, so…
Kasumi went into the house and calmly called a
cab. She had not been a proper hostess and she could insist on the two
giving her a second chance.
OMAKE OMAKE OMAKE OMAKE
"What is this, another Bet fic?" Akane
snorted as she looked through the script. "So what is it this time?
Do I pull out a gun and shoot the pervert in the tub?"
"Well, if it's a Bet fic, at least I get to
say something besides 'Oh my' and act like my brain was shut down from
the cleaning fumes." Kasumi reached for another chocolate stick.
"Because some writers base on the end of the manga instead of the
beginning, the only thing left of Nabiki or my personalities is the most
outstanding traits-turned-caricature. You know what would happen if the
same thing were applied to you, Akane. The 'psycho-b*tch effect'."
"I'd get to be interested a few things in
addition to money, and it's nice to be able to stretch your role some.
Just a moment, Akane. Ah, let's see." Nabiki adjusted her glasses.
"WHAT IF Genma, after having been put through Hell by Happosai’s
training, had decided to become as unlike Happosai as he could?"
"Well, admittedly, THAT would be different,"
Shampoo shrugged and sat back as she looked over her script. "Oh
hell, I show up only briefly, and that's as a 'damsel in distress'?"
"Better you than me," retorted Akane.
"Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Why can't I be the one to
be the knight come charging in to do the rescue?"
"Out of character," answered Ukyou, Nabiki,
and Shampoo simultaneously.
"There was that once you saved him from Kodachi,"
Kasumi reminded Akane, frowning as she read her script. Maybe she ought
to pencil in a few changes … "Besides, that was your role in
that 'Off Your Noodle' story, which was dropped because of initial response
to the idea of Kaori Daikokuji winning that race." Kasumi stirred
her coffee with her chocolate stick absently as she read through. "Oh
my. Ukyou is Ranma's sister?"
"Gak!" Ukyou spit beer as she took in
her own scene. "Oh, sorry, Akane. I never even wake up during the
one scene I appear?! Excepting the montage scene? Phooey."
"He's rich, intelligent, not that great a
fighter, built better, and going to college." Kasumi flipped through
to the end. "And it's *not* a 'Kasumi gets Ranma' story? Pity, I'd
at least get some good lines."
Everyone flicked back to the last page.
"I think it should be a 'Nabiki gets Ranma'
story, after all, he's rich here and knows the value of money. Just imagine
how well I could manage a newly wealthy nation's money." Nabiki smirked
and regarded the group over the tops of her glasses.
"I think it should be a 'Shampoo gets Ranma'
story. See here, he's been accepted into the Joketsuzoku." Shampoo
pointed to a page. "Though I _do_ want to protest the continuing
use of the term Amazon. 'Without breasts' indeed! What do they think *these*
"What?" Ukyou looked up with a puzzled
"The Greek phrase 'Amazon' references the
practice of the nomad matriarchal tribe that Homer wrote of as removing
one of their breasts to be better archers," Kasumi said without looking
up. "Not something the Joketsuzoku would normally consider."
"Why do I only get Ranma (not that I want
him) when he's an arrogant egotistical jerk?"
Everyone else decided to ignore Akane's outburst,
rather than get caught up in this argument again.
"I think it should be an 'Ukyou gets Ranma'
story, after all maybe his sister could bunk with him at his new college!"
"At least it isn't like that 'Calvin &
Hobbes' crossover," sighed Kasumi.
"I don't know, Genma falling into Spring of
Drowned Bad Little Boy With Overactive Imagination seemed kind of fitting,"
Ukyou flipped around in the script. She had to have a spoken line SOMEWHERE!
"And the idea of Ranma falling in Spring Of Anthropomorphic Somewhat
Wise But Mainly Affectionate & Playful Tiger has *some* appeal."
"You didn't have Ranma going into Hobbes mode
every time he got splashed," Kasumi rubbed her forehead. "I
kept getting pounced on by an overly affectionate tiger begging for cookies."
"I kept getting pounced on by an overly affectionate
tiger who thought I needed to loosen up and play more." Nabiki sighed
and studied at a section of her script. She smiled a little, remembering
the tickle wars in that story.
Akane smirked. "Hey, after I beat the stuffing
out of him, he *stopped* pouncing on me and trying to get all perverted.
I came out ahead in that one."
"Well, I wouldn't have minded getting pounced
on a few times," grumbled Ukyou. "It certainly would have been
a change of pace."
Ranma-Hobbes pounced from his position in the shadows.
The Tickle Wars were about to resume.