Crimson Hunter

A Ranma 1/2 and One Piece FanFiction

Written by: Konsaki

Ranma let out a moan of displeasure, covering her eyes with an arm to block out the morning sun. While it relieved some of the discomfort, it did nothing about the fact that she was now awake. Blinking her eyes open, she groaned as shifting pulled at her still sore left shoulder.

Feeling the bed under her move slightly, the redhead turned her head and saw a smiling brown haired girl lounging on the other side of the bed, her pale violet nightly pulled in interesting ways.

"G'Morning…"

Flinching back in surprise, Ranma found out exactly where the edge of the mattress was and that, yes, gravity did work as intended.

Crawling to the edge of the bed, Sora blinked down the short distance to where the redhead lay contorted in a mix of white sheets. Hearing Ranma groan from the floor, Sora covered a giggle with her hands before smirking slyly. "Having fun down there?"

"Having a blast…" The martial artist dryly replied, struggling to escape her predicament. After a moment, she slipped loose, laying flat on her back looking up towards the upside down view of Sora's amused face. "Morning, I guess."

"How are you feeling?" The brunette asked, glancing towards Ranma's shoulder.

"Sore but fine." Ranma replied before sitting up and turning around, crossing her legs. "I heal fast."

"That's nice." Sora commented smirking. "You have a habit of falling out of beds?"

Ranma rolled her eyes as she stood up, stretching out her arms above her head. "You have a habit of draggin' girls to your bed?"

"Only the cute ones who find a way to save kidnapped kids and get rich doing it."

Ranma dropped her hands to her hips, giving a look at the cat-like smile of amusement on the brunette's face. Rolling her eyes once more, Ranma bent over to find her shorts in the mess of sheets. "Well, at least you have good taste."

Sora snorted in amusement, sitting cross legged on the mattress. "Watch it, your swelled head might not fit out the door." Looking towards said door, Sora shook her head in amusement. "As for the sharing my bed, I'm sort of used to it with the younger kids getting scared during storms and such. Sister Freya's is only so big and all."

Finishing with the belt, Ranma nodded in understanding. "Yeah, I got it. Guess they really look up to you, huh?"

"Well, I am the oldest here, other than Sister Freya, so I'm everyone's big sister."

"Okay, 'Big-sis'..." Ranma snarked with a grin. "Where's my stuff and the toilet?"

"Well, 'little sister', if you need me to hold your hand, you can go soak your head in the sea." She smirked at the jokingly rude gesture she got from the redhead. "The toilet's at the end of the hall on the left. As for your stuff, I think it's still in the dining room if Sister Freya didn't move it."

"Alright, thanks." Ranma replied with a nod, opening the bedroom door and stepped through.

"Whoa…"

Ranma barely got one foot outside before a young male's voice called out in wonder nearby. Jerking her head to the right, she saw an awe struck black haired boy staring at her with wide eyes and slack jaw. Blinking, she followed his gaze down to the tight pale blue nighty she still wore, prominently displaying her assets. Rolling her eyes, Ranma reached out to flick him on the nose with her fingers. "Down, boy."

"Ow!" He complained, rubbing his now sore nose as the redhead sauntered down the hall. Once the sharp pain subsided, he glanced into Sora's room to see her still in her own knee length pale violet nightclothes. "Sora! Your girlfriend is hot!"

"Thomas! I will tear off your head and spit down your neck!"

Closing the door to the to toilet, trying her best not to bust a gut laughing, Ranma knew one thing; Sora had one hell of a pair of lungs on her.

oO0Oo

"Thanks for getting me my things and for the breakfast, Ma'am."

"No problem at all, dear." The forty something matron responded with a smile. "Considering all the help you've given us; saving Umi and Riki, not to mention the donation, I should be thanking you!"

"Thank you, Big-Sis!" The young girl cried out with a wide smile, showing her missing tooth. Her twin brother nodded beside her, trying to copy his sister's words through an overstuffed mouth.

Sighing at an event that had surely happened many times before, Sister Freya pointed at him with a ladle in her hand. "Riki, mouth full and talking?"

Swallowing, lump visible down his throat, Riki looked chastised enough before beaming towards the redhead who saved him. "You and Big-Sis Sora were so cool!"

"Heh. No problem, kid!" Ranma soaked in the attention with a grin, rubbing the back of her neck.

"We did make a good team, huh, Ranma?" Sora commented with a smile, to which Ranma nodded in agreement.

Then the redhead got a curious look on her face as she looked into Sora's unique eyes as she noticed something. "Where are your glasses?"

"Glasses?" Sora repeated in confusion before realising what Ranma was asking about. "They're fake, I don't need them to see."

"Huh…" Ranma muttered, before shrugging. "You look really good without them, you have interesting eyes."

At the mention of her heterochromatic eyes, left blue and right hazel, she averted her gaze with a slight grimace. Ranma blinked at that.

Glancing towards the wall clock, Sister Freya hummed. "If you want to get to the Marine office when they open, you'll have to leave soon."

Hearing that, Ranma tossed the last bite of biscuit into her mouth before standing up from one of the many tables in the crowded dining room full of eating children.

"Mind if I come with you?" Sora asked, standing up as well, her cheeks slightly pink.

"Sure, why not." Ranma offhandedly agreed, seeing no problems with the request. She looked towards the grey haired Freya while pushing her chair in. "Can I leave my stuff here?"

"No problem at all, dear." The Sister responded before letting a slightly mischievous grin ghost onto her lips. "Normally, I'd say we didn't have any empty rooms but that doesn't seem to be a problem, does it." She hid a laugh behind a hand at seeing both girl's faces turn bright scarlet.

"Marines. Now." Sora clipped out, turning to march from the room.

"Yes. Marines." Ranma replied in a similarly clipped voice, stiffly marching out as well.

"What's wrong with Big-Sis Sora and Big-Sis Ranma?" Umi asked out innocently, her six year old mind not understanding the situation.

Sister Freya just smiled in amusement, patting the young girl's head. "You'll understand when you're older."

Riki just continued stuffing his face.

oO0Oo

"Gods! I just want to go back to bed and die!" Sora cried into her hands as they left the orphanage.

Ranma couldn't help but laugh at the other girl's expression. "Don't worry about it. My mother does stuff like that to me, too."

"Teasing you about sleeping in another girl's bed?" Sora asked with a quirked brow.

Coughing into a hand, cheeks rosy, Ranma had to shake her head. "Ah… not exactly. Anyways, thanks for coming with me." Ranma tried to change the flow of the conversation.

"It's no problem. In fact, I wanted to talk to you… you know, about last night, if it's okay with you." Sora replied, walking with her right arm behind her back, clutching her left elbow.

"Sure. What'd you want to talk about?" Ranma acquiesced with a shrug.

"Well, first off, do you want to be friends?" Seeing the redhead's brow raise in mild surprise, Sora quickly continued. "I mean, I know I kinda dragged you into my mess with… you know. But with how you helped me out after everything, I figured…"

"Sure! I'll be your friend!" Ranma answered the flagging brunette with a wild smile. "Sure beats how I met some of the other people I know. It's kinda cool how you can go all misty and everything too. The only other Devil Fruit user I know is a rubber boy."

"Rubber boy? How does that work?" Sora asked, trying to picture it in her head and failing.

"So, my brother, Luffy, he ate the Gumu Gumu no Mi when he was… around seven? Six? Whatever... we were both young and I wasn't even there when it happened." Ranma waved off the inconsequential detail with her hand. "Anyways, Mom said he was sitting at the bar drinking a mug of juice when Da… A ship captain we knew set the Devil Fruit on the bar to show it off to my mom. One second it's there, the next Luffy's swallowing it."

"Sounds about right, I guess..." Sora hedged, thinking about boys of that age.

"That anything how you got your *cough* Sora Sora no Mi?" Ranma asked, coughing into a fist to badly hide her grin.

Rolling mismatched eyes, Sora answered in a flat voice. "No, it's not, Funny-Girl. I was at least ten when I found mine." Looking up into the morning sky as they walked down the street, the sometimes pickpocket smiled softly at the bittersweet memory.

"There was a horrible storm, our ship capsized and I barely survived by holding onto some of wreckage. When the storm passed, I had lost everything." Taking a deep breath, Sora wiped her eyes clear. "Papa, Mama; both gone. All our things at the bottom of East Blue save a few floating scraps. When the sun came up, I found a barrel to hop into and I just remember crying till I just couldn't anymore."

Feeling awkward about hearing her new friend speak of such terrible things, Ranma hesitantly put an arm over Sora's shoulders but looked away bashfully.

Sora wiped her eyes again but smiled at the gesture. "Heh, thanks. Eventually, though, I snapped out of it, remembering how they called me their 'Little Treasure' and how they wanted me to shine like a diamond in the sky. That got me to look outside, seeing nothing but water as far as the eye can see. It wasn't until the second day that I heard something bump into the barrel."

Putting her hands some distance apart to show size, she continued her story. "A box this big, covered in light blue lacquer, just kept bumping into it. I hoped it was food or at least something to drink, so I opened it. Inside, I found the a blue dog and a brown cat."

"Those two stuffed animals on your desk." Ranma commented, getting a nod from Sora.

Leaning her head on the taller girl's shoulder, Sora sniffed at the memory. "Yeah, those two. There was also a note but I didn't care about them right then. In the very center of the floating chest was the most delicious looking fruit, full of sweet juice, ready to fill my stomach and quench my thirst." Sora let out a dry bark of sardonic laughter. "It was dry as sand and tasted like shit but I was starving so I ate it all."

Ranma couldn't help but chuckle at the thought. "And then you flew here?"

"Nope." Sora corrected with a shake of her head. "I floated out there for another day, surviving off the rain at the bottom of the barrel before a Marine ship fished me out and dropped me off here." Sora let out a sigh. "I didn't even know I was an 'anchor' until one day Sister Freya took us all to the beach and I almost drowned in the surf."

"Ouch." Ranma commensurate with her friend. "That sucks."

"Not really." Sora disagreed, raising her left hand towards the clouds above. "I never really liked going to the beach when I grew up on Reach Island. It was just so far away from our house that it wasn't worth my time. Instead, I always dreamed of flying with the birds and now I can, sort of."

"I guess your parents chose the right name for you, huh?" Ranma joked with a small grin.

Sora grinned back at the admittedly weak joke. "Yeah, I guess they did."

"So, what was in that letter?" Ranma asked.

"Letter?" Sora blinked before realising what the other girl was asking about before sighing. "Oh, that letter. Seems they were planning on surprising me on my birthday after we reached our destination, where they'd give me let me decide to eat it or not. Papa had found it during his travels as a merchantman captain and wanted to make a big event of my eleventh birthday, so we were going to Goa Kingdom for a vacation since Reach Island doesn't have a big city on it."

The redhead blinked at that. "I'm from Goa Kingdom."

Pulling back from her new friend, Sora looked up with disbelieving eyes. "You're pulling my leg."

"Nope." Ranma replied with a shake of her head. "Born and raised in Foosha Village on the south side of the island. Goa Kingdom technically owns the entire island but Goa City pretty much leaves Foosha alone since we're not that important."

"Huh… What a coincidence." Sora commented before stepping away from Ranma's arm and turning around, sea green sundress flowing around her legs. "Anyways, enough about me. Tell me more about yourself, Ranma."

"There's not much to say." Ranma bashfully admitted, rubbing the back of her neck while looking slightly away. "Born and raised in Foosha Village, like I said. I've got a brother who's a rubber boy. Really, Luffy's more interesting than me, I mean, he does something crazy every other day."

"I don't want to talk about your brother, Ranma. I want to hear about you." Sora stated blandly, tapping her index finger just above Ranma's cleavage. "Do you live with your mother and father?"

"Dad's a captain on the Grand Line but I help Mom run the only tavern in Foosha. It gets kinda busy when more than one ship is in port but that's when we make the most money, too." Ranma answered with a shrug.

"Just you and your mom, huh? I guess you deal with any troublemakers?" Sora asked with a raised eyebrow.

Ranma snorted in amusement. "Mom is more mean than I am and she doesn't even have to rough them up like I do!" Trying to talk with her hands and making very little progress with it, she still continued. "I mean, she's got this tone of voice that just makes you… you know…" Ranma just gave up trying to explain the unexplainable. "She starts talking at you like that and gives you 'the look' and people just fold like a chair. Me, I've got to call their bluff when they get ornery. Took em long enough, but most of the experienced sailors pull their troublemaking buddies back in line before I have to toss them out the door." She mimed swing-tossing a body with both hands.

Sora just let out a cheerful laugh of amusement. "I can totally see it! I mean, seeing you standing over Vinnie like that last night, I can totally see you throwing some random guy out of the bar."

"Started doing it when I was thirteen." Ranma added in with a wide grin, flexing her right arm.

If anything, Sora started laughing even harder, taking a minute to regain some composure. "Okay, so I know you're strong, I've felt your muscles on the way back last night, but how'd you knock him through the brick wall like that?"

"Oh, that was just Ki." Ranma answered with a shrug, as if that explained everything.

"What's Ki?" Sora pointedly asked, fixing the redhead with a look.

Scratching the back of her neck, Ranma averted her gaze as she thought about how to explain it. "Okay… So everyone has energy in them, something that non-living things don't have, like rocks and stuff. Anyways, with enough practice, anyone can learn to use that 'life energy' to do things, like heal wounds faster."

"Oh, so that's what happened with your shoulder." Sora remarked, pointing at the wounded limb. Earlier in the morning, she was surprised to see it mostly healed over when changing the bandages for her friend.

"Yeah, pretty much. I've been practicing for around two years so I've picked up a few more tricks, like what I did to Vinnie. Don't expect me to do stuff like that too often, though." Ranma warned, rubbing at her still sore shoulder. "Using your Ki is like working a muscle or brain, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Right now, I could barely drag the asshole to the Marines and would have probably lost if those mooks called my bluff."

"Oh, poor baby… You only get to blast bad guys through walls once a day. Poor you." Sora teased before breaking out in laughter.

"Oh, hardy har har." Ranma sarcastically returned with a roll of her eyes before flashing a grin. "Anyways, you might want to get ahold of yourself or the Marines are gonna think you're crazy."

Choking down the laughter, Sora saw that they were indeed in front of the Marine Detachment office and the marine on guard was grinning slightly. Flushing slightly, Sora tried to hide behind her redheaded companion as the entered.

The marine behind the desk was the same a yesterday, who flashed a grin at the returning martial artist. "Welcome again! How can I help you today?"

Waving at the man, she stepped to the side to reveal the hiding Sora. "Hey, first, I'd like to say I made a mistake yesterday. When I came in yesterday, seems I was wrong when I called Sora, here, a thief who took my wallet. Seems it fell out of my pocket and she helped me find it later that evening."

"Oh, that's good to hear! I'll make sure to tell the guys I asked yesterday to make sure no one thinks badly of her. And thank you for helping her out, Miss Sora."

"Oh, ah, it was not a problem." Sora distractedly replied, staring at Ranma in surprise.

"Yeah, we became friends over the whole thing, so it's all good." The redhead continued on.

The marine's face turned sober at that. "I understand that you helped her find some kidnapped children and turned in Little Vinnie to justice." Smiling slightly, he gave Ranma a mildly chastising gaze. "Even after I warned you about how the Marines view vigilantism."

Ranma had the good grace to look bashful, scuffing at the floor with a sandaled foot. "Well, he had a bounty so it's all good, right?"

"This time, it is." The marine agreed and left it there to transition the conversation. "Speaking of bounty, are you ready to complete the paperwork so we can officially log you as the hunter of his bounty?"

"Sure, let's get to it!" Ranma agreed readily, happy to move past the minor embarrassment and get to the payout. She glanced over the mostly pre-filled out paperwork, adding in a couple details here and there.

"Just be careful that no one gives you an embarrassing nickname, like 'Crimson Hunter' or something like that due to your hair." Sora warned her, glancing towards the wall full of bounty posters and the nicknames displayed.

"Yeah, like that's going to happen." Ranma replied with a roll of her eyes, signing the papers and handing it back to the marine at the desk.

Looking over the paperwork one last time, the marine smiled and handed the redhead a voucher. "Just turn that in at any bank to receive the funds out of a Marine bounty account. I wish you luck in the future and fair winds in your sails!"

"Yeah, thanks! You, too!" Ranma replied, giving a half-decent salute to the marine before she and Sora left the office. "Hey, how about some ice cream? My treat!"

Smirking to himself and thinking it would be minor justice for the vigilantism, he pulled out the pen and filled in one of the empty blocks. Chuckling lightly in amusement, he put them in an envelope and put it on the 'To Headquarters' stack with the other reports.

"Better that than something worse."

oO0Oo

"Thanks for walking with me out here." The redhead stated to her companion. "You didn't have to, you know."

"It's a nice day out, I like the scenery and it's good company. Besides, the Sister is busy teaching all the children and I'm done with schoolwork." Sora waved off the concern, literally floating along the path, a wispy flow from the waist down.

"I still think that's kinda broken." Ranma stated pointedly.

"Yeah, and all I gave up was my ability to swim in the sea. Oh, for surely, woe is me!" The brunette girl mimed fainting, while still floating along beside her companion.

"Yeah, woe is you." Ranma rolled her eyes before reaching the gate to the dojo. Looking up, she read the name carved in aged wood: Isshin Dojo. Not seeing any other signs or directions, she pushed open one of the gate doors and entered the property. "Sorry for the intrusion!"

Having no response after a bit, she let Sora walk through on her reformed legs before closing the gate and continuing up to the house and attached dojo. Ranma was soaking in the familiar feeling from the place, reminding her of some of the places she visited in her dreams. She adjusted the sword on her shoulder for the inevitable spar with the master of the dojo or the top student, it's just the way things happened around her in the dreams.

"Oh, a visitor." A uninterested if mildly pleasant man's voice rolled over the girls just before Ranma reached the house. Looking to the side, the girls saw a ponytailed man in a grey gi who had just seemed to have just exited the dojo. He smiled at them both and bowed slightly as a the greeting property owner.

Bowing deeper than he had, Ranma greeted back. "Good morning! I'm looking for the master of the dojo!" To her side, Sora gave a small curtsy.

"I am the man you are looking for then. Please, come in and I'll make some tea." The man informed her, the smile never leaving his face.

"Thanks." Ranma replied, slipping off her sandals at the door as she entered. Sora followed suit, smoothing her dress out as they sat on the tatami mats that made up the flooring.

It took around ten minutes between the man returning, serving the tea and 'proper enjoyment' that she'd learned that most martial arts masters appreciated during the tea serving. It seemed she'd been right when the ponytailed man set his cup back onto the tea tray.

"I am Isshin Koshiro, Owner and Master of the Isshin Dojo and Isshin style of Swordsmanship." Koshiro identified himself and his place in the world.

"I am Ohmoto Ranma, daughter of Ohmoto Makino of Foosha Village on Dawn Island." Ranma formally responded in kind, knowing it was expected of her, bowing her head to the mats. "I seek to learn at your feet on the ways of the sword, if you would teach me."

"Hmm…" Koshiro hummed noncommittally. "Why do you wish to learn the way of the sword?"

Still kneeling there with her forehead to the mats, Ranma smiled. "I wish to make my father proud of my advancement in skill when I next meet him."

At that, Koshiro's ever present smile faltered slightly, but only Sora saw it for a fraction of a second. "You do not wish to become the best swordswoman in the world?"

"That is not my goal in life." Ranma formally affirmed. "I will become the best martial artist in this world. That is my goal in this life."

Silence reigned over the dojo as the seconds passed. Ranma's bowed form was steady as stone, even as Sora fidgeted in the uncomfortable environment.

"Please, let me see your sword."

Raising up smoothly, Ranma pulled the sheath from her shoulder and held it up with both hands; one on the pitch black scabbard with red flames swirling over it and the other gripping the scarlet wrapping on the handle. With the slightest pressure, the sword broke free and smoothly cleared the scabbard with only the barest hints of sound. Once free, she laid the back of the blade on her left bicep while offering the handle to the dojo master.

Koshiro watched all this ceremony with that ever present smile on his lips. Ranma saw through it, though, his lazy looking eyes watching every movement like a viper. After a moment, he accepted the blade from her and examined every centimeter of it with a critical eye, spending the time to read the sword's name; Honoo Ikazuchi. Eventually, he returned it to the scabbard had laid at his feet, the final click as a deafening thunderclap in the silent dojo hall.

Placing the sheathed sword before the now kneeling young woman, Koshiro looked into her eyes. Finally, he spoke. "I will teach you. We start tomorrow at daybreak."

Bowing before her new Master, Ranma formally accepted. "I thank you for your teaching, Master!"

Koshiro just silently stood up, carrying the tea tray back into his house, the door closing the final note of the ceremony.

Letting out a breath, Ranma slung Blazing Thunder back over her shoulder and stood up. As she reached the dojo entrance and strapped on her sandals, she heard Sora scamper over.

"What the hell was that?!" Sora hissed, quickly putting on her heels and following the redhead towards the property gateway.

"A ritual that old martial artists expect because they had to do it when they were younger." Ranma bluntly replied with a sigh. "I guess it's to respect their skill and experience but most masters I know of always had something wrong with them that made it hard to respect them."

"How many have you met like that?" Sora asked, confused as to why Ranma winced at that question.

"Sorry, I mean, read about. I've been reading manuals and history books since I was sevenish and these old guys always have something wrong with them somehow, no matter how good they are at the Art."

"Huh. If you say so." Sora responded, a little bit sceptical of the redhead's statement. "What do you think of Mr Isshin then?"

"His smile is fake." Ranma honestly stated her opinion on the situation. "His eyes are where he really shows his emotion and he's a broken man."

"What happened to him to make him like that?" The brunette girl asked with concern.

"Don't know but it's not my problem, so long as he can teach me and I can learn from him." Ranma declared as they continued down the road surrounded by rice patties. "I'm here to improve my sword style, not fix whatever's wrong with his life."

Sora just walked along beside her, deciding the best thing to do was give way to silent contemplation.

oO0Oo

The redhead let out a yawn, stretching her arms out as she sat up. Scratching under her shirt, Ranma slid out of the soft bed and slid on her shorts. The room was still dark, barely lit with the pre-morning gloom, but she had little trouble finding her pack. Hearing a low moan behind her, Ranma glanced back at Sora's sleeping form clutching a pillow.

Scratching behind an ear, Ranma still couldn't figure out how she got roped into sharing the same bed again… but had to admit it was… nice.

Shaking her head, Ranma finished preparing, not having much time before she had to leave, gathering her toiletries and spare clothes before leaving the room. Knowing she was going to be worked hard to show her sword skills, she had just a quick bath and grabbed a dinner roll from the kitchen. The roll was already gone before she reached the property gate.

It was a short sprint for the martial artist, barring a few roof shortcuts, that Ranma found herself standing before Master Koshiro's dojo. It only took her a few moments to regain her composure before she walked up to the open door. Bowing to the dojo, she slipped off her sandals and entered.

"I had a daughter with a spirit like yours."

Ranma blinked and looked into the darkness of the dojo. Master Koshiro's form faded into view as her eyes adjusted, the man kneeling towards a shrine with two pictures on it. One was a non-descript woman who was smiling while the other was of a young girl holding a katana in an Iaijutsu stance. Guessing that her new swordsmanship master had more to say, Ranma laid her saber to the side as she knelt in the doorway to the dojo.

"She was so skillful with the blade, and not even just for someone so young. She should have grown up to do great things… but I am a foolish man who was blind to that which was before me."

As he continued talking, Ranma could make out that same fake smile on his lips while the eyes behind glasses showed remorse.

"Humans are fragile." He said with a sigh. "You are not her."

"No, I'm not." Ranma replied.

"Show me who you are, Ohmoto Ranma of Foosha Village." Koshiro directed, standing up as the first rays of sunlight crested the hills, showing the shanai in his hand.

oO0Oo

"Shift your foot inward. Better."

"Elbow up, wrist out. Five. Loosen your left knee. Good."

Sora heard the instruction as she walked up to the open door of the dojo. Inside, Ranma was receiving instruction from the middle aged Koshiro.

"Next. Next. Feet closer together, back knee bent more... more. Good."

The brown haired Devil's Fruit user didn't know how to judge what was happening. Every day for the past two weeks, Ranma had been coming here to train and always leaving with a confident smile on her lips when asked how her training for the day went. If Sora was asked, she'd have to say that it was interesting to look at but boring at the same time.

It didn't make any sense for her either.

"That is all today." Koshiro stated finally, bowing back towards his student. "You have improved again."

"Thanks to you, Master Koshiro. I appreciate your teachings." Ranma replied, matching his mostly formal tone.

"Due to a personal obligation, I will be unable to assist you for the next week." Koshiro notified his student, placing his shanai on it's rack.

"Understood. I wish you well." Ranma said farewell to the man as he walked back through the walkway to his house. Sighing, the redhead put up her own shanai before wiping her sweat beaded brow.

"It's always weird to see you so formal." Sora commented with a small grin. "You really don't look like the type."

"Cause I'm not." Ranma agreed with a grin, slipping on her sandals and throwing her saber over her shoulder. "I just know there's a… show, or whatever you want to call it, going on and to get what I want I gotta play along."

Sora made a pinched face. "That just sound a little shady, you know that right?"

"Nah, it's all good." Ranma replied, opening up the gate for her companion. "I pay him and act all formal for him and he corrects my mistakes. I mean, it might not seem like it to you, but I've gotten a lot better since two weeks ago, you know?"

"You're right, Ranma, I can't see it but I'll take your word for it." Sora agreed with a shake of her head before looking upwards to the clouds floating lazily above. It was a few calm minutes later that her attention was dragged back down.

"What do you plan on doing with your life?"

"Sorry, what?" Sora asked, not hearing the question fully.

Ranma looked into the heterochromatic girl's eyes, cocking an eyebrow. "What are you gonna do when you 'grow up'?" She asked, using quote fingers.

Sora didn't answer immediately, instead looking up towards the sky again where a single white puffball drifted. "I'm not sure. I sort of feel like that cloud though, just floating on with whatever life gives me right now."

"Well, I'm gonna be the best martial artist in the world! Been dreaming about it since I was little." Ranma declared, smacking her fists together in determination. "Then I'm gonna meet up with my dad on the Grand Line and show him what I'm made of."

"Well, whatever you're made of, it isn't sugar, spice and everything nice… More like wasabi and horseradish with a side of asskick, to me." Sora snarked with a smirk on her lips.

Not really sure how to think about that, Ranma decided to take it as a compliment. "Damn straight! I'm gonna get awesome with time!"

"And smell worse too, it seems." Sora commented, stepping away as the wind shifted.

The redhead just rolled her crystal blue eyes as this wasn't the first time Sora had commented on her post training aroma. "Yeah, yeah. Was gonna take a bath anyways…" Feeling the beginnings of hunger pangs, she offered out a idea. "How about we go get dinner? My treat."

Blinking at the sudden change of topic, Sora thought about it. "Oh my, Ranma! Are you asking me out on a date?"

Blinking at how her offer could have been taken that way, the martial artist's face flushed. "No, no! Just a dinner as friends! Yeah, friends!" While Sora's chime like laugh was pleasant, Ranma couldn't help but cringe in embarrassment.

"Sorry, sorry!" Sora apologised as she regained control. "It's just… you're so damn cute when you get all bashful, I just can't help it!"

"Yeah, yeah. Hardy har har." Ranma groused out before deciding that some payback was in order. Slipping around the distracted brunette, Ranma swept her up to cradle her in a bridal carry.

"Ranma, what on earth are yaaaaaaaah!" Sora's voice pitched into a startled scream as she held on for dear life as Ranma started sprinting before jumping from rooftop to rooftop. She didn't peek out from the redhead's chest until she felt Ranma's laugh of hilarity as she came to a stop before the orphanage.

"Hahahaha! 'What are you ahhhh'!" Ranma mimicked Sora's voice, badly Sora noted, before bursting out laughing once more.

Squirming, the brunette slipped from Ranma's grasp, thankful to have the ground beneath her feet while mindful of the irony of a girl who could literally fly being terrified during what just happened. Feeling spiteful, she jabbed a finger into her friend's breast. "Just for that, you're taking me to Castigliano's for dinner."

"What? What's that?" Ranma asked, wiping the tears from her eyes from laughing too hard.

Smirking, Sora crossed her arms below her breasts. "Just the fanciest restaurant in the city, very nice and 'very' expensive." Turning to enter the building before them, her blue on white flowered sundress twisting around her hips, she smirked over her shoulder with one last dig at the martial artist. "Oh, and they have a dress code, but don't worry, that dress we got you will do nicely." Sora enjoyed the look of the redhead gapping like a fish for a few moments, having been played like that.

Last Saturday, Sora had convinced Ranma to go shopping with her, a 'girls day out'. Ranma had never been much for shopping, her thinking on it more along the guys she knew; get in, get your shit and get out. Sora was having none of that, cajoling the redheaded girl into buying a fancy dress and matching heels. Thankfully the dress was on sale at the time but it still cost more than it should, in the martial artist's humble opinion.

Finally, Ranma gathered what was left of her ego and nodded. "Fine. I'm a girl of my word. Let's do this."

oO0Oo

"I feel silly." Ranma complained, twitching her eyes back and forth on the afternoon streets. She felt like every person's eyes were on her and it was slightly freaking her out. Sure she liked to look good but this style was way out of her comfort zone.

"Just take a deep breath and relax, Ranma. You look amazing, so stop worrying and go with the flow." Sora directed, placing a hand on the slightly taller girl's bare shoulder.

As Ranma took a deep breath and let it out slowly, Sora looked over her companion one more time. She still thought the forest green asymmetrical forest green, ankle length evening dress looked amazing on the redhead. It seemed she was only able to convinced Ranma to get it since it covered her cleavage completely but still displayed the fullness of it… but mainly it because of the 'mobility slit' that ran almost up to the top of Ranma's right thigh, revealing tantalizing flashes of long leg and eight centimeter heels that matched the dress perfectly. Surprisingly, the lacy, bikini cut crimson panties barely fazed the unusually bashful girl.

Sora liked to think she struck just as stunning of a figure in her own violet satin strapless evening gown. Her own slit only came up to her mid thigh, revealing less leg but a pair of six centimeter clear heels she'd saved up for. The few bits of complementary jewelry she wore definitely set her apart from the redhead who rejected Sora's offer to lend some.

"Feel better now?" Sora asked, rubbing the redhead's upper arm in support.

"Yeah, I think I'm fine now." Ranma stated before trying to 'toughen up' by straightening her back, which thrust out her generous chest and flounced her high tied ponytail. Almost too low for Sora to hear, the girl continued under her breath. "I ain't afraid of anything!"

Stifling a giggle, Sora continued to lead the redhead to the restaurant. Looking down at the right leg flashing out from Ranma's dress with every other step, Sora couldn't help but cock her head. "You know, it still surprises me how easy you walk in those heels, especially for this only being the second time. It took me a few days to get used to mine."

"Ranma just shrugged. "It's just balance training, really. Nothing too hard."

"Are you sure those are breasts in that dress and not your ego? I'm pretty sure I just saw them swelling." Sora idly commented with a teasing look.

"Hah! I'll have you know that these babies are all natural!" The redhead countered, giving her next step a slight hop to it, causing the unrestrained points of topic to bounce.

Both girls looked at each other for a moment before bursting out in laughter, even as Castigliano's came into view as they turned the corner of an intersection. It was an open air restaurant, the perimeter surrounded by a low one meter tall decorative wrought-iron fence, the entrance on the opposite end from the small building with the kitchen. As the sun was already setting behind the nearby buildings, small paper lanterns illuminated the covered dining area with a soft glow while each table had a few candles for personal lighting.

"Good evening, ladies." The doorman greeted them with a sweeping bow as they approached the entrance to the sitting area. "Is it just you or are you expecting others?"

"Just us, thank you." Sora responded with a smile.

"Very well. Please follow me." The twenty something, well dressed man opened the waist high gate to allow the young women entrance before showing them to a small table. Upon lighting the candles, he handed both a menu and took his leave.

Taking a quick glance over the prices listed, Ranma cringed her painted red lips. "This… is really expensive, Sora."

"I've always wanted to try eating here but never could get the nerve." Sora replied before grinning over her menu. "Luckily, I have an amazing friend who's paying for it."

"Paying for being your friend, seems like it, yeah." Ranma poked back with a smirk before trying to find something not expensive but hopefully still decently filling.

A comfortable silence draped over the table as they thought about their meal desires. After a while, it was disrupted by a waitress walking up to their table. "Are you ladies ready to order?"

Ranma waved Sora on first, which she accepted. "I'd like the baked salmon in almond glaze with a side of asparagus, please."

"Thank you very much." The blonde waitress stated, taking the menu from the brown haired young woman. "And for you, Miss?"

"I'd like the mutton steak with sauteed greens."

"Thank you very much." The waitress repeated, taking Ranma's menu before bowing. "Your food will be done shortly. Please enjoy yourselves."

Hearing the waitress leaving, Ranma placed her elbows on the marble tabletop and rest her face into her hands. "My wallet is weeping…"

"There, there." Sora insincerely consoled the ponytailed girl, patting her on the top of the head. "Easy come, easy go."

The girl in the forest green evening gown pointedly lifted her head to make sure Sora could see her rolling her eyes. That just set the brunette off to giggling behind her hand.

They fell into a comfortable conversation, bouncing between the children Sora helped care for in the orphanage and some of Ranma's training techniques. Many laughs were had at funny stories while commiseration occurred when one girl managed to pull an embarrassing story out of her friend.

Eventually, the ordered courses of food were delivered, removing most of the conversation as the young women started satiating their appetite.

This, too, was interrupted as a large muscle bound man in a yellow jumpsuit hopped the decorative fence nearby and approached their table.

"Hey! You the chick who bagged Vinnie?" The bald bruiser demanded to know, pointing the finger of his gloved hand toward the redhead.

"Yeah." Ranma responded around a bite of sweet grilled mutton. "What's it to you?"

"I'm gonna paste you and put a nice feather into my hat, girlie." He declared, clenching a fist in preparation.

Scowling, Ranma shifted in her seat to turn towards the bald punk and crossed her legs, obviously not impressed as she tapped the back of a steak knife against her chin. "First off, you ain't got a hat, dumbass." Sora palmed her face at disjointed scene of tough talk coming from the high class looking girl. Ranma, ignorant of this, smirked as she saw a vein burst out on the punk's forehead. "Second, it's kinda hard to fight with a knife jammed through your foot."

Ranma's hand flashed and a loud thunk echoed around the now silent restaurant. The punk looked down, eyes widening at the sight of the wooden handle of the steak knife sticking out of the top of his boot.

His screams shattered the silence like a cannonball through a stained glass window.

Sora was not amused at this turn of events, waving a hand towards the pinned troublemaker. His screams silenced as super dense clouds formed over his lower face, dissipating as soon as his eyes rolled up and he fell unconscious.

Even as the redhead elegantly stood from her chair and bent over to pull the knife from the cobblestones and flesh the steel had pierced, Sora was rubbing her temples. "This isn't going to become a 'thing' with you, is it?"

Flicking the knife to get the blood off it, Ranma looked back innocently, and Sora was surprised the redhead could pull the look off. "I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about, dear." Striding back to her seat, Ranma sat down and smoothed her dress as she crossed her legs once more, acting the very epitome of a high class woman.

"Okay, stop that. Right now." Sora directed, sending a baleful glare in her friend's direction.

"Oh my! Is that the Shining Puncher?" The waitress cautiously asked, as she hid behind her serving tray even as she approached the table. "I heard he has a bounty of 200,000 Beli!"

"And now I'm not worried about the cost of this place." Ranma admitted with a laugh, placing the sullied knife onto the table. It was just as well, she'd just cut her last piece of the mutton before the interruption anyways.

"Seriously, though. Is this going to become a thing with you? Random guys picking a fight for... what? Prestige?" Sora asked, still holding fingers to her temples.

The ponytailed redhead just shrugged, completely unconcerned. "If they come to me, it's their own fault, right? And it looks like it could be easy money, so… what's the worst that could happen?"

Hearing that phrase, Sora groaned, having read enough books to know things were going to get worse. "This falls on your head, girl. You can clean up your own messes."

"Seriously, how bad could it be?" Ranma asked, not really seeing any downsides to this situation.

oO0Oo

"Okay, I was wrong. This is annoying." The redhead muttered, palming her face, tapping her the toe of her heels onto the cobblestone street in exacerbation.

Surrounding the girl were the unconscious or groaning bodies of the many gang members who tried to ambush her and Sora on their way to turn in the 'Shining Puncher' to the Marines. Even that stupid name was annoying her right now.

"That's nice but now what are you going to do?" Sora blandly asked, tapping her own foot while crossing her arms under her breasts. Seeing the redhead look in her direction, Sora gave her a look. "Oh, no. Not my circus, not my monkey."

"Wow, girl. Never would have thought you'd take out the Gangreen Gang." A middle aged man stepped out of the cheering crowd to say. The fact that she'd resorted to some high kicks in that dress definitely made the crowd's night too, at least those of the male persuasion.

Sighing, Ranma stopped tapping her shoe. "How much?"

"I think around 300,000 Beli for the lot of them." He answered, slightly saddened that a certain bouncing had subsided.

Finally dropping the hand from her face, Ranma looked around the area with a frown on her painted lips. She stopped when she spotted something, flashing her hand out to point at it. "You there! How much to rent your cart!"

oO0Oo

"Welcome back, Ms Ohmoto." The marine stuck on desk duty welcomed the crimson haired teenager, surprised at the elegant dress she wore. "What brings you in today?"

Jerking her thumb over her shoulder, the bounty hunter in a forest green gown quirked her red lips into a frown. "I've got a turn in, I guess. Dumbasses tried to jump me when I was treating my friend to dinner."

"Um, I'm sorry to hear that?" The marine stated with an unsure tone.

"Yeah, so, I need to turn them in so I can return the cart I had to rent to haul their sorry asses over here. It's some guy named Shining Puncher and the Gangreen Gang."

"Wow, I didn't expect you to be so gung-ho about being a bounty hunter." The marine commented, looking up the bounty logs for the indicated criminals.

"I'm not." The redhead answered dryly. "Like I said, they attacked me. I'm just turning them in since I'm pissed they interrupted my evening." Ranma corrected as the marine filled out some paperwork.

"Sign here and here, please." The brown haired man directed as he filled out a credit receipt for the bounty amounts. "Well, I hope your next one is more pleasant."

"Same here. My friend's pissed at me now…" Ranma groused out as she she stomped her heeled foot. Turning to leave, she never noticed the small nosebleed the marine tried to hide behind her.

oO0Oo

"You have learned all I have to teach you, pupil." Koshiro formally stated, kneeling on the tatami mats of his dojo. "May your sword never fail you as you never fail it."

"Thank you for your teachings, Master Koshiro. I will use what I learned here for the betterment of everyone." Ranma formally replied, bowing her head down to the mats. She waited a full three seconds before raising back to the seiza position.

"Go and be well, Ohmoto Ranma." Koshiro bid farewell before turning to face his wife and daughter's shrine.

Ranma slid silently out of the dojo, slipping of her sandals and strapping her sword to her back.

Outside, at the gate to the property, Sora watched Ranma approach in silence. When she saw Ranma grin at her, she smiled back in shared happiness. "You did it, huh?"

"Yeah, took me two months but I learned everything he's got to teach me." Ranma answered, letting Sora through the gate before exiting herself. "Course, it was all basic forms and stances, so no special moves, but that's okay. I got what I came here for."

"And now you're leaving?" Sora asked, suddenly sad at the thought of her friend leaving so soon after meeting her.

Sighing, Ranma rubbed the back of her neck. "This is the longest I've been away from home and the first time off island by myself. I miss my mom, you know?"

"Yeah, I can understand that but I don't have to like losing my friend." Sora responded sourly, hugging herself.

"Come with me."

Blinking at the quick response, Sora looked over to her taller friend. "What?"

"Come with me, finish your trip to Dawn Island." Ranma elaborated, reaching out to wrap Sora into a one armed hug. "Everytime I ask you what you plan on doing with your life, you shy away from it. I think it's cause you're stuck, shackled to that horrible event."

"Why do you think that…" The brunette whispered, still hugging herself with a shiver. She never liked when her friend broached this conversation.

"You cry in your sleep sometimes." Ranma stated, still holding onto the barely smaller girl.

Blinking, Sora looked up at Ranma's stoic face. "You never said anything."

"Didn't want to bring it up before but I think I need to now." Softly pushing the brown haired girl to arms length, Ranma looked into the mismatched colors of her friend's eyes. "If you don't do this, you'll never move past it. Please, let me help you, Sora. Come with me."

Blue and green eyes started to fill with tears as Sora wished to say yes but the pit of fear in her heart clawing the words from her throat. Finally, she reached forward and hugged the martial artist like a life preserver, silent tears falling to Ranma's chest. Through sheer force of will, Sora choked out, "Give me some time…"

Ranma sighed as she wrapped her arms around Sora's shivering form. She hated it but she needed to say it out of respect for her friend. "The ship leaves in two days. I'd really like my friend on it with me."

Sora just nodded silently into the nook of her friend's collar, both thankful for the deadline but fearing it now with every passing second.

The trip back to the orphanage took three times as long as usual.

oO0Oo

"Sister Freya? Can I come in?"

The forty something woman paused in the brushing of her long grey hair that was down for the night. "Please, come in, Sora."

The brunette looked like an unsure child fearing chastisement as she slinked through the door in her nightclothes, closing it with a soft click behind her.

Silence reigned until Freya sighed. "What has you worried so, dear?"

Looking up with a puffy eyed face, Sora dashed across the small room to kneel before the seated Matron and cry into her lap. "Sister… I'm just- just so scared!"

Patting Sora's head, Freya murmured some soothing words while stroking the chestnut brown locks. "Just relax, gather yourself and I'll do what I can to help, dear child."

Sniffing, said child looked up with watery eyes. "Ranma's been the best friend I've had in so long and I'm scared of her leaving and never seeing her again, like all the others! But… but I'm scared to go with her and… and I'm stuck in the middle and I don't know what to do!"

Hearing that, Freya understood the majority of the situation, knowing how the teen hugging her waist came into her care. Still, she knew from vast experience with children of all ages who had life changing events looming from the past that Sora had to work through it herself. It didn't mean she couldn't help with some very careful nudges.

"Why are you afraid to go with Ranma, dear?"

It was a while before the troubled girl answered. "The boat, the storm... losing everyone I cared about… It'll happen again. If I don't go, it'll happen to her without me. If I do go, I lose all of you back here. No matter what I choose, I lose someone."

"Oh, my dear girl." Freya cooed softly, continuing to soothingly stroke the brown hair in her lap. "You won't lose us. No matter what happens in the future, you always have a home waiting for you here."

"But… but what if I never come back?!" The teen lifted her head up to look into Freya's warm brown eyes. "What'll happen to Nina, to Umi, to Christy?"

A warm smile took Freya's lips at the girl's worries but those weren't Sora's responsibilities, the welfare of the children under her roof were her responsibility alone and she wouldn't… couldn't hold one of her children back like this. Wiping away Sora's tears with a thumb, she tapped her lightly on the forehead, causing the girl to flinch slightly. "Just like Terry and Ponch and Rina and Eiko and so many more before you, when you finally leave to find your place in the world, another child will the place of Big-Brother or Big-Sister."

Leaning down to kiss Sora on the same place she had tapped, Freya stood while gently guiding Sora to stand as well. "Child, my every wish has been to see all these young faces I care for eventually grow into strong men and women… women like you've become, Sora. You have it in you to do great things and I never want you to think that you have to hold yourself back because of me or the other children under my care. Do what's right for you but always remember you can always come back."

Sora felt a smile grow on her lips, even as she wiped away some more tears. "Thank you, Sister…"

"Always, my child."

A little while later, Sora closed the door to her own bedroom with a soft click. In the pale glow of the night, she could see her friend sitting in the window, looking into the night with her legs dangling outside. Padding over with bare feet, Sora leaned against the windowsill. "Hey."

Glancing to her side, Ranma smiled slightly in return. "Hey, yourself."

Silence fell over them, both listening to the sounds of the night.

"I decided to go with you."

"I'm glad."

More time passed in comfortable calmness.

"I'm going to bed."

"Sounds good to me."

oO0Oo

"You gonna be okay?"

Sora turned her wide eyes from the looming merchantman, Richest Score, to the redhead at her side. Putting a hand to her breast, she could feel how fast her heart was beating. She took a deep shuddering breath, trying to calm her nerves. "I'm scared…"

Holding out her hands, Ranma looked her friend in the eyes, almost shining with confidence. "Trust me."

Slowly, Sora reached out and grasped those hands like a lifeline. Holding on tight and looking into those crystal blue eyes so full of strength, Sora took a step… and then another.

One foot before the other, she focused only on Ranma until the redhead grin widely and let go with one of the hands. Sora's eyes flashed wide, latching onto her remaining lifeline with both hands as tight as possible.

Ranma just used that free arm to pull Sora in a comforting hug and whispered, "You made it, Sora. You've conquered the first obstacle."

Blinking, Sora's oddly colored eyes looked away from the redhead to see herself on a ship deck. All around her, sailors were running through their pre-trip checks, a couple other passengers standing on their own elsewhere on the deck or heading below to the berths. "I made it…"

"Yeah, and the first step is always the hardest. It'll only get easier from here." Ranma stated, leading the brunette over to the railing but only close enough to see the visible shoreline of Dusk Island stretching out of the harbor and East Blue beyond. "Three days till you win. All you have to do is be stronger than the fear."

"Three days… Just three days." Sora repeated, reaching out slowly to just touch the railing with the barest tips of her fingers.

oO0Oo

"Make it stop! Make it stop!"

"It's okay, Sora! I'm right here with you!" Ranma firmly said to her crying friend, awkwardly cradling Sora in her arms as both girls huddled in the swinging hammock.

"Make it stop! Mama! Papa! No!" The hysterical girl screamed out in fear and anguish, letting out a shriek as the thunder clashed outside and the waves tossed the ship.

"It's okay, Sora! It's going to be okay! I'm here with you!" Ranma continued to say, not really sure if Sora even knew what she was saying. All she knew was Sora was clinging to her as if her life depended on it and she wasn't going to let her friend go.

Outside, the storm raged on…

oO0Oo

On the fifth day, the Richest Score sailed into Goa City port. It had barely reached its berth when a white cloud flowed off the deck to the stone dockyard below to reform into a brown haired girl. Another girl, scarlet haired this time, leapt overboard to land gracefully near the first.

The redhead said something and her companion turned to sob into her chest, the redhead making soothing motions on her back. Letting out a long sigh, the redhead lead her companion to a traveler's rest and rented a room for the night.

They were asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows.

oO0Oo

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be, it's alright." Ranma replied for the umpteenth time, pushing a limb out of Sora's way as they treked through the mountains. "I've done this plenty of times, so we won't get lost."

"But you'd be there right now if it wasn't for me and…" Sora worried her lip.

Sighing in exasperation, Ranma flicked Sora on the forehead.

"Ow! What was that for?!"

"So you'd stop being all 'pitiful child' and be the strong woman I know my friend is." Ranma replied, throwing her hands in the air before tapping her friend on the nose with a finger. "You just don't get it, Sora. You. Made. It!" Waving a hand around at the forest surround them, she grinned widely, "You won! You beat your fear! It doesn't matter if you're too tired to take a small transport around the island, you'll always know that since you beat it once, you can beat it again. And again. And again! Until you'll wonder why you were ever scared in the first place!"

Soaking in her friend's speech, the brunette girl felt her very bruised ego recover slightly. Taking a deep breath, Sora clenched her jaw and gave a sharp jerky nod. "Right. Right! I beat it! I'm better than this!"

"Damn right you are!" Holding a hand out, the redhead flashed a roguish grin. "We're on the home stretch now! Let's do this!"

Sora grabbed the hand with her own grin, slowly growing more confident by the second, pulled herself up the meter high step. Still holding Ranma's hand, she looked off into the distance and saw the windmills lazily spinning on the horizon. Looking down, she saw the fifty meter drop to the base of the cliff.

They stood there in comfortable silence for a moment before Sora let go. Then, Ranma blinked in surprise as she saw Sora wink towards her, before falling backwards over the edge. Jerking forward, the redhead saw her friend flip over face down as she fell, flowing in white streamers the remaining few meters, finally reforming into a soft skipping gait towards Foosha. Ranma just cupped her hands to her mouth and yelled out, "Cheater!"

The bell like laughter coming up from below caused Ranma to shake her head before leaping down the ten meters to a spike of rock before leaping farther down.

oO0Oo

"So, this is Foosha Village." Sora mused, looking at one of the windmills as they walked past. She could hear the grinding of the gears and mill from the inside but overall it was relatively quiet.

"The outskirts, yeah." Ranma clarified, content to let her friend sight-see a bit.

As they continued on into the village, Ranma pointed out specific people's homes and what they did for the community. Every so often, one of those villagers would be outside, waving and greeting the girls.

Eventually, they found themselves outside Party's Bar, Ranma letting out a relieved sigh, happy to return after almost three months abroad.

"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Home." Ranma quoted the old traveler's saying, stepping up on the front deck while waving Sora to follow. As it was still early morning, the tavern was empty, which was fine by Ranma. "Mom! I'm home!"

"Ranma?!" Makino's shocked voice called out from the storage room. Quick steps followed as the dark green haired mother emerged from the doorway, wide eyes seeing her daughter's smiling face. "Ranma! You're back!"

"Hi, Mom!" Ranma cheerfully greeted as her mother stepped closer to wrap her into a warm hug.

Sora just stood to the side, eyes widened as she saw a woman looking no older than her mid twenties hugging her friend.

"I'm so relieved to have you back home, my baby girl!" Makino cried out in relief, kissing her child's forehead.

"Mom! Stop!" The redhead cried out, starting to struggle in the grip of her mother.

"Oh, hush." The green haired woman mildly retorted before glancing over toward the wistful looking Sora. "And why haven't you introduced your friend yet?"

"Cause you're trying to make me die of embarrassment." Ranma dryly replied, face red as she finally separated from Makino's arms. "Mom, this is Valke Sora. It's a long story but I wound up staying with her at the orphanage. Sora, this is my mother, Ohmoto Makino."

Dipping into a curtsy, even though she was wearing pants for the overland trek, Sora greeted her friend's mother. "It's nice to meet you, Ms Ohmoto."

"It's nice to meet you too, dear, but please just call me Makino. Ms Ohmoto makes me feel like I'm getting old!" Makino returned with a small laugh.

"Alright, Ms Makino." Sora acquiesced with a nod.

Smiling at the appropriate respect she was receiving from her daughter's friend, Makino turned her shifting gaze towards said daughter. The fact that Ranma saw the look and took a half step back told Makino she still had 'it'.

"Now, I'm sorry, Sora, but I'm going to have to borrow Ranma for a bit." Ranma's forehead burst into sweat at that, completely at odds with her mother's sweet looking smile. "We need to have a little mother-daughter discussion on 'Why not writing letters to a worried mother is a bad idea'."

Eyes widening at realizing just how bad this was going to be, she whispered out the side of her mouth earnestly. "Sora! Save me!"

Sora, for her part, just sat down at one of the tables and crossed her legs nonchalantly. "You're on your own, girl."

"Traitor!"

End of Chapter 4

A/N

Okay, I'm an idiot who forgot to follow my own personal rule for writing fanfiction: Sleep and then review/edit before posting to . Big thanks to Hishin Trueflame for calling me out so quickly on how shity the first version of Chapter 4 was, but in a constructive way. If you don't want to know some of my future plot thoughts, don't read his review.

KI and HAKI

Ki and Haki are the same energy but used in different ways via techniques in this story. Now that I have your attention (hopefully), I'll elaborate.

In Ranma's home setting, Ki is the standard martial arts energy of the spirit, which can be used to do fantastical things but mainly focused internal to the users body unless you're someone extremely gifted in it's use. (or too ignorant to know that it shouldn't work that way)
In the One Piece setting, Haki is stated to be the user's spirit, just like Ki. It's use has been more standardized due to the military influence of the Marines but, like Ranma's setting, use of it is still relatively rare compared to world population.

Ki/Haki users are smaller than 1 percent of the world population.

Ki/Haki use boils down to Body Enhancement, Perception Enhancement and Special Use, in my story. The Marines still use the 'Color of Ambition' system they've devised to describe its use but that's a cultural decision, not a law of nature.

Body Enhancement - Strength, Endurance, Speed increases, Healing increases, Armament Haki techniques
Perception Enhancements - Distance Sight, Sixth Sense, Mantra, Color of Observation, Precognition, Smell and Touch buffs
Special Use - Haoshoku Haki, Swordsmen cutting steel or stronger material, using Ki external to the body, inflicting Ki effects on other people by overpowering their Ki defense

This is the mindset I'm working with in this story, so there's no excuse of "Haki doesn't work like that!" from any review, because in my story... "It does."

Now to the comments on last chapter!

- Wordlurker
Guns in the OP world are actually powerful tools. The problem is, the Manga only revolves around the strongest people in the world and they usually have a Devil Fruit or a able to block/dodge gunfire if they know about it. Someone without an automatic defense will still get wrecked by an unexpected rifle shot.

- huijin
Sorry about the confusion on character ages during the early chapters. Once I saw your comment, I added a section to the Ch 3 A/N explaining the ages. From now on, though, there will be less 'big' timeskips, so the ages of characters should be easier to keep up with. As of right now, Ranma and Sora are 16 while Luffy is 14.

- cj1of4
Sora and Smoker's Devil Fruits are similar, but not the same. Most users with similar base powers, turning into smoke/gas/mist, still tailor their use around their personality and quirk of power. Expect to see similar stuff though, cause there's only so many ways to bake a cake if you have almost the exact same ingredients.

- grappler
I'm sorry, this is my story, not yours. You're free to write your own story with how you think Ranma should be, but this one isn't your Ranma. It's not as if I plucked Ranma out of his universe full grown and plopped him into the OP world, as other fics have done in crossovers. No, this Ranma is home grown with a broken movie running through her dreams as the only link to her past life. You know; reincarnation?
If you're still disliking how I've made this Ranma, a mixture of previous life plans, mannerisms and abilities with Makino's influence while growing up a girl… We'll I bid you good day, sir/ma'am, and please don't let the door hit you on the way out.

- SomeAnonWeirdo
1 - Yeah, I've always got room for improvement. The moment I stop thinking I can improve my writing skill is the day I stop writing. It is also true that I'm male.
2 - I do not get my 'women' knowledge from Anime/Manga, I get my knowledge from the strong, funny, troubled and spiritual women in my life, be it friends, co-workers or family. The thing is, I'm writing a story based in a Manga universe with a character from another Manga universe, where male and female traits are often exaggerated for comedic or dramatic effect. If anything, I'm doing my utter best to try and make these characters people and not stereotypes.
If you're looking for a relationship like you shared with your own mother, sad to say that you're the only mother/daughter combo to have that relationship. Absolutely no one else in the world will agree with you on what is the 'correct' relationship outside your own mother, and even then she had a different relationship with her own mother, so...
3 - You're bisexual. Congrats. What's that got to do with my writing? As for the use of 'pretty', I used that word 7 times within 10,000 words. I used beautiful 1 time. If you're talking about Little Vinnie, it's supposed to be unlikeable because he's a letch.
4 - (Also, I'd particularly appreciate it if you used 'bitch' less.) Used 4 times, once by Vinnie and three by Ranma. Again, within 10,000 words. Your feelings are hurt; acknowledged. Moving on.
5 - (Ranma using a weapon is wrong![paraphrased]) Please tell me of the times I have actually had Ranma using her sword other than hunting that boar. BTW, I only used 'sword' 11 times in 10,000 words and 5 of those were talking about Zoro.
6 - While I appreciate the time you spent writing this very long review, I find most of the points above more than a bit trite. More of a 'I would have done it this way' than the constructive criticism that Hishin Trueflame provided.