Ranma dodged Kuno's attack with the ease of long practice, while the ground around him was destroyed by the air pressure of the slashes; but before he could counter attack, Gosunkugi finished his spell and a bright flash of light blinded everyone.
"Did it work?" Gos called out excitedly.
Kuno handed his boken off to his ninja, Sasuke. "Yes, but your targeting was off."
"Kuno?" Ranma asked curiously, noting the change in accent and attitude.
"Still me, Saotome," he assured him. "Gos was supposed to cast a spell that would 'free the pigtailed girl', but it appears to have hit me instead, as I can recall my last life."
"B-but I used the hair and everything!" Gos panicked.
"I got the hair from Nabiki," Kuno said, shaking his head. "You know how she delights in twisting things. Dealing with her is like making wishes with a monkey's paw. No doubt the lock of hair was mine."
"So... You're no longer nuts?" Ranma asked doubtfully.
Kuno laughed. "When in Rome," he quoted.
"What's that mean?" Ranma demanded.
"If everyone around you is crazy, it's only sane to act the same way."
Ranma winced. "Yeah, I've met your family."
Kuno snorted. "I was referring to the entire ward, but yeah, that applies too."
Ranma smirked and lowered his guard as the fight appeared to be over.
"Gos, let me see the spellbook," Kuno ordered.
The pale boy shuffled over and reluctantly handed over a large leather-bound book.
Kuno compared the book to the page of notes and translation Gos had written and cast with. "This is almost gibberish. I'm surprised you got any results at all. Sasuke!"
The little ninja jumped out of the bushes. "Yes, master Kuno?"
"Hire a personal trainer to run Gos into the ground for the next six months, get me the top three papers that publish strange news, and grab yourself lunch at a local restaurant; you look hungry."
"Yes, Master Kuno! Thank you, Master Kuno!" the tiny ninja exclaimed before vanishing in a blur of speed towards the Cat Cafe.
"Personal trainer?" Gos asked nervously.
"Yes," Kuno agreed. "A budding mage as delusional as you is just a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, I know how to fix that without resorting to traditional methods."
"Traditional methods?" Ranma asked curiously.
"Unstable magic users are too dangerous to allow to run around unchecked," Kuno explained. "Beheading is the traditional way to deal with them."
There was a thump as Gos passed out.
"So how are you going to fix him?"
"Get him in shape, make sure he gets lessons in how to fit in with his peer group, and hire a couple of women to screw him unconscious on a regular basis."
Ranma's jaw dropped.
Kuno laughed. "I know it sounds strange, but it's a lot better than just waiting for a Carrie situation to develop."
"Carrie situation?" Ukyo asked curiously. She and Shampoo having invited themselves to watch Kuno's latest challenge.
"An American author named Stephen King wrote about a young woman with strong psychic powers, who was abused by her mother and tormented by her peers," Kuno explained. "A popular boy she had a crush on invited her to senior prom and she was crowned queen. It was a dream come true."
"And that's bad?" Ukyo asked.
"It was a setup. Standing on stage in front of everyone, a bucket of pig's blood poured on her from overhead and the bucket fell, clipping her on the temple."
The group of martial artists winced.
"Laughter, head injury, and major psychic powers. She destroyed a large chunk of the town and slaughtered most of the graduating class. Thus we learn that mentally unstable people with power should not be ignored."
"Shampoo think she not completely in the wrong," the purple haired Amazon muttered.
"No, she wasn't," Kuno admitted. "But the people responsible were just a handful and she killed indiscriminately. No, best to make sure no Carrie situations develop. I'll get him some help, make sure he's not picked on, and see about encouraging some normal, healthy development."
"Who are you?" Ranma asked.
"He means, who were you?" Ukyo explained.
"An American," Kuno said with a grin.
"And the knowledge of magic?" Ranma asked.
"I spent that life hunting demons. I never even reached thirty."
"Are we going to have to drag all the details out of you?" Ukyo groaned. "Who were you?"
Kuno laughed. "Names have power and I pissed off enough demons that saying my old name would be stupid. No, all you need to know is I was a demon hunter and I died young as we generally do."
AN: And what if Kuno was the main character...
Typing By: Ordieth