Name simply means Magical Student Ranma and is a play on Negima's Japanese title Mahou Sensei Negima. I own neither Ranma 1/2 nor Negima. The story does assume at last passing familiarity with both series.
Ten-year-old Saotome Ranma still missed the school he'd had to leave a few weeks ago. Don't get him wrong, Ranma loved the traveling and the training and was willing to do what it took to be the best like his dad said. Still, it seemed every time he'd just made a friend he had to move on. His dad promised that if he worked hard he'd sign him up for a middle school in a few years and let him stay there for a while, but that was still a long way off, and he wasn't likely to make any new friends until then.
Ah well, maybe if he did good enough, his dad would let him go back to school even sooner. All fired up now, Ranma went back to mastering the new kata his father had taught him before heading off to do something on his own. Ranma pretty much had it down, but he wanted it perfect before his dad got back. But the older martial artist didn't give him as much time as he expected, as he ran up to the tent they'd set up in the middle of the woods muttering to himself.
"I can't believe they found me again out here," he said as he glanced back behind him. "None of the others were ever this persistent."
"What are you talking about?" Ranma asked. "Did you get in trouble again?"
"Nothing like that," Genma answered. "Just an old friend of your father's who took a silly little talk we had a few years ago way too seriously. Now pack your things. We're getting out here."
"Sure," Ranma answered. "But where are we going?"
"I'm not sure yet. Maybe we could lose them in Hokkaido," he said after some thought. "But after Kyoto and now this, I just don't know if anywhere is safe."
Ranma continued to pack as his father thought it over until he finally smiled excitedly.
"That's it!" he declared. "We'll go to China."
"That's right, Boy," his dad answered. "Always planned to go there sooner or later. Now's the perfect chance to kill two birds with one stone."
Ranma had never been outside of Japan and he was excited to make his first trip to another country. He redoubled his efforts in packing as quickly as possible.
"China, China! We're going to China!" Ranma couldn't help but chant as he worked. Forget school, this could be the best thing that ever happened to him.
After a couple months of training in China, Ranma had long since grown tired of the country. Their training wasn't really any different than it had been in Japan. Only when they went into town to buy food and other stuff, neither of them understood what anyone was saying.
"Can't we just go back to Japan already?" Ranma asked, not for the first time. "I don't even care about who you were running from anymore. Just be a man and face them already."
"Fool! You lecture me on manliness when you're whining like a little girl?" he fired back. "It's not even about that. There are special training grounds you can only find in China. You'll never be the best if you stick to Japan where it's nice and easy."
"None of these old temples and stuff you've taken me to have seemed that special to me," Ranma argued.
"You're simply not ready for the really good ones!" his dad insisted. "If you really want to see them, then stop slacking and get back to your training."
Ranma still wasn't a big fan of China, but if they really were just saving the best training spots for last or something, then it would be a shame to leave now. So Ranma accepted that and launched himself at his father to continue the sparring match he'd interrupted to complain. His father though almost didn't seem to even be paying attention as he blocked all of Ranma's blows.
"Then again, I have been intrigued about this one training ground I've heard of," he announced. "Maybe it's time to pay Jusenkyo a visit."
As Ranma and his father finally came near Jusenkyo, after more than a week of traveling to get there, they noticed a couple of people already there off in the distance.
"So, what's so special about this training ground?" Ranma asked again, hoping to get a real answer out of his dad this time.
"This is a training ground so legendary that the details are shrouded in mystery," he answered as vaguely as always.
"Well, maybe they know something about it if you don't," Ranma said, picking up the pace toward the two people he could see, even if he wasn't very hopeful that they spoke Japanese.
Ranma had pretty sharp eyes, so he was still quite a ways off when he realized something strange was going on. One of the two men was wearing some kind of Chinese uniform and was currently tied up. The other was dressed up in some really fancy looking grey robe that made for one of the strangest outfits he'd ever seen. Having a feeling that something was off, he broke into a run toward the pair.
As he ran, he noticed more about the area. The valley they were in was filled with springs, and the man in the robes was holding a long staff of some sort so that it dipped into one of the springs on the edge of the valley. Some small hands were thrashing about out of the spring, and Ranma figured that the robed man must be trying to rescue someone that had fallen in.
"Stop Mister Customer!" the tied up man yelled out to him. "Please no drown child!"
Ranma then realized coldly that he wasn't trying to let the person in there grab on to the staff, he was holding them down. Ranma's run turned into a sprint, and despite seeing the hands stop thrashing a couple of seconds before he got there, he still dived straight into the spring, grabbing onto the limp body that was in there and throwing it out over the edge. Ignoring some odd disorientation and tingling, he jumped out himself.
Staring daggers at the man as if to challenge him to try something, Ranma saw that he was only looking on in amusement. Ranma quickly turned back to unmoving body, which he could now see belonged to a girl that was probably about his own age. But more importantly, she didn't appear to be breathing.
Ranma panicked briefly trying to remember what you do if someone wasn't breathing. Wait, it was that what do you call it? CPR? Ranma went to start the process as best as he remembered hearing about it someplace or another when he paused for a second. There were ears sticking up out of the girl's black hair that looked uncomfortably close to those you would find on a cat. But there was no time to think of that right now.
Ranma put his hands over the girl's chest and started pushing rhythmically, hoping he was doing it right. To his great relief, after barely over half a dozen, she coughed out water and then gasped in air. Her eyes then popped open and she looked at him in confusion.
"Another nekojin?" she asked, before she turned her gaze to the man that had just tried to drown her and jumped up in fright, grabbing Ranma's arm and trying to pull him along as well.
"Run!" she ordered. "He just tried to kill me! He already killed Arthur!"
But Ranma planted his feet and refused to budge. "Don't worry. We'll take care of him."
Ranma's father chose that moment to finally show up, and the girl took to just cowering behind Ranma, not trying to pull him anymore. Ranma took the moment to get a look at the guy. He looked to be a tall, think guy in his twenties or so with rather spiky, green hair that went down past his shoulders.
"What have you done to my son?" He demanded of the man in the robes.
What was his dad going on about? Was there something wrong with him? Now that he wasn't freaking out over a dying girl, he realized he did feel a number of strange sensations, most noticeably, there was obviously something pressed against his back. Reaching around back there, his hand clenched around something fuzzy and he quickly gave it a jerk, wondering if some strange animal had crawled back there.
"Yeouwch!" he cried out in pain, the cry sounding a little funny to his ears. That had really hurt. Had the thing bit him?
"I wouldn't recommend trying to pull out your own tail," the mysterious man declared. "And I'd like to thank you. I hadn't realized it was possible for the new spring to activate without killing the first subject. This brings up a whole new area of research to look into."
A tail? What sort of crazy person tried to claim someone had a tail. Only looking at the girl he'd just saved, he clearly saw now that she did have one to go along with those ears of hers. And hadn't she just said something about there being another nekojin, whatever that was. Ranma reached out again for his rear with one hand while reaching the other up to his head. Check and check, Saotome Ranma had ears and a tail very much like the girl in front of him, ones that strongly resembled those of a cat.
"What on earth is this?!" Ranma yelled out in a mixture of fear and rage, and he held out the end of a tail that he could now see was bright red.
"Is magic of cursed spring of Jusenkyo," the captive man answered. "Is tragic tale of cat girl that nearly drown one minute ago."
"And think of all the possibilities," his captor declared. "Why you could make a fortune simply transforming low value slaves into more profitable bodies. And that's just the start. Of course there is the issue of the curse being incomplete. Switching forms could have its value too, but ideally I'd be able to make it permanent as well."
"It's not permanent?" Ranma asked hopefully, latching onto those words.
"Curse is permanent," the other man answered, still calmly explaining things despite his state. "Hot water turn to normal, but cold water bring back curse."
Ranma's hopes crashed at that.
"But as the guide here so kindly explained before you arrived, there is an artifact that will strengthen the curse. I don't know how exactly that works, but I'm always up for a little experimentation."
He then pointed his staff at Ranma, and despite himself, Ranma took a step back in fear.
"You'll do nothing else to my son!" his father yelled out, interrupting the man to send a fist right at his face. Only it stopped a couple of inches short of its target as if it had run into some kind of barrier.
"I think you'll do nicely to test the other spring I created," he declared, pointing his staff at Ranma's dad and firing off a blast of something that hit him in his gut, sending him flying into another spring.
His father quickly jumped out, but the water seemed to have changed his father even more than Ranma, and he was now covered in black and white fur, looking like some kind of strange Panda-man.
"I'm ready to run now!" Ranma declared, grabbing the girl he'd saved and pulling her along as he hightailed it out of there as fast as he could.
Ranma heard the man chanting in some weird language but continued to run, only to freeze up as something hit him from behind. He fell to the ground with his whole body feeling like it was on fire.
"What a greedy little curse. If that worked, it was even easier than I expected it to be, but we'll have plenty of time to see what that did later."
"You no get away with this," the so-called guide yelled out while Ranma was still writhing on the ground in pain. "Joketsuzoku come to investigate. Then you find you not only mage in China."
"Hmm, perhaps it would be best not to overstay my welcome," he mused.
The pain finally passing, Ranma found the girl was already trying to pull him back to his feet, but he was distracted from running again when he saw his transformed father charging at their attacker a second time, this time putting his whole body into a flying leap. He was again stopped a couple inches short, and Ranma took to running again. If his father couldn't hurt him, there was nothing Ranma could do. Besides, his dad should be fine. If there was one thing he was even more skilled at than martial arts, it was running away.
"I think everyone here needs to calm down a bit," the 'mage' was it? declared as he began chanting again.
Ranma looked back over his shoulder this time, hoping to dodge whatever might be fired his way, but instead a mist spread out in all directions from the man at a speed far greater than Ranma could outrun. Ranma braced himself for another round of pain, but this time, all that happened was that he suddenly felt very tired. Sluggishly, he tried to resist it but a second later he was out cold.
Ranma tried to force himself awake, getting the feeling that it was important, but something seemed to be fighting back. Still, he pressed on, and was soon able to force his eyes open. Looking around, he saw he that it was now after dark and he was in some kind of wooden cage with the sleeping forms of his father, the guide, and the girl from before. His father was back to normal, and hopefully, Ranma checked behind him but was sad to see the tail was still there. Staying on the ground, Ranma tried to shake his father awake without being noticed, but he didn't get any reaction.
"He was right in the center of the blast," the mage announced from outside the cage. "It will be a while before he wakes up."
Not being much point in pretending to still be asleep, Ranma sat up, seeing his captor standing outside of the cage and drawing some weird symbols on the ground.
"Teleportation circle," he answered as if reading Ranma's thoughts. "We've got a long way to travel, and I'm not about to do it on foot."
"How come my father turned back and I didn't?" Ranma asked him, since he seemed to like hearing himself talk.
"Because my experiment was a success!" he answered excitedly. "Hot water still works on your father, but as far as I can tell, has no effect on you. I really am glad you two came along. You've been a great help in my research."
"I don't want to help a murderer like you with anything!" Ranma snapped angrily, attacking the cage and trying to break through it.
"Those are magically reinforced," he announced when Ranma's attack had no effect. "And for the record, I can hardly be considered a murderer. Those things I brought with me aren't human. They couldn't even exist in this world without my help."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Ranma fired back. "But you got me and my dad cursed too, and now you've made it so I can't even change back. You're a bad guy no matter what you say."
"But think of all I can learn from your sacrifice." the mage replied with a smirk. "The springs work in different ways. Some make you look exactly like the person that drowned there. Some change your personality. So why did yours change your species and gender while leaving you looking very similar to your old body?"
The words made Ranma's blood go cold. Gender? After a quick check Ranma let out a screech of rage.
"It's gone!" he, now technically she, cried out. "Change me back! Right now!"
This was terrible. Even worse than the freakish animal person thing. A girl? That was about the worst possible thing Ranma could turn into. Her dad always made it clear how bad it was to even act like a girl. To actually be one?
"Oh, so now you're ready to help in my research," the mage replied. "Don't worry. I have plenty of experiments left to try out. Just let me finish up here first."
Ranma was in tears now she was so upset. Stupid body was already getting to her. Boys didn't cry. At that point, the girl she'd saved started to stir, slowly sitting up. She looked crushed when she saw the cage she was in, but then turned to Ranma.
"I don't know what exactly happened, but I'm sorry you got involved in this," she told him.
"Don't worry 'bout it," Ranma told her, wiping the tears from her eyes and forcing herself to stop crying. "Not your fault."
"Well, thank you for trying to help," she said. "My name is Felicity. What's yours?"
"Ranma," she answered, before lowering her voice to a whisper. "Now how do we get out of here and way from this jerk?"
"We can't get out," Felicity answered, starting to cry herself. "Even Arthur couldn't break free, and now he's dead. We'll probably all be dead soon."
"Hey, hey," Ranma said. "We won't let that happen. My dad could probably break us out of here if we can just wake him up. He's the strongest martial artist I know."
"I don't know ..." Felicity answered, not at all convinced.
"Just help me out," Ranma pleaded. "Doesn't hurt to wake him even if it doesn't work."
Felicity still looked skeptical, but helped her as the two set to work doing everything they could think of to wake him, from yelling in his ear to pinching him. They even covered his mouth and nose for a full minute to stop his breathing, but all that did was turn his face blue. And Ranma was pretty sure they were running out of time, as the symbols that had been drawn on the ground were now starting to glow with a faint a light. Getting frustrated, Ranma just started kicking his father in the side as hard as he could.
"Ow, ow, hey stop that," his father said drowsily as he finally started to stir.
"Wake up already!" Ranma yelled at him, not slowing his assault at all.
"What's going on?" his dad asked as finally dragged himself to his feet.
"No time for that," Ranma yelled as he heard the mage start chanting again. "Break us out of here now."
Not arguing, Genma slammed his fist into the wood, which didn't budge at all.
"It's magic," Ranma told him. "Don't hold anything back."
"Hmm, I may have to unseal a forbidden technique for this," he announced, as he studied the wood.
"Don't talk about it; just do it!" Ranma yelled out angrily.
"Quiet, Boy," he snapped back. "I'm trying to remember how it goes. It's been a while since I sealed it."
Ranma was impatient as the chanting continued, but let her dad think. Thankfully, it was only a few moments later that he pulled his hand back and swung in forward, firing some sort of disc from his hand that cut right through the wood. Repeating the process, he quickly sliced most of the wall of the cage to pieces. Ranma stood there mouth open. Did her father know magic too?
"Go!" Genma ordered, shoving Ranma through the opening and following after.
"What about the guide?" Ranma asked, looking back over her shoulder to the still sleeping man.
"He'll just slow us down," her dad declared, scooping Ranma into his arms and sprinting toward the edge of the glowing symbols.
"At least get Felicity!" Ranma ordered, struggling to break free of her father's arms as she saw the girl falling behind as she ran after them.
But his dad ignored him as he continued to run, and Ranma was starting to think even they might not make it, as now there was a circle of light around the area that was quickly glowing brighter. Her dad must have had the same thought, as Ranma suddenly found herself thrown forward. Ranma passed over the edge of the circle and looked back mid-flight to see a bright flash of light. She had already roughly skidded to a stop before her eyes had adjusted back to the dark enough to see what had happened. Now there was no sign of her father, Felicity, or anyone else. Even the cage was gone. She was alone out here.
They really had teleported away. Searching the clearing for any clues, Ranma found nothing. She didn't know what to do. How was she supposed to deal with something like magic which she knew nothing about? She had to try to find help. But she didn't even know where she was right now or what direction to go. But Ranma wouldn't let that stop her. She'd show that she could still be tough even if she was stuck in a girl's body. She was really a guy after all, so she'd find help and rescue her father, and Felicity, and even the guide. Deciding one direction was as good as another, she picked one at random and set off.
Mousse was off on his own a short distance outside the village practicing a new technique. When he'd mastered this, he'd definitely be able to impress Shampoo. Then she'd realize how perfect they were for each other. He was just about ready to go back and complete his plan when he saw someone approaching. Had Shampoo come to see him? He rushed toward the figure excitedly, only to stop short when the person started spouting out Japanese. Since when did Shampoo get that good at Japanese? Despite himself, Mousse lowered his glasses over his eyes, being startled to see that not only was the red-headed girl not Shampoo, but that she had what appeared to be cat ears and a tail.
An animal person? Was she part of the Musk? Last he'd heard, they weren't even sure the Musk still existed. And why would one of them be speaking Japanese? Maybe they moved to Japan, and that's why they hadn't been seen in so long. Regardless, she was talking really quickly, and seemed to be very agitated about something. At this speed, Mousse was only picking out the occasional word, and wasn't making much sense of what she was trying to say. He was pretty sure she was looking for something or trying to get directions, but to where or why, he had no idea. Finally, he caught something he recognized, as she said something about Jusenkyo. He didn't know why she'd be looking for that place, but at least he could help out.
"That way," he said in Japanese, pointing toward the cursed springs.
She thanked him, bowing briefly before running off in the direction he'd pointed. Certainly was a strange encounter. He'd have to start working on his Japanese a bit more seriously though in case they ran into each other again. Anyway, he'd had enough training for now, so he quickly made his way back to the village, finally finding Shampoo after a couple cases of mistaken identity.
"I was hoping when you didn't bother me all morning that maybe you'd finally taken the hint," Shampoo told him with a sigh.
"I was out training," he told her. "I'm going to prove to you that I'm worthy of you."
"Mousse," Shampoo told him. "You need to get over this. You're a good fighter, and there are other girls that would be happy to get your attention. But you ignore them completely. You're so focused on me you won't even talk to anyone else our own age."
"That's not true!" Mousse argued. "I talk to other people."
"Really, when was the last time?" Shampoo asked.
"Less than an hour ago," Mousse answered. "When I was out training there was a Musk girl that I chatted with for a while."
"A Musk girl?" Shampoo asked. "If you're going to lie, at least make it more convincing."
"No really," Mousse insisted. "She had cat ears, and a tail, and everything. She spoke Japanese and she wanted directions to Jusenkyo."
"That sounds more like a demi-human than one of the Musk," a new voice added. "Assuming of course this isn't just a story."
Mousse quickly put on his glasses to see that Elder Cologne had been standing next to them this entire time.
"Why won't you believe me?" he answered. "I'm telling the truth."
"A demi-human here in China asking for directions to Jusenkyo?" Cologne replied. "Sounds more likely to be a fantasy to me."
"Really Mousse," Shampoo chimed in. "Just because I told you off for being too obsessed with me doesn't mean you need to make up an imaginary girlfriend."
"She's not my girlfriend!" Mousse insisted. "We just chatted. You know you're the only one for me."
"Whatever you say," Shampoo said dismissively.
"She is too real!" Mousse insisted.
This wasn't going at all like he'd planned. Shampoo was supposed to looking at him in admiration by now, not this. It didn't matter though. This was just a distraction. Today was the day he finally won her over. Then she'd believe he was telling the truth.
Ranma was glad to have a real course set out. She was afraid that boy she'd found hadn't spoken any Japanese when she asked for help. She'd even started babbling out her whole story. Still, he'd finally given her a direction in Japanese, so he must have understood her after all. So she'd hurried all the more, despite being up for nearly a day now.
Only instead of a village, she came to the top of a valley and saw herself looking down on Jusenkyo again. Well, maybe the village was on the other side of the valley. Getting the chills just seeing that place again, Ranma skirted far around it before continuing on. Then she kept traveling for hours on the other side without finding anything. It was really starting to get to her just how alone she was without her dad around. Still finding nothing, and with the sun setting for the second time since she'd escaped, Ranma was forced to admit she had to take a break.
Scavenging up some food and water, she had her first meal in a while and then let herself drift off to sleep. When she woke up, she went back to her search, but still found nothing but wilderness. She was beginning to worry that she'd never see her father again and was fighting really hard while she was searching just to keep herself together. But no, she couldn't think like that. They'd just teleported somewhere. That didn't mean her father was back in a cage. He'd just escape wherever he was and go looking for Ranma.
So Ranma just needed to be somewhere that her father could find her. With that in mind, maybe she should go back to Japan. Back to where they'd lived before they left for China. If she couldn't find her father, maybe she could find someone that knew where to look. And it would be easier to figure out how to get rid of this curse if she could actually talk to people.
With her mind made up, Ranma set to work getting back to Japan. It took her a couple of months to make her way to the coast, having to make sure she didn't starve on the way. Ranma had quickly learned that her appearance could create a bit of a stir when people realized her ears and tail were actually real, so she'd managed to borrow a cloak that could hide both, and made it easier to sneak into towns for a bit of food on the way.
The sea itself proved the greatest challenge yet. She'd swam across it with her father to get to China, but he'd carried her at times when she'd needed a rest. This time, she had to make it the whole way on her own. But one thing that hadn't changed, even being turned into a girl, it was that Ranma didn't give up. No matter how tired she got on the way, she just refused to give in and go under. Finally, she did reach land and used the last of her strength to pull herself a few feet out of the water before collapsing in exhaustion and falling asleep.
From there it was a much easier trek, but there were still a lot of problems. Mostly because Ranma tried to look for help with the curse as she traveled, but it seemed very few people took a ten-year-old seriously when they started asking about magic and curses. She found a few old geezers on the way that at least seemed open to the idea, but didn't have anything to offer beyond good luck charms that did nothing to help.
Once Ranma arrived back at the last place they'd lived before leaving, she began spending her time searching for magic even more seriously while she waited and hoped her father would show up. She had no more luck than before, until one day a middle-aged guy came up to her while she was walking down a side alley.
"Pardon me," he told her. "My name is Takahata, and I hear you've been asking around about magic."
"Yeah," she asked hopefully. "Nice to meet you Takahata-san. Names Saotome Ranma. Do you know anything about curses?"
"Why would a kid like you want to know about something like that?" he asked, as he flipped off the hood to her cloak faster than she could even follow.
"A demi-human?" Takahata suddenly asked in surprise. "How did you even get here?"
"No, this is my curse," Ranma told him. "I'm actually human. You ever hear of Jusenkyo?"
"Can't say that I have," he answered. "Curses aren't really my area of expertise, but if you put that hood back on and follow me, I can take you to someone who might know more."
"Great," Ranma said, actually getting a bit of cheer for the first since Jusenkyo.
"So, Ranma would be a boy's name, right?" Takahata asked as they walked.
"Yeah, I'm a guy," Ranma answered. "Or at least I was before the curse."
"That's ... interesting," he said. "But you shouldn't talk any more about that sort of thing until we get there. It's best if normal people don't find out about things like that."
Ranma wasn't sure why that was, but didn't argue. After a short ride on a train, and a bit of a walk after that, they finally got to a point where Takahata said it was okay to talk about things again. He and an old man named Konoemon, one that turned out to be a mage himself, asked Ranma all sorts of questions. Ranma told them the whole story; about Jusenkyo, the mage, her father, everything. Then the old man started poking and prodding her as if examining something while occasionally mumbling more of those strange words that mages seemed to like.
The whole process made Ranma very uncomfortable. Her experiences with magic hadn't been good, and she didn't like the idea of anyone magicking her up anymore, even if the guy seemed nice enough. So she tried to distract herself from what was going on.
"So how long do you think it will be until you can find the creep that did all this?" she asked.
"Don't worry, we'll find your father whatever it takes," the old mage answered, ignoring the question she'd actually asked. "I can't promise you a date, but we'll locate him as soon as we can. And you can rest assured that we'll make sure you're properly taken care of until he's found."
That sounded like a pretty weak promise to Ranma, but she supposed she should be thankful for whatever help she could get.
"So, you're a mage right?" Ranma asked. "So can't you just magic me back into a guy?"
"I don't think that will work, but let's give it a try," Konoemon answered.
"Wait, what?" Ranma asked in fear, as he started chanting. "What are you doing?"
Ranma closed her eyes and braced herself, but nothing seemed to happen when he finished chanting.
"As I thought," he told her. "That spell should have turned you into an ermine, but Jusenkyo's magic is too strong, and doesn't seem like any other transformations muscling in on its territory. But there might be something I can do."
"Hey, stop already!" Ranma complained as he began chanting again.
She didn't know what an ermine was but wasn't happy that he'd tried to turn her into one. Ranma was just about to make a run for it and leave this nut behind, but again, she didn't feel anything when he finished.
"That's much better," he declared. "Have a look in that mirror there."
Ranma did as she was directed, still seeing the red hair, and other more subtle changes in her face that the curse had made, but there was no sign of the strange ears, or the tail when she looked behind her.
"So why did this work?" Ranma asked, only then realizing that the way she heard what was being said was still off. Reaching up she felt the furry ears on her head, despite seeing nothing in the mirror.
"It's only an illusion," Konoemon told her.
"Then what's the point in the first place?" Ranma asked irritably.
"This way you won't need that cloak of yours," Takahata answered. "It really is quite important that we keep magic a secret, so we can't exactly let you walk around with those cat ears and tail."
"They're not cat ears," Ranma insisted, having been doing her best to convince herself of that. "They're some other animal. Maybe a dog or something. I don't know. Definitely not cat though."
"Well, whatever they are, it's best if they aren't seen," he answered.
"So, isn't there anything you can actually do about the curse?" Ranma asked.
"Maybe with time," Konoemon answered. "But it's a strong and complicated piece of magic, and it's already been altered. We'll set you up a place to stay here, and I'll work on it while the search for your father goes on."
"And what am I supposed to do until then?" Ranma questioned him.
"I'm glad you asked," he answered. "So tell me, how do you feel about going back to school?"
Four Years Later
The introduction to his class certainly hadn't been what he'd expected. With the pranks they'd set up, the class's fawning over how cute he was, and then the fight between Asuna and Ayaka, it had been very loud if nothing else. Which was why Negi was more than a little surprised to see a girl seated in the back was still sleeping soundly with her head against the desk her long pony-tailed hair hanging over the edge of the desk. Looking down at his class list, he found her name. Saotome Ranma. There was a note from Takahata-sensei next to the name that read: "Has trouble making friends."
Well, he was her teacher now, so maybe he could try to help her with that if he got a chance, but for now, he had his first class to teach.
I never expected I'd write any sort of Ranma-chan story, but after devouring the Negima manga recently, I felt compelled to write this. I definitely wanted Ranma to be a student, and given the all-girls nature of the school, this just seemed the best way to go. Still, I can run with it and have some fun writing it.
Now, a few notes about the story itself. This is AU on the Ranma side. Most of his past will be the same as canon, but there will definitely be some changes, but I'm holding my cards very close to my chest in that regard. A few things I would like to make clear though, even if you can probably guess these.
1. Based on the timeline for his leaving for China, Ranma will have met Ukyo but will not have met Ryoga.
2. Ranma's hair isn't in the traditional braid mostly due to the fact he only picked that up as a result of the dragon whisker fiasco. Imagine his hair more like it was in the flashback to the Jusenkyo trip.
3. This story is based on manga continuity for both stories.