In the shadows of the Furinkan High School courtyard, an extremely small woman balanced atop a length of wood quietly observed her surroundings. Of particular interest were the four extremely odd chi signatures spread throughout the area, which danced before her senses like flames come alive.
They were partially human, yet partially not. Further scrutiny revealed that two of them seemed... compressed, somehow, though they still stood out quite a bit compared to any normal person's. The other two signatures lacked this quality, and blazed like beacons before her, their energy shining like miniature suns. As she watched, one signature suddenly went from bright to dim in an instant, which raised an eyebrow- apparently something had not just forced the source of that chi back to "dormancy", but had weakened it to the point that it barely registered to her senses at all. All that was left was a mere flicker- as well as the now normal looking human aspect it had been overlapping with.
Cologne raised a wizened finger to her lips.
What were these strange entities...?
She turned to her right to look at the girl in the altered military uniform, who seemed to be fighting her son-in-law for some reason. The girl's chi was not nearly as strange as the others, but was still worth notice due to how tightly controlled it was- its owner exhibited a jurisdiction over her own life energy that was very nearly on par with an elder's. She still didn't have anywhere near the reserves of one, but she clearly knew how to use what she had. Even as the observer watched her son-in-law surprise his opponent- with the very first move she had taught him, no less- the girl quickly disengaged by lashing out with a lethal strike she obviously didn't intend to actually make contact, setting up her next move in the same instant. She anticipated where and how her enemy would dodge, immediately saw through his defense strategy, and solved that problem in an instant, sending him flying backwards in the culmination of a deeply impressive tactical maneuver.
The amazon elder narrowed her eyes as a purple haired girl she just so happened to recognize emerged from the trees to the courtyard's left, running with notable stiffness towards the girl in white.
Foolish girl, always rushing in. No, that simply wouldn't do right now.
Shampoo was quite surprised when a flash of green and brown seemingly teleported in front of her, forcing her to grind to a halt.
The amazon girl shook her head in confusion, switching to Mandarin before continuing. "Why are you here? How did you know where I-"
"You've been out for an awfully long time for a single delivery, child."
Shampoo blushed. Okay, so she hadn't actually gotten permission to deliver Ranma anything... but the herb was going to lose its effects if she didn't use it soon, and her great-grandmother hadn't been there at the time to ask, so... well, not that it mattered NOW, but...
"As for how I knew where you were, it didn't take long after coming back from the market to find that Mr. Part Time had abandoned his post as well. And as he only risks shirking his duties when Son-in-Law is involved..."
Shampoo's blush turned to a pout. Stupid Mousse...
"I had to close the cafe, you realize. A restaurant without half its staff can hardly stay functioning during the peak of lunch."
The younger amazon blanched. Oh. Oh, this was bad. This was VERY bad. A pay dock would probably be the least of her worries if the entire restaurant was out a day of profits. She might even be forced to-
Cologne sighed and held up a hand, cutting off Shampoo's visions of horror. "I suppose it's just as well. A wave of chi as large as the one that was emitted from here is a concern on any level, so I would have had to close up shop for the day regardless."
Her great-granddaughter began to give a great heaving sigh of relief, before catching herself and suppressing it to a quiet whisper. Cologne mentally snickered.
"Now, was the energy wave produced by that girl there, your wayward husband, or both?" she asked, gesturing to the woman in white and the crater (which the "husband" was currently making his way out of) in turn.
Pointing out the battle only made the Chinese girl remember why she had been heading that way to begin with.
"Aiyah! Great-grandmother, I have to help Airen!"
Shampoo didn't make it a foot before the neck of her outfit was tugged backwards, nearly causing her feet to slip out from under her. The amazon girl managed to recover in time and turned back around, unsure why she was being kept from assisting her love.
"No Xian Pu, we will sit back and observe. There is more to that girl and those I assume she brought with her than meets the eye, and it isn't hard to tell that you've been injured."
Cologne shook her head as her protege grew red with embarrassment. "I take it from the color you're turning that you lost. Who were you fighting?
"Some girl I'd never seen before, who barely comes up to my chest..." Shampoo murmured quietly. "She surprised me with some sort of energy attack, and I ended up outside..."
The elder Joketsuzoku nodded. "I see. Do not fear, child, I'm not angry." she continued, surprising Shampoo, who had been waiting for a verdict. "If you were fighting one of the people I'm observing right now, a loss was an acceptable outcome. Did you administer the Kiss of Death?"
Shampoo cursed under her breath and dropped her head in to her hands- she'd forgotten entirely. She'd really screwed up a lot in the past half hour or so... "No, I was... distracted. Apologies, Great-grandmother. As soon as the girl shows back up-"
Shampoo blinked. "No?" she repeated.
"I do not believe that would be wise in this situation, and I am glad you did not make a snap decision this time as you did the first time Son-in-Law defeated you. As the presiding Joketsuzoku elder, I give you exemption in this case."
...But she'd wanted to get revenge on that girl...
"As I said, we will have to wait and observe for now. There are far too many unknowns at the moment for us to safely involve ourselves, as I'm sure your injuries can attest too. Son-in-Law will be just fine without our help."
Shampoo didn't quite understand, but as it was both the will of an elder and an order from her great-grandmother, she had no choice but to comply. Retreating to the shadow cast by the school's small perimeter wall, she turned her attention back to the confrontation she was not being allowed to interfere with.
"Do your best, Ranma..." Shampoo whispered as she watched her husband reengage the girl in white.
Only a minute or so later, something in the sky heading towards the front of the school caught both amazon women's attention. Shampoo turned around and looked up, squinting at the object as it approached.
"Great-grandmother, is that...?"
Ukyo ran through the hallway towards the stairs, a grin crossing her face as she heard frustrated cursing following a good ways behind her. It was lucky that Kuno and that guy had been yelling at each other loudly enough to be heard even up on the roof, because that cockiness had given the teenage chef some easy insight in to the latter of the two's weakness. Since he had been bragging about how great his eyes were for the first half of the fight, Ukyo had taken an educated guess that he was much less effective without them (even more so than most people would be), and decided to capitalize on that. A flour bomb was most useful as a smokescreen, but it wasn't as if grains of powder flying in to someone's corneas wasn't painful too, so she'd thrown it at his face and taken off. And it had worked even better than she'd hoped.
The sound of footsteps other than her own notifying her that green haired guy was catching up, Ukyo threw a clip of mini spatulas behind her, not bothering to aim. Damn, even blinded he was still fast. She didn't have time for this-!
Her feet skidding around the corner, the young restaurant owner sighed in relief as she spotted the stairs to the first floor. Her pursuer was almost upon her, and she had only been carrying the one flour bomb- but that was alright. She had something even better to use on this guy.
When Sanageyama turned the corner as well, still rubbing his eyes from the highly effective attack/getaway maneuver, Ukyo was waiting mere feet away with her hand raised to head level. But she didn't use it to punch him- instead, she opened it and flung forward what it contained.
Flakes of tempura mixed with gunpowder hit the Athletic Club Committee Chair directly in the face. He fell backward, hacking and coughing as the powder clouding around his face sparked and crackled, conveniently also forcing him to keep his vaunted eyes tightly shut.
The second he recoiled from her, Ukyo turned and bolted for the stairs, mentally congratulating herself at a plan well executed. This guy wasn't so tough as long as you were sneaky. If he was truly the "strongest" of the woman's four henchmen like he'd boasted earlier, Furinkan probably didn't have to worry about being "conquered" any time soon, whatever that meant.
The okonomiyaki chef allowed herself a small smirk as she ran. Things weren't as bad as she'd thought. She was doing well against this guy (she'd heard his name, but didn't really care about it and had quickly forgotten), so Ryoga would probably win against the giant guy, and the principal might even be out of commission for the day. So aside from Ranma's fight, it seemed everything was going fine.
Yes sir, everything was going just fine, right up until the ceiling caved in.
In an instant, the floor above the route to the stairs suddenly crumpled inward and fell, building material raining down directly on to the hallway beneath. Ukyo screamed and threw herself backwards, plowing in to a surprised Sanageyama (who was still stumbling around blindly) and knocking them both to the ground. This managed to keep both of them out of the range of the suddenly collapsing ceiling, which extended all the way down the hall, almost corner to corner, before stopping.
The sky stopped falling after a few seconds, and for a brief time, the only thing that moved was the massive amount of disturbed, swirling particles of dust. Then Sanageyama sat up, rubbing his eyes some more as the clinging powder that had been thrown at them began to dissipate. Ukyo coughed a few times as his shifting lifted her up as well, before attempting to place her hands on the floor and recover.
Both of them then froze in place as noise began to issue from the rubble, and as the dust began to settle, they realized just what had caused the upper hallway to submit to gravity.
Ukyo stared at a very bruised looking Akane, who was laughing weakly/semi-madly in triumph as she slowly stood up, holding a rather scared-stiff looking boy under her left armpit like a giant cardboard cutout.
Sanageyama stared at a very disheveled looking Inumuta, who was groaning in semi-pain as he pushed a rather large chunk of ceiling off of himself while muttering something indistinguishable under his breath.
"Told you... I would hit you... HAH..." Akane panted out with a mad looking grin.
Inumuta proceeded to haltingly stand up himself, shaking off plaster dust combined with floor tile fragments. His mouth held an expression of complete disbelief.
"...How... how could I have been...?"
The Tendo girl continued to bask in her moment of glory right up until she noticed the two person audience they now had. Once she did, her laughter abruptly stopped as she turned to gawk at the pair.
"Wha... Ukyo? What are you DOING?"
Inumuta turned as well, squinting at his fellow council member from beneath his visor.
"I'm sorry, were we interrupting something?" the blue haired boy flatly remarked.
Ukyo and Sanageyama looked at each other and blinked in tandem as it slowly began to sink in that they were lying together on the floor, their heads mere inches apart, with Ukyo's back pressed flush against Sanageyama's chest.
Before either could truly react to this revelation, a small horde of students came rushing down the corridor, only to be stopped in their tracks by the scene right in front of them.
For a split second, the combatants and gambling group simply stared at each other.
"Wait, so UKYO is the one getting a new fiance? Hold on, I want my money back, how were any of us supposed to guess that?!"
The side of a fist hit the the bottom of the great depression in the ground, its owner angry at both his opponent and himself.
He had seen that strike coming. He had even readjusted his balance mid air and grabbed for the sheath, sure that he could use it to get away without being hit. And yet, Ranma had not been prepared for the blast of chi that had come ripping out of its tip an instant later. So now, he was lying at the bottom of a blast crater, with both his stomach and chest hurting as much they ever had, and still no clue as to why he had even been forced in to this fight to begin with.
Ranma stood with a pained grunt and looked up at the edge of the large half-spherical hole in to which he'd tumbled.
Well, time to get back to it.
He made his way over to the lip of the crater and swung his arms over the side, allowing him to push off the ground with enough force to lift him completely out of the earthy basin and land himself back in a standing position. The martial artist tried to ignore the protest his lower and upper body gave at doing so.
The woman was waiting for him.
"I take it you still ain't plannin' on surrenderin'?"
In answer, the woman simply smiled and made a "come on" gesture with her free hand.
Ranma smirked- he knew he was distinctly lacking any sort of plan to put his opponent down other than "hit and don't get hit back", but he'd always been better at improvising anyways.
"Yeah, didn't think so."
Grinning, he dove right in.
A shing of steel later, the martial artist couldn't help but notice his opponent's style had changed. Hell, anyone would have. Whereas before she was mainly blockading his strikes with her sword case and waiting for attacks of opportunity, now the sword was out of its sheath, and the woman wielded the two pieces in tandem. Ranma would have thought that impressive- dual wielding wasn't exactly a common skill- were it not so potentially lethal in what had seemed up until now to be a simple battle for dominance.
...although, actually, it still wasn't a terribly "dangerous" fight. She wasn't actually attacking with the sword, only using it as a shield, forcing Ranma to pull back attack after attack to keep from slicing a finger, hand, or foot off. She maneuvered the weapon in ways that he could easily evade ever striking it, but only if he either cut off his own attack entirely, or diverted it to a different angle that she could either dodge or counter. She seemed slower from the working over he'd given her with the Chestnut Fist earlier, but her rather dirty tactic was enough to keep the fight from going anywhere quickly.
Ranma grimaced- great. She was using live steel against him, but since she wasn't doing so in a way that aimed to seriously harm, he couldn't really get legitimately angry at her the way he had with opponents like Taro and Ryu. She was willing to do anything that would let her win, but only up to a certain point- sort of like his own credo, really.
It was still ridiculously unfair though, which the martial artist could easily find it in himself to be rather miffed about.
"Would ya put the sword down already?!" Ranma yelled with obvious annoyance as he was forced to divert another strike to keep from splitting his palm open.
"NO! In times of strife, it is those who rise above the common ideals of what is fair and acceptable that achieve success in the end! If it is for the sake of triumphing in this conflict, Kiryuin Satsuki will do whatever it takes!" the woman shouted back as Ranma's old enemy, the sheath from hell, came rocketing towards his chin.
The martial artist couldn't help but puzzle over that statement as he smashed the sword case off course with his other hand. Geez, he'd been even more right than he'd known. To hear his own school's motto practically parroted back at him; that was kind of weird coming from someone he had only known for the duration of this fight.
...oh, and THAT was her name? He'd totally missed that earlier.
Ranma pulled back after a failed feint attack- which his opponent was annoyingly good at noticing- and used the small break in the action to try and figure out a way around the sword problem. The girl took advantage of the change in distance to quickly swing her sword at the ground near her feet, the pressure wave created by doing so sending a rain of dirt chunks flying six feet in to the air. The martial artist didn't stay confused about what she was doing for long, as the sheath in her other hand was pulled back and swung.
Ranma ducked and weaved as shards of Earth, hardened and tempered from being stamped over by hundreds of students every day for years on end, were belted at him like rapid fire baseballs. Luckily, they were slow enough to dodge, as they weren't being hit with chi-enhanced strength- no wonder, they would probably disintegrate.
"The hell kind of attack was that?" Ranma asked sarcastically as he flipped over the final dirt clod/virtual rock. Seemed more like something HE would try and pull than-
"One that WORKED!" came the reply as a sword-created shockwave, nearly on par with the one that had decimated the front of the school, came flying out of the dust cloud that had naturally formed from beating the tar out of a bunch of dirt. Ranma's eyes widened in realization as he quickly estimated time to impact and went with the first idea that came to mind.
The chi blast was not aimed at the oncoming attack, but directly in to the sky. As per Newton's third law (which only sometimes chose to grace Nerima with its presence), Ranma was propelled backwards in to the Earth as the Kiryuin lady's attack passed harmlessly overhead, thankfully going completely over top of the school this time. He immediately rolled and kicked back to his feet, reassuming his previous position.
"You were saying?"
The woman smiled as her miniature smokescreen dissipated, as if having almost expected such a result. Ranma grinned back- honestly, he could respect an opponent like this. He had no idea why they were fighting, but she certainly was well trained, and seemingly not looking to cause any permanent harm to anyone despite the very sharp blade she held. Thus far, she had really only been actually attempting to hit him with blunt attacks- even the wave from just now probably wouldn't have done more than smash him in to something- and she didn't seem to have a personal vendetta against him or anything, which was a rarity in his fights.
Though, he was still pretty sure he'd heard something about "conquering" in that speech he'd only half-listened too earlier, and the talk of being "crushed beneath their feet" before the fight had even started meant her intentions likely weren't exactly pleasant. Oh well.
The battle at a temporary standstill again, Ranma took the opportunity to consider what to do next. If he wanted to get past the sword, he probably needed to pull out another special technique to surprise her with- but which one? He didn't even have to try first to tell that "Satsuki" had too much self control to be led in to a Hiryu Shoten Ha- even if he managed to get her to follow him in the spiral, she likely wouldn't get angry enough to power it even if he spent the entire time insulting her. The Amaguriken had worked well once, but she would be prepared for that now, and at that sort of speed he might not be able to stop if she mounted any sort of defense with her sword; not to even mention he wasn't exactly feeling up to another full fledged fist barrage when it could all too easily lead to another blast to the stomach/chest. Maybe the U...
...where was that whistling noise coming from?
Before Ranma could so much as look around, he was promptly blindsided by a flying dinner table.
Both he and the piece of furniture went tumbling backwards, but rolled/crashed to a stop before going all that far. Only a few seconds later, the table lay partially wrecked on its side, while Ranma lay with his limbs splayed out upon the ground, his head now facing the sky.
The other head- the one sticking out of the center of the table- moaned.
Ranma simply stared up at it incredulously until it turned to look at him.
"Er, sorry, I- oh, hey, Ranma! It's you!" Tsubasa remarked as he looked around, seeming confused. "Wait a second, this is Furinkan! You liar! You told me you didn't dress up all that often, but you're going to school like that?!"
Ranma tilted his head up to stare at his chest and found his view blocked by two rather large (and annoyingly wet) mounds of flesh that hadn't been there a few seconds ago. Slowly, he (now she) turned her head to the side to stare at the shattered remnants of a crystal flower vase, which had apparently upturned its contents- all over her, naturally- upon impact.
Having confirmed what had hit her, the occasional girl lolled her head back in to a neutral position, staring up in to the heavens. It didn't take that long for her to figure out what she wanted to say.
"You have GOT to be kidding. That has got to be the most unlikely way I have ever been splashed, bar NONE. Why do you do this?" Ranma groused, aiming her complaints at whatever Kami had been screwing with her life since Jusenkyo, or perhaps just the universe in general.
"Hey, this isn't a plot to seduce Ukyo, is it?! If it is, I'll-"
No, no, enough. She could not deal with stupid accusations today. There were bigger concerns.
"Just GO, Tsubasa." Ranma muttered, her chi flaring in to the visible spectrum as she stood and turned back to her stone faced opponent.
Tsubasa gulped, not having been privy to what an angry, chi-using martial artist looked like before now. "Uh, yeah, I'll... I'll just go do that..."
The crossdresser popped out of the table- for some reason garbed in a dress so frilly and sweet it may very well have given even Shiratori Asuza a toothache- and scurried off through the front gate, vanishing as if he had never been there.
Barring the wreckage of the table, which remained. But otherwise, gone.
Ranma tilted her head from side to side to crack her neck, reanalyzing the situation. Okay, now that she was no longer flaring with anger over being hit by a falling hardwood dining set, she could think straight- maybe Table-basa's "intervention" had been a good thing. She'd sustained only minor injuries from the collision, and in exchange she'd gotten exactly what she had been hoping to get earlier- she was now in her girl form, if from the least probable source of water imaginable. Her upgraded speed probably wouldn't be something this Satsuki girl was expecting either, which took care of how to catch her off guard easily enough.
But the pigtailed aquatransexual was also feeling the exertion from the fight thus far, and her injuries weren't helping any. Was the speed increase going to be enough to swing this fight definitively in her favor at this point?
She gave the matter all of half a second's thought before shrugging it off. She'd just have to find out.
Dialing back her chi aura so as not to waste energy, the martial artist began walking sedately back towards the girl in the military outfit, who was standing in the same ready position she'd been in when Tsubasa had touched down. Ranma noted that she didn't even look surprised by anything that had just happened. Was this woman made of ICE?
As her opponent walked back towards her, Satsuki kept her features stilled in the cool, some-might-say haughty expression that she wore so often. Behind that mask, her mind whirled like a panicked tornado as she tried to make some sense of what had just happened.
It wasn't as though she really needed to keep testing Saotome. He had already proven himself to be better than any of her current Elite Four in terms of combat skill, and hadn't backed down in the slightest since they'd started- she hadn't fought anyone this good in... ever, honestly. Whether he qualified for any sort of particular position at her school was besides the point. She had already decided to extend an invitation to him; the details could be worked out later.
But in order to get him to accept that invitation, she needed to win this fight. If what Satsuki had seen earlier was any indication, Saotome wasn't much one for school, but she could likely bait the hook of transferring to Honnouji with the promise of strong opponents, as well as the niceties that being a three star student at her school would afford. Saotome didn't seem too far removed from a more noble version of Sanageyama, so it seemed like that sort of strategy would work.
At the same time, if she lost, there wouldn't be much incentive for him to take her at her word. Coming from a defeated opponent, such a promise would ring hollow. So she would need to prove she was stronger here and now, and leave him with something to reach for until she could explain everything in full.
...Of course, if she was profiling him wrong then this could all be pointless. She had an extremely small frame of reference to work out his personality- namely, the words and actions he'd displayed between now and when they'd arrived- but she'd previously managed to make it work with each of the Elite Four, even when she'd known Inumuta for less than ten seconds before inviting him to her school. With any luck that trend would continue, but still, she couldn't be certain. Even using her sword the way she was could lead to him not respecting her if she was reading his actual scruples concerning "fighting etiquette" incorrectly- so hopefully, she wasn't.
All this led back to her current situation, where it was looking more and more like none of that would even matter until she regained some basic understanding of what the hell was going on.
Was this a trick? Some sort of ruse designed by Saotome to keep opponents off balance? Or was it an actual, physical transformation of some kind, meaning he had actually just changed genders? If so, HOW? And why had being hit by a girl dressed as a dining table of all things triggered it? Where had SHE come from?!
"Hey, you ready ta' finish this?" Satsuki's apparently now female opponent asked as she stopped only a few yards width away.
Satsuki briefly closed her eyes, took in a deep breath, and calmed her mind before nodding. While she was utterly mystified by the fact that her opponent was now a girl for some reason, she couldn't afford to be distracted. She needed to keep herself collected if she wanted to win this fight, along with any chance of recruiting Saotome at all.
The two stared each other down, all but daring the other to move.
And then the redhead dashed forward, quick as lightning-
Satsuki's brain reeled in alarm at the sudden change in speed even as she desperately raised Bakuzan to defend, too slow-!
Satsuki felt something impact and stick to her rear, triggering horrible flashbacks of every other touch she'd ever received there. She immediately whirled her head around and drove her sword case at whatever the object was, knee-jerk reaction entirely overriding the fact that she was currently in battle. Said object flew off before the case even made contact, leaping around in a blur before landing in front of her and revealing itself to be... a gnome?
"Now what do we have here?" the two foot tall creature spoke with a joyful cackle. "I think I'd remember a behind as fine as yours! You must be from out of town!"
Satsuki looked down at it with disgust as she quickly reasserted her iron self-control. Was this a person?
Seeing the obvious distaste in her expression, the man(?)'s eyes abruptly turned large and teary in an extremely disturbing rendition of the puppy dog pout. "You don't like me...? How cruel...!" he whined. "I'm just an old, tired man, in need of rest..."
The crying stopped as the thing leapt at Satsuki without warning, heading directly for her chest. "...and come to think of it, your bosom looks like the perfect spot for a nap!"
Caught completely off guard by the situation she was currently being confronted with, Satsuki began moving a few crucial milliseconds too late.
Thankfully, her opponent took the initiative for her as a fist impacted with the back of the gnome's head in midair, driving him in to the ground. A second later, he sprang back up, looking no worse for wear.
"RANMA-CHAN!" the man yelled excitedly as his eyes met the angry redhead's, his mood switching in an instant. "Ooh, ooh, before I forget! I brought you back a present- behold!"
From within his purple gi, the miniature person pulled out an... extremely sheer set of red lingerie.
Satsuki resisted the urge to rub her eyes to make sure she was seeing the scene before her correctly. Her opponent gaped for a moment before his... her eyes shut tightly, her brow slanting down as far as it would go and a twitching snarl quickly working its way across her face. Her arms stiffened like iron rods by her sides, fists held horizontal and clenched hard enough to almost break skin.
"This is some of the finest underwear I've ever obtained! Said to have been worn by Nobunaga Oichi herself!" the small man announced with glee. "...Won't you model them for your master, Ranma-chan?"
"NO I'M NOT GONNA WEAR THAT YA WRINKLED LECH!" Saotome screamed back, lashing out in an attempt to tear the flimsy garb away from him. The man simply bounced away, not looking the least bit perturbed.
"Aww, but I stole them just for you!" he said with another disturbing, watery eyed lip quiver as he tucked the undergarments back in to his purple gi.
"When the hell did you even get back in to town?!" the redhead questioned, utter fury in her eyes.
"Heh, about four hours ago, give or take! And if you won't model them, then at least give your master a welcome-back hug!"
Satsuki stared as the troll-like midget latched on to Saotome's chest, gripping and fondling it like some sort of semi-human burr, as Saotome herself desperately tried to wrench/beat him off.
"Ah, how I've missed this!"
"GET OFF ME OLD FREAK!"
Satsuki's eyebrow began twitching uncontrollably.
She would not lose her composure here. She would not lose her composure here. She would NOT lose her composure here...
Gamagori gently shook his unconscious opponent.
Gamagori heartily shook his unconscious opponent.
Gamagori took his unconscious opponent by the shoulders and shook him up and down like a overly enthused kid trying to discover the contents of a Christmas present.
The younger teen's head lolled backwards, blood still trailing out of his nose.
Frowning, Gamagori set his insensate adversary down against one of the few nearby trees that had NOT been toppled during their fight, before sitting down himself in a semi-lotus position and planting his hands firmly on his knees.
What was he supposed to do now? Should he be waiting for the boy to wake up, or was there something more productive he should be doing? He hadn't gotten to finish the "testing", but as the teen was now out cold, and seemingly for a good while, it didn't seem a conclusion would be reachable any time soon. As taking care of the teen was the only order Gamagori had been given by his lady, he now needed to figure out whether it would be more appropriate to return to her side for further instruction, or to go and be proactive in conquering this school with his fellow council members. Given the energy beam that had shot out of the wall a minute ago, the Disciplinary Committee Chair was certain that, at the very least, Nonon was already inside.
His pondering was cut short as the very same girl came running frantically out of the school building's new deluxe-size entrance, looking very pissed off- yet also somewhat alarmed, something Gamagori had rarely seen her express.
Spotting her fellow council member, the pink haired girl shouted a warning even as she spun around and began running back towards the courtyard.
"Hey, Toad! Watch out, the coin bitch somehow stopped my uniform from working!"
Gamagori turned to look at the gaping hole that now existed in the side of the school just as said "coin bitch" walked out of it. Nonon hightailed it out of the area as the new woman's gaze alighted upon the Disciplinary Committee Chair.
"I don't recognize you. Are you an associate of that girl's?" she asked as she stalked up to him, yen piece held ready between the fingers of her right hand.
Gamagori took a brief glance at his still comatose opponent before standing up and replying. "Yes, I am."
"Ah, so you're another delinquent then."
She moved back, positioning herself with her coin aimed dead center at Gamagori's chest. Hinako had no idea why her attempt at draining the girl from before had worked- she had gained more energy- and yet not worked- the girl hadn't looked drained in the slightest- but if it didn't work on this one, she could just blast him with a Happotsurisengaeshi.
Gamagori held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Please, hold. I have no intent to fight or otherwise harm you."
"Oh? Did you not do this to him?" Hinako asked icily, gesturing at Ryoga.
Gamagori considered his answer. "Partially. We fought, but what knocked him out was a purple haired girl blown out of the building by what I believe was Jakuzure's attack. I certainly was not aiming to make him lose consciousness."
He had kind of needed him awake after all.
Slowly, the hostile expression dropped from the woman's face, though the coin remained held high.
"Are you a teacher at this school?" Gamagori asked. It made no sense, but she was far too old to be a student here...
"Indeed I am. My name is Ninomiya Hinako, English teacher and head disciplinarian of this school."
Oh good, someone who gave their full name right up front... who shared his occupation, even.
"Why was Jakuzure running away from you?"
"Because I intend to punish her for her delinquency. She created an enormous hole on the outside of the school, destroyed the walls of at least two classrooms, and attacked both myself and the girl you saw for no apparent reason. I was already taking care of the purple haired one, but your friend made quite clear her intent to assault the both of us. Her delinquency could not be more obvious, so she will have to be dealt with."
Gamagori nodded, crossing his arms and closing his eyes to think on the matter for a brief time.
Eventually, he came to a decision. He knew what he had to do.
...and so the three star student lowered himself in to as low a standing bow as he could muster, which still ended up being just as tall as the woman he was inclining himself too.
"As the Disciplinary Committee Chair of Honnouji Academy, I formally apologize on my associate's behalf. I've no idea why Jakuzure would think it appropriate to attack a teacher, let alone use that laser of hers while still inside the building. I will do my best to make sure reparations are made."
Hinako hadn't been expecting that, and slowly the arm holding her yen piece drifted back to her side.
"...You're an awfully polite young man. You don't seem like a delinquent... what's your name?" she asked as he straightened back up.
"Gamagori Ira." the teen in question replied, resisting the urge to yell his given designation at maximum volume the way he usually did.
"Hmm. Perhaps you can explain to me why you and that girl are here, evidently assailing other people. What is your purpose in doing so? Do you have a legitimate reason?"
Gamagori squinted at that. This was the third person out of three who apparently just didn't get it. Had ANYONE listened to them when they'd arrived? Or had their intentions somehow not been clear?
...He had to ask. This was becoming downright exasperating.
"We did explain why we are here and what we are doing. Not that long ago in fact, and loud enough for the entire school to hear. If I might ask, is there a particular reason you- or any others, actually- may have missed it?"
The Disciplinary Committee Chair could have sworn he saw a sweatdrop run down the brunette woman's head at that.
"...I'm afraid I was rather scatterbrained today up until a little while ago." she replied after a long pause. "You'll have to forgive me if I didn't hear it. Would you mind explaining it again?"
Gamagori thought the matter over for a moment.
Well, his objective was out cold anyways, so he didn't have much else to do, but he couldn't truly tell her anything. The ruse had to be upheld, and he doubted their stated goal would go over all that well with the woman. Since she clearly had combat ability, as she'd sent Nonon running, by all rights they SHOULD have been fighting right about-
The three star brought a hand to his chin. As a teacher/disciplinarian, she would likely respond better to the threat of life fibers if it was simply explained to her outright. Certainly better than she would if he first told her they had come to put this school and everyone in it under their thumb for no reason he could give. And if she HAD somehow stopped Nonon's goku uniform...
"Yes, but I will need to ask for permission to do so first. Come with me." Gamagori pronounced, gesturing for the woman to follow him.
Hinako looked in the direction he intended to go before replying.
"Very well. I would like to speak with the pink haired girl anyways, and I'm sure I saw her run off in that direction..."
The two authoritarians began their short, calm walk back to the courtyard. Just as they had moved past the trees, a white robed figure emerged from the school building, dragging itself out of the laser made breach.
"Wait..." moaned Mousse as he looked around for Shampoo. Where had she gone...?
It didn't really matter. Having used the last of his strength to crawl his way outside, Mousse finally re-collapsed right next to Ryoga's inert but smiling form, joining the Lost Boy and a certain Kuno in a deep, tired slumber.
And lo, the Anti-Ranma Moron Triad was finally reunited.
...if not in the land of the conscious.
AN: This chapter was not SUPPOSED to be this long, but it just kept getting bigger, so- here. Take it. Not quite satisfied with it, but hopefully it still reads well.
It's... somewhat unclear how understanding Tsubasa is of Ranma's curse. He says Ranma and he have the same "interests", implying he doesn't get it, but it could have been just very odd phrasing or teasing. He SAW Ranma change right in front of him, and he doesn't have the same mental barrier that Kuno does, so... eh? I just wrote it that he calls it "dressing up" one way or the other.
As promised, no ultra length author's note this time! Hope you're enjoying this! (And if not, why are you still here? Go, go, find something you enjoy reading or doing! Life's too short to sit there cry- er, wasting time on something you're slogging through, so go! Have fun! Take the threads of fate, turn them in to your own! Do it! Do it now!)