A Ranma 1/2 / Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki crossover series. Rated PG-13.
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Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Viz Communications, Inc. and was created by Rumiko Takahashi.
Tenchi Muyo! and its characters are the property of AIC and Pioneer LDC, Inc. and was created by Masaki Kajishima.
This story is of my own derivation and is not intended for commercial purposes, so please don't sue me.
Author's Notes: Someone asked about Ranma's power when in cursed form. I've seen some Tenchi fanfics where Ryoko is virtually helpless without her power jewels. In the OVA, Ryoko is able to fly, teleport, and phase through matter just fine without the jewels. She did seem to need at least the faux jewel to form the light sword and blasts she used at Tenchi's school, but I figure she'd probably be able to form at least a few blasts before running low on power. Someone might say that Ranma was capable of more ki blasts just a little later in the Ranma timeline; that was emotion-based ki, while this ki isn't. It remains to be seen what will happen with Ranma's cursed form when he figures that out.
Ranma gradually regained consciousness to find herself suspended upside down between the strange wooden cylindrical machines. Looking around, she noticed a young woman sitting at a table, sipping a drink.
"Ah! You're awake. It's been some time, hasn't it Ryoko?" She left the table and approached Ranma.
The only problem was, the girl wasn't speaking Japanese. Ranma only recognized the last word - Ryoko. It was that same name that had been asked for back at the school. She cleared her throat and replied in Japanese.
"I have no idea what you just said, and I have no idea who this Ryoko you are looking for is."
Ayeka frowned. "Why do you insist on using that barbaric tongue? I don't know what kind of game you are trying to play, but I won't fall for it. You are going back to Jurai for trial, but not before you tell me where Yosho is!"
Ranma just hung there. There wasn't much else she could do. The girl either didn't speak Japanese, or chose not to. "Look, I might look like this person you are lookin' for, but I ain't them. It's a curse. Just get me some hot water and I'll prove it!"
"What are you talking about?! Curses?! Hot water?! Tell me where my brother is!" She gestured to Azaka and Kamidake. Arcs of electricity flared between the pair, causing Ranma to convulse, but not in pain.
Ranma burst into laughter. "HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... PLEASE STOP... HAHAHAHAHA... THAT TICKLES..." Ranma continued laughing.
Ayeka looked on in surprise. "This seems to have the opposite effect on you." Another gesture put a stop to the shock field.
Ranma tried to get control of herself. She had been laughing so hard, she was crying. "I hate being tickled. My Pop has a stupid tickle attack he used to use on me." She shuddered at the memory. "Look, if you wanna talk to me, do it in Japanese. I don't speak whatever it was you were speakin' before."
Ayeka switched to Japanese. "I was asking, where is my brother?! Where is Yosho?!"
Ranma rolled her eyes. "I don't know you, and I certainly don't know your brother. I'm tellin' you, my name is Ranma! Ranma Saotome of the Saotome School of Indiscriminate Grappling."
A pair of small metal spheres flew over to Ayeka. One addressed her, "Princess Ayeka. It is time for bed."
Ayeka frowned at the device. "Not now. I am questioning the prisoner."
"The Queen has given me strict orders concerning your care."
Ayeka capitulated to its request. "Oh, all right." She turned to her guardians. "Take her to a holding cell."
Katsuhito walked through Nerima as Funaho directed him to the master key. It wasn't hard to guess his destination, what with the Juraian battleship hovering low in the sky.
"RYOKO!! COME ON OUT!! I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE!! YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME!!"
Katsuhito wasn't surprised as a shot flared, and the windows of the shops around him shattered.
He adjusted his glasses. "Ah - the impetuosity of youth." He calmly resumed a leisurely walk toward Furinkan High. He reflected on how the city had changed since he had last visited. So much was different - a far cry from his shrine outside Okayama. He made a mental note to try to get out more.
He paused outside the school gates as Ryu-Oh rose into the sky, dwindling slowly until it could no longer be seen. He frowned. Funaho still placed the master key in the school, so the cursed individual must not have had it with them. He entered the grounds and walked up to the main doors. No one challenged him as he entered the building. It was one of the good points about being a Shinto priest - he could go almost anywhere unchallenged.
He climbed the stairs to the second floor and stopped near room 2-E. A pair of teenage girls were just outside the room talking. One girl had long black hair, and was holding two bookbags. She appeared to be upset.
"It's my fault! I fed him some nonsense about it being his responsibility to protect the school and made him go out there!"
The other had short brown hair. She placed a hand on the first girl. "He probably would have gone anyway. He'll be fine! He's probably tearing the ship apart from the inside right now."
Katsuhito decided to join in the conversation. "I wouldn't be too sure."
The brown-haired girl frowned at him. "And who might you be? How would you know?"
He ignored her and turned to the black-haired girl. "I believe you have something that belongs to my family. A sword hilt? Made of wood with three jewels in the base?"
The girl tightened her grip on one of the bags. "How do you know about it?"
He raised an eyebrow. "How do I know about the divine object used to seal the spring in Jusenkyo?" He smiled as the girls gaped. "It was an ancestor of mine who defeated the demon. I take it you are acquainted with the young man cursed in the pool?"
The black-haired girl nodded.
Katsuhito pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose. "Tell me, does the young man - change? Other than physically, I mean."
Akane clenched her hands into fists and growled, "Yeah! He turns into a rude egotistical jerk!"
Nabiki rolled her eyes. "Now Akane. You know perfectly well that Ranma is like that all the time." She faced the elderly priest. "I take it you are worried that perhaps the demon is coming forward while Ranma is in his cursed form?"
Katsuhito nodded. "Yes. It is refreshing to see a pretty young girl with a sharp mind."
The brown-haired girl raised an eyebrow as a slight smirk pulled up the corners of her lips. "Flattery doesn't work on me, and you've yet to introduce yourself."
Katsuhito smiled and sketched a bow. "Katsuhito Masaki. My family has cared for a shrine outside of Okayama for the last seven hundred years. And you lovely ladies are - ?"
Akane fumed. Just another perverted old man. Why wasn't there anyone like Dr. Tofu or her father? Er, well, like Dr. Tofu at any rate.
Nabiki gave him a level stare. "Nabiki Tendo, and this is my sister Akane. So the Heavenly Warrior who defeated the demon came to Japan and settled in Okayama?"
Katsuhito returned the look. "Yes - according to the legend." He looked around the hall. While currently empty, there was no reason to expect it to stay that way. "Perhaps it would be better to discuss this someplace more private."
Akane glared in hostility. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?! We aren't going anywhere with you!"
Nabiki frowned at her. "Settle down." She turned to Katsuhito. "We'll discuss this at our home. Our father and Mr. Saotome, the cursed boy's father, will wish to be a part of this discussion. Especially considering Ranma's abduction."
Ranma sat in the cell, wondering how she was going to escape. She'd tried to force the bars - such as they were. It seemed that the cell was like much of the rest of this ship - a living entity. The bars of the cell were vines that entangled you if you tried to pass through. They were also extremely tough. Ranma had not been able to force her way through. They also inhibited whatever power allowed Ranma's cursed form to pass through walls and other objects. All in all, it was a very effective way to keep someone from escaping. She ran her hand through the grass. This was more like a park than a space ship.
A noise in the bushes nearby caught her attention. She could just make out someone peeking through the branches.
"Hey! Is someone there?!" She moved over to the vines, stopping just short of them so she wouldn't be entangled again. "Hello? I won't hurt you."
A young girl poked her head through the bushes. She had light blue-green hair pulled into two long tails, and looked rather nervous. "You're a bad person. You hurt all those people."
Ranma gave an exasperated sigh. "I know I look like this Ryoko character, and I know she was supposed to be some kinda demon, but that ain't me! I'm not this Ryoko. Hell - I'm not even a girl! I'm a guy and this is just a curse I got in China."
The girl was petting some kind of animal in the crook of her arm. Ranma looked at it nervously before deciding it wasn't a cat. She moved back away from the edge of the cell and sat down.
"Look, I can prove it. Just go get some hot water and leave it just outside the bars." She gave the girl a pleading look. "Please! I'm not Ryoko, but I can't prove it without hot water."
The girl frowned, then disappeared into the shrubbery. Ranma hoped she was going for some hot water. A short time later, the girl was back holding a cup in one hand. Her pet scampered at her feet as she held out a wooden handle that looked suspiciously like the divine object Ranma had brought from China.
"You just stay over there until I set this down and move away." She waved the thing in Ranma's direction.
Ranma shivered. If it was anything like the divine object, she wasn't about to risk it. She had seen what happened to her pop the few times he'd tried to handle it directly. "No problem. I ain't comin' anywhere near that thing."
The girl set the cup down, then quickly backed away. "Okay. There's the hot water."
Ranma stood smoothly and slowly approached the edge of the cell. She didn't want to spook the kid. This might be her only chance to get back home. She reached through the bars and pulled the cup inside. She made sure the kid was watching, then upended the cup over her head. Ranma sighed in relief as he felt the familiar change back to his normal form.
The little girl was clearly shocked at seeing the feared space pirate Ryoko change into a young man with black hair pulled back in a ponytail. She knew from reports that Ryoko could split her form, but not change it. Even more telling was the sense she got through her link to the Royal Trees - this really wasn't Ryoko!
Ranma smiled as nicely as he could. "See? This is who I really am. My name is Ranma, Ranma Saotome of the Saotome School of Indiscriminate Grappling." He sat back down again. "You're probably wonderin' how I changed like that."
The girl nodded dumbly. She grabbed her pet and started stroking it unconsciously.
"Well, 'bout ten years ago, my pop took me on a trainin' trip. He wanted me to be the best martial artist of my generation. We traveled all over Japan trainin' at every dojo we could. Finally, there was nowhere left to train, so we headed to China." He wasn't sure the girl understood any of this, but kept going.
"After a few months, we wound up at this trainin' ground. Only, this was no ordinary trainin' ground. The place was cursed! The place has all a these pools, and if somethin' drowns in these pools, whoever falls into the pool after that is cursed to change into whatever drown there when they get splashed with cold water. Hot water will change them back to normal." He waved at himself. "I had the bad luck to fall in this pool where a demon had drown after fightin' some Heavenly Warrior seven hundred years ago. For the last month, cold water has been changing me to look like this Ryoko character, but it's not who I am. Ryoko died seven hundred years ago."
The girl looked torn. "This Heavenly Warrior who fought Ryoko - what happened to him?"
Ranma shook his head. "I wish I knew. The guide gave me an old scroll and a divine object he claimed belonged to the warrior, but all I got from the scroll was that the warrior left the place after defeatin' Ryoko and may have headed East. I've tryin' to find anything about him or the divine object so that I can get rid a this curse."
The girl now looked a little curious. "This divine object - what does it look like?"
Ranma gestured at her. "It looks kinda like that thing you were pointin' at me earlier, 'cept this thing is about a foot long, looks kinda like a sword hilt, and has three red jewels in the base."
The girl thought about it. It certainly sounded like Tenchi-ken, except for the jewels in the base. "Where is it?"
Ranma tried not to look too excited. "It's back with my stuff at the school where I was captured. If you take me there, I can show it to you."
The girl considered it, then pointed her device at the cell. There was a soft glow, then the vines drew apart, allowing Ranma to exit the cell.
He cautiously exited, then slowly approached. He was trying to avoid scaring her. He gave her a small bow. "Thanks for believin' me. I really don't mean you or the other girl any harm. I'm a martial artist, and it's a martial artist's duty to protect the weak."
The girl smiled, then returned the bow. "I'm Sasami."
Ranma returned the smile. "It's nice to meet you, Sasami." He glanced again at her pet. He certainly didn't recognize the thing. "Cute pet. At least it's not a c-cat."
She looked puzzled. "What's a cat?"
Ranma shivered. "It's an evil creature, with claws and teeth, that likes to bite and scratch..." He trailed off and tried to divert his thoughts from the subject.
Sasami noted his reactions. "It sounds awful!"
Ranma nodded. "If you come across one, just run!" He looked around. "This is pretty strange for a space ship." He shrugged. "Not that I been in any."
The little girl giggled lightly. "You're silly!" She looked at him speculatively. He was rather handsome and pretty nice. It was a shame he had to wind up with such a horrible curse, but she was sure that once they found Yosho, he'd be able to straighten everything out. She had a sudden inspiration. "Well, if you want to go back, we'll need something first."
Ranma looked at her quizzically. "What?"
Sasami gave him a mischievous look. "Follow me. I'll tell you on the way." She started off through the brush.
Ranma hesitated a moment, then followed. They traversed a fair distance as Ranma listened with half an ear. His main train of thought was on building a map in his head. The measurements didn't match; it was as if the interior of the ship was larger than what he had seen from the ground. Was he even on that same ship anymore? He was brought back to reality as Sasami stopped behind some brush a short distance from a small structure.
Sasami waved at it. "This is my sister's bedroom. We'll wait here for her to go to sleep."
Ranma nodded and settled down to wait. It was only a short while later that the lights went out. Ranma rose silently to his feet.
"So I just gotta get the headpiece she was wearing earlier, right?"
Sasami nodded. "That's right. She's asleep now, so you can sneak in and get it." She didn't get a response and glanced over where Ranma had been. He was nowhere to be seen. "Where'd he go?"
Ranma moved soundlessly through the light brush. He didn't like having to do this; it was too much like some of the "games" Genma had made Ranma play when he was younger. He was only doing it for two reasons: first, it was Sasami's sister - if they got caught, Ranma knew Sasami wouldn't come to any harm; second, the older girl gave him the willies. She had captured him with ease, and showed a ruthlessness during her short interrogation that made his skin crawl. He wanted to be away from the ship before the girl found out he was out of his cell. Sasami was the key to this, but apparently, her sister's headpiece was the key to the ship.
He slipped over the rail onto a balcony and slipped into the small building. A quick look around revealed no sign of the headpiece, so he moved into the bedroom proper. Sasami's sister lay asleep in a huge bed. She also still wore the headpiece.
Figures, he thought to himself. He smirked slightly - it would still be no trouble. He might not care for the skills he had acquired from Genma in his early years, but he still took pride in being the best. He slipped up to the bed, then stopped before actually reaching for the item. In the low light, he noticed something he hadn't during the interrogation - the thing seemed to be made of the same material as the divine object and Sasami's key. He silently mouthed a few choice curses. It would make it more difficult, but still not beyond his ability. He slipped off his shirt and folded it several times.
Outside, Sasami giggled as she thought about what would happen when the boy awakened Ayeka. Her sister needed something to take her mind off of the long trip searching for their missing brother. She giggled a little more as she parted the brush to look at her sister's abode - then jumped with a muffled shriek as Ranma appeared beside her. She looked back to the structure, then at Ranma. He wasn't wearing his shirt. The reason he wasn't wearing his shirt became evident as he held it out to her.
She took the proffered shirt from Ranma, who began shaking his hands lightly.
"Damn! Even wrapped up, those things sting! How can you hold them?"
Sasami unwrapped the shirt from around Ryu-Oh's key and held it in shock. How had he gotten it off Ayeka? Without waking her?!
She looked at him dumbly. "Hm? Oh, anyone within the family can handle the keys of other family members." She pouted a moment as her plans were spoiled. He was supposed to have awakened Ayeka! Then they would all have fun together! But now she had the key and Ayeka was still asleep. What could they possibly do now?
Ranma got a sinking feeling as the little girl went from a pout to a slightly crazed smile.
Kasumi addressed the elderly priest. "Tea?"
Katsuhito gave her a nice smile. "Yes please. That would be wonderful." He waited while Kasumi poured, then took a sip. "Ah! This is excellent!" Kasumi smiled at the compliment.
Genma finally lost his patience. "Why are we sitting around drinking tea when my boy has been kidnapped by aliens?!"
Nabiki rolled her eyes, then jumped to her feet. "He's right! Kasumi! Go gas up the flying saucer so we can take off immediately!"
Kasumi hesitated. "Flying saucer? Do we have one of those?"
Akane snorted. "Of course not! That's her point! What could we possibly do?!"
Katsuhito set his teacup down. "We can finish our tea. I don't think they will leave just yet."
Soun had been crying non-stop since the girls got home. He perked up at this revelation. "Really?"
Genma frowned. "And how do you know that? Why wouldn't they?"
Katsuhito pulled the master key from his robe. "Because we still have this. I don't think they will leave without at least checking on it. In the meantime, Ranma is not in any danger."
Genma's eyes widened. "How did you get that?!" Even more important in his mind was how he could hold the blasted thing. Genma had had several bad experiences with the item.
Nabiki shrugged. "We gave it to him. After seeing Ranma's demonstration of it's effect on you yesterday, I figured it was the quickest way to verify his identity."
Katsuhito nodded. "Only myself or my grandson can handle it without ill effect."
Nabiki gave him an appraising look. "It must be strange to learn you're part alien."
"Not as strange as having a houseguest who changes into a demon when splashed with cold water, I would imagine."
"I guess Ranma doesn't actually change into a demon." Nabiki sat back down and picked up her teacup. "Probably just some alien criminal wanted for interplanetary smuggling or some such nonsense." She swirled the tea around as she thought about all the ramifications of aliens. It was almost too much - first real magic, then aliens. What other long-held beliefs would be shattered by the appearance of the Saotomes?
Long experience at being chased by local authorities and shopkeepers gave Genma an insight Nabiki lacked. "They wouldn't have spent seven hundred years looking for whoever this Ryoko is for anything as minor as smuggling." He actually looked worried. After all, if he couldn't get Ranma back, he might actually have to work for a living... assuming his wife let him live of course.
Katsuhito nodded. "That is a very good point, but we will straighten this all out when they come to retrieve the divine object." He knew his half-sister would come for it sooner or later. Probably after interrogating the cursed boy. She would get no information from the boy and have to come after the master key, seeking the answers he did not have.
The phone rang and Kasumi moved to answer it. "Moshi moshi. Akane? Just a moment." She held the receiver out. "Akane, it's your friend Yuka."
Akane took the phone. "Hi Yuka. What's up?" She listened for a moment, then looked at the receiver in shock. "WHAT?!" She turned to the others. "Quick! Turn on the TV!" She held the receiver to her ear. "Sorry about that. Thanks for the call. I'll tell you what's going on tomorrow at school. Bye-bye!" She dropped the receiver on the cradle and hurried over to where everyone was gathered around the television.
It was a good thing Katsuhito had left his tea at the table - he would have completely blown his image by spraying tea all over Mr. Tendo. It took him a moment to regain his composure.
"Again, this is Mai Kenjisho reporting from Tokyo harbor where a vessel from space appears to be playing tag with local aircraft." The cameraman was focused behind her in the air where a helicopter from a local station was attempting to follow the huge wooden ship as it swooped around it. "As you can see, it completely eludes the helicopter despite its enormous size. As yet, it has not made any hostile actions, but we have word that the Self-Defense Force is scrambling jets to attempt to intercept the craft."
Katsuhito couldn't believe what he was seeing. What did Ayeka think she was doing? At least earlier over the school, she had the counter-measures active to avoid detection. Funaho told him through their link that no such precautions were in effect this time.
Akane moved over next to him, staring raptly at the screen. "What do you want to bet that this is all Ranma's fault?"
Nabiki shook her head. "You know, when I said earlier that Ranma was probably tearing the ship apart from the inside, I was just trying to be supportive. I never really thought he would be."
Ranma stood beside Sasami on the control deck of the ship. The two wooden things she called Juraian Guardians were positioned at the two control interfaces. Various displays showing scenes from outside the ship floated above them. Ranma flinched as they flashed past another helicopter.
"I really don't think you should be doin' this."
Sasami laughed in delight as several smaller craft tried to keep pace. "I never get to have any fun. This might be my only chance."
Ranma sighed. At least he was back in his normal form and out of the cell. The girl would tire of this quickly and then he'd be able to get back to the Tendos. He managed not to flinch as they almost ran into a small plane.
Azaka turned slightly toward the pair. "Princess Sasami, I must agree with the boy. This is not appropriate protocol for flying within the zone of a culture at this level."
Sasami frowned at the guardian. "I have the key, so you have to do as I say!"
If a log could sigh, this one did. "Yes Princess."
Sasami caught sight of Mount Fuji on one of the displays. "Ooooo! Let's go there!"
Kamidake activated another display, this one showing tactical information on the vessels detected on rapid approach. "Princess, several vessels carrying low-grade explosive missiles are approaching our vector."
Ranma started to sweat. "Uh - that sounds like the Self-Defense Force. They probably don't like what you're doin'."
Sasami waved them off. "They can't hurt Ryu-Oh. I want to see the mountain!"
Azaka tried to interject his own input. "But Princess -"
Sasami stamped a foot. "No! I'm going to see the mountain!"
Ranma was watching the tactical display. Several smaller indicators appeared ahead of the jets and rapidly approached their position. "Uh, guys?"
Kamidake was getting worried. "Princess, several missiles are converging on this ship."
Ranma wasn't ready to panic yet. This was an advanced space vessel. Earth missiles couldn't possibly damage the ship, right?
The ship lurched as the missiles detonated on impact. Several spars on the port side of the ship exploded in a shower of splinters and fell to the bay below.
Azaka gave a status report in a slightly frantic voice. "The port side displacers have been damaged."
Sasami looked panicked. "How could those missiles have damaged the ship?! The defensive screens should have easily stopped them!"
Kamidake replied in a small voice. "You haven't ordered the defensive screens to be activated, Princess."
Now Ranma was ready to panic. "Get us out of here!"
Sasami wrung her hands. "Ayeka's going to kill me!" She'd taken the key, and now she'd damaged Ayeka's precious Ryu-Oh! "I don't know what to do!"
The ship lurched again as another barrage struck it. Ranma lost his footing and slid back into the large tree that dominated the control deck. The older girl materialized on the deck, still wearing her nightclothes.
"Azaka! Kamidake! What is going on here?!"
Azaka sounded apologetic. "I'm sorry Princess Ayeka, but Princess Sasami had the key and told us -"
Ayeka ignored him and moved over to her sister. "Sasami, give me the key!"
Sasami pulled the headpiece off and handed it to her. "I'm sorry Ayeka! I didn't mean any harm!"
Ayeka fit the key in place. "Raise the defensive screens, activate the counter-measures, then withdraw at once!"
Kamidake swiveled toward her. "We have sustained heavy damage to the port side displacers. We should remain within the atmosphere while the self-repair units are in operation."
Ayeka gave it quick consideration. "Do we have a lock on the master key's location?"
"Yes, Princess. It's -"
"Never mind! Just take us to the closest unpopulated area by the key!" She gave a sigh as the ship moved away from Tokyo bay and the jets. With the immediate problem taken care of, she turned to confront the next. She waved at where Ranma was holding onto the tree. "Who is this person? What is he doing on the control deck?" She held her power in check. Ryu-Oh informed her through the link that this was not Ryoko. The boy was a negligible threat, but she was curious as to how he got aboard. More disturbing was the fact that Ryoko was no longer aboard. How had she escaped? Sasami would have never let that horrid criminal lose.
Sasami looked like she was about to cry. "I'm sorry Ayeka. It's all my fault. I took Ryoko some hot water, only she wasn't Ryoko. She was actually a boy, and then I wanted to have some fun, so I thought if we were to wake you up, but then he didn't wake you! And then I had the key, and Tsunami would never do anything fun, and I just thought -"
Ayeka put a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. She was getting a headache. She tried to sort through her sister's apology, then her eyes snapped open. She whirled on Sasami. "Wait a minute! You took Ryoko some hot water! Then she became a boy?!"
Sasami cringed a little and nodded.
Ayeka whirled toward Ranma. "You! You're Ryoko!!"
Ranma growled in anger. "I ain't this Ryoko! How many times do I gotta tell you! It's a curse! A curse I picked up in China!" He threw up his arms in exasperation. "Geez! You are such an uncute tomboy!"
Ayeka turned purple. "How dare you call me that!! I'll have you know I am the most beautiful girl in the empire! Of course, a simple-minded barbarian like yourself could hardly be expected to know a lady you you meet one."
Ranma rolled his eyes. "Well, you be sure to let me know when I meet one."
Ayeka clenched her fists in anger. "Why you..."
The tension was broke suddenly as Sasami started to giggle. "See! I knew we'd all have fun as soon as you woke up!"
Ranma sat down. "I give up! You all just figure out what you're gonna do, then maybe if it isn't too much of a hassle, let me know."
Ayeka looked at the boy suspiciously. All the ship instruments said that this boy wasn't Ryoko. But if Sasami was telling the truth, and Sasami would never lie to her, he had been. But hadn't Ryoko told her earlier that she was a boy? That she needed hot water to change?
"You there, barbarian boy. Tell me about this so-called curse."
Ranma gave a long sigh. He would be telling this story over and over for the rest of his life unless he found the damn cure. "Just take me back to where you kidnapped me from. I got the divine object and a scroll that explains the whole thing. There's also someone else with a curse like mine to help prove I'm not lyin'."
Ayeka frowned. "Divine object?"
Sasami piped up. "It what they call the master key. Only from Ranma's description, it seems to have three red gems in the hilt now."
That got Ayeka's attention. "Three red gems?!" She tried to think back to the interrogation. Did Ryoko have her gems? She couldn't remember. "You! Barbarian! Change back! I need to see something!"
Ranma glared. "I have a name."
Ayeka gave him an imperious glare. "I command you to change!"
Ranma jumped to his feet. "I don't take orders from no uncute, overbearing -" He stopped as cold water poured over his head, triggering the change. She glanced to the side where Sasami was holding an empty pitcher, then froze as dozens of little logs suddenly surrounded her.
Ayeka saw the black-haired boy change into the space pirate Ryoko. Her first instinct was to summon her Jurai power to protect Sasami from the threat. She stopped short of activating her power as she remembered that this might be that boy. She had the scanners focus on Ryoko. Every scan available said this was Ryoko. Ayeka looked at her wrists and throat. They were gone! She could remember those blazes as Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki fired on her in orbit above Jurai.
"So your jewels are in the master key... that is how Yosho finally beat you!" Her voice was low, the awe at her brother's feat clearly heard.
Ryoko just glared, but didn't move. "Are you stupid as well as a tomboy?! How many times do I gotta say this! I! AM! NOT! RYOKO!!!"
That attitude cut right through to Ayeka. It really was the barbarian boy! Then she realized she had just been insulted once again. "I will not take that from anyone, especially a barbarian such as yourself!" She activated her powers just a bit, electricity sparking between the miniature logs.
Ranma bit back a cry of pain. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to antagonize her.
Sasami tugged on Ayeka's arm. "Ayeka! Stop! You're hurting him!"
Ayeka allowed her power to dissipate. "Okay Sasami. But you stay away from her - uh - him! Oh, whatever it is!"
Ranma glared. "I'm a guy, dammit!"
Sasami giggled, diffusing the situation.
Ranma sighed. This was going to be a long day. "Are we there yet?"
Ayeka looked up from the scroll to the panda sitting nearby. Bizarre as it seemed, both the panda and Ryoko seemed to be curses acquired at this cursed training ground in China. "So Yosho defeated Ryoko and sealed the spring with the master key to prevent anyone from being cursed?"
The panda held up a sign. 'That's right!'
Ayeka blinked. That was just too strange.
Ranma glared at the animal. "Yeah, until my idiot old man decided to try and steal the thing and wound up getting me cursed anyway!"
The panda held up a sign. 'That's right -' Then flipped it around. 'Hey! Who are you calling an idiot?!'
The pair started fighting - again. The two had been going at it almost non-stop since they arrived at the Tendo residence.
Ayeka considered the matter. "Ryoko was here. Yosho was here. The master key is still here. Yosho may still be here as well."
The elderly priest looked thoughtful. "Well, I wish you luck on your search. In the meantime, you will need a place to stay while your ship is under repair and you are searching. As a relative, I offer the hospitality of my shrine. It is in an out of the way location where you won't be disturbed. Considering all the trouble you stirred up here in Tokyo, a change of location may be in order."
Ayeka frowned. Was this man a relative? He could hold the master key, and claimed his grandson could as well. He claimed to be descended from the man in the scroll. She did not wish to pursue that thought any further at this point. She would find Yosho first, then deal with the rest. She gave him a small bow. "Thank you for your offer. On behalf of myself and my sister, we thank you and accept."
Ranma finished pounding on his father and came back inside. "Oh, now she's all nice and proper!" He turned to Katsuhito. "You better keep an eye on her! She has a temper as ugly as her face -"
The table smashing him over the head interrupted him. Ayeka set the table down as she tried to get her temper under control.
Akane nodded absently. "Good follow through. The jerk had that coming since he arrived."
Ayeka smiled at her. "Thank you. You cannot imagine how unbearably annoying that boy is."
Akane snorted. "He hasn't used Ryoko's powers to peep on you in the bath yet, has he?"
Ayeka glared at the unconscious boy. "He wouldn't!"
Ranma started to come around and groaned. Ayeka hit him with the table again.
"Stay down, pervert!"
Akane smiled. She liked this princess.
Katsuhito cleared his voice. "I believe the boy should come too."
Ayeka whirled on him. "WHAT?!"
He continued calmly. "He would be under a great deal of scrutiny if he were to remain due to his curse and your appearance. We cannot in good conscious leave the boy here to face this trouble. We might also come across something that may help him."
Ayeka grimaced. She hadn't exactly been thinking about the boy when she took him. She had been certain it was Ryoko. The only plans she had for Ryoko was a short stay in a cell on Ryu-Oh followed by a much longer stay in the Galaxy Police maximum security facilities. "Ohhhh, all right! If he must!" She grabbed Ranma by the collar and started to shake him, the fact that he was still out went unheeded. "But if you try anything at all -"
Genma finally reappeared, human once more. "The boy's fiancée must accompany him of course!"
Soun was quick to leap on the bandwagon. "Yes! This is a matter of honor between our families!"
Akane glared at the men. "I'm not going anywhere with that freak!"
Nabiki smiled at her sister. "It'll get you away from Kuno and the other boys for awhile."
Akane stopped dead. "I guess a little time in the country would be nice... but I'm still not marrying him!"
Katsuhito adjusted his glasses. "It would not be proper for you to live among strangers by yourself. Perhaps if your sister accompanied you?"
Nabiki considered the matter. Things at Furinkan were getting old. Maybe a change of scenery would do her good. Besides, she might be able to make some kind of deal with these aliens. A little advanced technology could very well make her a fortune! She shrugged. "Sure. I don't mind." This would also give Kasumi quite a bit more free time. Maybe she could do something for herself while they where away.
Sasami jumped up and gave a cheer. "YEA!! We'll have so much fun!"
Soun pulled Genma to the side. "Maybe one of us should go along."
Genma considered the matter. Soun would not leave him alone with Kasumi, so what he was really saying was that he should go along with them. He considered the meals he had had since arriving at the Tendo home, and what he might look forward to at this shrine.
"I don't think that is necessary. If you can't trust a priest, who can you trust? Besides, my boy will be there to protect them. Maybe some time alone without any parental supervision will encourage them to accept the engagement."
Soun nodded. "Yes, perhaps they might." He burst into tears. "My little girl is becoming a woman!"
Akane face-faulted. "DADDY!!"
Ayeka made a mental note to keep an eye out for the younger girl. Akane was such a nice girl. She reminded Ayeka of herself at that age.
Katsuhito smiled. "Well, now that that's all settled, I suggest you gather whatever you will need so we can depart."
Akane and Nabiki started up the stairs to their rooms as Genma dumped Ranma's pack on the unconscious boy.
Katsuhito sighed. It was going to be a long trip.
End Chapter 3
More Author's Notes: I didn't want things to linger around Nerima. I really couldn't see everyone staying at the dojo. Besides, it helps make this story a little more different than the normal Ranma story. It was just a matter of who was going to go. The ones left behind will still have a part, it just won't be as big. I liked the idea of Akane and Ayeka identifying with each other. They both have wicked tempers, try to act innocent and lady-like at times, and have bloated self-images. And NO, this will not be a Ranma / Akane story. I still haven't decided who to go with yet, but it won't be Akane. I have enough of those already.