Ranma glared as he looked down. He was going to need to find some other clothing. The white gi he was currently wearing was doing a horrible job of covering a pair of additions that he could easily do without. Oh sure, the benevolent Guide had made a show of turning them back with hot water. He was still stunned how that hadn't lasted, at all.
Somehow cold water had managed to find him mere minutes afterwards, when he'd just happened to walk by the instant that the Guide's daughter had just so happened to open a can of soda, which she'd just so happened to have shaken up enough. He was still sticky. His father had just so happened to get nailed by the Guide, who'd just so happened to be having difficulty taking the bottle top off at that instant and sprayed him in the face. If he didn't know better he'd swear they were cursed, but that was stupid.
By the time he'd finished chasing his old man around and thumped him for his abject stupidity in coming to a place like this, the sun had already passed its zenith and his stomach was growling. The Guide had mentioned something about a fighting competition occurring at a nearby village, which of course would have food. What public event didn't have food?
As the village came into view he noticed that there was a large log suspended between four massive posts that had been buried into the ground. The log was small enough to test a person's balance, and limit grappling options. Clearly the easiest path to victory was to simply knock the other person off the log. He saw roughly 35 different ways this could be exploited to allow someone to win who'd utterly lose in a straight up fight.
"This customers is annual women's fighting competition. Women come and fight from all nearby villages." The Guide declared in stilted Japanese.
"That's a woman?" He asked pointing at what looked like a burly man with a long spiked staff. His stomach growled insistently reminding him that his stomach was quite empty, just in time for the scent of delicious food to enter his nostrils.
And what a collection of food it was. Several tables worth all prepared and lined up. He went through the checklist. Nothing obviously wrong with the food? Check. No one obviously laying claim to it? Check. No one guarding it? Check. He went ahead and dug in grabbing an oh so delicious meat bun.
He observed that the two current participants were exploiting option number 24. So much for being a fair test of skill. The log provided a small platform that allowed very limited options on what was safe to land on, and how footing could be used to recover. So any kind of weapon that delivered heavy blows, would have disproportionate effectiveness here versus anywhere else. He could only assume the not-man was trying to end things quickly. Otherwise the not-man had just made a massive tactical error by attempting a jump attack, and yeah the not man got batted aside. The problem with a jump attack in a situation like that is you had nothing to leverage off of, and you had to find some way to insure you stuck your landing.
"Customers, what you doing?"
He jumped as the woman who'd been fighting moments prior sailed down and smashed one of her giant balls on a stick through the table, destroying or ruining what had moments prior been a marvelous spread.
"What's your problem?!" He demanded. He'd only had the chance to eat two meat buns. Did she have something against food?
The woman pointed one of her ball on a stick things at him and quickly spoke in what he recognized as Chinese, given he'd spent the last month hearing people speak it. Having never studied Chinese he didn't understand a single word she was saying. He was really curious how this enemy of food everywhere was trying to justify herself.
"She say, why you steal my prize." The Guide helpfully summarized.
"It was a prize? For what?" There had been a wealth of food of delicious food, which had now been ground into the dirt.
"Is 1st prize for fighting competition." The Guide stated, pointing at a sign that he couldn't make heads or tails of. He decided to take the Guide's word for it.
Ranma glanced down as he remembered this was a woman's fighting competition. Yeah they were still there. "Tell her she hasn't won first prize yet, because there's another contestant." He said while walking up to her and staring her down. She stared back defiant and full of herself. He was going to wipe that smug look off her face, and make her pay for ruining that delicious food.
"Customer me no think this is good idea. Women warriors..."
"Tell her." He insisted, walking past the Chinese woman towards the log. He was pretty sure she'd get his meaning as he hopped on the log, and was happy to find she'd taken the hint and hoped onto the other side. She was smug, no doubt in part due to the blatant instruments of cheating she was wielding, which was really starting to piss him off. He was going to show this poser how a real martial artist fights.
The purple haired Chinese woman slowly and deliberately stalked towards him, sure in her unfair advantage and chances for victory. He spared himself a second to roll his eyes, before breaking into a sprint pulling back a fist. He paced his steps just off enough, and made sure his cocked fist was just sloppy enough.
The Chinese woman took the bait, and dedicated herself to a well executed heavy swing. It would have knocked him completed off the log, if he'd not jumped. He'd debated 12 different options on how to take her down, and ultimately decided the most humiliating would be to actually successfully execute an aerial attack. Ranma rotated his body, bringing the full force of his body behind a kick that slammed into the side of the woman's head sending her flying off the log.
He adjusted the angle of his kick as contact began to break launching himself at one of the suspension poles, before bouncing off and landing on the log. Ranma looked around seeing most of the audience was gawking at him. Where was his applause? The Chinese woman looked like she was out cold. Something that looked like a giant dried up frog pogoed on a walking stick towards her.
Ranma decided to walk over and help her. Just because she'd destroyed food, and he'd publicly humiliated her didn't mean he needed to be a jerk about it. From what the kick had felt like he'd done things right, and she should be fine.
"Is she okay?" He asked the frog thing, not that he expected an answer.
"Surprisingly, yes." The frog creature responded back in accented, but understandable Japanese. Her tone made her disapproval clear. Shape shifting water activated curses, and talking frogs all in one day. This was a novel start to the week.
"That means I won 1st place, right?" He asked.
The frog creature nodded, which was a rather amazing feat for a creature with no neck. "And now it's your prize that's ruined."
"She should be fine in a few hours." Ranma pointed out in response to the frog creature's apparent admonishment of his actions. What was its problem?
The purple haired Chinese woman stirred, showing she had a superior constitution to most. He decided to wait around. He wanted to have a word with her about how she'd carelessly destroyed what was now officially his food. All of that perfectly prepared delicious food that had now been crushed into the dirt. His stomach grumbled in protest to its current state, and the evil that had been committed by the food hater.
After blinking a few times the woman's eyes cleared, and locked onto him with a glare. He coolly met her gaze and stared back. Like he was going to back down from her after all the crap she'd pulled. The woman staggered unsteadily to her feet and approached him. In her current condition she was in no shape to fight.
Closing the distance, she grabbed on to him unsteadily. He let her hang on to him, while staring at her defiantly. He was keeping a close eye on what she was doing when she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. He blinked as he felt his heart start to race, and an odd tingly sensation. Wha?
"You've done it now, she's given you the Kiss of Death." Frog thing declared.
"That's funny, I don't seem to be dead." Ranma noted. Mimicking the woman's movements he kissed the Chinese woman on the cheek. She looked utterly scandalized. "She doesn't seem to be dead either."
The frog thing, and the rest of the women there just stared at him. What? She'd kissed him first. The Chinese woman muttered something in Chinese, which based on her tone he suspected was a promise of violence. It was almost endearing given she was currently leaning on him for support.
"The kiss of death means she's going to hunt you down, and kill you."
Ranma looked at the frog creature skeptically, and then glanced at the Chinese woman. "So she has to chase me down now right?"
"She'll hunt you to the ends of the earth." Frog thing declared proudly, clearly intended as some kind of threat.
Ranma smirked, and quickly sneaking in kissed the Chinese woman on the lips. "Catch me if you can." He declared confidently before extricating himself.
His father looked at him with what he assumed was disapproval. Given pandas didn't talk, he was having to rely on guesswork here.
"What's your problem, Old Man?"
The panda made a combination of growly noises, and pointed in the direction they'd come from.
"Of course she's going to come after us." He said guessing at his father's meaning.
The panda growled in what he assumed was disapproval. "What's your problem pops? It's going to be fun. Don't you remember how boring last week was? It's not like that amazon woman could beat me." He declared confidently with his thumb out bringing it up to point at his chest, and resisted the urge to curled up in a ball. Why did these stupid female parts have to be so sensitive?
He decided to just ignore the panda's growls in response. It wasn't like he could understand what the old man was actually saying anyways. He felt an odd twinge as the Chinese woman fluttered into his mind. She had no idea what she was getting into.
Shampoo glared at the fire. She was still feeling woozy, but she wasn't going to let that crazy outsider girl get away with what she'd done. She'd been humiliated, and...
She tensed as she noticed a pebble fly past her. Whirling around she noticed the outsider girl sitting on one of the low branches of a nearby tree behind her. The girl stuck her tongue out, before bounding off into the forest stating something in that weird language of hers that seemed oddly familiar.
She saw the outsider girl standing there looking like she was waiting for her, and rushed in. She was going to teach that outsider girl a few things. The girl may have gotten lucky, but... Shampoo cursed as she felt her foot catch on a string. She reacted a moment too late to avoid being pulled up off her feet.
The outsider girl smiled broadly while casually moving closer, but being careful to stay out of reach. Shampoo struggled to try to swing herself or something to get at her, but had to stop after a few minutes as the dizziness caught up to her. Curse her.
The outsider girl giggled at her predicament, before disappearing back into the forest. Shampoo cursed the girl, her parentage, and most especially her upbringing.
Ranma smirked. He'd managed to get up early enough to get the drop on the Chinese woman. He had a horribly evil idea that he'd brought along some light rope to execute. He was going to tie her sleeping bag around her. He wanted to see how she'd get out of that one.
As he approached her, he noticed that something seemed off. It was almost like she'd anticipated he'd come back and... He dove and rolled to the side only to get kicked in the side for his trouble. Ranma cursed under his breath as he used his arms to spring back. She'd setup a decoy.
Ranma grinned, this was what he was talking about. He dodged and deflected her attacks as she laid into him. Then she kept cranking up the pace with her hand strikes to the point he had to keep hopping back to give himself enough room. This woman was good, but...
He paused his retreat just enough for her to close the distance, and abruptly dropped to his knees, sweeping the Chinese woman's legs out from under her. He was feeling rather smug with himself when the ground under him exploded.
He grimaced as started to drag himself away from where the explosion had thrown him. That had stung. He could feel dozens of hot bleeding cuts, but other than feeling off balance nothing else seemed to be out of order as he dragged himself to his feet. He was too slow to avoid the Chinese woman's blow to his gut, but managed to turn enough to not take the brunt of it and use the opportunity to give some extra power to a blow to the Chinese woman's jaw.
He just sat there propping himself up for a moment. The Chinese woman seemed to be down for the moment. He left himself lie down for a moment despite the Chinese woman laying on top of him. He was still feeling kind of woozy from that explosion.
That'd been a close fight. Apparently this woman warrior had more things up her sleeve than he'd first assumed. This was going to be a lot more fun than he'd expected.
Ranma noted his father was now human as he returned to their camp. Rummaging around in his pack he located his bottle of isopropyl alcohol and some bandages, and proceeded to go to work cleaning and bandaging himself up.
"Hey old man, you have any hot water left?"
"Heat it up yourself, boy." Genma dismissively declared in response. Big help he was. Like it was that big of a deal to heat up enough water for two people instead of just himself.
"Not going to chew me out about getting some practice in, Old Man?" Ranma asked, intentionally poking at the Old Man, ready to throw back his long standing tenant that everything was training if he decided to try to make an issue out of it.
Genma glared at him in annoyance. Ranma grinned.
Shampoo woke up to find herself tucked into her sleeping bag. As she got up she noticed her chin was bandaged with some kind of salve. Looking over she noticed that her little campfire was still going with relatively fresh wood, and there appeared to be a prepared meal there waiting for her, and being kept warm by the fire.
The outsider girl was getting soft. Still... she was hungry. Shampoo pulled herself out of her sleeping bag, and walked towards her little campfire, only to feel her foot hit a piece of taught string. She cursed as once again a rope ripped her off her feel pulling her into the air. She would make that outsider girl pay.
Ranma was rather happy with himself, attired as he now was in a nice set of silk Chinese clothing and returned to his proper form. A local tea shop had happily provided the hot water he needed to return to his original shape. A woman had just happened to be dumping a bucket full of water out of a second story floor when had been under it on his way here, but he'd dodged it. So much for this "curse." As if cold water could somehow just find him. He was looking forward to a long period of being able to once more enjoy being himself. He had this stupid water curse beat!
Ranma sputtered, and looked over to see an old woman that appeared to be cleaning the street with a ladle and bucket of water, who'd just so happened to throw water in his direction at just the right moment to hit. He buried his face in his hands. No, no that was stupid. He just needed to get some more hot water, and make a point to be more aware of his surroundings. There was no evil malevolent force out there that could be conspiring for him to get nailed with water.
He mindlessly rubbed around his nipple and was pleasantly surprised to find that unlike the gi these silk clothes didn't seem to chaff or irritate the soft womanly bits. A part of his mind put forward the idea that a bra would protect against that. That part was summarily put down and buried. As if they sold that kind of thing out here in the middle of nowhere.
Time to go find some hot water.
Shampoo found the outsider girl standing outside a small building with a sign that advertized it as the place of business of a tailor. Noticing her the girl brightened and repeated that phrase again in her strange language before bounding off. Shampoo immediately gave chase.
The outsider girl ran along walls jumping along as she bound through the curving lanes. Shampoo pursued using a special technique to give her better purchase as she laid on the speed. She was going to catch this crazy outsider girl. The girl looked back, and noticed her closing the distance. Smirking the girl moved to a more congested area. Shampoo, sprinted she was going to close the distance, now.
She only grabbed air as the outsider girl bounced to the other wall. The outsider girl stuck out her tongue as she flew past. Shampoo grabbed a laundry line hanging between the lanes, using it to help swing herself around so she could pursue. The outside girl was just about to disappear around a corner as she finished reversing herself and returned to the pursuit. She took the turn she'd seen the outsider girl take but saw no sign of her.
She heard the outside girl repeat that phrase, and looked up to see that the outsider girl was on the roof of a building on the opposite side that she'd already passed. Noting that she'd been spotted the outsider girl disappeared beyond the edge of the roof. Shampoo bounced off the wall to the roof of a building across from her and spotted the outsider girl bounding along through the chaos of the sea of squat structures.
Shampoo opened up her strides piling on speed to close the distance. The outsider girl with her smaller stature and smaller legs had just made a fatal mistake. There was no way that she was going to be able to stop her from catching up to her now. Shampoo lost sight of the outsider girl for a second as she dropped below the weird shape of one of the buildings. Shampoo piled on the speed. She needed to close the distance.
Shampoo kept bounding along, but she no longer saw outsider girl bounding along in front of her. Something seemed off. Shampoo glanced back as a familiar voice called out. She slammed her fist through a chimney, as she noticed the outsider girl standing a few hundred meters behind her. The outsider girl waved. Upon recognizing that she'd succeeded in getting her attention the outsider girl stuck out her tongue again and bounded off along the roof tops in another direction.
Shampoo redoubled her efforts as she tore off after her. The outsider girl was quickly running out of places to run to, it was only a matter of time now. Shampoo's confidence started to build and she pushed herself harder as the distance between them started to very noticeably shrink. Seeming to realize her predicament the outsider girl skidded to a stop, and took a stance on the edge of one of the buildings breathing heavily.
Shampoo smirked translating her momentum into a flying kick that would send to girl flying off the building, and riding her kick to the street below. This was over!
The outsider girl straightened up and turned to the side a split second before her kick would have impacted, but too long after she'd committed for her to adjust her course enough to matter. Shampoo noted the girl actually appeared to be breathing just fine, and had a big smile on her face, as she started to sail past. The girl made the mistake of waving, and Shampoo desperately reached out and grabbed the outsider girl's arm, pulling her off the roof with her. If she was going down, this outsider girl was going to go down with her.
She tried to spin around and fling the outsider girl down ahead of her, but the outsider girl turned within her turn. For a brief instant they were face to face. The outsider girl regarding her with that determined grin, and then with a kick they were flying away from each other. Sparing some attention towards what she was rushing towards she noticed it was the town lake moments before she made impact with a large splash.
Ranma struggled back up to the surface of the freezing cold lake, and noted the Chinese girl's head pop up moments afterwards. That had been awesome! He hadn't had fun like that in... Nah the lunch line had nothing on that. Noting that the Chinese woman had spotted him and was starting to swim towards him, he started swimming towards the shore. This woman was really, really strong.
Reaching the shore he bounded between the trees to a spot he'd selected in advance. Sparing a glance back he dodged out of the way as Shampoo dove in with a strike. She struck the ground, which exploded like last time. This time he was far enough away from the explosion it didn't really do anything. He noted that whatever she was doing it appeared that it required contact with what she was trying to make explode, and it didn't really appear to take anything out of her to do it. He was going to need to keep and eye on that.
He'd selected this grove in this relatively dense group of trees as it gave him a lot of options for bouncing around while not being constraining in a way that'd cause him to get easily pinned. Bouncing off a nearby tree to quickly redirect from his dodge, he launched himself towards the Chinese girl. She was still getting her bearings back when his kick slammed into her shoulder causing it to pop. He managed his landing into her shoulder correctly and was able to bounce off of her. As he flipped himself around and landed on a tree he saw her grimace while popping her shoulder back in.
She'd still be able to use the arm, but that should slow her hand strikes just enough that it'd be good training instead of something that threatened to overwhelm him. Bouncing down he settled into a stance and waited for her to attack. The Chinese woman regarded him, and seemed to be trying to be demand answers to what sounded like questions. Due to barely understanding any Chinese, he didn't understand a word she was saying.
He made a come hither gesture in her direction. The Chinese woman regarded him cautiously, and she slowly stalked towards him. Rather than the quick hand strikes from yesterday, she started using strong, purposeful, and well controlled strikes. He deflected and dodged the blows, knowing full well that he didn't want to let the women securely land one of those strikes. He landed a few light strikes when an opening presented itself.
At this point he wasn't really concerned with winning. He wanted to get some training in today, and a comatose opponent didn't make a good training partner. Playing the defensive game also gave his opponent less openings as he wasn't creating any more openings than he absolutely had to.
Ranma dodged under a strong overhead kick, bringing his arms up to deflect the Chinese woman's attempts to turn it into a telling blow. He sprung up at just the right moment, redirecting his motion into a push that threw the woman off her feet. He waited for the woman to get back up, but she just laid there on her back catching her breath and studying him cautiously.
Ranma looked at her, the woman's usual bravado and determination had been replaced with exhaustion and exasperation. Thinking back, she had been doing a lot more running then he had and even he was starting to feel fatigue start to catch up to him. He scratched at his cheek as he debated what to do. He'd kind of thought they'd get to fight more before something like this was going to happen.