Honor God

By MikeBreslau

It was an unusually quiet morning in the Saotome residence - the silence broken only by the sound of martial-arts speed-eating...

Nodoka eyed her always-ravenous son with mild displeasure. "I swear, Ranma, only Kami-Sama eats faster than you do."

Without pausing in his devouring, Ranma replied, "No He doesn't, Mom, He prefers to taste His food." His tone of voice implied that she should have known that.

Nodoka was shocked. "Ranma! Don't speak so informally of the supreme deity."

Ranma finally paused in his rapid eating. "It's okay, Mom. He reserves formal speech for ceremonies, and not too many of those."

"And just how would you know that, my son? Is Kami-Sama a personal friend of yours?"

Ranma responded as if this was old news. "He told me so, and yes, He is a friend of mine."

Nodoka had to collect her lower jaw before continuing. "What? How? When did this happen?"

Ranma began to shed his reticence. "Four days ago, your time; nearly a year ago, my time. Time runs differently when you're a kami. There's been a vacancy in Heaven since I defeated Safuron. One night He invited me for a 'little talk' that ran on for three days. We got to know each other pretty well, and He offered me a job." The sound of his voice had altered subtly.

"You know that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Can you provide evidence for your story?"

Ranma smugly replied, "Already done, Mom. Can you understand what I'm saying now?"

It was only then that Nodoka realized he was not speaking Nihongo, but rather a language she had never heard before - yet she understood it clearly.

Ranma explained, "The divine language is understood by every being that has a brain. Its expressive power is unsurpassed..."

Nodoka's head was spinning. "What kind of job did He offer you? Are you a kami now?"

Her son beamed. 'By George, I think she's got it!' "Kami-in-training, actually. Don't tell anyone, it's supposed to be a secret from mortals."

She sputtered, "But... but you told me."

"You asked the right questions. Gods are not supposed to lie, so I had to tell you."

"So what kind of kami are you?"

"I'm a trainee or a student for now. I'll choose a domain when I finish my training."

"I assume a domain is your area of expertise or authority. Are you going for Martial Arts?"

Ranma's reply was a devastating surprise. "Not interested, Mom. I am already the best martial artist who has ever lived - and what has it got me? Endless challengers, rivals, suitors, obstacles of every kind. Who needs it? Besides, Martial Arts is an anachronism in the modern era."

Nodoka reviewed what she knew of Ranma's life, and she had to agree. That was no way to live. "So what are you going for?"

"All my life people have used honor as a club to beat me into doing what's best for them, not what's good for me. It seems to me that honor is a more powerful weapon than fists."

Nodoka reacted as if slapped - she had been quite guilty of that offense. "Ranma, honor is essential to Japanese culture. Without honor, we would be no better than Americans!"

"Honor is a powerful tool, but it is easily misused. Being forced to marry Akane because of a pledge made by two drunken fools before I was even born is stupid, not honorable."

Nodoka had to agree. "What are you going to do next?"

"In about a week I am going to 'die' - my death is the only way to clear all the obligations Genma has foisted on me. Then, I'll be 'reborn' as a kami with a clean slate." Ranma smiled ruefully. "Genma and Soun will have to give up their dreams of 'uniting the schools' and living comfortably off the sweat of their children. What a shame..."

"Will I ever see you again after that? I missed so much of your childhood; I don't want to lose you now..."

"Well at least you'll know that I'm having a long and honorable life."