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-- Ah! My System Bug --
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--Chapter 1--

By: Gekigengar3



Disclaimer: All characters, and such are the copyrights and property of their respective owners. I claim no ownership of any character and such in any way.

"" = Spoken words
** = Thoughts
[] = Mental Communication


Deep within the offices of Asgard, a man older than time itself watched as certain events on Midgard played out. In particular, the happenings of a human youth that he had been watching for some time. Smiling to himself at the antics of the child, the man entered a few commands into his holographic computer. Once finished, he leaned back and watched as nature began to take it's course.

Soon the events he set in motion would begin. It saddened him that the youth would be put through the things his father had in store for him. But if things went right, then a mistake he'd made thousands of millennia before would finally be corrected.

*******************

Down on Midgard, at the edge of a small forest...

A balding man in a white gi nodded to himself as the last of the preparations were completed. Checking the manual one last time, he noted that he'd setup the area just as was described in the weathered book. Tossing the manual on top of his backpack, he chuckled to himself at the thought of such a powerful technique soon belonging to his son. Now all that was left to do was to get the boy and begin the training that had been outlined in the book.

Nearby, said boy was going through a kata his father had just recently taught him. He had yet to complete it without making an error. However that did not stop him from trying again, each time better than the last. He knew he'd begin training with his father again. It was only a matter of time.

While practicing, the youth thought about what his father had been doing lately. The older man had gotten ahold of an old manual of some sort when they had visited a chinese antique shop just recently. Since then, his father had been busy collecting things for some technique he'd found within the pages of that yellowed tome. The main thing that had been collected for the technique had confused him considerably. How a bunch of cats were going to teach him a technique, he didn't know.

As the boy's father came into the small clearing his son was practicing in, he couldn't help but be proud of the boy. His son was a natural at the art. A student that was always eager to learn new techniques. He watched as his son went through the latest kata he had shown him. It wasn't perfect, but it was steadily improving with each try. After watching for a few moments, he finally decided it was time to interrupt his son's practice and begin the training he had been preparing for.

Clearing his throat, the man in the white gi said, "That's enough for now Ranma. It's time to start learning a new technique."

Running up to the man, Ranma smiled up at the big man. "What kinda technique poppa?"

Smiling back at his son, Genma kneeled down next to him. Putting an arm around his son's shoulder, Genma looked into the distance as he held his free arm forward, hand wide open.

"It is a technique that is said to be unstoppable. A martial art so powerful that few can master it. Only those that are truly gifted in the art can even think about learning it. It is non other than, the Neko-Ken!" said Genma as though he were trying to sell someone a used car that looked far better than it actually was.

His eyes sparkling, Ranma said, "Wow...!"

Chuckling, Genma replied, "Wow indeed. You are very gifted in the art son. I just know you will be able to master this technique."

Jumping up and down in joy, Ranma said, "Really?!"

Nodding, Genma said, "Yep. Now come on, it's time for you to begin learning it."

"Yatta!" cried Ranma as he quickly followed his father to the site where the preparations had been made.

Arriving at the site, Genma strolled over to a large box he had recently liberated from a nearby meat market. Motioning his son over, Genma began taking out lengths of fish sausage and wrapping his boy in them.

A little confused, Ranma asked, "What's this for poppa?"

Smirking, Genma replied, "It's part of the training son. The cats won't help you learn the technique unless you are wearing this."

"Why?" asked an inquisitive Ranma.

Thinking a quick moment, Genma replied, "Well, if the cats are going to help you learn the technique, they are going to want something in return. That's what this is for. You'll be exchanging the sausages for the technique."

Understanding shining in his eyes, Ranma nodded with a big smile.

Chuckling a little at the enthusiasm his son was showing, Genma finished wrapping the fish sausages around his son. Looking him over, Genma nodded to himself. They were all securely wrapped around his body.

Standing up, Genma took his son's hand in his own and led him to the trap door that led to the pit he'd setup for the training. The sounds of cats yowling could be heard coming from the endless depths of the pit.

"It's time boy. Now get in there and make me proud." said Genma before opening the trap door.

Stepping to the edge, Ranma peered into the dark recesses of the pit. Glancing over at his poppa, Ranma saw a smile upon his father's face. Smiling back, Ranma turned back toward the pit entrance. Taking a breath, he jumped in...

*******************

Meanwhile...

Up in Asgard, deep within the bowels of Yggdrasil, a certain goddess of the future was quietly stalking her elusive prey. She had tracked several of the creatures for the past few hours and only now was she finally closing in. Her senses on alert, her debugging goggles on, and her patented Skuld Mark II Debugging Hammer firmly in her grip, she was ready to fulfill her mission and smash the little buggers into oblivion.

Movement to her right alerted her that one of her quarry was near. Stealthily she snuck toward it, trying to hide her presence as much as possible. Hiding behind a large root, she slowly peaked around it. There, gnawing on a wire, she finally spotted one of the elusive bugs that had plagued her life as a debugger. Gripping her hammer tighter, she prepared to leap out and smash the critter into paste. However at that moment, as is the nature of system bugs, the unexpected happened.

Just as she was about to attack, another bug hopped into view, only a few feet away from her current target. This bug was unlike the one she had been about to debug. Unlike her primary target, this new bug wasn't your average run of the mill bug. This one had black fur, white tipped ears, and a golden circlet around it's brow. A small black jewel was set into the front of the golden circlet.

Upon seeing the new arrival, Skuld almost dropped her hammer right there. What stood there was a bug she had thought only to be legend. A myth that was older than herself. She'd studied all that Yggdrasil had on system bugs. Even some information she wasn't supposed to have read. She had been surprised to learn that there were five classes of bugs.

Of all the classes of bugs, the most common were the Class One Bugs. They were slow, dumb, and the easiest to debug. Unlike the other four classes, the class one's did not wear a circlet. They were what she ran into the most during her debugging excursions.

After the Class One's, came the Class Two bugs. These bugs were slightly more intelligent and could cause more problems than the Class One's. They were not as common as the Class One's either. These wore a gold circlet with a diamond embedded into it.

Then there were the Class Three's. This class of bug had slightly darker fur, was more intelligent, and it's power was higher than that of the Class One's and Two's. This class of bug was very uncommon. Only one in a several hundred million bugs ever came into Class Three standing. They wore a circlet with a crimson ruby embedded into it.

Next were the Class Four's. They were exceptionally rare. Only one in several hundred billion ever reached Class Four status. Their fur was a grayish color with off-white eartips. They were very intelligent and their power was very high. A dark sapphire jewel was embedded into the circlet that the Class Four's wore.

Finally were the Class Five's. In all of creation, there had only been one Class Five bug ever recorded to have existed. And that had been hundreds of millennia before she had come into being. Back in the time before time. A time before creation.

The Class Five bugs had fur that was a midnight black, with eartips a pearly white. Their intelligence was of a level that was similar to that of a genius. The golden circlet they wore had a black onyx jewel embedded into it. It signified the bug's final evolution.

All information about Class Five bugs was restricted and put under the second heaviest of encryption's, just behind the encryption on Kami-sama himself. Information on Class Four bugs was restricted as well but not as heavily encrypted as the Class Five's or Kami-sama. The only reason she knew what was in front of her was because she had gotten bored one day and decided to hack the files on the higher classes of bugs.

The encryption on the Class Fours wasn't very hard to crack for a computer technician of her caliber. However it had taken over six months for her to crack even a small portion of the information on the Class Five's. And even then, she still hadn't been able to learn very much about them. All she knew was that they could, at will, tap into the very power of one of the two main aspects of the universe itself, Chaos.

The other aspect of the universe, Order, was what she, gods, goddesses, demons, mortals, and other creatures too numerous to mention tapped into to live. Most gods and goddesses didn't know or didn't care about how the universe worked on a grand scale. Neither did most demons either. That was why they always made the false assumption that they were beings of chaos. No, most beings of order didn't know what the universe was composed of nor did they care for the most part. All they cared about was that they drew energy from somewhere to simply exist.

Of all living beings throughout creation, only bugs tapped into the power of Chaos. That was why odd things always happened around them. Chaotic energy was wildly unpredictable and very few beings of order could even begin to comprehend it, let alone try to predict it. Briefly she wondered if her father knew why only bugs and no other living thing tapped into the power of Chaos.

That was a question to ponder for another time. For now, she had to get help. She could handle Class Three's and below easily enough. After reading about the higher classes of bugs, she had upgraded her debugging hammer to handle Class Four's. However it would take a several hits to successfully debug those. No, there was no way she'd be able to debug a Class Five bug. They were the only being she knew of that could tap into the power of Chaos at will and she didn't have enough information to make a debugging tool that powerful.

There was only one person she knew of that could help her. And that was her father, Kami-sama himself. Quietly, step by step, she backed away from the Class Five bug. As soon as she was far enough away from it, she turned and ran as fast as she could toward her father's office. Had she remained there another minute longer, she would have been witness to the bug being sucked into a portal of pure mana.

Within his office, Kami-sama whispered, "It has begun..."

*******************

Back down on Midgard...

Pain. Hot, searing, blinding pain. That was all he knew at the moment. The many ravenous cats within the pit were after the fish sausage that had been wrapped around him. He had tried to get it off earlier, but it had been tied on too tight by his father. Now, all he could do was curl up in a ball and pray the cats stopped hurting him.

Within the embrace of pain, little Ranma could only wonder why his poppa wanted to hurt him like this. He looked up to his poppa and tried to learn all he could from the large man. Why would his father allow him to be tortured like this? Did his father not love him anymore? Did he do something to anger the man he called poppa?

All this and more ran through Ranma's mind as the pain continued to assault him. He cried as he wished for the pain to stop. For his father to come to his rescue. For...anyone...to come to his rescue.

As the cats continued to claw, scratch, and sink their teeth into each other as well as Ranma so that they could eat, a swirling white portal appeared suddenly. It only stayed open for a moment before it snapped shut, delivering a small bundle of fur.

Sensing the new arrival, the cats stopped clawing for the fish sausage and began to hiss at the area where they sensed the creature that had appeared. All their instinctual responses screamed to them that something had just arrived, was out of the ordinary, felt dangerous to them, and therefore was a threat to them.

The Class Five bug shook it's head to get rid of the slight dizziness that had accompanied it's sudden journey from Asgard to Midgard. Once the dizzy spell had cleared, it opened it's eyes to see a large number of cats hissing in it's general direction.

It was curious as to where it was. But that thought only lasted a brief moment as it saw what the cats were on and around. Seeing the small human child and the condition it was in caused the bug to become angry. Angry at the cats for hurting a child. And angry at whoever would put a child in this kind of danger.

For during it's travels, it had heard of the Neko-Ken. And it knew that the only qualified teachers of it were Bastet and Sekmet. It had heard of the perverted method of training the humans had devised to acquire the powerful technique, but it never thought it would witness it firsthand. The pit it was in matched perfectly to what it knew of the way the humans tried to teach it.

The bug's heart went out to the child. No child deserved to be inflicted with so much pain. Glancing at the cats, the bug decided to help the young human. It's resolve firmed, the bug called upon the power of Chaos to get rid of the cats. Glowing black, the bug focused the power towards the many cats within the pit. Slowly, each cat began to disappear with a slight pop of displaced air. Soon they all disappeared and the black glow faded away from around the bug.

Hopping over to the crying boy, the bug felt saddened at the pain the boy had endured. Reaching into itself once more, it tapped the power of Chaos and sent the energy into the child to try and heal it's wounds.

*******************

Far away from the pit's location, in a european country, a few hundred years in the past, several dozen cats appeared out of thin air. Now this would would have been fine had they not been fifteen or so feet up in the air. Falling to the ground, all the cats made perfect landings on their feet.

Nearby, on the steps of an old violin shop, a man observed the arrival of the many cats. A smile upon his face, he clasped his hands together, gazed up into the sky, and said, "Thank You!"

The man's prayers had been answered. He was a violin maker. And that required cat gut for making the strings. For months he had been praying for cats, and now his prayers had been answered.

Quickly, he began to gather the cats up. Some managed to escape, but the rest were not as fortunate. All to soon, the man tied closed the bag that was bulging and hissing. Slinging the bag of cats over his shoulder, the man whistled a happy tune as he entered his shop. The sign above the door said, 'Stratavarious Violins'

Centuries later, music collectors pondered how Stratavarious could have made such beautiful sounding violins. Little did they know that the cats which the strings had come from had been touched with the power of Chaos before they died. And that the power in the strings had seeped into the wood of the violins allowing the music to take on a sound that was richer and could harmonize with part of the universe itself.

*******************

Up in Asgard...

Moments before Skuld could burst into his office, Kami-sama struck several keys on the holographic computer in front of him. Twin monitors hovering over his desk showed two separate things. On one, the file of one Ranma Saotome. The other, the events happening in the pit down on Midgard.

As the last key was struck, the file of Ranma Saotome was irrevocably changed. Once the change had occurred, security protocols that he had setup began to take affect. Ranma's file, once free for any divine being to gaze upon, was encrypted. But not any normal encryption. This level of encryption was reserved for files of such sensitive nature that only he was allowed to view them. And in all of Yggdrasil, only two or three files ever held that high a level of security. One of which were the files on himself. Now, there was one more.

Gazing upon the monitor that showed young Ranma's plight, Kami-sama smiled as the black glow of the bug began to surround Ranma and all the cuts and scratches from the cats finally began to heal.

Turning off the displays, Kami-sama leaned back in his chair. All that was left to do now was wait for the unexpected. Well, unexpected to anyone but him. He had experience with a Class Five bug and the level of control it wielded over the energies of Chaos.

Thinking back a moment, Kami-sama could only wonder what he was thinking in trying to tame to energies of Chaos. His effort led to the spontaneous creation of the bugs that plagued Yggdrasil and led his debuggers to endless bouts of bug smashing.

Smiling at the memory, Kami-sama stroked the bundle of black fur that rested in his lap. It moved a little at his touch but remained where it was for the most part.
The bundle in his lap had been the first of the bugs. Born of the primal energies of chaos, it had come into being as a Class Five. It had been the only Class Five in existence since then. That was, until now. Now, it had a sister that was on Midgard to fulfill a plan she had no knowledge of.

The buzz of his intercom broke Kami-sama out of his thoughts of the past. Answering it, he gave his permission for his daughter to enter his office. Leaning back, Kami-sama pondered what to tell his daughter so that she would be able to calm down. Remembering something, he smiled as he figured out just what to say.

Skuld, Goddess of the Future, stepped into Kami-sama's office with as much bravery as she could muster. She didn't want to admit it, but the sighting of that bug had scared her more than anything else she could think of. She'd seen a myth, something that wasn't supposed to exist, and yet she could not deny she had seen it.

Behind her, the large heavy doors closed while she continued forward to her fathers desk. Upon arrival, she waited for him to speak. Despite the threat she thought the bug represented, she had to stick with proper protocol. It didn't matter how much she wanted to run up to him, jump into his lap, and cry like there was no tomorrow.

Gazing down upon his daughter, Kami-sama smiled. He could see that despite the front, she was very scared and was trying to hide it as much as she could. He couldn't fault her for it. She'd just seen something that nobody, beside him, was supposed to know about. Plus the fact that she was still fairly young and very impressionable.

"Hello Daughter." said Kami-sama.

Bowing, Skuld replied, "Hello Father."

Clearing his throat, Kami-sama said, "I know why you are here my daughter."

Curious, Skuld replied, "You do?"

Nodding, Kami-sama said, "Yes I do. You see, the bug you saw is one I have been watching for some time."

Shocked, Skuld said, "What!? But why? It's a danger to Yggdrasil and all of creation! It's got to be debugged!"

"I have my reasons. But first, come closer. I wish to show you something." said Kami-sama.

Nodding shakily, Skuld stepped up till she was right next to her father's desk. She wondered briefly what he wanted to show her just before he set a small bundle of fur onto the desk top.

"I would like you to meet one of my oldest friends." he said smiling.

Curious, she peered closer. At first she was unsure as to what it was, but soon she realized what the bundle of fur was. It was a Class Five system bug.

Gasping, she stepped back. "W..W..What is that doing here!?" she shakily said.

"Don't be afraid my daughter. He won't hurt you." said Kami-sama, trying to calm his daughter down.

"But it's a Class Five!." she half yelled. Fear and Panic in her voice.

"Do not worry. He has been my friend for longer than time itself. And you are right, he is a Class Five system bug. His name is Ramsus." said Kami-sama gently, trying to calm his panicked daughter.

Confused, Skuld began to look back and forth between her father and the bug sitting on his desk. Hundred of thoughts raced through her head. But the main question that came to mind was...How..."

"How?" she said. Still shocked at seeing a myth twice in one day however slowly calming down due to her father's gentle voice and quiet assurances.

Seeing as how his daughter was still frightened, Kami-sama said, "Come closer. I shall answer your question but only if you do something first."

Unsure, Skuld hesitated a moment before complying with her father. As soon as she was back next to the desk, her father requested her hand. Trusting her father knew best, she put her right hand into her father's.

Stroking Skuld's hand for a moment, Kami-sama said, "I want you to place your hand upon my friend and stroke his fur. Do not worry, he will not bite you. He just wants to be your friend."

Slowly her hand descended toward the midnight black bug. It's eyes watching her as her hand came closer and closer. She was scared, but the touch of her father helped to calm her. Soon, her hand rested upon the soft fur of a myth.

Guiding his daughter's hand, Kami-sama smiled as Skuld began to stroke the fur of his long time friend. He was even happier when she kept stroking even after he had removed his own hand.

At first she had been frightened but now that she was stroking the soft fur of the bug, her fear slowly began to drain out of her. Nothing had happened. Nothing had blown up. All that happened was her fear draining out of her and the soft purrs of the little bug. Slowly a childlike smile began to form upon her face.

Closing it's eyes, the bug began to enjoy the sensations of having it's fur stroked. It knew that Skuld was frightened of it but it also knew that what had transpired between father and daughter was necessary if it's friend was to do what needed to be done.

Smiling at his daughter, Kami-sama said, "You see? Nothing to be afraid of."

Looking up at her father, Skuld smiled softly, her hand still stroking the bug on the desk. "But I thought...?" said Skuld.

Shaking his head, Kami-sama replied, "Skuld, you should not even know of the existence of Class Five system bugs. But you do. However your information is not complete. You were only able to get a glimmer of what was contained within the file you tried to hack into."

Looking down, an ashamed Skuld asked, "You know about that?"

Nodding, Kami-sama said, "Yes I do. And no, I am not angry with you. You were merely curious and that is a admirable quality. However you should have come to me first and asked if you could learn more."

"I'm sorry." said Skuld looking back up at her father.

Smiling gently, Kami-sama said, "Apology accepted."

"So what didn't I know?" asked Skuld.

Sighing, Kami-sama said, "I'm afraid I cannot tell you much due to a special project I have going on. However I can tell you that there are only two Class Five's in existence. The one you are petting was the first and only until now. The one you saw earlier is the other."

Still relatively short, Skuld leaned forward and put her chin down on the desk. She gazed upon the bug as she stroked it's fur. The two were only a half inch apart for a few moments before the bug licked Skuld's nose. Yelping in surprise, Skuld jumped back a foot.

Chuckling, Kami-sama said, "I think he likes you."

Giggling a little before returning to her original position, Skuld said, "I like him too."

Smiling, Kami-sama said, "Is there anything else you would like to know?"

Thinking a moment, Skuld nodded, "Yes, how is it I can see him without my goggles and what about the other one?"

"Well, the reason you can see him without your goggles is because Class Five's can become visible to beings of order whenever they want to. However it is rare that they will." said Kami-sama.

Nodding, Skuld said, "What about the other one?"

"The other Class Five that you saw earlier is currently occupied fixing a mistake I made thousands of millennia ago." replied Kami-sama.

Curious, Skuld asked, "What kind of mistake?"

Shaking his head, Kami-sama replied, "I cannot tell you now. Ask me again in twelve years and I shall answer that question."

Nodding, Skuld returned to petting the bug on the desk. Smiling, she giggled occasionally as the bug did cute and humorous things.

"Now then, I think it's time you got back to debugging. That one bug that you didn't debug is starting to cause some problems with some of the smaller systems in that area." said Kami-sama.

"Oh no! I forgot all about the bugs I was tracking!" Skuld said before turning to quickly get back to her duties.

Before she could leave, Kami-sama said, "Skuld, I have something to tell you."

Turning back toward her father, Skuld said, "Yes?"

"You mustn't speak a word of what we talked about to anyone else. Not even your sisters. However you may talk to me. And to make sure you do not inadvertently let what we talked about slip out either voluntarily or involuntarily, I want you to drink this potion. It will prevent anyone learning about this subject from you through any means." said Kami-sama tossing a potion to his daughter.

Catching the potion that her father lobbed to her, Skuld looked at it a moment before pulling the stopper out and drinking the contents. She glowed a gentle blue for a moment before returning to normal.

"Why do I have to be prevented from telling others?" asked Skuld.

Sighing, Kami-sama replied, "As of now, only you and I know of the existence of the Class Five bugs. If others were to learn of them before my plan is complete, it could lead to an unpleasant future. Not only for us, but for all living creatures great and small."

"It's that important!" said a shocked Skuld.

Nodding, Kami-sama replied, "Yes it is. We may talk about this later. For now, I think you have some bugs to debug."

With a quick nod, Skuld turned and left the office. As the doors closed behind her, Kami-sama watched them for a moment before running his hand across the fur of the bug sitting on his desk.

Looking up at Kami-sama, Ramsus thought, ["Why didn't you tell her about the telepathic communication we share?"]

["It wasn't necessary. I told her what she needed to know so that her curiosity would be satisfied."] thought Kami-sama.

["She'll be back you know."] thought Ramsus.

["Yes, I know. She always has been curious. An admirable quality but one that has gotten her into trouble before."] thought Kami-sama.

["Do you think your plan will work?"] asked Ramsus mentally.

Sighing, Kami-sama replied mentally, ["It has to work. Otherwise all of creation will be destroyed."]

Hopping back into Kami-sama's lap, Ramsus thought, ["Then let us hope your plan succeeds."]

Nodding, Kami-sama returned to petting Ramsus. His thoughts on the hope for all creation...

*******************

Back at the pit on Midgard...

The energy the bug sent into Ranma's body had at first caused him to cry out in pain. The bug had been tempted to stop right away but before it could, the cries ceased and the injuries began to heal slowly. Sighing to itself, the bug had increased the energy transfer in an attempt to speed up the healing process. It hadn't been sure at first if this would have worked. But now that it knew it would work, it felt safe to heal Ranma's prone form faster.

Currently, the child was almost healed. Most of the injuries were finished healing and all that was left was for the final parts of the healing process to finish. A soft black glow surrounded both Ranma and the bug. As soon as the final injury was healed, the bug stopped sending energy into Ranma's body.

However as with how Chaos usually worked, something unexpected happened when the bug tried to heal Ranma. Curious, the bug wondered why the black glow still persisted around the injured boy's body. The glow should have faded away since there was no more power being supplied.

Seeing that the aura wasn't hurting anything, the bug shrugged it off for the time being and decided to check on the boy. Hopping over, the bug nudged Ranma in an effort to wake him up. The healing process had put him to sleep and now that it was complete, the bug wanted to make sure that Ranma would be ok.

A few nudges were all it took for Ranma to begin waking up. Opening his eyes, he was met with darkness. At first he thought it was night but the memories began coming back to him. The pit of cats. The training his father was trying to put him through. The indescribable pain unlike any he had felt before.

Sitting up slowly, Ranma looked around the pit. Oddly enough, despite there being almost no light, he could see relatively well. His scan revealed nothing but the pit walls. Not a single cat in sight.

A small brush of fur against his hand alerted Ranma to another presence in the pit. Looking down, Ranma saw a small bundle of black fur looking up at him. At first, he thought it was a cat, but movement of long ears told him differently. That combined with the creature's eight legs definitely classified it as something other than a cat.

"What are you?" asked Ranma. More to himself than the bug. He knew he wouldn't get any answers from the small creature. That was why he was surprised when he actually did receive a response.

["Hmm...Well I suppose you could say I'm something of a cross between a Rabbit and a Bug. However as to the question of what I am, well the answer to that would be a System Bug."] thought the bug. However what came out of it's mouth were several chitters.

Blinking a moment, Ranma quickly turned his head back toward the small creature, disbelief shown on his face. He wasn't exactly sure, but he could have sworn the small creature had told him it was a System Bug, whatever that was. Before he could ponder further, he began to get a little light headed from the quick motion. Slumping down, Ranma put a hand to his head.

"Ugh..." he said.

As Ranma slumped down from the small bout of dizziness, the bug was blinking in confusion. When the boy had looked at it, it had seen something around the boy's head that shouldn't have been there.

Looking again, it confirmed it's earlier observations. There, around the boy's head, was a golden circlet. A jewel, blacker than it's own was nestled in the center. Around it, five smaller jewels were set into a star pattern.

At the top was a onyx jewel, the same shade as it's own. To the right, was a dark sapphire. Down from that rested a diamond. To the left of that was an odd greenish colored jewel that seemed to change shades every so often the longer one stared at it. Above that, next to the black jewel, was a crimson ruby.

It was broken out of it's observation, by Ranma's voice. Turning it's attention from the circlet to Ranma himself, the bug watched as Ranma's hand was in contact with the circlet. Apparently, the young boy had found the new addition.

"What the?" said Ranma as his hand felt the band of gold around his head. Wondering what the object was, Ranma attempted to remove it. However it seemed to be stuck and could not be easily removed.

Sighing, Ranma once more looked back down at the creature that had called itself a system bug. He wondered what that was briefly before deciding to speak and see if what he had heard earlier was just his imagination.

"What's a system bug?" asked Ranma.

Blinking again, only this time in slight shock, the bug wondered how the boy had understood it. From it's knowledge, the only beings that could understand a system bug were other system bugs. Thinking to what happened earlier, the bug remembered chittering out an answer to the boy's question. However it also had thought the answer. Seeing that Ranma was waiting for an answer, the bug decided to first try something.

["Can you understand me?"] thought the bug.

Nodding, Ranma wondered where the sound was coming from. He didn't hear anything through his ears. The voice sounded almost like it was in his head.

It's hypothesis proven, the bug answered Ranma's question from earlier. ["Well, now that I know we can communicate, I'll answer your earlier question. A system bug is a being such as myself that utilizes the power of Chaos to live. We are the only beings in creation to utilize that aspect of the universe. We were called system bugs by the maintainers of Yggdrasil. Since we can't communicate with them, the issue of what we are has never really come up."]

Confused, young Ranma said, "Huh?"

Sighing as it had forgotten that the boy was still fairly young, the bug simply thought, ["How about I put it this way. A system bug is a creature that is friendly and kind."]

Understanding, Ranma smiled.

Smiling as only a bug can smile, the bug thought, ["I saw earlier that you discovered the circlet upon your head."]

Reaching up once more to the circlet, Ranma, unfamiliar with the word, asked, "Circlet?"

Sighing once again, the bug thought, ["The band of metal that is around your head. It's what is called a circlet. Usually they are made of valuable metals such as gold or silver. The one around your head appears to be gold. If you look at me, you'll see that I wear a circlet as well."]

Nodding now that he understood what a circlet was, Ranma looked at the circlet on the bug's head. Thinking it was pretty, he wondered what his own looked like.

As if on cue, part of the black aura around Ranma coalesced into a flat reflective surface just a foot in front of his face. Blinking in shock for a moment, Ranma noticed the shiny circlet around his head. Turning his head from one side to the other, he smiled as the thought it looked neat on him.

No longer curious as to how he looked, the reflective surface disappeared and the energy was reabsorbed into the still burning black aura around his body. It was at this time that Ranma finally noticed the reason he was able to see in the pit.

Looking down at his arm, Ranma could see his arm but there was a black flame surrounding it. Panicking, Ranma tried to put out the flame. His attempt however was met with no success as the flame continued to burn and began to increase in intensity as Ranma's fear grew.

"Ah! I'm on fire!" yelled Ranma.

Observing what was happening, not only with Ranma but also the black aura, the bug decided it had better try and calm the child down before things got out of control. It had wondered why the aura had remained even after the energy transfer had ceased. Now it had an inkling of what might have taken place.

Hopping closer, the bug thought, ["Shhh...Calm down. You're not on fire. The 'flames' will not hurt you."]

Slowly Ranma's fear began to shrink as the bug continued to reassure him that there was nothing dangerous about the black flames that surrounded him. After a few moments, Ranma had finally calmed down enough for the bug to explain the reason for it's earlier statements.

["Now I'm not exactly sure of why, but it seems that when I tried to heal you, the energy I used affected you in a way I was not expecting."] thought the bug.

Curious, Ranma crossed his legs and paid close attention to what the bug was saying, well thinking more than saying. He'd been afraid he be hurt by the flames around his body if they continued to burn. But the small creature had assured him that it would not harm him. Now that he thought about it, he didn't feel any pain from the flames.

"What do you mean?" asked Ranma.

Thinking for a moment, the bug replied, ["Hrm...Let me see if I can put this into terms you can understand. You see, the world we all live in is made up of two primary parts. The main part is called Order. Now this is what all living creatures with the exception of one are part of. It provides them with energy to simply exist."]

Nodding, Ranma said, "Neat, what about the other part?"

Seeing that the boy was following along, the bug continued, ["The other part that makes up existence is called Chaos. It is what I and other system bugs are part of.
It's very unpredictable and can do things that can bend or even break the laws of physics."]

"What's physics?" asked Ranma.

["Think of it as a set of rules that cannot be broken. With chaos, it becomes possible to bend and break those rules."] thought the bug.

Nodding, Ranma said, "Ok, so what happened then?"

Sighing, the bug thought, ["Well, from what I can guess, it would seem that the chaotic energy affected you in a way it shouldn't have. Now don't get me wrong, it won't harm you or anything like that. It'll just take some getting used to."]

A little worried, Ranma asked, "What did it to do me?"

["Remember when I told you earlier that there was only one living being that was a part of Chaos?"] thought the bug.

Nodding, Ranma waited for the creature to finish.

["Well, from what I can now tell, there are now two. Congratulations, you're now a being of Chaos."] thought the bug.

Unsure of what this new revelation meant, Ranma did what any child would do at the thought of achieving something nobody else had and being congratulated for it.

He said, "Neat."

Sighing, the bug knew that he was too young to fully understand what had really happened. It had tried to put it into as simple of terms as possible and for the most part the child did understand. The bug was still unsure as to how it had happened. The only way it could think of was that Kami-sama had done something that had affected the child and allowed the power of Chaos to change the boy. Probably modified his file or something. It knew that the initial cries of pain were what should have happened. Chaos and order did not mix very well together.

Most beings of order possessed the tiniest spark of chaos. It was there to bring balance and keep things interesting in a cosmic sense. In some the spark was stronger but still so minor that it was barely worth paying attention to.

Chuckling to itself, it figured the child probably thought he had been praised for accomplishing something. Shrugging, it decided to get to know the child better. Now that the child was a being of Chaos, the responsibility of teaching him to harness those energies fell to her. If she didn't, then things could get very messy in the near future.

["So tell me about yourself. I'm afraid with all that has happened, we haven't had time to introduce ourselves. My name is Rhea."] thought the bug.

Smiling, Ranma said with pride, "My name's Ranma and my poppa is teaching me to be a martial artist!"

Raising an eyebrow, Rhea thought, ["A martial artist eh? How does your martial art work?"]

Thinking a moment, Ranma said, "Well poppa said that our style combines other styles so that it's unpredictable and adaptable."

["Well then I think this will be very beneficial to you. You see, as a being of Chaos, unpredictability will become second nature to you. You might even be able to create your own style of martial arts based on it."] thought the bug.

His eyes widening, Ranma replied, "Really? That would be so neat!"

Nodding, Rhea sighed as at least something worked out in her favor from this mess. Looking up at Ranma, she smiled to herself. She liked this child. His innocence, the joy he showed when finding out something new. If her guess was correct, he was quite intelligent. The only thing it seemed he lacked was a proper education. Well proper at least by human standards.

Thinking about it, she decided to try to educate him as much as possible. Since she would be traveling with him, it would help him to understand his new power and be able to know how to utilize it in the way he wanted.

Glancing at his face, she saw that he seemed to want to ask something but was unsure of how to ask it. Deciding to help him out, she asked, ["What is it?"]

A little nervous, Ranma shyly asked, "Um...I was just wondering if I could...Um...Well could I pet you? Please?"

Blinking a moment, she smiled to herself and shook her head slightly at the boy's nervousness. True she had never been petted before in her life. And true the boy probably viewed her as some kind of animal. However his nervousness probably stemmed from the fact she was intelligent and able to communicate with him. It was like asking to pet another human.

Hopping into his lap, she folded her legs under her body and made herself comfortable. Looking up at Ranma, she thought, ["Yes you may. Just be gentle. I've never been petted before."]

Smiling, Ranma nodded. Lowering his hand, he gently began to stroke the small creature's fur. It was soft to the touch. It would be like velvet if he knew what that felt like.

At first she was unsure about the boy's request, but now that he was doing it, she loved the sensations it was giving her. It shocked her slightly that a soft purring sound began to emanate from deep within her throat. Oh yes, she definitely loved this. Perhaps this wouldn't be as bad as she thought. If nothing else, at least she made a very nice friend. That thought made her happy. She'd never had a friend before. From what she knew, she was the only one of her kind. Or at least of her class.

Ranma smiled as he felt her fur. It was softer than anything he'd felt before. When she started to purr, his smile widened even more. She was such a curious creature. Very smart from what he could tell yet also very kind. She tried to explain things to him so he'd understand them. He hoped she'd be able to come along with him. He didn't want to lose his new friend.

"Um Rhea?" asked Ranma.

Looking up, Rhea replied, ["Yes Ranma?"]

"Um...I was wondering if it was possible for you to come with me and my poppa when we leave." said Ranma.

Smiling as only a bug can, she said mentally, ["That's my poppa and I. And I would like that very much Ranma. I was planning on it anyway since I need to train you to harness your new power."]

Frowning slightly, Ranma said, "I just hope poppa let's you come."

["I wouldn't worry about that too much Ranma. You see, beings of order cannot see system bugs without special equipment. So he won't be able to see me. It would probably be best if you didn't tell him about me. At least not for now. He more than likely will not understand."] thought Rhea.

"I don't wanna lie to my poppa." said Ranma.

Sighing, Rhea decided she had to do something she didn't want to do till later, ["Ranma, you said you were being trained to be a martial artist. Right?"]

Nodding, Ranma smiled, "Yep, the best!"

Smiling, Rhea continued, ["And this pit is part of that training, right?"]

His smiled dropping, Ranma replied with a slight sniffle, "Yeah. Poppa said the cats would teach me a technique called the Neko-ken. But it really hurt."

["I'm sure it did. You see, this is not the proper way to learn the technique."] thought Rhea.

"It isn't? But poppa said." said Ranma.

Shaking her head, Rhea thought, ["The Neko-ken is indeed a powerful technique. However there are only two people that are qualified to teach it. And your father is not one of them. The way he was trying to teach you was the wrong way and was very dangerous. You could have died because of it."]

His lip quivering, a few tears falling down his face, Ranma said, "Died? But I thought poppa loved me? Why would he want to hurt me?"

["Shh...It's alright Ranma. I'm sorry I had to tell you that. I'm sure he does love you but was greedy enough to think the technique was worth the pain you were put through. Don't worry, I'll make sure that it won't happen again. I won't allow him to put you into any more life threatening situations because of some martial arts technique."] thought Rhea.

Sniffling, Ranma hugged Rhea. "Thank You Rhea."

["Your welcome. Now come on, let's see about getting out of this pit. Afterwards, we'll see about making sure you're father doesn't try this technique again."] thought Rhea.

Nodding, Ranma looked around for some way out. Seeing none, he looked down at his new friend. "I don't see any way out." he said.

Thinking a moment, Rhea hit upon an idea with a dual purpose. ["I think I know a way out. And a way for you to begin learning about your new power. First, I'll get rid of the trap door. Then I'll instruct you on what to do next."]

Nodding, Ranma watched as a black glow surrounded his friend. The black flames coalesced into a small ball of black energy. As soon as the ball formed, it took off toward the trap door. Following it's trajectory, Ranma was amazed as the door simply disappeared.

"Wow!" said an excited Ranma.

Smiling, Rhea thought, ["That was only a small sample of what you'll be able to do once you're trained. Now for your first lesson. I want you to concentrate and draw in the black flames surrounding you. Once you do it the first time, they should stay out of sight until you consciously want them to appear. They should react to your thoughts so it shouldn't be too hard.

Nodding, Ranma closed his eyes and concentrated. At first nothing happened and Rhea wondered if he'd be able to do it. Just as she was about to say some words of encouragement, the flames began to slowly disappear. Once they were all gone, Ranma opened his eyes. Looking down at his arm, he smiled as he was able to do it.

["Very good Ranma. It would seem that I was not wrong in my assessment of your abilities. Now I want you to concentrate on that energy and send some to your legs. Then I want you to try and jump out of the pit. Try to keep your eyes open and the energy from becoming visible."] thought Rhea

Smiling at the praise, Ranma nodded concentrated once more on the chaotic energies within his body. Feeling the power, he tried to send a small portion into his legs. The energy filled his legs with strength and no flames appeared. Squatting down, Ranma jumped as hard as he could. However he had put a little too much energy into it and cleared the pit opening with several feet to spare. His martial arts training kicking in, he was able to fall to the ground without sustaining any injuries.

Nodding to herself, Rhea smiled. Her friend would be able to learn quite easily. She just had to make sure to teach him the finer points of subtlety when using smaller amounts of power. At least his power was fairly weak right now and would grow slowly at first over the following years as he grew more accustomed to it and used it more.

Standing up, Ranma walked over to the small camp he and his father were staying at. As he walked, he talked with his new friend some more.

"Rhea? Would it be possible for me to learn the Neko-ken? The right way I mean." asked Ranma.

Thinking a moment, Rhea responded, ["I don't know. More than likely not as the two people who are qualified to teach it are goddesses. Don't worry about it for now Ranma. I'm sure there are other techniques that are just as good to learn."]

Nodding, Ranma said, "Ok. I just was wondering."

Curious, Rhea thought, ["How did you father learn of the Neko-ken?"]

Arriving at the camp he and his father were staying at, Ranma responded, "He found it in an old book he found at a chinese shop."

["Can you show me this book?"] responded Rhea.

Nodding, Ranma went over to his fathers pack and pulled out a weathered manual. On the cover it said, 'The legendary Neko-Ken'.

Sitting down, Ranma positioned Rhea on his lap so that she could read it along with him. As he went through it, he became slightly angry that his father had gone through with it even after reading what might happen to the student during the training. However the last page was a real eye opener. The one that stated the technique had been banned and that only a fool would ever think of teaching it since it could result in the death or permanent insanity of the trainee.

Rhea helped to explain the parts he couldn't understand. Thanking her for her help he leaned back against his own pack to wait for his father to return. He wanted to show his father what he found in the manual.

Before the pit he'd trusted his father completely. Now...well he no longer completely trusted his father. Rhea helped to ease his mind about the man but the bonds of trust had been broken and would probably never be fully repaired. Despite the pit, he still did love the man and would stay with him. Besides, with Rhea there, he felt that his father wouldn't be able to do anything like the pit to him again.

As the two talked while waiting for Genma's return, Ranma agreed with Rhea that despite being an idiot, Genma was his father and that he should continue to stay with the man, just not fully trust his judgment anymore. She also informed him that they would have to fool his father so he wouldn't ask too many questions about what had happened since the cats were gone and Ranma was outside of the pit.

Overhead, a flock of birds flew toward the nearby city. It was mid-afternoon and the events in the pit had tired both Ranma and his new friend Rhea. Closing their eyes, the two dozed off. Their thoughts of each other and what the future may bring.

*******************

Up in Asgard...

Kami-sama was again watching events in the pit. He frowned as the boy learned why his father caused him pain. He smiled as a friendship was forged. He also thought about something the child had said. That he wondered if there was a way for him to learn the neko-ken. The proper version at least.

Stroking his beard, Kami-sama pondered the child's words. Perhaps there was something he could do for the boy. Some way to help the boy learn more about the martial arts. Not just the neko-ken, but other styles as well.

It was true that it would help with what would come in the future. Leaning back, Kami-sama pondered on the subject while he stroked the fur of his friend. It was something to consider. For now though, he'd just watch and see what happened.

In his lap, Ramsus just rolled his eyes at his friend. To think, the words of a child could make the all mighty ponder. Such was the heaven they lived in.

*******************

Back on Midgard, not too far away from the pit...

Genma smiled to himself as thoughts of sake floated through his head. While his son was in the pit, he'd decided to head into town and steal...err...borrow several bottles of high quality sake to celebrate his son learning the dreaded Neko-ken.

Readjusting the several bottles he carried, Genma resumed his journey back to the campsite where he and his son were staying. As soon as he returned, he'd checkup on Ranma's progress. He was worried that Ranma might not have learned it. If that was the case, then he'd just repeat it until his son mastered it. That's all there was to it.

Nodding to himself at his ingenuity, Genma approached the small campsite. Frowning, he spied his son leaning against the smaller of the two backpacks. Looking over the child's body, Genma could find no trace of his son ever being in the pit other than some dirt stains and fairly large amount of dried blood on the small gi that adorned his body.

Thinking back, he recalled that the gi his son was wearing did not have anywhere near the amount of blood on it that was there now. Something was up, however he did not know what exactly it was. Deciding to let his son sleep for now, Genma set the bottles of sake he was carrying down and rummaged through his pack for a flashlight. Finding it quickly, Genma headed toward the pit.

The answer to his question would have to be there. He knew the pit was too deep for his son to get out of. That was what the manual had told him to do. Make it escape proof for the trainee.

Arriving at the pit, Genma frowned once more. Looking closely at the place where the trap door had been, all he could see were half of the hinges. Glancing around the area, he could find no trace of the door. Turning his attention back to the pit, Genma clicked on the flashlight he held. Kneeling down, Genma peered into the pit, his flashlight illuminating it for him to see.

Now he knew something was wrong. There was no trace of the cats. No bodies, no hairballs, no urine, not even a whisker. All that he could see was a spot on the floor that appeared to be red from blood. Unbeknownst to Genma, when Rhea had removed the cats, she had also removed everything else from the pit except for herself and Ranma, including his blood. She didn't know where exactly everything went to. She had just trusted the energies of Chaos to send it wherever was appropriate.

Standing back up, Genma headed back to the campsite. There was only one way he'd find the answer to what happened. And that was from his son. At least he hoped so. There was just something about all this that felt odd. Almost like an old memory.

Arriving in camp, Genma found that his son had awoken and was looking through a aged book. Looking closer, he could see it was the Neko-ken manual. Shrugging to himself, Genma approached Ranma.

"Ranma?" said Genma.

Looking up from the book, Ranma smiled and said, "Yeah?"

Frowning slightly, Genma said, "What happened while I was away? Where are all the cats?"

His smile dropping, Ranma replied, "I don't know. I remember jumping into the dark and then...It hurt poppa. The kitties hurt me. I closed my eyes and I think I fell asleep. Then I woke up just now and the kitties were all gone and I didn't hurt anymore."

"Is there anything else you can tell me son?" asked Genma.

Thinking a moment, Ranma shook his head. "Uh-uh" he said.

Sighing, Genma continued to wonder what had happened. He was broken out of his thoughts by a tug on his gi. Looking down, he saw his son holding the Neko-Ken manual and pointing to the last page.

Kneeling down, Genma asked, "What is it?"

Pointing to the page, Ranma asked, "What's this say poppa?"

Taking the book, Genma began reading the indicated page to himself. Unknown to him, Ranma had already read it with the help of Rhea. However as a part of their ruse, he needed to have his father read it. Rhea had speculated that Genma had not read the last page and therefore had gone through with the training. Not knowing that it had been banned and there were major risks associated with the training.

Nearby, Rhea watched as Genma read the page that Ranma had shown him. Judging by his expression, she nodded to herself. She had been right. He had not read it. Hopefully, now that he had read the warnings, he would think twice about continuing on with the training. Fortunately, it appeared that Genma had bought the ruse she and Ranma had come up with when Genma had gone to inspect the pit. She had no idea what they would do if he further questioned her friend.

Paling a bit after reading the page, Genma said, "It's nothing son. Just some stuff about the training."

"Like what?" asked Ranma.

Closing the manual, Genma replied, "Just something I didn't know. Now come on. We're gonna break camp and continue on our journey."

Watching as his father stood up, Ranma asked, "What about the Neko-ken poppa?"

Stuffing the manual in his pack, Genma said, "Forget about the Neko-ken Ranma. It wasn't what I thought it was. Now pack up. I'm gonna head into the woods for a little while to take care of some business."

Nodding, Ranma sighed to himself. His and Rhea's plan had worked. Now Genma wouldn't try to continue the training. Turning, Ranma began to pack his stuff into his own backpack.

Next to him, Rhea watched as Genma headed into the woods carrying several bottles. Shrugging to herself, she turned her attention back to Ranma. While Genma was gone, she could talk with him some more. Thinking a moment, she wondered if Ranma could learn to communicate telepathically like she could with him. If her guess was right, she'd inadvertently created a bond between them. It certainly was something to consider. It would make it easier for them to talk without having to worry about others. Filing it away for later, she hopped up next to him. She wanted to make good use of the time they were alone.

*******************

Meanwhile, in the woods...

Sighing, Genma opened one of the bottles of sake he had brought back from town. He really needed a drink after reading that last page in the manual. Coupled with the odd happenings with his son and that pit had left him a bit on edge.

Taking a big swig, Genma's tongue was met with an odd taste. One he could only guess correctly as to the source since he had smelt it just earlier that day. Spewing out the foul liquid from his mouth, he slowly poured out the bottle of liquid onto the ground. Looking closely, he could see bits of hair and feces covered in what smelled like cat urine and sake.

Looking closely at the other bottles, he could see that they were completely sealed. Opening one, he took a good sniff. Finding the same smell as came from the first one, he tossed it away. He continued until he got to the last bottle. Slowly opening it, he sniffed it a couple times. Finding no urine smell, Genma smiled and began to drink, swishing the first mouthful around to help get rid of the foul taste left from the first bottle he had tried.

"Finally, a good bottle." he said while pondering what kind of people made the previous bottles he had tossed away.

Upon finishing, he tossed the bottle away and began to return to camp. He had decided to break camp and wanted to get going before any more strange things happened. For some reason, he kept getting an odd feeling when he was near that pit. Oddly enough, it reminded him a little too much of the dreaded master he and his old training partner had studied under. Like something not of this world had touched it.

*******************

A few minutes earlier, back at the camp...

Finished with packing up his stuff, Ranma had sat down to talk with his new friend for a bit while his father was away in the woods. Rhea had congratulated him on successfully managing to keep his father from resuming the Neko-ken training. He smiled at the compliment before picking Rhea up and petting her while she rested in his lap.

Enjoying the sensations, Rhea tried to teach her friend the fundamentals of telepathic communication. She knew it would take a while even though Ranma was very smart. That was why she wanted to get started on it as early as possible. She wanted to be able to have conversations with him while avoiding the problems that could arise if someone saw Ranma talking to thin air.

Ranma for the most part was able to grasp much of what Rhea was talking about. Mainly due to the fact that she put it into terms he could easily understand. He understood the need to learn this new skill too. Rhea had said that people would not be able to see her and that if they saw him talking to thin air, they would stay away from him and not be his friends. Being lonely quite a bit before Rhea had shown up, Ranma could appreciate the need for friends.

["Now close your eyes and concentrate like I told you to. Clear your mind and picture what you want to say to me. Don't worry if you don't get it at first. It'll most likely be difficult the first several times you do it but as time goes on it will become easier. Once you picture it in your mind, will it toward me. If it works, I should be able to hear it within my mind."] thought Rhea.

Nodding, Ranma closed his eyes. Clearing his mind, he pictured what he wanted to say to his new friend. As soon as he thought it was ready, he tried to will it toward Rhea.

Opening his eyes, Ranma asked, "Did it work?"

Shaking her head, Rhea responded, ["No it didn't. However do not worry about it. This is a difficult skill to master. It will most likely take you a few tries to be able to send even a single word. Now try again and this time relax. I noticed you were trying to force it to happen before."]

Sighing, Ranma tried once more. He allowed his body to relax as his mind cleared. Similar to meditation, Ranma managed to achieve a calm state of being. The words pictured themselves in his mind easier this time due to his calm state. Softly he willed the words toward Rhea instead of forcing them like he had inadvertently done before.

Coming out of his calm state, Ranma asked once more, "Did it work?"

["You were closer that time. I was able to hear a few sounds that sounded like words. However they were not very clear."] thought Rhea, proud of her friend.

"This is harder than I thought." said Ranma.

Nodding, Rhea replied, ["Don't worry. You'll get it eventually. Now come, your father is returning and we don't want him to see you stroking thin air or speaking to nothing."]

Nodding, Ranma stood up and set Rhea on top of his pack. Hearing some leaves rustle, Ranma turned toward the sound. Stepping into the small clearing, Genma strolled into camp.

Looking around, Genma nodded as his son had packed up much of what needed to be packed. All he had to do was pack up his own stuff and they'd be able to get back on the road.

"Good work boy. Just let me pack my stuff up and we'll be on our way." said Genma.

Nodding, Ranma replied, "Okay poppa."

Moving over to his own pack, Genma began packing away what little stuff he had taken out of it. There wasn't too much since he had not planned on staying in the area very long. Mostly due to the cats which the residents would report missing soon if they had not already done so.

As soon as he was finished, Genma put his pack on. Ranma, seeing that his father was ready to go, put his own pack on, adjusting the straps so he would be more comfortable.

Seeing his boy was ready, Genma began to head out of camp. Behind him, Ranma picked up Rhea since she had jumped off his pack so he could put it on without worrying about her. Setting her on top of his pack, Ranma followed Genma into the woods just outside of their campsite.

On top of Ranma's pack, Rhea made herself more comfortable. She knew their trip would not take too long since it was still mid-afternoon. However she also wanted to rest some more since Genma had interrupted her and Ranma's nap earlier.

Looking down on Ranma, Rhea thought, ["I'm going to rest a little bit Ranma. I'm still a bit tired from earlier. Wake me when we stop."]

Quietly, Ranma replied, "Okay Rhea."

Turning his head back, Genma said, "You say something boy?"

"No poppa." said Ranma,

Shrugging, Genma turned his attention back to the forest in front of him. Glancing at the sun, Genma nodded to himself. They would be able to cover enough distance to be able to get comfortably away from their previous campsite.

Behind him, Ranma nodded to himself. He needed to learn to talk to Rhea so others couldn't hear him. Especially since his father was going to be around alot. Since Rhea was resting, he decided he'd try again that night. Like Rhea had said, it would take practice to do it easily.

Readjusting a strap, Ranma sped up a little to catch up with Genma. He didn't know how far they would travel before setting up camp again, but he was glad that he had at least made a new friend before leaving. One that would stay with him during his trip.

On top of Ranma's pack, Rhea slept and dreamed of things that only system bugs dream about. And within her dream, her new friend was there with her. They were together and nothing would separate them. She smiled to herself in her sleep. She was happier than she'd ever been before in her long life. And it was only just beginning.

To be continued...

*******************

Author's Notes:

What lies in the future as Ranma learns about the power of Chaos? Will Genma ever learn about Rhea? What threat to creation does Kami-sama allude to? Will Ranma learn the true Neko-ken? And how will growing up with a System Bug affect Ranma? All this and more in the next exciting chapter of: Ah! My System Bug!