On The Wings Of The Tiger
Disclaimer: I'm sorry for my absence as of lately, but I have not been idle! I swear it! Actually, this chapter should have been out a long time ago: I finished writing it about a good three months ago and right as I was saving it, my PC decided to make my life that much harder and deleted the ENTIRE thing. So, not feeling really up to sitting down and writing the whole thing over, I worked on the prologue of my new Kodocha story titled High School Hearts *hint-hint-read-it-hint-hint*. And now I've been asked to do a particular story and I'm killing my poor brain trying to figure out how to do so. But enough preamble! You know the drill, the characters aren't mine, they're Rumiko Takahashi's and I would never have enough fantasy to create them. I'm just borrowing them for a while and I'll return them when I'm done, except, of course, for Ranma that stays with me.
On with the fic:
"You jackasses, where is he?" Yelled a dark figure in a room which was only dressed with small shurinken strangely fixed horizontally in the walls—almost as if launched into that position—and upset beasts. Screeching animals with baboon faces, dark brown fur, the lower half of a frog, and a third yellow eye in the center of their foreheads that never blinked.
And also…a giant spatula hanging on the wall was the last decorating touch to this unusual scenario.
If Maggie could have, she would have rolled her eyes at this exaggerated exhibition her beholder was showing. Or rather "Mistress Ukyo", as she'd named herself to all her servants.
What a retard did I have to get stuck with!Maggie exclaimed into her own mind. And self-centered, too!
As she thought this "Mistress" held one of the frogoons' necks (as the okonomiyaki chef made witch had called them) in her hand, still trying to get a response out if it. This poor fragoon had its right hand stained with blood, and Maggie could already guess what had turned it that way. Poor thing. Won't last more than five minutes if she finds out.
"Where is he, Goddammit!" The annoying brunette insisted. So blinded was she with anger and rage she almost didn't realize that the unnaturally created animal could not speak.
Her head snapped toward the sphere in which mists promised only storms and thunders.
"Translate!" Was all she yelled to the orb.
And as promised, Maggie crackled a thunderous lightning and blew the clouded dark mists inside of her as she recited the quite easy spell. One last boisterous snap of thunder, and the mists cleared into a serene cerulean color that revealed the process was done.
"Talk!" Ukyo spat into the mutants hairy face.
The frogoon looked at her like it had no clue what it was supposed to speak of. And, of course, the tight hold the deranged girl had on its neck probably had something to do with its silence.
"Where is he?!" She repeated, this time shaking the thing so badly it almost seemed its head would roll off its neck soon.
"We not know, lady. We almost got it. I hurt it on arm, but tiger-bird-girl come out of sun and kill friends. We scared. We run away." The creature explained, unknowingly dooming itself to death.
The teenager looked at the mutant confused as she took a second to understand its unintelligent way of speaking. But as comprehension donned on her deluded mind, uncontrollable rage revealed itself on her features.
"YOU HURT HIM? YOU JACKASSES! You were SUPPOSED to bring him here UNHARMED! ARGH!" She shouted, only adding tension to her growing anger. Raising the frogoon off the ground she tightened her hold on its neck, held it in that position for a while, not loosening but actually restricting her lock on the hairy collar, until finally slamming the creature still barely breathing against the hard surface of the cemented wall.
Taking a deep breath in which she concentrated all of her barely contained madness; she tapped into Maggie's magical energy resource without realizing that this was exactly what she was doing. To Maggie's dismay, Ukyo continued to take relatively small amounts of her force, beginning to morph its flow with her negativity, concentrating it within her hands in the form of a visible black light that didn't illuminate. She continued to do so, using her hatred as fuel for the eerie non-glow growing within her fingers, and encouraging it to expand with her spite toward her own spawn. As the horrid vibrations that the teenager held grew higher and stronger tuned, they were released with a shove of her arms to engulf, first the frogoon that had spoken, and then all of its companions.
Maggie watched in disgust as "Mistress Ukyo" relaxed her arms back down, rolled her head on her neck and shoulders and released a deep breath. "That was good," she heard the girl whisper.
Gods, she's sick!Maggie could think this in great dismay. The Warlock's power completely took hold of her mind, and now her body, too!
Ukyo continued to worry, as Maggie looked on horrified. "Of all the people, *she* had to help him! Damn it all!" She exclaimed and began pacing in the mostly empty room. Maggie knew that her mistress was trying to invent a way to make this situation fit into the 'happily-ever-after' fairy tale she'd worked out into her mind to accommodate her dreams off marrying Ranma Saotome—a young man who still believed her to be a male.
I'm scared to know what she'd do if she found out that little bit of information.Maggie mused, and if she had the ability and the physical form to do so, she would have shivered.
"Of course!" She heard her mistress exclaim. "I turned her into a tiger because Ran-chan is scared of cats, and he'd be scared of her. If he sees her the way she is, he's going to freak out and he won't fall in love with her, and he'll come to me asking for help, and he'll realize that I'm the only girl that can keep him happy, and he'll marry me!" She explained aloud to herself after snapping her fingers in merry understanding.
That actually makes sense!Maggie thought in complete astonishment. Too bad I cast that little spell last chapter so that he couldn't be afraid of her, ha. She finished triumphantly in her own mind.
Then, for the second time that day, Ukyo snapped her head in her direction and spat out a command. "Show him to me!" Maggie wished she had hands to slap her with. It was almost as if the girl thought that she had to be rude to be obeyed. Reluctantly, Maggie cleared the mists within herself to reveal a modest wooden cabin, decorated with many pictures on its walls, a fireplace, and a mattress across from it. Under the mattress's sheets was a figure. It couldn't be discerned who it was, but one trait stood out. A black pigtail poking out from the edge of the flannel blankets.
"AH! He's so scared of her he's hiding under the bed! Oh, poor sugar! But who cares? As soon as he runs away he'll come right into my arms," Ukyo squealed, and saying this turned around, grabbed her spatula, and turned to leave. "I'll just go down to the Warlock's Dojo and open up a can of Whoop Ass," she said to herself, and saying so made her exit.
Sure that the new-made witch was gone, Maggie zoomed into the picture that she had shown her mistress. She got closer and closer to the pigtail, and, at one point, so close that the screen had gone black. Not being able to resolve anything that way, she looked beneath the sheets, and finally saw what she'd been hoping to see. The pigtail was connected to a head, which, in turn, was attached to a face. A masculine, raggedly handsome face that, at the moment, was not cowering in fear as Ukyo had hypothesized, but was actually snoring loudly in medicine induced sleep.
Maggie wanted to laugh, and she would have outright cackled, if only she'd been able to.
Sitting back she waited for things to happen.
Ranma was waking up. And it was about time, too.
She'd been watching him for several hours, now. If she weren't sure the Warlock had called her mistress into his lair, she would be worried about her coming back. But as it was, the Warlock always kept his new recruits with him for long stressful scrutiny to keep them more on edge. Maggie could still safely spy on him without worry of being interrupted or discovered. Not like that nut case would ever be able to put two and two together, and figure out what I'm doing, Maggie mused.
But as it was, Ranma was wakening.
Cautiously, she slipped into his senses. Since they weren't completely restored yet, it was easy thanks to his unawareness, and he wouldn't detect her intrusion upon his clouded mind.
She could feel everything he could across this unexcused connection she had established.
He was very groggy. Not only from the long troubled sleep he'd had, but also because of the herbs that were used to medicate the wound that she had caused, that got most of the frogoons killed, and that had allowed him to be saved by the tigress. It was a good thing that girl had knowledge of the poison found in the frogoons' claws.
She observed him in complete amazement while he became aware in a remarkably brief time.
The first thing he observed was that he was warm. There was yielding softness beneath him, and heavy, but enjoyable heat around him.
He must have been in a bed. A very comfortable, soft feathered bed.
Taking in a deep breath he learned that the air was very, very thin. This bed was found in a location situated in great altitude. Higher, as a matter of fact, than any place he'd ever remembered visiting.
The thin consistency of his breathing air didn't, however, impair his sense of smell, which was definitely detecting the aroma of food. It wasn't great food cooked by some great fancy chef, but it seemed edible. Then his stomach growled. It probably didn't matter if it was edible or not, in that moment he was so hungry he would have gladly eaten rat poison in solid form. (Am I making my hints too obvious? Uh…I think I just did, but oh, well!) It smelled like rabbit roasting over a fire, as he could also smell the fire logs over the flame. Other odors were detectable, such as potatoes, salads, and strawberries.
Maggie was astounded at how tuned his senses were. And he hadn't even opened his eyes.
But he didn't seem to be done yet.
His hearing was coming back to him, and though there were no real sounds on (radios, televisions, or any such technological things that seemed incredible in the medieval setting that fashion, art, and architecture had set), he still took notice of things most people didn't regard. For example, he heard the cackling of the fire in a stone chimney…the light breeze blowing outside a shut window nearby…the humming of a young girl…wait a minute. Humming of a young girl?
His eyes shot open.
Slowly, his memories of his last waking moments came back to him. About time he remembered her, Maggie reflected.
Ranma tried to recollect in his mind what he last experienced though his mind was not agreeing all too freely, thanks to the poison that was filtering throughout his veins.
It all seemed too much like a dream. First, he'd been travelling away from his pop. That part he remembered perfectly. Stupid oyagi, trying to marry him off to some chick he didn't even know and wasn't about to meet.
Maggie wanted to burst out in a fit of laughter. (Okay, I know that was WAY too much of a hint, but let's go on, shall we?)
Well, anyway, he'd been able to shut the old man up. Then he remembered walking through an extremely thick forest, and having to go around it because he couldn't have passed through that tight foliage if he'd been a fly. As he was strolling nicely along the way, he heard strange screeching sounds behind him. He turned to see one of those…things come down from a tree branch and came right after him.
He put most of them out of the way for a while and went off into a clearing to be able to set them off with more facility. He had knocked most of them out except for six, until for one second he seemed to have lost all control of his body. He didn't know how it was possible, but it was as if the commands from his brain weren't getting to his muscles.
Maggie felt guilty, but only for a second. It was for their own good and happiness.
But in that act to give those souls what the prophesies had in store for them, she had to go against one of the regulations that she'd placed upon her own self. She wounded an innocent.
The aforementioned innocent remembered that after having his arm nearly torn off, his awareness had begun to slip away within seconds. And as he thought he was done for, he heard a whooshing from above get louder and louder until finally one of those things screeched in pain and he looked over to see an arrow embedded within its heart.
He'd looked up to see…the silhouette of an angel take three more arrows out from behind her back, load her bow, and release contemporarily, killing three more beasts.
Instantly, under the threat of this avenging angel of death the creatures left in a screeching scare, alone, with the winged girl, and it obviously was a girl, coming down near him to help.
Not even his poison induced dullness could make him not take notice of the resemblance that she held to a Bengal tiger.
And the thing that surprised him the most was that he was not scared of her.
In any way.
And she was speaking to him, asking how he was, and using his own shirt to bandage the new wound. Then she made him promise not to be scared of her, and he'd finally slipped into unconsciousness.
And finally he'd woken up here. In a room simply dressed with many photographs of people he'd never laid eyes on in his entire life, a soft, feathered mattress, and a great stone fireplace.
Sitting up he noticed his Chinese shirt was resting next to the bed neatly folded, which probably meant that whoever had taken him here had treated his arm. His hypothesis was confirmed as he looked down at his right biceps to see that they were wrapped in new white bandages stained at the center with red blood and green mush that might have been some herb that helped get his brains and body back together.
Throughout this period of deep reflection the humming that he'd first detected had never stopped. It had, instead, gone through several different melodies as the sound of herbs grinding was interrupted only a few times for the addition of other substances.
By the pleasant timber of the voice he was quite sure it belonged to that angel that had saved him...if that angel hadn't been anything but a dream. Jeez, what are the chances of a tiger girl with wings coming to save my life? It was prolly hallucinating or something like that, he reasoned to himself.
But even if that was true, he wanted to know who had helped him, and be sure that he wasn't losing the few remainders of sanity that was left in him after ten years of training with just his pops for company.
Only one way to find out, I s'pose,he concluded to himself, and finally got up on his feet and shuffled his way to the doorway from which the musical sounds were coming from.
He stopped a step before entering the other room in a position in which he could see most of the new surrounding without getting noticed. The crackling fire he'd heard was right ahead of him, and, as he'd speculated, there was a medium sized rabbit roasting in its flames. The walls and ceiling were made of wood, and there was a strange panel in the center of the ceiling that was probably able to swing up and down. What something like that would be useful for he really couldn't figure out, but that was irrelevant to him. There were several bookshelves filled to bursting, and no radios or televisions, probably because at such altitude there was no reception, and lots of pictures of the same kind he'd seen in the bedroom.
One thing that stroke him as particularly odd were three cans tied together by a metallic strong thread which came in through a small chink in the wall from the outside. Probably some kinda security system, he reasoned, although most people these days use those fancy technical alarms that wake up the whole neighborhood.
It was too bad she didn't have the possibility to have something like that, Maggie mused darkly.
"Your dinner's almost ready, but don't expect much cause I'm not a good cook. Come over here so I can put this on your arm," said the female voice interrupting its sweet hums. Ranma was rather surprised at her tone. That surprise, of course, was greatly overshadowed by that of knowing that he hadn't been hallucinating before passing out.
He'd been saved by a girl with dark short hair, big brown eyes, full red lips, tiny white fangs, sharp long claws, pointed curved talons, short fur like that of a Bengal tiger, and great candid wings.
So surprised was he to realize that it hadn't been just some unusual dream, he stood and stared for a second.
She appeared annoyed.
"Ok, I know you were under the effects of the poison, but you promised you wouldn't be scared of me, and, unless you want to die because of that poison, you better come over here and let me put this on your arm," she snapped at him, and at that, appeared very much like that tiger she'd taken some of her features from. He still couldn't figure out why he wasn't scared of her. But soon confusion was replaced by pride.
"Alright, alright, jeez! Don't even give a guy to get used to anything. Have you always been this uncute?" He mumbled mindlessly, but he regretted saying it immediately as he saw her eyes cloud over in bitter sadness.
"No, not *this* uncute, I don't think," she replied sadly.
Man, why can't I ever keep my foot out of my mouth?He nearly shouted in his mind. Maggie wanted to burst out in a fit of hysterical laughter.
Slowly he crossed the room to sit next to her and cleared his throat. "By the way, I'm Ranma Saotome, heir to the Saotome school of Anything Goes Martial Arts. Nice to meet ya," he introduced his self proudly.
The girl stared.
Ranma raised his eyebrows. "You got a name, right?" He asked. She shook her head.
"Yeah, sorry. Akane. My name's Akane Tendo," she replied with a quite smile that almost hid the discomfort at his previous comment. "Now are you going to let me treat your arm or keep on arguing with me?" She asked impertinently.
"Oh, yeah, go ahead," he assured.
For several seconds an uncomfortable silence followed as Akane proceeded in cleaning, disinfecting and redressing his wound. Then Akane got up and went to take the rabbit off the fire and finally Ranma got up the nerve to ask a few questions that had been buzzing around his mind.
"Hey, Akane, do ya know what those things were that attacked me?" He finally questioned.
"Yeah, they're called 'frogoons'. One of the Warlock's new witches created them. I only met her once, but…well, she likes to change things," she explained, and then under her breath mumbled something else. "She changed me, too."
"Whadda ya mean?" Ranma asked confused.
"Well, I told you I wasn't always this uncute. I used to be…human," she said, putting the rabbit onto a plate bedded with fresh salad and tomatoes.
"What happened?" Akane turned to look at Ranma after he'd phrased the question, almost as if wondering whether or not she should tell him. She handed him the plate with a fork and knife and walked to one of the bookshelves where she picked up a large envelope and handed it to him.
I can't believe I'm trusting a…*boy*!She thought in her mind. But the thought was soon erased. No boy would try to hit on her when she was like this. And with that thought in mind she told him how it started. "Six months ago, my family threw a big party for my eighteenth birthday," she began, and was left speechless for a second as she saw him clean off his plate in less than a second, wipe off his hands and reach in the envelope to take out some enlarged pictures.
The first one he took out was of a cute girl with a wide sunny smile wearing an elegant crimson dress that very much valued he figure. It was Akane, he realized. The features were the same, and even the dress, though ruined now, was the same. The corset was taken off, the sleeves and back were gone, much of the skirt had been ripped apart, but the color and some of the beading were still there.
But to make it hard for him to recognize her hadn't been physical change, because her main characteristics were still there, but because her expression was different. She wasn't happy, or sunny, or smiling anymore. The only facial expressions he'd seen on her so far were worry, anger, sadness, pity, and spite.
"You didn't really change much," he said, in a way trying to reassure her. She saw a hint of a smile on her face, and the tip of her fangs glinted in the firelight. And it didn't scare him.
"I guess not, but besides the wings, there's nothing I like about how I am now," she replied quietly. Then she cleared her throat. "Anyway, if you look at the next picture you can see I was pretty nervous," she continued, and as she said this, he looked to the next image to see her with her eyebrows knit in anxiety. He raised an eyebrow at her. "I was supposed to choose a suitor that night. My dad wanted me to be the one to carry on our family name, so I would have to be the first of my sisters to marry, even though I'm the youngest," she explained.
"Who were you going to choose?" He asked as he looked at all the faces that he saw in the background behind the nervous Akane. All of them looked at her like hungry wolves. "They don't look real friendly, you know?"
Akane scoffed. "They're not," she said. "They're only after my father's title. Now they're all trying to marry my oldest sister, but she already chose her suitor. He's a poor doctor with a good heart that can't keep his glasses from fogging up at the mention of her name," she said in a wide smile, that, to Ranma, showed loving pride toward her sibling.
"Anyway, I wasn't going to chose any of them. I was going to turn down my title. But before I could announce that the little witch came in wearing an okonomiyaki uniform, off all things, said something like 'You'll never have him, he's mine, and I'll be the only one to have the happily ever after,' or something like that. There's a picture of her in there somewhere," she pointed out as he turned the page to see Akane kneeled on the ground clutching her heart, the wings halfway sprouting, laying in a pool of feathers and the remainders of her dress. "That's when she cast the spell," she explained.
"Woah," Ranma mumbled, and then turned the page to see a familiar looking okonomiyaki chef point a finger in despise at some foe not pictured, which was probably Akane. "No way!" He hissed under his breath. "Ucchan?"
"What?" Akane asked with piqued interest. But before Ranma could answer her the cans that he'd noticed before entering the room began banging against each other as if someone on the other end of the metal thread had been pulling at regular intervals. "I'll be right back, you can finish your dinner in the meantime. It's on the table," she said, and doing so she got up and sprinted to the middle of the room where she spread her wings and flew out of the swinging panel he noticed earlier.
Ranma blink-blinked a couple of times, got up, walked to the table, and picked up the bowl of soup. Before he could bring the spoon to his mouth, he heard a swooshing sound above the roof, and it was accompanied by a girl's scream. It kept getting louder and louder and reached its peak when it was right above the swinging panel.
Then it stopped.
And something was unceremoniously dropped through the wooden panel to fall like a sack of potatoes on the hardwood floor. To Ranma's surprise, the sack got up on its feet, showing itself to be a young girl scantily dressed with short hair that made her appear very cat-like. "Don't worry, sis, I'll put it on your tab," she said as she began dusting off the little bit of dress that she was wearing.
"Sorry nee-chan," Akane's voice replied, although it was already quite far away.
A few seconds later the swooshing was back, but this time there was no frightened scream to accompany it, and, this time, the panel opened calmly and another girl in conservative outfit and light brown hair gathered over one shoulder was gently lowered to the floor.
The first girl appeared indignant. "Oh, sure! She gets the nice landing," she said, and Akane peeked her head in and stuck her tongue out at her.
"Thank you, Akane," the new girl whispered with a serene smile on her face.
"No problem, nee-chan," was the distant answer. And it continued like this for several minutes. The panel would open and people would be dropped or lowered on the floor. After the sweet older girl there was a girl with long purple hair, Chinese clothing similar to his, and bad Japanese, and with her, a shriveled two feet tall, lady with white hair (at least Ranma guessed it was a lady) bouncing on a wooden stick she used as a pogo, and a little man of the same stature latched onto Akane's breasts.
Then there was a man with small glasses, simple gi, and his hair tied at the nape of his neck, going around dancing and saying, "Kasumi, so nice to see you here of all places," to one of the bookshelves. Followed a boy with coke bottle glasses, black hair, and a long Chinese garb holding on to pogo-stick lady while proclaiming love to a hair care product. And to finish, a man in expensive gi, with long black hair streaked by the telltale gray that revealed age, crying hysterical rivers and babbling things like, "My baby girl's been turned into a flying tiger by an evil witch."
Finally Akane came back in the panel looking quite winded after six round trips up and down The Peak with the added weight of at least one full grown person on each ascent. She took a second to recuperate he breath and then asked, "Everybody here?"
Nobody had the time to answer before the section of wall to the left of the chimney blew up in a cascade of wooden splinters. "WHERE ON EARTH AM I, NOWWWWWW!" yelled a young man clad in yellow spotted black bandanna.
Ranma looked over to see Akane's eyebrows twitch before she released a pissed off fist into the guy's face yelling, "Ryoga! I thought I told you to stop that!"
Bwhahahahaha! Aren't I evil, just dropping the chapter off like this? Anyway, I am completely unhappy with this, but that's probably because I rewrote this over an extended period of time instead of all in one time, which is my best style of writing since I have the same eloquence throughout the whole thing. I think that reading this people can actually pick out every part at which I left off and continued at a later time, but sorry. I've been busy working on my fall/winter 2001/02 children's collection, and now I'm starting on the spring/summer 2002 women's collection, so I'm really busy again.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure most of you reading this guessed that I don't particularly fancy Ukyo, so if you're her fans, please avoid flaming me for just that reason. If I get flamed I want it to be constructive criticism and not just some pissed off fanatic ranting about how I tortured their favorite character's part.
Another thing is that, a few months back, my father switched to satellite television and I haven't been able to see Ranma ½ since than because it was only on a local channel which I do not get anymore, so I'm completely losing character perception and they will become very OCC pretty soon, if they're not already, but some of the OCC is on purpose since this story is quite a bit different from the original. In this nobody is cursed…yet. Jusenkyo doesn't exist, so Ranma doesn't turn into a girl, Shampoo doesn't become a cat, Mousse won't be the blind duck, and Ryoga won't get to be P-chan…at least not yet. Also this story picks up two whole years later than in its original version and all the characters had different experiences in that time, so a little different from what they are portrayed as by Rumiko Takahashi they're bound to be.
Anyhow, I think that just about sums it up. So did you like it? Did you hate it? Do you wish to idolize me for my incredibly eloquent writing skills or would you rather push me off a cliff to put an end to it? Either way, CONTACT ME at:Robbygal@hotmail.com or R & R directly off of fanfiction.net off of which you will get no answer. Just let yourself be heard.
Pearl Drop Angel
AKA Roberta Jeanne Gallucci