I can't draw boobies, nor am I a Japanese lady.
Here it is. The big one, the grand finale. Like I mentioned last month, with this story so close to it's natural conclusion I wanted to push on and finish it off this month. My patrons decided I should simply prioritize doing so over the trio of winners from the other polls (Large Story, Patron Only, and Small Story) this month, so I began work on it almost as soon as the last chapter was posted.
This chapter has been edited by myself without Grammarly – for some reason it wasn't accepting my changes and wouldn't show the number of mistakes going down which was quite frustrating - and Hiryo for his Ranma know-how and names usage. Hopefully the small mistakes we have no doubt missed will not hinder your enjoyment of this last wild ride in Anything Goes Game Changing LOL.
Chapter 16: Climbing to Heaven Implies You Can Also Fall
The next day dawned bright and cheery all across Tokyo, bright with promise. Of course, most of the people in the city didn't realize what exactly that promise entailed. Those that did on the MBI side, greeted it with a certain amount of grim anticipation as they began their preparations. But this did not stop them from questioning things.
"Is the boss serious about this?" One soldier working for MBI asked another as they stared at their new weapons. He was one of many Special Operations troops that had been brought in from elsewhere in the city, while outside MBI tower other preparations going on. Three full companies of infantry, several APCs and even two tanks had been brought in to create a defense around the tower, complete with snipers and spotters on the surrounding buildings, lots of sandbags, and at least the second story of every building around them sprouting guns.
The second floor of the tower was where this particular soldier had been assigned. He was fine with that. He was even fine with the idea of waiting until the Sekirei enemy was fully engaged. He had seen the Sekirei in action and was not sanguine about the idea of using rifles against people who could shatter buildings or toss cars around or had honest-to-Jesus fucking magic! What the hell is wrong with my life? Is a seven-figure yearly income worth this madness?
Even that though was an old complaint, an old strain on his sanity. What lay on the table in front of him was something new. It was, perhaps, the most magnificent example of super-soaker technology in existence. Looking like a regular shotgun in general build and size, the rifle had larger than average pump-action handle, a small, underslung bottle to hold the water in question and a sniper scope. The soldier didn't know what to make of either the weapons at all, although when he had tried them out, the range of the things was well beyond any super soaker he'd ever seen and more accurate too.
"They're serious, the water, supposed to help us even the odds against Sekirei," another man grunted. "Some kind of voodoo, y'know?"
"Magic. Magic and aliens and those martial artist freaks," a third soldier spoke up, shaking his head. "Man, I don't know about you lot, but if I ever find that recruiter again, I might just blow his brains out. No check is worth this madness."
"Shut up and load your super soaker. We all need to get used to these things before we use them for real," yet a fourth soldier barked in a commanding tone of voice.
Elsewhere in the tower, Takami sighed, having once again been turned away from Minaka by the simple expedient of the elevator refusing to take her up to the top floor. He wasn't answering her phone calls either. The one time she'd tried to take the stairs up, she'd found a metal doorway there that refused to acknowledge her presence, let alone her security codes.
Damn it, I knew I wasn't doing a good job of controlling him, but this? He's shut me out entirely and I've spotted his fucking tattletales watching me too. FUCK. For a moment, Takami scowled, thinking about Minaka, about their relationship, and what might have been before shaking her head. Becoming maudlin or self-delusional won't serve anyone. Minaka's always been as crazy as a barrel of monkeys, I can't blame myself for that, only for falling for him in the first place. Now I need to prepare for the future, need to be ready if Homura and his allies win through. Hmm… I wonder if I can get that Ranma guy to agree to some tests… should be fascinating on many levels.
Well below where Takami had run into her present issues, Haihane slumped down next to Taro. "Yo."
Pantyhose Taro nodded to her, then twitched his head to the nearby doorway, where two voices could be heard. "So, is Pinky having any luck with Pretty Boy?"
"Nope. Natsuo is gay and as flat as Beni is, she still lacks in the equipment department," Haihane giggled. "He's already kissed us both and thinks that's enough for now." She paused, tapping her chin with one steel claw, wearing her gauntlets even here in the Disciplinary Squad's room just in case. "That was kind of hot, but… not enough, really."
"Hmm… Pinky isn't as pretty as some others around here, but if she played the whole 'I don't want to die a virgin' line on any straight man, they'd fall for it," Taro agreed.
"Doubt we're going to die. Ranma isn't the type to kill unless he can help it, and he feels sorry for us Sekirei. Thinks we're all programmed." Haihane knew in many ways that was the case, but she didn't care. All she cared about was getting a good fight, the bloodier, the better. And this looked to be a very big, very bloody fight indeed. "What about you? Surprised you're still here, really."
Taro grunted, cracking the knuckles of both hands deliberately. "Happosai's here. I need him to get my name changed, no way I'm leaving. I just hope he's involved in this fight."
Haihane shivered since that was one of the last things she wanted. Fighting Ranma and the others would be hard enough without the perverted little gnome getting involved. "Masochist. And fucking stupid too."
Taro spluttered at that, and a moment later, a second argument joined the one already occurring in the Disciplinary Squad's quarters.
Despite all the anxiety and hurried preparation being done around the tower for their arrival, though, the Nerima Alliance members woke up much more leisurely.
Ranma woke up curled around Akitsu, hugging the Sekirei of ice to him, his head nuzzled into the top of her own, even as outside, he felt the rest of the house stirring. Fully awake, he sighed, then shook Akitsu gently, luxuriating in her nakedness, her chest against his, two hard nubs raking across his pecs as she shifted. But now was not the time for that. Now is the time to take in fuel, talk Nabiki out of joining us at the front right off the bat, and then head out to the rallying point.
The group had decided last night that they wouldn't use Miya's inn as a starting point for their assault. They didn't want to give the impression that Miya was part of their attack, since that surely would have forced Minaka's hand, which was the last thing any of them wanted.
"Come on, Aki-chan," Ranma said, as he slowly tried to shift out from under Akitsu. "We need to go."
"Mnnnn…no. Want more cuddling, Sun-sama," Akitsu mewled, rubbing her face, and other bits, against Ranma's chest and stomach.
Shivering at the sensation and the way that phrase could be taken, Ranma put his arms around Akitsu and shifted the two of them on the sides. "Come on, Akitsu, we talked about this last night. We don't want to be rude to Nabiki and the other Tendos, right?"
Akitsu, and indeed a rather large part of Ranma, had wanted to continue their activities from Izumo house last night, but Ranma was convinced that doing so in the Tendo house, in the room he shared with his father moreover, would be a very bad idea, even if Happosai was running the old man ragged still by the time Ranma and Akitsu returned with the two older Tendo sisters. The walls were very thin, as thin as they were at Miya's inn, and the last thing either of them wanted to do was to rub it in Nabiki's face that Ranma was sleeping with Akitsu or seem rude to Kasumi.
Like last night, that argument got through to Akitsu. No one wanted to be rude to Kasumi, even if a part of Akitsu did kind of want to revel in being Ranma's first. Eventually, after a few moments more of cuddling, Ranma and Akitsu exited the room, which oddly enough had not included Genma last night. Asking Akitsu once more to wait for Nabiki with her coffee, Ranma went in search of his father, and found him and the Tendo patriarch both unconscious in the dojo, completely insensible.
As he entered the dojo, Ranma heard a swishing sound from the side and ducked, rolling forward, twisting around to stare at where a large jug of water had just passed through where his head had been. His eyes tracked to the side to see Happosai cackling from where he had been sitting on a mountain of… something. Some kind of large bag filled with something soft apparently. "Good morning, my boy," he greeted Ranma as if he hadn't tried to change Ranma's gender a moment ago. "It's a lovely day, isn't it?"
"It's a lovely day to stay male, old man," Ranma growled repressively, his hands clenching and unclenching.
Happosai simply chuckled, shaking his head and gesturing towards the Tendo's house. "Have you seen that young boy who is so sweet on young Kusano in action?"
Ranma blinked at the sudden conversation change, and Happosai went on. "Apparently, their powers are exact opposites. Her power is some kind of bioenergy, whereas he is the exact opposite."
Frowning Ranma worked that through. "You said that deliberately, bioenergy," he said at last. "Kusano's power isn't just controlling plants?"
"Oh," Happosai said with a laugh waving his hand. "I have no doubt that is the only way young Kusano can use her powers now, but I don't think that's the total extent of them, not from what I'm sensing whenever she gets close to Kasumi or the others. It should be fascinating to see her growth. As well as his." He scowled then, looking angry. "I'm not certain how a living person can have such a connection to the power of decay, but again, it will be exciting to learn more. You're not taking either of them along with you today, I take it?"
"Where would I be taking them?" Ranma asked one eyebrow rising.
"My boy, I am old, perverted, short, and often times lazy. When you get to be as good as I am, you can afford to be, after all. But one thing I am not, is blind."
"He's right, boy," Genma said, groaning in agony as he pushed himself upright, or attempted to anyway. His legs refused to obey him and Ranma sighed as he moved over to help his father lean up against one of the walls.
As he did, Genma continued to speak as if he wasn't being manhandled by his son. "We weren't part of the discussions last night, but it's clear that you all would have decided to push this to the endgame. It's the only thing that makes sense."
"I've never liked how everyone tosses around the word 'game' for everything that's gone on with the Sekirei. It's never been a game to them, it's been about their happiness, their lives, their continued well-being. I've not talked to a single one, bar Tsukiumi, who had any desires out of life other than to find their destined one and live with him or her. This whole game, this whole idea of 'playing' for something greater, some power that could make all their dreams come true? It's all bullshit," Ranma began mildly, but his voice hardened noticeably as he continued before become almost vicious at the end. "Simply a way to work on the greed of the Ashikabi in question. Well, I say it's time to end this game!"
Happosai stared at Ranma for a moment then looked over at Genma, his tone incredulous and his face shocked. "How the hell did you of all people breed someone with a code of honor like that?"
Genma played along with it shaking his head mock-dolefully. "I don't know master, all I tried to instill in him was a love of the Art."
"Which you did in spades, Old Man!" Ranma said with a grin, stepping back and raising his hand arms in the air, clenching and unclenching his hands. "You just didn't know how high that particular mountain could go. Miya-nee gave me that and is still doing it too. Even with the way I learn and grow, it'll be years before I'm able to say with confidence that I'm as fast or as strong as she is, to say nothing of the sheer level of Miya-nee's ki, but I'll get there eventually."
Happosai chuckled at that, wagging his pipe at him. "Just so long as you don't forget that there are other things in life been training my boy. Like silky darlings!" With that, he crossed the distance before Ranma could blink, bouncing off Genma's head and flipping around Ranma, before returning to his former position.
Dropping into a stance, Ranma frowned, not having felt any hit, although he was feeling something off right now. "What did you…"
He then looked down at himself, blinking as he stared at the bra that had somehow appeared underneath his clothing. Reaching behind his back, Ranma worked to put an arm under his shirt to unclasp the darn thing. "Okay, that was freaky!"
"It would have worked much better if you were in female form," Happosai complained before winking at the boy as he sent a circle of smoke up into the air. "Just a show to remind you that I'll be training your ass into the ground too you know. I also wanted to tell you that I'll be taking sending these two out on a little trip soon enough,"
Ranma and Genma both blinked at him, and Happosai shrugged her shoulders. "Before you two ingrates sealed me away, do you remember what I was doing?"
"Drinking and stealing women's underwear," Genma answered promptly and very dryly. "While forcing us to carry your silky darlings and run away from the crowd."
Happosai rolled his eyes. "Before that!"
"There was a before that?" Genma asked, honestly confused. "I'm sorry master, that's about all you did ever since you took us on as students…"
After Genma picked himself up off the floor of the dojo grumbling as he touched the bruise on his noggin, Happosai shook his head. "Yes, there was a before that, you dolt. About a week before you and Soun drugged my wine, left you for a bit to head into the mountains, and I came upon two children who had been stealing from the locals. I watched them for a few days, helping to point out edible and inedible mushrooms, helped them fish at one point. I was forced to introduce myself after killing a bear to save them and taught them a few moves."
Happosai shrugged. "But knowing my reputation, I wasn't about to stay with them. But I told them about Soun here, since he was always going on about his desire to have a dojo. Still, that was more than a decade ago, and I want to make certain they are still doing okay for themselves. Your mission, whether or not you choose to accept it, is to find those two girls and bring them here. And Soun, if they prove to be more adaptable to the Anything Goes style than your younger sibling court, one of them may become your heir."
Soun had woken up at some point and now protested vehemently. "Master, how can you say that!? Akane is my heir, she's strong, powerfully motivated, and in excellent physical shape. Any shortcomings in her training comes from me, not Akane!"
The way Soun spoke made Ranma wonder if the guy had forgotten that he had two other daughters. Both of whom were in very good shape, even if neither of them seemed to have much interest in the martial arts itself for its own benefit. Akane? Well, Ranma to really get along with her very well, but she did seem to at least enjoy the Art. It was her temper that really made him hesitate and worry about giving her any more training.
Happosai shook his head at both of his students "You don't understand at all! I warned you both. I warned you strenuously about breaking up the styles as you did. Since then, Genma at least has made it work, even if up until arriving here he'd only produced one excellent student. But you Soun? I've yet to see anything special from you in terms of your personal school or in the number of students. This is a magnificent dojo, but it's not been used well in a long time. Well, now you're both here, and you will do your duty to spread The Art! If that means opening up the position of heir to your 'school' Soun," he taunted Soun by making quote marks around the word school, "then so be it."
"You mean taking more pupils," Genma slowly nodded as Soun stammered. "I've already begun that with the Sekirei. I have to admit it was… interesting. That one girl with the Disciplinary Squad, the shorthaired one who used claws, she was quite good. It'll be a pity if anything happened to her…" he went on looking over at his son.
"I'll try not to do anything to Haihane if I can help it," Ranma said with another sigh, moving over to Soun. "I like her too, Pops, even if I'm not as close to her as I am to Tsukiumi or anyone else. Speaking of, let's get some breakfast in us. Some of us have a long day ahead of us."
"Oh, one more thing!" That yell was the only warning Ranma got before Happosai pulled another pitcher of water from behind him.
This time Ranma didn't dodge the water fast enough, taking a face full of it and squawking in annoyance, Ranma's voice noticeably rising as she did so. The next second, Happosai had once more crossed the intervening distance. The bra in Ranma's hands had been replaced by a flag, and the bra itself was once more in place on her body, again underneath her shirt as Happy cuddled into Ranma's chest. "Oh yes! Oh yes! That perfect blend of softness and firmness that can only be found on a martial artist! So lovely!"
"Die!" Ranma shrieked, but before she could hit the old man, Happosai was already bouncing away, and a blur flashed through the area he had just occupied. Ranma nearly hit the blur instead, but she halted her blow as Cologne stopped moving, pulling back her staff and sitting on the top of it, standing in front of Ranma far too close into Ranma's personal space. The redhead jumping back in shock, looking around. How the heck did she sneak up on me!
"And who are you to get in the way of an old man's fun, you old crone!?" Happosai shouted angrily.
"I see your fun hasn't changed at all in the past three hundred years! Although you're no taller than you were the back then. What's the matter Happy, did you never actually go through puberty, instead just going right straight to senility?"
Happosai barked a laugh. "That's rich coming from a wrinkled old crone, which looks as if someone made love to a crow and monkey!"
"Ah but my age and my shrinking into this form happened naturally, I was initially quite pretty if I do say so myself. Does the name Cologne mean something to you?" Cologne hissed.
Happy stared, nearly dropping his pipe. "Y, you can't be Cologne! She was tall and pretty and you're… you're…"
"Old!" Cologne cackled. "Just like you!"
Scowling, Happosai bounced away slightly, putting more distance between the two of them. "You might be as old as me, but I doubt you're as spry! Perhaps a beating will teach you to not get in the way of an old man and his fun."
"Okay…." Ranma muttered, shaking her head, hefting Soun onto his shoulder, as Genma moved to the doorway as silently and as quickly as his feet could carry him. "I'm just going to leave the two of you alone to work out your differences, I think. I've got more than enough on my plate for me to want to play peacemaker for the senile brigade."
"You'll find Shampoo and Cotton waiting for you at the inn. They are the only two with me I'm sanguine about sending against soldiers armed with guns." With that Cologne's battle aura began to flare, her hair rising as if under the command of a wind all its own.
"Go on Ranma, my girl," Happosai said fully focused, causing Ranma to twitch angrily. But Happy didn't look at the redhead, staring back at Cologne as his own aura started to seep out of him.
Ranma got while the getting was good at that point much to the stammered thanks of Soun, who the redhead still had on her shoulder.
With Akitsu helping her, Kasumi had outdone herself, creating a smorgasbord of a breakfast for all of them, and Ranma had to smile at the older girl, leaning over and giving Kasumi a kiss on the cheek and a thank you as she stared at the food. "Is it just me, or do you seem happier with the house as full as it is despite all the added work?" she teased.
"Oh my, that's no secret at all," Kasumi answered with a laugh, showing no shock at receiving a kiss from a short redhead instead of a taller black-haired man. "There's always something going on wrong, and," Kasumi leaned down, putting an arm around Kuno's shoulders, hugging the little girl to her, who happily returned the gesture, "there's this little one."
Nabiki shook her head, sipping at her coffee as she muttered something about fruits baskets for some reason that Ranma didn't quite get, as nearby, Yashima tried not to look at Ranma and Shiina, just stared, a blush suffusing his face. Shiina was reacting to him once more, and uncertain how to deal with it since he knew that Ranma was a man with a curse that turned him into a girl but Ranma didn't want to rely on his self-control as his only defense.
In contrast, Yashima seemed to remember how she had responded to Ranma in his male form. She seemed to want to disappear in embarrassment and no little amount of confusion clinging to Akane.
The youngest Tendo was oblivious to her fellow hammer-wielder's distress. Instead, she was staring at Ranma, her face angry and determined.
Ranma sighed, sitting down and asking her, "Okay, what do you want to say?"
"Kasumi was telling us a second ago about what you were all going to be doing today. I want in. I'm a martial artist too, and I'm just as pissed at MBI for what they been doing to the Sekirei as anyone! Besides, they threatened my family with this latest stunt!"
"They did," Ranma said slowly, "but this isn't your fight, and I don't think you're up to it."
The redhead held up a hand, quickly shaking her head as Shiina twitched, his blush now becoming even redder. "Wait, it's nothing personal. But we're going to be fighting soldiers, soldiers armed with guns, just as much as we're going to be fighting other Sekirei. Can you say honestly that you could stop a bullet, or dodge one, or bring yourself to even put down the soldier permanently if you had to because anything else would take too long?"
Akane grimaced at that, drumming her fingers on the table. Soun spoke up now, and, for the first time or perhaps second, no more than three at best, he said something that Ranma agreed with. "Akane, Ranma is right. You are not up for this kind of fight. In fact, I don't think that even Yashima should come with you."
"I wasn't going to bring her along in the first place," Ranma said, sitting so that Akitsu was in front of her. She blinked and was about to move so that she was sitting behind and to the side of Ranma as was proper, but Ranma wrapped her arms around Akitsu, holding her still and between Ranma and where Shiina was sitting. "Mobile shield," he muttered into her ear.
Akitsu blinked, then stared across at Shiina, only realizing now that he was once more reacting to Ranma. I was too focused on Tsukiumi and her threat I suppose to remember he reacted to Ranma yesterday in this form, she thought to herself, then all thought left Akitsu head as Ranma's hands unconsciously began to rub her tummy with the tips of her fingers gently. This coupled with her Sun-sama's chest pressing into her back, completely distracted Akitsu from any attempt to think.
"Speaking of," Ranma continued, not noticing how flustered her automatic action was making Akitsu, or the pleased smile on her face as Ranma addressed Nabiki. "I'm not taking you along either."
Nabiki opened her mouth to protest, but Soun rode in on Ranma's words. "You're not a fighter, and I don't want you anywhere near the actual combat!"
"Your Dad's right. At Izumo House, waiting for a call to be brought in so that you and the two computer geeks can get to work getting the word out about the change of management sure but you can't really expect me to bring you even close to a battlefield?"
Nabiki frowned, then nodded. "Time is going to be of the essence, hence our initial plan, but you're right, my thinking about being close to the action so that we could start the broadcast right away, really is kind of silly." She mock-glared at him. "That'll teach me not to make plans so late at night."
Rolling her eyes, Ranma turned to the others, noticing Shiina's frown of concern and confusion. "And we're not taking either of you along either don't worry. No offense Shiina. From what I understand from Kodachi, you can handle yourself, but I want you and this one here just in case. It would be just like Minaka to try to take hostages."
"Oh my, that would be most rude of them," Kasumi said airily, but there was nothing airy about the glare in her eyes.
"No one is going to harm my darling Kasumi as long as I live!" Soun exclaimed. "Don't worry, Kasumi, Daddy and your uncle Genma will protect you."
As Akitsu helped Kasumi clean up after breakfast, Ranma, once more male, and Nabiki got on the phone calling Miya and the others for a conference call. Nishi had not gotten contact with them over the night, but there had been some sightings of him on public highways. Nearby security cameras hacked by the two computer-savvy Sekirei, had seen him driving a motorbike around with a young girl on his back. So he had at least one more Sekirei to his name that they hadn't captured.
Seo hadn't contacted anyone yet either, not even Miya. The Ashikabi of the Lightning Twins didn't seem in any rush to do anything despite his professed hate of Minaka. That was annoying, but Miya was philosophical about it. "Trash will always be trash, but occasionally it can surprise you. Though more often it won't."
On the home front, Kodachi reported that all of the remaining Sekirei prisoners had woken up, and she had been forced to knock more than a few of them out again via food laced with sedatives. While the two combat junkies didn't seem to be very attached to him, the same could not be said for the other two, the Tanned Twins as Kodachi called them. "Hopefully that goes both ways, and Nishi is simply reluctant to talk to us because he would be forced to admit that he had not only lost but waited too long to join the side that will be replacing MBI as overall control," she mused aloud to Ranma.
"I do have some good news however. The silver-haired girl, Taki? She and I talked to the others who are bonded to the little boy and all of them, including Mutsu have agreed to work with us in a limited fashion. They won't be part of the direct assault on MBI tower, but they are willing to cut off any reinforcements from elsewhere in the city."
At that point Matsu took over the discussion, reporting that MBI seemed to know that the next step was going to be a direct assault on the tower and had begun pulling in those troops already. "Armored personnel carriers, several dozen squads of armed troops, it's hard to get a read on their numbers and two tanks are stationed at the tower now." Matsu scoffed. "Kocho tells me that's a horrible way to use tanks. Heck, having tanks in the city at all is stupid. But I suppose too few people realized the range advantage that modern tanks had, or the fact that they were best used on the move and Minaka is definitely the one to think bigger is always better."
The two of them were waiting for Nabiki to join them at the Izumo house, where Matsu had already set up quite a lot of tech to both watch the battle and start the prerecorded parts of the announcement that they would put on.
Homura had also talked to Takami and she was fully on board with helping them to take over MBI. As long as Minaka was still around however, there wasn't much she could do. She, and several other people who would follow Takami over Minaka, were under constant surveillance from internal security and she had been unable to see Minaka in days.
When they met up at the inn in-person, Homura was somewhat philosophical about that, speaking to the large group that would be assaulting MBI Tower from several dozen blocks away from the tower itself, sitting in a café that had been closed due to the damage it's back area had taken in an earlier fight between Sekirei. "I think deep down Takami might have felt that Minaka could possibly be redeemed or had some redeeming qualities, that there was some goal he was trying to reach with this game. Or perhaps that the Sekirei really were just that violent and their violence had to be somehow guided.
"I don't think she thinks that anymore," he finished dryly. "Luckily, she is hardheaded enough to set aside her personal feelings. Whatever they were. Honestly, I'm still wondering how they got together at all."
All eyes turned to Minato, who hunched his shoulders defensively. "Don't look at me. I never even met the man, how my supposed to know how my parents got together when one of them was never around!"
"Oh, don't worry darling," Kazehana cooed. "I honestly don't know either and I was there at the time. I think it was a spur of the moment, 'I don't know what I'm doing but let's make it work anyway' thing coupled with a lifelong acquaintance."
Ranma however was serious as he looked at Minato. "Are you really okay with this? I mean, if all goes according to plan, um… your father might be jailed for life or…"
"He's not my father," Minato interrupted the younger man, his tone fierce. "I told Kazehana this before, but to be a father you actually have to fucking be around! Otherwise you're just a damn sperm donor. Whatever happens to him, I don't care. Would I prefer we take him alive, sure. But I won't lose sleep over it."
While sensing Minato was putting on something of a brave front, Ranma decided not to argue. During the conversation last night when Kasumi had argued in favor of trying to capture Minaka instead of killing him, some of the things that MBI had done to get as large as it was and as free of governmental oversight came out. While the government certainly wasn't guilt-free when it came to the Sekirei and how they had attempted to capture one for vivisection, kidnapping, murder, extortion and other such things could be laid at Minaka's feet too. To say nothing of the crimes committed against the Sekirei themselves.
Feeling a familiar presence coming out of the inn, Ranma turned to look at Miya. When the group from Nerima had shown up, she had greeted them, then went inside, saying she had to get something. When she came out, she was holding three things. In a small picnic basket, she was holding the two Jinki the Izumo House possessed.
Ranma took a look at them, one eyebrow quirking as he realized the energy within them was more ki than normal electricity. Weird. But sooo not important right now. Indeed, the Jinki barely registered in his mind as he stared at the sword in Miya's other hand.
It was not her normal sword, a slim, single-bladed sword that you could hide within a thin sheathe. This sword was massive, the same sort of curve and blade width as a katana, but longer, about five feet in length, marking it out as a nodachi. But it's hilt too was large, big enough for Ranma to stack his hands on at least nine times, maybe more, throwing off that label.
Matsu hissed as did Kazehana, staring at it in shock as did Tatewaki, his mouth hanging open as he stared at something that he recognized as a historical treasure of Japan. But it was Kazehana who spoke first. "I thought you got rid of that thing, Miya."
"Indeed. And, while I mean no offense good woman, but however did you, a foreigner, come to wield a blade with such a pedigree? One which is intwined most deeply with the history of Japan?" Tatewaki asked harshly.
"That you will have to ask Minaka. It was he who first found this blade for me. As to your question Kazehana, when I was married to Takehito and then acting as a landlady, I had no need of it. That does not mean I threw it away. There is now a need. But not for me to wield it." With that, Miya held the sword out to Ranma, a wry quirk on her lips. "This is Totsuka no Tsurugi. I am giving it to you to wield today."
As Ranma's eyes narrowed, Miya's smirk widened ever so slightly. "This is not a sign that I think your training has reached the point that you are worthy of wielding this blade full-time. Say rather that you have long since proved your potential to eventually do so. And that in this fight, you will need a weapon suitable of the stage you might find yourself fighting on. I know not what final plans or tricks Minaka will have in place but I know he will have more than we know to counter. Totsuka no Tsurugi can help you face the unexpected."
Ranma took the sheathed blade in both hands and knew without needing to see it that the blade was of incredible quality. Just sending a bit of his ki into it he could tell the blade was attuned to react to ki, somehow aiding the process of making the blade stronger and sharper, and perhaps a bit more.
He bowed deeply, showing for once that he did know something about manners and propriety. "I promise to return this treasure to you in the same condition that you have bestowed it upon me, Miya-sama."
"See that you do," Miya replied bowing her head just as formally. Then she ruined it by reaching over to ruffle Ranma's hair, smiling affectionately. "And yourself too. I would hate to have to come to your rescue once more, or worse, search for a new student. Where could I find one with your unique mix of irreverence, lack of manners and dedication after all?"
Ranma laughed, then turned around, gazing at the rest of the attack force. Kodachi, Namiji, Tatewaki, Akitsu, Tsukiumi from Nerima, the latter currently as far away from Ranma as she could be, staring fixedly at a tree, her face flushed and her breath coming out in gasps. But she was still there, still more than eager to do her part. With them also was Taki, who had volunteered to help a bit more directly than the other Sekirei from the South at the behest of her Ashikabi, convinced he had to do something to ingratiate himself with Miya and the others.
Beside them were the group from Izumo House, although Mutsu, like Kocho – once more locked in her room – would stay here, along with Dr. Tofu and Nabiki. Kazehana, Homura and Uzume would be joining them in the attack, as would Shampoo and Cotton, having arrived with Taki on orders from Cologne.
"Let's do this then," Ranma said simply, before turning and without another word leaping up to the nearest rooftop. Akitsu was beside him almost instantly, with the others following as quickly as they could, moving west at first, as if they were going to start searching for Nishi. Then Ranma paused on a rooftop, well away from MBI tower. There he pulled out the cellphone Matsu had given him. "We're in position Matsu. Are you certain you can do this though? After all, if any group knows what you can do, MBI does. They'll be ready for you to try something."
The alternative was just to go in all guns blazing. That way they'd probably have to kill a lot more of the enemy soldiers though instead of just knocking them out. Ki attacks were a lot harder to control than punches or kicks, especially at range. And Homura and Kazehana at least, could not exactly pull their punches beyond aiming for non-vital body parts.
Ranma's question about needing the Internet echoed in her ears as Matsu smirked, flexing her fingers and looking over to Dr. Tofu, who smiled back at her encouragingly. "Heh, don't worry about it Ranma. Ready or not, no computer's going to deny her once Matsu-sama sings her siren song!" With that, she threw her head back, and activated her Norito. "By the power of my mind, let the eyes and fingers of my Ashikabi's enemies become mine!Ethereal Pwnage!"
From Matsu's body white and yellow light blazed out, heading upwards, passing intangibly through the ceiling above and up through the air into the stratosphere as more lights flashed out, connecting her to her computers. Her eyes disappeared behind her glasses, replaced by a series of numbers flashing across them as they flicked this way and that.
Under Matsu's will, the computer assets of MBI stopped responding. Large and small anything that was electronic came under her command. Every single security camera, every computer, everything beyond the size of an elevator switch up to and including the satellites in the sky above. All of it came under Matsu's control, including the quartet of laser-armed satellites. She made a note of those for later, before concentrating on the various cameras around MBI Tower. When she was done with them and the programming linking them to the security grid, no one in MBI Tower was going to be getting them back under control without weeks of concentrated effort.
"They're blind," Matsu reported a second later. "But I got to return your earlier warning back to you, Ranma. They know they're blind now. They'll be ready."
"Maybe, but I doubt they'll be ready for what direction we're coming from. The thing about fighting in a city is there's so much more hiding places to think about." With that, Ranma put the phone back in his pocket and moved over to a piece of the roof, and flicked out Miya's sword in a circle, smiling at the perfect heft and balance of the blade. As easily as someone would slicing a cake, he sliced a neat l hole in the top of the building they were on and dropped within.
With their cameras and everything else out, MBI lost its outer security for the next fifteen minutes at the very least. Even after that, MBI wasn't going to get those cameras back online anytime soon thanks to Matsu and her powers. During that time, every sniper and spotter set up on the rooftops around the Tower had been taken out by Ranma, Kodachi and Uzume, the best of the Alliance members when it came to moving around silently.
Of course, losing communication with these men did nothing for the nerves of the defenders, although the tower did respond by sending out a quartet of helicopters to patrol the area instead. Armed with machine guns, they could be a formidable threat.
Instead of taking the helicopters out themselves – something that Kodachi would have had a lot of trouble with - the trio retreated to meet up with everyone else at a small café that Tsukiumi had told them about. It was a tiny place, without any internal cameras that he could see, and which, according to the water-user, had the best scones in the city.
It wasn't open now. The owners had retreated to the upstairs apartment for the day. Nearly everyone in the city of 'Shin-Teito' had decided to stay inside today, certainly everyone within a mile radius of MBI tower. It didn't take a genius to know that something was going to happen soon, not with the troop movement and the rumors going around after the various battles that had occurred yesterday in Nerima.
Almost immediately upon seeing Ranma enter, Tsukiumi began to react. Indeed, it looked to Ranma that she had begun to react before he had even opened the door. Tsukiumi's eyes were dilating, her breath coming in gasps as she gripped the edge of the table in front of her, shifting in her seat.
He instantly began to issue orders. Somehow, Ranma had found himself in overall command, not just leading from the front. He didn't know why, but he was going to run with it. "Right, onto step two."
"Have we not waited overlong? As I understand it, the computer-inclined young woman with the rather frumpy taste in clothing will have only been able to silence MBI's various electronics for only so long. If we are going to be sneaking around like ninjas, it does not behoove a scion of the House of Kuno to fail at it," Tatewaki orated.
A late addition to the mission, Ranma had been astonished that Kuno hadn't even seemed bothered by the injuries he had taken the day before. At first, Ranma had been a bit concerned about it, remembering his fixation on Akitsu, but that seemed to have faded thanks to watching Ranma and her interactions the day before.
"Actually, Matsu should have shut them down permanently. It's her control of the rest of the Tower's electronics that she probably won't be able to maintain for more than a quarter of an hour," Uzume corrected for Ranma before looking at her best bud. "Seriously though, we should be moving in. We don't want them to get over the surprise of having their snipers taken out."
"Right, but that still doesn't mean we need to come from a direction that they'll expect. Kodachi, you, Uzume, Shampoo, Cotton and Tsukiumi head out now, wait around two blocks away on a roof somewhere. They might send some of their helicopters out after you, take them out but wait there. The rest of us will need about ten minutes to get into position, Taki, Kazehana. At that point you two do your thing." Ranma said, looking over at the group, catching each of their eyes in turn.
When he looked into Tsukiumi's eyes she stiffened, her body going rigid as her self-control started to lose the battle with her Sekirei instincts and he hurriedly looked away. When he broke eye contact, Namiji and Uzume helped Tsukiumi to her feet, and gently directed the girl out the door. "Come on Tsu-chan, we'll need your long-range skills."
That call to her ego helped the water-user come back to herself a bit. "In, indeed! I will do my part of course, never fear."
Soon they were out the door and away, leaving Akitsu, Ranma, Homura and Tatewaki. "As for us, we're going to close with the tower in the one direction that even most trained soldiers forget they have to worry about." Leading the way out of the café, Ranma had them exit out into a tiny, almost hidden alleyway, the buildings around them having been built up almost to the extent of blocking this area from overhead cover.
There were hundreds of places like this throughout Tokyo, much like the place where the local idiots had tangled with the Amazons a few days ago. This one however, had a manhole cover in the center of the alleyway, which Ranma flipped up, tossing to the side.
"…you have got to be kidding me," Homura grumped.
"Hey, you look me in the eye and tell me you can take the kind of punishment an APC-mounted machine gun can lay out or a lucky tank round, and we can go straight in. Otherwise, prepare to get stinky pretty boy," Ranma retorted, snickering at the expression of the other men. Even Akitsu though was looking a little ill, but game, and Ranma rubbed her back lightly working his hand up and down her back causing her to stiffen in determination.
Sighing, Tatewaki moved forward, leaping down into the dark of the sewers below. "Let us just get this over with then. If a samurai such as I must sneak around like a rat in order to close with his enemy, then so be it."
"I hate everything so much right now." Homura followed him with a scowl.
Ranma made to follow them, but paused, looking at Akitsu. "Wait a sec." Akitsu paused in turn, then gasped lightly as Ranma reached forward, working his hands underneath the chains that were a part of her combat dress.
Akitsu had been asked last night if she wanted to change her dress now that she was no longer 'Broken' by Uzume, but Akitsu had refused. She still rather liked the chains and what they hinted at, something that had caused Ranma to blush when he heard that.
"I just remembered we haven't kissed today. You might need to use your Norito, after all." Ranma smiled, the expression somehow both shy and heartfelt at once. "Not that I need a reason to kiss you or anything." His fingers having worked their way underneath her chains, Ranma used that grip to pull Akitsu into his chest pressing his forehead against hers. "I love you Aki-chan. That's never going to change. No matter what happens today, no matter what happens in the future. Okay?"
"I love you too, my Ranma," Akitsu whimpered in turn, her heart in her eyes and a small but infinitely happy smile on her face as she reveled once more in the warmth of her personal sun.
Then Ranma turned his head slightly and leaned in just a bit more, and all thoughts and awareness left her and Akitsu simply felt her Ashikabi's love and desire for her, returning it a hundred-fold. There was nothing tentative or slow about this kiss as so many of their previous kisses had been. This was needy, forceful, demanding almost, and very, very loving. As her bond wings formed, blasting out her back in every direction, the ice of them gleaming as they phased through the physical matter of the world around them.
Below, Tatewaki and Homura stared, the pair using a bit of flame held in Homura's hands to see in the dark of the sewers, which glimmered over the thin veneer of ice that now covered everything Akitsu's bond wings had touched as they phased through the ground and the sewers behind them. "Damn…" Homura whispered.
"Verily." Tatewaki coughed uncomfortably. He had seen such the day before but being told what had caused such was a different story. Then he seemed to smirk in the gloom of the sewer, gesturing down to the frozen stream of offal. "But at least with Akitsu along, we need not fear for our shoes. Merely our footing."
Around MBI Tower all of the guards stood tensely, staring out around them, watching every building, every rooftop, every street, sweat and nerves visible on all of them in equal measure. Behind them Taro, Haihane and a still-quietly fuming Benitsubasa, waited by the main entrance. And yet they still were not prepared for the attack when it came.
First came the fog. Taki created it from within one of the buildings several streets away. She was there with Kazehana. Minato having been left behind to return to Izumo House on his own.
The fog boiled out of the building, then Kazehana took over, thrusting out her hands directing the fog toward the square around MBI tower. At first this was a gentle wind, simply pushing the fog down the street, the fog quickly becoming so thick that none of the defenders could see. Then with a little giggle, she kissed her fingers, as she intoned her Norito. "By the Four Winds of the contract, my Ashikabi's dark clouds will be blown away. Flower Whirlwind!"
Around the tower men had hunkered down further in reaction to the fog, while the tanks and APCs moved around, heading into the fog to use their infrared systems to find the attackers. Then the hurricane hit. Men, APCs, and both tanks found in way of the massive wings Kazehana had conjured into being. The tanks smashed into buildings and through them tossed like toys, while the men found themselves plastered against the buildings all around. But they were spared the majority of the attack simply because Kazehana was several blocks away when she launched it and her target had been the armored units.
The fog too had been blown away, so there were more than a few among the defenders who were trying to use that as a silver lining, when Ranma was on them, leaping up out of the sewers right into their faces.
Several of them still got off shots, but Ranma was too fast, swinging the nodachi this way and that way, blocking what bullets he couldn't dodge. Soon he was ducking and dodging underneath and around their fellows, so much so that not a single bullet found a home in his body.
"Fierce Dragon Wave! From the edge of Ranma's borrowed blade, a ki attack of gold and white lanced out, slicing through one of the three remaining APCs.
Then the others were there. Kodachi leaped down from on high, leading Namiji and the others. Homura and Akitsu came out of the sewers behind him followed by Kuno who paused just a moment to pontificate. "Verily, while the journey to here has been most rank, the time has come to end the evil of MBI once and for all!"
From down the street Kazehana rushed through the fog, lashing out in front of her with blasts of wind that smashed into every bullet sent her way, sending them every which way as she came.
Benitsubasa, Haihane and Pantyhose moved to meet them. Pantyhose instantly splashed himself with water, turning into his minotaur form while launching himself towards Ranma. "Your mine, girly man!" he roared right before transforming.
Ranma laughed, sprinting towards the minotaur, then flipping up over a punch, the sword in his hand disappearing as he landed on Taro's shoulder, then bounced upwards and into a second story window, his feet and arms flashing out, smashing men out of the window or down to the ground. He knew his job in this fight, and it wasn't to get bogged down fighting the Disciplinary Squad. It was to find and remove the King.
Again, Ranma didn't really like how much people seemed to put stock in this 'whole compare everything to a game' thing, but even he understood that this one was actually pretty accurate. Remove the King, put him in check, whatever euphemism you wanted to do to use, it was Minaka who mattered most. With him out of the way, Takami would have enough seniority, and force of will, to take over MBI.
"I'd love to play with you pantyhose he taunted, but I have to go see your puppet master, have fun now," he taunted, before turning back to the room he'd found himself in as more soldiers raced to meet him.
Pantyhose flapped his wings, rising into the air to go after Ranma, only to find a bolt of ice flashing towards him from one direction. At the same time the wind around his wings died, sucked away by Kazehana, upending the giant minotaur back on the concrete of the square surrounding MBI Tower.
"Sorry big boy," Kazehana said hopping to one side, as a soldier flailed past her, tossed by one of the arena alliance group, either Shampoo or Cotton, it was hard to tell at this point given the melee all around her. "But your fight is with us."
Akitsu, annoyed by needing to stay behind, was mostly on crowd control, moving around the outskirts of the fight, freezing soldiers and tossing the occasional attack into the melee. But she couldn't use her powers fully just yet. First, because her friends were mixed up with her enemies right now. And second, because Ranma had told her to hold her power, including her Norito, in reserve, just in case.
At first she concentrated most of her attention on Pantyhose, knowing he was the most durable and perhaps the most dangerous of their enemies. But then Tsukiumi was there, having dealt with the last two APCs, charging in to meet the large minotaur in close combat, shouting over her shoulder, "Target the riflemen in their redoubts above! Tis their fire which is most dangerous!"
Nearby, Benitsubasa was not having fun, trying to tag the fire user, who kept on hurling fireballs at her retreating, while Namiji closed, only to twitch away so that Beni had to deal with the fire user. Then one of the two women she didn't know would sidle up to her out of the melee, lashing out with punishing hits with chui or steel staff. "Fuck all of you bitches!"
With that Benitsubasa leaped upward and back, putting some distance between them and while in midair the pink-haired Sekirei began her Norito. "By the strength of my fists, let the enemies of my Ashikabi be drowned in the earth. World Breaking Crusher!"
Her fist smashed into the ground and the ground heaved upwards in every direction, cracking and straining, massive rips opening in places as others shot up towards the sky. These effects reverberated in a circle around Benitsubasa's landing point and were so strong MBI tower shuddered and one of the nearby buildings, obviously not built to proper guidelines lost one entire wall, the wall sloughing off it into the shattered remnants of the square around MBI's tower.
Shampoo cried out in shock as she fell down into the sewers below, as Cotton was flung through the air gasping in agony around the pillar of stone that had caught her full in the solar plexus, but Namiji had leaped up at just the right moment, and now came downwards with a slash that nearly caught Benitsubasa while she was recovering, cutting down from her shoulder along her side. It was a shallow cut thanks to an instinctual last-minute dodge backwards, but still put Benitsubasa on the backfoot.
Having been able to duck around a spear of earth that had nearly decapitated him, Homura capitalized, a fireball searing towards the pink-haired fist type. She ducked and rolled forward into the sewers along with Shampoo, who, in close combat smashed her chui over Benitsubasa's head, but fell to a blow to the stomach that almost felt like she ruptured something. Then Benitsubasa was up and moving, racing towards Akitsu as she tossed a flashbang at Homura, a little surprise she, Taro and Haihane had been given to try and even the odds.
At the same time, Kodachi and Uzume found themselves hard pressed by the shining claws of Haihane, which neatly chopped Kodachi's ribbons into pieces as she closed, cutting even Uzume's veils. Both had more than enough ribbons and veils to go around though, and they were slowly overcoming the other Sekirei's defense, thanks in part to the fact Haihane hadn't dealt with the sudden unsteady ground underneath them as the two Nerima Alliance members had.
But as the soldiers began to be thinned out on the ground, Minaka's trap was sprung. Above the battlefield several of the windows, which had previously housed riflemen smashed out of Ranma's way or Homura and Kazehana was once more filled by soldiers. But instead of rifles, these soldiers were armed with large super-soakers. They began to fire indiscriminately into the battle below.
Locked in battle with Pantyhose, Tsukiumi was the first to see this. She quickly raised a hand, taking control of the water coming towards her twisting it around to splash a soldier who had been trying to attack Kodachi in the back. She then blinked in shock as the soldier became a little black piglet. "What!? How!?" Realization dawning, she shouted out, "Get away from the tower, retreat!"
Kazehana wasn't as quick to obey as Homura and found herself suddenly splashed from above. The next second she was shrinking dramatically, disappearing into her clothing. where she had been standing before, now there was a large, dwarf-sized frog. She let loose a croak of shock, and raced away as fast as it could hop, which honestly was quite fast considering how much distance each leap covered.
Being a primary target Akitsu came under fire from several different super-soaker-snipers. She dodged two of them, as she constructed a shield of ice over her head. The next bolt of water was sent splashing way from this, dripping down onto the head of Benitsubasa, who had been charging forward. She blinked in shock stumbling as she grew several inches and lost some of her hips in the bargain. "Wh, what the heck!"
"Jusenkyo cursed water, like my Sun-sama, only in reverse for you," Akitsu answered absentmindedly as she kept the shield above her, protecting herself from two more bolts of water while all around her the battlefield quickly turned against them.
Uzume, who had just finished tying up Haihane and Kuno were not as lucky. Despite Uzume trying to use a shield of veils to defend herself, both herself and Kuno were hit as Kodachi dodged around a third spray. Kuno became a large howler monkey while Uzume became a small white and brown furred kitten. Kodachi grabbed up the kitty-Uzume and then used a ribbon to fling herself up and away, landing on a nearby rooftop.
However, Minaka had not completely reckoned with Tsukiumi. Having retreated to the edge of the square, she now reached out with her powers, grabbing at the water within the super soakers and that leaving them, controlling it. "Thou art mine!"
Several of those sprays of water were turned around entirely, hitting the soldiers who fired them, others hit their fellows on the ground all around the battlefield and the waters of Jusenkyo did their dirty work. More Howler Monkeys appeared, more cats. One or two other animals appeared too, a wolf here, a lizard there and several ducks.
But those streams closest to Taro were redirected toward him. He had kept fighting, nearly flattening Namiji and reaching forward to grab at the retreating Kodachi. Before he could grab the giant frog though, the splashes of water caught him in the back.
The instant the water splashed him, everyone there became aware of one of the worst aspects of Jusenkyo: when you were splashed by one cursed water while under the influence of a previous curse of the same temperature, the two cursed forms merged.
Taro's legs shifted into that of a frog almost at once. One of his arms disappeared, replaced by a duck's wings. His head shifted shape, becoming a horrifying amalgamation of cat, frog, duck, and his original minotaur-like face.
Unable to process this sudden shift, Taro couldn't control his body, and he crashed to the ground. Before he could get up, a still stunned Namiji brought the end of her halberd down in a vicious blow to the back of his head, putting as much strength into the blow as she could.
The effect of all this sudden chaos was immediate across the entire battlefield. The members of the Nerima Alliance continued to retreat, wanting nothing more to do with the water that was causing all this chaos, uncertain if there were still more super-soaker armed soldiers waiting for them. The soldiers themselves, those still conscious and mobile, also retreated, running away as fast as their legs could carry them in a different direction, while those who had been hit simply sat or stood where they were, stunned at the sudden change of perspective. All combat ceased as everyone just stared at the chaos of the battlefield.
During this lull, Benitsubasa stared down at himself then a broad grin appeared on his face. He looked up at the others, holding up a thumbs up, causing Akitsu to pause from where she was about to launch another attack at the pink-haired Sekirei. "Okay, I'm done. You lot can do whatever the heck you want. I'm off to find Natsuo-sama! I bet I can get him to do more than give me a peck on the cheek now!" With that and a slightly mad cackle she turned around and raced inside, straight to the elevators.
For a moment, Akitsu and Tsukiumi stared after her. Then they turned their gaze onto Haihane, still trussed up in ribbons and veils. She was the last of the defenders still conscious though, the super-soaker ambush having come too late to save the majority of the troops.
After a second staring back, the white-haired Sekirei shrugged her shoulders as much as her bindings could allow. "Erm, I surrender?"
On a building overlooking the battlefield from quite a way's away, Happy sighed, shaking his head resignedly as he puts down the binoculars that that the two geriatrics were sharing between them. They had made peace for the moment, too interested in the battle going on to continue their personal combat. "What, in the name of Amaterasu is happening! Those weapons, they are water of Jusenkyo! This Minaka is truly a madman!"
Cologne snatched back the binoculars staring through it and groaning aloud. "Those damned soldiers, I thought that being cursed would have stopped them, but no! That is insane. Damn it, if even a hint of this gets out to the governments of the world…"
"You'll be dealing with the Communist Party trying to push into your mountain range looking for the magic as they too endeavor to weaponize it," Happosai said dryly now on his face. "That isn't going to be pleasant."
"Understatement of the millennium! Cologne grumbled shaking her head. "If Ranma doesn't kill this Minaka fellow, I might have to for all the trouble that's going to cause us."
"Well, at least the youngsters overcame it. Still… I'm a bit worried. Those forms were all obviously not very dangerous. But I know Jusenkyo well enough to know that there are a lot of truly dangerous beasts that drowned there…"
"You don't think…" Cologne stared at Happy, then groaned and turned back to watch the actions above. "Well… let's hope that they didn't find any of the truly dangerous springs."
Happy blinked, staring back at her wide-eyed as he slowly shook his head. "You're three hundred and fifty years old, and you still don't know that you shouldn't tempt Fate like that?!"
Separated from the others and inside MBI tower, Ranma didn't know anything about what was going on outside. Instead, he simply kept on going upwards, cutting his way through one floor after another and foraging ever upwards. He paused only once, when he accidentally cut into a ladies' bathroom, blinking and ducking back down shouting, "Sorry!" to the three women there at the moment.
Wondering why it was women had to go to the bathroom in packs, Ranma retraced his steps then and moved two alcoves over, staring in shock at the office workers as he moved through their walls, all of whom staring back at him in equal shock. "Really, you all decided today was a good day to come to work? Talk about dedication. Hope you lot got hazard pay."
Needless to say, there was much screaming going on in Ranma's wake. But in this manner, he was able to basically bypass most of the security inside the building, which there wasn't much of in any event.
About halfway up the tower, he cut into what looked like a training room of some kind, and was about to go on but a man burst out of the door to one side, racing toward the door. By this time Ranma was used to that response to his method of travel, however this was away from him, rather he was running around Ranma and the hole he had just jumped out of. Furthermore, in one hand, he was holding a Jinki as if it was a lifeline.
Ranma was about to leap after him, when a second man appeared, tearing the door to what looked as if it was a bedroom off its hinges and tossing it aside, his eyes alight with feral lust of some kind. He had pink hair, and a slash that was still dribbling a little blood going down his side, but that didn't seem to be slowing him down at all.
Ranma blinked staring at the pink haired man and taking in the clothes she was wearing. "What the hell! Benitsubasa?"
The pink haired Sekirei barely spared Ranma glance, as he raced after the man, catching Natsuo before he could reach the outer door. He tugged him into a kiss, and Ranma turned away hastily. He didn't have anything against guys loving guys, not really. That didn't mean he wanted to watch though.
"You're not going anywhere!" Benitsubasa practically yelled as he pulled away from the kiss, which seemed to have left the man, who had to be Natsuo the Ashikabi of the Disciplinary Squad, rather dazed. "You've done barely more than giving myself and Haihane the time of day, and while she's been willing to put up with that crap, I haven't! I was honestly reacting to you, and I want more! Fine, I understand you're gay! But look now! But that's not exactly a problem anymore."
Natsuo stammered, and Ranma took the opportunity to move closer, quickly grabbing at the Jinki. The man seemed to come out of his days at that point, and jerked back hard, but couldn't win a tug-of-war with Ranma, who pulled the Jinki out of his hand. "I'll just take this and go, shall I?" Ranma quipped, winking at Benitsubasa. "You too have fun, and remember Pinky, he's only human, so he might be a little more breakable than you think. Oh, and put out a sock on the door. I think that's supposed to be some kind of warning, right?"
"Right," Benitsubasa replied, not even taking umbrage at the nickname, as he reached down with one hand, still holding Natsuo still with the other one to pull off his sock.
"Here let me, I'm going that way anyway," Ranma said, taking the sock from the pink haired girl, while trying hard not to laugh at how odd this all was. Benitsubasa responding with a polite thank you only made it all seems even more surreal.
"You're just going to listen to him! He's the enemy!" Natsuo exclaimed, more because he was looking for anything to shift the pink haired man's attention on anything else. Yes, in this form he found Benitsubasa quite attractive but this was hardly the time…
"I don't care! Benitsubasa replied firmly, turning and dragging Natsuo back to his room. "The world can freaking end on its own time, right now, I want me some sex damn it! Time for you to do your duty Ashikabi-sama."
"Good luck and stay hydrated," was Ranma's final words on that matter as he raced out the door. True to his word, he did pause there to tie the sock around the doorknob before he moved on shaking his head. "Well to each their own, I suppose."
Several floors later, Ranma found himself coming up behind the secretary's desk outside a door marked, 'The Man in Charge.' Ranma kicked open the door only to find no one within. "Don't tell me he just ran! That would suck."
Come to think of it, that's about the easiest way I can think of to block all of our plans. If Minaka had simply left the city, while still retaining the command of MBI and the remaining Jinki he had under his command, there was nothing they could do. Not unless Matsu could find out where he had gone anyway.
"Now, would that be an action suitable for one who wished to ascend to godhood?" a man's voice intoned from nowhere.
Ranma stared all around him until he spotted small speakers set into the ceiling. Then he sighed, shaking his head. "You're going to do the whole villain gives a last speech aren't you?"
"Of course I am! You have spoiled so much of my fun, allow me at least this one brief pleasure."
Scowling, Ranma stared around him, then very deliberately smashed Minaka's desk. Reaching down into the rubble, he picked out several bits of wood, and tossed them up and down. "I'll make you a deal, if you have more speakers than I can actually find, you can make your speech."
"That's not very…" Minaka was interrupted by the sound of screeching as Ranma embedded one of the pieces of wood straight into the wall where a speaker had been. Two more speakers devolved into static as Minaka went on quickly. "Well in that case, I suppose my speech can wait for when we are face-to-face."
Ranma paused at his destruction then, staring at the last speaker. "Really?"
"Of course! A new God should face the devil before taking his throne, shouldn't he?"
Ranma raised a finger, scowling. "I have no idea about most religions, but somehow I don't think that line made sense. If you're going to taunt someone you have to at least get your lines right, man."
"I know, I knew it the moment I said it. Still, I'm on the roof. Join me." Minaka seemed to brighten up then if his voice was any indication. "The one who wished to become a God, and the one determined to stop him, should at the very least have a face-to-face meeting before that mortal is thrown down among the dirt once more."
"Now that one I'll actually give you," Ranma said, before hurling the last bit of wood, silencing the final speaker.
However, just because he felt that Minaka was being dramatic for dramatics sake did not mean that Ranma was an idiot. He retained several bits of the former president's desk, as he moved to the doorway leading up onto the roof via a private stairwell set into one side of the office. He stared up at it speculatively, then began to toss the bits of wood ahead of him.
One of them was fried into ash by a laser, invisible until it intersected the wood. He shook his head, sighing sadly. "Someone has gone to the anime school of villainy, I see."
Another piece of wood was sent in an arc, that allowed it to travel just below much of the ceiling, and only at the end of its downward arc did it intersect another laser beam. "Well, that's good at least."
With that, he tossed the third piece of wood, noting where it embedded into the ruling, before leaping after it. A brief touch of one hand on the wood allowed Ranma to redirect his leap's movement downward to almost straight ahead, where he landed on the uppermost staircase, ducking reflexively. Another beam grazed across the top of his head, causing some of his hair to sizzle, but Ranma's duck had saved him and a quick punch shattered the door leading onto the roof.
A second later, Ranma strode out onto the roof where Minaka had spent so much time overlooking the city and the game he had begun within it. It was a simple enough rooftop, but looking over this stuff the city, Ranma reflected that was kind of sad. Maybe after all this is over, we can make a little forest, or something appear. Definitely add an awning, some chairs, grass, that kind of thing. Shift his office into an apartment, maybe? Sure as hell wouldn't want to use his bed that's for sure.
Shaking his head at those thoughts, Ranma looked around for Minaka, finding him facing Ranma with a wide smile on his face as he leaned back against the balustrade at the edge of the roof. "And so, we meet at last!"
Ranma stared down at the hands still containing two bits of wood, then over at Minaka speculatively. Then he sighed and let them fall to the rooftop. "I suppose I should allow you your final speech."
"Oh, it won't be overlong don't worry," Minaka said with a laugh.
Even now on the brink of complete defeat, on the brink of his greatest gamble, Minaka would not allow seriousness to control his emotions. He would face this with his habitual manic smile on his face, as he had faced every challenge and every accomplishment. That at least, Ranma could respect.
"I wonder, during your training with Miya, did she tell you why she was so powerful? That she, of all of the Sekirei embryos and children that we found, only she was not modified? Weakened to be more human?"
"No, but I figured," Ranma answered. "Too many other things pointed to that."
"Exactly. But did you know, that she, as the oldest child we found, could have elected to have all of their disparate powers added to her own!? The Jinki, they call them technology. But, any sufficiently advanced technology will be seen as magic by those less so. Computers which can mold a person's DNA, find the greatest secrets within, and then add those secrets to another DNA strand!" Minaka laughed wildly, slapping one hand over his face letting it slide down until he stared at Ranma once more. "And she gave it up. She had no desire to be so strong. Then later, she gave up any chance of becoming my right-hand woman to settle down with her husband."
"Friends though we might have been, that decision, I could never understand it. Why be satisfied with being merely human, when you can become a God! She gave all of that up, when I would give anything, do anything, manipulate, lie steal, kill to be on that level! You know it to don't you," Minaka went on, throwing his hands out wide as he pointed to the north. "You've faced her, you've trained with her. Do you honestly think that you could ever rise to her position without cheating?"
"Hell yes!" Ranma barked back, causing Minaka to stare at him. "Hell yes, I can! I have lived my entire life from the moment my old man started to train me to now with one goal in mind. To be the best. To be the strongest! To take the Art as far and as high as it can go! So, what if Miya has the ki of a goddess! So what if she has the strength and skill of someone from the age of mythology! All that means is, I have an example of the goal I want to reach! What you think you can gain through manipulation, lies, abuse of power, and all your strategies and plans…" Ranma smirked, slapping a hand against his chest. "I will achieve through my own fucking blood, sweat and effort!"
Minaka stared at him, then began to laugh. "Hahahahaha, what, what a simple way to live! Although, I should also thank you. After all, through you, I found something just as interesting as the Sekirei's powers. And with it, I have become even stronger. My ascension even greater!"
With that, Minaka took up a glass from behind him and dumped the cold water over his face. Then he began to change, shifting, becoming larger, much larger. About a head taller than even Pantyhose in his Minotaur form. His two arms became six, all of them larger and more muscled than his human arms. His shoulders were almost as wide as Taro's too, but his head was the biggest difference. Because his head had grown, and now sprouted two extra faces, one over each shoulder. His eyes too had become red, with yellow slits instead of irises. "Behold, the Asura!"
From behind Minaka, four of his arms whipped up long scimitars, the others beginning to glow with magic.
Ranma stared at his new form, shaking his head. "Deliberately giving yourself a curse? Damn, suppose I should have seen that coming after seeing Benitsubasa as a guy." Fuck, I hope the others are all right. But I can't afford to think about that now.
"It won't be the last thing you didn't see coming. I will defeat you, then use this to overcome Miya, to take the Jinki and use them in turn," Minaka shouted, his voice coming from all three mouths, creating a very creepy reverb effect. "Soon every Sekirei's powers will be mine! I will become a God in truth, able to remold this world to my own designs!"
In reply Ranma pulled Miya's sword out of ki space again, getting into a stance from her school, crouched, the sword held in one hand at a downward diagonal across his body as the blade started to glow gold and white with his ki. "Well you know that old saying? The bigger they are, the harder they fall." With that he charged forwards. "Fierce Dragon Slash!" The ki blast rocketed out from the edge of the blade as he slashed forward but was instantly blocked and deflected by a magical bolt from one of Minaka's upper hands which greatly resembled lightning.
As Ranma closed, the four swords slashed out quickly, two of them on defense to block Ranma's blade, while the other two made a scissoring motion towards his body. Ranma didn't allow the two defensive swords to trap his own sword and stepped backwards flicking Miya's large blade up and down to block the other two blows, twisting around into a slash towards Minaka's legs.
Minaka hopped backwards up onto the defensive wall, then out into the air laughing wildly. "Even flight is not beyond my abilities with this form!" With that, he began to fire bolts of magical energy towards Ranma, fire and lightning.
In response Ranma scowled, then enhanced the Totsuka no Tsurugi with his ki, intercepting and dissipating attack in turn, though the lightning attacks did cause Ranma's hands to tingle and his hair to stand on end. After a few seconds of this, he stomped on the ground hard, shouting out "Tatami Shield!"
A large portion of the rooftop cracked open and lifted up as his ki flashed into the roof, just as it had done when he was fighting Mutsu, then Ranma shattered the shield, hurling the pieces outward like shrapnel towards the hovering Minaka. His own magical attacks caught most of them, but this let Ranma rushed forward, leaping out after Minaka. Three more wildly swinging's one energy blasts a rusted from his sword as he closed, forcing Minaka to meet Ranma's furious assault in midair with his own swords.
Almost as soon as they crossed blades again, Ranma realized something and a fierce wolfish expression appeared on his face. Minaka, for all his advanced strength and speed given by this form had no idea how to use a sword. None. He was simply flailing them around, laughing wildly as he did. Let's see if his reflexes are up to stopping this!
Bouncing off of one return below, Ranma twisted around, then flicked his sword upwards through the air, distracting Minaka. He then grabbed one of Minaka's own swords, and shattered it, one hand holding it in place for a second, the other coming in as a fist, smashing the sword to pieces. Ranma then caught those pieces and flung them up into Minaka's face the next second, as Ranma twisted around a kick, landing on Minaka's leg, leaping upwards, dodging between three more attacks from his swords to grab Miya's blade again, flinging out another ki attack. This one was slightly than the others, enough that Ranma felt the drain, but Totsuka no Tsurugi gobbled it up and sent Ranma's ki forth without any lag time.
He then chopped downwards towards Minaka, having gained height on him through that move. Minaka raised both hands uppermost, and blasted off several magical attacks, dissipating the larger ki attack. And he was still able to get two of his swords up in place to block the blow coming down towards them. But Ranma flipped upwards once more and across the locked blades, twisting in midair to bring the sword around in in another arc at head height with Minaka.
"GAH!" Minaka raised the blade, and then was smacked backwards in the air, losing his former position at the strength of the hit, losing the sword in question, but with his head still intact. But to Ranma's irritation, Minaka moved with that initial momentum, flying backwards and up, putting more distance between them.
With nothing to bounce off of, nor anyone attacking him right now, Ranma fell back down towards the earth. Controlling his descent, he landed on a nearby rooftop, staring up at Minaka.
Minaka howled in laughter. "Yes, yes! Ahahahahhah! You have the skill. But skill cannot make up for a deficit in power like this! Hmm… now, I know that you all martial artists and Sekirei like to shout out your attacks, so what should I call this one. Ah, I know! Rage of Icarus!" he yelled, thrusting out his arms to either side.
Magical spheres of flame began to grow are all around them, first six, then a dozen, then twenty-four until there were sixty-six spheres of magic. A second later all of them rocketed down towards Ranma, homing in on him almost.
Cursing, Ranma used his Tatami Shield again, thumping down twice on the rooftop, then flipping himself up and over that wall right before the first of the magical spheres would've impacted him. He dropped down into the hole the technique had created, and then kept going, cutting through two more walls, and leaping out to the next building over, whose window he smashed in before skidding on the floor of the lounge room he found himself in.
Behind him, the tiny bolts of fire slammed into the roof and down into the hole he had escaped into, all of them even twisting around almost to follow him. But they couldn't quite get the angle right. More and more of them hammered into the top of the building above him and the one he had been on a moment ago, turning it into Swiss cheese, and drilling further down, until the whole edifice began to collapse in on itself.
Hitting on a plan, Ranma leaped backwards out the way he had come, landing in among the rubble as it started to settle, a large amount of debris and dust all around him for the moment. Then he twisted himself around, shouting out, "Emergency Attack, Ki Burst!" slamming the Totsuka no Tsurugi down on the ground.
The burst carried him up out of the cloud of debris and dust and an instant later, Ranma launched several more ki attacks which flashed towards where Minaka was still hovering in the air, while Ranma scowled, starting to feel the drain on his ki of continued six-armed Asura blocked most, but one of them actually got through, and he was forced to interpose one of his last two swords. The blade shattered under the ki attack, spraying his bits of sharp steel back into Minaka's chest causing him to shout in anger more than pain.
But he was still too far away for Ranma to really engage him very well. Ranma found himself falling back to the earth, cursing in annoyance, The one weakness of the aerial style, if no one's around with you in midair, your options shrink to simply falling with style!
Then he saw a sight for sore eyes. Down below, a somewhat shaky Tsukiumi and Akitsu were standing together. Tsukiumi launched several attacks upwards, one of them a geyser directly below Ranma, and he smirked, getting his feet underneath him just as Akitsu thrust her hand into the still continuing stream of water coming from Tsukiumi's outstretched arms. The water instantly froze and was thus no longer under Tsukiumi's control, but a solid ice, which Ranma could kick off, to once more ascending towards Minaka.
"Now that's just not on!" Minaka said, even as he tried to fly higher.
However, soon Minaka began to feel light of breath and realized he was going to high. He moved back downwards, only to pause and stare.
Below, Akitsu had realized that her Sun-sama, needed a way to close the range with Minaka, who could, apparently fly in this new, very bizarre seeming form. If that was the case, the Sekirei of Ice would give it to him. And Ranma had kissed her, while they were in the sewers. It had not been at all romantic, but it did allow Akitsu to use her Norito.
"For the love I share with my Ashikabi and for the bond forged over the broken remnants of what had gone before, I make this pledge. May the enemies of my Sun-sama freeze and shatter beneath my power. Ice Age!" Akitsu nearly shrieked, thrusting both of her hands forward at an upward angle as she directed her power.
Instead of freezing everything around her, although many people in the area did start to shiver at the cold, Akitsu shaped the massive explosion of power this time. Doing so she created a massive tower of ice which quickly grew larger than even MBI tower, slowly growing up into the sky far above.
Ranma landed on one portion of it, then leaped up, bouncing upwards as Minaka began to try to destroy the tower of ice, shouting out "No other being will all be allowed to stand on this stage of god versus human!"
"Fuck that! Humans have always survived through working together you know," Ranma laughed wildly as he landed on the top of the massive ice floe, which was continuing to grow as underneath them, Akitsu poured out her power into it.
"And that's why you'll lose." With that, Ranma leaped upwards towards Minaka again. "When it all comes down to it, you only have yourself to rely on. I have got Akitsu and all of our friends!"
Minaka was forced to use his last sword, to block the downward swing of Ranma's blade. Ranma allowed this to happen, then pushed off of the blade somehow in a fashion Minaka just could not understand the mechanics of, pushing himself forward through Minaka's sword arms. His two other arms having long divested themselves of the shattered hilts of their swords grabbed at Ranma, but not before Ranma's hands reached his chest as he shouted out "Buddha Palm!"
All of the ki that Ranma had built up for what Minaka had thought was an attack via his sword came out now, smashing into Minaka as his palms connected with Minaka's chest, hurling him backwards and down.
Now really starting to feel the drain on his ki, Ranma flipped through the air, grabbing the Totsuka no Tsurugi, and followed up, hurling down several bolts of ki, each of which were blocked or deflected by magic and Minaka's last sword, which shattered, even as Minaka slammed into the still growing ice floor beneath them.
Quickly, the Asura found the ice trying to freeze him in place. "No, I won't let you. Um, Uh, Flame Aura!" With those words, Minaka slammed all six palms together. While he hadn't practiced with his swords, Minaka had spent a lot of time since receiving this form, determining with what this body could do and the magical spells he had access to. One of them flashed into being around him now, creating an aura of heat which kept Akitsu's powers at bay.
But concentrating on that had cost him. As the aura of flame sprang into being Ranma was on him now, slicing downwards with the Totsuka no Tsurugi. The blade's edge sliced into the upper shoulder of one side of Minaka's body, cutting into it, but not deeply enough to remove the limb. Asura were, after all, quite durable demons.
With that hand Minaka reached up to grab at Ranma, but he disengaged, allowing himself to fall to the floor of ice beneath them for a second, then lashing out with the blade towards one of Minaka's legs.
Minaka was fast, and he dodged backwards, but this opened him up for a thrust, which he barely was able to block, forearms straining as his hands were cut by the blade caught a bare inch away from his chest. He gritted his teeth, but try to push through it, despite being a person not exactly used to such things, trying to concentrate enough to create another spell.
Ranma reared back, allowing the blade to drop as he stepped back, kicking out hard, the bottom of his foot catching the pommel of Totsuka no Tsurugi. Minaka had loosened his grip a bit with some of his hands when Ranma had released the blade, and this move took them by complete surprise, allowing the nodachi to cut along his side, as Ranma rushed forwards, leaping up and throwing out a series of punches and kicks towards Minaka.
In so much pain Minaka could no longer call upon magic, leaving him with his untrained, physical abilities. This was a lot, and one blow actually got through to hit Ranma hurling him away for a second to skid on the ice underneath them. But his ki healing was up to the task, and he kept on with the fight, furiously engaging the other man.
For every blow that Minaka desperately returned, Ranma landed ten. And most of the blows that Minaka lashed out with didn't land or if they did, they certainly didn't land cleanly. Ranma redirected them, using the momentum of them to stay in the air, bouncing all around the now completely pinned Minaka. The aura of fire that had kept the ice of the ice floe from coming up his body had dissipated thanks to his lack of attention on it, trapping his feet.
A lucky blow however smashed into Ranma's face, breaking his nose, and sending him flying backwards. But even as he landed, his ki healing had gone to work, and he used one thumb to wipe away the blood, smirking at Minaka, who was gasping for air, bruised from several dozen hits, his hands still bleeding from where Minaka had caught the edge of the Totsuka no Tsurugi.
"So much to for ascending to a God," Ranma mocked, causing Minaka to scream in anger.
With his anger Minaka was able to push aside his pain and all six of his hands glowed with magic once more as he began to fling balls of fire out hard and fast. At the same time, he flared his fiery aura again, sending magic through his legs, to try and melt the upper portion of the massive ice floe that Akitsu had created.
Ranma idly hoped that no one was in the buildings that had been incorporated into the ice floe, but knew that he couldn't concentrate on that, he had to keep the momentum up. With that in mind Ranma charged forward, ducking what magic bolts he could, although he did take several hits now, being so close and the ice beneath him turning to water Minaka somehow making these magic bolts go faster. One hit Ranma in the side and, Ranma felt another rib go, as his side exploded in pain, flames licking up and down his side. Another one caught Ranma in the head as he stumbled searing away the skin there and flicking blood down into his eye.
But Ranma still had one working eye and despite being badly depleted, his ki healing was already going to work before he reached his destination, grabbing up the sword again. Then he pushed half his remaining ki into his legs, tearing his tendons and bones even as he launched himself forward faster than he had moved before, almost disappearing to Minaka's sight as he rolled forward underneath the magical assaults.
Desperately Minaka grabbed at him with all six hands, the magic in his hands flaring out into Ranma's body in an imitation of Ranma's Buddha Palm technique. Ranma screamed in pain as his flesh boiled and his bones broke, but he was already thrusting forward and up, Totsuka no Tsurugi stabbing entirely through Minaka.
As the large blade punched out the Asura's back in a welter of blood something gave out within the demon body and Minaka's limbs stopped obeying his commands. One by one they fell from Ranma who fell backwards onto the ice floe, gasping in agony. Thank God he didn't know how to fight with that form well enough! If he had, that kind of strength, magic and speed, it would've been almost impossible for me to win.
Slowly, as his now horribly depleted ki began to knit him back together, Ranma pushed himself to his feet. Still blinded in one eye by the blood that had soaked his face from one of the earlier hits, he stood shakily, but still moved forward.
Minaka hadn't moved and was staring down at the sword thrust all the way through him as blood began to pour down his him and mouth. He looked at Ranma, smiling wanly. "Well, if I cannot be a God, at least I died a death worthy of…"
"Shut up!" Ranma growled, and with his little remaining ki sent out a blast of energy which took Minaka in the face, thrusting his head back. Then Ranma grabbed the Totsuka no Tsurugi and tore it out of Minaka's body, before twisting in place with a vicious over arm slice, decapitating the former master of the Sekirei Plan.
Cologne nearly fell off her cane as Happy guffawed, slapping on diminutive hand on an equally small knee. "Ha! Well, would you look at that, the boy did it! A perfect example of the Aerial Style and how to incorporate a nodachi into it too. Hahaha, ahh with him and all these Sekirei, the future of the Art looks bright indeed."
"And that has nothing to do with almost all of them being bountiful young women?" Cologne questioned, her tone deadpan.
Unlike Cologne, Happy's tone was dead serious when he replied. "Not at all. That fact is actually an even bigger draw than my school expanding to keep me here."
From the scattered video cameras and the satellites they had taken over, Matsu had watched all this with a growing sense of shock and horror at Minaka's transformation, segueing into shock at the strength of Akitsu and then utter awe at Ranma's victory.
Next to her, Miya watched as well, smiling faintly, her hands on the twin jinki which glowed faintly just once before fading out. Minaka had not controlled enough Jinki to use them to shut down the Sekirei down, "I told you. Ranma will surprised you, and Akitsu… their love has made her powerful, far more so than any Sekirei, bar myself. She stood up, holding out her hand to Nabiki. "Now come, the pair of you. Ranma and the others that done their job, now it is your turn to do yours, as well as myself."
Nabiki nodded, her phone dropping from her nerveless fingers. Right before Minaka and Ranma had appeared in the camera's view the first time Kasumi had called, telling her that Minaka had indeed attempted to try and kidnap her and the two young Sekirei. Genma and her father however had dealt with them.
Now she slowly rose from where she had been staring at the image of her victorious boyfriend standing on an ice floe that was as large vertically as a glacier, shaking her head. "Man, if he wasn't a keeper before this, he sure is now!" That was the last word she could speak before the wind of their passage sucked all her ability to speak, if not think. Ranma's part of this was over. It was time for Nabiki and the other cerebral fighters to step in.
Feeling a little sheepish in the suit that Miya had convinced him to buy, Ranma rang the doorbell to the Tendo house, smiling as he took in how it had been expanded over the past few weeks. He'd done most of that work, while Nabiki and the other brainiacs were dealing with politics and so forth. But the two houses to either side had been incorporated further into the Tendo place, the original walls expanded to cover them, there really opened, to link together, creating one continuous area. This had been necessary, because of the number of guests and students who now lived there to take lessons in Anything Goes Martial Arts.
Haihane had been the first. With Benitsubasa and Natsuo a permanent couple, one of the first things that Miya had done with the gathered Jinki was to un-wing her from the pretty boy. She hadn't attempted to wing herself on Ranma thankfully. Instead, she seemed to be interested in Ryoga.
That reminds me, I gotta tell her that I saw Ryoga on the news. Him and Musubi too. That is one pair that is very easy to pick out of a crowd. Especially when they're tossing terrorists around like ragdolls. Somewhere in Syria I think?
Until the lost boy returned, Haihane had decided to join the training that Soun and Happosai were leading. Genma wasn't taking part in those lessons, being busy with Ryu, basically training him out of using his Yami-Sen-ken so profligately and beating it into his head that it was his own father's fault he had died, not Genma's. This wasn't, alas, a slow process to say the least. And it was continually being interrupted by other people showing up, demanding to speak to Genma about past wrongs, something Ranma attempted his best to steer clear of. When he couldn't he introduced said problems – suitors for the most part – to Akitsu and Nabiki.
Haihane's former partner had not joined her. Benitsubasa and Natsuo still worked with Takami and were quite happy with one another. But it was obvious that 'his' priorities had shifted from fighting to loving.
The last member of the Disciplinary Squad, Taro, was also living in MBI tower. With his powerful alter-form no longer viable, he was honestly kind of pathetic as a fighter, and was dealing with a lot of depression but was being looked after for now. Everyone agreed that in the last battle he had become another victim like the rest of the soldiers who had been hit by the Jusenkyo water. Rounding them up had been quite a task for Kodachi and the others.
Next to move in with the Tendos had been Namiji. She had been very impressed by the skills Ranma had, as well as Akitsu in hand-to-hand combat. A few others from the Nerima Alliance were also students here, but they didn't live here like Namiji and her boyfriend did in one of the separate houses.
Then had come Natsume, Akane's new rival as heir to the Tendo school of Indiscriminate Grappling. With her came her sister, Kurumi. As Happosai had thought, the two young women had continued their training much like Ranma had on the road, dodging the truant officers and stealing food whenever they couldn't buy it. They were both good kids, with a lot of untapped potential, Ranma thought.
But obviously, with the two girls added along everyone else, including Shiina, Homura, Yashima and little Kusano, the Tendo's had needed the space. And between them, Ranma and Kusano had been able to rearrange the garden pretty darn quickly. Not that that was the only garden project that Kusano had been busy with since the end of the Sekirei Game.
Ranma's thoughts were interrupted as the door opened, and he turns with a smile for Kasumi, only to pause as Soun stepped out from the entryway instead of his oldest daughter who normally answered the door.
He stood there staring down at Ranma, about 4 feet taller than he normally was, clad in samurai armor from head to toe, and wielding a naginata. "And what are your intentions towards my daughter Ranmaaaaaaa?" he growled, elongating Ranma's name as he glared at the younger martial artist.
Ranma however was not afraid. "Nice ki technique there Soun, but I've seen Miya's hannya mask, next to it, this is just funny looking, not intimidating at all."
"Daddy, can you please get out of the way! Honestly, I know you're proud of the fact that you finally were able to use your special intimidation technique, but Ranma and I've been going out for months now, and your attempts to intimidate him or getting old," Nabiki's voice sounded out from behind her father, who reluctantly moved to one side to reveal his second daughter. Nabiki wore a tight black blouse, and a skirt which was, while long, coming down to her knees, quite formfitting, with a slit to one side to allow ease of movement.
The two young people stood smiling at one another for a few seconds, while Soun grumbled in the background again about getting no respect but they were quickly interrupted by a screaming voice of Akane within. "Damn it Ranma, you know you can't be around here when Yashima is!"
Ranma quickly grabbed Nabiki up into his arms as the wall right next to the door and the door itself exploded outwards, and the hammer wielder launched herself forward, her eyes a little bloodshot, and her face looking as if it contained every blood cell in her body at the moment it was so red. The fact that she had been apparently getting ready for the bath was not helping matters.
"Run away!" Ranma shouted, leaping up over the girl, 1 foot tapping down lightly on the back of her head as he leaped further upwards to the nearby rooftop and away.
Shaking her head, Nabiki drawled, "Well I suppose I can't count that as martial arts madness interrupting our date, considering it hadn't yet officially begun. Still, are you going to be taking me someplace to make up for this near-mishap?"
"I'll leave that for you to decide, although I think it's pretty awesome myself, and so does Kasumi and Chiho."
An hour later Nabiki set down the bowl of noodles that she had been munching her way through for the last few minutes. Smiling sardonically, she questioned, "What is it with you and high places anyway?"
"You don't like it?" Ranma asked from where he was sitting beside her, on a balcony said to the side of MBI towers rooftop. True to his thoughts during his battle with Minaka, Ranma had turned this area into a small garden, but it wasn't alone in that. From where they sat at one corner of the roof, Nabiki and Ranma out several dozen rooftops which had been turned over to plant life of all sorts. He, Kusano and Kasumi had been very busy, making small gardens throughout the city, and enlarging the various botanical gardens, which had already existed within its outer limits.
"I didn't say that, and I suppose it's nice for us to survey all our domain," Nabiki quipped, staring out at the ship, which gleamed like gold and crystal in the light of the setting sun.
As important as MBI Tower was to the organization of the city, the ship was important to the Sekirei and the defense of the city. For one thing, all the Sekirei who had been eliminated from the game rather than killed – like Karasuba and many of Higa's were stored there. On top of that, the ship was a major storehouse of technology, and it was also where they were keeping all the Sekirei prisoners from Higa and his partner, the two combat-crazy Sekirei bound to Nishi Sanada and several others.
Their bonds had been broken by the Jinki, but they were in no way reconciled to the regime change, just like Nishi himself, who was being watched almost constantly by Seo and a few other previously independent small-time Ashikabi. Higa on the other hand was an outright prisoner, serving out a sentence of ten years, on top of having been neutered via pressure points.
Hayato and his Sekirei were not counted amongst the prisoners. They were part of the defense of the city, with Hayato still staying at Izumo House with Miya watching over him. The youngster knew very well what side held the whip hand, and actually seemed to be learning quite a bit under Miya's influence.
Beyond the importance of the ship to their cause however, it was the ship's sheer rich magnificence which always drew Nabiki's eye. "It's just that at some point we're going to have a date that happens on the ground and I wouldn't want you to faint from shock."
Ranma grinned, and put an arm around her, nuzzling into her neck and the side of her face, before laying several kisses on the side of her neck. "So, am I forgiven for favoring Akitsu all that time?"
"I suppose," Nabiki drawled, shaking her head with a smile as she pulled away slightly only to turn around and kiss Ranma full on the lips. She let loose a little whimper as his arms went around her, tugging Nabiki against his chest hard enough that her breasts flattened against his chest.
All around them, some of their closest friends sat or lounged on other soft chairs, taking in the view, or talking quietly amongst themselves in what would obviously become a Sekirei and martial artist hang out. The rooftop was covered in grass from one end to another, with tables and chairs scattered among trees.
Kasumi sat with Kusano, Shiina, Kodachi and Homura at another table that sat on the edge of the roof overlooking the east side of the city. The two men were talking quietly to one another comparing notes on what it was like to be bound to their very different Ashikabi, while the two women were debating what kind of hairstyle Kusano should use on her first day of school.
At the other side of the rooftop on a diagonal from the corner where Nabiki and Ranma were Chiho sat, serenely smiling as she caressed Uzume in her cat form. While the first time Ranma had seen her cat form had not been a pleasant moment for anyone, Chiho had adapted quite well to her lover being a part-time cat, even if Dr. Tofu's abilities had not in point of fact revealed any means to heal her from her sickness. That had taken a second application of Jinki technology.
Nabiki knew for a fact that both Tsukiumi and Akitsu were around somewhere. She could even see a hand holding a book sticking out from the top of the glacier which still stood next to the tower. Tsukiumi on the other hand…
This wasn't the first date they'd had since the fall of MBI. They'd been on three dates before this with Akitsu joining Ranma and Nabiki for all of them. The last had been interrupted by Tsukiumi who had finally reached the end of her rope….
The restaurant door crashed open, and Tsukiumi stood there. Nabiki turned from laughing at a Joke Ranma had just told her and Akitsu to stare at the blonde. Instantly, Nabiki noticed that Tsukiumi's face was flushed, as if she was in the throes of a fever. But her nipples were very clearly poking out from under her blouse, and her chest heaved in such a way that every man in the restaurant was gulping and staring, although only Ranma was looking at her wide-eyed and shocked, rather than lustful.
Tsukiumi marched up to the table, glaring at first Ranma then Akitsu, then Nabiki. "I hast lasted eight days," she declared. "Eight days! One day more than you demanded of me, Akitsu. But I cannot take this anymore!"
Without further fanfare she reached down grabbed Ranma with both hands around the lapels of the suit he'd bought and pulled him across the table. Ranma had barely a second to look beside him to Akitsu's impassive expression, and Nabiki's amused one, before Tsukiumi lips met his own. Her wings, which looked as if they were made of water but of different colors per feather, sprouted from her back and away.
As the kiss went on, Tsukiumi's fever and apparent overreaction to Ranma's 'signal' receded as the others watched, her face returning to normal, and her breath becoming more even. She pulled away, smiling happily. "And now, I am one of thine wives as well. Please treat me well, my husband."
Nabiki began to laugh, and only continued to do so when Ranma spluttered and stammered and Akitsu joined in by saying, "So long as I am first wife that is acceptable."
She moved deeper into Ranma's arms, shifting so that she was sitting on his lap rather than the bench underneath them. "So, do you think that hammer will ever recover from her embarrassment about what happened earlier?"
"I doubt it," Ranma chuckled, the sound causing a deep rumble in his chest, that made Nabiki shudder.
"Seriously though, I don't think you should be near our house any longer Ranma," Nabiki sighed. "Meeting you at the door is a very nice start to these dates but…"
"Then why don't you join us here?" Ranma asked.
That caused Nabiki to stiffen and she pulled away from him to stare at him in surprise. "Are you asking me live with you?"
"Well yeah. He gestured around the rooftop of MBI tower, and downwards. "It ain't like Aki-chan, Tsukiumi and I don't have the space up here. And, um, I mean, I know this isn't the most romantic way to say it, but, I, I'd really like for you to move in with me. I think it's time."
Again true to his word, Ranma had turned Minaka's office and indeed that entire top floor of the tower into living quarters working on it while everyone else was still working out the agreements and various deals for the creation of the Independent City-State of Tokyo. The organization of that new management, the City Council and creation of new laws, organizations and suchlike had taken a long time, hence why Ranma had the time to spend on his private projects.
Essentially in those agreements, the Republic of Japan acknowledged the creation of the city state out of its former environs of the same name. They had also acknowledged that MBI was still a recognized international company based in Japan so they could, apparently, tax the hell out of it. In return, Japan got first access to the technology of the Sekirei's ship, which was currently sitting in the center of Tokyo Bay. It had also helped when some of the people in the DIET, who represented the oldest, most prominent former noble and samurai cast families agreed with the creation and said that something called the Nerima Protocols could be extended to include the entire city.
Takami too had been excellent when it came to the political and economic theatre. She had known a lot more about what MBI was up to than anyone else, and between her, Nabiki, Matsu and Kocho they had kept the business side of things going. They had even expanded the medical side, and dozens of new patents Minaka had been sitting on were starting to make their way into the pharmaceutical market.
Other nations had issues with Tokyo's independence and the Sekirei of course the foremost being Russia, China and America. Each in their own way had attempted to claim control of the city and all of the Sekirei within. Russia had attempted spies, but they had been found. China had attempted computer attacks and embargoes, while also trying to hunt down their own Amazons and take control of Jusenkyo. That project was still ongoing, with the springs themselves starting to dry up somehow, the method of which Nabiki hadn't been informed of. She did know though that the Amazons were looking to set up an enclave here in Tokyo, led by Cologne and Shampoo. Is it just me though, or is Shampoo spending a little too much time around the tower and the dojo when Ranma's in residence?
Other than that, China hadn't been able to pressure the city-state much. The embargoes didn't hurt much, and the computer attacks had been turned around and made worse by Matsu and Kocho. Now China was being forced to face an economic crisis of their own thanks to those two.
America had sent an aircraft carrier into the Japan's national waters, but when their F‑22s flew overhead they did nothing but amuse Ranma and the others, and all of them had gone on TV to jeer at them. America had then attempted more physical means, attack helicopters sent into the city to drop off troops in order to, "Secure the new tyrants attempting to take a city hostage in order to blah, blah," as Ranma had put it.
The video of him dismantling one such Special Forces squad and Miya cutting three of the other helicopters in half well out into the bay had pulled the American's teeth. They weren't willing, after all, to simply order in their jets to bomb the city, since even now most of the city's population were still there, just under new management. Two other infiltration attempts had also been halted before they could get into the city.
Nabiki shook off thoughts about what Russia or China might try next to get their hands on the Sekirei, staring at the iceberg, which was one of the many reasons why the various powerful world governments were so eager to get their hands on the Sekirei. The iceberg had shrunk significantly in the days since, but most of it was still there, despite the best efforts of the sun's heat and Homura's fire.
Of course, something only Nabiki and Tsukiumi knew was that Akitsu routinely used her powers on the iceberg, keeping it solid. Ever since she had heard someone call it a 'physical representation of her and Ranma's love she had been determined to make certain it never faded.
Then she looked around at the other buildings in sight, all of them with rooftops blooming with green, sighing. "Little Kusano did all this?"
"Heh, yep. She and Kasumi had a heck of a fun time with it too, while you, Matsu, Hayato and so forth were meeting online with the DIET. Now come on, you know you're not supposed to think deep thoughts while on a date," Ranma teased.
For all that though, Nabiki knew Ranma had been thinking long-term thoughts of his own. It was why he had been pushing for more training among the Sekirei in group tactics, why he had spent so much time on the outskirts of Tokyo, not even bothering to go to school any longer so busy was he with everything else. He just didn't do politics or economic maneuvering. Ranma felt that someone – possibly Russia, or maybe America - was going to go for a brute force attempt to 'retake' the city before everyone would finally agree that maybe leaving the Sekirei and their martial artist allies alone was a good idea.
Still he had a point. Two points actually. "Yes, Ranma I think it's time too. I'll move in with you." She then leaned in, smirking as she very deliberately moved her rump in Ranma's lap. "And I'm done thinking deep thoughts."
How long they kissed, Ranma didn't know, but it was alas, interrupted in a most rude manner: by someone splashing the pair of them with water.
Twisting around, the now female Ranma glared through clenched teeth at the little midget that had appeared from nowhere, cackling at him. "He looked as if you needed to cool off, and besides, if I have to watch someone kiss, I want it to be two girls!" Happy said with a cackle, then leaped away from the ki blast from Ranma, who snarled and went after him. Soon Happosai had Tsukiumi, Kodachi and a screeching Shampoo after him too, while everyone else just kept their heads down.
Leaning back, Nabiki laughed, watching her friends and family have fun on the roof, leaping to the next one, or up to the giant ice flow then off it to the next building over.
The only one who wasn't here was Miya. Several of Ranma's friends and many Sekirei had moved into the small inn with Miya, and although none of them were training with her as Ranma did, all of them seemed to find some comfort from her presence. But Miya refused to leave the little inn where she and Takehito had made their home.
Now, Kasumi glanced over to the clock and shook her head. "Ranma, you wouldn't want to keep Miya-sama waiting for you, would you?"
Ranma skidded to a halt, glaring angrily at the little munchkin, then over at a clock set into the wall that just housed the personal passageway down into Minaka's office. She nodded at the time there, turned back to send a glare Happy's way. "Right, I'll punt you later, you little garden gnome."
With that the redhead leapt off the building down towards the next tallest and away. There was training to do. There was always training to do. And what else out of life could I possibly want? she thought, as Akitsu moved to join Ranma from where the Sekirei of ice had been laying out, in a bikini of all things, on the top of the ice tower. Friends, loved ones, the Art and fights. What more could I ask for?
However, elsewhere, plans were being made which might give Ranma too many fights even for his sensibilities. A meeting was going on in a video conference, the people involved obscured by shadow and voice equalizers. "So, we are agreed? If we cannot directly control these martial artists and Sekirei, then we must coerce them, use their various honor codes against them to do our work for us."
"Yes. And we might need them close to home too. The last army group we sent in past Jusenkyo to see what else those mountains might contain was mauled, and returned with tales of flying people with wings, fire magic and other such."
"Convincing this Ranma fellow and those like him that only they can face the supernatural and mystical threats that are still out there, yes. Fight fire with fire," another voice said, one with a distinctly Indian accent. "There is a rather delicious irony in that, after all."
At the same time, another, more personal problem was coming home to roost. In the outskirts of Tokyo at one of the quieter borders, a middle-aged redhead who had seen Ranma on the TV during a news conference about Tokyo was asking directions of the police officer who had taken and examined her ID before entering the city. "Excuse me, but could you direct me to MBI tower? I understand that is where Ranma Saotome lives, correct?"
And there you have it. Does this tie everything up into a pretty bow, no. But it is an ending. An ending that is necessary. The only way I could think of to add more excitement to this story at this point, with Minaka disposed of, Miya and Ranma and all the others all allied, would be to add another alien species coming after the Sekirei à la 'Warriors Way' or go into various mythologies and I'm already doing that with FILFy and planning to do it on a smaller scale with GDWHOM. But this was never supposed to be a huge world building sort of fanfiction anyway, so I think this ending works to bring it to a successful and happy conclusion while also hinting at more adventures for the characters within.