Prologue

I disclaim rights to Ranma and Record of Lodoss War.

Ranma Saotome was falling through a dark void, unsure of whether it would end. But that was only a surface concern, really. The reason he came to be in this dark void was his true concern. Happosai had finally gotten a demon spell right, but the creature that emerged from the circle went on a murdering spree that started with the ancient, perverted Martial Artist. It didn't end until the entire Wrecking Crew was almost completely destroyed.

First to go were the Kunos. Unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, both thought that they could battle the evil monstrosity alone and both were burned to a crisp before they could even get within five feet of the thing.

Next was, to his heartbreak, Ukyou and Ryouga, although the two had done the most damage to his relationship. He knew that the two had fought hard together to separate him and Akane in the past, foolish as that was. They used the same teamwork against the demon, and actually managed to do some serious damage to it before the thing broke Ukyou's leg. This sent Ryouga into a blind rage; the demon fed on that rage and with one simple motion snapped Ryouga's neck. Ukyou followed when the demon simply let loose its fire breath, she never even had the time to scream out.

Next to follow had been his foolish father, begging for his life, and Soun Tendo, begging for the lives of his daughters while holding a spear. Ranma had found a new admiration for the head of the Tendo family at that moment, just before the demon let loose his first energy blast, decimating the two men. By this time Cologne, Mousse, and Shampoo had shown up. Cologne had begun to chant a strange incantation while Mousse and Shampoo attacked the creature.

Ranma, meanwhile, had come up with a plan of his own, and was slowly dancing around the demon, working his way into a spiral to perform the Hiryu Shoten-Ha. As he slowly moved in, Akane decided she had had enough waiting on the sidelines and flew at the demon in a blind rage much like Ryouga, but with one big difference. She was able to dodge the demon's strikes until she was in front of Cologne. However, the demon then let loose it's second energy blast, wiping her and the elder Amazon out in one blast.

Ranma grimaced as he remembered his heart ripping in two when Akane vanished from sight, but he had other concerns. At that point he knew he'd mourn after the fight was done. He turned back to the spiral he was working on. Mousse and Shampoo had luckily been knocked out during the battle. Little did Ranma know, the spell Cologne had been working on had been finished, but it lacked direction.

When Ranma let the Hiryu Shoten-Ha go, the demon was caught up in it. Every time the demon tried to summon up the energy to break it down, the attack got stronger. It eventually became so strong that Ranma was knocked backward right into the vortex Cologne had summoned before she died. The last thing he saw before the vortex closed was the energy growing larger. The demon would die eventually, but he doubted his remaining friends and family would survive. He slumped forward, finally coming to grips with everything he lost, his true love gone, his home destroyed, and his friends dead or dying, all because of that pervert and his own stupidity.

"Mom, Akane, I'm sorry," Tears finally escaped his eyes. After all, in this void, who would see him?

After a few moments of crying, he opened his eyes and found himself, not in a void, but in a cave. Sounds began to register to him. He heard molten fire to his left. He saw gold and other riches up in a cavern not far. He felt the whole cavern shaking and saw the body of a huge red dragon slowly sinking into the fires. He looked around and saw the body of a dark-skinned woman lying on the cavern floor. With his ki sense he could tell her life was hanging by a thread.

Instead of just waiting for the volcano to take him to meet his family, he ran to her, picked her up, and leapt toward the mouth of the volcano. Using his enhanced muscle tone, he managed to scale the internal part of the volcano, which would take a normal human being a lot more time and, more than likely, die. He continued running until he found himself far away from the mountain. Watching the final collapse of the volcano, he saw his chance to see his family vanish.

He dropped to his knees, laying the woman he saved down. Propping her up against a tree, he looked at her for a second. The woman was clothed partially, in an outfit that would make Shampoo blush. She had long, off-white hair, but that wasn't the strangest thing about her. It was her ears. Her ears were long and pointed. He stared at them, and then noticed her ki was dropping a bit. He sat down in front of her, and using a ki healing technique he picked up when Cologne hadn't been paying attention, he went to work on her.

Hours had passed. Ranma, in deep meditation, began to reflect on the numerous secrets he held. After the battle with Saffron, Ranma had gained a whole new awareness for ki that even he didn't think possible. He was able to do things with it that scared him. If he concentrated hard enough, he could make his Mouko Takabishya actually start looking like it's namesake: a roaring lion. He also noticed that when Shampoo came to the dojo in her cat form, he didn't freeze in fear like he normally did. Instead, he acted it out to keep others from worrying. He found out later that he mastered the Neko-ken, and he was just beginning to theorize over how when the demon had attacked. The theory he figured would take his mind off his pain of loss for a while.

Taking a deep breath, he began his theory; not knowing his unconscious damsel would hear everything through a mind link that was slowly developing. The theory was that the reason why the Neko-ken was no longer taught was the fact that most of the people exposed to the training methods became insane, or partially insane because they couldn't handle the massive ki the cats were putting into the trainee's body. So, to compensate for it, the body needed to give up something in exchange for using that ki, namely the mind, where the technique had been crammed in.

When Ranma battled Saffron, he had to tap into the latent ki in his body to not only beat, but destroy Saffron to save Akane. By doing this, Ranma's ki was now brought to same level as that of Neko-Ranma. Thus Ranma was no longer afraid of cats and able to do the Neko-ken while totally sane. The theory made sense now.

He smiled slightly for a second before going back into his depression, "Finally mastered the Neko-ken. All I needed was a cure for my curse and to tell Akane how I felt," he slumped his head forward, tears streaking down his face. "Damn pervert had to summon that demon," he growled softly, "Killed everyone," he sighed sadly, "I was no big help either, had to goad him 'til he snapped."

Pirotess, a drow, the dark-elven princess, listened intently to the man who saved her life. First she heard him apparently theorizing about a spell he had just mastered that, at first, drove him insane each time he used it. Now he was berating himself for a curse he had, and an archmage that had killed his family and beloved. She shook her head mentally at this. Humans were such weak creatures, but this one was only weak emotionally.

He had powers to heal, and powers to destroy, apparently enough to destroy a demon and an archmage. She got brief images of the fierce battles he had fought through a means she could only begin to wonder about. She saw fights with his so-called friends, verbal bouts with his beloved, and battles that put many of the ones she had been in to shame. He fought all these battles with his feet, fists, and magic, while his opponents fought him with swords, maces, chains, hammers, canes, and various other items she couldn't understand. Yet he was able to overcome them.

This reminded her of the young man the high-elf was coveting. He wasn't cold-hearted like Ashram and her own kind, but he was a great warrior, better even than those of Valis and Marmo. She opened her eyes slowly and noticed the state of his attire. Apparently the battle and her rescue had taken its toll on his garments, as they were merely hanging on by threads.

Ranma smiled slightly, "Oh, good. You're finally coming around,". He noticed her eyes were bright brownish in color, not a bad match for her dark skin and off-white hair. He looked around the forest for a second, trying to judge the time of day. Traveling with his father in the mountain regions of Japan and China had helped teach him how to tell time without a watch. What he saw, though, bugged him a bit. Before he was sent through that vortex it was nearly past ten in the evening, but seeing the sun was just going down, it was on the verge of maybe eight or nine in the evening. "Looks like we'll be pitching camp soon. Name's Ranma," he thought about adding his last name, but he felt too much shame right now.

"I'm Pirotess," the dark elf stated solemnly.

Ranma nodded and finally noticed the state of his clothing. With a light blush he brought his knees up and smiled weakly, "I don't suppose you know a good place to shop for some new clothes nearby?"

Pirotess blinked a couple of times. To be embarrassed by his state of undress in front of a female of any species would mean he was untouched. Such a thing to happen to him at his age was surprising. She shook her head mentally. That was unimportant right now. Judging by his emotions and question he was new to Lodoss, and since he didn't come from Marmo, that meant he had come from one of the bigger land masses far to the north of Lodoss. "Yes, there is a town not far from here, half a day's walk"

Ranma smirked, "How is that in running?"

Pirotess blinked, to run such a distance was nearly impossible unless you were on horseback. "It could take a few hours, but that's hardly likely."

The smirk turned to a grin and he leapt to his feet, "Which way?" he asked. She tentatively pointed to the west. Ranma leapt toward her, scooping her up and started running in that direction, using his ki to enhance his leg strength and bring his endurance up. Pirotess was wide-eyed in shock. They were moving at a speed that would rival that of great dragons in flight!