I Don't Own any of these characters ect, ect, bla bla bla

A Ghost of Tomorrow

Saga 1: A Time of Change

Chapter 1: Through a Glass Darkly

            Happosai crept through the Tendo household as only a three hundred year old master of both the martial and perverted arts could. It had been weeks since he had been here last and a lot of things had changed. His collection was gone, and he knew who to thank for that, his two idiot disciples were much too subservient to try anything unless they were sure they'd get away with it, Kasumi respected his privacy, Nabiki was just too grossed out to go in there, as was Akane, so that left the only other person in the household. His most disobedient student: Ranma Saotome.

            Well, he supposed what he had coming would justify as a punishment for the ingrate. Imagine, Happosai had done so much training for the boy, scarified so much so that Ranma would be the future heir to his school and he wouldn't even do one little favor for the old man. Was it so much to ask for the boy to become a girl and let him feel her up whenever he so desired? Well, that'd change tonight, he'd learn his lesson once and for all…and there was that added benefit too Happosai remembered.

            The three hundred year old pervert chuckled at all the fun he would have when Ranma woke up after pulling the object he had worked so hard to get out from his suit.

            Ranma had a rude awakening of something wet hitting his, correction her face before she quickly sat up to scowl at the tomboy for waking her up for stupid school. "Hey what was that for you stupid tom-" Ranma cut herself off when she looked up and noticed a few things.

A) The room was pitch black and so was the night sky outside her window.

B) Akane wasn't around.

And C) There was something attached to her chest.

            "Oh Ranma-Chan I'm so happy so see you again," Happosai said as he nuzzled his shrunken old head in-between Ranma's breasts. "Let's never be apart again."

            "Stupid old freak," Ranma yelled before trying to punch the old pervert through the floor and beyond but ended up missing when he jumped free. "Get lost! It's too late in the night for me to deal with you right now. I'll kick you ass as soon as the sun comes up."

            "Oh But Ranma I have the perfect bra for you and I can't wait to see you try it on," Happosai replied while pulling said article of undergarment from his suit and waving it in the air.

            "GET REAL YOU STUPID-" unfortunately before Ranma could finish a very large and square shaped piece of wood impacted her head from behind and then she turned to look at what the stupid old panda's sign said. [Foolish boy! Quit whining like a girl and let me sleep!]

            Ranma just jumped up and pounded her Pop's head into the floorboard to grant his request. If the old panda knew what was good for him he would stay down. With that distraction out of the why he turned back to Happosai, who now had a bra in each hand. "Ok well then how about one of these," he said while holding them up.

            "Give it a rest already you stupid pervert," Ranma shouted before kicking the little martial artist like a football and into the ceiling. She would have continued with the beating but a light being turned on drew the boy turned girl's attention over to the doorway to see a tired but frowning Nabiki, a burning mad Akane, and a crying Soun Tendo.

            "Ranma we're tying to get some sleep here," Akane yelled.

            Nabiki winced at her loud sister's outburst then rubbed her temple before looking over the room. "Come on Saotome, can't this wait till morning? I've got class tomorrow. Besides, you and your friends do enough damage to the place during the day, just give it a rest for one night."

            "Son, don't oppose the master," Soun warned with a trembling voice. The old man then walked over to where the old freak was imbedding in the ceiling and pealed him off before hugging the old man. "Master, he meant nothing by it I'm sure. Watch, he'll apologize in a moment. Won't you son?" Soun demanded.

            "As if," Ranma replied before walking out the door to the room she hared with Genma. "I'm gonna go take a bath. I think the little freak drooled on me or something."

            As soon as she left the company of the others Ranma scowled deepened. Stupid old freak, he'd been gone for over three weeks, why the heck did he have to come back now? Well, at least her mom had left the day before. Ranma just knew Nodoka would have a fit if 'Ranko' reacted to the old pervert in that manner and then redouble her efforts to make Akane's backwards country cousin into a 'proper' lady.

            Waiting for the tub to fill Ranma sat down on the nearby stool and sighed as thoughts about her mother sipped into her mind again. Damn, Genma and that damn contract. Although, there was also the fact that Nodoka looked ready and willing to actually carry through with that contract, hell she even talked about it in her sleep. Not that Ranma could blame her, thanks to Genma and his stupid multiple engagements and Kami knows what else the honor of the Saotome name had been lowered to almost nothing. If Nodoka didn't hold them to that contract, then Ranma could just drop the 'almost' part and it really would be nothing.

            Maybe she should just go ahead and get it over with. It would solve everybody's problems. With Ranma gone the fiancée mess would be over and everybody's honor would still be intact. Not to mention the old panda would finally get what's coming to him.

            Oh hell, whom am I kidding? Ranma thought before sighing. There was no way that she could go through with something like that.

            It wasn't because of the death threat. No, quite frankly death didn't scare her at all. After risking life and limb against people like Herb, Ryuu Kaman, Ryoga, and a slew of other people, Ranma wasn't afraid of death one bit. After all, she followed bushido, a code that told Ranma to choose honor over life no matter what. No, it wasn't the death threat that was keeping her from running over to Nodoka's with a thermos and revealing her secret. It was Nodoka herself.

            Ranma remembered the first night she had stayed over at the Tendo house. She had been having a nightmare about Ranma. That he wasn't in fact manly and thus had to be killed. She even reached out to grab that katana and nearly sliced Ranma's head off in her sleep while wailing in aguish.

            No, Ranma couldn't stand to her mother like that for real. As it was, Nodoka had hope, and as long as she had hope that Ranma was a man among men, she was happy. Ranma had no intention of destroying that happiness, no matter the cost.

            Seeing that the tub was almost full she reached over to turn off the water before rinsing herself off then diving in to the warm water. Leaning her head back Ranma relaxed in the nice hot bathwater and waited for the change to over take her…and waited…and waited…and waited.

            Hearing and explosion coming from across the hall Akane slowly brought herself back up and frowned. Was Ranma at it again? For crying out loud it was the middle of the damn night!

            "HAPPOSAI YOU LITTLE FREAK, WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU I'LL TEAR YOU LIMB FROM GOD FOR FUCKING SAKEN LIMB!" Yep, the idiot was at it again. Why couldn't he just give it a rest for one stupid night and let her get some sleep.

            "Ok that's it," Akane mumbled before getting up to put Ranma to sleep the old fashioned way.

            She got out of bed while holding onto P-Chan, who Ranma had also woken up with his indecent and insensitive shouting before opening her door and looking into the hallway. She didn't have to wait long for Ranma to show, another explosion of ki tore the bathroom door and most of the surrounding wall off its hinges and slammed what was left into the opposite side of the hallway. Ranma stormed out a second later leaving cracks in the floor and peeling the pain off the walls with the raging inferno that was her battle aura.

            "Ranma just what the heck do you think-"

            "OUT OF MY WAY!" Ranma shouted before grabbing Akane by the front of her pajamas. Unfortunately before Akane could pound the sex fiend in front of her for trying to cop a feel Ranma flung the girl aside, hard. As Akane impacted the wall and left and imprint she slid to the ground and lost her grip on P-Chan the little pig charged the enraged martial artist only to get stomped through the floor by Ranma without even turning around.

            Happosai sat in his room while twirling the magic ladle he had stolen from the Musk during his most recent trip to China. He could feel his disciple approaching, Soun's force demanding to know what was going on and shouting something along the lines of 'how dare you attack my daughter' with added demon head effect quickly faded as Ranma's aura flared and probably blew the old man through the opposite wall and a few blocks down the street, if not vaporizing him completely.

            Happosai had to admit, Ranma had gotten real good while the old man had been away.

            The old man's door then exploded in a bright red flash and the Happosai looked up to see Ranma standing in the doorway with a bright red flaming battle aura. Even from where he was Happosai could see that Ranma was emitting sakki, like a bonfire.

            Yep, Soun was most definitely sporting third degree burns from that last attack, if he wasn't dead. Sakki was called the chi of death for a reason after all. Unlike the solid ki attacks like Ranma's trademark Mouko Takabisha that was basically compressed air that slammed into the opponent like a super strong punch, ki attacks powered by sakki were meant to kill, to destroy the opponent utterly. Ranma must have been real mad in order to produce something like that on just instinct.

            "I knew it," she hissed through clenched. "You little bastard. You had better of brought the kettle too or you're not going to live through this night."

            "Oh now Ranma-chan," Happosai said sweetly. "Don't worry, I've got just what you need to relax right here." The old pervert reached into his gi and pulled out the other object he had gone to China to pick up. Actually, originally it was the only thing he had gone to get, just something to help keep Ranma in line and show him who his master was. But after learning it only worked on women Happosai had to also borrow that wonderful dipper in Herb's possession. The bottle was a small vial filled with a magical pink powder that had formally belong to the Amazons. "Just one little drop of this stuff and you'll do whatever I say."

            Not waiting time the old pervert tossed the glass contained at Ranma. Even if she tried to grab it the aura that was surrounding her would shatter the thing like the piece of junk it was then Happosai would have his own personal battery that would last him for years to come.

            Ranma was furious. No…she didn't think that there was a word in the Japanese language that described the amount of unbridled rage she was feeling. Although, it wasn't like the anger she had felt when that pervert at the skating ring had kissed her, or even when Herb was disrespectful to Akane, this went far beyond anything like that, but at the same time…it wasn't that blind range that Akane seemed to always go into at the drop of a hat. Ranma could still think clearly…sort of, she was trying to hold the Soul of Ice, but at the same time keep a hold on her ki so she could fry that stupid pervert.

             Well, there was time to consider this later. Happosai had finally crossed the bridge that was Ranma's limit. No, he didn't just do that, he crossed the bridge, burned it, then peed in the river! And now it was time to pay the piper.

            That bastard, how dare he do this! Her mother, what was Nodoka going to say now? Ranma's one hope of ever seeing her mother again was somehow getting cured of his curse. But…if it was locked…Ranma was going to make sure that Happosai understood just how deep he was in it before she finally killed him. Or maybe she would just break off his arms and tear out his eyes so he couldn't see girls anymore and waste away into nothing.

            Hearing Happosai's words Ranma reached out to just catch the bottle and frowned as it shattered against her aura and let the powder inside continue on towards her. Reacting instinctively the pigtailed girl brought her arms up in front of her face to try and block it while holding her breath.

            Happosai mentally cheered as his plan came to fruition and the storm of dust settled over the red haired girl. Now he could grope his own personal Ranma-chan anytime he wanted, and if those idiots Soun and Genma had anything to say about it. Well Happosai wouldn't even have to lift a finger to deal with them, if Ranma could tap into that dark ki on command then he could use her to put those two ingrates in their place.

            Maybe Happosai would make another trip to China to get more of the stuff and use it on Kasumi and Nabiki. Someone to do all the housework and another for the cooking would be nice. Not Akane though, her breasts were much too small for a good feel and anything she cooked would be deadly.

            "Now then let's see," Happosai said before reaching into his gi and pulling out a chain of bras. It was his personal collection that he always carried with him in case of dire emergences. He needed something special for his personal pet Ranma-chan.

            As he continued searching for the right bra and Ranma just held her hands up and twitched every now and then Happosai finally came to the end of the line and pulled out that magic mirror he had swiped from the Amazon's a couple hundred years ago and marked the end of his collection and helped weigh it down. Well, now that all his collection was out he started looking through the line, his Ranma-chan couldn't be seen in just anything.

            Ranma stood there for a moment, her surprise diluting her rage for a moment and thus her aura cut out. Shouldn't she be…well doing something? The way Happosai had explained it before it sounded like he was using some type of love potion. But being a somewhat expert in love potions after all that had happened to her in the past since coming to Nerima, Ranma knew that something must have gone wrong.

            When she looked back down to pound the pervert he seemed completely caught up in looking at his collection that he had sorted out in front of him. However before she started to charge a ki blast that would rid the world of the pest once and for all Ranma noticed something laying on the ground next to the freak. It was a small hand mirror with a red frame and two broken pieces being kept inside by tape. A magic mirror that could take her anywhere in the past with just a simple tear. A magic mirror that could take here  to where the counter magic item for Herb's ladle was before it had been lost!

            "GIVE ME THAT MIRROR YOU LITTLE FREAK," Ranma shouted before her aura roared to life around her once again and she lunged at the old man at full force hoping to snap him in two while getting the transport to her salvation. It looked like this plan was about to fizzle along with every other trick the dirty pervert had played. Only this time Ranma was definitely playing for keeps.

            Happosai looked up surprised when Ranma came to life once more and lunged at him, still being driven by her kill ki. The old man quickly looked over to his stolen Amazon artifact and snatched it up before jumping up and out of Ranma's way to avoid being gutted.

            What in the world could have gone wrong? He had used it the potion perfectly. He had even tested the powder out on a cute little high school girl before coming back. Nothing really special compared to Ranma, just and ordinary girl. After everything that Happosai made the child say, do, and let him do to her, he knew that it worked one hundred percent. She had been so in thrilled by Happosai that she begged him do command her with tears in her eyes and was probably going insane without him, if she hadn't committed suicide by now that is. So what the heck had gone wrong?

            As Ranma twisted in the air to land back on the floor and the ground seemed to burn beneath her feet before her battle aura readjusted itself. So, that's what must have happened. Ranma's aura simply destroyed the stuff before she could breath it in. Well this was a fine mess! Here Happosai had been looking forward to having Ranma cuddle and hold the old man next to her so he could enjoy the last years of his life and she went and ruined it.

            Well, he'd just have to show her who the master was the old fashioned way then…of course to do that he really should have been paying attention to the fight. During Happosai's little mental train ride to figure out what when wrong Ranma had already launched herself into the air after him and slammed her fist into the old man's gut and knocking them both through the roof.

            As Ranma's hand connected Happosai wanted to cry out in pain. He hadn't felt an assassin's aura in a very long time; he had forgotten just how much it hurt from just touching the thing. Happosai felt as if someone had taken a red-hot poker and just shoved it into his abdomen with the force of a freight train.

            Now both of them high in the night air, Happosai tried to fight through the pain of Ranma's first attack but it didn't last as the girl twisted around and slammed her knee onto his back before reaching around to grab the old man's neck and Ranma's aura slowly spread around him to start to fry every fiber of his being.

            Even covered by the pain completely now Happosai tried to think of a way of his present situation before Ranma burned through his skin and put a hole in his windpipe. Talking was useless, someone who had their mind set in a big enough killing rage to use sakki couldn't be just called down with words; least of all by the target of their rage. His redirection with a pipe was out, Ranma's aura had already set the old man's clothes on fire and the heat from her aura was melting the thing to slag.

            Ranma then started to squeeze on the old man throat thus increasing the progress of her aura about ten fold. In his last moments Happosai tried to say something but nothing would come. He could only coke out a tear. Man, this night sucked, he really wished that he was anywhere but here.

            Ranma felt the old freak's neck snap as they fell down and landed on the roof with a thud. Now with Happosai out of the way she tossed his corpse aside to get to the mirror under it…only to find the thing in pieces…and starting to glow. Ranma could only stare in utter defeat at her last chance for a way to get ride of this curse lay there broken. That is until she noticed the small tears smeared all over al of the shards and the bright glow that enveloped her a second later before she could even voice her distress.

            Katsura walked down the unpaved street without his accompaniment of his usual bodyguards. He didn't really need protection of course, his swordsmanship was fair enough to defend himself form the local purse snatchers and other would be thieves that might try to take advantage of him. That, and he wanted to enjoy one last walk in the streets, not having to look over his shoulder every once in awhile for an assassin.

            Looking back up at the Kyoto skyline he took in the view of the stars over the roofs, and the majestic tower in the distance. How long would it stay like this? Tomorrow he would be starting Japan on a new path, it would be a bloody one, full of death, war, and suffering, but at the end of that path would be a new era; an era of equality and choices for the people.

            He shook hi head and kept walking. No, the city wouldn't be destroyed by tomorrow night, but eventually the streets would run red with blood and the stars would be blacked out by smoke from the fires. But he didn't want to think of that right now, tonight he just needed to have one last peaceful night to relax.

            Katsura suddenly felt something crash into him from behind and sent him and whoever hand run into him falling to the ground. The man was about to throw whatever was on top of him off when the nobleman found himself being lifted upright from behind.

            He turned around and looked at the small redheaded girl that had crashed. She looked a little worse for where, her silk shirt and pants looking as if they had seen better days, while her hair was a mess and her eyes a little downcast. "I'm so sorry sir," she quickly apologized with a light bow. "I really should have been watching where I was going. Now, I really gotta be on my way. Sorry!"

            She then took off again down the street and turned into a corner causing Katsura to blink in confusion. That had certainly been a little strange. Well, it really wasn't the time to be wondering about street urchins and the like. But he had to admit that he felt a little sorry for the girl. Once the Kihei-Tai was put into action and Kyoto became a war zone, people like her would be caught in the middle.

            "I really should stop doing that," Katsura told himself while trying to move his attention away from the thought of the young girl. Maybe he should go get something to drink. There were probably a few good places to buy sake in this part of town. Reaching down into his robes Katsura reached for his money purse and…came up with nothing.

            A quick image of the redhead running into him from behind quickly flashed through his mind. That little brat had just stolen his money! "Hey, come back here you little thief," Katsura shouted before running the direction that he saw the pickpocket go not two seconds before.

            Ranma sighed as she sat on the rooftop of some unknown building, tossing the purse back and forth in her hands. Fifty eight yen, back when she came from it wouldn't even be considered decent pocket change, but here it was worth enough to keep her fed for awhile. She had no intention of keeping all of it of course, when the guy she robbed came chasing after her she'd just drop down next to him after he wore himself out and give most to the money back, only keeping enough for a meal.

            So the perma-girl, at least until she could track down that kettle, lay back on the roof and watched the stars while she heard the man's voice calling for her to come back and calling her a thief.

            It had been three weeks since she had arrived in this backwater time period and Ranma was currently quite depressed. Once arriving and finding that the mirror had been pretty much smashed to dust she went over Ranma went over her options to return to her own time. But first thing was first, she headed off towards where she had Herb had battled when they were both frozen as women only to find one little problem, the kaisufuu wasn't there. The damn thing must have been moved into that location in the next hundred years or so.

            Now, Ranma was just trying to think of what else to do. Going to China to track down Happosai and take the mirror from this time was a plausible idea. No way the freak could match her right now, she had killed him when he was three hundred, and she could easily do it when he's younger.

            It was kind of strange remembering ripping out Happosai's throat. Ranma didn't really feel much regret for it anymore; she did at first, but not anymore. After what the old freak planned to do to her he deserved to die…too bad his life was ended so fast.

            Feeling a couple heightened battle aura's nearby Ranma sat up and cursed herself, she really should have been paying attention to where her last victim was, not reminiscing about the past. What if she had taken all that guy's savings for the week or something? He could have a family to feed for all Ranma knew.

            Sitting up the busty redhead made her way across the rooftops of the city, looking around for any signs of the guy. Maybe she should start trying to find out her victim's names or something, it would make things like this a whole lot easier. While looking around Ranma slowly headed towards where she could feel the fighting going on, if someone was in trouble she figured she had better bail them out.

            Katsura growled in frustration as he held his katana with his left hand, his right arm had been injured when he had been attacked in the alleyway by surprise. Stupid, he reprimanded himself while clutching his katana as best he could. He wondered is the kami were laughing at him right now. It wasn't supposed to be this way, tomorrow the revolution that he had been planning on for years would finally begin, and he was going to die in an alley.

            What even made it worse was that instead of an assassin paid by his rivals or in battle by samurai of the shogun. No, what would be killing him was just a gang of three pickpockets and murders. Lowly jackals that fed off people in the dark alleys of this city.

            He sidestepped the first attackers strike and then brought his sword up to block the second man's attack. The third thief, the one who had injured his arm with a throwing knife came up from behind with a short sword and prepare to skewer him. Katsura could only curse his luck and prepared to die, if he stopped blocking the second attacker then he would be run through by him…in short there was nothing he could do.

            However his death was preempted as a red blue slammed into the third murderer from the side and sent him flying into the wall on the other side of the alleyway. All three men remaining conscious could only stare at the short redheaded girl in surprise that had brought down someone three times her size with one blow. Her, Katsura thought. That's the same girl that picket my pocket awhile ago.

            Recovering from his second of shock faster than his two attackers Katsura quickly sifted his balance to spin around and slam the dull side of his blade into the side of the second attacker's neck and knock him to the ground right before the girl practically flew past him and struck the last man standing in the stomach. The murdered reached forward in pain then flew back a good five feet before hitting the ground and rolling another three. He didn't stand back up.

            "Well now, guess this just wasn't your night to be going out alone," the girl said before turning around to face Katsura. The man that Katsura had knocked to the ground started to get up but the girl quickly kicked him in the gut and sent the guy flying into the wall that in turn knocked him out.

            "Who are you," Katsura demanded while clutching his sword yet not moving the weapon from it's lowered position. "Why are you following me?"

            The girl just shrugged then reached into her pants to pull out a money purse. "I…I'm nobody really, just a wanderer," she said before reaching into her other pocket and pulling out some yen coins. "As for why I'm here, I just heard the sound of fighting and decided to see what was going on. Here." she tossed him the money pouch. "I only steal what I need to get by for a night, I planned on just taking a few yen and running into you later, but I figure these guys should have enough on them to last me a few days. If I'm lucky I'll be able to stay at an inn, it's been awhile since I did that."

            After looking through one and finding nothing she sighed and took his sword then looked back over towards Katsura. "By the way, you should probably get that wound looked at. It might get infected if you just ignore it for too long."

            Katsura could only watch as the girl's expression saddened before she walked over to check the pockets of the would be thieves. He didn't know how much of the girl's story was true, but his heart did go out to the poor girl. It was clear that she had been living on the road for awhile, her current state told him that much.

            The nobleman nodded then turned to walk away but something stopped him. Well, he had to admit he did owe the young woman, if it wasn't for her he would be dead right now. Even if it was trying to follow her that nearly got him killed in the first place. No, that wasn't her fault, she could have just kept going on and not given a second though to Katsura himself but she risked her life to save his own. "Listen," he told the girl causing her to look up from the last thug. "I owe you for saving my life tonight, if you're needing a place to stay for a few days you can come to my home. That's the least I can offer you for you actions tonight."

            The girl looked at him for a moment then frowned. "Ok, but don't even think of trying anything," she said sternly. "Or the cracked skulls I gave these idiots will be nothing compared to what you'll be getting. Got it?"

            Katsura simply nodded, the poor girl, she was quite attractive, and being a ronin probably made her run into all kinds of trouble. However from what he had just seen a few moments ago, as unbelievable as it was, he doubted that anyone had yet to actually succeed in taking advantage of her physically. "Understood," he replied. "By the way, my name is Katsura Kogoro. May I ask yours now?"

            "I told you before, I'm just a wanderer, I have no name," the girl replied with her empty voice. However Katsura would have been blind to miss the sadness on her face. "Call me whatever you want, it doesn't really matter anyway."

            The nobleman merely nodded as he and his companion walked off into the night.