Chapter 5 Catnip for Fun and Profit
Cologne just stood there staring at the tableau in front of her. Her son in law had just gotten himself into another interesting mess. Truthfully she highly doubted that he would marry her Shampoo. Although with this new development things had taken a strange twist into the truly bizarre. If she didn't find it so damned funny she'd probably have had an aneurysm by now. As it was it took most of her considerable willpower to not laugh at the stupid expression on son in law's face and the mirroring expression worn by his pet turned human. It was said that pets often look like their owners and now in this instant with the help of some instant powder that her great grand daughter had stolen she now understood this.
She idly noted the crescent moon mark on the girl's forehead. Somewhere in the back of her mind a neuron fired signaling a memory however that electrical connection had long since degraded. As such the proper memory from so long ago never surfaced. Couldn't have been important anyway. She watched as Ranma stood up supporting the girl on still wobbly legs. Cologne decided to play a bit with her daughter in law. She launched a slow strike towards her forehead. Well slow for Nerima standards. To everybody else it would have been at black belt level or higher. Instead of dodging or parrying the strike Luna grabbed the staff and using the momentum tossed the old woman across the restaurant. The toss allowed her to grab a pitcher of water and refill some of the customers glasses as she passed overhead.
"Very good daughter in law. I'm glad to see that you're adapting to being human this quickly. You certainly are a student of Anything Goes." Cologne chuckled as she pogoed back towards where Ranma and Luna were still standing.
"I'm not your daughter in law!" Luna yelled. "Honoured Old Ghoul." She thought to add at the end. It never hurt to be polite.
Maybe it did hurt to be polite. Luna thought as she rubbed her head where Cologne's staff struck her head.
"So what my great granddaughter said was wrong? You didn't defeat her and then give her the kiss of marriage?" Cologne said as she pinned Luna with a stare that could have scared the dead.
"Well I thought she was a pampered cat and she was scaring Ranma." Luna said. "And it's not as if she wasn't trying to kill me... It's the thought that counts right?" She said hopefully.
"Sorry but you two got into liplock after you beat her. It doesn't matter what she was trying to do it's what actually happened that matters." Cologne said as she grinned some. Luna shuddered and wondered if she could round up the sailor scouts and somehow shoot this problem to death. She quickly dismissed it because they'd all get their asses collectively handed to them.
"So that means?" Luna said as she tried to figure a way out of this.
"Welcome to the family daughter in law." Cologne said as she hugged the stunned girl.
"Didn't we go through this already? I'm not your daughter in law!" Luna shouted.
The customers who were there were all staring at the situation. The cat cafe was often better than a soap opera what with all the convoluted romance situations and the great food to go with it. One guy in the back thought it was almost as good as Millways. Almost, but not quite.
"Of course you are. You are married to my great granddaughter by our laws. My great granddaughter is married to son in law by those same laws. Ergo you are married to son in law." She pulled out a party noise maker and blew it. The end uncurled and made a 'fweet' sound. "Congratulations." She said with a bow. She enjoyed yanking the younger generations proverbial chain just like hers was yanked when she was younger.
Mousse, who'd been listening in, decided that now since Cologne had connected the dots for him he should put his two cents in.
"Never! I'll never allow you to take my Shampoo from me you accursed woman!" He shouted while flinging a pot of hot water on to the trio.
Cologne of course dodged the water. Since it was hot water Ranma also was able to dodge. Luna however was a fraction of a second too late and as such got doused. She shrank back into her clothes as she returned to her cat form. Since this wasn't the first time she'd had to get out of a mountain of clothes (Usagi on laundry day) she made short work of the job and was soon free just in time to see Mousse gloating over her.
"Ha you're nothing. I have defeated the one who defeated Shampoo and am now her husband!" Mousse was gloating to the max. Finally Shampoo was his.
If Luna had been listening she would have heard that by defeating her she was free of Shampoo. Unfortunately she had inherited a bit of Ranma's selective listening skills. She only heard nothing and defeat before her mind turned red and all the hair on her body stood on end.
"Defeated my ass!" She yelled as she charged the still gloating boy fur, fangs and claws flying.
Mousse didn't have time to react as Luna grabbed his robes with her teeth and flung him across the restaurant to slam into the opposite wall. She followed up with a round house kick that smashed him out the front door and into the telephone pole across the street. This being Nerima it started raining for no apparent reason and Mousse became a duck. Luna not wanting to get wet again decided to wait for him to come back inside before she kicked his ass some more. True to form an enraged duck came storming back into the restaurant and immediately opened up with a hail of throwing knives all of which Luna deftly dodged. The customers behind her didn't need to dodge as Cologne and Ranma deflected the rest of the knives away from anybody important. However one customer lost his glass of water as a knife shattered his glass spilling the sparkling crystal clear and most importantly cold water all over a little black cat that was at the base of his table. Well, naked girl now but hey this was the Cat Cafe and this kind of thing was normal.
It wasn't normal for Luna though who was in the middle of a rising uppercut when she changed. Force and mass increased logarithmically and one duck went flying without the use of his wings. She wobbled a bit as she got used to standing on two legs again. She was greeted with cheers and applause from the crowd who thoroughly enjoyed the show. She whirled on Ranma.
"I thought you said it was temporary!" Luna shouted as she tried to make sense of what just happened. She'd changed back into a human without the instant powder.
"I thought so too. Old ghoul you got any ideas?" Ranma said as he turned just in time to get hit on the head with her cane.
She tossed Luna the clothes that were on the floor. This was not a strip bar after all. Hmm strip bar / ramen joint. It was worth a thought.
"It should have been." She lit up her pipe. "You are going to have to tell me some things."
"What if I want to remain in blissful ignorance?" Luna said as she was dreading both the questions and the possible answers to those questions.
"No deal." Cologne said as she hauled off Luna by the collar of her shirt.
"What about the customers?" Ranma asked.
A quick dousing of water and an apron thrown in his direction seemed to answer his question. He now she just sighed.
"Uhh sir... miss can I get another glass of water." The patron who'd had his glass broken asked hesitantly.
Ranma paused for a good 3 seconds before twisting her face into a good approximation of a smile.
"Right away, sir." She said as she scampered off to get the bloody annoying people their refills on waters, extra bowls of rice and curry, more noodles for their ramen. There was no such thing as a free lunch they said and it was oh so true as Ranma began working off his free lunches.
In the back store room Cologne let go of Luna and backed up a bit. Luna just sat there on her haunches looking like a cat that was terribly annoyed with you for forgetting to put out her favorite cushion or bought a different kind of cat food they didn't like. If she had a tail it would have been waving around behind her angrily.
"Ok so I'm here what did you want to ask me about?" Luna asked as she tried to figure a way out of this situation that didn't involve her fighting the old woman or giving away any secrets that she didn't want out.
Cologne for her part just took a drag on her pipe and sat down on one of the crates to contemplate the situation. She just seemed to sit there and ever so often take a drag of whatever was burning in her pipe. Luna thought that the smoke was sweet smelling and vaguely purple in colour. This went on for a few minutes and the old woman looked as if she could just sit there all day. Luna on the other hand was a might bit more impatient.
"Will you just get on with it, will you?" She almost but not quite growled out.
To which she was responded to by being hit on her head with Cologne's +5 head seeking staff from the Tai Kwon Leap school of martial arts.
"You booted me in the head!"
"Quiet, you, I'm trying to concentrate here." She responded this time vocally. Her pupils seemed to be quite dilated and she had a hard time focusing on exactly where Luna was.
Luna returned to sitting there and looking dejected when she spotted something off to the side. It was an old box with weird markings on it. Of course she couldn't read what was on it but she was curious none the less. With the old woman vegetating off to the side she decided to do a little snooping. She carefully crept over to the crate and opened the lid. Inside were three items. A ball of string, a cat's collar and a bottle of old Janx Spirit. The cat's collar had a strange crystal dangling where the name tag should be. She picked up the collar and had a weird feeling of nostalgia like a memory that almost but wouldn't quite surface. It was a pretty collar and she wouldn't mind wearing it but it was way too small for her human form. She hoped Cologne would be able to figure out why she was still affected by this curse. It wasn't because she hated being human per se, it was just that it would be a trifle inconvenient to change in front of, well anybody. She'd be embarrassed to be naked a condition that until now hadn't really bothered her. Maybe she could learn a martial arts technique that would allow her to carry a set of clothes with her at all times and maybe that speed dressing thing that Ranma had done.
As a typical cat she had a rather short attention span and after pocketing the three items, a habit she'd gotten into during her travels, she turned her attention to something else. That something else turned out to be the bleary red eyed Cologne who'd gotten right up in her face. Startled Luna jumped back and almost knocked over some crates. After getting her heart rate back under control she decided to risk a question.
"Umm so have you figured it out yet?" Luna asked hopefully.
"You're a magical talking cat." Cologne said as if she was only realizing it for the first time.
"Of course I'm a magical talking cat what else could I be." She paused. "Well ok I'm a cursed magical talking cat. Now you're going to tell me how to get uncursed."
"Stop being a magical talking cat." Cologne said as she pulled again on her pipe.
"That's crazy! i can't just say one day 'Oh me Oh my I don't want to be a magical talking cat anymore and just stop! That's like stopping breathing!"
"That'd work too."
"So you're saying that my magic is powering the temporary curse making it semi permanent." Luna said as she slumped down.
"No. Your curse is permanent and is being powered by the great banana! All praise the banana!" Cologne said standing up suddenly then falling down.
"Right of course. How silly of me." Luna deadpanned as she turned to leave.
"Say hello to the princess and her 8 little dwarves for me!" Cologne called out as Luna left the room.
Luna face of course was distracted so much by this statement that she missed the ground in the middle of her facefault.
"Hey, I'm flying!"
Of course if you ever find yourself flying this way never ever think about it.
Luna thought about it.
And promptly crashed back to the ground
Cologne was no where near the ground in her own mind either.
As Luna walked back into the restaurant, a bit steadier on her feet than she was before, she saw Ranma in his female form flitting between tables waiting on customers. Deciding to sit down at a booth she soon found a glass of water and a menu in front of her. She looked up and found Ranma halfway across the restaurant tending to another customer. She'd already eaten Kasumi's supper so she really wasn't all that hungry.
"What can I get you today ma'am?" Ranma asked in a strained cheerful voice.
"I'll have an order of soup." Luna said. Ranma's head snapped up and she actually looked at who she was serving.
"Oh hey, Luna. Sorry didn't recognize you there. We don't have any soup." She stated factually. Cologne wasn't in the kitchen and she really didn't feel like cooking. Mousse was still out like a light and Shampoo was out somewhere looking to kill Luna.
"That's fine I guess." Luna sighed as she looked at the cool glass of water on the table.
"How about some hot water?" Ranma offered as she pulled a carafe out of the apron's pocket.
Luna's eye twitched.
"How did you do that?" Luna asked pointing at the pot.
Ranma scratched her chin. "Well first you heat the water then you..." She was interrupted by Luna hauling her off her feet and holding her in the air with one hand.
"What I meant was how did you pull that out of that little pocket!" Luna yelled.
"Umm excuse me miss..." one of the customers piped up. "I believe I can answer that. It's what's called Hidden Weapons. It's an amazon technique that allows the user to hold an indeterminate amount of things on their person without outwardly showing it." He finished.
Luna boggled at this for a minute.
"And just how do you know that!" She screamed. "Isn't it supposed to be secret or something?"
"Well it is. Sorta." The man said taking a sip of his tea. "But I showed Mousse a few things and he showed me how to do it."
"Showed him things like what?" Ranma asked. Better to find out Mousses new moves before he got caught by them.
"Why this! Fist of the white swan!" The man shouted and attempted to bean Ranma with a training potty.
Of course Ranma had seen this stupid technique before and easily caught the training potty mid swing.
"Revised!" The man shouted as he let go of the training potty and ducked under the table just as the digital timer where the plastic duck's eyes should have been hit 00.
The mouth opened and a tinny speaker quacked out "Hasta la vista baby." right before it exploded sending Ranma right out the front door and into the wall across the street.
The charge was shaped in such a way that the blast was mostly concentrated forward. As such Luna who was standing off to the side was unscathed. After just seeing her friend blasted by high explosives she snapped and decided to do something about it.
"Who are you?" She asked warily.
"I am Kenshiro Tanwaka of the training potty school of martial arts!" He declared proudly while holding up a plastic duck shaped training potty.
"Right just so I know who's ass I'm going to kick." She stated right before she carried through with said act.
"All right everybody leave all your money on the table take your food and get out!" Luna yelled.
The customers grumbled but stayed put.
"Now! Before I have to get violent." She growled out as she cracked her knuckles.
The restaurant was cleared in a matter of seconds. All the plates that still had food on them were taken with the customers but there were several piles of money on the tables. She went around and collected the money and pocketed it. She'd have to add it to her stash back at Usagi's place. She sighed as the fact that her curse was permanent sunk in a bit further.
"Oh well, I didn't really want that diamond studded cat collar anyway." Luna sighed as yet another dream went poof on her.
She closed the door on the restaurant and using a trick that Genma taught them she locked the door from the outside. She walked across the street and lifted Ranma up on to her shoulder. She boggled for a moment at how light he felt to her. Normally she would have to struggle to move him but now it felt like he hardly weighed anything. Maybe turning into a human had its advantages after all.
Thirty seconds later she thought differently as she struggled to get out from underneath Ranma as a stray hot water bottle had come out of nowhere and broke over her head turning him male and her into a cat.
It was late at night when Luna finally finished dragging Ranma's still inert form back to the dojo. He may have been knocked out initially but somewhere during their little trip back he'd fallen asleep and wouldn't wake up. Luna made sure to drag him over as many curbs as possible in an attempt to either wake him up or punish him for making her drag his stupid ass home. Once she got him through the front gates she decided that was good enough and left him there. She continued up to the dojo and laid down and went to sleep.
She was woken up the next morning by the sweet sound of mortal combat emanating from the koi pond area. Since it had been a long time since she'd last been with Ranma she'd lost her ability to sleep through just about anything. As such it was a very cranky kitty that walked out of the dojo to observe the morning sparring between Ranma and his panda father. Ranma had of course knocked Genma into the pond first and as such gained a speed advantage on his father. Luna watched for a few minutes before Kasumi called everybody in for breakfast.
Once everybody had been seated at the table, and Ranma had proceeded to demolish his food, Luna decided to get some revenge for having to drag Ranma home last night. She quietly snuck around behind him making sure to use all of her stealth techniques that she had at her disposal. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that that Akane girl had followed her movements. The techniques she knew only worked if somebody didn't see you in the first place, they were ineffective if somebody saw you and was tracking your movement. She wondered if Ranma had learned any new techniques he'd be willing to share with her.
Ranma was no where near as oblivious of Luna as she hoped. He had to admit that she wasn't slacking off and had actually improved quite a bit from when he'd last seen her. However he'd been attacked almost constantly by high caliber martial artists that used similar techniques. As such he'd been forced to develop counters for their techniques and new techniques of his own to get away from the horde when he needed time alone. He'd detected her intent was violence on his person even though she was suppressing her aura. As such he was ready for almost anything she could throw at him.
Well almost anything.
Akane had been tracking Luna ever since she started her little jaunt to punish her fiancee. She was still upset over the fact that she lost to a bloody cat of all things. Here she was the best fighter in Nerima and she lost to Ranma's pet. Granted said pet was a magical cat but still. Her pride was gravely wounded and as such demanded vengeance. She'd gone up to the attic and dug up a couple of old water guns that she and Nabiki used to play with when they were kids. Nabiki's was the only one that still worked as she took care of her toys. It was a fact that was still true today. Akane was just hard on her things and as such they didn't last very long.
None of that mattered at this moment because in the here and now she was finally going to get her revenge on that walking talking ball of fur. Luna had just set herself up for a classic dash and pounce maneuver and was preparing for launch. Akane readied her instrument of choice.
The next series of events happened in apparent slow motion, also known as bullet time. Luna started her charge completely dropping all pretense of stealth as she channeled ki to her limbs to give her more speed and strength for the upcoming thrashing she was going to unleash on her friend for making her work unnecessarily hard dragging him home last night. Ranma felt Luna's sudden surge of ki and turned around to intercept her incoming attack. Akane aimed and fired when Luna was in mid jump. Predictably Luna turned female much to the astonishment of everybody at the table. Notably Luna and Ranma were the most surprised by this but not for the reasons that most would assume. Luna had been hoping that last night was just a dream and that she wasn't really permanently cursed to become human. She found herself naked and flying through the air towards Ranma. Ranma was surprised because he was expecting an attack from Luna a little talking space dog with a time dilation problem. What he got was a 55 kilo girl... check that 55 kilograms of naked girl.
Because of the sudden change in mass and distribution of said mass Ranma was not braced properly to meet this new attack. The two of them tumbled backwards onto the table spilling food and drinks left and right. Miraculously Ranma didn't get a drop of cold water on him. What wasn't so miraculous was the fact that when this catastrophe subsided Luna was positioned on top of Ranma, his arms had automatically encircled her to try and catch her which had been his original plan. And since this was Ranma he and Luna had ended up in liplock.
The rest of the occupants at the table froze in shock at seeing what had happened. Ranma couldn't for the life of him focus the will to push Luna off him and Luna being too stunned by her first human kiss didn't realize that she should probably be getting off right about now. Having many more nerve endings and an entirely different set of hormones threw her for a loop. The tableau lasted for about 3 minutes before Kasumi decided to break things up.
"Ranma if you want to have bestial relations with your pet please do not have them at the table."
Both Ranma and Luna broke liplock and looked straight at Kasumi then turned back and looked at each other. The resulting vortex that was spawned created a category 5 tornado which wiped out the budding civilization that had been born of Akane's attempt at ravioli a few nights previous. It wasn't much of a loss as this civilization would have been wiped out in a few more days by her attempt at ramen when trying to outdo Shampoo.
"Ahh, it wasn't what it looked like." Ranma said as he scratched the back of his head sheepishly.
"It looked like you were making out with your pet cat on our table while we are trying to eat breakfast, Ranma baby." Nabiki pointed out while pushing herself away from the table. She'd just lost her appetite.
"How many times do I have to tell people Luna's not a ..." He was cut off from his rant by Soun.
"Son! How dare you cheat on my daughter with this admittedly attractive animal!" Soun bellowed hoping that if he yelled loud enough they would just collapse to his will.
"What I'd love to know is how you changed. I don't think my little sister recently got in any drowned girl water." Nabiki said as she studied the situation. Visions of yen dancing in her field of vision as she contemplated money making situations that she could get the cat to dance on a hot tin roof.
Luna turned towards the middle daughter. She narrowed her eyes before responding. "My magic is powering the temporary curse making it permanent. If you think of making me pose for any of your little photo shoots I'll make sure that all your clothes are well ventilated." She raised her hand and tried to bring out her claws forgetting that she wasn't a cat at the moment.
"Idle threats kitty cat. Oh and by the way..." She raised her hand as well, however Nabiki's hand had a camera in it. One flash later she lowered it. "We humans like to cover our nakedness. It's just one of the strange quirks we have that separates us from the mere beasts of the world. " She said as she got up from the table and grabbed her bag.
"EEp!" Luna squeaked out as she finally realized that she'd been naked through the entire conversation and that she was supposed to be embarrassed by it now.
"You can borrow my clothes." Ranma said. "They're in the closet." He said getting up. "I'm off for school." He said before starting to move off.
It was about this time that Akane's pervert meter came down from being pegged and her brain registered that her unwanted fiancee had been having wanton sex in the middle of the breakfast table with his pet cat. This realization set off automated responses that had been hard wired into her over the years. First of all her aura flared mauve and melted her hair pins. This would lead to a massive comb over later when she had to shave her hair in those areas to get them out of her hair. Next came her withdrawal of her mallet from her personal stuff space. It was the titanium alloy that she had built for her by some golf club manufacturer so she could get better distance in her drive. It was of course painted red as her namesake. The next was to yell out a battle phrase.
"Ranma Saotome because of you I've seen Hell!"
Nobody ever said she had to yell out her battle phrase. :)
The final thing was to hit Ranma up, up, and away.
As the rest of the household watched with apparent disinterest in the latest Akane related outburst one person was looking on with contempt. Luna had decided that she would break Ranma from this abusive person who didn't know how to pet right and set him up with someone better. An image of Kasumi petting her came to mind and she tried to purr at the thought but all she got was a hacking cough.
When she'd gotten to the room that Ranma shared with his father she noticed one thing. She would have to wear Ranma's clothes. That included his underwear. She blushed heavily at this but for the life of her she couldn't understand why. Ranma was just her friend. Hell she'd regularly slept in his dirty clothes because it was more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. That and they had his scent on them and she felt reassured that she could have his smell around. Now just the thought of wearing his clean clothes sent a rush of heat to her cheeks. It was a strange sensation that she didn't know if she liked or not. Fortunately she was saved at the last moment by Kasumi.
"Luna-chan you don't have to wear Ranma's clothes those are boys clothes. Come we'll get you something to wear." Kasumi said as she gently took Luna's hand and led her out of the room.
"You could always get me some hot water and I can change back." Luna said as she tried to gently extract her hand.
"Oh no, that won't do at all. Akane's clothes should fit you. Come on I'll help you." Kasumi said as she increased the pressure on Luna's hand and dragged the now struggling Luna into the room. Luna wasn't using her full strength as she didn't want to hurt the nice girl.
When the massacre was over Luna found herself dressed in a pair of hot pink coveralls with the word china written across the front, a cream coloured shirt, ankle socks, bra, panties, makeup and some clip on ear fobs to try and cover up the fact that part of her ear was missing. She admitted to herself at least that she looked quite attractive for a human however her pride would never let her admit it.
"How does everything fit?" Kasumi asked. She'd had so much fun dressing up Ranma and now she had a real well female at least to play with. She'd grown so lonely during the day with nothing really to do except work.
"It's too tight in the chest." She said squeezing said area. "And it's way too loose in the hips." She said while tugging them to indicate how loose they were.
This familiar scene triggered an automatic response in Akane who was no where near the scene and couldn't hear what was being implied about her physical structure. As Ranma went sailing out the window his mind was trying to figure out just what the hell he did now.
"Well yes, my little sister is a bit flat chested and yes she has quite a bit of junk in the trunk but she does mean well." Kasumi said trying to defend her little sister but unintentionally insulting her in the process.
"Well yeah, I guess I'm built a bit better than you humans but I don't know. Wearing clothes just isn't my thing." Luna said trying to get Kasumi to relent and allow her to change back."
"Nonsense we humans are the dominant life form on this planet." Kasumi said with a little satisfaction.
"Actually humans are third on the list of intelligent species. Mice are first followed by dolphins then humans." Luna said remembering all the mice she'd eaten. Smug little bastards they were too.
"Really? Mice?" Kasumi asked as she couldn't comprehend it.
"Yeah well they don't like to advertise the fact but yeah mice rule the world." Luna said trying to get off the subject.
"Hmm that's interesting." Kasumi said thinking about it for a sum total of 30 seconds before she decided to move on.
"So come on let's go shopping!" Kasumi said excitedly. Her sisters had long since grown tired of shopping with her and now went with their friends.
"Shopping?" Luna asked. Sure she'd gone shopping with Usagi and the rest of the scouts but for the life of her she couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.
"Of course shopping. Akane has horrible taste in clothes and now that you're human you're going to need some." Kasumi said as she gently petted Luna's head like she were still a cat. It worked and Luna started leaning into the strokes. "Let's go." Kasumi said as she grabbed her hand and started pulling her out the door.
"Wait up, I've got to get something!" Luna said as she used her strength and broke the hold.
She then dashed to the guest room and raided the money she'd gotten last night at the nekohanten, she then raided Genma's stash of money. The stupid moron still kept it in the same place as when they were traveling. She knew where it was because she'd seen him go to it when he thought she was the only one looking. That'll teach him to never trust a cat. Finally she decided that she still didn't have enough money so she decided to raid Ranma's stash. After all he owed her for last night's taxi service.
When she was finished she had quite a stack of notes. Granted most of them were only 1000 yen bills but it still felt like a lot of money. She ran out of the room and jumped off the top floor and landed by the table. She then turned and sprinted towards the door where she knew Kasumi would be waiting for her.
"I'm ready to go now." Luna said as she bounced up and down on the balls of her feet. Maybe this shopping thing could be fun as she remembered that every shopping trip the girls went on usually consisted of eating large amounts of mall junk food, which they told her since she was a cat couldn't have.
Mirimachi shopping arcade food court vendors beware Ranma isn't the only one who can pack food down his legs and into other dimensions.
It took them a while to arrive as some pervert tried to grope Luna on the train. It took her about a minute to figure out that what he was doing was wrong since when she was a cat she'd normally love somebody petting her butt. When she remembered that this was not acceptable human behavior she politely corrected the deviant on his social gaff by shoving his head through one of the windows. Of course it wasn't open at the time. Nor was it meant to ever open. Kasumi of course had to comment on her form and the fact that she should have used a mallet instead of damaging JR property.
The Mirimachi shopping arcade was a garish 13 story tall mecca of consumerism. It was located in southern Nerima so there were quite a few stores that were dedicated to that sort of lifestyle. As indicated by their first stop on this little marathon.
"Takono's Mallets' R Us?" Luna asked as she stared at the sign. Sure Kasumi had extolled the benefits of carrying a mallet to deal with perverts but she still couldn't understand. After all she had these martial arts to deal with perverts.
"Oh my, yes this is where Akane buys all of hers. She tends to go through about one a month." Kasumi said as she pulled out her own small mallet from her purse. "I can't do hammerspace so I have to carry mine around in my purse."
Kasumi's mallet was fairly small, about the size of a child's toy mallet. It was painted black with a yellow smiley face on one side and a flaming skull on the other. Surprisingly enough Luna found herself drawn to it. She wanted to hold it. She wanted to caress it. She wanted to hit somebody.
Genma sneezed violently.
"Ok, maybe this won't be so bad after all." Luna said as she allowed herself to be dragged into the store.
The walls of the store were lined with racks upon which every conceivable form of mallet could be hung from. They were even hanging from the ceiling. There were shelves crammed with them. Most were wooden, some were rubber, others were composite fiber for the more delicate lady. Then there was Luna's mallet. It only took her a few seconds to spot as it was contained in a Plexiglas case with a spotlight illuminating it gently from above and another below giving it an ethereal glow. Luna immediately made a beeline for it but was stopped by the velvet rope that was encircling the enclosure so that prospective buyers didn't slobber all over the case.
The mallet itself was all black it didn't look like paint but rather some kind of black metal. The handle was covered in some kind of molded rubber with finger grips. On the pedestal Luna noted the composition of the mallet. The inner core was made of einsteinium while the outer shell was made of titanium, lead, mithryl, and the souls of the damned while the shaft was carved out of a solid piece of Yggsdrail.
The price was almost as horrendous as the composition suggested. That was a lot of zeros. Luna was just about to turn away when a saleswoman appeared right beside her. She was wearing a nice casual female suit with a grey skirt and jacket. She was smiling almost to the point of hurting herself.
"I see the young madame has great taste in mallets. This is our best model and we've sold quite a few of these." She said effectively lying through her teeth. They'd bought this monstrosity but they had to charge so much that nobody ever bought it. Only lookers.
"Well it is a bit out of my price range..." Luna started.
"Well then you're in luck we're having a 50 off sale on this item." The clerk said in a rush. Sure it was an attention getter but it was taking up valuable shelf space that could be used elsewhere.
"I really don't know." Luna hedged as she started doing mental calculations. "How about 60 off and you throw in a free engraving." Luna said as she suddenly turned the tables on the sales woman.
The woman winced as that much of a discount would take it well below their cost, never mind the cost to have the bloody thing engraved. However they'd just gotten a new shipment of prada mallets and they needed the floor space for something that would be a much better seller.
"Deal. What would you like engraved in it?" The woman said as she tried not to wince.
Luna lifted her hair revealing the crescent moon symbol underneath.
"I'd like this on the side here." Luna said as she pointed at the side.
"Of course. Now your method of payment?" The woman asked.
"Cash of course." Luna replied as she and Kasumi walked up to the cash register to complete the transaction.
Once Luna had paid and the employee had taken a picture of the crescent moon for the engravers they left the shop. Luna had not done her calculations anywhere near right (well she is a cat) and it had ended up costing her way more than she'd bargained for. As such she was a little low on cash at the moment. This situation was easily remedied as she and Kasumi walked around. A few registers that weren't monitored by cameras became a few thousand yen lighter a few obscenely rich perverts conveniently misplaced their wallets and one baby lost its candy.
Kasumi was wondering where Luna got the lollipop because she couldn't remember the cat girl ever stopping to buy one. She of course never noticed her swipe a few others from a candy store that they visited. Being a student of Saotome school of Anything Goes meant being a master thief. Ranma used to be better than her at it of course since he had the advantage of opposable thumbs and pockets in which to hide merchandise but not anymore.
"Hey we need to go here." Kasumi said as she dragged Luna towards a strange shop.
"What's in here?" Luna asked apprehensively.
"Underwear of course. Since you can't go around borrowing Akane's all the time we need to get you some of your own."
"But it's so constricting and when I change it's just one more thing to drag with me." Luna sulked as she remembered changing last night and her having to struggle out of just the shirt. It was not a pleasant experience.
"You can't go around without a bra or panties on." Kasumi admonished the girl. "You'll attract perverts left and right. Look at Ranma."
"I haven't really seen the perverts that he attracts but if that guy on the train this morning was any indication I guess I'd better." Luna said as she reluctantly followed the older girl into the store.
After about half an hour of embarrassment in which Luna tried on several different pairs of bra's before she found one that wouldn't constrict her when she changed they left with a couple of small bags. Luna wanted to go to a clothing store but Kasumi wanted to look at another store first.
Why oh why did it have to be a fur shop?
"Oh my Luna don't you think this looks pretty?" Kasumi said as she held up a cat fur shawl.
"MURDEROUS HEATHEN!" Luna shouted as she attempted to kill all the infidels.
Once Kasumi had managed, with the help of 15 very nice and helpful security guards, to drag Luna away from the store she decided that maybe the thought of a human cat wearing fur wouldn't be so cute after all.
The next stop was the China Lily dress shop on the fourth floor. Coincidentally it's where Shampoo gets all her dresses from. Luna had calmed down considerably from her little outburst earlier and this shop would be the start of her understanding of the human female's brain into the art of shopping. The first thing she noticed was a beautiful dress that had a roaring tiger embossed around it. The dress itself was black silk so the tiger motif really stood out. It had collar buttons that went down the shoulder with little chrysanthemums. That and it was short. Quite short.
"Oh my Luna it's beautiful. You have to get it." Kasumi gushed.
"I don't know. I do like it. But it's just..." Luna stalled.
Kasumi grabbed Luna's shoulders and turned her to face her. She looked her directly in the eyes. "You have to buy that dress it would be a crime not to."
"Actually it would be a crime if I swiped it." Luna muttered under her breath before shifting her eyes to the side. She turned back towards Kasumi and gave her a smile that she once gave a mouse before she pounced. "I'll do it but on one condition."
Kasumi and Luna stepped out into the mall. Both were carrying several large bags with neatly folded dresses in them. Luna was strutting along in her new tiger dress while Kasumi was trying to hide behind her in her new dragon dress. It was a twin of Luna's except it was red with a swirling Chinese dragon spiraling around it. All the male eyes in the place tracked them. Those that hadn't seen them yet were tapped on the shoulders or arms and pointed in their direction.
"You're right, Kasumi, I don't feel like a pervert magnet at all." Luna said happily as she bounced along not noticing the stares upon her person. After all a cat must be the center of attention.
"I think we should go eat now." Kasumi said glancing at her watch and wondering when she could go and change back to her normal dress. She wasn't used to this much male attention.
"You just said the magic words." Luna said as this time she grabbed Kasumi's hand and started running.
The shopping arcade that they were in had several elevators that went between the floors and escalators as well. They were currently on the 4th floor and the food court was on the 13th floor. The elevators were too inconvenient and the escalators just took way too much time. The designers of the building decided to splurge and had a small open air atrium type skylight with a vertical column going straight down to the basement to utilize natural light to save power. Of course there were openings on each floor where people could look down or up. And there were hand rails to keep people on the proper side of the barrier.
Of course Luna wouldn't take the easy way. Spectators were treated to the sight of yet another martial artist using the "express elevator to hell" as some of the merchants called it. Kasumi who'd never traveled this way before was understandably frightened out of her mind. The only thing keeping her from falling was the iron grip Luna had on her hand. If she wasn't made of sterner stuff the constant jerking would have torn her arm out of its socket long ago as Luna triangle jumped between the levels. So incensed was she that she didn't even think about all the perverts below that were getting essentially a free peek at her panties.
When they landed it was Kasumi who looked like she was out of breath. Her chest was heaving doing quite a few interesting things to her dress and her eyes were wide. She had a death grip on the table that Luna sat her at.
"Ok you just stay there and I'll get us some food." Luna said as she gave Kasumi a little pat on her bone white hand.
Let the carnage begin!
The food court vendors were bombarded by this cute black haired girl who swooped down upon them like an eagle grabbed a bunch of things then paid and swooped away to the next victim. She left in her wake a bunch of stunned hormonal boys who never even noticed that there were several things missing. It was quite a sight this little girl darting about balancing trays in both her arms and on top of her head. Piles of food getting steadily bigger as she hopped from place to place.
When she arrived back at the table Kasumi had regained some semblance of control over her emotions. That was until she saw what Luna had gotten for lunch.
"Luna chan are you sure you can eat all that? I mean you're not Ranma."
"Course I can." Luna said proudly. "But as a cat I'm supposed to be discrete about what I eat. I mean the Tsukino's would have a fit if I ever ate as much as I wanted to, but as a human I can stuff myself and nobody will think a thing of it!"
"Except that you're a pig." Kasumi stated under her breath.
"What was that?" Luna said as she saw Kasumi's lips moving but couldn't hear what she'd said.
"Oh nothing. What did you get for me?" Kasumi said as she looked over the spread wondering not for the first time today where the little cat got all her money from. Well she was a magical cat so maybe she created it from magic.
"Here you go. I know you like this kind of thing so I got you some." Luna said as she handed over a bowl of deluxe ramen to the older girl.
"Banzai!" Luna said as she dove face first into her food.
"Luna you have hands now use them please!" Kasumi almost shouted, mortified that the girl was still eating like a cat would.
Luna lifted her head from her food her face still surprisingly clean. She used her tongue to lick her lips just like a cat would. It took her a minute to realize Kasumi had said something about hands. She looked at her hands mystified like she'd never seen them before. Then her face lit up like a monkey touching a black monolith.
"Thank you very much Kasumi." Luna bowed. "You have been most helpful in teaching me how to be human."
Kasumi looked on with pride as she was able to help Luna accept her humanity better.
"Now I can eat much faster." Luna said as she picked up the food with her hands and started shoveling it into her mouth at breakneck speeds. It was a lot messier than her normal method of eating but if this was how humans did it. When in Rome.
(Luna is usually eating on the floor and can't see them using chopsticks at the table as it's too high and in the bush both Ranma and Genma usually ate food with their hands.)
Kasumi just sat there stunned.
When Luna had finished she licked her fingers clean. She would be purring if she still could. As it was she had a glow about her. As finally something that she'd wanted for so long had finally been satisfied.
"I'm finally full!" She shouted. Her hands raised in triumph.
"Woop dee doo." Kasumi said through half lidded eyes.
"Ok, now we can go do some more shopping!" Luna stated unconsciously striking one of Usagi's favorite poses.
"Ok, I know this little shop that sells the most adorable jewelry and then we still need to get you some formal wear and..." Kasumi started rattling off all the places that she'd like to go.
"Ok ok. But first I need some ice cream." Luna said as she picked up all the bags in one hand and effortlessly strode off to get some cat mint ice cream. It's too bad she didn't turn around as she would have been treated to an extremely rare site of Kasumi absolutely losing it.
Because of her lunch Luna had to stop off at some ATS (automated teller stores) and pick up some money. Their next stop was a store that specialized in fighting clothes. These clothes were made of sterner stuff than most because they had to withstand lots of punishment at the hands of their wearers and the ones that were trying to kill their wearers. As such the store was fairly busy even though it was a school day. Since Kasumi regularly shopped here with Akane she knew her way around. The first thing she did was go to the heavy silk section. It was full of Chinese tangs that looked like Ranma's except that they were in many different colours other than red.
"Ranma kun says that these last the longest of all the clothes but they are a bit pricey." Kasumi said as she mentally tried to imagine Luna in one of them.
"I don't know they are a bit well much, and I really don't think I'll be doing much fighting other than pounding on lard ass or with Ranma." Luna replied as she tried to imagine herself in one of these and succeeded in part. She imagined Usagi with a long warrior braid fighting off youma left right and center. Of course the imagined Usagi promptly degraded into reality as she fell on her face and started bawling her eyes out.
"I think I'll just get a few of these over here." Luna said as she pointed at a rack of discount merchandise.
All of the clothes on the rack looked very good. They were all in mint condition and looked sturdy enough. However they all had little tags on them detailing the problems with them. A nice heavy cotton/canvass/leather combo had the warning that it got very hot and sweaty and that the user was warned about overheating. A nice synthetic nylon/spandex body suit had the warning that it didn't provide any protection at all. Another synthetic caught fire when exposed to ki blasts and tended to melt to skin. A piece of body armor that looked suspiciously like the sailor scouts uniform noted that the stupid bows could be removed and used to strangle the user by the opponent. An experimental garment noted that it tended to self destruct at random intervals when the embarrassment quotient reached maximum to only further embarrass the user.
After looking through the racks she grabbed a battle bikini, the body suit, and the Mei costume from King of Fighters. It was on her way to pay for the items that she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. First of all it was leather, it was shiny, it was form fitting, it had little metal pyramid studs in all the right places, it was the last one, and it wasn't in her size.
"Oh my, that would look umm good on you." Kasumi said as her sense of modesty was thrown for a loop.
"Yeah it would I guess. It's just it's not in my size." Luna said as she grabbed it anyway.
"But I thought it wasn't in your size?" Kasumi said as she tried to figure out why Luna would want to buy it if she couldn't wear it.
"It's a present for a friend of mine." Luna said as she thought of the one girl who could wear this and enjoyed fighting. "Come to think of it I should get presents for all the girls."
"Oh my, I don't know how a cat could wear this." Kasumi said trying to figure out exactly what a cat could do with it.
"Oh no, I've got several human friends. One of them has a figure that would really stretch this out plus she loves fighting and cooking too." Luna said as she tried to think of what to get the other girls.
"Is she any good?" Kasumi asked.
"Well she's about your skill in cooking but only around a black belt in karate so she sucks there." Luna said as she remembered fighting the girl one on one once. Still she was the best fighter the scouts had so she had to do.
"So she's not engaged to Ranma, then?" Kasumi said hopefully. A girl like that would prove serious competition for her little sister.
"Probably not. Unless he's her 'sempai' she's always talking about but can never seem to remember." Luna said hoping this outfit would finally get the girl some so she'd shut up about it.
"Ahh. Do you know if any of your friends are engaged to Ranma?" Kasumi said as they were walking to the counter. "Uncle Saotome was quite liberal when he was planning for Ranma's future." Communist would be more like it. Everybody got a piece.
"I don't think so, but I'll have to look into it now that you mention it." Luna replied noting that she never did get the girls to find out if their parents had been swindled into some kind of engagement. She didn't remember any of their family names but there was a lot of time that the old lard ball spent in bars.
"It would be unfortunate if Ranma turned out to have any more suitors. Akane can get quite jealous." Kasumi said with some concern.
When Akane got jealous she tended to try to be domestic. This included cooking after which Kasumi would have to clean the kitchen, buy new pots/pans/knives/stoves, and care for a deathly ill Ranma. She also tended to destroy things like bricks and training dummies and roofs which was Nabiki's domain to pay for repairs and supplies. In short another fiancee for Ranma would be disastrous for the Tendo finances.
"Pfft. That girl doesn't deserve him. I really don't like her that much." Luna responded in true feline fashion. If she didn't like somebody she'd just scratch them. And if somebody was allergic to cats she'd make a beeline straight for them. It was a natural law, one of the few that she didn't break.
"Be that as it may I do wish you wouldn't fight with her so much. It just aggravates her." Kasumi said as she picked up another of her house dresses from another rack. Just because she herself didn't get involved with the madness that was the martial artists lifestyle didn't mean that her clothes were spared the same consideration.
"That girl needs to get aggravated once in a while so she can learn to control that temper of hers. It's how both Ranma and I learned." Luna said while she put her items on the counter.
"Still if she can't hit you she's going to go hit Ranma because you are his pet." Kasumi said. The young boy behind the counter suddenly perked up at this. Some kind of kinky dom game?
"I've never actually been his pet you know. It's more like the other way around. I've been his owner and keeper. He'd be dead at least 12 times over if I wasn't with him to help him out of the crap that his father got the both of us into." And she silently hoped that some of that 'crap' never dug itself out of the ground where they'd managed to burry it.
"That'll be 25,954 yen please." The young store clerk said as he imagined the older of the two wearing the fighting leathers while the younger in the Mai Shinrui costume.
"Keep the change." Luna said as she handed him a stack of bills.
The clerk tallied up the amount and found that there was easily a 4,500 yen tip. He wasn't supposed to do what he did next but she was just too cute. He grabbed one of the complimentary sets of nunchuks and placed it in the bag. They were only supposed to be given out for purchases in excess of 40,000 yen (yes this store was quite expensive) but she was worth it. When he looked up he noticed a huge foreigner enter the store.
The gaigin was easily 250 centimeters tall and had a massive chest which was quite obviously oiled up as he wasn't wearing a shirt. He was also wearing a pair of wrestling trunks and laced boots that came up to mid thigh on him. His face was concealed by a mexican wrestler mask which served to accent his dark skin. Finally there was the massive spiked mace slung across his back. The clerk just shrugged and turned back to the two lovely young ladies. It was nothing new after all as this was Nerima.
That was until he started smashing things. Then it became store business.
"I challenge all here. I is strongest!" He roared in broken and heavily accented Japanese.
The clerk jumped over the counter with the ease of a well trained martial artist and calmly walked over to where the behemoth was standing. He looked him straight in the eye and said.
"I'm sorry sir but I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave. The store's policy strictly states that there is to be no fighting on the premises." He said in a very calm voice. "If you wish to resist I am authorized to remove you by force." He slipped into a strange stance that Luna had never seen before.
"Like see you try." The mountain said as he unhinged his mace and took a swing.
The clerk effortlessly dodged the attack and let loose a flurry of high speed punches and kicks aimed for all of the major vulnerable spots on the human body. The attacks all took only a few seconds. Luna was impressed. The clerk was well trained and had good form. He wasn't anywhere as good as she was of course but for a store clerk in a mall store he wasn't too bad. There was just one small problem as indicated by the way the giant smashed him aside with a massive backhand. All the fancy moves in the world won't help you if you lack the penetrating power to back them up and against this mass of muscle he just couldn't punch hard enough.
Luna and Kasumi watched as the clerk slid down the wall and ended up crumpled on the ground. The few other martial artists in the store decided that this guy needed to go down and charged him. Martial arts whining, hacky sack, frisbee and water polo went down easily. Martial arts origami managed to give him a paper cut and Martial arts flashing managed to stun him for a second or two before he too went down. Suddenly it was only Luna and Kasumi in the store. He slowly walked over and looked down at them.
"You is pretty. Me smash and make not pretty. Sorry no hard feel ok?" He said as he brought his mace around for a quick swipe.
The mace came around in a smooth arc that would position it to intersect at a right angle with logarithmic force upside Kasumi's head. She watched mesmerized by the mace traversing the distance in seemingly slow motion. She'd never been attacked before and the experience was strange to say the least. She knew that she would have no chance of dodging or blocking the attack in time so she did what was most natural. She closed her eyes and waited for the pain.
The impact was precipitated by a loud meaty thud of metal impacting flesh and bone. Since she wasn't seeing her long dead mother at the pearly gates Kasumi decided to open her eyes slowly and take a look as to the cause. The cause turned out to be a slender arm that came across her field of vision. Turning her head she noted that the slender arm terminated at a seemingly delicate hand that had stopped the forward momentum of the mace about four centimeters from her head. She turned her head the other way and saw that the arm was connected to Luna who looked like an angry cat who was going to spit fury any second now because the stupid human did something she didn't like.
Of course this was the case but that's just what she looked like.
The Mr. Machismo was dumbfounded. He could bench press SMART cars, could punch through brick as easily as paper. He was the strongest person that he knew of. Yet here was this little slip of a girl who he should have torn apart was holding back his full might with one hand and only looked to be straining a bit. He suddenly felt a chill go up his spine. Of excitement or abject terror he wasn't quite certain of yet.
"Now we've got a problem here." Luna started in a quiet voice. "The others were martial artists and could take the punishment you could dish out." She said as she calmly pushed the mace farther away from Kasumi then guided the girl behind her. "I wouldn't have even minded if you'd attacked me first as I would have put you down. But no you had to go and attack Kasumi. I happen to like her as she makes great food, she puts my pillow out in the sun just the way I like it, and she pets like nobody's business! You dun fucked up NOW!" She finished as she pushed hard on the mace and followed up with an inverted mule kick which caught the man under the chin launching him into the hall and sending him crashing into the support post.
Before he even had a chance to recover she was in his face literally with her fists which then launched him down the corridor and into a bench. Shoppers were treated to the sight of a girl running on all fours like an animal towards a human mountain that was now struggling to his feet. They watched as the small girl proceeded to uppercut the huge man straight through the roof to one of the higher levels and then jump up after him. They then watched and scrambled out of the way as she hammered him back down to the fourth floor. They saw him struggle to his feet as the girl ran into the local mallet shop and come out with a huge mallet that looked like it would hurt quite a bit if somebody were hit with it. Mothers covered their children's eyes as what happened next.
As they arrived home Kasumi looking haggard and Luna grinning from ear to ear. Both of them were carrying many bags full of stuff. As they got through the door Kasumi dropped what she was carrying and immediately went to the kitchen without bothering to take off her outside shoes. Ranma who was sitting on the ground watching Bleach at the time looked up to see Luna surrounded by lots of packages. His eye twitched as he imagined exactly how she got them. He then watched as Kasumi came out of the kitchen with a glass of hot water and proceeded to dump it over Luna's head. She then reached into the dress and pulled out a confused looking Luna. She walked over and dropped her into his lap.
"Ranma from now on she's your responsibility." Kasumi said curtly and then walked away.
Ranma looked at Luna and she looked back at him.
"What did you do now?" Ranma asked as he started automatically petting Luna.
"I didn't know she'd get so worked up about being banned for life from the Miramachi shopping arcade. I did save her life after all." Luna huffed. She thought she'd held back too.
"You've got some splaining to do."
Back at the shopping arcade the firefighters had just gotten the last fire under control. The engineers and contractors that had been sent out from the insurance agency had deemed the building still mostly sound. And finally in the security office there were three Polaroids. The first was of a distraught Kasumi with her hair in a mess looking for all the world like she was about to be executed. The second was of a young black haired girl smiling and giving the victory sign to the camera. The third was of a black and blue man that looked more or less like he'd been put through a thresher on nitrous.
Under each picture was their names and in big red letters "BANNED".
Here is another chapter of Lunocracy I'm really having fun with this story. Next up. Hmm probably dragons bane. (Sorry cat's Tale fans I may be killing the story as i just can't muster the will to do any more. If you want to take the reigns drop me a line and I'll tell you what I've got for ideas.)
Again thanks go to my pre readers without