Foreward: I own nothing. If the apostrophes and quotes are bad, then do me a favor please: Right click an area on your browser that's NOT text, go to 'Encoding', and click 'Unicode'. That should fix any problems.

I imagine if, at some point in time, Ranma Saotome was to stay in any place for longer then two weeks before the Tendo home, he would have noticed quite a few things. Like how alone he was with only his father as company. Or how happy a lifelong friend could be, or a place that held memories. The closest thing he had to friends were people who continually challenged him, attacked him, and attempted to claim vengeance on his head.

He chuckled and thought about all he had learned in the past, the techniques, forms, speed and power that came with martial arts, the very crux of his existence. The Anything-Goes Ryu is rather vast and varied, and different for each member of the school. He had seen people take the bare basics of the rather modified kempo he taught them and adapt them to include the strangest things, from typical martial weapons such as bo-staff and nunchaku to things such as garden hose, headphones, or construction supplies. His father's own style involved quick, precise strikes in the right places, using his own body as a tool to sneak and creep, dodge and weave, stumble almost incoherently until he came up behind you with a palm strike to the back of your neck in one fell movement, while you wondered what the hell he had just done. At least, the first few times...

His own style of the Art involved midair combat at its highest. He emphasized speed over power, though he had plenty of either attribute, he was capable of using his speed to become invisible to the untrained eye. Not to mention a few trained ones to boot. He could strike in a flurry, though he preferred a slow, methodical approach. That way he could watch his opponent's style, integrating it into his own. Never stealing a maneuver per say as taking the materials in which it was composed of and using it within his own style. He ignored the flashier attacks and defenses of many styles, taking instead the principals and cores and attempting to integrate them on his way to becoming the best. He asked the masters and senseis that he had trained with whether this was a normal thing to do, back when he was still young. They had all laughed and ruffled his hair, smiling as they explained how truly unique and strong he was with only the proud and wondered look in their eyes. However, as he had learned the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, his style was slowly yet surely beginning to change...

The forms on the Scrolls of Washed Blood were so different from martial disciplines he was used to seeing. A martial artist was to protect all those around him... but he knew better. Easily, he could destroy any one person if he ever lost control, particularly if he used more lethal attacks in general. He liked to think he was better then that. Until now. He was not a fool; the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu was an assassin's style. The ultimate style in which to take a human life. To snuff out years of work, suffering, joy, and memories in the single strike of a blade. His first kata, and all others after thus far, he had learned under the tutelage of the scrolls was depicted by pictures and a caption beneath them to show how to move to the next picture...

He stood forward in a low crouch, his hand held tight onto his Bo-blade. Leaning back onto his right foot, he grasped onto the saya as he channeled his ki into the weapon. A small, almost unnoticeable crack appeared below the cloth handle as he looked dead forward, his eyes began to harden with intensity. He slowly drew out the blade from the saya, feeling his body with the control of one who had trained for his whole life as he looked for any small error within the stance. The strength within him, pulsating as if it belonged there, was evident, the sword coming in an arc that would most obviously decapitate any human it was used on. A change in speed and tempo, he spun around and used his momentum and strength to fire the saya from his hand like a dart, and then the most difficult part... catching the saya. His speed training had been intense in the past, but this was downright intense. He was supposed to catch something that he himself had thrown, with accuracy down to the centimeter. After catching it, he was to roll on the ground to the side, removing the sheath again in the process, and striking out where the knees would be with his sakabato. After that, a quick sweep to the Achilles tendon without the sword (Which was perhaps the least difficult part of the kata for him). And to complete it, he stood up and attacked with a five combination, a thrust to the shoulder, stab at the stomach, a downward chop to the head and two diagonal strikes at the neck to follow through.

The kata was vicious, brutal, and most likely very bloody. It was made to disable and destroy, to end life in the most painful way he could... and this was the first kata, you must remember. The things that he could do with the knowledge of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu were frightening at best, and horrific at worst. The chances of him losing control were slim to none. Training, day after day of training, stressing control of his body and emotions to the fullest made sure of that. He hoped to whatever Gods there were that he never slipped. He could not bear the pain and sorrow he inflicted on others and himself if he became like the man in the scrolls once was... Himura Kenshin. The most recent Master of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu... and his ancestor.

Ranma Saotome of the Saotome no Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu was trained by his father, Genma Saotome, Grandmaster of the Saotome no Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu. As a child, Genma had learned to rely on himself. Not a tool that could be stripped away from you. He passed that belief to his son, that it was much more reliable and stronger within a person to use the two weapons a person was blessed with from the beginning: Their fists and mind. Though Ranma knew there was more to martial arts then just his own body, he could learn more from his father if he stuck purely from the Kempo style the Saotome Ryu was founded upon. And so it continued, until they hit the training ground of Jusenkyo... Ranma and Genma trained atop the high poles over the cursed springs, exchanging blows until Ranma was knocked into the pool of Nyaniichuan. In a spiraling uppercut from that very pool, a red-haired streak came up and punched his father into a spring as well...

The Springs of Jusenkyo were simple in nature. They absorbed the first DNA pattern that fell into the springs, and duplicated it into every person that fell in afterwards. Thus, the cold-water trigger was able to change Ranma Saotome into his girl form. However, in an extreme off chance, Genma was knocked from atop the pole into a blank spring. He drowned in that spot, the only possibility of 'rescue' a cheap facsimile with only the body of the man that raised him. And even then, it based itself purely on the off chance someone else fell in. And Ranma was sent to the Tendo Dojo by the last words of Genma Saotome, to look upon all the scrolls in his possession and complete his mastery of the Saotome no Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu in his succession. Bobbing his head over the water one more time, the last words he spoke were "I'm sorry..." Ranma woodenly went to the camping ground near Jusenkyo, the loss of his father permeating every thought within himself. He openly grieved for three days and three nights before finding the strength and will to practice the Art again. He slowly walked out of his tent, the unfamiliar sun momentarily blinding him. It had rained during the time he grieved, as if the Heavens recognized and wept for his loss, for once on the side of the young martial artist.

Though he still mourned for the loss of his father, he stood up and took to heart what his ten-year training trip had been about; mastering the Saotome Style of Anything-Goes Martial Arts. He began to search through the various scrolls in his father's backpack, looking for whatever his father was going to teach him next. Genma always looked up the forms to make sure there wasn't anything he had forgotten before teaching Ranma something new, they had to be in there somewhere. Finally, he found a bundle that seemed to capture him, entice him in a way he had never felt before. The scrolls were weathered and old, an interesting shade not of faded yellow. The faint red in the color of blood staining of the normal white with kanji. Sealed each by a wax imprint, they seemed to be numbered, each sequential number in the scrolls next to an X-shaped imprint into the wax. As soon as he touched them, he saw an almost visible glow of faint magenta, the seal off of one vanishing in an instant. He felt compelled to do this, as if this was right, to read the first passage...

"To my unborn heir,

I am a man who has two faces, two lives, two destinies running parallel and intertwining all at once. Though I am nothing more then a simple vagabond now, I was once known as a man called the Hitokiri Battousai. A man who was created simply to assist a movement against the old and corrupt government, to bring about the era we now call the Meiji. Though even that was not enough, I have been through war once more: A revolution not to bring the Meiji government, but the ideals that were made to found the Meiji era. Each time an innocent stood down in silence from fear, of death, of others being hurt in their stead, of the land falling to corruptness... a casualty in my eyes. It is my mission to protect, but it was not always so. I was once an assassin, a destroyer of men and women alike, all to bring about the peace I so longed for, only to be drawn out and fight once more. While I am not proud of what I have done, I do not believe the world would be a better place if I had not used my sword to bring about the era we live in today. Though samurai are now a thing of the past, I am a still warrior. A ronin if you truly wish to be technical, but a warrior nonetheless. I have never served under a lord, but ever since that fateful day twelve years ago, I have wandered the lands to protect all those who needed it. I saw all the things I had worked to stop; oppression, death, slaughter, poor workers, people who worked so hard only to be denied what they had fought for. Though I have settled down with my wife, Kaoru Kamiya, my school of Kenjitsu is about to die out. This one school, with the two practitioners still living, has saved this country in ways the history books will surely forget.

I have touched many lives in my thirty years on this earth, and though I may be foolish to do so, I have written down the secrets of my style in these scrolls... the Scrolls of Washed Blood; so as to have others touched the way they deserve. Avenged and protected by the sword and will of a warrior. The Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu is yours now, to have and to hold, the knowledge within these scrolls exactly as I remember it from my training all those years ago, my own additions within. Though you may not have the same facilities in which to learn, however many years later you find these scrolls, I believe you will be able to adapt adequately, that I do. I am the man who was once known as the Hitokiri Battousai. I am the man who was once known as Kenshin the Rurouni. I am Kenshin Himura, the master of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. And you are my descendant... you alone are my heir.

I know you wish to become stronger, the desire to protect and defend all those around you. Your mind is different then others, or you would not be able to understand the true implications of these words; that you would not. The Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu is a very simple school in theory; relying on predicting an opponent's movements before they make them, as well as god- like speed that allows the execution of quick and precise strikes, and several ki based techniques in which the focus of the style will be. However, the act of predicting an opponent's moves is very difficult, and requires not only the ability to sense body movement, and see past any feint, but an ability that is required in order to so much as open the scroll you hold in your hands. It is an ideal called Ketatamashiihaato: Piercingheart.

The Piercingheart is a rare attribute within a person, and is erratic in how it is manifested. I do not know how we are created, but it causes extraordinary powers to manifest. Without focus, the sheer ability which this entails to you is strong, but erratic and nigh useless in practical application. I have learned from my master, Hiko Seijuro, that the first of the thirteen Hiko Seijuros in existence was able to manifest and control his gifts without tutelage, and used these powers to develop his own school of Kenjitsu, the one I practice now. The powers he developed were great, and many of them were lost to all who practice the style. The focal point of the Piercingheart's strength, the one that you have, is not in any physical power, or changes in their body, but the ability to sense and read emotions in other people. By sensing the emotion and intent to what your opponent will do, you are able, with your own non-extrasensory skills, to tell your opponent's maneuvers before they are executed. This skill is not a difficult one to execute, with the proper training, but it is extremely difficult to master. Against a truly skilled warrior, even this alone may not save you. Develop your Piercingheart... develop your empathic power. These scrolls will help you develop them as I myself have been taught, by Hiko Seijuro the 13th.Though this is the first scroll that I have written, I know in my heart the man or woman that opens this scroll is the one destined to inherit the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu: the Style Of The Dragon Flying To The Heavens. The style in which one could go so far as to save the world... should you choose to do so, wild one."

His eyes closed, and he thought about what he had read. He started to think, to feel, to understand what Was and what Is, the things around him that simply Were. The words he read upon that scroll seemed to speak to him, take on a life of their own and speak with the voice of their creator. They encompassed a true purpose, the desire for one's heir... Ranma felt his mind slipping away, changing not to another person or the calm bliss of meditation, but what felt like his very personality being drawn out. Words and things came to his mind that touched him, that carried weight and passion. Things he never understood, never knew, seemed to flow through his very being, the crystal clarity provided by this sudden change within his mind intoxicating. And yet... it felt as if a piece was missing from the newfound mental change. Standing up, he looked to the sky and breathed deeply, the warm air and gentle breeze pleasant to the senses. He seemed almost out of control of his body as he jumped into the air, high as he could. Though he was not as good as some he had seen (Not that he'd ever admit it); midair combat was the specialty of his school. A leap about seven meters in the air was the norm for him, and he figured he could probably jump twice as high if he tried. It was as if the scrolls themselves deigned him suitable to be truly possessed by the nature of the techniques Kenshin Himura had written, that he himself had never seen.

The time slowed down for Ranma Saotome, achieving a state of meditation within the folds of The Technique he had yet to name, or even begin to comprehend. He felt the air around him in state of almost extended time, his hair flat against his head from the force of the jump, seeming to stay like that for minutes before reaching the peak of his jump. He felt the air and wind around him, what felt natural to him. He had been training in the Art ever since he was four, and had left the house he was meant to grow up in two years afterwards. Ranma wasn't as good at the Art as he could've been, and he wasn't allowed to undertake the more extreme training methods with his mother around. And thus, he had forgotten about the warm and comforting home, the small dojo in the back that he had practiced the family Art he thought to be created by his father. Even now, all he remembered was first learning the beginning kata in that small dojo, the introduction to a flurry of fists and feet, the absolute state of serenity within meditation, the rush and thrill of the challenge, the fight... his mind closed itself from the memories, extending the rudimentary seventh sense he had developed under extreme tutelage of his father. The seventh sense, unlike his 'danger sense' or sixth sense, was the ability to extend his ki to feel outside of his body without use of his limbs. He was able to literally sense ki presences at an ultra-heightened sense in this state, the Technique's holds guiding him, pushing him...

There it was! The thing Ranma had been searching for was twenty miles ahead. He felt an overwhelmingly strong amount of ki in the village, and while normally without this clarity of mind he would believe it was one person, he could tell it was a group of warriors. Martial artists didn't seem to fit them somehow... he instinctively knew the proper designation. He knew it was necessary to go there. He had to. He had no choice... even if the Technique had not guided him; he needed to test his skills against the world, to improve them, better them. It was the purpose he had driven into him for years, to become the Master of his school of Anything-Goes Martial Arts. The state of extended time left him, and he touched the ground. He opened his eyes, and though he could not see it, the blue-grey wide eyes seemed bluer, gentler in a way. The confident smirk he had still adorned his face, but it seemed softer somehow. Ranma sat down in front of the scrolls and began to read on to the second passage...

"My heir,

It appears you are still reading. I knew you would... you were guided to. As was I guided to learn the style of the Hiten Mitsurugi, you too my descendant were as well. I have given instructions in my will to have this scroll passed down to each member of the family. I do not know why, as the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu was never a family style so much as one passed down from heir to heir. I am not a psychic, and I truly hope I never will be. Such powers are not meant for men such as I; I could not stand idly by and allow the future to take course, nor subtly manipulate it. Learn your limitations and attempt to surpass them. Today is the first day of your training, and you will need to find a waterfall..."

And so Ranma Saotome set about learning the style of his ancestor, whom he suspected was at least his great-grandfather. The Meiji restoration was quite awhile back...

He spent the majority of his days training in a waterfall away from Jusenkyo. Consequentially, it also meant he was a girl most of the time, but he did his relaxation as a male. Which consisted of the two favorite activities of one Ranma Saotome besides his life's work of the Art: Eating and sleeping. He retrained himself to use two styles, not simultaneously, but so that he could switch in between the styles during a fight. The Anything-Goes as was his father's last request, and the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu from the scrolls. He spent about four hours at various points in meditation, usually in two-hour increments. Meditation was an important aspect in any martial art. More important even then learning the forms themselves... his father had explained it to him several times when he was a child. Meditation was not meant simply to clear the mind, but to allow the muscles to put themselves in their natural positions. Once that was achieved, and that was no small feat, then the formwork began. All human bodies pretty much reacted the same way in terms of relaxing: The muscles did not conform to the katas and forms, the katas and forms conformed to the muscles. It didn't matter how quickly you learned, without your body relaxing in the proper way you would be doing the katas incorrectly. So he spent two hours in meditation before working on the Anything-Goes Ryu for a good five, and two more before beginning his training as a student not from his old master and father, but from a man who had placed his very essence into the scrolls for five more hours of grueling training. Anytime he spent outside of that was hunting and cooking, or sleeping. He swore up and down he heard Kenshin Himura's voice whenever he read the scrolls, and he couldn't understand why. Though that wasn't his prime concern. Not all of the scrolls lessons were simply work in forms and conditioning his body; quite a bit of it involved empathy. It was there he was within a crossroad. Empathy involved the ability to sense another person's emotions, and that was impossible with no sparring partner unless he mastered some insane technique in which to have two bodies. He had made his decision. Ranma Saotome was heading out to the village of warriors he had sensed earlier. The haven that would further his training to mastery of the Anything-Goes, as well as allow him the first step to a much older style of his family: the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu.

He spoke to the guide before he left, asking directions to the village. The guide looked mildly surprised that he knew there was a village, but shook his head and pointed to a dirt trail through the woods. Ranma gave small bow to the little Cantonese man and shouldered his pack, as well as his newfound Bo-blade he had received from the mysterious woman a few days ago. With that, he took the first step to what he was told was the Amazon Village.

"Honored Sir?" Ranma turned around to listen to the Guide.

"Is Chinese village... you no speak Chinese, do you?"

Ranma almost facefaulted. He stood back on both feet and tugged the back of his pigtail. "Guess I don't..."

"Honored Sir, for your loss I guide you for free. I translate for you and warrior womans, yes?"

He almost smiled genuinely, the empathy or Piercingheart that Kenshin had written down he could literally feel taking effect. He sensed things from the guide... regret, sadness, and genuine concern. He couldn't tell how strong they were, but they felt genuine and true. "Thanks, man."

The guide smiled and took out a small backpack of his own, moving to the dirt path. "Come dis way."

"Allright." Ranma began to walk, the staff on a holder in the backpack for just such an occasion.

"Is too bad sir, was important tournament not long ago. Very special to see all womans fight... you been in forest for three week."

"That long?" He was surprised... Ranma had no idea it was that long since his father's death. His eyes looked half-to the ground, but he still noticed the Guide's nod.

They reached the village in about an hour, making rather good time. The Guide's portly build was rather deceitful, and Ranma had gotten much better in how he expended his energy, both literally and figuratively. The Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu had gone into some detail even now about conscious ki control, something his father hadn't even mentioned outside of things only the masters of masters doing.

"Here we are sir, at Amazon village of warrior womans." Though he could only see the wooden walls around the village, he could still just sense the overwhelming gathering of ki with the little seventh sense he had. His experiments to duplicate the feeling he had just after he had read the scrolls had failed, and he had slipped out what he had deemed The Technique after he had fallen asleep that day.

"Listen, I wanna talk to somebody about a sparrin' partner... think I can get some help here?"

The Guide nodded, bound by the enchantment placed on him by a woman in the village that forced him to send males to the village. He knew it was essential for their survival, but he couldn't help but hope he'd lose... "Honored sir find many partners here to fight."

The grin on Ranma's face was unparalleled.

The doors opened, and he saw the village square... women seemed to be on the better half, fighting eachother with all multitudes of weapons and martial arts. He almost instinctually knew that they weren't fighting for real, some due to his training, the rest due simply that he felt it would be wrong to act and stop them. On the other side it was exactly the same, but it looked like there were only males. He noticed one boy working with a katana, his long black hair and glasses obscuring almost all of his face. He wore a white patterned robe and what looked like jeans, rather out of place in the bare-chested or lightly armoured males... Ranma walked up to the boy, the Guide having sat to the side and watching the warriors, male and female alike. "Hey."

The boy quickly stopped and turned to him. "Hello."

"Listen, I saw that you weren't partnered up..." He paused in disbelief when the weapon seemed to disappear from the Chinese youth's hands and shook his head. "And I was wondering whether you'd like to spar. I've been training all my life, and my sensei recently departed..."

"I'm sorry for your loss... I suppose it would not inconvenience me to stop and spar. I am Mu Tzu. Grandmaster of the Hidden Weapons."

"And I'm Ranma Saotome of the Saotome no Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu and the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu." He was mildly impressed... Grandmaster, and Mu Tzu didn't look to be any older then him. By all technical rights, he was the grandmaster of the Saotome style, but he didn't want to go around bragging for something like that quite yet. Particularly since he hadn't managed to master all of the forms and kata involved in the style, and he had yet to learn the succession technique... regardless, he set down his backpack and pulled out his staff, holding it in a tight stance that emphasized speed and agility. He gave his customary smirk, though for once it was in simply his own skill and not in mocking. "And I say we get to know eachother."

Mu Tzu looked at him with an arched eyebrow. He could most definitely tell that he was very good, though it looked like the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu was not the Art he had trained in all of his life. This promised to be fun... "Let's." Without words, they charged.

The master of the Hidden Weapons used what appeared to be a left cross, though as Ranma moved to block with his Bo-blade, a staff appeared in Mu Tzu's hands that him square in the chin. He fell back, rolling with the hit before coming back with a quick sweep. Mu Tzu jumped over it, moving to vault on his staff to gain a height advantage. He didn't have the time, as Ranma butted him with the tip of the staff he held like a sword. He fell down, using the staff for support so he didn't lie prone. He vaulted towards him, the staff disappearing after having served its purpose. A pair of wooden tonfa appeared in his hands, and he slashed in an X to aim for each shoulder on his opponent. Ranma took the staff by each end and held it out in a traditional block, thrusting it forward to hit his wrists and force him to lose balance.

Ranma himself was getting confused. Not that it was a difficult or uncommon phenomenon; but he didn't understand exactly how Mu Tzu was able to cause his weapons to appear and disappear like that. He shook his head and cleared his mind, attempting to allow his natural instincts to take over. That was another advantage to the Piercingheart's gifts: It required no incantation, no technique, and no special circumstances to be invoked. Simply allow the natural mind to be let free, and it would guide you.

Mu Tzu looked at him and quickly threw the tonfa almost like darts, two more appearing in their place. Ranma jumped over them easily, anticipating the movements with grace and speed true to his form. Twisting over them as he maneuvered in midair towards his opponent, he did a series of quick strikes to his back and shoulders, about twelve total before landing on the ground. The Chinese youth winced at the hits and spun around, the tonfa a distraction to block the crescent kick. He may have been the master of the Hidden Weapons Style, but he was privy to the Crane techniques that resembled the birds he loved so much. Ranma blocked the tonfa as was expected, but got hit with the viciously fast crescent kick. He slid back about a foot and grinned, the unspoken challenge showing it wasn't just a test of weapons anymore. He stood in a stance recognizable to all swordsmen, the right leg far back to balance. His left hand rested on the saya part of the sword, the right holding the hilt. Crouching low, he gave the now wide-eyed Chinese Grandmaster of Hidden Weapons a small nod. Mu Tzu knew the challenge, pulling out a katana still in its saya. Taking a stance that mirrored Ranma's, they awaited an unspoken signal from somewhere...

The wind picked up just audibly, and they both pulled their swords from their respective sayas...

A crowd of males and a few of the more experienced females had gathered a safe distance away from the fight, watching with baited breath the results the contest of the Battoujutsu... also known as the Killing Technique. They doubted Mu Tzu would kill, but they weren't sure about the stranger... and if that was true, then someone very, very powerful had just declared war on the Amazons.

A cloud of dust had arisen from the uncontrolled speed of their swords. Once the dust had cleared, it became evident who the winner was... Ranma's reverse-bladed Bo-blade was at Mu Tzu's neck, while the Hidden Weapon Master's blade had barely left the saya. Mu Tzu stood shock-still for a scant few seconds before falling to the ground in a thud, the only marks on him a blackened bruise to his neck.

Ranma himself had enjoyed this quite a bit. He really needed to practice some more with this guy, he was unpredictable and it suited his purposes to the ground. Sheathing and shouldering his Bo-blade, he looked around to the previously unnoticed crowd. He could sense what Kenshin referred to as 'open' people, albeit vaguely. In order to read people, it was usually necessary to link with them. Linking with them was a simple process for him, it seemed, involving eye contact and nothing more, save a bit of his own will to trigger it. However, the difficulty and will required to link with them was lessened without mental barriers humans naturally erected around the part of their brain centered on their emotions. Needless to say, mental barriers were a natural part of human brains. Some buried themselves so deep into the walls that they in fact gathered on parts of the brain to create a pseudo-other personality centered specifically on the emotions that allowed the undesired ones to stay buried. Anger and depression were typical ones, though peace and elation were also ones in which people would bury their tempers or pain they felt inside. The more the barriers, the harder it was for a Ketatamashiihaato to pierce the barriers and read the emotions within them. However, some people simply had no need for mental barriers: They were open, and honest. That didn't mean they were always nice people, simply that they did not lie to others or themselves about what they felt. So it was possible to feel their emotions, albeit not nearly as well as if linked. A blue-haired girl in particular, staring him dead in the eyes, walked towards him. Her bonbori held in hand, Ranma was a little too nervous to be thinking about finding her true intentions. Reflexively standing in defensive posture, his muscles suddenly tensing. The blue-haired girl's eyes widened lightly at the stance, but she put her bonbori behind her in a way no one but her would be able to reach. She smiled and walked to him, her Japanese lessons were finally going to pay off. She vaguely remembered one of the other Niechizu sisters telling her that they had conversed in Japanese before battle.

"I is Xian Pu." She smiled as disarmingly as she could, not quite within his kicking distance.

He looked warily at her and relaxed out of his stance. "I am Ranma Saotome."

"Xian Pu want thank you for knocking out bothersome Mu Tzu."

"I didn't do it on purpose. We were sparring, and to be honest, I'd prefer NOT to have had my head cut off..."

She smiled and giggled just a little at the dry humor. "True. But Mu Tzu is still very bothersome to Xian Pu, so want thank you for help."

He blinked once, warily eying her up. He could tell the 'cute' act wasn't real, that much was for sure. She had too much grace. Her movements, even when attempting to seem disarming, had flow like water within a stream, surpassing even the largest rocks as the unchanging, unyielding water wore at even the strongest of stones. Her hands balled into half-fists from pure muscle memory, she didn't look like he was actively out for HIM at least. It hadn't occurred to him he could link with her to read her emotions with more clarity. Training with Genma Saotome did that to you: No layers. Only the first thoughts seemed to take hold in his brain, and nothing more. "Thank me?"

"Yes. Xian Pu know you warmed up, he not even very big fight for you." She absently licked her lips as she discreetly looked him up and down, shaking her head just a little after she did. Physical contact was generally a private affair in Niechizu, save fighting. While there were... less then reputable martial arts (She gave an almost noticeable blush at the thought), she practiced her family style of Wu Shu. She was future Matriarch of the tribe, and it never hurt to 'recruit' new blood into the tribe... "Want real challenge?" She raised an eyebrow and took out her bonbori once again.

Ranma gave a light smirk, standing in a very tight and defensive stance based off of the Northern Fist Mantis School. His hands in hooks, slowly twisting and weaving over his chest and head, obscuring none of his vision. "Let's go then." Sharply, the hooks went back in an all-offensive manner, the right pulled back as one pulls a fist to punch, the left at level with his shoulder. Twisting it upward so the back of his hand faced her, he quickly curled his fingers twice into his palm before going back to the original stance.

All those that understood this had their mouths open in shock. Those who didn't were able to notice one thing, the message when he curled his fingers...

'Bring it.'

He leapt forward, slashing at her with his hooks and landing behind her about a foot and a half. She weaved just a little and countered with a spin of her bonbori, smashing into his chest. Grabbing the bottom of the bonbori, he attempted a quick disarm. In turn, she did a jump and spun away from him, landing on the tip of her toes before sliding back, one bonbori just under her face, the other almost completely covering her torso from the sheer size. Ranma gazed into her eyes with piercing intensity his mind giving a discreet push into hers, and the dance Xian Pu had begun gained a partner... she charged. Strike after strike after strike, and all Ranma had to do was feel, and he danced in between, under, and when her arm cocked back just a little more, over... he jumped. Pushing off her head, he pulled out his Bo-blade and shouted, "RYU TSUI SEN!" The first step in mastering the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, an aerial attack in which many would be completely hopeless against. He wasn't sure how effective it was, and whatever the speed, the kick off the head had blinded her from the attack regardless. The tip of the Bo-blade, still sheathed, hit the back of her neck and rather hard to boot. Not too hard, but enough to weaken her without using lethal force. His control with a weapon wasn't as good as it should be, he had to correct that... Landing on one foot, he cocked one fist behind his head, the other resting at his waist with the Bo-blade crossing over his body.

Xian Pu growled, attempting to maintain some composure. She sensed ki in that last attack to increase his jump and speed. Turning around, she quickly closed her eyes. Almost all weapons given to females in the tribe were magical in nature: By closing their eyes, one would see an outline. Putting the bonbori to that outline, they would disappear until needed again. Thus, the ability for her to take her bonbori in and out at a moment's notice. Time to bring out the big guns...

She shouted, an odd quality in the soft and almost bimbo-ish voice she cursed with every fiber of her being. "KACCHU TENSHIN AMIGURINKAN!" She leapt the small hop towards him, her fists flying faster and faster with the technique her Great-grandmother taught her. Ranma gawped at the speed, but maintained his composure as he tried to step back while avoiding her punches. She was fast, real fast, and whatever that technique was; it was increasing her speed exponentially. Fortunately... he was fast too. He was hit over and over to start, trying to back up while weaving his body in between the punches. He closed his eyes and continued to avoid them; relying on his danger-sense and the link he shared with her. Finally, when he was avoiding all but a few of her attacks, he leapt back at the scant opening she left just enough to lean back into the stance for a "BATTOUJUTSU STRIKE!" Drawing out the sword as quickly as possible, his strike went straight to her stomach... or so it was supposed to.

The Kacchu Tenshin Amigurinkan was an attack that relied upon two things. Ki and the proper mindset. The training involved in the Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire attack was very simple: Swoop chestnuts from an open fire without burning yourself. Once you were able to grab a hundred chestnuts from a fire without burning yourself on either the fire or the nuts, you had mastered it. The speed you gained without using the technique was extreme, but by putting yourself in the proper mindset in which to attempt such a feat you naturally generated extra ki to shield your arms from the speed of the attack and to increase that very speed. The human body naturally protected itself, and the Kacchu Tenshin Amigurinkan played on that strength. So naturally, when Xian Pu's eyes saw the stance that felled her unwanted suitor, her ki reacted. Sending an extra burst of speed to her in desperation, she did the most natural thing in the world to her. She channeled it to her legs; something that had never occurred to her, and jumped like her life depended on it. For all she knew, it did.

Ranma was officially irked. His reactions weren't fast enough to deal with a split-second reflex yet, particularly with so little practice. He liked to think of himself as versatile, but he wasn't that good to do something people trained there whole lives for QUITE that quick. 'I'll have it in a month.' And with that cocky thought, he squatted down to match her jump, sheathing the Bo-blade and putting it into the shoulder harness. He launched, and Ranma was once again in his element... matching her height, he attacked. Xian Pu was weary after the Amigurinkan, and not at full form. So she took the defensive; as Ranma himself became four blurs, his legs and arms attacking her full out. He had no conscious thought, only concentrating on letting his reflexes do the work as the link between them widened...

Xian Pu was open. Very open. She hid nothing back, and when she did, it was very difficult for her to do so. Her mind was open and mostly pure, though she had her faults and hid not one of them. Contaminated by no deep-running hatred or long-rooted anger, all of her mind was open to those who knew how to See it... Ranma pressed for openings in the village champion, as the attacks were going as well as the Amigurinkan itself had against him. Not nearly as effective from the lack of speed generated by the Amigurinkan, however. And thus, his mind probed deeper into hers... images flashed through his mind unwarranted, as Ranma pierced himself into the core, the central focus of her thoughts that made his Niechizu opponent who she was.


Her training began. The fist of her Great-Grandmother struck out to hers, and her warriors heritage awoke...


A woman much like her disappeared.


The scorn of her peers came down like a maelstrom as she stood triumphant, not minding that she had to defeat to become stronger, lose friendships she worked so hard to maintain...


The pain of fists, fleeting over her lifetime as her Great-Grandmother, day after day, pushed her deeper and deeper into her training as a warrior.


A regal woman lay, and was to take place where she stood.

His knee struck out as he hit crystal clarity within her, striking instead of the chest as he would with a male, dead in the stomach. The wind was knocked out of her, and it became impossible to move... she gave a soft gasp and fell, and Ranma moved down with her. He landed before her in one fell move, moving a half-step forward, he held out his arms expectantly. In a few seconds, she fell right into his arms, and he very, very quickly set her on her feet. Falling to her knees, it looked like she was bowing, her head leaning just a little forward. His guard dropped quickly, kneeling down next to her. Now that his concentration wasn't in such a large divide, he asked gently, "Xian?" He almost instinctually put an arm around her, never minding that it was completely out of character for him to do so. He Knew it was what she Wanted...

Her breath returned to her, and she looked to him. She knew what she had to do. The Kiss of Marriage was very specific.

She leaned in and kissed him, her tongue moving in after a few seconds. 'Tasty...' Maybe she'd continue. She could get to enjoy this... Ranma, however, had jumped right as he felt her tongue. "GWAH!" The smartest move he'd ever done started now...

A true and perfect Saotome Secret Technique, for which he had his own private name.

'Run like hell and never look back.'

"Wo ai ni! Come back airen!" Xian Pu bounded after him, using her skills as a tracker to leap and bound after him, shouting declarations of love to her new husband.

And all the Guide to the accursed springs of Jusenkyo could do, having watched this whole thing, was laugh hysterically as his poor customer had the village champion chase after him; reminiscent of a certain American cartoon he had seen several times. A few of the Niechizu children asked the Guide what was wrong, who was at this point rolling on the ground. All they could make out were two syllables...

"Le... Le Pew!"

Authors Notes: Hey all. I'm sorry it's not QUITE as long, but I wanted to have an explanation for the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu before I continued to post. I swear I won't take so long in the future, especially since I have my proofreader: Professor Jon Beauclaire Wolf. My thanks to ye, boyo.