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Thorn Stood atop the roof of the house facing the Tendo Dojo. It was fast approaching two in the morning and she was confident the winged defenders would be at their weakest in the darkness. The nearby streetlight flickered and went out every ten minutes or so plunging the street into darkness. Using the darkness as a cover, Thorn moved quickly to the property wall of the Tendo compound, silently moving around one of the phoenix guards perched on the wall.
Casting her senses as wide as possible, she felt for movement in the house. Other than Kiima moving restlessly on the roof, there was silence. She smirked to herself under her mask. This job would be too easy. Not only would she be serving the Shogun by accomplishing this assassination, she would be striking a blow against the cursed Tendo clan. She had no idea why her masters had targeted Ranma Saotome other than he had caught the interest of the Emperor. Of course anything that helped the Emperor was something to be eliminated for the good of the Shadow Shogunate.
Japan had been strong under Tokagawa, with a strong moral people. Ever since the Meiji Revolution, Japan had become weak. The Western corruption had all but undermined a great people. Once the Shogun was restored to power, Japan would once again become a powerful nation.
Thorn shook her head clear. Now was not the time for daydreaming. Even with Heaven asleep upstairs in preparation for Saotome's meeting with the Emperor, there could be many ninja traps, subtle things that could alert the older ninja to her presence. She would have to be careful not to arouse anyone until after completion of her mission.
She almost laughed when she saw that the sliding doors were open on the pond side of the house. They were making this too easy! Thorn wouldn't even have to break into the house. She went inside silently as a whisper in the wind and headed for the stairs. Her target was in the guest room upstairs from what her masters had briefed her. She became more nervous as she approached the door to her target. She had found no traps, no sign of anything at all out of the ordinary. Either Heaven was better than Thorn had ever dreamed of or the Tendo ninja was overconfident to the point of carelessness.
Slowly and quietly, Thorn slid open the door to the guest room. There in the center of the room lay two futons, one was occupied, but not by her target. For some reason the Tendo family was keeping a giant Chinese panda in their guest room. The other futon had not been slept in as the bedding was still folded on top of the mattress.
Cursing silently, Thorn withdrew and slid the door shut. Taking a deep breath, she concentrated and reached out again with her senses. Feeling around the house for the auras of the residents, she couldn't use active ki to feed her senses since that would definitely alert Heaven, she could feel the presence of each of the Tendo daughters in their rooms. There was a second aura in the middle sister's room, a male presence. Thorn smiled confidently as she headed towards Nabiki Tendo's room. 'I hope you enjoyed your last night together Saotome,' Thorn thought to herself. She had been informed of the engagement between Ranma and Nabiki. It looks like the couple couldn't wait until their wedding night.
Opening the door with the nameplate 'Nabiki' framed with yen signs on it, Thorn entered the room and frowned in frustration. There was no sign of her target. Ms. Tendo lay on the floor snuggled up against a huge stuffed dragon. There were manga scattered around her. Obviously she had been reading and fallen asleep.
Thorn was in a quandary. She was tempted to kill her secondary target before her but that would put her primary target on alert to future attempts on his life.
That was when she became aware of a pair of eyes staring at her. Looking at the head of the stuffed dragon, Thorn stifled a gasp when it blinked. Suddenly she felt a wave of fear pass through her. It terrified her more than anything had in her life. The dragon's eyes seemed to glow yellow in the darkness as it raised its head from the floor. Thorn nearly lost her bladder control and it was only her ninja training that kept her from soiling herself.
The dragon narrowed its eyes and intensified its gaze. Thorn involuntarily took a step back then suddenly turned and fled as quickly as her training allowed.
Ranma snorted softly and used a cantrip to push the door closed. Sensing the intruder leave the property, he settled his head back down and let out a content sigh. Nabiki turned in her sleep to get more comfortable and Ranma draped a wing over her to keep her warm. Drifting off to sleep, Ranma took note of the other presence that had watched the entire encounter with the wayward ninja. He would definitely have some questions for her to answer soon.
Heaven moved away from Nabiki's window. She was certain the dragon had noticed her this time. Still, she was grateful that there had been no need for her to intervene. She realized that there would be a confrontation between her and her soon to be brother in law very soon. She moved passed an oblivious Kiima and made her way back to her own room. She had a busy day ahead and needed her sleep.
Nabiki snuggled up against her warm pillow as it shifted slightly. She groaned in irritation as she heard her name called.
"Nabiki, we need to get up if we don't want to be late for school," the voice said.
"Ghnn, don' wanna. Warm," she replied sleepily.
She felt her warm blanket pull away and she reached for it half-heartedly. Not finding it, she cracked an eye open. Noticing she was lying on the floor with all her clothes from the previous day still on woke her mind little more.
"Oh, that's right. Ranma and I were reading manga last night. I must have fallen asleep," she muttered to herself.
Sitting up, Nabiki stretched and turned her head to get the stiffness out from sleeping on the floor only to come face to face with a toothy dragon grin. Her eyes widened in shock before she batted her fiancé on the snout.
"Don't scare me like that so early in the morning!" she shouted.
Ranma seemed to consider that for a second. "So I can scare you like that later in the day?"
Nabiki made a very realistic impression of a growling dragon as she attempted to make her bed hair lie down. "No fair taking advantage of a woman before she's had her coffee."
"I've seen what you drink and I could hardly call it coffee. It looks like something your younger sister cooked," the dragon snorted.
"I just like my coffee strong," Nabiki said as she struggled to straighten her bra that had somehow twisted in her sleep.
"I could use it as an industrial strength degreaser..." Ranma muttered.
At that moment Nabiki's door opened and Kasumi peered in. "Nabiki? Breakfast will be ready soon. Have you seen Ranma? Oh My!"
Ranma and Nabiki both tensed waiting for Kasumi's reaction to seeing Ranma's dragon form. The results were rather anticlimactic.
"You look very distinguished Ranma-kun. However, it is inappropriate to sleep together before you're married."
Ranma's face fault to the floor looked rather painful and Nabiki had a short coughing fit.
"Nothing happened sis. We were up late talking and reading then fell asleep on the floor. Besides, Ranma was in his dragon form all night."
Kasumi actually blushed slightly before replying, "That should certainly make married life interesting."
"Kasumi!" Nabiki shouted completely flustered. Ranma on the other hand was clearly out of it, a thin red trickle of blood draining from a nostril.
"Well, hurry up and get ready. Breakfast will be ready soon. Make sure you take separate baths now." And with that she was gone, closing the door behind her.
It took a few moments to collect their wits and Nabiki had never thought a dragon could blush.
"Uh, Ranma? Go ahead and take your bath. I'll take mine once you're done and I've had a cup of coffee. Oh, and make sure you knock before going into the furo. You don't want to walk in on Akane."
Ranma nodded and slinked out the door and down the hall. There was a brief shriek of surprise from her little sister meaning Akane at least wasn't in the furo yet.
And did Ranma look bigger this morning? Nabiki shrugged it off for later thought and got ready for school.
It was a little later that Nabiki entered the kitchen to grab her and Ranma's bento for lunch. Kasumi was Cleaning up from breakfast and smiled at her sister as she came in.
"Hey Kasumi, do you still have those family charts you were looking at the other day? I figured with Ranma and I going to meet the Emperor tomorrow it might be nice to know a little more about our clans."
Kasumi frowned a little in thought, on her though it came across as cute. "Well... yes, they're on my desk in my room. Would you like me to get them?"
"No that's ok, I can run up there and get them myself. I'll be sure to get them back to you when I get home," Nabiki said in a rush as she darted out into the hallway.
"But... oh dear. Well, I guess she would have found out soon enough anyway. Still..."
Kuno Tatewaki stood shivering under the cold torrent of the waterfall. It had taken him three days just to find this small out of the way inn and another to purchase the property. Apparently it had been an all female resort and they had not taken kindly to Kuno's sudden appearance in the bath area.
Just ten more days of this and he would be purified enough to accept his first quest from heaven. He sneezed fiercely and rubbed at his red nose. Blinking some of the cold-water spray out of his eyes, he noted that it had started snowing yet again.
Nabiki stared at the empty seat of her former cash cow and wondered briefly what Kuno was up to before returning her attention to the teacher. Mr. Tageshi was finally staring to lose it. He kept on talking about the history of Second Impact. Not only was that from that manga Evangelion but this was the math class!
She sighed to herself and realized it would mean more self study if she wanted to pass her entrance exams. In the meantime, she pulled out the manila folder she had grabbed off of Kasumi's desk and began to leaf through it.
The stapled sheets were clearly separated into Tendo and Saotome clans. The Kuno clan sheets were no longer there and Nabiki wondered again what Kasumi had needed them for in the first place.
There was a third collection of papers that began with what looked like a photocopy of a restaurant bill. Nabiki scanned it out of mild curiosity only to see what looked like a nice French dinner. When she reached the bottom however she nearly caused a scene that would have had the rumor mill going for weeks. The amount of the bill was over half of what she had been bringing in a year! There was an alternative method of payment checked though, and Nabiki lifted the first paper to see if there was more to it. What lay underneath made her eyes go wide with shock before they narrowed in promise of pain.
There on the second page was a copy of a nicely worded and perfectly legal contract promising to marry one daughter of Tendo Soun to the heir of the Chardin family in lieu of payment for the meal. Further pages showed investigative photos of various members of the Chardin family each doing things Nabiki had thought impossible before meeting Ranma. Just because they were possible didn't make them any less gross. This family was obviously some sort of inbred mutant plantation. After all, what would you use to describe people who could grab food of the top of their heads with just their tongue, or the fact that they could easily fit a watermelon in their mouth? Nabiki felt slightly nauseous just thinking about being engaged to people like that.
She turned another page and saw a yellow post-it note fall to her desk. She picked it up and on it written in Kasumi's flowing script was, "Formalize engagement to Tofu before it's too late!"
That brought a smile back to Nabiki's face. 'You go Girl!' she thought triumphantly.
So with both her and Kasumi engaged to be married, if this Picolet guy decides to show up... an evil smile formed on Nabiki's face as a plan slowly began to form. Several nearby students backed away from the predatory gleam in the Tendo's eye. They feared for not only their safety, but for the safety of their pocket books as well.
Ranma was not having a good day. There were four amazons plus Akane in his class. It seemed that Nabiki's younger sister had been making friends with the four female warriors and every now and then he would catch them glancing his direction.
He realized this was just a ploy to get him comfortable around the women in hopes of bring him into the tribe via marriage or getting him to lower his guard for a quick strike.
He didn't care which it was, only he wished that it would stop. The other boys in the class were glaring at him for having the attention of not only Akane, but the new hot exchange students. The fact that he was happily engaged to Nabiki didn't seem to enter their minds.
Sighing, he resolved himself to paying attention to the teacher. It was humorous listening to him talk about ancient China and getting it all wrong.
Ranma met Nabiki by the front doors as soon as classes were out and the two prepared to walk home together when Ranma felt the aura of the Amazon elder nearby. He turned to Nabiki and told her to stay there and wait for her sister before going home.
"The Amazons are up to something," He told her.
Nabiki nodded nervously as her hand rested on her book bag where the hilt was hidden. Akane came outside as Ranma rushed off towards the trees.
"Hey Nabiki, where's Ranma off to?" the youngest Tendo asked.
"Amazons," Nabiki replied.
Akane frowned for a second and seemed to war with herself before speaking, "I found something out about the Amazons today. They are in mine and Ranma's class," she looked around nervously, "Come on, we can't talk here."
Nabiki attempted to protest as Akane grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her off towards the gym.
Meanwhile, Ranma stood across a small clearing from the Amazon Matriarch.
"What do you want elder?" Ranma said with forced respect.
"I just want to talk boy. I'm sure you've got all sorts of questions running through your head since you fell in that spring. You've listened to the Musk's version of the story, I'd like you to hear ours."
Ranma seemed to relax, but to the trained eyes of the elder, she knew he was just changing his stance.
"Go ahead. I'm sort of in the mood for fairy tales today."
Cologne frowned but continued nonetheless, "When we were driven from our homelands over three thousand years ago, our ancestors found Jusenkyou valley. It was a beautiful place except for one thing. There was a terrible dragon that ruled the populace with an iron fist, demanding tribute and sacrifices. We found the people slaving away in the fields with nothing to show for their hard work. They did not even understand they were slaves! We realized that if we were to stay we would have to free the valley and defeat the dragon."
Ranma almost laughed. She actually believed her story! That made it all the sadder. Doing the wrong things for the right reasons was one of the greatest of tragedies.
"We finally managed to lull the dragon and his sorceress wife into a false sense of security and in a bold move my ancestors captured the sorceress and used her as bait to trap the dragon. For even though they were evil, their love was true. Using a golden chain given to us by the goddess Diana, we bound the dragon. Before we could seal his evil however, he summoned all his magic and cursed the valley where the springs resided."
Cologne looked at Ranma with tired eyes. "Come back to China with us. We can find a way to seal the evil growing in you. You can still even marry the Tendo girl if you so wish."
Ranma sighed and ran his hand through coppery hair. "I am sorry elder. You seem to truly care and that makes things all the more difficult. You see, I remember almost everything. The bonding is almost complete and I what I remember is a bunch of power hungry women conquering a peaceful valley and threatening to kill the love of my life if I didn't surrender my wealth and power to them. You may truly be a good and noble person Cologne, but your history is warped. I will not go with you. Not now or ever."
"I am truly sorry to hear that child. I have a responsibility to not only my tribe, but to the world."
Suddenly the air was cut by a scream.
Nabiki shook her hand loose from her sister's grip.
"What the hell is the matter with you?" Nabiki snapped as she rubbed her sore wrist.
"I'm sorry sister but this needed to be done," Akane said sadly, "Ranma has you under some sort of spell. These people can break it."
That was when Nabiki noticed the Amazon girls from Akane's class. Akane flinched under the look of utter betrayal she received from Nabiki as the Amazons flanked the middle Tendo girl.
Nabiki gulped nervously as her hand went to her bag. She was positive that she wouldn't last more than a few seconds in combat against them.
"You don't want to do anything rash here. This isn't your country, your laws don't apply here," she tried reasoning with them.
"Girl talk too much," Shampoo said from behind Nabiki as her hands blurred into action.
Nabiki's eyes rolled up in her head as she collapsed. Shampoo pocketed the comb she was carrying and tossed the empty bottle of shampoo to Talcum.
"What did you do to her?" Akane's voice wavered between worry and anger.
"Erase memory of Ranma husband. Now Airen have no reason to stay in Japans, go home to many wives no?"
"She'll be all right then?" Akane asked fearfully as she went to her sister's aid.
Soap nodded, "She wake up feeling refreshed and happy."
There was a small moan from Nabiki as she started to wake up. She opened her eyes and looked around.
'Amazons? Why are they here? Wait, they're trying to take away... who are they trying to take away? Ran...ran something. No, Derakon!' her eyes widened, 'These bitches have my husband!'
Nabiki suddenly clutched her head as if great pain, letting loose a scream that rattled windows. She stood up shakily, the hilt of her sword somehow in her hand.
/You bitches took my husband! You Killed HIM!\ the blade burst to life, a glowing blue.
Akane couldn't understand what Nabiki was saying but her expression told enough. She was suddenly more afraid than she'd ever been in her life. She backed away as the Amazons all pulled weapons and surrounded the almost glowing girl.
Talcum brought her spear around against Nabiki and moved to parry the glowing blade with the metal staff only to have the blade go right through and strike her in the shoulder. Arcs of blue electricity sparked from the wound and the warrior dropped, still clutching her intact spear.
The rest of the Amazons gasped and realized their normal defense was useless against Nabiki's weapon.
/Damn you all! I'll have my revenge!\ Nabiki growled as she casually blocked a sword strike with the previously unsubstantial blade. Shifting back, she cut the offending sword in half while electrocuting Soap.
Shampoo could only make out a few words. It appeared that the Tendo girl was speaking ancient Amazon. But how did she learn it? Better yet, how did she learn to use the fabled ki blade. It was rumored to only respond to the mistress of the dragon, but Nabiki had learned too fast. Already two of her number were down and Shampoo had no idea how to fight a blade that could phase in and out at will.
The decision was taken from her as she suddenly felt a strong hand around her throat forcing her against the gym wall. She dropped her bon-boris reflexively and grabbed at her throat. She nearly crapped her pants when she saw the eyes of her attacker. The emerald green eyes of Ranma Saotome bore into her, baring her soul wide open. She had never been more afraid for her life than this moment. The grip tightened around her neck and she began to gasp for air.
/Derakon? Is that truly you my love?\ Nabiki questioned.
/Endrea? Yes it's me. What has happened here?\ Ranma replied in slightly halting Atlantean.
/I'm not sure. I woke to being surrounded by Amazons and remembered they... You are alive my love!\
Ranma frowned at the purple haired warrior and lifted her slightly off the ground. "What did you do to her?" he growled.
"Stop! Let her go!" A voice shouted behind them. It was Cologne. She looked fearfully at her great-granddaughter.
/What do you remember? Of this city, this school, your family?\ Ranma prompted Nabiki. Ignoring the elder for the moment.
Nabiki looked confused from where she was guarding against the remaining Amazon and the elder. /I-I'm not sure... there was something, no, someone, Ran... No, Just you my love. Let's finish these bitches and free the rest of the valley.\
"What did they do to her?" Ranma asked with a snarl. When there was no immediate reply he tightened his grip further and Shampoo began wheezing for air.
"I was supposed to be a memory erasure. A simple technique to block memories of someone from a person's mind. It isn't supposed to do this," Cologne said trying to diffuse the situation.
"Undo it. Now or she dies," Ranma reiterated his point by summoning a ball of blue flame in his hand and putting it to Shampoo's face.
/Husband? What are you saying?\ Nabiki questioned.
/Trust me love. They did something to you. You may not realize it but they did and she will undo it. Please trust me.\ To Cologne he said, "I don't believe you're evil enough to want more innocents to be hurt today."
"Fine. Promise me you will let us go once I have done what you ask."
Ranma gave her a solemn nod, never taking his eyes from her.
Nabiki tensed as the old Amazon walked around behind her. Taking a bottle from her robes along with a comb, the elder's hands blurred as she undid the technique.
Nabiki slumped to her knees but didn't fall unconscious. "I-I remember everything! My god! I can remember it all! Derakon, I mean Ranma! It worked! Just like you said it would!"
Ranma casually tossed Shampoo to the side where she lay gasping for breath and grabbed Nabiki in a warm embrace. Still looking at the elder he said, "I think you've done enough for today."
The elder nodded and checked the fallen Amazons. Relived that they were only unconscious, she directed Shampoo and Salve to pick them up and turned to go.
"This isn't over. Not by a long shot boy."
"I didn't think it was. Too bad."
And the Amazons were gone. Nabiki looked up to where her sister had been standing with a shocked look on her face. Letting go of Ranma she stepped over to her sister.
"Nabiki? Are you all ri-"
Akane never got to finish her sentence because a right hook to the jaw shut her mouth, knocking her on her ass.
"I can't believe you! Those people are hardened killers! And you just hand me over to them? You let them brainwash your own sister just because she's in a happy relationship? Well do I have news for you little sis," Nabiki opened her bag and pulled out the stack of papers on the Chardin family, "Seems that Daddy had another arranged marriage set up for us. I'm already engaged and Kasumi is involved with Dr. Tofu so guess who is left to get married?"
Akane looked through the papers nervously after being handed them. Her face paled upon seeing pictures of her intended.
"The way I see it, you have two choices to avoid marrying this guy. Go ronin and lose all ties to this family," Akane blanched at the thought, "or you could find someone rich enough to pay the bill and buy the marriage contract."
Akane brightened a little at that until she saw the amount of the restaurant bill.
Nabiki smirked, "Yup, I'd say that only Kuno has that kind of money. Those are your choices. I'd make a decision before one is made for you. Maybe now you'll learn not to mess with my love life."
Akane burst into tears and ran off in the direction of the dojo leaving the papers behind. Nabiki picked them up and placed them back in her pack.
"That was almost cruel hon," Ranma said.
/I hated to do it but the spoiled princess needs to grow up. She could do worse than Kuno.\
"Damn, you speak better Atlantean than I do," Ranma joked as he pulled his intended close and gave her a kiss.
"It feels kind of weird having so many years of memories suddenly stacked on top of your life."
"I kind of know the feeling. At least mine came gradually. Let's go home. We have to get ready for tomorrow."
"Yeah, it's been a tiring day hasn't it?"
Well, it's been a while. Usually I just admit that I've been too lazy to write but not this time. I've been working on my last semester of school to get my art degree and for some god-forsaken reason they've saddled me with a math class. What linear matrices have to do with bronze casting I have no clue but I've been told I need to know it in order to graduate.
Anyway, I have received comments from some of my readers pointing out the OOC of my portrayal of Tendo Nabiki, that I've fallen into fanon in my presentation of her character. It's almost as if it's implied that I wasn't aware of her role in the manga or Anime. I do have this to say in my defense:
Unless you are Rumiko Takahashi herself, any Ranma stories you write will be OOC. We all have our views about how the characters act and behave. If I wanted to read a story where everyone is in character, I'd go read the manga (at least it has pictures).
I have the entire Manga series in both English (up to the current volume anyway plus the translations running around on the net) as well as Japanese I've watched every single episode, all the OAV's, and both movies. I've managed to find all the music videos plus many of the almost forgotten omakes. I have at least one set of Gasshapon figures plus another set on order. I have all the Viz release porcelain figures as well as several of the resin kits from Hong-Kong. I am currently sculpting a 1/6 scale Nabiki figure (who knows when that will be done) and I even have a f&cking Ranma alarm clock.
I am an uber Ranma 1/2 Otaku! So needless to say, I am willing to concede that Nabiki is a cold heartless bitch who would (and has) sell her sister for a sen (1/100 of a yen). And while there is no evidence that she ever used the money she made to support the dojo, there is also no evidence that she didn't. In fact there is no evidence that she spent the money on much of anything. If you look at her room the few times it's shown, you will see that it's fairly bare and utilitarian. Most of her clothes are borrowed (that is cannon Vol 17 people). So where does the money go?
That's what fanfiction is about. What if? What if the series never ended? What if this happened instead of that? What if Nabiki wasn't so cold hearted and manipulative… You get the idea. Besides, I've been writing Ranma fanfics for about 5 years. Hell some of the fanon could have spawned from stuff I've written, who knows?
I write Nabiki the way I do, not from ignorance, but from choice. If you don't like it, there are plenty of other fics out there to read.
Now that I'm done ranting... maybe I'll go work on a different fic for a while.
Ps. To everyone who is reading, thanks.
PPS. To Thank you very much for censoring my formatting you jerks.