The Diamond Sutra  - A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic
By Ashoka Roque
Book 2 of "Ashoro's Ranma Sutras"

Warnings: Rating: PG-13 for adult content. Yaoi relationship - you've been warned.
Disclaimer: The "Ranma 1/2" characters belong to Takahashi Rumiko. I have put them in situations that diverge from the original storyline, but with no intent of compromising the integrity of her work. I make no profit from this story.  The character of Ti Xiu is my own creation.
Lyrics to "Drive My Car" from the album  Rubber Soul  copyright 1965 by Lennon/McCartney.  (Shamefully, Engrish lyrics are my own.)

C & C appreciated   ashoro@excite.com

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter One: Errands

Early one fall morning, a letter arrived at the Tendo dojo in Nerima, just outside of Tokyo. It was addressed to "Young Master Hibiki Ryouga, c/o the Tendo Family Dojo," and bore a postmark from Nepal.

My, this has come a long way. A young woman dressed in her kitchen apron peered curiously at the parchment envelope.  "Ryouga-kun!" she shouted in a sing-song voice.

"Yes, Kasumi-san?" came the answer.

"There is a letter here for you.  It is from Ti Xiu."

Hibiki Ryouga came bounding in from the courtyard, where he, Saotome Genma and Saotome Ranma had been sparring.  His forehead glistened slightly with perspiration below his orange and black bandana, which was tied around his crew-cut. This was a new hairstyle - the result of a serious fight with Ranma a few weeks before.

"Thanks, Kasumi-san," said Ryouga, taking the letter out into the garden. Sitting under a ginkgo tree, Ryouga read the words of his friend and mentor in the sharp morning light:

Ryouga-kun,

 Sorry that this note is so brief, my son. I have been very busy ever since
I left Nerima. More about that some other time...

I have been thinking quite a lot about you and our friend
 Ranma-kun. If I may be so bold, I would share with you some
 words of the Diamond Sutra that may help you along your path.

 We believe that everything has a Buddha nature, or spirit. People,
 animals, plants, even stones. The hardest stone of
 all is the beautiful diamond - but it is little more than
 a glassy rock when pulled from the ground. A skilled artisan
 must persuade the diamond to reveal it's hidden imperfections.
 Only then is he or she able to shape it into a beautiful gem.

People are like this, as well. We may be strong, but until we
 allow others to see our hidden doubts and fears, we can never
 grow to shine as we are meant to.
May the Buddha smile on you always.

The letter was inked with a chop that Ryouga guessed to be Ti Xiu's signature.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Hurry up, Ryouga-kun!" called Akane, as she walked out the doorway of the Tendo house. "Ranma and I need to walk you to Dr. Tofu's on our way to school today."

"Coming!" replied Ryouga, stuffing the letter into his shirt as he stood up.

When the three young people arrived at the clinic, Dr. Tofu reviewed Ryouga's recovery from his almost-fatal encounter with a bonfire of burning anime merchandise.

"You are making amazing progress, Ryouga-kun.  A little more rest is all you need. Your hair is growing back quickly, too," said the doctor, in a pleased voice.

Turning to his other visitors, Tofu asked, "Ranma-kun, Akane-chan, I was wondering if either of you could do a small favor for me?"

"We'd be happy to, Tofu-sensei," replied Akane, smiling.

"I want my family mechanic, Himura-san, to look at my car. I rarely ever drive it, but one of those sensor lights is going off, so I supposed it's time for a tune-up.  However, his shop is in Karuizawa."

"Why, that's almost a two hour drive!" said Akane.

Tofu nodded. "I wanted to go myself - Himura-san is getting older, and I don't think he gets the business he used to.  But the clinic is so busy right now."

"I'll go today, Tofu-sensei!" said Ranma, excited at the novelty of a road-trip. "We don't have class this afternoon because of the girls softball championship."

"Wonderful!" exclaimed Tofu. "You drive a stick-shift, yes?"

"Oh," said Ranma, face deflating, "No...I don't know how."

"I can drive a stick-shift," said Ryouga.

"It's just like you, Ranma," said Akane with a glare, "Using a break intended for school spirit to go on a joyride."

"I said, I can drive a stick-shift," repeated Ryouga, a little louder.

"Like I wanna see a bunch of un-cute girls running around in softball uniforms," retorted Ranma, sticking out his tongue.

"I said..." Ryouga repeated, louder still, "I can drive a stick-shift!"

There were a few moments of stunned silence.

"Oh, I wasn't - I mean..." stuttered a surprised Dr. Tofu. "I guess I wasn't expecting that you knew how to drive, Ryouga-kun. I didn't mean to offend you, but, well, given your situation..."

"He means," said Ranma, "given your tendency to get lost when crossing the street."

"I know what he means, Ranma," replied Ryouga, irritation in his voice. "But I learned how to drive a stick shift when I was fifteen. I'm an excellent driver."

There was another silence.  Finally, Akane asked the question. "Ryouga-kun, wouldn't you have just gotten lost even faster if you were driving?"

"Nope!" replied Ryouga, "My uncle Kenji works for Mitzushara Motors. Well, he's not my uncle, really... he was my father's best man.  Anyway, he taught me on the company's driving course; you know, one of those circular tracks with the orange pylons, fake street signs and stuff.  I was even able to drive by myself a few times without hardly ever getting lost!"

Ranma laughed, slapping Ryouga on the back. "Ryouga-kun, only you could get lost, even a few times, on a circular track! The only way you'll get to Karuizawa is if I go with you."

"Good then, it's settled!" said Dr. Tofu, beaming.  "You'll need to spend the night, so that Himura-san can check everything thoroughly. My family has a ski cabin on Mt. Hanare. The caretaker was just up there the other day, so everything should be in order. Be sure to grab dinner before you head up, though. I doubt the kitchen has much to offer."

Dr. Tofu grabbed his medical clipboard, and tore off a sheet of paper. "Here, Ranma-kun, let me draw you a map. If you get to Nagano, you know you've gone too far..."

___________________________________

While the young people were busy at Dr. Tofu's clinic, Saotome Genma and Soan Tendo met in the Tendo family living room.  Their children on the verge of acquiescing to familial duty, and the fortuitous absence of Master Haposai had put both of the men in a splendid mood. Calendar spread across the coffee table, they talked excitedly about the upcoming nuptials. 

"They will have a church wedding, of course!" said Genma.

"Of course!" replied Soan, "I booked St. Seiya's cathedral. You know what they say - Born Shinto, marry Christian, die Buddhist!"

"Too true, too true..." nodded Genma.

_________________________________

Though mid-morning in Japan, dawn was just breaking in the Nepal. The sunlight cascaded down the sides of the craggy grey mountains.  Gold, red and white prayer wheels spun lazily alongside a stone stairway, occasionally turning at the touch of one of the orange-robed monks ascending and descending in the early morning.  At the top of the stairway stood the red and gold pagoda-roofed building known as Lhasa Apso monastery.

Inside, the order's six eldest monks sat along one face of a low, narrow table at the head of a large reception hall.  Morning light fell through the tall, high windows that ran down each side of the room, making a criss-cross pattern on the teakwood floor. A trio of novitiate monks, dressed in yellow, was bowed down on hands and knees, facing the six elders.

"Do you mean to tell me," said one of the senior monks, a portly man with very long earlobes, "that this woman was right under master Ti Xiu's nose...for over a week...and the brothers of our order didn't discover this fact until after he returned from Japan?"

"Yes, Master Fu Ton" replied the three junior monks, in unison.

"How you shame the heritage of our order, which has presided over three-thousand years of Chinese history!" shouted Fu Ton, face growing bright red.

"Brother Fu," said another of the elders, a slight, balding man wearing gold-rimmed glasses, "It is what it is.  The only living expert on the chuang flower is living in Nerima, Japan.  I will have to return there immediately." 

The sound of the man's voice seemed to have a calming effect on Fu Ton.  His breathing grew less heavy, and his color gradually returned to normal.  "Master Ti, " he said, in a much milder tone of voice than he had been using with the three unfortunate novitiates, "Can't you send someone else? Your place is here."

"My place is wherever I am needed," replied Ti Xiu, gently. "The Tatagatha Buddha traveled the known world for most of his adult life.  Surely, a less important personage such as I can make a few trips to Japan as necessary.  And I think we would all agree that it is necessary now, that it is."  The other elders slowly nodded their agreement, aged heads moving up and down.

"You will manage things while I am away, Brother Fu," continued Ti Xiu, as he and the elder council stood up from the table and began to walk towards the door. "My sincere apologies for the imposition this will place on you, given your already heavy duties. But, as the famous saying goes, 'That's life.'"

As the elder monks left the hall, one of the novitiates turned to his brothers, still prostrate on the floor of the now-empty room.

"Ti-sensei is always so profound. Was he quoting the Buddha?"

"I think it was Frank Sinatra," said the monk to his left.

________________________________________

Continued in Chapter Two: Distractions

C&C Welcome - ashoro@excite.com