Rune Soldier Ranma
Disclaimer: Rune Soldier Louie, Ranma 1/2 and any other references to any other anime belong to their respective creators.
This is Your Hero?!
Jenny smiled as she looked upon the assembly of priestesses and trainees in the Temple of Mylee. It was good to see all of the new faces as well as the old ones. For many, this would be their first Festival of Mylee, which occurred once every five years. As the Head Priestess scanned the throngs of followers to the war god, her gaze lingered on one particular face. Her most promising disciple and whom many looked up to, was NOT happy.
Though Melissa was a true devotee to Mylee, Jenny knew that she was not at all pleased with her last revelation by their god. She had the appearance of someone with no problems, but the Head Priestess knew that was just a front. After all, being given a valiant champion chosen by Mylee, had supposed to have been the highlight of her career as a priestess. However, when that champion happened to be a certain martial arts mage, then things had become extremely complicated and her entire world had been turned upside-down.
Jenny's private chambers...
"You seem very troubled Melissa." The Head Priestess remarked as she and her favorite disciple discussed the upcoming festivities.
As the Lead Disciple of Mylee, Melissa would be in charge of organizing the ceremonies, and act as the tour guide through the various dioramas being set up to display the history of Ohfun. Normally, this would have been considered as a great honor, but as of now, she was feeling a sense of depression that would have allowed her to compete with Ryoga.
Melissa let off a tired sigh as she began to confess her ongoing problems with her Chosen Hero. "Oh Head Priestess Jenny! I mean no disrespect to you and Mylee, but I must again protest over the fact that Ranma is supposed to be the valiant champion that I am to serve! This is..."
"Yes, yes, I know." Jenny cut in as she waved a hand, then took on a more stern expression. "This is against your will. Must I remind you again, that the will of Mylee is absolute and must be carried out?"
"Yes, I know but..."
"I cannot change what has happened any more than you can, but this arrangement can't be ALL bad. I would think that by now, you have seen the great potential within your Chosen Hero. After all, he did aid you in your time of need, did he not?"
"Surely, you have not FORGOTTEN how he had defeated that pompous fake Conrad in defending your honor? And come to think of it, he did not have to accept his challenge, considering how YOU coerced him into fighting."
Melissa was taken aback as she remembered the sticky situation that Ranma had helped her get out of. "What do you mean?"
"Ranma told me all about how used you used the principals of chivalry to involve him in a situation that was none of his business. I was very disappointed to hear how you USED him to avoid confronting Conrad. You could have simply said no to his advances."
"But Head Priestess! You don't understand!" Melissa protested. "Conrad wouldn't stop! And besides, a true hero should follow the codes of chivalry!"
"Why?" Jenny asked simply.
"Because... that's what makes a TRUE hero! He's supposed to be honest, courteous, well-mannered and brave!"
"Well, Ranma is brave. Even you must admit to that. And he does tend to tell things as they are, so that would make him honest, does it not?"
"But he's nothing as to what a true hero is! He's boorish, rude, ill-mannered, never stops insulting me and my friends, is more trouble than he's worth, and doesn't know the first thing about chivalry!"
Jenny took a deep breath and collected her thoughts for a moment before replying to her puzzled pupil. "Melissa, before you begin making snap judgments about your valiant champion, you should take the time to know him better. So far, all I've seen you do is mope and complain about how Ranma isn't like the characters in those storybooks that you love so much. Have you ever wondered WHY he's not like those people you've read about? You should not judge someone according to some outdated rules on manners and etiquette."
The Laughing Swan...
"Another round please!" Ranma called out as he finished off his plate of food within an instant. Sitting beside him was Ila and on the table was his Rune Cat Shin. Though others looked on in disbelief on how much the warrior mage was packing it away, his companions were long used to seeing him eat.
"So Ranma, are you going to the Festival of Mylee tomorrow?" The bespectacled girl asked, hoping that her childhood friend would invite her to tour the sights.
"Well, I dunno if I wanna go this time around. It was pretty boring the last time." Ranma replied as he finished off his tenth helping. He had amassed a considerable fortune, due to all of his treasure-hunting adventures from the last four years, (which was the main reason why most adventurers were having problems finding any treasure near Ohfun). Therefore, he had no troubles with paying for his meals. Of course, he didn't let on to his traveling companions that he was well off. Where would the fun be in that?
"Oh come on, Ranma." Ila pleaded. "It'll be different this time! I hear that they've got some new displays and I believe Melissa will be hosting them."
"Oh, Miss Know-Nothing-Know-It-All is going to run the show? Now I'm REALLY not sure I should be going. I don't want her to keep nagging me about all that 'true hero' junk! Now don't get me wrong, she ain't all bad... and neither are those two Uncute Tomboys."
"They aren't?" Ila became concerned at this. She had been hoping to become the center of Ranma's affection and she had not been expecting any competition, especially from the Mylee Priestess. Judging by the way Ranma always insulted her and those other two women, she hadn't worried that any other girl could get as close to him as she was. After all, she and Ranma had grown up together.
Ranma shrugged as he began digging in on his eleventh helping. "Hey, c'mon Ila-chan! You know me better than that! I don't throw out insults out of spite, just 'cause some people don't agree with me... unless they really tick me off. Those three girls DO have some good things about them... it's just that their BAD qualities stand out a lot more. For one thing, Melissa's GOT to get rid of those stupid notions of chivalry."
"You don't believe in honor and fighting fair?"
"Oh, I believe in honor." He amended. "The only thing is, I don't believe in letting it restrict me. And as for fighting fair, well I've learned a long time ago that the world ain't always fair. You just got to take what life throws at you and work with it. It does no good to whine about how unfair something is, 'cause it ain't gonna change unless you do something about it. Like the old saying goes, the gods only help those who help themselves. Unfortunately, Melissa seems content to just wait for Mylee to solve her problems."
"I can see that chivalry is dead with you, Ranma." Ila said teasingly. She had gotten used to his somewhat crude manner, but had to admire his strong will and determination.
"Heck, I don't even see why ANYBODY would want to follow those rules, since they do nothing but limit a person, especially when it comes to women. I mean, a guy works hard to become strong and independent, then he just leaves himself wide open to some girl. That just gives her an excuse to hurt him and he is supposed to just stand there and take it." Seeing Ila's hurt expression, he quickly apologized. "No offense to you, Ila-chan, but the main reason why I don't care for chivalry, is because I used to follow something like it and it caused me nuthin' but trouble."
"Yeah. It's a long story, but I used to follow a code never to hit girls, and that gave a certain Uncute Tomboy I knew, an excuse to abuse me. Normally, she wouldn't have laid a hand on me, but I had no choice but to let her hit me. Usually it was with enough force to crush skulls."
"Yeah, well back then, it was looked down upon to strike a girl, even when she deserved it. And chivalry was also a weapon that was used against me. I really hated it whenever I spoke out against her, and then these morons would use these rules of honor and stuff, making me look like the bad guy. Things like honor and stuff like that, were used to their advantage, then ignored when it worked against them. Now I'm finding the same thing with Melissa and the others."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, let me give you an example. Genie swings at me with her sword and all I do is defend myself, by knocking her to the ground. Melissa chides me on hitting her, and then lectures me on the rules of proper conduct. So what does that mean? I should have let Genie kill me, just because chivalry won't allow me to fight back against a woman?"
"Of course not! That would be stupid!"
"Bingo. To me, chivalry is nothing but a bunch of hypocrisy. It's just for idiots, like that moron Conrad, and I sure as heck ain't gonna end up like him!" Or like a certain Blue Blunder I used to know.>
Ila then took on a thoughtful expression as she considered Ranma's words. then she got a flash of insight. "So... is that why you've been giving Melissa and her friends such a hard time? Because you want to teach them not to judge people according to those rules?"
"You've always been pretty sharp, Ila-chan." Ranma admitted. "Yeah, that's one of the reasons. Those three have potential, but compared to me, they don't know much about the world or how hard it can be. Melissa has to dump those fairy tale ideas and get with reality. Genie needs to control that temper of hers and learn that she can't always win with a sword. And Merrill better curb that greed of hers. But most of all, they all suffer from the same habit of 'jump to conclusions and don't bother to wait for explanations.' It looks like they prefer to learn things the hard way, so I guess it's going to be rough for a while. I hope they wise up soon, considering all the training I've put them through so far."
"You've been training them?"
"Yup. What, did you really think I'd let people tag along with me on my adventures, without making sure they could keep up? C'mon, you KNOW just how much trouble I get into, even when I try to avoid it."
"That's a fact." Ila agreed. "You seem to be a magnet for trouble."
Shin meowed in agreement, as his master continued.
"Right. Besides, Aunt Jenny asked me to show Melissa the REAL world. I only know of one way to do it, so I guess she and her friends will have to take their lumps as I dish them out. I'm doing them a favor."
"That's seems to be a little harsh, even for you Ranma. Especially after all you've put them through so far."
"Heh, considering what I went through in my past, this was small potatoes. And just remember that every time stuff happened, all they had to do was LISTEN when I had something important to tell them. Considering that they keep on ignoring my advice, then I guess they're going to have to learn things the HARD way."
"I'm not saying that Melissa and her friends didn't deserve all of that punishment, but I think you could go a little easier on them. Maybe if you let up on the insults and try to be a bit nicer, then they might listen."
"Hey, I DID try the 'nice' bit, and where did that get me? When we first met, I suggested to go to Atlans, instead of those goblin-filled ruins. Shin could have easily transported us there. I gave them back their supplies. I helped Melissa with her problem with Conrad, despite her getting me involved without asking me. Heck, I even gave Merrill a rare relic to replace her 'Darling Jar.' Not my fault, they ignored my advice, Melissa didn't even say thank you, and Merrill sold that Ardenyle jar for only ten copper coins."(1)
Ranma sighed again as he thought about the future of his new adventuring group and wondered just what new headaches were in store.
Melissa could feel another headache coming on as she found herself face-to-face with a certain someone from her Order... Isabelle.
Like Melissa, Isabelle had come from a very prominent family, and had given up her wealthy lifestyle in order to pursue the more adventurous role of Mylee Priestess. She had advanced quite quickly through the ranks and had achieved nearly the same status as Melissa, making herself her closest rival.
Unlike Melissa, Isabelle had longer tresses that were fashioned in curly locks. She had a slightly darker skin tone and her voice had a more snobbish, though melodic tone to it. She was dressed in the traditional garb of the Order, and her achievements in the Church of Mylee were impressive. However, Melissa still outranked her, which made her somewhat jealous.
Ironically, Isabelle and Melissa both shared the same ideals about what a true hero was supposed to be, and were constantly in competition with each other. In nearly all of their contests, Melissa would always be on top, making Isabelle even more frustrated and determined to best her. After her rival had undergone the sacred ritual for a valiant champion to be chosen for her, Isabelle had been all but infuriated at Melissa's success.
However, she had noticed that Melissa had been brooding as of late and she was curious as to the reason. Surely having a champion given to her by the great Mylee would have made her ecstatic, so why wasn't she bragging about it? She hadn't even told anyone of his name. And why was she always coming in bruised, battered and dirtied lately? Isabelle had decided at that point to find out.
"Well now, Melissa. It seems that you are to lead the tour groups and main rituals this year... congratulations." Isabelle said the last part with barely restrained resentment.
Melissa nodded, as she put on a brave front to hide her secret shame. Under no circumstances, would she allow her greatest rival to learn that Ranma was her champion. She'd never live that down! "Yes, I am proud to serve the will of Mylee."
"Speaking of the will of Mylee, I have yet to meet your Chosen Hero. Who exactly is he?"
Melissa gulped as she shook her head. "I am sorry to say that Mylee did not... as of yet, revealed my champion to me, during my ritual..."
"Oh? What a pity." Secretly, Isabelle was overjoyed that her rival had not been given a hero yet. That meant that there was still a chance to upstage her, since her own Revelation Ceremony was approaching. In fact, she was to undergo it this very day. She then gave a dainty shrug and turned to leave. "Well, I'm certain that you will find your champion, just I will today."
She then left the main temple hall, leaving Melissa to her thoughts. the Lead Disciple had hated to lie, but she just could not bring herself to admit that Ranma was her champion.
It's against my will! It's against my will!>
"Well I guess I'll go to the festival after all." Ranma sighed after some pleading and cajoling by his childhood friend.
Ila smiled as she was looking forward to spending time with him. She hadn't been able to be with him very much, since he had started adventuring with Melissa and her friends. Tomorrow was going to be a great day!
The next day...
The festival of Mylee was a greatly celebrated event in the Kingdom of Ohfun as the people milled about the various shops, displays and other spectacles. It was a joyous time that was looked forward to by most of the citizens as it only occurred once every five years. Not only did they honor the war god Mylee, but the anniversary of the kingdom's founding was also commemorated. Many of the displays depicted the triumphs of the king and of the great heroes, during that tumultuous time of war and reform.
The members of the Order of Mylee were all dressed in their best ceremonial robes and finery. The apprentices were mostly engaged in running the displays, while the elders and higher-ranking priestesses were involved in guiding groups of spectators through the dioramas. Among them was the lead disciple of the Order, Melissa. She was none too happy when she saw Ranma touring the sights. As of yet, no one other than Ila, Genie, Merrill, Jenny and Master Carwess knew that he was her Chosen Hero. She just couldn't bring herself to admit that Ranma was the one Mylee had decided that she should serve in EVERY way. She shuddered at the thought of him demanding THAT of her. Fortunately for her, he had yet to take that liberty as his right as her Valiant Champion.
Why couldn't he be a TRUE champion? I deserve to have at least that much after all the years of service to Mylee! If Ranma were even half the hero that the great Parn of Lodoss is, then I would be content, but I suppose it is too much to ask...> (2)
Melissa continued to silently sulk over her current predicament, unaware that she was being watched by her three most devoted fans. The trio of apprentice priestesses saw how saddened their idol was as they tried to think of a way to cheer her up. They noted how agitated she was whenever she looked toward Ranma and correctly assumed that he was the source of her pain.
"Look at Melissa. I know that it's because of that guy who ruined our initiation at the temple." One of the three remarked.
Her two companions nodded as they too nursed a grudge against Ranma, who had destroyed the temple of zombies, thereby ruining their sacred ceremony. Now they believed that Ranma had some kind of hold on their idol and decided to free Melissa from her bondage.
The apprentices went off to plan for Ranma's downfall.
"Will you stop that!?"
Ranma ignored the rage being directed at him as he continued to chow down. Genie continued to glare at him after he had once again taken her meal without her even noticing it. Sitting at the table across from them, Ila played with Shin.
During the Festival of Mylee, members of the Sorcerer Guild were given free admission to all of the shows and displays. Genie had decided to keep an eye on Ranma as she knew that Melissa would be hosting the main attractions. She suspected that he would cause trouble for the Mylee disciple and was ready to pound the arrogant magician at the slightest provocation.
However, she didn't have the money to pay for the pricey admission fees and only by claiming to be a part of his group, could she avoid having to dole out any of her personal funds. Unfortunately for her, that meant having to suffer through the nonstop insults and his arrogant disregard for her hard-won battle skills.
As for Ila, she was disappointed that she was not going to have Ranma all to herself, but Genie insisted that she accompany them. Before long, they were at each other's throats, but she was long used to Ranma's quirks and knew that the best way to handle this kind of situation was to stay out of it. Besides, he was more than capable of taking care of himself and there was nothing Genie could possibly do to harm him.
The Rune Soldier shrugged as he continued to eat. "Hey, it's not my fault that you're about as quick as a box of rocks, (both physically and mentally), Ms. I-Can't-Fight-Without-A-Weapon. Man, with your awareness and those slug-like reflexes, I'm surprised that the world hadn't robbed ya blind by now."
"How would you like it if I took your food?!" Genie roared as she lunged for his bowl.
However, Ranma easily foiled the attempt by stabbing out with his chopsticks, and using them to block her outstretched arm. Genie stared in shock as her wrist was firmly trapped between two skinny, frail-looking rods of wood.
"Amateur." Ranma snorted as he casually flicked upward with his chopsticks.
Ila looked up in amazement as Genie was sent into LEO. She then questioned her companion. "What kind of spell was that?"
"No magic, Ila-chan. You know that I do the hocus-pocus bit only when I have to. What you saw was just a trick I learned from an old freak. He used to do it to me all the time with his pipe. It took me a long while to figure out how he did it. He was a perverted old goat, but he did know of some pretty decent techniques." Ranma frowned slightly as an image of Happosai crossed his mind, then wiped it from his memory.
Though he was fully aware of the impending danger that was lurking above him on a nearby rooftop, he continued to wolf down his food. In his mind, he started to count.
Hmmm, Genie should be coming back down in about five seconds. Let's see... five... four...>
On the roof of the restaurant and overlooking the table that Ranma and Ila were sitting at, the three disciples nodded as they prepared to dump a huge vat of refuse on top of the source of Melissa's bane. They had carefully planned for this moment to the last detail and nothing could go wrong.
"Ready?" The first apprentice asked.
"All set." The second one replied.
The trio began counting down simultaneously.
"Five... four... three... two... one..."
Ranma smirked a bit as he heard a certain hothead hit the roof of the restaurant and crashed through to the inside, taking three would-be attackers with her. His nose wrinkled a bit when he caught a whiff of whatever the three Mylee disciples had planned to dump on him.
Ila looked at him in shock and concern then asked, "Ranma?"
"Ah, don't worry about Ms. I-Can't-Fight-Without-A-Weapon, Ila-chan. With all of the training I've given to her so far, she'll only have a couple... HUNDRED bruises and... (sniff) Eeewwww! I can see a very long bath in her near future."
"This is training?"
"No worries!" He insisted. "Trust me, she'll be back to normal... eventually. So let's check out what Ms. Know-Nothing-Know-It-All is doing."
Assured that Genie would be all right, Ila picked up Shin and followed her friend.
In the rubble of the restaurant, the three apprentices moaned in pain and anguish. Their plan had failed and now the cad was going to see their idol Melissa.
Lying nearby, Genie was in a state of disbelief as well as unbelievable pain. That bastard had defeated her with just a pair of twigs!
She was going to kill him! Screw Melissa's oath to follow that jerk as her chosen hero! He had been nothing but trouble ever since they had met him! He never gave them a single shred of respect, especially with the Mylee priestess... and her.
She growled at the memories of all the times Ranma had humiliated her in battle. Just who did he think he was? He wasn't anything what a true warrior was! He took every opportunity to scoff at her fighting abilities and didn't hesitate to show how ineffective her attempts to cause him bodily harm were. The next time they met she was going to annihilate him!
In her seething rage, she did not consider one important aspect. She had survived a Nerima-style attack that would have killed a normal person, but was par for the course for the martial artists of Ranma's old life. What she didn't realize was that the beat-downs Ranma had been giving to her had actually begun toughening her up.
Hmmm, Genie's endurance should be starting to increase substantially in about five months or so.> The Rune Soldier thought as he and Ila walked toward the main exhibits of the festival. Though she won't be like Pig Boy. I don't dare try to put her through the Backusai Tenketsu training, at least not for a few years. Heck, it almost killed me and I had to redo all of my martial arts training. It would pulverize a non-martial artist.>
Ranma then began to think about his old life and wondered if he was missed. Then he decided that it was a moot point. It was not as if he was ever going to see any of those nutcases again... right?
Back in Ranma's home world...
When Ranma had been transported away to the other world, he had also been sent back in time, according to properties of his wish to 'start over.' As a result, though he had re-lived his childhood, very little time had passed in his original dimension.
"You sure this will work, Great-Grandmother?" Shampoo asked as she prepared the mystic circle in which Cologne would cast her spell.
The Elder gave her great-granddaughter a bit of a nod, though she was still somewhat uncertain. "This will most likely be the best chance that we have to find Son-in-Law, though I cannot guarantee one hundred percent success. We shall have one chance, and one chance only. Hopefully, all will go according to plan."
However, things were not going according to plan. A certain Hidden Weapons Master was making his way to the only people who could foil the Matriarch's plans and ensure that his beloved Shampoo would be his.
The Tendo Dojo.
At the same time, a certain Lost Boy was making his way toward the Tendo Dojo. It had been some time since he and his lifelong rival had tangled and he was anxious to put his new training to the test. Of course, he was also looking forward to seeing Akane again. What he did not know was that Ranma had been missing for several days in this world.
He then happened to look up and saw a familiar waterfowl fly overhead. He recognized the duck, since it was the only one he knew of that wore thick-lens glasses.
Huh? Wonder what Mousse is doing here?>
High above, the duck quacked as he spotted the one he was looking for and headed toward him. He knew that Ryoga would be the best person to help him and going to the Tendo dojo would be the place to find him, since he always ended up there after being lost for a while.
At the Nekohanten, Cologne began chanting in an ancient tongue as she started weaving her spell on the fragment of the shattered pendant. Standing nearby, Shampoo anxiously waited for moment in which she would be reunited with her Airen.
In the center of the mystic circle they had prepared, the fragment glowed along with the ancient symbols that were drawn into the floor. If the spell was successful, then the Amazons would know the wish the pendant had granted to Ranma, and thereby have a clue to his whereabouts.
"Okay Mousse, what do you want?" Ryoga asked as he spoke with the near-sighted Hidden Weapons Master.
"I need you to help foil Cologne's plan to find Ranma!" Mousse declared.
"Huh? You want me to go up against that old hag?" The Lost Boy blanched a bit. He knew how formidable the Matriarch was and going up against her was akin to suicide. After all, she had trained him in the Breaking Point and was on a par with Happosai's skills.
"It's the only way to ensure Shampoo doesn't marry Ranma!"
"Why should I care? If Ranma marries her, then that'll leave Akane for me!" Ryoga took on a happy expression as he began to daydream of him and Akane together. He was rudely brought back to reality as Mousse whacked him upside the head with a club that he pulled out from a sleeve.
"You dope! If Ranma comes back, then that means he'll be engaged to Akane again! You don't want that now do you?"
"I guess not, but..."
"Think about it! If Ranma returns, then things will go back to the way they were! That means you'll never get Akane, and I'll never get Shampoo! But if he doesn't come back, then that means we'll both win! Admit it, things would be a lot better if he DIDN'T come back! He's the source of all of our troubles, right?"
Ryoga had to agree with that. If he had never met Ranma, then things would have turned out differently in his life. He would have never been dishonored when Ranma had only waited three days for their duel. He would have never followed him to China and gotten cursed by Jusenkyo. And most of all, Ranma was the main obstacle to claiming his beloved Akane. What Mousse was saying did make a lot of sense.
"We don't have much time! That old witch is already starting the spell and if we don't act now, Ranma will be back and you can kiss the only chance you have at winning Akane goodbye! Are you with me or not?"
The Lost Boy found himself torn. On one hand, he had the supreme opportunity to be rid of his rival and obstacle to Akane's heart. On the other hand, he would never be able to prove himself as Ranma's better. As much as he hated to admit it, that gender-bending jerk was the main reason why he trained so hard. Ever since junior high, he had always felt that he was second-best, and from the bread feud to the present day, Ryoga had worked hard to beat Ranma and show everyone, especially Akane, that he was no joke and was someone to be taken seriously.
"Well?" Mousse pressed. "If you really want to be happy then this is our last chance!"
That last quip pushed Ryoga to make his decision. To be happy... with Akane, he would send Ranma to HELL!
"Okay, I'm in!"
The Amazon and the Lost Boy then ran off toward the Nekohanten, neither one knowing that a certain someone had heard them from her bedroom window.
Well, well... that's interesting. Hmmm... I know a few people who would like to know about this information about Ranma.>
With that thought, Nabiki went to spread the word... for a price.
The Cat Café...
Shampoo became impatient as her great-grandmother continued to chant. Why was it taking so long? She wanted to see Ranma so much and as soon as he appeared, she would drag him to the altar and...
Her thoughts were tabled as a bright light appeared before the matriarch. The pendant shard floated in midair as the spell reached its conclusion. Cologne nodded as she finished her chanting and then asked the shard...
"What was the last wish you had granted?"
There was a long, agonizing silence and then the shard spoke. "One had wished to start over without the problems of the present, so I sent him away to fulfill his request."
"Can you bring him back?"
"I cannot undo a wish once it has been granted." The shard stated. "More to the point, I now lack the power to grant wishes."
Cologne pondered for a long while, considering her options. If what the shard stated was true, then wishing Ranma back was not possible. Besides, the shard lacked the power to grant another wish. That limited her options, but the Elder was not one who gave up so easily. There had to be a way to find him. Then she remembered that she had certain items that might have enough mystical power for the shard to grant one last wish. And she would simply request that Ranma had never made his wish, therefore not violating the shard's restriction to never undo a wish. One cannot undo what never happened, right?
As she made her preparations, she did not know that fate had other ideas.
In the other world...
Isabelle was in a state of great anticipation as she entered naked into the Sacred Chamber of Mylee and waded through the Pool of Revelation. She stood before the statue of the War God and began to pray. For a long time, there was absolute silence. Then her head came up as a psychic message was conveyed to her. Mylee had spoken to her! She would find her Chosen Hero today! Her deity had promised a warrior of power and bravery! His courage and sense of honor would be unlike any other and he would be the greatest hero the world would ever know!
Isabelle was in a state of elation when she heard of this proclamation. Finally, she would have something to gloat over her rival! Surely, her Chosen Hero would far outshine anything that Melissa could ever achieve. And according to the revelation, he would be the first man who rescues her from peril! What better way for a devoted of Mylee to meet the greatest champion ever? She couldn't wait!
She could only wonder who he would be...
Meanwhile, Ranma and Ila headed toward the main exhibition hall where all the greatest displays of Ohfun's history were. Standing at the front entrance, Melissa looked on in dread as she saw her 'Chosen Hero' approached. However, she steeled herself and took a deep breath. This was the Sacred Festival of Mylee. Surely, not even Ranma would do anything to disrupt things and embarrass her, right? Besides, she couldn't do anything, especially since Jenny was standing nearby on a balcony and watching.
"Welcome to the History of Ohfun." Melissa greeted as she put on a 'happy' face.
Ranma was of course, not fooled by her obvious attempt to cover her shame, but he paid it no mind as he returned the greeting. "Hey there, Miss-Know-Nothing-Know-It-All. I hear that the displays are a lot more interesting this time around. I'm sure that a devoted priestess of Mylee would know ALL about them. So how's about a tour?"
Melissa just barely managed not to rear back with her right hand and slap him, as she kept up with her smile and led Ranma and Ila into the main hall.
At that point, an old enemy stood near the outskirts of the city and snarled.
Throughout his second life, Ranma had made a lot of enemies and his old adversary Kyle was at the top of the list. After that disastrous encounter in the elf village where Ranma had destroyed Kyle's dragon, the ex-apprentice of Ohfun's Magic Academy had been plotting his revenge. He had been left in a sorry state after being on the receiving end of the Dragon Slave. Since that time, he had been wandering around the continent with only one thing on his mind... finding some means of destroying Ranma.
Ever since the days at the Academy, Kyle had always resented that rugrat that Carwess had picked up from the streets. However, the rugrat had surprised everyone with his uncanny ability to learn spells quickly, sometimes within hours or minutes after seeing them. During their days at the magic school, Kyle had strived to put that street rat in his place and show all just who was the prodigy of sorcery. Despite his best efforts, Ranma would always come up on top. It just wasn't fair! Kyle had come from a prestigious family of magic users, and that peasant was just a nobody!
Well today was going to be different! He would have his revenge against Ranma and show all just who was the best! After licking his wounds and a lot of searching, he had the means to obliterate his rival, once and for all!
In the main exhibition hall, Ranma yawned. He had suspected that this was going to be boring, and with Melissa droning on and on about Ohfun's history, it was doubly dull.
"And here we have the scene in which the mighty wizard Carwess and the warrior priestess Jenny as they vanquished the terrible dragon and helped bring peace to the kingdom." Melissa proudly gestured to a huge statue of a dragon and the statues of a younger Carwess and Jenny. The wizard was in a pose casting a spell while Jenny was shown flying toward the dragon with sword extended out to slay the beast.
Ranma yawned again, which caught the attention of Ila. In her arms was a slumbering Shin. "Ranma, aren't you impressed with Jenny and Carwess' heroic deeds?"
The Rune Soldier shrugged. "Yeah, but it's not like I haven't heard this story a thousand times before. Aunt Jenny and Pops told me lots of times and I've read about it at the Magic Academy's Library. Besides, with all the adventures I've had, I can pretty much say that I've seen it all."
At this point, Melissa became very insulted that Ranma would take this epic tale so lightly. This was a prime example of true heroism and he was treating it as if he was listening to an inventory list.
"Hmpf! How dare you! Priestess Jenny and Mage Carwess were the great heroes of Ohfun! They defeated a mighty dragon!"
"In case you've forgotten Melissa, so have I." Ranma pointed out.
The Mylee Priestess was taken aback, then said, "That... was different! You used magic to defeat it!"
Ila's friend casually pointed up at the figures of Carwess and Jenny. "Oh, and I suppose using levitation and protection spells against the dragon doesn't count? That's what Pops used to help Jenny fight it, right?"
"It's not the same! They were fighting for justice and to bring peace to the land!"
"And I fought to save a village of elves, even though they were planning to execute me... and you."
"But... they... I... it's just NOT the same!"
"HOW is it not the same?" Ranma pressed in a simple tone.
"It... it... JUST isn't!"
There was a quiet moment of silence as Ranma considered Melissa's logic then suddenly burst out laughing. This of course, caught both Ila and the Mylee disciple by surprise. They stood in shock as they listened to him for a minute, then Melissa got angry.
"What are you laughing at?!"
Ranma snickered before responding. "You. Man, you remind me of an Uncute girl I used to know, and I don't mean Ms. I-Can't-Fight-Without-A-Weapon! Akane couldn't ever give me any good reasons why she was right and I was wrong, so she'd just say that it was and that was it! Damn, that really takes me back to that time in the Tendo's bathroom!" He then mimicked Akane's voice in a mocking tone. "Well, it's different when a boy looks at a girl! HA HA HA HA HAH!"
"What are you talking about Ranma? Who's this Akane?" Ila asked with some interest. This was one of those opportunities that he was talking about his past and she wanted to get as much information as she could.
Ranma managed to quiet down and replied. "Ah, she was just somebody I knew once. The thing is, my life was a real mess back then, and she was just one of the reasons why I'm glad I got away from that craziness. Her and some other dope who would always say, Ranma, prepare to die!"
"RANMA, PREPARE TO DIE!"
It was at that moment that the roof of the building was blown clear off in a massive explosion.
Ranma reacted quickly and grabbed both women by the waist and leapt out of harm's way. Large chunks of debris came crashing down as he nimbly avoided them and got them to a relative safe area just near the entrance. Just was he set them down, he heard a scream and looked over his shoulder. A massive section of wall was starting to collapse and an innocent bystander was about to be crushed.
Reacting with incredible speed, the Rune Soldier was across the room and swept up the woman an instant before a section of wall crashed down. Leaping high, he avoided several more chunks of debris, then bounded toward Melissa and Ila.
"You... saved me..."
He looked down at the person he had just rescued and noticed that she was similarly dressed like Melissa. He saw the crest of Mylee on her blouse and realized that he had just saved another priestess of the War God.
"Are... you all right?"
Isabelle blushed as she felt the hard muscle of his arms, then knew at that instant that she had found the one she had been promised by Mylee to serve.
"Er... sorry Miss, can't talk right now. I'm going to have to put you down, 'cause I gotta deal with a sorehead."
With those words, he gently set down Isabelle near Melissa and Ila, then looked up to see a huge monstrosity towering above. He growled a bit as he recognized a certain someone who was standing on the right shoulder of the biggest golem he had ever seen. He also noticed that his old rival had an ugly scar on his right cheek.
Kyle smirked as he looked down at his adversary. "We meet again... street rat!"
Ranma responded in the same tone. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the fifth-rate wannabe. What do you want this time, Kyle?"
"I would think that it would be obvious Ranma!" Kyle shouted out. "I lost much since our last encounter. You destroyed my dragon! You cost me a fortune in magic wood and a chance to have the most powerful staff in the world! I had a lot of prospective buyers for that enchanted tree, and when I couldn't deliver, they made me suffer! Because of you, I've..."
"... you've seen Hell, yeah, yeah, I know." Ranma sighed as it was Nerima all over again. And he had once thought Ryoga had been a nuisance. "And that's why you decided to sic this walking paperweight against me. Geez Kyle. I would have thought by now you'd know that your golems don't mean squat to me."
"Oh, this golem is FAR different from the ones you used to destroy back at the Academy." Kyle sneered.
Ranma looked over the stone monster standing before him and noted the large purple gem in the forehead. It was oval-shaped and was about the size of a football. "Yeah, I suppose that not all golems are made with a Karihysm crystal."
"So you recognize it? Good. Then you know that this is one golem that you cannot possibly defeat! After all this time, I shall finally DESTROY you!"
"Ranma!" Ila cried out. "The crystal is one of the Elemental Relics of the Ancients!"
"Yeah, I kind of figured that much, Ila-chan. BACKUSAI TENKETTSU!"
Ranma leapt high, and stabbed forth with his right index finger at the monster's chest.
The golem's chest broke apart from the Breaking Point technique. Fragments of stone rained down on the floor of the exhibition hall. It looked as if the fight was over.
However, as Ranma was dusting himself off, the crystal glowed, causing the pieces of rock to rise up and fly back to the hole in the golem's chest. The shards melded back in place, leaving the monster whole again. The Rune Soldier paused to rethink his battle strategy.
Kyle let off a scornful laugh as he knew he had the perfect weapon against his lifelong foe. This time, that stupid Earth Spell was absolutely useless! Vengeance would finally be his!
Ranma shrugged, then addressed Kyle. "So I'm guessing that crystal gives your golem the power to regenerate itself. No matter how much I break it down, it'll always reform itself?"
"That's right street rat! There's no possible way you can destroy my creation THIS time! Now, DESTROY HIM!"
The golem lashed out with a huge fist. Ranma nimbly dodged the attack and landed a few meters away. He showed no concern or worry. In fact, it looked as if he was having fun.
"And here I thought the Mylee Festival was gonna be dull." The Rune Soldier commented as he reached behind him with his left hand and produced a small, round object. He held it aloft and let his opponent see it.
"Hmpf! You're even more of a fool than I thought!" Kyle continued to scoff. "You don't seriously expect that copper coin will stop me, do you?"
Ranma snickered a bit as he replied. "That crystal on your golem's head, I got to admit, it's pretty powerful. You probably went through a lot of trouble to get it, right? You either spent a lot of gold or stole it, huh?"
Kyle puffed himself up as he replied with pride. "That's right street rat! I went through Hell to get it, and that's exactly where I'm going to send you! My golem is unstoppable! It cannot be destroyed! With the crystal powering it, it is invincible! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..."
The sorcerer stopped in his tirade when he heard that noise. He looked up and saw that the crystal in the monster's forehead now had something embedded within the center. His eyes widened as he saw that it was the coin that Ranma had been holding.
On the ground, Ranma smirked. Utilizing the speed of the Chestnut Technique, he had thrown the metal object with the force of a bullet. His projectile had pierced the fragile crystal's surface and was now releasing the ki that he had stored within it.
Kyle's jaw dropped as the crystal split in half where the needle was embedded. His face turned white as he watched the two halves fall off and shatter into a hundred pieces when they hit the ground. Immediately, his golem became inactive as its main source of energy was gone.
Ranma, with his hands behind his back, casually walked up to the monster's feet. He stopped about a foot away from the golem's right leg, then looked back up at Kyle. "So tell me Kyle, is your golem still invincible without that crystal?" At that point, he extended his left arm with the index finger pointing out.
With its right leg blown out from under it, the golem tilted over and came crashing down... on the building. The front of the exhibition hall came down, crushing all of the displays and statues. Everything was flattened as Kyle's dreams of revenge came tumbling down.
Ranma nimbly dodged the falling debris and made certain that Ila and the others were safe. Seeing that they were in an area that was not close to the carnage, he nodded and looked over to where Kyle had fallen. His rival painfully rose to his feet with a look of rage in his eyes.
"YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS!"
The former Nerima inhabitant shrugged and said, "And you owe me one copper coin."
It was then that he started to crack his knuckles...
After a very brief, but very violent episode, Kyle was taken away by the palace guards, while Ranma, Ila and Melissa stood outside the now demolished exhibition hall. Melissa of course, was none too happy...
"You idiot! You destroyed all of the displays and ruined the festival!" The Mylee priestess cried out. This was supposed to have been a great honor and that boor ruined it!
"Hey, it wasn't my fault, Ms. Know-Nothing-Know-It-All!" Ranma shot back. "You want to blame somebody, blame Kyle and his golem! He started it, and I finished it! End of story!"
"I can't believe this happened! This was supposed to be the most sacred event of the Church of Mylee and you have to go and..."
"... saved my life! Oh thank you!"
Both turned to see Isabelle running toward them with an ecstatic expression. She stopped and knelt down on one knee while bowing her head reverently. "Brave sir who rescued me, might I know the name of my Valiant Champion?"
"YOUR WHAT?!" Melissa exclaimed in disbelief.
I don't like the way this sounds...> Ranma thought.
"Uhm, excuse me." Ila said. "Did I just hear you call Ranma your Valiant Champion? You're a priestess of Mylee, right? Does that mean that he's supposed to be your Chosen Hero?"
"Yes! By the divine hand of Mylee himself, I was guided to this wonderful man to serve! I am Isabelle and I..."
"NO! THIS CANNOT BE!" Melissa said in total protest.
Isabelle looked at her rival with a smug expression. "Come now, Melissa. Surely you cannot be jealous that I have found my Chosen Hero, are you?"
"He CAN'T be your Chosen Hero!"
"And why not?"
Melissa couldn't bring herself to say that Ranma was her Chosen Hero. It would be too shameful. However, she didn't have to say it. Ila did it for her.
"I thought Ranma was Melissa's Chosen Hero. Does this mean that you BOTH have to serve him?"
At this time, Melissa was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not only was she trapped to serving this boorish, ill-mannered oaf, but now it seemed that she would have to do so alongside her greatest rival. Her body trembled and she shook her head in denial. Finally she let it all out...
"THIS IS AGAINST MY WILL!"
To be continued...
I was actually a bit stuck on writing this episode and I give thanks to a few pre-readers for giving me this idea, which fits in with the rest of the story that I have planned for Rune Soldier Ranma. I expect it to last some twenty or so episodes. In any case, things are going to get even crazier as Melissa and Isabelle become bound to Ranma and more hijinks are one the way. As for the Nerima Wrecking Crew, I decided to let one or two join him on this world. Which one? Well, that's a secret.
In the next episode, Ranma will have to deal with a deranged sorcerer, two bickering priestesses, an old elf friend, and... him?! See you there!