A Ranma ½ King of Fighters crossover fanfiction
Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma ½ and King of Fighters characters. Especially some macho chick! That's built like a stick! Dumb as a brick! Thighs are too thick! Can't even kick! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! Ugh… shutting up now… oi…
AN: Okay, it's out, so this should answer that question. Oh, I posted this chap again because the initial post was screwy.
"No sir, we were able to shield ourselves because of the wall standing in between the blast and ourselves. Yes sir, target acquired, it was a success. Yes, our ride is here. We're leaving the area right away. Yes sir, as you wish."
"U-Uhn…" Chizuru moaned as she started to come to. She tried to get up but her arms surprisingly went limp, making her fall back onto the ground. After a few more tries, she finally managed to stand up but all she saw was the remains of what was supposed to be the temple of worship, the forest surrounding it was scorched as well. 'What happened?'
"Oohh, my head…" Iori mumbled. He clutched the side of his head for a minute before he lifted the large debris on top of him. Then he was alerted when his other hand bumped into someone beside him. He turned to see that it was none other than a heavily wounded Vice. "Oh, you're still alive, lucky you."
Terry and Leona dazedly tried to regain their composure while Yuki was frantically looking for her boyfriend under the huge amount of rubble in the area. "Kyo? Kyo?! Where are you?!"
Leona ignored any pain she felt and immediately went to the distraught young girl's side in hopes to try and calm her down a bit. Chizuru on the other hand, rushed to a familiar source of power that she just sensed. She painstakingly removed each and every rock and debris in her way until she came across a soft light under a very large stone wall.
With the help of Terry and a very reluctant Iori, they lifted the wall and Chizuru gasped at the scene before her. There was Chris, shaking uncontrollably as a bluish glow surrounded him. But there were absolutely no traces of Orochi, the Yata mirror, or the young man known as Ranma Saotome.
Flames of Destiny
By Insane Blight
Past, Present, and Future
"What are you doing hanging around in this place?"
Chizuru snapped out of her musings and turned around. She smiled sadly when it was none other than Shermie, who was back to her normal self and was looking at back at her with the same sad smile. "It's been awhile… I was just remembering what happened six months ago. The whole thing still feels so surreal, even to me."
Shermie chuckled softly. "Tell me about it. When I woke up, I found myself all tied up inside a medical facility of the Ikari Mercenaries. I freaked because I could barely remember anything at that point so I initially thought that I was still being tortured inside this temple…" she trailed off, kicking a small rock out of the way. "I never thought that I would destroy the place by accidentally calling forth a few lightning bolts…"
"You surprised us all with that one." The priestess giggled. "The Ikari mercenaries panicked when they saw it. Who could blame them? Their superiors were either incapacitated or unconscious at the time, and they knew that they're no match against an Orochi Hakketsu Shuu."
"Please… I don't want to talk about that…"
Chizuru nodded, knowing that it was a delicate subject. "I understand. Anyway, what brings you here? I thought that you still have several concerts to attend to? Did it got cancelled or something?"
The redhead gave her a thankful smile for the change in topic. "No, it's just that my next concert will be held in the newly built stadium in Osaka. I remembered that your home was not too far from there so I thought I should stop by and say hello. But I was kinda peeved when I heard from Reiko that you just left for this place. Since I was already out, I decided to go and meet you here."
"I'm so sorry for causing you this much trouble."
"Nah, it's no problem. To be honest, I needed the exercise. I really don't workout that much anymore." Shermie grumbled as she placed a hand on her side, obviously insecure about her figure.
Chizuru tried to stifle a giggle but to no avail.
"It's not funny!" she yelled, and then she grinned widely. "Besides, I think you need the exercise more than I do. I mean, look at you, that figure! You seem to have gained a few pounds since the last time I saw you!"
The priestess' eyebrows twitched, but there was a subtle blush on her face that went unnoticed.
Shermie giggled before she blinked when she recalled something. "Oh! I was wondering, where is Chris anyway? I went to your home and found out from Reiko that he wasn't living with you anymore. What happened? What did he do now? Is he okay? You didn't dump him out on the streets, did you?"
"Huh? Oh… him. Well…"
In Southtown, three figures were walking down a small alleyway, two of them were obviously younger than the third one and they seemed to be arguing about something as they go along.
"No, it's mine!"
Terry scratched the back of his head as he looked at the two young teenagers with him. Rock, he could understand but he was currently wondering how in the heck he got duped in taking Chris as well, that Kagura can be sneaky when she wants to be. The two young teens were arguing as to who gets to have his hat, he decided after the tournament that it was time for a change so his first act was to change his looks.
Gone were his old clothes which comprised of his sleeveless red jacket and a pair of sports shoes. He was now wearing a brown jacket, which has the words 'running wild' printed on its back, over his white shirt and a pair of brown leather shoes. He did retain his fingerless gloves and his blue denim pants. His ponytail hairstyle was now gone as he cut his hair short. Now, it only reached down his neck, but he did grow his bangs out to cover most of his face.
"I said it's mine!" Rock yelled. He yanked hard at Terry's hat to prove his point.
Chris scowled as he yanked back in response. "No way, blondie! Terry's hat is mine!"
Terry sighed. "C'mon you two, stop that already. Chris, you should just give him the hat. Besides, aren't you a little old to argue about such things, especially with someone who's obviously younger than you?"
Chris flinched. He didn't mean to get into a fight with blondie, he just thought that the hat would look better on him rather than on Rock. 'I have to start getting used to being the older one here…' he thought with a sigh. He dusted the hat and reluctantly handed it to the younger student. "Here… you can have it."
Rock squealed in delight and immediately wore the hat. He smiled, and then performed Terry's winning pose. "Okay!"
Terry looked up and couldn't help but smile when he saw Blue Mary leaning on a steel fence a few feet ahead of them. The mood however, was quickly broken when the two teens argued yet again. Terry looked at Mary for support but the short-haired blonde could only sweatdrop back at him. "Quite an energetic duo you got there Terry."
"Mary…" he sighed. "You have no idea."
Chizuru couldn't hold it anymore, so she laughed out loud. "You should've seen the look on Terry's face when he finally came to his senses that day. However, I do wonder how long he will last now that Chris is with him, that boy is, shall we say, interesting to say the least."
Shermie laughed along with her. "He'll get used to him soon enough. Either that or Terry'll have a mental breakdown."
The redhead bowed her head and glanced down on the pile rubble. "By the way, I heard about Kusanagi's mysterious disappearance after the battle. I thought he went out to train or something but Leona told me that he seemingly dropped off the radar, there were no clues as to what might have happened to him and they can't seem to find neither hide nor hair of him despite their efforts, it's like he just vanished from the face of the earth…"
Chizuru sighed sadly. "Yes, he has been gone for six months. We never did find out if he survived Orochi's final blast or not. There was so much chaos and destruction that it was hard to keep track of everyone at that time."
Shermie shuddered involuntarily. "Don't remind me, I don't want to go through that again. Ever been manipulated by someone before? It's not a nice thing to experience, especially when those circumstances forced me to make a very tough decision. I still hate myself for fighting all of you…"
"It's all in the past Shermie. You've moved on, right? And you're free now, aren't you? No more burdens to bear, and no more pointless fights to partake in."
"I guess you're right."
"I never thought that you knew someone from the Kusanagi clan, Auntie."
"Well, not directly I assure you, Leona-chan." Nodoka replied with a very noticeable twitch.
"Ohoho! I can certainly attest to that!" Shizuka Kusanagi chuckled. "Nodoka and I were the best of friends ever since her tribe decided to live with humans. We even trained under the same master a few years after she gave birth to little Ranma."
Nodoka frowned when she heard that. "Forced was more like it. That old man sure knows how to fight, considering he was around… what, seventy, or eighty years old?"
Shizuka smiled. "Well, we tried to find out if that shrine had anything related to the Orochi clan back then by sneaking in at night. We were lucky that he didn't call the police when he caught AND defeated the two of us inside the shrine."
"Huh?" Leona said dumbly, not sure where this was going.
"Oh, it's nothing Leona dear, just remembering the past." Nodoka said off-handedly. She then turned and faced her long-time friend. "Anyway, we came here to check up on you and that girl, Yuki. I heard about what happened, your son has been missing for months and Leona told me that all efforts in finding him were all in vain."
Shizuka sighed dejectedly. "Yes, that boy should've at least said goodbye if he was going out by himself. In a way, I can now relate to you, Nodoka. As for Yuki, well, she didn't take it too well. She barely ate anything during the first few days of Kyo's disappearance but she's getting better now, albeit slowly."
"I see… I'm glad to hear that Yuki is snapping out of it. Well, I'm sure he will be back sooner or later; he has his mother's fire in him after all." She assured her friend with a smile.
"Thank you Nodoka. Yes… I'm sure he'll come back… and when he does, he'll receive the mother of all spankings for making his mother worry so much!"
Leona blinked while Nodoka giggled. Soon enough, the three of them were laughing together, until Saisyu Kusanagi walked into the room. The temperature seemed to have dropped a few degrees, well, with Nodoka's icy glare towards the man who tried to kill her little boy all those years ago, it can't be helped. Saisyu tried to respond with a glare of his own but the amount of sweat he was producing killed the desired effect.
"Saisyu…" Nodoka said evenly.
Saisyu flinched, but was able to nod his head. "N-Nodoka." he replied nervously. "Um, oh yes, I forgot to go get the groceries, ha ha, silly me. I'm going out again dear! You three have a lovely time!" he shouted as he hurriedly went out the door.
Silence ensued until Leona shook her head. "This may seem rude Mrs. Kusanagi, but your husband was quite… pathetic. I've seen weasels that have a larger backbone than Mr. Kusanagi."
"Sigh… I know dear, I know."
Behind Leona and Shizuka was a frantic Nodoka, who was busy rolling on the floor as she laughed out loud. She couldn't have said it better herself. Saisyu could even be in the same cowardly league as Genma when it came to certain things.
"Missing for six months… that's… a bit too much if he was only trying to avoid us. I don't like what Kusanagi is doing to that Kushinada girl if he really did go off to who knows where by himself. She still believes that after all this time, he'll come back someday." Shermie finished sadly. She walked alongside Chizuru as they went up the stairs that leads to the Kagura shrine.
For her part, Chizuru remained silent. This was an all too familiar scenario for the two of them, mainly because a certain someone also went missing after that incident.
Sighing, she ushered her guest inside the shrine, hopefully she could get her to have a tea ceremony while they talk about old times. It was quite ironic that her best friend turned out to be none other than the redhead in front of her. Shermie, an Orochi clan member, one of the eight Hakketsu Shuu, it brought a smile to her face everytime she thought about it. Who would've thought that she'd get along great with her? Now that she thought about it, the four clans never really knew each other…
Beliefs… he was right… it all came down to their beliefs.
Chizuru absently placed a hand on her side, but she quickly removed it. Well, everything seemed to have settled down now, considering all that has happened so far. That final blast by Orochi was definitely not just a light show. It caused a series of problems that opened her mind a little bit more. But regardless, at least peace was back into this world, for the moment anyway. She was not a fool, not by a long shot. She knew that there would always be someone hiding in the shadows, waiting for the right time to try out schemes of their own.
Still, she knew that there are others who have the power to oppose such people. Besides, she has other things to worry about. With that, she smiled and proceeded to offer her guest a cup of tea.
Kasumi sighed happily as she went through her daily routine. Nabiki has been accepted to a university in America a few weeks ago. Her little sister already left and she seemed to have put the past behind her since there has been no talk about blackmail from her former classmates and friends.
Akane seemed to have done the same, her skills in the art have drastically improved in just a few months and it was all thanks to their father, the father they've known and loved before their mother died. Father was still pretty good in the art, and he and Akane were now teaching the new students in the dojo. There were still some signs of Akane's renowned temper but thankfully, she now has the self-control to avoid lashing out in anger.
As for her, well, she was still taking care of the house, but Akane and her father were now helping her everyday, though she doesn't let her little sister in the kitchen much as of yet. But besides that, she now has the freedom she craved for ever since she took up her mother's responsibilities inside the house, her father wanted it. She has started studying medicine at a local college a few months back, and she was surprised when she found it relatively easy. She guessed that all those books she borrowed from Dr. Tofu paid off.
Speaking of Dr. Tofu, the good doctor was indeed back in Nerima. But there seemed to be something on his mind as of late. His efficiency in treating his patients seemed to have dropped, and it wasn't because of her. In fact, Dr. Tofu doesn't go berserk around her anymore, and that's one of the reasons why she was a little bit wary of him. Why was he asking so many questions about her family anyway? Whatever it was, she has this sinking feeling that it won't be good.
Meanwhile, inside a local clinic in Nerima… too late, he was too late when he arrived. They have already taken her and she didn't resist the whole thing at all. It was exactly as that man, Ash Crimson, said. If he spoke the truth about them that day, then Nerima would truly change in a few years. His own research about those people only confirmed the white-haired man's story even more.
Dr. Tofu removed his glasses and rubbed his temples, what would he say to them? Who can he ask for help? He doesn't want to get 'him' involved into this so that's out of the question. It was useless thinking about it right now; perhaps the answer will come to him someday. 'I hope it won't be too late by then…'
"Sigh… it's quite a slow day…" Ukyou muttered. Well, she and Konatsu have managed to get by even when the odds were against them. She now has established herself as a renowned cook throughout Okinawa. Yes, she was still disavowed by her father, but she could care less about such things. That was all in the past, and quite frankly, everyone she knew, save Konatsu, was dead to her.
"Sweeto!" yelled a certain pervert.
Well, almost everyone.
Perverted master met steel spatula as Ukyou slammed it towards the oncoming Happosai. "Dirty old man, go find somebody else to grope!"
Believe it or not, Happosai was the one responsible for her new life. He showed his caring side when he stumbled upon her and Konatsu, passed out due to fatigue. After he saved them, he immediately went for his patented grope when they started to come to but unfortunately for him, he went for Konatsu instead of her. Needless to say, it was his turn to be sick.
Not that she wasn't grateful for what he has done, and she had to admit, he was pretty good company whenever he could control himself. But those were few and far between. She has to come up with an excuse for him to leave her store each and every time or else the she'll lose her customers. Oh well, not that this day was any different. Luckily, she has heard certain rumors in one of the wards in Tokyo about a girl fighting monsters or whatever.
Inside Tokyo General Hospital, Saotome Genma, who was currently in his cursed form, cringed when he heard the nurse's voice calling his 'other' name. He can move his head a little now but the rest of his body was still dead, and maybe it will be like that until he dies. But he still has feelings on his body, and that was the only thing he doesn't want to have in this hospital. He really wished that he had Soun here so he could at least avoid what awaits him from that nurse from hell. Heck, committing seppuku even sounds better than staying here!
"Oh, Mr. Panda! It's time for your daily checkup!"
Mr. Panda whimpered when he saw a number of large, pointy needles that was placed on the tray the nurse was carrying. He couldn't ask for help from Kami-sama, last time he did that, his room was suddenly struck by lightning, and that was on a sunny day.
The nurse waved a finger at him. "Now, now, I have orders from ALL of the doctors and nurses to administer all of these medicines to you everyday via injection. Your wife especially wants you to get better soon and the best way to recover quickly is to take your medicines, right?"
Genma-panda rapidly shook his head. Whatever did he do wrong? All he ever did was raise that ungrateful boy, train him in the art and he hoped to marry him to one of Tendo's daughters and live off him when he retires. What did he do to deserve such inhuman torture? Oh, what a cruel world we live in! Not only did Ranma disobey him, that ungrateful boy left him for dead! Oh, what a truly ungrateful boy he has raised.
He snapped out of his thoughts when he saw the smiling nurse ready to give him another painful day. "Now I'll be honest with you, this will really sting, here we go!"
Mr. Panda's screams of agony can be heard a mile away.
Back in China, Shampoo stood in the middle of what was left of the battleground she and her opponents fought at. Her opponents were two of the Amazon matriarchs which she challenged for the right to be the main leader of the Joketsuzoku. "I have won this battle, now live up to your promise if you have any shred of honor left!"
The elder matriarchs' actions towards Ranma and Mu Tsu really made her furious. She attacked the elders but was unfortunately captured and imprisoned for her actions. Since then, she devoted herself in becoming the best in her tribe. She practiced like a possessed individual for months. Some say that she has already bested Cologne at this young age, it was no small feat especially since Cologne was considered as one of the best in their tribe.
Six months have passed and she has challenged the elders to a match. If she wins, she'll become the one true leader of the amazon tribe but if she loses, they will execute her on the spot. The old prunes were more than happy to accept the challenge. Why shouldn't they? It will finally give them the chance to finally get rid of the largest thorn in their side.
"Y-Yes… you… are the new… head of the Joketsuzoku…"
Shampoo breathed a sigh of relief as she wiped the sweat off her brow. The rest of the amazons cheered the purple-haired girl on, they new that from now on, there will be a lot of changes in their society. Most of them wanted it because the outsider has spoken true that day. Their laws as it stands now will only bring about the downfall of their tribe, the young ones knew it, but the older ones were just too stubborn to admit it.
"Ranma, Mu Tsu, great-grandmother, I did it."
At the Musk Kingdom, a very irate, white-haired man was shaking in rage as he glared at two people who were frantically bowing and scraping before him.
"Shut up! I told you that my curse is gone so stop bothering me about it!" King Herb of the Musks yelled at his two subordinates.
Mint and Lime looked at their King with teary eyes. "B-b-b-b-but! The treaty with the amazons will not be in effect for at least three more months, what will we do during that time? C'mon Herb, show us your woman form!"
Herb twitched and then sent the two flying towards the cursed springs of Jusenkyo. "If you want to see a woman so badly then go to Jusenkyo and curse yourselves, morons!"
"You have a unique way of handling your friends, Herb."
Herb sighed as he slumped on his throne. He looked at the woman in front of him and he couldn't help but smile at her. "I'm sorry about that. It's just that those two will never get the message unless you literally pound it into their heads, but they have and always will be my friends as long as I live, mother."
The white-haired woman smiled in return. "It's alright my son, I never thought that I would get to see you again after all these years, I never believed that you would still remember me after being gone for so long and I would never have had the courage to come and see you if it wasn't for-"
"Saotome…" Herb finished in an even tone. He got up from his throne and walked towards his mother with a much bigger smile than before. Mother and son hugged each other tightly. Tears threatened to fall from the Musk King's eyes as he thought of the life he has now that his mother was there by his side. 'Heh, you know I'd never say this to your face but… thank you…'
"Hey, it's been awhile, hasn't it? I'm sorry if I hadn't visited that often. It's just too painful to come here sometimes. Well, everyone's doing fine, and all of them seemed to have moved on with their lives one way or the other.
Well, the damage he dealt was huge, and that blast was the cause of a lot of deaths, mostly those who were in their vehicles. Still, the chaos he created brought out the darker side of humans, human leaders to be exact. I heard from my mother that during the first three months, there has been nothing but quarrels and arguments, people blaming each other and other countries for this and that because none of them really believed in the 'eight-headed god that tried to destroy the world' story.
The whole thing has quieted now but I guess he got his point across. I'm not backing down on my beliefs but… I guess only time will tell if we will really lead the world to destruction.
Vice is all right now. She actually became a lot calmer now that her secret was out. Though I haven't heard from her in quite awhile, but she did mention that she was hot on the trail of someone, just like Yagami, who is currently searching high and low to find his long-time rival that went missing after that event.
Chris is still an annoyance, what more can I say? I'm starting to regret saving him back then… oh well, the old man will take care of him from now on so I don't have to worry about him anymore. Still, I miss his sarcasm every now and then.
Leona looks pretty good in a lot of ways. I heard that she took some time off from Commander Heidern's assignments so she could spend some time with my mother. Heidern understood her… I think… I couldn't read his face when it came to his daughter quitting the Ikari Mercenaries for a little while. But he did say that he already has a replacement for her, some girl named Whip or something like that, frankly, I don't understand why a person wants to be called by that name. To each their own, I guess…
Shermie is okay too. Now that he's gone, and since her awakening was more or less a forced one, she reverted back to her old self. She, uh, still has feelings for me though, even though she understood that I have developed feelings for someone else during the whole ordeal. Anyway, the whole thing doesn't stop her from teasing me whenever she has the chance. Sigh… though I can still see the pain in her eyes whenever I'm with the one that I care for… just like you when I caught you watching me once…
…oh boy, this is tough… I didn't know what to make of it back then. And I do love you, but… I saw you as an older sister. I… I… oh man… I'm not really good with this sort of thing…
Sigh, anyway, I thought you might like to know this. Chizuru told me about the whole thing between you and her. Her mother and a few other Yata clan members really did order the search for the remaining Orochi clan members and they did execute them as soon as possible, even if they're women or children. Her father was against it though… well, she wasn't asking for forgiveness, but she just wants you to understand that not all of them were against our clan, just as our clan is not entirely against humans.
…but I know that you'll find it in your heart to forgive them someday…
As for me, well, I really thought that I died back then, but it turned out that I was inside a void of nothingness together with him. Both of us were badly wounded and in my opinion, wouldn't last for more than five minutes, especially since the mirror was right in between the two of us and the damned thing was slowly pulling us in. We simply stared at each other, well… I was pretty much glaring at him the whole time.
It was like a battle of wills until he simply smiled at me. It wasn't one of those so-called evil smiles, but it was like an actual, caring smile, something like a father would give to his child, I don't know, I never really had a father figure other than Terry, yes, that damned Panda I talked to you about doesn't count. Terry rarely smiled during the time I spent with him, but after hearing the reason from him recently, I don't regret doing those things to Geese as much as I did before.
Heh, when Terry did smile, I couldn't help but smile back.
Back to the story, next thing I knew, I found myself lying in the middle of a crowded street in Tokyo, but oddly enough, three months have already passed since then. I remember it clearly though, he was the one that sent me back to this place, I know that with his last ounce of strength, he brought me back, and, well… what happened inside the void is another story altogether."
Ranma sighed, stretching his arms a little. He was back to normal, aside from a few whites at the tip of his hair, and his somewhat new look, he was definitely back. His Chinese clothes were gone, replaced by a more casual look in the form of a loose, long-sleeved shirt, dark-blue pants, a pair of black leather shoes, and a long trenchcoat. Don't ask, just don't ask, it was a certain priestess' idea for him to dress up like this. His eyes were, oddly enough, grayish blue with a tint of red along the sides.
He slowly walked down the small hill he was on. "I have to go… I still have things to do, promises to keep, I hope you understand." He glanced over his shoulder and looked back at the grave atop the small hill with a smile. "I'll see you around."
"I'm sorry Chizuru but I have to go, duty calls." Shermie said sadly. She got up from her place and grabbed her purse from the table.
Chizuru gave her a small smile. She shook her head and carefully placed her teacup on the table as she got up and led her friend towards the door. "The life of a singer can be hard at times, ne?" she asked teasingly.
The redhead nodded, albeit tiredly. "Tell me about it. I barely get to spend any time with my friends much less allow myself to relax a little but work is work. But regardless, I love singing and I like it even more now that I don't hear their, I guess you can call them 'souls' when I perform in front of them like I used to when I was still apart of CYS. All in all, I love my life as it is and I'm more than happy with the way things turned out in the end, it could have ended a lot differently you now."
"I know what you mean, Shermie. I know what you mean…"
Shermie smiled playfully as she placed a finger on her chin. "If it bothers you so much, you could leave him to me. I promise that I'll take good care of him. You do know that I still have some feelings left for him, right? Hmm… I wonder what it's like to live together with him. Me and him, that handsome face of his and those sparkling blue eyes, god! Chizuru, c'mon, let me borrow him for a day or two, it'll be fun!"
"NO! I-ahem… that's not what I meant Shermie. Even though he has the tendency to stick his foot in his mouth at times, and even though it took him a few months to admit his feelings, mine still hasn't changed. Besides, the real him is nothing like the sad, lonely, shell of a man I met long ago and hey, we already talked about your relationship with him before, remember?" Chizuru asked with an icy stare, it looked like somebody has been learning the soul of ice.
Shermie held both hands up and quickly did a warding gesture. "Relax, I was just kidding! Who knows? Maybe if things went a little different, I might have been the one who ended up with him instead. But it didn't go that way so all I can do was wish the two of you the best of luck." she sighed out loud. "It still hurts when I think about it, but we have to move on with our lives, right?"
The two were quiet for awhile until the redhead finally reached the front gate, with Chizuru a couple of steps behind her. She turned and faced the Kagura priestess with a smile. "Well, it's been a pleasure talking with you again. It's too bad that he wasn't around this time, but I promise that the next time I'm gonna to visit, I'll let you know in advance. I'll see you later!"
"Alright… Goodbye Shermie!"
"Oh my god… you're actually right on time!" Ranma gasped in mock surprise at the man in front of him. "Maybe it really was the end of the world six months ago. Either that or I'm really dead and currently in hell like you always say…"
The man bopped him hard on the head for that. "Stop joking Ranma! You very well know that my sense of direction has improved since my time in Nerima."
Ranma smirked. "Yeah, yeah, maybe your improved sense of direction is because of how Akari plays with her cute little sumo piggy on the bed. Oh? Did I get it right, Ryoga? What's wrong lost boy?"
"Don't tempt me Ranma…" Ryoga growled, a sickly green aura forming around him.
"Whoa, wait a minute! Can't you take a joke?"
After his return from the void, Ranma took it upon himself to handle a number of his problems inside and outside of Nerima, and Ryoga was the first one on his list. The former lost boy begrudgingly admitted that he was nowhere near Ranma's level at that point so they agreed to wait for a few months to continue their fight. They've actually gotten along pretty good during that time span, most likely because of the constant coaxing from the women in their lives.
The two never have gotten themselves cured of the Jusenkyo curse. It wasn't because there was no nannichuan, no, the Jusenkyo guide sent Ranma more than enough to cure him and Ryoga. It was because they didn't want to be cured. For Ranma it was because he saw his curse as just another challenge in his already interesting life and for Ryoga, well, Akari will miss her number one pig if he did get himself cured. Besides, he has gotten by and he became a lot more resilient due to his curse.
"Hey! Wait a sec!"
Ranma crossed his arms to block the ki blast. He grinned as he looked up and saw Ryoga smirking back at him. This was it, the one where they will give it everything they have. "You're not all that depressed anymore, remember? Eheh, you've gotten stronger anyhow. Well, ready to take me seriously this time?"
Ryoga cracked his knuckles. "Yeah, I've been waiting for this for a long time. Besides, I made a promise to someone, and I intend to keep it! Heh, no matter who wins…"
"This is going to be…" Ranma continued. The smirk on his face was widening by the second. He then encased his hand with his purple flames. Ryoga on the other hand, covered his with pure ki. The two friends, rivals, whatever you may call it, charged at one another. There was no anger, no hatred or malice in their eyes, only absolute respect for the other.
"…the last one!"
"This is the place." Iori muttered to himself. He was currently at the main entrance to a hidden laboratory, a place where his search for Kyo took him. 'Heavily guarded facility my ass, they don't even have guards or surveillance cameras at the main gate.'
He casually stepped inside and walked down the corridor. After a few minutes, he found himself surrounded by several armed individuals. He couldn't help himself; he laughed his heart out as he gazed at all of them. "Well, are you guys ready to die? Because I sure as hell know that I'm not the one who's going to."
Iori charged at the person in front of him, barely evading the bullet that was fired at him. He clamped his hand onto the person's head and quickly turned around and used the unlucky person as a human shield to protect himself from the rain of bullets. He threw the obviously dead person to one of the guards before he burned the rest of them with his purple flame. "Bah, told you so."
A few minutes passed and after a lot of fighting for his part, Iori somehow ended up in a darkly lit room. He turned on the lights and almost lost his balance when he saw Kyo… lots of Kyo. 'What the hell is this?! Are these guys clones or something?!' His thoughts were interrupted when the Kyo clones all turned and faced him with one helluva irritating smirk, and that was all he could take.
What happened after that was not for the weak of heart. Iori tore through the clones with an impressive display of strength that he would normally have during his Riot of Blood. He snarled and was about to leave the room when he noticed something on a monitor.
NESTS project report no. 0715
Ranma Saotome: Orochi clan member and controls the element of fire, unsuitable for the project.
Iori Yagami: The best specimen for the experiment but like Ranma Saotome, his blood is too unstable.
Kyo Kusanagi: He wields the legendary magatama. His blood is perfect for the project.
"NESTS? Grr, damn you!"
After a few more minutes destroying the facility, Iori exited the place a lot more pissed than before. "Dammit, I'll take you all down for interfering! You goddamn bastards!"
"From your excessive amount of cursing, I take it he wasn't there?"
Iori glanced at the person leaning against a tree and scoffed. "Oh, he was there alright, around ten or so of him, possibly even more if they cloned him at different places. Bastards… how about you? What happened to your search for the man with white hair?"
"Clones, eh? That certainly is an interesting turn of events." Vice wondered before she shrugged her shoulders. "Well, unlike you, I can't find any signs of him anywhere. I'm positive that I saw him going after Yata before we knocked ourselves out fighting in the temple. Well, what are you gonna do now?"
Iori simply looked at her. "Isn't it obvious?"
Vice shook her head and smiled. "Right, sorry I asked. Say, mind if I join you? I know that you haven't quite forgiven me with the stunt I pulled six months ago but… please?"
"............It's your funeral."
Ash smiled as he opened the door to a small house at a remote village in China. His smile turned into a frown when he saw the two figures in front of him, one was a male teenager that was sleeping on the bed while the other was a young woman that was seated beside the bed, watching the other one with worried eyes. "I see that he's getting worse ever since being seriously injured a few months back."
The woman nodded despondently. "Yes. No matter how hard he tries, his body just can't control it. And with his recent contact with one of that beast's blood, his body reacted even more. But enough of that, were you successful in doing what I asked? You did go by the whole ordeal undetected right?"
"Mmm… not exactly… I had to interfere directly in some places because of a few unwanted circumstances that you have not foreseen, old hag." Ash quickly ducked to avoid a round energy ball. "Alright, alright, I'll stop the name calling. Yes, I did manage to absorb just enough of his power when he released that blast six months ago. It's all in here." He pulled out the pendant and presented it to the woman. "You know, you could've warned me about the traps inside that damned cave, it would've saved me a lot of trouble."
The woman ignored Ash's mumblings and grabbed the pendant that was emitting a mixture of green and purple glow. "Yes, this is just about enough for the transfer to take place."
"Really? Hmm, but I have to ask, are you sure you want to give it to me? I mean, without even asking that guy beside you? He is the one that's going through with this transfer you know."
The woman sighed dejectedly as she brushed the man's bangs aside. "I know I have no right to do this to him but… I can't, I simply can't bear to see him suffer everyday and every night. He may hate me for this act when he does find out what I've done, but if it means that he'll have no more problems then I would gladly do it." She wrapped the pendant around the man's hand and said, "Well, are you ready Ash? Just hold his hand and it will be over soon."
Ash complied and soon enough, he found himself falling to his knees due to the pain he was receiving. It only took a few seconds but for him, it really did feel a lot longer than that. He let go of the hand and panted heavily on the floor. He shakily stood up, shook his head, and held out both hands. A green flame appeared on one hand and a purple flame appeared on the other one. A half-second later, the two flames combined into one hand and Ash winced a little from the pain it gave off. "I… guess… it was a success…"
"Yes, you are now its bearer. With your unique powers, I have little doubt that you'll have any problems containing it. And if all goes well, I hope that he and the old man will never know the difference between a fake from the real thing… thank you so much Ash for doing me this favor."
"The pleasure is all mine… Athena."
Ash walked out of the house and gazed at the sky. He closed his eyes and smiled as he felt the wind blew past his hair. "Dragon spirit, eh… but, was destroying one of the most powerful beings to ever walk this planet the right thing to do when another being of equal footing has started to awaken because of it?"
Speaking of which, in a place covered in darkness, a large man stood before the kneeling figure in front of him. "I'm glad that you chose to accept your fate and left your adoptive human family forever. Now rise, we have a lot to do before we set the plan in motion. The surprising turn of events has altered our plans significantly, but we do have information that Yata still has the mirror in her possession."
Several strings appeared out of nowhere and formed around the kneeling figure's hands. "I understand, when will you order me to do the job?" The female voice, which turned out to be the one Ash called puppet master, asked.
"In due time, but for now, we wait for the mirror keeper to be weakened once more." The large man replied before he walked back into the darkness. "You could watch Ranma Saotome if you like, I'm sure you have a fairly large score to settle with that Orochi descendant."
"Yes, a score to settle. You're right about that, Mukai." The figure stood up and chuckled at Mukai's retreating figure. She took a step forward and the woman revealed herself as none other than the middle Tendo girl. "A very large score to settle…"
Nabiki got up, turned around and walked away, her face showing little to no emotion. How could her so-called father keep this from her? Soun stole her from her real mother… though the reason behind it was never clear, it sounded like something Genma might do. She never really thought that Soun had the guts to do that. Be it as it may, she chose not to kill him and his real daughters. It would be fun to watch what they'll do without her in the future.
Still, that damned Ash Crimson acted too much like a certain pigtailed boy when facing an opponent. She was humiliated by him. Granted that she was still new to her abilities but she simply cannot let him get away with it, her pride would not allow it, but right now, she has other business to take care off.
'Saotome, I guess that luck of yours saved you yet again. I'm not going to ruin your life any further. I'll simply watch from the sidelines, your chaotic life is basically entertainment for me.'
"Eh? Shermie visited? Why didn't she wait for me?" Ranma asked curiously, he flinched a bit when Chizuru tried to touch the wounds on his face.
"You know how busy her life is at the moment, and would you rather see her looking like that? You look like you've just been to a war or something." Chizuru said with a frown as she wiped the dirt off of Ranma's face with a piece of cloth.
Ranma pouted, but had the decency to look down. "Sorry, but I just had to settle the long-standing rivalry with Ryoga once and for all or else he'd start hunting me down again." he said with a small smile. "You'd never have guessed what happened in that one."
Chizuru giggled softly and then she gently pinched Ranma's cheek. "Oh, I don't know, you lost?" she joked, but blinked when the ponytailed teen just looked at her with the same expression. "You really… lost?" she asked once more, puzzled and shocked at the same time. Well, the person she was looking at did stop a god six months ago, so her shock was certainly justified.
"Heh, yeah, funny thing is… I was right into the fight until the last moment." He explained while Chizuru placed the cloth to the side and sat down beside him, a puzzled look still creasing her face. "I began to question myself. Why was I fighting him? What more do I have to prove? Do I still fight to be the best now that everything is back to normal?" he paused before continuing. "It's true that it was once my goal in life but now…"
Ranma took a deep breath and looked up. "Now, after everything that I've seen, after all of the things that have happened, I really don't see myself fighting for that reason. Call me senile, but I think that it was all a childish dream, then and now."
Chizuru wondered, looking up as well. "That was your goal in life huh? It sounds just like you. So what about now? What is your new goal in life?" she inquired, not looking at the ponytailed teen.
Ranma coughed a few times, and fumbled with his fingers. "I, er, um… I, ah… dammit…" 'Three months and I still can't say it! Even though she and I have been through a lot already, and I do mean A LOT. Darn, are you really a wuss, Ranma?!!' he fumed at that last thought because, well, Yagami was the one that said it to him when he couldn't admit his feelings back then.
The priestess pouted slightly, before a playful grin appeared on her face. She pointed to the side as she casually said, "Oh look! A cute little kitty wants to play with you!"
"Huh? That's nice, now where was I… oh yeah, my goal in life. I, um.................. Eh? Ahhhhh! C-C-C-C-Cat! W-Where?! Where?!" he yelled, jumping a good thirty feet into the air and accidentally destroying a large portion of the roof. He growled when he noticed Chizuru trying to control her laughter. "It's not funny! You know what I'm capable of in that state, especially since after my fight with him!"
"Erm, you're right. I'm sorry Ranma, I was out of line." She said, but her playful smile didn't disappear. She grabbed the descending ponytailed teen and quickly tackled him into a nearby pond. What happened after that was not the one she expected. The water suddenly became boiling hot, she had to jump out of it so that she would not get burned.
Ranma got up and smirked at the priestess. "Nice try, but still too predictable."
Chizuru turned around and began to visibly shake as she wrapped her arms around her waist, which made Ranma cringe for a very damn good reason. "That's mean Ranma, what if she got hurt? Don't you care about her well-being?" she sobbed, rubbing her stomach a little.
Yup, exactly what he feared. Well, after his return to this world, his mother held quite a big party. What happened during that party? Well, in all honesty, he had absolutely no idea, and he has Chris to thank for that. The little runt sneakily spiked his drink. Next thing he knew, he wound up in bed with Chizuru! The runt seemed to have done the same thing to her drink as well. It wasn't a surprise when a few weeks later, he found out that she was pregnant.
Reactions varied amongst the group when he explained it to them. A smile from Yagami, don't really know what was so amusing at the time. Chris laughed his head off, despite him choking the life outta the runt. Terry just congratulated them and told the two that at least they were not completely against it. Heh, he finally shut up when Blue Mary got dangerously close to him. Leona did the same and congratulated them while his mother was in a total euphoric state, muttering something about grandchildren over and over again, she can be so weird at times.
He hasn't told Shermie yet, but he has a distinct feeling that she knew it already. Chizuru was surprisingly happy with it, and to be honest, so was he. He knew he would wimp out when something like this was about to happen, that's why he hasn't made any sort of moves on her. Oh well, at least the incident brought them closer than ever before, he can thank his mother for that. She told him to live with Chizuru the minute she heard that she was pregnant, or else… ah, everyone knew the rest.
"It's not that Chizuru! I didn't…! I mean that I… um… oh man, Yagami was right, I am a wuss…" he was cut off when Chizuru smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck as she pulled him in for a kiss. The two parted a few moments later, blushing like crazy. "Wow… I didn't expect that…"
Chizuru rested her head on his chest as she wrapped her arms around his waist. "You know, we've been through a lot, huh?"
"Heh, tell me about it." Ranma chuckled. Then he turned serious as he held her close. "No one knows the real truth about Orochi's destruction, no one except for the two of us." he whispered to her ear.
"Yes, and no one else will ever know about it." She whispered back.
Ranma smiled as he broke their embrace. He took a few steps back and closed his eyes. A white glow surrounded his body as the Yata mirror slowly went out of his chest. He gently cupped it and the two gazed at it for a little while. Chizuru gasped a bit when the mirror emitted a violet glow before it went back its normal state.
"The mirror is now my life… and Orochi… Orochi dies with me…" he whispered as the Yata mirror went back inside his body.
"No…" Chizuru quickly interrupted. She held Ranma's hand and gripped it tightly. "Orochi, the battles between the clans, all the suffering, all of it… all of it, dies with us. You're not alone anymore, remember that." She finished by giving him a comforting smile.
His lips quivered, and tears threatened to fall from his eyes when he heard that. He smiled back as he embraced her with no hesitation whatsoever. She was right. She will always be there for him, and he will always be there for her. This was the life he wanted, and he will never let anyone ruin his newfound happiness with her. "Thank you… thank you…"
AN: Owari! The Orochi saga finally comes to a close. Why an open-ended ending? Well, I'm starting to wonder if KOF itself will ever have a true ending. It does provide continuity to the NESTS saga and so on but with a few alterations regarding Ash, Mukai, and a few others during the next couple of tournaments.
Anyway, it still brings a closure to the Orochi saga. I also made Nabiki the 'puppet master', the one who controlled a certain someone with her strings in KOF 2003. (Hey, she looks a lot like her so why not?) It's been quite a long ride, and I do hope everyone enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Ja ne minna!
Next What? There's a next?
"Of course there is! You'll write some more, right Luc?" Chris asked, purple flames in hand.
"Ah, er, I still have to finish my other fics first so it'll be a long time if I do decide to write more… ah! Stop it! The pain! The pain!"