The sacrifice

Prologue

____________________________________________________________________

"To victory!" the two men chorused, brandishing their glasses of sake in the air.

"The master has been defeated!"

"No longer can he haunt us, ridicule us, or use us as his scapegoats for his perverted ways".

"Our school shall no longer bear the reputation of dishonourable scoundrels. We shall rise above all others, and become the superior of all martial artists." They downed their drinks, and refilled their cups.

"But where to go from here?"

"Our children."

"That's right."

"But they have to be taught the ways of a true martial artist. To be willing to sacrifice all for the arts. It must be drilled into them from the start that nothing in life is more important than the arts. All else is a source of weakness."

"Oh I wouldn't go that far Saotome."

"But it's true. Look at your girls."

"And just what is wrong with my family!?" the man growled.

"They haven't been raised as true warriors. They are being nurtured with the womanly ways of your wife. It will rub off on them and they will be unable to cope with the harshness of the world out there. They will not be able to overcome all obstacles the world throws at them. In order to survive they must be able to take the good, the bad and the worst in life to strive and stay out on top."

"I see what you're getting at."

"From day one they must learn to cope without the need of support from others."

"Now that is a bit far. Everybody needs someone to care for them at some stage."

"Yes but not to rely on it. Not so it destines them to be waiting for someone to pull them out of tough situations. A true warrior should be able to work their way out of any situation by themselves Tendo, as we had to on many occasions"

"That is true, we did have trouble dealing with the horrors Master left us with."

"That settles it. My son, and your youngest daughter. I'll raise my son with the harsh ways of the world and train him in the Arts, you can do the same with your child. This training needs to be started as early as possible so they don't get used to having others take care of their needs. Although Ranma is nearly one year old, I'm sure I can get him to start learning how to fend for himself. When they are sixteen they can be wed, then they will inherit the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts and continue the line of work with their children."

"That's a good idea."

"We'll raise them to be masters in the arts, to be unstoppable, and to dedicate their lives to the future of our ways."

"The future of our school of Anything Goes Martial Arts is secure,"

they shouted raising their cups again and downing the contents.

_____________________________________________________________________

Later that evening Genma Saotome was explaining the plan to his wife Nodoka.

"WHAT!!! I WILL NEVER ALLOW YOU TO TAKE MY SON AWAY AND LET YOU TREAT HIM LIKE NOTHING!"

"But Dear, it's for his own good. In order for him to become the greatest martial artist ...."

"IF I EVER CATCH YOU MISTREATING RANMA IN ANY WAY" Nodoka shouted, unsheathing her katana, "YOU WILL BE ANSWERING TO THIS! YOU ARE NOT TAKING HIM ANYWHERE" she continued, fire blazing in her eyes.

Cowering under her furious gaze, Genma retreated, "Yes Dear."

Thinking Genma agreed too easily Nodoka picked Ranma up from his cot and walked out of the room.

_____________________________________________________________________

A similar conversation was going on at the Tendo Dojo.

"Soun, I am surprised of you. How could you allow that man to estrange his own son from a loving family like that?"

"I didn't agree with his methods, but he does have a point. If we are to continue the School of Anything Goes we will need heirs who are of martial art material. I believe if we could start encouraging our children to fend for themselves..."

"But..."

"We will still help them when they need it Kimiko, but just cut down on how much we shield them from the world, they will toughen up and become stronger for it."

"I guess you are right. Just keep an eye on Ranma. I know Genma means well but he gets carried away sometimes."

"Yes. That poor boy will need a lot of luck to survive what his father has in store for him. I'll tell Genma to keep in touch with us and keep us updated on the boy's progress."

_____________________________________________________________________

The next day

Riiiiinnng..... Riiiiinnng

Nodoka stirred in her bed.

Riiiiinnng..... Riiiiinnng

Reaching over to the bedside table for the phone, "Hello."

"Hi Nodoka, it's Soun."

"Oh. Good Morning"

"Yeah. I am bit concerned about Ranma's well being."

"What's wrong?" Nodoka sat up quickly.

"Well, we both know what Genma is like, and how he is going on about how a true martial artist should sacrifice everything for the sake of the arts."

"Yeah I know that old fool."

"Well I wanted to make sure Genma doesn't do anything stupid to Ranma on the training trip"

"He's not going on any training trip. I forbade Genma last night from doing anything of such as his stupid training ideas to our boy."

"That's good then. Just keep an eye on him. I was going to get him to keep me updated on Ranma's training whilst he was away so I could ensure the boy was okay."

"Thankyou. I'll just try and find him so you can tell him yourself." Nodoka got up and looked around the house for Genma. When she walked into the living room she noticed a note on the table.

I'm sorry that you don't agree, but I took Ranma to prepare him for life as a martial artist. It may seem that my method is a bit harsh, but it is for the best. It will prove to be the only way for Ranma to reach his full potential.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" she screamed and fell to her knees.

Soun heard the yell over the phone. "Nodoka! Nodoka!" Soun heard no reply. Hanging up the phone he turned to his wife. "Something's wrong. We must go over there."

_____________________________________________________________________

At the Saotome residence

Kimiko handed Nodoka a cup of tea.

"How could anyone take a child who can't even walk properly yet, into the wild in order to teach them how to look after themselves?" Nodoka sobbed.

"Don't worry Nodoka. I'm sure Ranma will grow up to be a strong lad. If he is anything like his father he will survive out there," Soun said. In undertones "Only if Genma gradually introduces Ranma to self preservation. I hope he doesn't do anything stupid."

Kimiko overhearing Soun's last words flinched.

Reaching for her katana, Nodoka cried "If I ever see that lout again, he will suffer. I promised him that he'll have to answer to this if he took Ranma away. If Ranma is hurt I swear that Genma will be begging me for death." Nodoka broke down weeping.

"Now, now. We'll hear from them soon enough. Come Nodoka, you can stay with us for a while."

Nodoka just nods.

_____________________________________________________________________