Big Trouble
A Ranma 1/2 Fanfiction
By Azurite
Based on the Ranma 1/2 Movie: Big Trouble
in Nekonron, China

It is not required, but it helps a lot to have seen this movie... to better understand how the chain of events begins.

Formatting edits on 5/11/05 - More edits coming soon!

Ranma... it was the last word uttered by Akane before she was taken aboard the ship belonging to one Kieran... who wanted to make her his bride. The last word uttered as she stared at the moon, alone in that closet-space...with a stupid bowl of rice and pickles.

So alone...

Ranma was terrified for Akane's life, and would go to any resort to save her.
But there was only one way to save her... go to Nekonron, China... and there was no way he could do that... not without Ryoga as competition for Akane, Soun as Akane's father, Shampoo as "Ranma's Bride", Kuno as the owner of the "vessel" they were to ride aboard, Happosai as the wretched cause of it all, Genma as Ranma's dad, and Mousse to prevent Ranma and Shampoo from getting too close.

In addition, the only one that knew the truth about the Seven Lucky Gods and their scroll was the runaway Lai-Chi!

So the gang went aboard a boat, which ended up capsizing. So they swam a minute until Lai-Chi's boat -complete with fierce Jasmine the elephant. After a scuffle or two, they gained passage and learned the full story of Lai-Chi and the scroll of the Seven Lucky Gods.

Eventually, they caught up with the ship-balloon that had taken Akane away, and they were lucky enough to see the bottom of the boat open up. But with it, Akane, the Prince Kieran and several vats of pickled vegetables fell. No one could stop them from falling into the ocean, and the impact would kill them.

If the boat hadn't been so nearby, they surely would have drowned in seconds. Lai-Chi dived after the prince, and Ranma, not caring that he would revert back to 'she' form, dove in after Akane. All of them surfaced, though Kieran and Akane were unconscious.

Suddenly, a net from above captured the foursome and brought them aboard. In order to get them back, the leech Happosai was used as an anchor. The crew of the ship abandoned the captured four, Lai-Chi and Kieran now being the unconscious ones.

Happosai managed to climb aboard, with the thought of the "pretty girls" -Akane, Ranma and Lai-Chi- driving him. However, he could not get past the railing, as Genma, Soun, Shampoo, Mousse, Kuno, Ryoga and Jasmine were all climbing the rope. When they reached the top, they were greeted by Kieran's guardians -the Seven Lucky Gods.

Meanwhile, Lai-Chi was stirring in her sleep, calling out for her prince. Mistakenly, Akane thought Lai-Chi was talking abut Ranma-guy, and became infuriated at the redhead.

Ranma was just as mad, she just didn't show it, for her worry partially concealed her anger. After all, Kieran's head was pillowed in Akane's lap... though he didlook rather sick.

A fight pursued on deck, but none of the attacks care of the Tendo-Saotome gang worked.

Slowly but surely, Kieran awoke.

"Nice to see your taste in men hasn't improved since I last saw you!" Ranma bit. his voice tinged with sarcasm and jealousy.

"Listen to me! I'll have you know this man ate my home cooking, and he said it was good!" Akane protested out of reflex. She knew she was beyond this, but... with Ranma, she just couldn't help it. It didn't matter what form he --or she-- was in...

"Oh yeah? Then why does he look half dead?" Ranma challenged.

"What did you say? Would you care to repeat that Ranma?" She just wanted him to stop saying things like that. She wanted him to understand how much it hurt, but that feeling could never be put into words.

Suddenly, Lai-Chi became fully conscious, and she was immediately worried for her prince's health.

Akane, bewildered, looked from the redheaded Chinese girl to Ranma and back again. After a moment, Ranma explained that Lai-Chi was thegirl who's fianceé Akane "stole".

"Guess the honeymoon's over, eh Akane?" Ranma remarked snidely. It was meant to be a joke.

But all the hurt inside reached a boiling point, and Akane wound up her fist and thrust it back and then forward-- straight into Ranma's face. Akane's blow loosened the net holding Ranma and the others captive, causing their weakened contraption to shudder and plummet to the deck.

Lai-Chi only murmured a quiet "Ouch."

"What do you think you're--" Ranma began, infurtiated that she'd somehow let her guard down around Akane --again!-- but stopped when she heard a strange sound. Ranma forced her anger away, and realized Akane wasn't heaving with anger anymore-- she was crying.

'Because of me...'

Akane looked straight at Ranma, biting her lip to keep from letting the tears fall.

Meanwhile, Lai-Chi continued to tend to Kieran until he awoke, but when he did, his reaction was not as the young girl hoped.

"Where... am I?"

Lai-Chi explained that he was safe aboard his own vessel-- and that there had been a mistake: she was the true owner of the scroll, and the one destined to be his bride.

"No. Akane... is the one destined to be my bride," Kieran proclaimed as she shakily rose to his feet.

"WHAT? BRIDE?" Ranma shrieked in surprise.She had thought that Akane was going to be some kindof sacrifice!

'But that was based on the old leech's story.You heard Lai-Chi's side; you should have known!'

Lai-Chi broke into tears, while Ranma stood upand challenged Kieran. She asked exactly what Kieranmeant by bride, and Kieran explained, as though hewere reading a definition from a dictionary.

"That's not what I meant! There's no way I'mgoing to let you make Akane YOUR bride!" Ranma scowled murderously, openly challenging any opposition to her claim as Akane's fiancée.

"What?" Kieran was astonished.

"Ranma...?" Akane whispered. What was she doing?

"Why would Kieran need your permission, praytell?" Kieran asked calmly, regarding Ranma coolly.

"Because she's MY fianceé, that's why!" Ranma shouted back without thinking.

Shock slowly swept its way through Akane's body.

'Ranma... you...' He NEVER admitted his engagement with her to anyone... especially not a stranger. Most of the time, he told Akane that the whole arrangement would blow over eventually ...they were more like friends... that just happened to live together, and fight all the time...

'And be engaged...'

But still... why was Ranma being so fierce, determinedand stubborn? Why did Ranma care?

"F-fianceé... You lie...""Why would I lie about a thing like that!"Ranma challenged.

"But... you're a woman!" Kieran pronounced rather unceremoniously.

The hard truth fell on Ranma like a ten ton brick.

"Uh? Oh yeah... I have..." Ranma eyed her female parts like they were evil beings. In an instant, she wondered if she should have just said 'So what?' as if it didn't matter. Because... it didn't, right? Ranma dared to sneak a glance at Akane to see whether she cared or not, but her face was shrouded by her hair.

'Damn. Where's hot water when you need it?' It was the only way to prove to Kieran...

"You dolt!" Akane shrieked. She felt like a fool. It didn't matter who they were surrounded with, Ranma always forced her into embarassing situations where she had to scramble to save face. Didn't Ranma understand?

Ranma looked down, wishing she'd just said what she wanted from the beginning. It might not be as effective now, but...

"But... it doesn't matter. There's no way you're taking Akane away..." Ranma bit her lip, holding back the 'from me' she was tempted to blurt.

'I'm just a dolt, right? All brawn, no brains.'

It wouldn't sound right, saying 'You can't take her from me,' not with Kieran unaware of the truth behind the whole Jusenkyo affair. And it would only embarass Akane more.

"If you take her..."

"If Kieran takes her...?" Kieran prompted, continuing to use the royal third person.

Ranma looked up. How could she openly admit feelings for Akane... in this form?

"You will all..."

'Think fast!' It was never Ranma's strong point.

"We will all...?" Kieran prompted again.

A flash of inspiration. So classically Ranma, but it was the only way to get out of the situation. Maybe later, AFTER Ranma had rescued Akane, would the truth be told.

"DIE... from Akane's terrible cooking!"

The deck went dead silent, save for the sound of the ocean below. Everyone stared at Ranma, their expressions varying degrees of shock and surprise.

"You... JERK!" Akane seethed. It didn't take Akane long to wind up her fist again and send Ranma flying once more.

Akane's move was enough to cause the fighting to resume-- now that the motley crew of martial artists from Japan was freed from their net. Akane felt weak, as though she didn't have the energy to deal with Ranma and his insults anymore.

'Never again...'

She went off with Kieran, even though her very insides were screaming to stay with Ranma.

'I won't be the one crawling back to him! He never apologizes for what he says to me, or how much he hurts me... he never realizes...' Tears started forming at her lashline again-- and that was enough of a cue for Akane to leave the deck and not look back once.

Kieran only continued to weaken, Akane realized, and there probably wasn't much they could do on a rocking ship with countless martial artists pounding away above deck...

But the sounds slowly lessened, and it grew quiet...

What did it mean?

'Is Ranma--?'

Her curiosity piqued, she started to head up the stairs-- but Kieran called her back, asking her to support him so he too, could see the results of the battles above deck. Still feeling guilty about 'causing' Kieran's sickness, Akane obliged-- but his weight felt unnatural against hers. Somehow, it felt... wrong.

Akane forced her breath back into her ribcage when she saw it-- the bodies of her family, her friends... even her "enemies" beaten to the ground. The last two standing were Ryoga and Shampoo, and even they were wobbling on their feet. The moment they let their guards down, two of the Seven Lucky Gods captured them, and tossed them on top of the other tresspassers.

It didn't take long for the other Lucky Gods to force Ranma and Lai-Chi from where they'd been held prisoner. The Lucky Gods martial artists looked at their prince calmly, waiting for him to speak.

"Drop the interlopers into the sea!"

It all happened so fast, Akane barely had time to realize what was going on. Someone somewhere pulled a lever, and the entire port end of the ship twisted and opened up, dropping the entire beaten crew of martial artists into the sea-- even Jasmine, the elephant.

"RANMA!" But by the time Akane got to the railing, all she saw of the sea below were miniscule white splashes...

'But they had to have survived. They-- they had to have.'

And survive they did, against all the odds and the beliefs of the powerful Seven Lucky Gods that had 'beaten' them.

Happosai clung to the side of a boat as a barnacle does to a whale-- and as little a man as he was, he supported the weight of everyone clinging to him, just as he had before. Every person was muttering something under their breaths, prayers or wishes that Happosai wouldn't let them down --literally!-- and they'd make it back to the deck before they plummeted into the sea like rocks.

There didn't seem to be much they could do now...

It hit her suddenly, quite like a shock to the heart.

It was all futile. Even if they'd all survived the fall from the boat to the sea... even if they hadn't all drowned...

They weren't here. She wasn't home. She wasn't going to go home.

And then the guilt returned.

"I-I'm sorry, Kieran-- I didn't know--" Akane fumbled for an excuse about her cooking again. But Ranma was right-- it was just plain terrible, and maybe there was no hope for her. Here she was even destroying the stomachs of princes with fragile metabolisms, able to only digest pickled vegetables and rice...

"My cooking's terrible anyway, I never should have bothered--"

It was one thing to have someone else say her cooking was bad; then Akane could just beat up on them (even though she knew it was the truth). But to hear it from her own lips made it sound like some kind of affirmation,like she would always be cursed with horrible cooking skills.Kierans sat up in his bed and put his hand on Akane'sshoulder, startling her as she bowed in apology.

"Do not apologize. When you dumped the vats from the ship;when you made your 'home cooking', that was all for Kieran's sake, was it not? You are a kind soul."


"You have pleased Kieran. Since the day he was born torule the Lucky Gods Martial Artists, no one has cared for him in the way you have."

He placed both hands on her shoulder and whispered softly.

"Come to him willingly, Akane."

'I could give it all up--'

All the crazy fiancées. All the obligations and bets and responsibilities that came with being the heir to the Tendo dojo...

All her silly dreams that would probably never come true...

But there was still that tiny piece of hope-- that part of her that still longed to please her father, and to live up to her mother's memory. She wanted her sisters to be proud of her, and for the guys at school to stop seeing her as some sort of "prize," instead of the independent girl she really was.

She wanted Ranma to see that she did care, and she did want him to--

Akane thrust herself away from Kieran and darted to the other side of the room.

"I'm sorry. I can't."

She couldn't meet his eyes.

"Akane, you're not trying to tell me you have given your heart to that-- to that man crying your name back in Japan?" Kieran laughed.

"How is it possible -the one whom Kieran bested in combat, the one called 'Ranma' is the one you care for?" His voice softened.

Kieran didn't understand what seemed so blindingly obvious, after all this time. It didn't matter to Akane what form Ranma was in-- Ranma was Ranma. Boy or girl...

"Amusing. My dear little Akane: it is Kieran whom you were born to love."

'I control my own destiny!' Kieran's words sounded more like something from Kuno's mouth, or someone's proclamation of fate that she was supposed to follow. But that wasn't what Akane wanted at all.

The rage she thought she could only feel against Ranma suddenly burbled up against Kieran, the very man who'd cared for her and complimented her-- even though he kidnapped her from her home.

She rose a hand against him to slap him, but her palm never made contact with his face. Instead, he caught her wrist in his fist, not once breaking his gaze with her.

"Ranma will be back, you know. He's coming to settle the score with you!" Akane scowled.

"He's coming back for Kieran, but not for you?" Kieran responded smoothly.

Akane's angry expression faltered. Kieran's words hit her right where it hurt --right where he knew it would hurt. Because... because they were true.

Ranma cared for the fight more than he cared for any one person -especially her.

"Then let him come. You were born to love Kieran, and he will make sure that is the way it remains."

With movements so graceful she didn't even realize she was restrained until Kieran had her forcefully pinned against the wall, the Chinese prince stared down at Akane, his eyes a startling shade of deep blue...

For a moment, he reminded her of Ranma.

'But Ranma would never...'

Akane closed her eyes out of fear and frustration with herself-- she wouldn't let herself be taken forcefully by anyone!

Kieran leaned closer, but at the last second, he saw her turned face, trembling hands, and eyes pinched shut, tears quickly escaping past her lashes.When he drew back, Akane opened her eyes in surprise.

"Very well then. When he is defeated, you will come to Kieran of your own free will."

"Ranma will defeat you! You can bet on it!"

Kieran faced Akane once more and glared harshly.

"The word 'defeat' is not in Kieran's vocabulary!"

"When Ranma is brought to his knees a second time, you WILL come to Kieran willingly, and become his bride."

Akane was trapped, and had no choice but to agree.

"We shall arrive at Nekonron soon. Prepare yourself for the ceremony."

Kieran left Akane alone, the door to the wide chamber clicking shut. It was then that all the worries Akane usually shoved away came forth.

What if Ranma drowned? What if they didn't make it, and they'd never come for her? If there was no way out of this, and no one could save her, then there was no point to go on...

Those thoughts forced Akane into a position like she'd never been in before-- weak, despairing, unsure, and frightened.

In utter despair and worry, Akane began to cry softly on the bed.

Meanwhile, the group was still attached to the boat via Happosai and a rope. They were nearing the Seven Gods Mountain, according to Happosai.

"Huh?" Ranma looked into the distance, and saw columns of water getting close to them.

"What are those? Some geysers?" Indeed they were, and as the boat passed through them, all those on the rope swayed with the pressure of the water, and plummeted through.

When they landed, Ranma was a guy again, and the only companions he had were Jasmine, Lai-Chi and Happosai.

Ranma noted his change -the geyser water must have been hot- and that there was a castle at the top of the monutain.

Happosai told them that the castle was the one called the Lucky Gods Castle, and Ranma remarked it must be where Akane was being held.

They were about to embark off when a giant rock came down from above. Attached to it was a scrap of paper with a drawing of Kieran and Akane on it, two dragons forming a heart around them. The text was no doubt Chinese, or something like it, for
Ranma couldn't read it.

Lai-Chi translated: at sundown that day, Akane Tendo was to wed Prince Kieran at the top floor of the castle. All who wanted to be admitted to the ceremony had to show upat the front gate.

Seething with anger, Ranma tore the paper into pieces, declaring the "invitation" a challenge. He stormed off, the others in tow. Happosai was left behind, but once he realized one of the Seven Lucky Gods was the "pretty lady" who playedthe biwa from before, he tore after them.

The first "Lucky God" was a bearded warrior man by the name of Bishamonten. He had a tri-pronged spear and a sword, and Ranma was weaponless. But Happosai gained speed quickly, and produced a bomb which effectively eliminated the first gate.
However, in the process, he was trapped under the rubble.

The next gate -which was really TWO gates- was open, and seemed much bigger than the last. Two circles -one black, one white- were painted over the massive, open doors. Ranma walked in, and found two people playing "Go".

Their names were Daihoksay and Daikoksay. They were twins, except one bore a robe with a white circle, and the other wore one that bore a black one. Each played his respectivepiece in "Go".

However, they were offended by Ranma's rudeness to let himself out, and they said they had to teach a lesson.

As they called of "Go" positions, stones of their color came down from the sky, hundreds of thousands times bigger than the real stones. Ranma narrowly missed getting squished by each one, and only until he listened to the twosome did he develop a plan.

"When you run out of places to go..."

"It's all over for you, don't you know!"

"Places to go? I got it!" Ranma jumped ON the pieces, and suddenly, his 'player' piece disappeared from the gameboard the twins were playing on. After all, their gate-castle was truly a giant "Go" Board, and their stones were replicated from above, while the tresspasser was the player.

Ranma hopped on the pieces already laid down and confronted the duo. He told them that the major flaw was how by saying he had no places to go when they put pieces down, they were wrong. In fact, they were giving him MORE places to go! Ranma jumped up and crushed the board, a move which startled theplayers.

The castle-gate itself began to shake, and they all fell as the place split as evenly in half as Ranma had broken the board.

The fourth gate seemed deserted, but before Ranma could run through, a huge man appeared and blocked the gate. But Jasmine approrached him, and the two got along perfectly, while Ranma and Lai-Chiran through.

Meanwhile, at the seventh, main castle, Kieran was awaiting sundown. It was almost time. The door to his chambers suddenly opened, and in walked in a vision of pure beauty.

The gold dragon bracelet gleamed, the ruby earrings shined, and the soft silk became her perfectly. She looked like the perfect traditional Princess Bride.

She looked so innocent...

"How lovely you are..." Akane didn't respond to the compliment. She was still dwelling on the fate of Ranma and the others.

What had happened to them?

The fifth gate was guarded by Happosai's "pretty lady", who played a striking tune on her biwa.

"I've got business with the guy that's ahead of you. If you don't wanna get hurt, let us through!" Ranma yelled up to the white-haired woman on the roof. The playing stopped.

"Bold words. You're no match for me."

"Hey, I mean it!"

"My name is Monlon. I am the guardian of the fifth castle gate. I'm afraid I can't let you pass."

All of a sudden, she attacked.

"Monlon Final Attack: Mok Yin Kin Bak Sho!"

The tiny, tight strings from her biwa tied around Lai-Chi and Ranma... on their legs and necks... arms and stomachs.

"The more you struggle, the tighter the wires become." To demonstrate, she tinged a wire, which vibrated until it sliced through Ranma's shirt and into his skin, causing a splash of blood shoot up and a fire-like painto make its way up his arm.

"Give up and go home. Then Monlon won't have to kill you."

"Hah. I don't give up that easily. You're going to have to kill me!" Monlon nodded slightly, and with a smile, released a blast that would indeed, vibrate the wires enough to slice through Ranma's skin.

The blast however... didn't reach him. Rather, it blasted him back, and the wires were cut off from the biwa. They still sliced through him, especially at his choking neck, which was now bleeding as red as his torn shirt.

In front of him was the person who had blocked the blast--

"SHAMPOO!" Indeed, the violet haired girl swathed in white stood before him, facing Monlon in battle stance.

"Ranma, you all right?"

"My patience is wearing thin." Monlon stated.

"Ranma, you take girl and go." Shampoo whispered.

Ranma smiled gratefully at the girl and carried the weaker Lai-Chi on his shoulders.

"Thank you." And with that, they hobbled around the corner, while a furious Monlon watched.

"NO! I your only opponent now!" Shampoo launched herself at Monlon, who in turn, jumped up.

When the two hit, a great explosion destroyed the fourth gate.

"SHAMPOO?" Ranma yelled in surprise. What happened?

"Ranma, let's go!" Lai-Chi yelled. Reluctantly, but determined to get Akane back, he followed the girl.

They made it all the way to the sixth castle gate, where the short, big-eared Effitan was waiting. He had a long fishing pole weapon which he used to hit Ranma square on, sending him over his shoulder and careening into the hard ground.

"RANMA!" Lai-Chi yelled in fright.

Effitan repeatedly slashed at Ranma, creating new holes in his shirt and pants. Ranma couldn't move away or fight back; he was trapped. He stumbled as his head spun, the dizziness of Effitan's quick attacks getting to him. A splatter of blood fell from his leg, and Ranma dropped to the floor, on one knee, in dire pain.

"That was easy. But this is the end of the line! Time to die!"

But the attack never came. A disk hurled from places unknown broke the stick into splinters and knocked Effitan to the floor.

Ryoga appeared out of nowhere and hopped onto the fallen Effitan's face, then ran towards the castle, yelling, "RANMA, leave AKANE TO ME..."

Ranma watched in disbelief. Effitan prepared to get up again and punish whoever had stopped him from killing Ranma, but again, he was stopped.

Kuno, of all people, stepped on him this time, beating him with his bokken scabbard. Talking in his usual annoying poetic talk, he too, ran after Ryogato find Akane.

"How dare they step upon the fearless--"

But again, he was trampled, this time by Happosai, Mousse, who thought he was carrying Shampoo, but he was carrying Monlon, Shampoo, who yelled at him from behind, as well as Soun Tendo and Genma-panda.

Enraged, Effitan yelled at them that they were not allowed to pass, but they didn't care. Ranma, finding the strength to finallyget up, went after them.

At the castle, Kieran began the ceremony. He told Akane that the two parts of the scroll as one also bound them as one- for all eternity. He gave her one half to place with his, but she hesitated.

'Why won't you come for me, Ranma?'

In that split second, everyone -save Ranma- arrived. Kieran, angered that the sacred ceremony had been broken, used an attack that quickly knocked everyone unconscious.

Akane was terrified and angered, knowing there was no way she could marry this man.

"Come on, where are you, you flakey jerk?"

RANMA! Akane's mind screamed. The doors flew open once more, and a badly beaten Ranma and Lai-Chi stood there.

Tears fell freely from her eyes now; he did come to save her!

'Or did he only come because everyone else did?'

But Akane knew that stupid voice in the back of her head wasn't true.

"Let's settle this once and for all, just you and me!" Ranma angrily challenged.

"I'll defeat you again." Kieran retorted.

"Won't know until we try! HAH!" And with that, Ranma leaped as high as he could manage and used his Chestnut Fist attack.

But not one of his punches got through. Kieran managed to hold on to that dratted bowl of rice and his chopsticks the whole time too, as gracefully as a swan.

However, with one swift move, he knocked Ranma away, and sent him sliding down the chamber hall. He crashed into a wall head first, causing both girls toscream.

Though he was weak, he got up again, and inspected his throbbing hand. It was covered in tiny bruises! He looked at the looming, smiling Kieran, who was holding his chopsticks like he always did.

"I've got it!" Ranma realized that he blocked every one of his punches with his chopsticks, and he stood, ready to initiate a plan.

But he heard soft cries and Akane's pleading voice, begging Kieran to stop.

"Stop it! Please stop it... if this goes on, Ranma will-- will--" Akane couldn't bring herself to say it. All she knew was that if Ranma died, she would die too, even if it was at her own hand.

"AKANE!" Ranma reprimanded severely. He closed his eyes tightly. She was beautiful, and standing there like that, in a bridal gown... pleading for his life... for a moment, there was a temptation to just sweep her into his arms and take her away-- as HIS bride, and no one else's. Let them all see...

"Girls aren't supposed to butt in on a battle between men!"

"What? But you're losing! I'm just worried about you--!"

"You idiot!" Another painful sting to the core. He didn't care about her at all, did he? He just came for the battle.

'Not the love of the girl, the love of the battle!'

"If I quit now, how will I get you back?" Ranma stared at her hard, as if she should know the answer. And suddenly, she did.

'Ranma... he... he...?'

"He is correct. Now stand back."

'If I can't beat him with my normal punches...'

"Ranma, it is time for this game to end."

'Then I have to hit him with something his chopsticks can't stop!'

"Shall Kieran use his special technique to send you to the Netherworld?"

'But what would that be...?'

Ranma looked around and saw nothing that would be of use.

Suddenly, a drop of sweat fell on his fist, and he gasped.


As everyone came to, they watched as Kieran readied himself into battle stance, and Ranma followed. They all watched in worry and anticipation of what was to come next; and what Ranma could possibly think of in such a dire situation.

Ranma charged at the same time as Kieran, but instead of aiming for his opponent, he sent a charged blast through the ground.

On his knees, Kieran assumed this meant Ranma surrendered.

"Not a chance. I've finally broken through your iron defenses."

And everyone gasped. The floor rumbled... as a column of geyser water made its way up through the floors.

"That wouldn't be hot water... would it?" Akane breathed.

"No... why would Ranma have used the last of his strength to dig a hot water geyser?" Ryoga mused in confusion.

The water began to flood the tower, and the original force and pressure of it had indeed knocked Kieran away. Slowly, the water poured out of the windows like a water fall, filling up the sunken crater beneath like a lake. The foundation of the seventh castle began to shake.

"An amusing trick. But do you really think that you can stop Kieran? That, I would like to see." Kieran challenged.

"Fine!" Ranma began the same Chestnut Fist attack as before, and it didn't seem to do anything... but Ranma was sliding through the rising water with his feet, creating volleys of water that splashed through Kieran's speedy defenses. He was hit time andtime again, and one hit him square in the jaw, knocking him back.

"He's using the Kachuu Tenshin Amiguriken technique to hit Kieran with balls of hot water!" Ryoga praised. It was ingenious thinking!

"I see... it's just like trying to use chopsticks to pick up soup in ramen." Mousse agreed.

Everyone praised Ranma on his thinking, and Akane was smiling incredibly gratefully, but it was not over yet.

Rather, Kieran stood again, and challenged Ranma.

Everyone knew that Ranma only had enough strength left for one more special technique...

The auras of the two men glowed brilliantly, clashing like fire and ice as the last attacks began. It took all of Ranma's strength, but he overpowered Kieran. The light destroyed the castle, and swirled the water around the group into a whirlwind-cyclone.

Everyone was split up inside, but the very second Ranma saw Akane, he tried to move towards her. But with wind and water pushing him away at all sides, not to mention his lack of strength, he couldn't get close enough to reach her before Kieran did.

"Akane is meant to be Kieran's bride!"

"LET GO OF HER!" Ranma growled. This angry look did not faze Kieran.

However, when he saw Lai-Chi reaching for the half of the scroll that had originally belonged to her, he dropped Akane until Ranma could reach her and dove for it.At the exact same moment, their hands touched, and a bolt of something passed between them.

Parts of the castle walls were flying about, and one hit Lai-Chi on the head so hard, she was knocked unconscious. Kieran grabbed her, and the scroll they held in both their enjoined hands and led her up the cyclone to safety. The water disappated, and soon, the groupfound themselves at the bottom.

"Whew!" Ranma gasped, surfacing. Akane surfaced beside him.

"That was one rough ride." Akane looked to Ranma and smiled.

"You saved me, Ranma... thank you." Akane whispered.

Embarassed, Ranma looked away and sighed.

"Ah, it was nothing."

But of course, Akane didn't belive him.

When Lai-Chi and Kieran surfaced from the water, they parted slightly. Lai-Chi gave Kieran the scroll willingly, but with tears shimmering in her eyes. Kieran thanked her, and then joined her half withhis. They glimmered once, and then became one scroll.

After a while, everyone had surfaced.

"Thank you, Akane. Without you, Kieran never would have known these experiences."

"Oh, Kieran, you don't have to thank me."

Akane was glad to be out of that stiff bridal gown and back in her normal clothes, which had luckily been saved on the ship.

All six guardians of Kieran were alive and healthy, and so was everyone else.

"Ranma. Kieran has never met anyone like you before. You defeated Kieran utterly."

"Hah. So does this mean you are giving up on marrying Akane?"

"When the time came for a choice, Kieran chose the scroll. The one who saved Akane's life in the twister was you, Ranma. It is you who is worthy of her heart."

The two were compelled to look at each other.

Both Ranma and Akane gulped subconsciously, feeling rather embarassed in the spotlight. So much feeling so, that they looked away.

But both were obviously blushing.

"Lai-Chi... what are you going to do now?" Ranma asked, turning around to face the girl. Lai-Chi looked away sadly.

"Lai-Chi going to start all over. Lai-Chi going to find real prince on white horse-- someday." She accidentally caught Kieran's gaze as she said this, and blushed at the tender manner in which he looked at her. Perhaps...?

"Just what is written on that scroll, anyway?"

Ryoga asked curiously. Kieran smiled and opened it up.

Shampoo, being closest to Kieran and the one able to translate, read: "Seven Lucky Gods Ultimate Technique. How to make total delicious Fukujin Pickle...?"

"It say, when good man and good woman are joined, make this for first step in new life together. First, groom wash vegetable.
Then bride pickle vegetable with salt. Then, happy couple pour soy sauce on vegetable."

Happosai was attaching himself to Shampoo when everyone began to question him about his story.

"I thought you said there was a sacrifice!" Ryoga interjected.

"There was an ultimate technique alright--" Mousse began.

"An ultimate technique for making pickles!"

"Well..." Happosai began, doing an innocent look.

"Think of this as a training trip." Angry, Ranma cracked
his knuckles and, like the others, gathered around the leech.

"You call this..." Ranma began as they closed in on him.

"A TRAINING TRIP?" They all finished. And with that, they kicked Happosai into oblivion.

"Hey don't you think we should have gone to Jusenkyo while we were in China?" someone remarked months later, after the Tendo-Saotome families had recieved a wedding picture of Lai-Chi and Kieran, along with a large jar of Fukujin pickles. Ranma and Genma's eyes opened wide.