Disclaimer: The playground is by Rumiko Takahashi, I'm only swinging on
the monkey bars. Remember to leave the grounds cleaner than you found
them and please don't feed the Trolls.

This story is archived at http://www.kawaiikunee.com/slp/

Release 0.1 (January 15, 2001)


(just a few old-fashioned love stories)


But, as mentioned, all of the girls have _something_ in their makeup
that makes them unsuitable, or at least brings difficulty. After all,
it wouldn't be much of a story if the right choice was _really_

Shampoo, for instance. She has a couple of problems, but they really
all boil down to one major one, and, unfortunately, it's a doozy. She
is, you see, a gaijin. And she even keeps the accent, just to make sure
you get the point.

(As an aside, does anyone know why Viz translates Shampoo's speech
patterns as "Cute Bimbo" instead of "Sterotypical Chinese Speaking
English"? Just wondering.)

Being a gaijin is, shall we say, a major problem in Japan. From a
certain viewpoint, it's a real problem anywhere. So much of what we are
is interpreted by patterns that our cultural background informs, after
all. But Ranma doesn't really understand Shampoo's cultural background,
and she doesn't really understand his. And if they did understand,
there'd be a lot there they wouldn't like.

If one tried to live in the other's culture, they'd end up fairly
miserable. If only one of them changed to fit in, they'd end up fairly
miserable. Both of them would have to change, and both would have to
change things that are fairly central to their self-images, to their
understanding of who they are, and how the world is supposed to work.

Needless, to say, this is fairly unlikely.

And, looked at in one way, this would seem to be enough to sink the

Looked at in another, this would seem to be more on the order of a
_challenge_ ...

... and a challenge, of course, is what a hero is _for_....


(4 years after the manga)
(Ranma + Shampoo)


Thicker Than Water (And Much Tastier)


'Fighting on a *dodge, slide back* log! Again!'

'What the Hell *block high, feint low* am I doing fighting these
Warriors, anyway?'

'Most of these women have *strike high, press, press* ten years or more
of training on me!'

'I must be *drumroll strike, slide back, feint* out of my ...'

"An opening!" Xian Pu ducked beneath a staff-blow that swung perhaps
half-an-inch too far, foot swept the older woman, and slammed both
bonbori into her side, knocking her off the Challenge Log.

Breathing deeply, she stood erect, making the formal gesture of triumph.
"Bi Da has fallen to my skill. I am the victor by the Law. Do any

The massed spectators raised the formal cheer.

One more deep breath to center herself. She was already tired, and
there were still twelve Warriors to go. What the hell was she _doing_,
anyway? She must be out of her mind!

But then, scanning across the spectators, she caught a glimpse of her
husband, standing on top of the Council Hall, and even in girl form his
proud, loving smile nearly caused her to fall off the log in sheer
bliss. But then she quickly mastered herself, and remembered.

'Oh yeah. That's right, I'm fighting for Ranma. Fighting for Ranma I
can beat them all.'

Returning to her end of the log, she assumed the formal posture of
Challenge. Across the Dueling Grounds her voice cracked like a whip,


The last Warrior tumbled off the log beneath a vicious high-low bonbori
combination. Panting, Xian Pu raised herself to her full height,
standing in the very center of the Challenge Log with one bonbori
raised over her head.

"I call all present to witness that the Ranked Warrior Lu Fa has fallen
to my skill. I am the victor by the Law, taking her place in Rank. Do
any dispute?"

A formal cheer was her reply, the massed Warriors too tense to do more.

"I call you further to witness that I have conquered _all_ the _female_
Warriors of Rank within the Village of the Strong Woman Hero Tribe.
Over them I am Victor by the Law, Ranking ahead of them in the Council!
Do any dispute?"

Another formal cheer, but with an even greater sense of tension. The
Warriors knew what was at stake.

Xian Pu's voice hardened as she assumed the formal posture of Mastery,
one bonbori held across her body at the waist, the other straight down
at her side. "All the _female_ Warriors. I also call you to witness
that my husband, the Warrior Ran Ma, has conquered all the Warriors
that have just fallen to _my_ skill. I also call you to witness that he
has also conquered _me_ in Lawful Warrior's Challenge."

There was a subdued "Ahhh." from the assembled spectators.

"Therefor, I call you all to witness _by the Law_, that the Warrior
Ranma has bested all Warriors of Rank in the Tribe. That, in so doing,
he has ascended to the highest Rank in the Tribe, and that _in
accordance with the Law_, as Ranking Warrior, he is the new Tribal

Again her voice cracked whip-like across the Dueling Grounds as she
glared at the table where the Matriarchs sat watching. "Do any dispute
these things?"


In marked contrast to Xian Pu's, the voice of the Matriarch Bo Kei was
scratchy and querulous, "Foolishness! Xian Pu, you are far too
indulgent of your male, already! How you managed to get _all_ of the
Warriors to spread their legs for him I don't know, but as Champion you
must exercise more control! The Council ..."

Xian Pu's focus narrowed down to a tunnel ending at the old harridan's
throat, a tunnel walled in white light that was suddenly filled by
memories of the past ...


Memories of a younger Xian Pu, or Shampoo as she had been then, who had
exulted in a rare opportunity to tease both Airen and Violent Girl
_and_ get the pleasure of a date at the same time. Shampoo knew that
Airen _did_ love Violent Girl, but then she knew that he liked _her_
too, and she was much better for him.

Even then she knew that Ranma could not be _forced_, but he could be
... _persuaded_. And _persuading_ him to come back to Josoketzuku would
be much better for everybody, she was sure. Airen didn't see it that
way, of course, but then males were foolish creatures. Just look at
Mousse. That was what the Goddesses had created Women for, to look out
for them.

Memories of a sudden rainstorm, and of a red-headed girl (half crazed
with fear of the cat that was clinging to her shoulder) running into an
alley and being accosted by several men.

Memories of the neko-ken, and an alley painted scarlet by blood.

Memories of agonized, terrified hours leading neko-Ranma back to help
and the Tendo Dojo.

Memories of panicked explanations and the slow, growing terror as they
discovered the identities of the slain, and that not all of them _had_
been slain.

Memories of assaults by tattooed Yakuza with knives and of gallant,
foolish Mu Tse, dying in the process of shielding her from a drive-by
attack with machine guns. Not an especially _skilled_ attack, it was
true; but then, it had not had to be.

Memories of Akane's face, when the choice became clear, and of the
hopeless pain in Ranma's cerulean blue eyes.

Memories of a midnight meeting, and an oath sworn and sealed in blood.
An oath to love Ranma always, and to treat him as the Warrior he was.

Memories of hasty and stealthy flight overseas, and of the slowly
growing wonder as over days and months she began to truly understand
just who it was that her blood-sister had given up, and just what it
was that she had, most unworthily, gained.

Memories of love and tears, and the first time Ranma had said, to her,
"I Love you", and of the two hours she had wept because of it.

Memories of the undimmed wonder of their lovemaking, and of the eternal
treasure that he had gifted her in the person of their daughter, the
second Mu Tse.

Memories of endless struggles with age-blinded fools as she attempted
to keep her oaths, and of endless tests that Ranma had not merely
passed but much exceeded.

Memories of the quiet letters and of the shadow war that her blood-
sisters waged with money and quiet words back in Japan, far beyond her
protection, while she sat -no, _vegetated_ - here in the safety of the
village and all that she _could_ do, all _anyone_ could do had been
done, and these ... these ... withered, dried up old harridans of she-
vultures sired on a dead camel by a syphilitic _hyena_ _dared_ ...


Xian Pu's battle aura ignited into a blue-white bonfire that tore the
Challenge Log into a million splinters. Supported by the aura, she
floated gently to earth halfway to the Matriarchs, earth and stone
melting and flowing away beneath her feet. Almost snarling, she stalked
towards the old women behind the table, her aura burning her footprints
into the ground for the next ten thousand years.

'If these old bags will not have the Warrior Ranma, let them lose the
Warrior Xian Pu as well. I don't begin to have the political capital to
pull this off, but fuck that! I swore an oath. Let the Tribe see where
a Warrior's honor lies!'

Stalking up to the Matriarch's Table, Xian Pu leveled a bonbori at Bo
Kei, her aura shattering the two thousand year old table into dust. Bo
Kei hopped backwards on her staff and the Matriarch Dao Wel actually
cringed. As she caught the old woman's eyes, Xian Pu's voice came
quietly but with immense weight.

"Old fool, the Tribe has no time for your petulance. The Warrior Ran Ma
has passed and exceeded _every_ test and is Champion by the Law. I
challenge your word in Council."

Bo Kei's mouth flapped up and down like a stringless puppet. Koh Lon
grinned evilly, which would have put the fear of the Jade Emperor into
_some-body_ if only anyone had been watching her. Finally Bo Kei found
her voice, babbling, "... this is ... the Council .. you will be
punished ... no support ..." before being suddenly cut off.

"Old woman, be still." The new voice was sibilant and deadly, Xian Pu
turned half around to see a group of warriors approaching led by the
assassin Spi Tse.

Xian Pu tried to prepare for anything. Spi Tse was a small, blue haired
woman who looked like nothing especially much, but she had a fearsome
reputation and Xian Pu knew very little about more than half of the
eight Warriors following her. But, hard as she tried, Xian Pu was quite
_un_prepared for what happened next.

From somewhere in her cheongsam, Spi Tse pulled a drinking cup made of
aged, pale wood and ivory, chased with gold. Xian Pu gasped,
recognizing it as Spi Tse roared out, "I call upon the Tribe to witness
the Ritual prescribed by the Law. I as a Ranked Warrior of the Strong
Woman Hero Tribe, and these my sister Warriors do hereby mix our blood
with the blood of our sister, the Warrior Xian Pu, and our _brother_,
the _Warrior_ Ran Ma. So we swear upon the Stirrup-Cup of Hyppolyta!"

Xian Pu almost swayed in her tracks as Ranma landed beside her,
grinning like a loon, and Spi Tse took out her knife and cut her arm,
sending a thin stream of red blood into the ancient cup. "Thus I, the
Warrior Spi Tse ..."

The knife passed around a quickly formed circle, "... the Warrior Tao
Wel ..."

"... the Warrior Tsu Ga ..."

"... the Warrior Gar Lan ..."

"... the Warrior Ar O Ma ..."

"... the Warrior Wa Tei ..."

"... the Warrior Tsen Te ..."

"... the Warrior Kor Tsaj ..."

"... the Warrior Per Fu Me ..."

"... the Warrior Xian Pu ..."

"... the Warrior Ran Ma! ..."

"... do hereby send my blood ..."

"... do hereby send my blood ..."

"... to mingle with the blood ..."

"... to mingle with the blood ..."

"... of my Sisters and Brother."

"... of my Sisters and Brother." (Ranma took malevolent glee in using
the traditional phrase " ... of my Sisters.")

"And as I drink our mingled blood ..." Spi Tse took the cup and sipped.

"And as I drink our mingled blood ..." the cup passed around the

"... so we become mingled like the blood ..."

"... so we become mingled like the blood ..."

"... and so, as in our hearts our blood is one blood ..."

"... and so, as in our hearts our blood is one blood ..."

"... so also in battle our hands are one hand ..."

"... so also in battle our hands are one hand ..."

"... and so in Council our voices one voice."

She sipped from the Cup, the blood was thick and sweet upon her tongue.

"... and so in Council our voices one voice."

Ranma sipped from the Cup last, and held it high, upside down, showing
that no blood remained.

Together they finished, "One blood, one hand, one voice!"

As they turned in unison towards the stunned Bo Kei, Spi Tse said, "And
our voice is spoken by our highest Ranked, the Warrior Ran Ma!"

Ranma grinned evilly and said, "As my sisters blood flows in my heart,
so their voice comes from my lips." Facing Bo Kei, she assumed Saotome
Deception Pose Number Three (feet almost crossed, hands behind back,
tremulous smile) which didn't even fool the trainees anymore.

Bo Kei gobbled speechlessly, and Kho Lon let out a cackle that knocked
birds dead from the sky three kilometers off. Grinning, Kho Lon grabbed
Bo Kei by the shoulder and started herding stunned Matriarchs into the
Council Hall, "Come my friend Bo Kei, the Matriarchs must ... _discuss_
... this new thing!"

As the door to the Hall closed Kho Lon let out another, even more evil,
cackle. After they shut, Xian Pu sagged.

Ranma put his arm around her shoulder to hold her up, bowing deeply to
Spi Tse, "Thank you, Sister."

Spi Tse shrugged, a little irritated, "_Some_ Warriors among the Tribe
have heads on their shoulders and brains in those heads, little though
you'd know it to hear those biddies yammer."

She snorted, "Better you should thank your wife, really. If she hadn't
Challenged, it would've done no good."

"You know," Ranma's blue eyes twinkled, "that's a good suggestion. I
think I will."

Xian Pu almost shrieked as Ranma grabbed her with both hands and gave
her a deep, searching kiss. Stunned she looked up into the wide blue
eyes of the red-haired girl who was her husband. "My hero," Ranma said,
lovingly, "Wo de, Airen. Wo ai ni!"

The sudden blast of love and lust almost knocked Xian Pu down, and she
quaked against the need to start ripping at Ranma's clothes there in
the middle of the square. Then, beyond her husband's shoulders she saw
her cousin So Pu, exiting Xian Pu and Ranma's hut with a wink, carrying
little Mu Tse in her arms.

Xian Pu suddenly picked Ranma up and raced for their hut, ignoring the
smaller girl's startled squeak. Setting Ranma down just inside the
door, she turned and caught a thrown thermos of hot water from a
grinning Per Fu Me, before slamming the door behind her.

The problem wasn't resolved, even if the Council finally agreed to see
sense, and there were still many things to do, but Xian Pu had no
patience for them. She would steal a page from her husbands book, and
let tomorrow's troubles trouble tomorrow tomorrow.

For tonight, she had her husband, and some privacy, and some hot water.
And for tonight, she intended to enjoy them.

Across the square, as the door to the hut slammed shut, Spi Tse raised
her face to heaven and rolled her eyes.


Name notes: Bi Da = Bidet
Lu Fa = Loofa
Bo Kei = Bouquet
Tao Wel = Towel
Dao Wel = Dowel
Spi Tse = Spice
So Pu = Soap
Tsu Ga = Sugar
Ar O Ma = Aroma
Wa Tei = Water
Tsen Te = Scent
Gar Lan = Garland
Kor Tsaj = Corsage
Per Fu Me = Perfume

Not as good as Takahashi-megami's? Yes, I know, but if you want
trilingual puns you should be reading the original, instead of fanfic.

The dead men were high ranking Yakuza, or similar.

As always with these stories, I have no intention of going back to this
universe. If you want to write stories here, send me an email first, is
all I ask.

Till later,
Eric Hallstrom, 01/20/2001