Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Rumiko Takahashi and Viz Video. I have no ownership to these characters, or names. It is just for my amusement
Author's Note: This is going to be an AU fiction. It starts somewhere after the end of the manga. This Ranma is therefore older and possibly a bit wiser (or not).
Prologue and Return
The horrific battle was over. The victory was won. The demon had finally been defeated, but at a horrible cost. Ranma's final strike had managed to kill the beast, but in the demon's death throws, it had managed to give Ranma a mortal wound.
As the bruised and battered survivors gathered around his body, Akane fell to her knees, sobbing bitter tears of grief. Holding her fianc's body in her arms, she screamed to the uncaring skies, "NO! Ranma can't be dead! I never got to tell him how much I loved him. I wish I could have told him!" She collapsed, sobbing over his body.
Ranma knew as soon as he was hit, that the wound he had received was mortal, yet at least his friends were safe. He knew that his final strike had killed the demon. His only regret as he felt his life ebb away was that he had never mustered up enough courage to tell Akane the truth. 'I'm sorry, Akane. I tried. I just wish I could have told you how much I loved you,' he thought as the darkness fell.
Suddenly, a bright light shone all around him, and a loud voice said, "Wish Granted!" Then the voice snickered and said, "Besides, I wasn't done having fun with you, Ranma Saotome." The sound of the voice laughing was the last thing Ranma heard as the light vanished and the darkness fell again.
"Come on boy. It's time to wake up and get your lazy carcass moving. Another short walk and we'll be at the training ground," a voice growled.
Slowly, Ranma's eyes opened and he saw his father standing there in the old, stained gi that his father had last worn over a year ago. Ranma distinctly remembered Kasumi finally consigning it to the trash, deeming it beyond even her considerable skills at repairing it, saying it was so stained that it wasn't even worth trying to use any of it for rags. 'What's going on here? Where am I? Where are Akane and the rest? Why aren't I hurting all over? More importantly, why aren't I dead? ' he thought to himself, 'The last thing I remember is fighting that demon and then hearing that weird voice.'
Ranma rose from his sleeping bag and began to gaze around him, seeing a small clearing beside a dusty road. On one side, was a sheer cliff wall; on the other side of the road was an impenetrable forest. To one side of the clearing was a small pond formed from a waterfall coming down the cliff.
Suddenly, he recognized the scenery around him, and he gasped. His mind racing, he thought, 'Wait a minute; this is the campsite where we stayed the night before we reached Jusenkyo. That voice, it granted my wish. It must have sent me back in time!' As he packed his belongings, he ate the meager fare his father had given him for breakfast, barely staving off his pangs of hunger.
The two of them walked in silence down the trailed marked on the guidebook of training grounds his father had 'obtained' somehow. While they were walking, a light rain began to fall. Ranma's mind was filled with delight as he saw that the rain had no affect on either of them. 'Yes! We're on our way to the training grounds. Of course we haven't been cursed yet! Maybe I can fix some of the craziness! We don't have to get cursed!' he thought to himself. Lost in these thoughts, he continued, blindly following his father until finally his father stopped.
Ranma awoke from his reverie and looked up. To his horror, he saw that they were at the top of a small rise, overlooking a valley filled with pools of water. Scattered across the valley floor were innumerable poles of what appeared to be bamboo, sticking vertically up in the air. Some of the poles were on dry land, but the vast majority of them were in the pools of water, forming an interesting place for combat. With an air of satisfaction, his father said proudly, "Well here is the famous training ground of Jusenkyo! It don't look too tough!"
Ranma asked, "Hey, Pop. What do ya know about this place anyway?" 'Come on Ranma, think of something!' he thought to himself, 'How do I stop this?'
"Just the little bit I've gleaned from this guide book. It says only the best martial artists should train here. That's why we came. We are the best, after all!" Genma replied as he strutted off down the hill.
Ranma followed him reluctantly, saying, "Pop, I'd like ta know a bit more about this place before we do something stupid!"
As Genma neared the middle of the hill, he met a man standing outside a small hut. The man was dressed as a Chinese soldier, complete with the red star on his fatigue hat. He said, in broken Japanese, "Welcome to accursed training ground of Jusenkyo, honored visitors. Let this humble person tell of dangers." Genma dropped his backpack on the ground.
"Pop!" Ranma yelled as his father ignored the guide and pushed past him heading toward the valley floor. "Let's listen ta what he has ta say. Maybe what he's trying ta tell us is important! Something about curses!" Ranma yelled in desperation. Ranma dropped his pack on the ground next to his father's.
"Boy, are you getting soft? Don't tell me you're gonna believe in fairy tales and magic?" Genma scoffed as he sprang up onto one of the poles. "Come on boy, what are ya waiting for?" he continued as he jumped onto another pole. Ranma looked on in anguish as that pole broke in half, dropping his father into one of the pools below.
"Oh no! Honorable guest not listen. He fall into Shonmaoniichuan, the spring of drowned panda. Ancient Chinese legend tell of panda who drown in pool two thousand year ago. Now whoever fall in pool become cursed to become panda," the guide stammered, "So sorry, he not listen!"
The spring boiled and then a figure sprang out, roaring in anger. A large panda appeared.
"Pop!" Ranma hollered, "Stop!" To no avail, as the maddened panda came chasing after Ranma, swinging its arms wildly. Ranma started running, thinking, 'I tried to warn him, the fool. Well at least I stayed away from the springs.' He carefully ran away from the dangerous valley, back the way they had come, continuing to dodge the irate panda following him. As he ran, he cursed as he realized that he had made a wrong turn and that the only path before him was heading for a small cliff overlooking the valley below. As he ran, he saw a figure staring at the two of them, looking at the panda in shock.
"Watch out!" Ranma said as he ran past the boy. The boy stood there stunned at the sight, until the panda carelessly knocked him backwards toward the cliff edge. Ranma cursed under his breath again as he saw what was happening. 'Not this time!' Ranma thought as he jumped over his father and ran back toward the figure that he had recognized as Ryoga, just as almost in slow motion, he slid backwards and toppled headfirst off the cliff, toward the pools below. Ranma jumped over the edge, pushing Ryoga back toward the safety of the cliff wall, and the dry ground before the pool. Unfortunately, the trajectory resulting from the collision, forced him toward several of the pools himself. As he soared toward one of the pools, he screamed, "Oh Shit! Why me, Kami?" With a loud splash, he ended up in the pool.
Ranma rose spluttering from the water, and opened up his shirt. As he gazed down at his, no now her, milky white breasts, Ranma screamed in a lovely soprano voice, "Pop, ya better run. Now I'm gonna kill ya, ya misbegotten fleabag!" She slowly pulled herself from the pool, only to be met by Ryoga who had rushed over from where he had landed.
"Miss, are you all right? That was a nasty fall you took," Ryoga said as he neared. Then he noticed the loose shirt, barely concealing Ranma's new, very prominent assets and his nose began to bleed.
"I'm fine, just fine," Ranma said with a disgusted shrug. Unfortunately, that was too much for her top, as it slipped off one shoulder, exposing Ranma's left breast. Ryoga's eyes rolled back into his head and he promptly fainted, blood gushing from his nose. Ranma cursed under her breath again, and adjusted her shirt and securely buttoned it. "Baka," she muttered staring at Ryoga, not sure if she was talking about him or herself.
The guide approached and stammered, "Oh no! Honorable guest fall into Nyannichuan, spring of drowned girl. Ancient Chinese legend tell of girl who drowned fifteen hundred year ago."
Ranma interrupted, snarling, "I know. Now whoever falls into spring takes on the form of a girl when splashed with cold water. Hot water will change me back." She thought angrily, 'Been there, done that, got the damned t-shirt!'
"Honorable guest correct. Follow me to hut please! I can fix," the guide said. Ranma slung Ryoga over one shoulder and followed the guide up the hill to his hut.
Ranma spoke to the guide in Mandarin, #Honored Guide, is there a spring of drowned man?# Ranma thought to herself, 'Well it looks like I remember everything from the first time I lived through this. I'm sure glad I had Mousse teach me Chinese.'
#Legend says that there is a spring of drowned man, Nannichuan, but I don't know where it is. Our map of the springs was damaged many years ago and that section of the valley is now unknown,# the guide said as he put some water on to boil.
'Damn, I don't have time to look for it. I've got to find Pop before he gets hurt,' Ranma thought. Then as she stared at Ryoga, she grimaced. 'I don't have time to mess with Ryoga either. If he sees me in my true form, he won't listen to reason and will want to finish our fight. I've got to stay like this until he wanders off somewhere. And here I was thinking I could change things! Damn it Pop!' she thought. Finally she asked, #Sir, which way did my idiot of a father go?# Ranma asked.
The guide frowned and said, #It's very bad, young miss. He headed off toward one of the nearby villages, that belonging to a tribe of Chinese Amazons.#
Ryoga woke up from his faint to see the beautiful red-haired girl who had saved him from a nasty fall talking to a strange man. The girl asked, #Can you lead me there? I need to rescue my father before he does something else stupid!#
#Miss, what is this about rescuing your father?# Ryoga asked.
"Good, you're back," Ranma said, "It's a long story that we really don't have time for right now."
"Yes, honorable guests! I lead you there quickly. We must go now, if wish to be in time!" the guide said.
"I'm coming with you. If you're going into danger, I, Ryoga Hibiki, will help you. It is the duty of a martial artist to always help others," Ryoga said, "I just need to pick up my stuff at the top of that overlook. I'll protect you, Miss!"
Ranma rolled her eyes and said, "Fine, Ryoga. Come with us. I didn't want ta leave ya here anyway. Just follow us and stay away from the water." They followed the guide out of the hut, where they waited long enough for Ranma to get her pack and the guide to get Genma's backpack as they walked up the hill.
They followed the guide up a path to where Ryoga had left his huge backpack. As he put it on, he gazed at the girl standing next to him, thinking, 'She gorgeous, with that brilliant red hair. She's brave and strong too. I wonder what she's like. I owe her a lot; I could have really gotten hurt badly the way I was falling. If she hadn't managed to push me back toward the cliff, I would have hit headfirst.' As they walked along, Ryoga couldn't help but notice how athletic the young girl was. 'I wonder who she is. She reminds me a little of someone,' he thought to himself as they made their way down a tree-lined path. Lost in thought, he failed to notice where he was going. He looked up and paled as he realized that he had lost sight of the other two and hadn't even gotten the young girl's name. "Where am I now!" he screamed in anguish.
After a few minutes, Ranma turned as she realized that she hadn't heard anyone walking behind her for a while. She cursed as she saw that Ryoga had managed to wander off. "Crap, I don't have time to look for him. I hope he stays away from the valley, that baka!" she said under her breath. While she was following the guide, she thought about what to do next. 'I need to not fight any of the Amazons. Let's see if I can at least fix this. If I don't challenge Shampoo, she and I won't fight and then she won't give me the Kiss of Death. Damn, I gotta keep Pop in line. He can't eat the banquet, that's what got Shampoo so mad before. My head hurts trying to remember all of this. Okay, what else? Yeah, Pop and his attitude about women. Don't let him insult any of the Amazons. Yeah, right, like I can stop that. Maybe I can brick his mouth up,' she thought as they walked along.
After another hour of traveling through the heavily wooded area, with Ranma lost in her thoughts about how to fix her future and not repeat the same mistakes, the rains came down again, instantly soaking everything and destroying the faint traces of her father's panicked flight through the woods. Ranma asked the guide, #How much farther to the village?#
Suddenly, before the guide could answer, they heard the sounds of combat ahead of them, including the roaring of some strange beast. Ranma ran forward, leaving the guide behind, to a clearing where she saw several girls trying to fend off a panda. The panda had grabbed one of the girls and wrapped his arms around her, using the squirming girl as an impromptu shield against the long spears of the other girls.
Ranma exploded out from where she was standing, and touched the paralysis point on the back of the panda's neck, hoping it was roughly in the same place in a panda as it was in a human. Fortunately, it was, and the panda released the girl and fell down. As the others closed in for the kill, Ranma jumped in between them and their prey, screaming, #Wait. He's my father, don't kill him please!#
The women stopped and the girl who had been used as the shield stood up shakily. Ranma looked on in dismay as she recognized the girl as Shampoo. #My name is Xian Pu,# she said, #Thank you for your help. Did your father fall in a spring at Jusenkyo?#
As the guide burst into the clearing, Ranma replied, #Yes, Xian Pu, he did. The guide tried to warn him, but the idiot wouldn't listen. I guess the shock of the change made him panic. I'm sorry he attacked you, but it looks like you are unharmed.#
#Yes, I'm fine. Only my pride is hurt, allowing him to grab me like that. He snapped my favorite pair of bonborris like they were matchsticks. Come, sister, you are welcome in our village of Joketsuzoku,# Xian Pu replied.
#Sister?# Ranma said in shock.
#Yes, it's an ancient Amazon tradition. If an outsider woman save an Amazon warrior from danger, then Amazon tribe must adopt woman. Come, we must hurry. Our big tournament is tomorrow and I must get rested for it,# Xian Pu said proudly.
Ranma stood there in shock and then remembered her manners. #I'm not sure about this tradition, Xian Pu. However, my name is Ranma Saotome and this tub of lard is my father, Genma. I would like to visit with your Elders so that I may ask them what they may know about the curses of Jusenkyo. We can talk about being an Amazon, but I can't really stay here long. I need to get back home to Japan,# she responded.
Ranma turned to the guide and said, #Thank you, honored guide for leading me this far. If you see that young man Ryoga, try to keep him from falling into one of the pools.# She bowed politely to the guide. One of the warrior women took the backpack from the guide, while two others tied the panda to two of their spears and carried him off. The guide watched as the strange safari made its way down the path out of sight.
Ranma followed the Amazon scouting party, her mind racing as she thought, 'Okay, I gotta stay female while I'm in the village. The males have little or no status unless they are major warriors. I can't stay long though; we gotta get back to Nerima.'
As they approached the village of Joketsuzoku, Ranma saw a neat collection of houses, some large, some small, and grouped around a central common area. The village was surrounded by a low palisade that looked more like it was intended to keep the several children she saw wandering around contained than it was to keep people out. The Amazons had cleared several acres of the forest away from the palisade, allowing clean lines of sight for some distance. A small stream flowed into the cleared area, and lapped around one side of the palisade, forming a further barrier on that side. A barrier however, that was crossed by several wooden bridges, all of them ornate with carvings. Off on one side of the common area was a large log, suspended in the air, supported by ropes tied to two large triangular A-frame structures. Near the log were several tables. That was the area were the tournament was held, as she recalled from her past life.
A small, wizened old woman, followed by several Amazon warriors, approached the scouting party. As she neared, she asked, #Xian Pu, child, what is going on? We got your message back about a panda attacking your patrol and were coming out to see what the trouble was.#
#Elder Khu Lon, we were attacked by what we thought was a panda. It turns out that it was actually this girl's father, who fell in a cursed spring at Jusenkyo. This girl, Ranma, saved my life but for some reason, she's reluctant to accept the honor of being adopted into our tribe,# Xian Pu reported.
Khu Lon stared at the young girl standing proudly before her. While she was small, Khu Lon could tell she would be a formidable martial artist.
#Elder, my reluctance is because of two things. One, of course, is that I already have a family in Japan that I wish to return to. The other concern that I have is I don't know what it means to be a member of your tribe. I certainly meant no disrespect for the honor Xian Pu was wishing to bestow,# Ranma said slowly.
Excellent, you speak a version of our language, young Ranma, Khu Lon said, #We can talk more about this later. I promise not to force you to do anything you don't want to do. I'm sure right now you're more interested in food and a bath, not necessarily in that order. Am I correct?#
#Yes, or at least some hot water for this foolish old man. He does not speak your language at all,# Ranma said with a smile.
#Fine, come with me. We have a small, unused cottage that you two may share. That's the least that we can do for someone who saved my great granddaughter,# Khu Lon said as she led the way to a hut on one side of the village, We will bring some food later then you and I will talk.
#I would like that very much, Elder. As you may guess, I have many questions about Jusenkyo that I hope you may be able to answer. As far as saving Xian Pu is concerned, I was glad to help, but I'm sure she would have gotten away from him without it,# Ranma responded.
The two warriors carrying the panda brought him into the small, two-room cottage and tied him securely. After leaving the backpack, the warriors that had escorted them to the cottage bowed respectfully and left. Ranma gazed around the cottage, seeing a comfortable living area, with a small kitchen nook to one side. One portion of the large room was set up with a couch and two comfortable looking chairs, while another side had a small table and four chairs surrounding it. There was a door in one wall, which Ranma assumed led to a bedchamber and hopefully a bathroom.
#Now child, we'll leave you to get cleaned up and change your father back. There is a small bath off the bedroom that is through that door. Is there anything else you might need before we meet again for dinner?# Khu Lon asked.
Ranma thought for a while and then replied, #No, Elder Khu Lon. I think that takes care of everything for now. We should have clean clothing in our backpacks. Thank you for your hospitality.# She bowed politely. Khu Lon smiled briefly and the she and Xian Pu returned the bow and left.
After closing the door, Ranma waited for a few minutes to ensure that the Amazons had indeed left. While she was waiting, she went into the kitchen and set some water to heat up in one of the kettles she found there. When she returned, she found that her father had recovered from his paralysis and was trying to break the ropes. When the panda saw Ranma, he began growling.
Ranma said, "Is that any way to greet your daughter, Pop? Yes, Pop, I'm Ranma. Those pools at that training ground give ya a curse if ya fall in them. Don't panic!" The panda was frantically trying to free itself, growling in panic. "Pop, just shut up! Hot water will restore ya ta human, but it's not a cure. Cold water will still turn ya back into a panda."
The panda's eyes grew even wilder at what he was hearing. He whined at Ranma.
"I'm making some hot water. Don't worry. Now, we're at the village of those girls ya attacked. For now at least, I'm going ta be your daughter, Ranma, ya got that. Men have little respect here and are subservient ta the women. So long as they think I'm female, we should be okay. But ya need ta promise ta behave. If ya don't, I won't change ya back and you'll stay tied up until I'm ready ta leave! Understand me, I'm serious about this. Ya don't want ta mess with these women!"
The panda nodded quickly. By that time, the water had heated up, so Ranma poured it over her father, changing him back.
Ranma said, "I'm gonna go take a bath and get cleaned up, Pop. Ya need to stay in here and behave while I do that. If ya want, ya can change into some clean clothing. Ya gonna behave now?"
Genma replied, a little surly, "I said I would before. Now, untie me, boy, and let's get out of here!"
"Pop, they're gonna feed us in a little bit and I'm hungry. The Elder said she would tell us what she knows about the curses at dinner, and we both need to learn everything we can. Anyway, I don't think we'd get too far before they'd bring us back. We need ta keep on their good side, understand?" Ranma said forcefully.
"All right, you win, ya ungrateful boy," Genma growled.
"I'm a girl right now, Pop. Don't forget it again," Ranma warned as she began to untie her father. After untying his hands, she said, "Ya can do the rest, Pop, while I get cleaned up and changed." Ranma picked up her backpack and carried through the bedroom into the small, well-equipped bathing area. She was gratified to see that while the village might look primitive, the bath was well appointed with a small shower that had both hot and cold water. Quickly take off her damp clothing, Ranma adjusted the water to the temperature she liked and entered the shower, sighing in relief as she changed back into male form. 'Okay, this day officially sucks. Here I though I was gonna escape getting cursed. Damn that old man for dragging me here,' he thought angrily. After washing his hair and body, and rinsing all of the soap off, he turned the hot water off, allowing the cold water to transform him back into female. After the transformation, Ranma stepped out of the shower and stared at her body in the full length mirror attached to the back of the door. She saw that it was no different than the one she'd had in her previous pass through this life. She used one of the thick towels to dry herself off with. After finding a clean, dry set of clothing, Ranma quickly got dressed. Wrapping her long red hair in the towel, she began looking for a comb. Once she found one, she walked back into the main room to find Genma staring at the old woman Khu Lon and her great granddaughter Xian Pu.
#Hello again, young lady. I see we returned in good time,# Khu Lon said.
#Hello, Elder. Yes, I think that you did. Would it be possible to speak Japanese? As I mentioned before, I'm afraid my father has never learned your tongue,# Ranma responded.
"Certainly, my child. I speak many languages fluently. Shampoo is not very proficient, I'm afraid, so we may have to translate for her," Cologne said.
"Pop, this is one of the elders of this tribe of Amazon warriors. Her name is Cologne," Ranma began. Then she stopped and said, #I'm sorry, Khu Lon, that's as close as I can come to saying your name in Japanese. Please don't take offense.#
"Don't worry child. I've heard my name in your barbaric tongue many times. Your pronunciation is actually very close to correct," she said, with a twinkle in her eye. Then Cologne continued, saying, "As your daughter has said, I am Cologne of the Joketsuzoku, Elder and Matriarch of the tribe. This is my great granddaughter Shampoo, who is one of the preeminent warriors of our tribe. She tells me that she was as much at fault as you for the incident this afternoon. She thought you were a rabid panda and was simply trying to protect her village," Cologne said.
Genma began to speak, only to be interrupted rudely by Shampoo, who said loudly, "Silence, male. Do not speak when warrior's talk!"
"Pop, why doncha be quiet for a while? You're in enough trouble as it is. We're not in Japan at the moment so we need ta be polite and not upset these people. They've been here a long time and may know more about the curses at Jusenkyo. Just let me talk ta them for a while, okay?" Ranma said in exasperation.
"Your daughter speaks wisely, old man. If you wish to keep your head attached to your shoulders, then keep silent!" Cologne commanded. Genma shuddered at the look the old crone gave him and wisely, for once, managed to keep his mouth shut. "We of the Joketsuzoku do know a great deal about the cursed training ground of Jusenkyo. We often use the waters as punishment for members of our tribe. Our belief is that the curse one gets there reflects the personality of the person who was cursed."
Ranma's eyes widened as what Cologne said registered and then thought, 'I can't think about that now!' She asked, "Do you know if there are ways ta undo the curse? Is there anything else we need ta know about it?"
"According to legend, there is Nannichuan, the spring of drowned man lost somewhere at one end of the valley. No one now living knows where it is right now, but it's possible that somewhere in our archives we may have a record," Cologne said, "Allegedly, that would break the original curse. I believe that it would, since when we wish to restore our sisters who have been punished, Nyannichuan, the spring of drowned girl, does indeed cure them."
"The guide said much the same. He was unaware of the spring's location as well and since I needed to find my father, we couldn't spend any time looking for it," Ranma replied.
Cologne said, "Child, I would be more than happy to tell you the little more that we know about the springs at dinner. Now, however, we need to discuss more important things. We need to discuss our laws as far as outsiders like you are concerned."
"Why do I think this will take a long time?" Ranma muttered, "Why don't we sit down and get comfortable?" The three of them sat down in the comfortable chairs, except for the diminutive elder who remained content to sit on one of the wooden stools.
"As my great granddaughter told you before, because you saved her life, our laws demand that we should adopt you into our tribe. However, since I can understand your desire to return to your family, there is the possibility of making you an honorary Amazon. That way, you would be free to return to your home in Japan when you wish. That also would prevent some of the other difficulties an outsider would have in our tribe," Cologne said.
"What difficulties might that be, Elder?" Ranma asked trying to keep a straight face. 'Yeah, kiss of marriage and kiss of death. Maybe if Pop hears about those from her, he'll be easier to keep in line,' she thought to herself.
"Well, our laws say that if outside woman beat Amazon warrior, warrior must give Kiss of Death. That mean Amazon woman not come back to village until outsider woman is dead. Very bad for Amazon woman to lose. If outsider man beat Amazon woman, Amazon woman must give Kiss of Marriage. They are husband and wife," Shampoo replied.
"So are there any other rules I need ta know about before I decide? Of course, I wouldn't be challenged ta any fights by any of your warriors if I decide against the adoption, would I?" Ranma asked.
"Of course, no one would challenge you," Cologne said with a sugary sweet voice, "As for other rules, no there would be nothing else for you to worry about. You have my word as an Elder of the Amazons on that. No, this status is what we give to the local rulers that we deal with, there are no strings attached."
Ranma gazed blankly into space for a while, her mind racing as she tried to remember everything she had painfully learned about Amazon laws. Finally, she looked at Cologne and answered, "I would be honored ta accept an honorary adoption by your tribe. I think I'm getting something I don't particularly deserve, though. Shampoo would have escaped from my father by herself soon enough."
"Maybe yes, maybe no. Shampoo not know," Shampoo said, with a shrug.
"We'd like you to stay for a few days, Ranma. I can teach you several techniques that only an Amazon may learn," Cologne said.
"Pop, how soon do we have ta be in Japan, anyway? Ya never told me," Ranma asked her father.
Genma looked at Cologne, who smiled at the panicked look on his face and then nodded. "We can stay for a few days, but we really need ta be in Nerima by mid April," Genma replied nervously.
There was a knock on the door and two servants walked in bringing dinner for the four of them. After dismissing the two males, Shampoo served the Elder and Ranma and then herself, leaving a small amount for Genma. Ranma hid a brief smile at the look of outrage, quickly followed by the look of fear on Genma's face.
While they were eating, Cologne returned to the conversation that had been interrupted, "If you could stay for a week to ten days, there are several things that I can teach you. As a member of the tribe, even though only honorary, I'll provide you money for passage back to Japan so you won't miss your appointment."
Ranma asked, "I'm a little curious. Why are ya willing ta teach me? Surely, ya have many demands on your time."
"I can tell that you are a good martial artist, and I enjoy a challenge. Truthfully, once you've lived as long as I have, you need to find reasons to get up in the morning. Going to the council meetings gets to be a bit boring after a bit," Cologne replied, "Besides, I like your spirit."
Ranma shrugged her shoulders and said, "I guess we'll stay for a week. Do I call you sensei now?"
Cologne chuckled and responded, "Only while I'm training you. In private, you may call me Cologne."
"Thank you, Cologne. Now what can ya tell us about Jusenkyo?" Ranma begged.
"The cursed springs don't usually change personality, except for a few, like Fuushanniichuan, the Spring of Drowned Priest, or Shannannichuan, the Spring of Drowned Virtuous Man. If you get cursed, you do seem to pick up the physical abilities of your cursed form quickly. For instance, your father was immediately able to move and fight in his new form. Similarly, if he had fallen into the Spring of Drowned Duck, he would immediately learn how to fly," Cologne said.
Ranma thought for a moment and then asked, "Those two springs ya mentioned, Spring of Drowned Priest and Spring of Drowned Virtuous Man, those wouldn't cure him, would they?"
"No, only the missing Spring of Drowned Man would remove the curse entirely," Cologne replied, "The other two would simply replace the existing curse with the new one."
"Is there anything else about my curse that I need ta know, Elder?" Genma asked politely, "Do I have any danger of forgetting my humanity and staying as a panda?"
Cologne replied, "That's a good question, Genma. The answer is no, you'll always know that you are human. You won't pick up any animal behavioral traits, either."
"Well, none that he doesn't already have," Ranma said, with a giggle. The Elder managed to keep a straight face, but Shampoo joined her in giggling.
His father growled angrily at that, but kept his peace.
"When would ya like the adoption ceremony, Cologne?" Ranma asked.
Shampoo leaned forward and kissed a surprised Ranma on the forehead. She smiled and said, "How about now?"
Cologne chuckled briefly and said, "That's really all there is to it. We made you the offer, you accepted it, and then our best warrior kisses you on the forehead. That makes you our honorary sister or daughter. The only thing left is to come up with an appropriate Amazon name for you. Shampoo will provide new clothing for tomorrow to indicate your new status and I'll have your new name by then as well. Now if you'll excuse me, Shampoo and I need to get our rest. The Tournament of Champions is tomorrow and I'm not as young as I used to be. It starts very early in the morning and you are welcome to watch, daughter of Amazons."
Ranma clenched her jaw slightly, and then replied, "Thank you. I look forward to seeing Shampoo in action. I'll be rooting for her to win."
Shampoo and Cologne left, taking the empty dishes with them. Genma growled, "Boy."
Ranma interrupted menacingly, "POP, don't blow this. Ya saw how they treat their males around here. If we are ta get out of here in one piece, ya better treat me as your daughter. Or do you want ta be a slave ta them the rest of your life?"
"Okay, Ranma," Genma agreed sourly, "Ya made your point. All I was gonna say was learn those techniques as quick as ya can. It's time I got ya back ta Japan."
"Fine, Pop, ya know me. I pick things up pretty quickly," Ranma said with a smirk. 'I wonder how much of what I knew before is still there. My mind seems to know the techniques, but I bet my body isn't ready for some of them,' she thought. Then she asked, "Why are we in a hurry ta get back ta Japan now?"
"I, er, no real reason, I promised a friend that we would come by his house then is all. I wanted ya ta meet his dau… I mean him. Tendo teaches the other school of Anything Goes Martial Arts," Genma stammered.
"So this Tendo person has a dojo in Nerima, didn't you say? Is he a good friend of yours?" Ranma asked, inwardly enjoying herself. 'Ha, Pop, let's see how long you can keep this up without spilling the beans,' she thought to herself.
Genma answered, "Yes, that's right. Soun and I are very good friends, we knew each other before you and his daughters were born."
Ranma smirked and asked, "How many daughters does he have? And why do you want me to meet them?"
Genma sighed and gave up, thinking, 'How did he get so smart? And when did he learn Chinese?' "Tendo has three girls all about your age. One of them is supposed to be your fiancée," Genma said, cringing at the anger he expected to see from his son, er daughter.
To his surprise, Ranma just laughed and said, "Well that's probably a good enough reason to get there then. I wouldn't want to compromise your honor after all. So which one should I pick?"
Genma paled and said, "No idea. I've never met any of them, and Soun hasn't written me much about them. He does have one daughter that practices Anything Goes, though. His letters told me that."
Ranma giggled, and looking significantly down at her chest, said, "Well I'm sure I'm going to be everything they're looking for in a man. It's late, Pop, and I'm too tired to talk more about this. I suggest you think about anything else I should know and tell me in the morning. I'm going ta bed. You can make do on the couch."
"The couch?" Genma protested.
"Yeah, Pop. I'm the Amazon warrior, remember, not you. Besides, I wouldn't put it past them ta have us watched tonight, so don't try ta sneak off. We don't need any trouble," Ranma said. She left her father and went into the bedroom and closed the door.
After climbing in bed, Ranma finally allowed the excitement of the day get to her. 'Let's see. I wake up from the dead, back in my past. I still get cursed, but at least I saved Ryoga from getting one, that's gotta count for something. I just hope he didn't go back there by accident. Made it to the Amazon village, and got adopted into the tribe. So far so good, I guess. At least this way, I don't have ta worry about Shampoo trying ta kill me or marry me. Note to self, remember, keep Pop away from Shampoo's prize. Cologne is gonna teach me some Amazon techniques. It they're the same ones from before, I gotta remember not ta learn them too fast,' she thought as she finally succumbed to her exhaustion and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of a certain tomboy that she couldn't wait to meet again for the first time.
Author's note: As you can see, this is another of the fictions where someone gets sent back in time to fix all of the problems in the Ranma story, while of course, making new problems along the way. I haven't seen one where it was only Ranma going back, so this story started percolating around a few months ago. While the concept has been used before, I think (hope) I have something a bit different. Anyway, I had to get this one written because it wouldn't let me be. As always, comments and constructive criticisms are not only allowed but are encouraged. Please read, review, and hopefully, enjoy.