Ranma raised a brow, "the future? Wow, you're an old hag and your craz-"
She cut him short, "Hush now child, you must not disrespect here."
She stumbled up to him and put a hand over his eyes, "Now," she whispered into his ear, "watch and learn."
That was when everything went white.
Akane shuddered. She did not know why, it was not horribly cold out and she was not frightened of anything. In fact, it had been quite a serene moment, one of the moments when she nearly forgot about Ranma and focused on her companion.
She was starting to take notice of the fact that the little dog she was carrying slept almost all of the day. Staring over her shoulder, craning her neck painfully, she stared at the little bundle, reaching back and rubbing the scruff of his neck.
"Almost there," Shinboy mused, staring ahead cheerfully.
"Really?" Akane asked with surprise, it had not been a long journey compared to the other treks.
"And it's only a bridge. In fact, it's kind of odd . . . the other marks are spaced out evenly but this one, is about a quarter way from the last," Shinosuke pondered, but then grinned, "I'm sure they just put it on the map for reference, not as a check point!"
"Right," Akane agreed, staring at all the gorgeous foliage, "pretty place, eh?"
"Oh yes," he nodded, pausing for fairly long. Akane stopped as well, watching him stare into the sky and trees, the light reflecting off him ever so gracefully, "very romantic."
She coughed exasperatedly and nodded nervously as he stepped on.
Ranma had prepared for a fight but what he saw; himself hovering a few feet above the Earth with the old woman poised beside him, was incredible. They were in a forest and Akane was walking along with Shinosuke, commenting on the foliage. The old woman stared at the scene harshly but when Ranma turned his eyes on her she masked the expression and batted him with the back of her hand on the head.
"Teach ya to look at an ol' woman with such rude eyes! Especially one showin' ye somethin' not many a mortal sees," She complained, stretching out her ancient arm over the scene.
He rolled his eyes, staring at everything with suspicion, "So, I'm seein' a vision of the future?"
"Aye," the old woman told him, bug eyed and ready for the scared look in his face. If she was sitting in a seat she would be on the edge of it.
Ranma stared back, nonchalant in every possible way, arms crossed and looking bored. At the old woman's anticipated gaze he spoke, "What?"
"You're not afraid then?" She asked, disappointed.
"Hag," he began, trying to explain, but deciding on just retreating and being mysterious and undefined because that seemed like a good idea, "I've seen weirder."
She was about to counter when Akane spoke. The woman noted Ranma's ears perk, eyes widen, and gaze instantly zoom in on the little lady. She felt something she had not felt in centuries; guilt.
"I wouldn't call it romantic per say . . . um . . . it's . . .," Akane trailed off nervously, trying to drastically change the pretense of the silence.
Ranma snorted, "Dummy."
Akane didn't seem to notice, no one except the ghoul.
"She can't hear ya boy, this is an image," The old ghoul explained.
He blushed slightly, "Yeah, I knew that, just sayin', y'know."
". . . punctual?" Akane spat, exasperated and out of words, "No, no, that was stupid."
Ranma's focus shot to Akane, "See? You say it too, you macho chick-hypocrite!"
As Ranma started laughing maniacally, and for far too long, a tree branch thwacked him in the face, hard.
"Hey," he yelped, rubbing his cheek and staring at his new enemy: tree branch #1, "what the hell? I thought this was just an image!"
"Feh," the woman shrugged, "I bent the rules, just for now."
Ranma stayed quiet for once.
The woman looked at him, "I like you, boy."
He still stayed silent, raising a brow.
She nodded, "I've met a lot of people, a lot seemin' to be like you, but ya hold your own."
She laughed, "Good, but I really like ya, I do, an' that's why I' so sorry about this."
"About what?" He asked, noticing his guard was down.
"About this," she stared at his hands and they were suddenly in chains, he tried to move but was stuck in thin air.
"Hey, lemme go!" He screamed, pulling and tugging at himself to no avail. He tried techniques to get out, but couldn't.
"Sorry boy, but it's the way things work, have this way for centuries. See, Quaint works on a different level than most towns."
"What?" He asked.
She did not answer, "You don't even realize the bad part yet, Lovey."
Ranma's face twisted to see her as he heard the inevitable scream; Akane.
"Akane!" He yelled towards her image. The image of the two travelers in the arms of captive spirits looking a lot like the townspeople, "You let her go, you bastards!"
No one noticed.
Akane was kicking and delivered a wicked roundhouse kick to one of their faces, making them recoil with pain. He stood up, walked closer and poked her square between the eyes, "Princess, I'm gonna enjoy this."
She blinked and stared at Shinosuke, the others had disappeared. He was standing away from her, in the middle of a punching match when they disappeared.
Ranma breathed hard, under all the strain, trying to move. "What was that?"
The woman looked him in the eyes and then away, "Sorry, Lovey."
He turned back to her, straining with the power for his neck and head to move, watching his fiancée; worried.
Akane blinked again, stared at her surroundings in a stupor, and turned to her companion, "Who are you?"
"Shinosuke," he told her, confused. "Are you okay? We've stopped for a bit."
She nodded, smoothed out the pleats of her shorts and looked up confidently, "Oh that's very nice but, um, who am I?"
A/N: Turns out, not to my knowledge, only posted half of this chapter. So, here is the other half (or third I suppose) and a new chapter will be coming out very soon. The reason I post it as a new chapter is for people who have reviewed the ninth but want to comment on this one as well. It is just easier this way. So, expect a huge and wonderful update quite soon. Thanks!