"Hello Nabiki, what are you doing back home so soon?" asked Mr. Tendo, not looking up from the game of go he was participating in. No need to give his opponent an unfair opportunity after all.
"There was a small accident at school today, some of it got blown up by the chemistry club," Nabiki explained.
"That's nice," said Mr. Tendo as he watched Genma making his move, frowning at his poor position. "I hope no one was hurt."
"Oh no, everyone was fine. A few people were injured, but nothing too serious." She then scrunched her nose up in disgust. "Whew, where on earth is that smell coming from?"
A sweat drop appeared on both of the patriarch's faces at the remark. Genma quickly got up, excused himself and headed upstairs towards the furo.
Nabiki looked at her father questionably, "What was all that about?"
"Oh, erm nothing at all Nabiki", flustered Mr. Tendo, "Saotome had an interesting experience today that's all."
"Uh huh," said Nabiki, not at all convinced. Still, it was unlikely that there was anything going on that would affect her in any negative way, so she just let it go. Besides, she had some new financial plans to come up with that couldn't wait.
That sounded like Akane, and for some reason she didn't seem happy. Now she could be wrong, but she was an expert at reading people, and while some people were difficult to read, her sister wasn't one of them.
"Ahhhh! I can't believe that baka!"
Bingo. "What's up sis?" asked Nabiki.
"It's Ryoga. I swear I turned around for a second and when I looked back he was gone!"
Oh, that explained it then. Ryoga had gone wandering off again.
"You're being a bit harsh aren't you, I thought you had a soft spot for the guy," said Nabiki.
"I don't have any feelings for him, we're just friends!" Akane sighed rubbed her forehead in frustration. "Besides, there are only so many times that you can stop him from walking in some strange direction before you start wanting to knock some sense into him. I mean, if I hadn't stopped him earlier he would have walked straight into the canal. He's hopeless!"
"Now Akane, that is no way to talk to about your fiancé," Mr. Tendo admonished.
That caused Akane to glare her father, nearly going so far as to imitate his demon head technique. To his credit he didn't quite soil himself, though he did visibly shrink somewhat.
"I'll be in my room if anyone wants me," said Akane, not taking her eyes off her father's. After she was happy that he had been cowed sufficiently, she turned around and stomped up to her room.
Nabiki could only shake her head at her family's antics. Her father was acting just as he had done when her sister was engaged to Ranma, while Akane was still trying to get used to the idea of Ryoga being her fiancé. It didn't help that she had to be his virtual minder when at school, making sure that he didn't wander off somewhere he shouldn't be. Hopefully they would settle down and eventually get used to the new arrangements, otherwise things at the dojo would become very interesting. Oh well, at least it should prove profitable, speaking of which…
Nabiki was about to head upstairs to her room and the finances within, when she heard a loud squealing in the back garden. Curious, she headed outside, and soon found where the noise was coming from.
It was P-chan, trying to force open the dojo door with its snout. Smart pig, mused Nabiki, maybe someone trained it before we found him. Well, she already knew it had to have had some kind of training; after all they had never had a problem with it not being house-broken. Or maybe Kasumi just never complained about it 'marking his territory'.
No that's not right, it's dogs that do that isn't it? Not that it mattered as far as she was concerned, it was a nice, clean, low maintenance pet; which was quite a surprise considering pigs had a reputation for being dirty animals with endless appetites.
She blinked as she suddenly noticed something about her sister's pet piggy, causing her to look at it as if she was seeing it for the first time.
P-chan had been the Tendo's pet for the last year or so, although Akane claimed him as her own. Even though Ranma had disliked the little piggy intensely, everyone else at the dojo had been quite happy with P-chan's presence, and he had quickly become a valued member of the family. Despite her initial fears about him eating them out of house and home, P-chan hadn't done so. In fact he hadn't put any body weight on at all.
Which was strange, because normally little piggies tend to grow up to become big piggies. P-chan hadn't.
Thinking back to lunch earlier that day, Ukyo had given Nabiki some hints of something going on, and she remembered telling herself afterwards looking out for some any strange animals that could in fact be humans in disguise.
Watching the little piglet trying to work its way into the dojo, she decided that an animal with what looked like eternal youth counted as pretty strange.
Seeing that P-chan had given up and was now sitting despondently on the ground, Nabiki advanced towards him and lifted him off the ground by what she noticed as a very familiar bandana.
"Oh look, you're all dirty, let me help you with that," she said as she headed inside.
Instead of attacking straight away, Goliath decided to make a comment or two instead. "You know, I don't want to hurt you little lady. It would be a real shame to harm someone who's as pretty as you. Why don't you just forfeit the fight and get on with your life. Leave the fighting to the men."
"Don't you think that's a bit chauvinistic?" asked Sakura, still standing in her ready position. "You never know, I may actually win this fight."
Goliath laughed at the remark. "Oh I doubt it. When a slip of a girl like you is able to defeat me, me the great Goliath, I'll retire in shame!"
"I wouldn't make promises that you aren't prepared to keep."
"Ha ha ha, oh I like you girl! You've got guts that's for sure," chuckled Goliath. "It'll be a shame to beat you in such an unfair contest. I'll tell you what, to make it fair I'll let you get the first hit in."
"Er, I'm not sure if that's a good idea?"
"Oh come on. You can say what you like about me, but I never mistreat the ladies. Come on give it your best shot, right here on my noggin," said Goliath as he stuck his chin out towards his opponent.
"Well, if your sure," said Sakura, pulling back her right fist to deliver a punch to the boxer…
Ranma winched when he saw Goliath flying out of the ring, looking more than slightly dazed. That girl had some serious strength, the punch looked to be as strong as some of Akane's. Hopefully she didn't have the same temper though.
"…I…I cant believe it! What a result, the shock winner of the match is Sakura Ogata!" cried the announcer.
Glancing to his left Ranma watched Ivan Drago staring in shock, obviously not expecting what he had just seen to occur. He was just looking from the prone form of Goliath, to the relaxed form of Sakura who was waving to the crowd as they cheered for her.
He could understand why Ivan would be so surprised; to the average viewer it made sense for the bigger person to win the fight easily, being stronger looking and having a greater reach. Ranma however had fought a little old lady by the name of Cologne, as well as the old leech, and knew that was not always the case. Maybe he would learn his lesson and take Ranma seriously.
He doubted it somehow.
Anyway he'd soon find out if he had or not, the announcer was getting over his shock and was starting to announce the next fight, between himself and Ivan Drago.
Nabiki checked the furo door to see if anyone was using it, and after seeing that the occupied sign wasn't there she quickly entered, still holding a struggling P-chan. Glancing around it was obvious that while no one was there right now, the amount of panda fur around suggested that her 'Uncle' Saotome had spent a fair amount of time in here, and he hadn't cleaned up after himself (as usual).
That wasn't important now; she was here for another reason. Luckily the furo was still full with noticeably warm water, and that suited her purposes perfectly.
"Now P-chan, lets clean you up," she said, at which point the little pigs struggles went from determined to panicked as he tried his best to remove himself from her grasp. Unluckily for him Nabiki had a good grip on his bandana, and no matter how much P-chan twisted and turned he couldn't get loose. He got closer and closer to that dreaded hot water, and he knew that if he made contact with it then things would quickly turn ugly.
It was quite a relief then when Nabiki stopped his descent just a few centimeters above the surface.
"What's the matter P-chan, don't you like the water?" asked Nabiki in a concerned voice.
P-chan shook his head vigorously, desperately trying to get away from the water.
"Oh dear, I'm not sure if I'll be able to clean you without getting you wet," said Nabiki in annoyance, "What am I going to do now? I suppose I could get Akane to do it for you, would you like that?" P-chan's head-shaking went from panicked to completely terrified, and Nabiki was sure that his head was moving at Mach 2 at the moment. In fact he was struggling so hard that Nabiki had to make a real effort to keep him in her grasp.
"Careful P-chan, if I lose my grip you'll fall straight into the furo." Instantly the piglet stopped, the only sign of life in his body was a slight tremble.
"Hmm, you are a smart pig aren't you?" said Nabiki. "Well whatever, I'd better start doing some homework now. I'll leave you here, okay P-chan? That way if you want to use the furo without me then you can do so." Nabiki then turned and closed the furo door behind her without a backward glance, leaving a suitably shaken piglet behind.
After she exited the furo, Nabiki walked calmly down the hall and entered her bedroom, closing her door quietly behind her. Once she had locked it she stood in front of her wall, staring at nothing and showing no emotions on her placid face.
Wham…"Damn it"…Wham…"Damn it"…Wham…"Damn it"…Wham…"Damn it"…
Until Nabiki decided the best way to vent her frustrations was to bang her head against the door. Repeatedly.
5 Minutes later
…Wham…"Damn it"…Wham…"Damn it"…Wham…"Damn it" …WHAM…"OWW. GOD DAMN IT!"
That last blow caused Nabiki to stop abusing the wall and step away from it, rubbing her forehead. She idly noticed it was going to hurt for a quite while.
"I've been so stupid!" she said heatedly. "I can't believe I didn't see it earlier, Ryoga is P-chan, it's so bloody obvious when you think about it. DAMN IT!" Now all those P-chan comments that Ranma made make sense. He never did like P-chan, and he always tried to stop Akane from picking him up or cuddling him, though why he didn't just tell everyone about Ryoga's curse she had no idea. She slammed her head against the wall once more for good measure for being so stupid.
Midway through rubbing her head she froze, "Oh man, he slept in her bed. If she ever finds out he's going to be ripe for the butcher!" she said as she paced across her room
Eventually she stopped her pacing and made an effort to calm herself down. Emotions always made for weak decision-making. "Well at least I know what Ukyo was hinting at, I'll have to see her tomorrow and see if I'm right. Meanwhile, I'll have to give Ryoga an incentive to come clean about his curse. Hmmm, this may be fun…"
"Ladies and Gentlemen, for our last quarter final may I introduce…hey give that back!"
Spletlava smirked while twirling around the microphone that was now in her hand. "You snooze, you loose. Maybe if you paid more attention to your surroundings then you wouldn't let things like this happen to you."
Turning to the audience she prepared herself, while using her outstretched arm to keep the announcer at bay as he tried to take back the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, after having to watch nothing but mediocrity so far, we are back to the main event. A man who will soon be the most recognized fighter on the planet, someone who will surely go into history as a true legend of the ring. I, off course, introduce to you none other than Mr. Muscle himself, Ivan Drago!"
On cue the Russian boxer entered the ring, greeting the hyped up crowd before going through some simple warm-up exercises.
"And his 'opponent' today is some guy named Panama Na-shiti," she said unenthusiastically.
"That's Ranma Nanashi!" growled the announcer, still trying to get the microphone, "If your going to upstage me at least do it properly."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever" shrugged Spletlava.
Ranma entered the ring to a surprisingly large cheer; apparently the crowd were supporting the local underdog rather than the future world champion. Many of the woman thought it was a shame that it was going to end in a slaughter though, he was quite good looking.
Before each fighter could start any posturing, Spletlava beckoned both fighters towards her.
SLAM. "And stay down!" As well as getting rid of some unwanted distractions. "If you have any significantly dramatic comment to make now is the time to make it."
The announcer would have intervened at that point, but he was currently unconscious at the moment.
"Is no need to, I wipe my ass clean of more worthwhile opponents everyday than this piece of skin and bone. Only winner here is Ivan Drago."
"Oh yes, deep, yet dramatic. You guys in the crowd are watching a genius in action here." She then turned towards the smaller teenager. "And you young man, do you wish to say anything before this fight?"
"Nah, I'm good," said Ranma simply.
"You sure? You don't want to start a fight with a negative mind set you know, its not as fun to see you lose if you don't think you have a chance, even if it is only a miniscule one," said Spletlava.
"Like I said, I'm fine."
"…did I mention how miniscule your chance of winning is?"
"And you don't want to delay the fight any longer by making some sort of speech?"
"Fine be like that, but it's a lot less dramatic this way," grumbled Spletlava. "Now then I only have one thing to say, let this fight BEGIN!"
With the announcer… disposed… at the moment, Spletlava had to do the commentary as well.
"And it's a confident start by the champ, he's come out swinging with a startling number of powerful blows, each one likely to end the fight if they connect. The challenger's been lucky so far that he's managed to avoid them, but against a fighter of Ivan Drago's ability how long can he keep this up?"
Off course she was completely unbiased in her comments.
Anyway, Ivan had indeed started in an aggressive manner, attempting to finish the bout as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for him while his punches were powerful and he was showing a lot of aggression, he was far too slow for his elusive opponent, who was taking great delight in avoiding everything thrown at him with ease.
"Is this all ya got? I've fought Grandmas who are faster than you are! And grandpas, pandas, tomboys, pig-boys…"
Soon enough the pig-tailed boys words were forcing Ivan to up his tempo in a desperate bid to at least make contact with his pigtailed foe, but the effort seemed be wasted as all his punches were avoided like he was wasn't even trying.
"…and now Ivan Drago sends a vicious volley of blows towards his opponent, who can do nothing more than dodge for his life in
a decidedly one sided fight…"
Yep, completely unbiased.
Meanwhile up in the stands the crowd were cheering for their favorite fighter. Most were supporting the young Japanese guy, he was a local after all. There were some people though who were supporting the giant boxer (stupid glory hunters) and were hoping for a quick knockout.
"Come on, hit him! Turn him into mush!"
Some more than others.
"…pound him so hard his children will squished into itty bitty pieces so small not even a sieve would hold them when you make mince meat of them!"
"Ryoko! Don't you think your overreacting just slightly?"
Ryoko rounded on Ayeka and GLARED. How dare she take his side! "That guy is a first class pervert, he deserves it. He managed to run from me before, but he isn't going to run from that guy. Oh he is going to be in so much pain, hahahahahaha!"
"Aren't you being a bit harsh Ryoko, I mean I chatted to him earlier and he seemed alright to me," said Tenchi, who was watching the fight from the stands to get a better view.
Ryoko stopped laughing hysterically and stared at him blankly. "You talked to him?"
"Well yeah, he's a nice guy. I really think you're being too hard on him, after all from what Ayeka said that incident earlier was an accident, right?"
Ryoko continued to stare blankly at Tenchi for a little while longer before turning back to the fight. Well, at least she's calmed down, thought Tenchi.
"HE'S CORRUPTED MY TENCHI, Pulverise him!"
or maybe not.
After a few minutes of dodging Ranma finally decided to fight back, slightly spurned on by Spletlava's completely unbiased commentary. A jab here, a kick there, all aimed in holes in Ivan's defence and while they weren't anywhere near his full strength, they were slowly sapping the bigger man's stamina with each hit. He didn't want to win the fight in one blow; that would've been boring. Besides, he wanted the Russian to know that fighting was about more than just brute force. Consider it his good deed for the day.
There was also the fact that it was amusing as hell the way Ivan was getting more and more annoyed. The relentless number of blows Ivan was delivering was having an effect on the fight, despite none of them making contact with the intended target. Slowly but surely Ivan was getting more and more tired with the constant physical activity. His arms were starting to feel like lead, and his lungs were burning for much needed oxygen. No matter how much he hurt however, his pride would not let him rest until he had smashed the pig-tailed youth's head in.
As a result, Ivan Drago was getting more and more sloppy with his efforts.
"Arrgh! Stand still and fight me!" Ivan growled, his punches getting more and more desperate.
"Why should I? Its not my fault you're so slow," replied Ranma, casually dodging Ivan's follow up blows with the nudge of his own in the mix to throw him off balance.
"That's it boy, you die now!" he yelled as an extremely wild swing missed Ranma by a foot, without him even dodging. After the failed attempt at a punch, his momentum sent him staggering forwards panting for breath. He took a moment to catch his breath before turning towards Ranma, who to his dismay wasn't even breathing hard, and lethargically charging for an all out power blow which would hopefully end the fight.
Ranma decided to put the guy out of his misery. He pulled Ivan's overextended arm towards him to pull him off balance, and then hit the Russian with a reverse spin kick at his sternum. A hard one.
Ivan was totally surprised by the blow, and was completely unprepared for the force of it. All the air was forced out of his lungs, and if it wasn't for the grip Ranma had on his arm then he was sure that he would have been sent out of the arena. As it was his arm felt as if it had been torn out of his socket. He didn't think he'd been hit that hard, ever! And by such a small kid too, he didn't understand it.
He was still standing though; Ivan Drago wasn't going to be knocked out by one kick. Especially from this wimp.
He was, however, knocked out a second later by Ranma's next uppercut.
The silence was almost deafening; very few in the crowd had expected this to happen. The silence didn't last long though, as the realization that Ranma had knocked out the Russian giant sent a roar through the stadium. After all, one of their own had beaten a possible world champion.
Spletlava, however, wasn't cheering. She was simply frozen, staring disbelievingly at the scene. The fact that (her ticket to big bucks) champion fighter had been knocked out by a shrimpy little Japanese kid had not yet found its way to the conscious part of her mind. Which was why she didn't resist when the announcer smugly took the microphone out of her now limp hand and announced the winner as Ranma Nanashi.
"Yeah, nice one Ranma!" cheered Tenchi.
Ryoko wasn't so happy. "Hmph, he was lucky."
"I disagree, he fought very well," said Katshuhito.
"Oh will you stop sulking, it's embarrassing," said Washu.
"…I wanted the pervert beaten up…" sulked Ryoko
"I know you did, maybe it'll happen in the next fight," said Washu. That comment seemed to cheer Ryoko up quite a bit.
"Oh by the way," said Katshuhito, "aren't you forgetting something Tenchi?"
"Um no I don't think so…" it was at that moment that the next fight was announced, which just happened to involve a certain pigtailed, alien prince.
"Ack! I'm late!"
At the Tendo Dojo everyone was gathered round the table, waiting for another one of Kasumi's master dishes. Nodoka had gotten back from her shopping and was helping Kasumi bring in the meal. Genma was thankfully clean and odor free, and was now chatting animatedly with Soun about the free drinks he had obtained earlier in the day.
Nabiki was sitting calmly to one side reading the financial pages with a look of concentration on her face. The main reason for doing so was that every time that she paused Nodoka would start examining the slight bruise on her forehead and start mothering on her, which quite frankly was embarrassing, especially with the nature of the wound in the first place.
Opposite her were a frustrated younger sister and a rather nervous fiancé-in-law.
Ryoga had turned up a little while after Nabiki's chat with P-chan, and had walked straight into Akane who had not been happy at his walking off earlier on. Nabiki hadn't actually seen any of this, but the bruises that Ryoga was now sporting were a big enough clue, Ranma had looked like that quite a few times.
Speaking of bruises, Nabiki was more than slightly embarrassed about hers. In hindsight, repeatedly head-butting a wall wasn't the best way to take out your frustrations. Apart from being painful, it was hard to hide the soreness it left behind. Eventually she had to tell Nodoka that she was fine and that she had fallen over accidentally when she was in her room, and she was more than slightly grateful when Kasumi had asked for Nodoka's help in the kitchen.
Thankfully her father hadn't noticed, otherwise the floorboards would have become waterlogged very quickly. Again.
Just then Kasumi entered the room carrying tonight's dinner, with Nodoka just behind her. Nabiki started eating her meal, waiting for the right time to act. She was going to get Ryoga for his deception; no one kept secrets like this from Nabiki Tendo for long and expected her to just ignore them. She was going to milk him for every penny he had, and then a few extra just for fun. She waited until most of the food had been consumed before beginning stage one of operation 'fleece Ryoga for everything he's got in a bid to both punish him and get him to own up to the truth'.
Hmm…note to self, think of catchier code name, that one sucked.
"Everyone, I have an announcement to make."
"What is it Nabiki?" asked Mr. Tendo cautiously. Whenever Nabiki had an announcement it normally meant one of two things; either they had no money left, of he had to pay for something expensive and would therefore have no money left in the near future. Neither was something he was happy about.
"Well daddy, recently I've been thinking about some important issues that we haven't really thought about before, mainly the security of the family."
"What are you talking about? We're perfectly safe."
"Oh really, what about all the times Akane's gotten kidnapped. She wasn't exactly safe when Taro or Saffron took her was she?"
"Hey, you don't have to say it like it's a regular occurrence," protested Akane.
"The problem is that it is," said Nabiki.
"Twice is not all the time!"
"Actually its three, remember Picolet Chardin II?."
"Well three isn't that bad…" said Akane.
"No I lie, it's been four times. There was Moose as well, almost forgot about him. And then there was the time when…"
"Okay Nabiki, that's enough, we've concluded that Akane's been kidnapped a few times. Is there a point to what you have to say?" asked Nodoka. Akane huffed slightly at the way everyone was just assuming she was an easy person to kidnap. She was a martial artist damn it!
"Yes there is. After hearing of what happened with Saffron I came to the conclusion that it is very easy for an impostor to infiltrate our family simply by taking someone to Jusenkyo, drowning them in a pool, and then jumping in. Instant disguise."
"Don't you think your being a little…well paranoid dear?" said Nodoka worriedly.
"No" replied Nabiki curtly. "Anyway, that's not all. When Shampoo first turned up as a cat none of us knew that she was a real person, despite her obvious dislike of Akane. It took us ages to work out her real identity."
"So what?" asked Akane
"So, can you imagine someone, like say Happosai, finding the spring of drowned P-chan, Akane? What do you think he'd do then?" Seeing Akane's horrified face (and feeling slightly sorry for Ryoga when she found out the truth) she continued. "Exactly. In the wrong hands Jusenkyo curses can be very dangerous, just look at Taro."
"I still say there's nothing to worry about," said Akane after gathering herself together from the horrible image of P-chan with Happosai's face in her panty draw. "I won't let anyone do anything like what Kiima did to me again!"
"And neither will I. I've come up with a plan to discover if there are any impostors among us."
"And that is…?" asked Ryoga nervously. This was getting into dangerous territory as far as he was concerned.
"Ah, I'm glad you asked Ryo-chan," said Nabiki as she pulled out a rather large water pistol and pointed it at Ryoga. "It's a rather simple plan that involves nothing more than…"
"…random splashes of water."
Ryoga was very close to going into full-scale panic as he lay there completely soaked. It had happened far too quickly for him to react, and had simply no other option than to let the water him. He was a gonner, that was for sure. Akane and the rest of the Tendos were going to see his curse activate, put two and two together, and cream his arse into the ground. While Mr Sa… his father already knew, Mr. Tendo didn't and would therefore kill him for hurting his little girl and Nabiki would ruin him for life. But Akane would be the worst, she was going to go nuclear on him. Goodbye life without liquefied food. Actually he was surprised that he wasn't already being beaten black and blue.
That was when he realized he was still fully human.
"… …" said Ryoga.
"Nabiki! What the hell did you do that for?" yelled Akane.
"Yes Nabiki, I think you owe us an explanation," said Soun, a large sweat drop falling from his head. Meanwhile Genma was planning ways to 'acquire' Nabiki's water pistol full of what was obviously a cure. At last, bye bye panda man!
Nabiki put her water pistol down before turning to the family. "Like I said its simple. If Ryoga was an impostor then warm water would change him back into his true form."
"Warm water?" asked Genma tentatively. Damn.
Ryoga nearly melted in his relief. He was sure he was dead there.
"Well yes, obviously he's not an impostor otherwise he'd change back, unless he locked his curse in which case there would be no way of telling anyway," said Nabiki.
"Well I have to say it seems to be a very good plan Nabiki, but in the future could you please not do so at the dinner table, its terribly impolite," said Nodoka.
"Okay auntie, but I haven't told you about phase two yet."
Ryoga froze at that, while Nodoka simply asked, "Phase two dear?"
"Oh yes, while hot water will find impostors it won't help us in all situations. If Happosai had a curse, for example, then we'd never know."
"So what's the plan?" asked Akane.
"Oh that's easy, I'll just use this one," said Nabiki as she picked up another water pistol.
"And what's that?" asked Akane.
"Nothing fancy, just cold water. This'll find anyone with a curse soon enough," said Nabiki, making her point by hitting Genma with a burst of water, instantly Panda-fying him.
"Please not at the table," complained Nodoka.
Oh god, I'm dead! thought Ryoga
Soun and Genma shared a glance that spoke a thousand words. They couldn't let Nabiki carry out this plan; the future of the schools was at jeopardy! "Umm, daughter don't you think that's a bit excessive? Is there really any need to constantly soak people just because of a perceived threat?" said Soun, trying to play the part of the stern, all knowing parent.
Unfortunately Nabiki wasn't buying it. "It's hardly a perceived threat is it? I mean its happened before."
"Yes, but…" faltered Soun.
"And there's nothing to say that it won't happen again."
"Daddy, do you take the safety of your family seriously?
"Of course I do!"
"You wouldn't object to safety measures simply because they're a bit inconvenient would you?
"Or maybe you don't care about our safety, maybe you wouldn't mind if, no when this happens again."
"Of course I do…" cried Soun, aghast.
"We could we be raped, tortured, or simply killed, do you want that to happen to us?" continued Nabiki. Meanwhile Genma had reached over to the kettle and changed himself back into his uncursed form.
"Well under normal circumstances I wouldn't bother with all of this, however recent events have shown that these sort of measures are necessary for our protection. Who knows what will happen in the future. Do you think this is wrong of me?"
"No!" wailed Soun tearfully, instantly turning Genma back into a panda.
"So you think that using any means to prevent any family casualties would be a good idea?" Nabiki asked sweetly.
"And it's ok if I carry out this plan then is it?"
"Good, well I'm going upstairs now for some refills. Thank you for dinner, it was excellent," said Nabiki as she got up from the table.
Genma-panda watching what happened to his old friend after 'taking charge' against his daughter and shook his head in embarrassment.
"…Would mister Masaki please make his way into the ring so that the fight may commence? Failure to arrive in two minutes will result in automatic disqualification," said the announcer. The kid had better get here, he had a schedule to keep after all.
Similar thoughts were occurring inside the marquee. "Come on Tenchi, where on earth are you?" asked Ranma out loud, feeling slightly anxious for the other pig-tailed youth.
"No idea, but if he doesn't turn up soon one of us will be fighting that Daikoku girl," came a voice to his left. It turned out that it was a familiar looking blond girl, though he couldn't remember her name for the life of him.
"Yeah, he doesn't deserve to go out like that, he's too good. Oh, by the way, I'm Ranma Nanashi," said Ranma.
"I know, I'm Sakura, Sakura Ogota."
"Oh yeah, you beat Goliath didn't ya? That was a hell of a punch by the way."
"Oh it was nothing," she said, blushing slightly at the praise. "He was asking for it. I mean who would call themselves something as stupid as the 'Man Mountain' Goliath anyway?"
Ranma thought of several people in an instant, but couldn't be bothered to share them with his companion.
"Anyway," continued Sakura, "he better get his butt down here fast."
"Yeah, why's that?" asked Ranma, curious why Sakura cared so much about Tenchi.
"Well, I want a better idea of what to expect when I get to the final."
"You're pretty confident aint ya, you've still got to beat me first," said Ranma confidently.
Sakura leaned over and patted him on the shoulder in a way similar to someone letting a child believe that they really DID see Santa Claus climb down from the chimney just to let them feel better. "That shouldn't be a problem."
Suddenly there was a blue and black blur trailing smoke ran directly between the two fighters, the shockwaves sending the two stumbling back several feet.
"I'm coming, wait for me!"
Hang on, he knew that voice. "Oh good, he's here," said a relieved Ranma.
"Who's here?" asked Sakura, still slightly dazed from the near miss.
"Tenchi, of course."
"You're late," said the announcer disapprovingly.
"Yeah, sorry about that," panted Tenchi as he tried to get his breath back.
The announcer gave him a small glare before turning away. "No real harm done, but if you had turned up any later then you'd have been disqualified." He then faced the audience and started introducing the first semi-final.
"Ladies and gentlemen,…."
After recovering from his all out sprint to the fight, Tenchi assumed a defensive stance straight away, as he was completely unsure how he was supposed to take the fight. Ranma had mentioned that his opponent fought using a style called 'Martial arts Take out', whatever that was, and as such had no idea what Kaori was going to do. He knew that she tended to use chopsticks as weapons, and that she carried a take out box with her, but her previous fights had ended too quickly for him to learn much more than that. He hoped that starting out on the defensive would give him a better idea of her style, as well as to prepare himself for any surprises she may use on him.
Glancing at Kaori he could only glance dumbly at her stance. She was crouching down on the arena floor; one hand on the take out box while the other was resting on the ground. Her attention didn't seem to be on the fight, but on the floor directly in front of her. It didn't seem very stable, so maybe he could take advantage of that and get an early strike in. Hopefully he could end the fight almost as it started. Deciding to take that course of action he subtly changed his stance to allow him a quicker attack.
Seeing that both fighters were ready, the announcer spoke into the microphone.
"Okay, lets get this semi-final started! Ready…FIGHT!"
Tenchi instantly darted towards his opponent, bokken raised, ready to deal some punishment on his opponent. He soon came into range and initiated a horizontal sweep, which if it connected would have taken the girls kneecaps off.
However, by the time Tenchi's bokken came anywhere near her position Kaori was already in the air calling out her attack.
"Daikoku School of martial arts special technique; Fish sausage blizzard!"
Tenchi's thoughts didn't get much further than fish-what? before he was assaulted with a vast amount of food. The small pieces of fish weren't really enough to knock him off balance, but the sheer number of them was starting to affect his vision, especially as they started slapping into his face and eyes. He was forced to turn his attention to blocking Kaori's unusual attack.
This left him open to her follow up attack, which turned out to be a vicious roundhouse kick in the face. The impact sent Tenchi sliding along the arena floor on his back, leaving him slightly scuffed up and bruised.
Peeling the remaining pieces of fish sausage of his face, Tenchi took up a more defensive stance and took another look at his opponent. She was fast, and she was using unusual techniques to good effect. Time to be a bit more cautious then.
As if sensing Tenchi's hesitation, Kaori smiled and went on the attack.
"Daikoku school of martial arts; its fast or its free!" she shouted, running towards Tenchi. When she was in range she attacked with the pair of chopsticks in her right hand.
Tenchi was prepared for a lot of things, and had already seen her use these eating implements as a weapon in earlier bouts. He was not however prepared for the sheer speed that she attacked at, almost too fast for him to see. The first few blows had connected before he could react. He wasn't very familiar with pressure points, but he had learned enough from his grandfather to know what they were, and he knew that must be the reason his arm was feeling numb the instant the attack got through his guard. The following strikes were frantically blocked by Tenchi's bokken in a desperate attempt to avoid taking anymore damage.
This carried on for about twenty seconds, Kaori trying to get past Tenchi's guard and Tenchi doing everything he could to thwart her attempts. Kaori couldn't keep her speed attack up forever though, and Tenchi was able to see a small gap in her defenses. Taking advantage of her slower speed, Tenchi used a disarming maneuver to remove the chopsticks from Kaori's grasp. Surprised at losing her weapon so suddenly, Kaori attempted to leap back out of range and regroup, but was caught in the side by Tenchi's follow up attack before she could do so.
Now that he had some room to breathe Tenchi examined his left arm. As he had thought it was almost useless, having only enough strength to form a feeble grip on his bokken. He could feel some strength come back to it slowly, but in the meantime he was going to have to fight one-handed.
Meanwhile Kaori was also taking the time to recover. She was breathing hard from the exertion required to execute her speed technique for so long, but it was the pain in her side that was really making her pause for thought. Tenchi had caught her just under the rib cage, and it was making breathing difficult, as well as hindering any extravagant movement. If she allowed her opponent to recover enough to attack her then she wasn't sure she could defend herself well enough in her current condition. She was going to have to end the fight quickly.
"You're better than I thought," said Kaori, "I didn't want to use this until the final, but you've forced me to use the ultimate technique of the Daikoku school of martial arts take out; Ramen roundup noodle noose!"
Tenchi didn't have time to react as Kaori opened her take out box, grabbed some noodles with a new pair of chopsticks and throw them towards Tenchi. The noodles wrapped around his neck, and as Tenchi tried to pry them off him they got tighter and tighter, suffocating him.
"Ha ha ha," laughed Kaori, "The Ramen Roundup Noodle Noose is most lethal attack of the Daikoku school of martial arts. Just like the coils of a deadly snake the ramen noodles close tighter and tighter, the more you fight the tighter they become. Surrender, it's over!"
There were gasps from Tenchi's supporters, as well as from Tenchi himself who was frantically trying to breath. The effort was failing however, as the ramen was indeed tightening due to Tenchi's struggles. If he didn't think of something fast, then the fight would be lost.
"I'll let go if you give up," said Kaori, supremely confident that she couldn't lose now.
Tenchi wasn't going to let it end like this. His grandfather had spent a lot of time getting him prepared for this tournament, and the girls were counting on him. He simply couldn't lose without giving it his all.
It had taken a supreme effort to not let go of his bokken, despite the lack of oxygen in his lungs, and now he was glad that he hadn't. Frankly he was embarrassed he hadn't tried using it earlier, it was such obvious an obvious tactic to employ. With a swing he cut through the noodles attached to his neck, ending Kaori's hold on him.
Tenchi used the time that Kaori was sent off balance to desperately get some air back into his lungs. Panting he faced Kaori and took a defensive stance before she could take advantage of his inattention. His body was shaking from its recent exertions, and he was feeling more than slightly faint, but he was still in the fight.
Kaori meanwhile was slightly impressed. Only one person had managed to remove themselves from her 'Ramen Roundup Noodle Noose', and she had help. This fight was turning out to be a far greater workout than she had thought previously, this guy was good with that bokken of his. She winced as the pain in her side let itself be known. Yeah, damn good, that hurts! She should do something about that.
"You know, that thing is entirely too annoying," said Kaori as she sent another 'Ramen Roundup Noodle Noose' at Tenchi. This time however it wasn't aimed at the young man's throat, but at his weapon. As the noodles griped the boken Kaori gave a hard tug and tried to remove the practice sword from her opponents grasp. Tenchi however was equal to the task, and refused to let go.
It quickly turned into a stalemate; both Kaori and Tenchi were pulling hard against each other in a tug of war; with Kaori trying to disarm Tenchi, while Tenchi was refusing to let go of his weapon. To Tenchi's despair however Kaori was slowly but surely managing to pull Tenchi over to her, with Tenchi unable to resist. He was still weakened from being suffocated earlier, and his grip on the bokken was starting to falter. At this rate Kaori was going to disarm him and then he would lose the fight. He wasn't useless at hand to hand combat, but he doubted he was in his opponent's league. If he lost his bokken then he was effectively defenseless.
Unless…a plan suddenly came into his mind that might just be able to give him the victory. It was risky, but if this worked then the fight would be his. If he failed then the fight would be over, but at this rate that looked to be happening anyway. He didn't really have anything to lose.
Deciding to go for broke, Tenchi let go of his boken and charged.
Unexpectedly finding herself pulling against nothing, Kaori was forced to take a couple of backward steps to prevent herself from falling over, coming perilously close to the edge of the arena. This was what Tenchi was looking for, and while Kaori was still off balance he slammed shoulder into her torso. Before she knew what was going on she was plummeting out of the ring.
The announcer took one look at the young girl lying on the grass and decided that the fight was over. "The winner of the first semi-final is TENCHI MASAKI!"
"Yes! Nice one Tenchi!" said Kiyone triumphantly.
"Yay, Tenchi's in the final," cheered Sasami.
"Who would have expected anything else, right Ryoko?" said Ayeka, only to find the person she was speaking too absent. "Umm Ryoko…."
Now where had she run off to now?
Sakura wasn't entirely sure she had seen what she thought she saw. Alright, so she knew that there were some strange martial art styles out there, indeed if she was pressed she would admit that hers was one of them, but this was just too strange.
"Nice fight. I've never seen Kaori in a proper match before."
Sakura slowly turned to face Ranma. "Please tell me that she wasn't using noodles and fish sausage in tournament fight was she?"
Ranma blinked at her "Well yeah, what else so you think a practitioner of Anything Goes Take Out would use?"
Sakura was about to answer when Ranma's comment registered in her mind. "Oh yeah…of course."
The two teens were startled when the marquee's fabric doors were torn down violently by a tall, cyan-haired woman, who looked around sharply until she spotted one of the pigtailed young men she had been looking for. The first one would have been the crown prince of Jurai, grandson of a Shinto priest and the love of her life.
The other was going to get the living shit kicked out of him.
"Ranma," yelled Ryoko, "PREPARE TO DIE!"
Yes, I've updated. Yes, it took me a long time. And yes I still haven't finished the tournament.
So sue me.
Seriously, I'm sorry that this took so long. The main reason is that I'm really starting to get fed up of trying to invent original, entertaining fight scenes. I'm just finding it really hard. I do have a bit of a confession to make, I've basically had the whole of this chapter minus the last paragraph ready for two months, but I couldn't think of a good ending for it. I had Tenchi and Ranma talking to each other about some nonsense, just a filler really, and it was both boring and unnecessary, so I got fed up and just let Ryoko attack Ranma instead. It probably makes for a better ending.
Oh, and Mr. Tendo DOES know about Ryoga being P-chan, Ryoga's just dumb and thinks he doesn't.
For those of you who keep emailing me telling me to get on with writing this, thanks. It's nice to know people want me to continue this. I also plan to keep on writing this for a long while, so if it's been a while before I update don't be worried, I will update. If I ever do decide to pack it all in I'll tell you so.
Anyway, hope you like the chapter, and keep sending those reviews in!