Here Comes Ranma
In the border city of Nerima in the kingdom of Tokyo, the head of a small monastery read the scroll the herald had just delivered to him.
Bringing Ranma from Qinghai.
The man began openly weeping as he reread the small message over again.
"R-Ranma? Coming here?" the mustachioed man said indisbelief. "Oh, how I've waited for this day!!"
"Excuse me, Master Tendo," the herald, a skinny young man by the name of Gosunkugi, cleared his throat and held out his hand waiting for the tip, trying to ignore the sight of a grown man crying.
The little man was still glancing about trying to catch sight of the Soun's youngest daughter. He thus failed to notice when Soun Tendo, not realizing the herald was still there, slammed the door closed. Resulting in Gosunkugi lying flat on his back.
"Kasumi!! Nabiki! Akane!" Soun rushed through thesmall grounds of the monastary. Kasumi was the easiest to find, the young priestess of Belldandy wasin the kitchen preparing supper. "Kasumi!"
"Yes, daddy?" Then Soun was off looking for his other daughters. He stopped at the entrance to hismiddle daughter's room.
"Nabiki!" The diviner, priestess of Xellos, and Soun didn't want to know what else she might be, turned to look at him where she was lounging on herbed and reading some book of hers.
"Akane!! Where is that girl?"Meanwhile a long haired girl in a loose trainingoutfit, an unassuming symbol of Ryoko bouncing with her stride. She tramped in through the open gate, incidentally trampling Gosunkugi who was trying to stand up finally.
"She touched me," the poor abused herald said cheerfully.The girl was instantly into the dojo part of the complex and trading out her running clothes with a martial training gi. In the next moment she shattered the brick she had just set in front of her.
"Ahhhh! That was nice," Akane sighed in relaxation.
"That's Akane for you," a dry feminine voice said behind her. Akane turned to see her sister striding toward her. "Obliterating poor defenseless bricks, I'm certain that will help you oh so much in obtaining a husband."
"What does that matter to me? Not everybody thinks the world revolves around men, Nabiki.""Oh, that's right, you serve the goddess of mindless violence." Akane's eye twitched.
"That's Rage," the younger girl said tightly, eyes twitching at her sister's normal jibe..
"Whichever," Nabiki said with a smirk, shrugging as she strode out of the dojo. It was only a few minutes later when Akane's voice was heard throughout the monastary and a little beyond the walls.
"Yes, the son of a very good friend of mine," their father explained. "The son's name is Ranma Saotome. If one of you three girls were to marry him, and carryon this monastary, then the Tendo family legacy would be secure."
"Wait a minute!" Akane shouted angrily. "Don't WE have some say in who we marry?"
"Akane's right, Daddy. We've never even met Ranma. And we're all priestesses. What if one of our..." Kasumi paused. "What if Belldandy objects to him."Nabiki ignored her older sister and continued to drink her tea.
"Hey!" Akane snapped.
"That's easily fixed."
Elsewhere, on the edge of Nerima, the commoners watched in confusion, and a little worry, as what looked like a giant white and black bear chased a redheaded girl through the street. Suddenly the bear swiped at the littler girl who easily leaped over theattack.
"Hey! Stop that!"
"Umm, is that a bear?" somebody asked. "It's a panda, I seen one of em back when I was a soldier." The panda took a fighting stance and thetowns people looked on in confusion. Still, this was Nerima, on the border of Tokyo. The weirdest place of a weird kingdom.
"Your move, old man," the redhead said. The panda launched an attack forward which the girl easily dodged. "I still say this whole thing is stupid!" The girl caught the panda's paw and flipped the beast over her head. "Picking my fiancee for me, withouteven asking!"
The redhead stood over the panda a few seconds glowering and huffing.
"Did you even bother telling them what they're getting into?" she demanded. "I'm going back to looking for Mom, I'll bet she doesn't know about this, does she?" The girl hefted a large pack, seemingly much too large for her, and started walking off. She didn't notice when the large panda stood up, uprooted a small tree and turned to whack her on the head.
The panda picked up the redhead and slung her over his shoulders. He sighed, knowing there was no way to convince her to switch now. Maybe he should have waited to tell Ranma about the engagement until they had met everyone. Then Ranma wouldn't obstinately be staying female. Well, this called for an appropriate story to give Soun. Then the panda noted all the people staring at him.
"Growf! Growf!" the small crowd backed away quickly from the roaring panda and decided to find something else to do. Though one or two went for their homes and a silver weapon or two they had stashed away. The panda shuffled away grumbling something about busybodies.
Ranma and his father have been on a voyage of training," Soun continued to explain. "Recently they passed through Qinghai."
"Wow! Qinghai!" Nabiki was mentally rubbing her palms together. There were some places in Qinghai that she was interested in finding, and with the proper guide, fiancee or in-law, it would be much easier.
"What's so great about Qinghai?" Akane asked.
"Is he cute?" Nabiki cooed.
"How old is he? Younger men bore me," Kasumi declared serenely.
"What kind of guy is this Ranma?" Kasumi and Nabiki choursed. Soun laughed for a moment and then spilled his guts.
"'No idea'?" Nabiki repeated, and considered dipping into her prepared spells.
"I've never met him." The three girls stared at him.
"Leggo y'ol fool!" a voice rang out. Kasumi half stood while everyone turned towards the sounds from the front of the compound.
"We have visitors," the eldest Tendo declared.
"Oooo! It must be Ranma!" Nabiki shouted rushing to meet the new fiancee.
"Saotome, my friend!" Soun shouted, moving just behind his middle daughter. "We've been waiting!"
~Oh, I hope he's older!~ Kasumi thought, adjusting her hair.
~How depressing, men!~ Akane hmphed, staring at the ground. Kasumi and Akane's slow progress to the front stopped as Nabiki and their father came barrelling back around the corner followed by a giant bear carrying a struggling person.
"Hey, yo!" the panda's burden shouted. "You're scaring 'em spitless!"
"Daddy," Kasumi said nervously. "This...is your friend?" The older man shook his head furiously.
"Oh. So this...PANDA just decided to visit!" Nabiki shouted. "Happens all the time!"
The panda set down its package, who stared up at the shocked older man with a rather blank expression.
"You...wouldn't be..." Soun said pointing.
"Ranma Saotome," Ranma shrugged, nodding. "Sorry 'bout the old man."
"At last!" Soun shouted. "You've come!"
"Oooo! He's cute!" Nabiki sighed, almost feminine in fact.
"Its so good of you to come so---!" The redhead's pigtail actually stood up as Soun embraced her. Then Soun cut off and stared out into space before shoving the smaller person away from him and taking a closer look at Ranma, who now had a glazed look in her eyes.
"Hmm?" Nabiki glanced forward and noticed the shape of the visitor's chest, before poking at something that didn't belong an a man of any age.
"Umm," Ranma started to say. "Could you..." Nabiki gave one last squeeze to be completely sure, and turned towards her family as Ranma's eyes rolled back in her head and she fainted.
"'He' is a girl," Nabiki indicated irritably, only to watch her father join their visitor in unconsciousness.
Soun woke up to the sound of his daughters talking.
"Oh. Poor daddy," Kasumi sighed as she wrang out some damp cloths. "He's so disappointed."
"HE'S disappointed!" Nabiki shouted, ruination of a good plan always seemed to bring out the worst in the middle Tendo. "Some fiance this is!" Not that Xellos wouldn't accept it, or that she wouldn't have fun, but there were other considerations. It would certainly place her out of the contention for any sort of inheritance. Blood heirs were important, and, without a shapechanging spell, two women would never have one.
"Hey, what if he...she wakes up?" Akane insisted. "She is out guest!"
"This is all your fault, Daddy!" Nabiki shouted. "You should have made sure!"
"Well, he said he had a SON!!" Soun exlaimed from where he was lying down.
"Do you see a son here?" Nabiki demanded grabbing their fainted guest and propping her where Soun could see the redhead. Then she patted down the offending pieces of anatomy, not caring that the redhead snapped awake.
"Ooo, que-wha-huh?" the redhead spoke, almost. Then she glanced at Nabiki. ~I think I found dinner.~ She thought irritably.
"Hmm? Do you?"
"Hey, could you," Ranma's face started turning red again. "Please stop that?" Akane turned to look at the scene in alarm and glared at Nabiki, who irritably released the redhead. The long-haired girl softly shook the redhead, who appeared to be quickly on her way to another faint.
~Wow, she must be really sensitive,~ Akane thought. "Hey. Join me in the dojo?"
"Huh?" Ranma blinked once and shook her head clear.
"I'm Akane," she said smilingly. "You want to be friends?"
~Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea,~ Ranma thought, smiling a little. He hadn't had a friend for a long time. She was kind of cute too, and the redhead was almost regretting showing up a girl.
"You practice unarmed styles?" Akane asked.
"A little." Ranma admitted.
"Then let's have a little match okay?" Akane suggested, she noticed her guest looking a little nervous. "Just for fun. Don't worry. I won't hurt you."
"If you say so," Ranma said quietly.
Akane watched curiously as her opponent stayed out of stance, and then shrugged before lashing out with fist. The smaller girl easily jumped over it, and Akane shifted her motion to lash out with a kick at the airborne girl. Surprisingly, the redhead managed to hold aloft, and even rise a little in altitude, to stay over the kick.
~Hey she's good,~ Ranma noted.
After Ranma landed, Akane lashed out with another fist-kick combination.
"What's wrong?" Akane demanded. "Swing at me!" She lashed out again and Ranma dodged. ~Why...why am I missing her? Is she reading my...~ Akane's eyes narrowed. ~...mind.~
~Uh, oh,~ Ranma swallowed and laughed nervously as bad limmericks started floating through Akane's surface thoughts.
Ranma relaxed as Akane's eyes narrowed and felt a spike of magic. Akane may have caught on to her little trick, but she was still looking to make a point. Akane lashed out again as Ranma leaped up and over her. A section of the stone wall that had been behind Ranma shattered to dust as Ranma landed behind her, and lightly tapped her on the back of the head.
~She did that without magic,~ Akane turned to look at the smaller girl in surprise. The little girl laughed good-naturedly, and soon Akane was joining her.
"You're pretty good," Akane said. "I'm just glad you're a girl."
~Hmm,~ Ranma turned to look at Akane. ~She doesn't feel like she swings that way.~
"Its just..." Akane paused. "I'd really hate to lose to a boy!" Ranma glanced at where Akane had pulverized some of the wall.
~I might be safer as a girl after all,~ Ranma decided as Akane left the dojo.
Ranma cracked her knuckles and looked about to make sure no one was watching and reached out to the hole in the wall. A dark aura surrounded the redhead's hand as guttural and harsh words whispered out, as the spell faded away the wall was revealed to be whole again.
"Oh, I didn't know you spoke the Abyssal tongue," a soft voice said behind her. Ranma winced as she turned to face Kasumi and smiled in embarrasment. "I thought most arcane magic used Draconic, though."
"It's a family thing," Ranma said, embarrased. Kasumi was about to push the issue, when Ranma was saved by the grabby girl from before.
"Hey, Kasumi, who's that old guy with Daddy?" Ranma said nothing, obviously the old man had found some hot water somehow.
"Got me," Kasumi said before turning back to Ranma, who was staring wickedly at Nabiki. The middle Tendo arched an eyebrow and shrugged, not noticing the look Ranma was giving her, before leaving. "Try not to be too angry with Nabiki, she's a diviner and priestess of Xellos. She doesn't take being surprised well."
"She works for Unc..." Ranma snapped his mouth shut. ~Well, I wasn't going to do anything permanent...~
"Hmm?" Kasumi asked. "Ranma, don't you think you should take a bath?" Ranma lifted and arm and sniffed, realizing that it had been several days since she'd had the chance. "After all you must be all sweaty from your workout."
"Okay," Ranma agreed. ~It might give me a chance to figure this out anyway.~
"We even have our own hotspring," Kasumi said encouragingly.
"Really," Ranma said happily. A hot bath without having to cast a spell was too much to turn down. She was off like a rocket.
The redhead settled into the hot water, sighing as she relished the hot water.
"This is heaven," Ranma said as she considered the problem. Namely his father. "He's sure to come up with some crackpot story to explain me and get the engagement on." Ranma considered that irritably and her thoughts drifted to the long-haired girl he had sparred against. Unnoticed to the young being, certain bits of anatomy changed as her, now his mind wandered.
"Akane!" Nabiki called out. "Bath's ready!"
"Thanks." Akane said smiling.
~Well, I can always just be her friend,~ Ranma thought to himself. Unbeknowest to the young half-demon, another person was making ready to join him. ~That should be enough of a soak.~ The door flipped open, revealing a naked Akane staring at him in shock. That wasn't right, Ranma knew he had left the sign out. He suddenly was very aware of certain reactions going on and looked down.
Due to his heritage Ranma was, as Akane put it, very sensitive and reactive. Sometimes it was too much for his human blood, and he'd faint from sensory overload like earlier. Also, despite his mother's occaisional influence, he was rather shy when it came to anything past the flirting necessary to trick a meal...err...pervert to temporarily part with some life force. As he realized what was going on, Ranma's mind froze and he stood and watched as Akane left the room. A few seconds later there was a loud scream followed by a string of curses and running feet.
"Uh, uh, uh, uh," Ranma stuttered. "How do I explain this. Damn it, Mom told me never to let me mind wander too much! Umm, so how do I explain the gender switching." He ruffled his hair and remembered something he had almost not noticed earlier, a certain holy symbol. "Akane's one Auntie Ryoko's priestesses." Ranma hastily went back to coming up with an explanation as thoughts of being mangled or char-broiled ran through his head.
"Hi, my mother is a succubus that had an accident with a helm of opposite alignment, and I inherited the dual gender. Nope, can't say that. Think, think," Ranma paused and stared at the hot water spring. "Stupid hot bath, distracted...THAT'S IT!!!...hot water...I could say I have a curse like the old man's!!~
"There's a pervert in the bathroom!" he heard Akane shout. Ranma winced and quickly got dressed in his light travelling outfit before leaving the hot spring and heading for the sound. "Because I'm afraid!"
"Who are you?" Nabiki asked him as he came around to see Akane wielding a huge rock. Ranma almost blanched.
~Gee, where does Auntie find them?~ Ranma asked himself. "I'm Ranma Saotome. Sorry 'bout this." He noted his father looking at him oddly and gave subtle "play along, I'll explain later" gesture. Genma nodded, but neither noticed Nabiki arching an eyebrow.
Back to Martial Artists and Mayhem: Third Edition