The Amazon and the Moneylender Part 13
Ukyou glanced back to make sure that Ryouga was staying put like she'd asked. Since arriving at the hospital with Mousse and Kodachi neither had been given much rest, she'd only just now found the space and time she needed to get to a phone and call the rest of the Tendo dojo. Ukyou sighed as she recalled the events since they had arrived at the hospital.
In the hour they had been stuck here, the police had questioned them, and accused them of a variety of things. Their first thought was that Ukyou and Ryouga had gotten in a fight with Mousse and Kodachi that had gotten out of hand, the doctors killed that one. The hospital explained that the injuries the pair had sustained seemed more like some sort of animal. Then things got REALLY crazy.
A suggestion that Mousse and Kodachi had been fighting a demon, and then a cry of "hey careful with that or it'll just make you go all loopy," convinced the police to confiscate Ryouga's first aid kit. At about the same time someone managed to get an abridged version of the baksai tenketsu training from Ukyou before she realized what she was saying. This resulted in about a thirty second attempt to capture Ryouga, which he barely noticed. This had ended after Ukyou had picked up a flattened bullet and turned to the cop that had been talking to her and said, "that's why I'm training in the baksai tenketsu."
"Tendo dojo, how may I help you?" Kasumi's voice sounded a little strained.
"Kasumi?" Ukyou ignored the fact that the elder Tendo was having some sort of problem of her own. If she got bogged down in that then it would take a while to get Mousse and Kodachi's situation out. "I'm at the hospital."
"Oh! Are you and Ryouga okay?"
"We're fine, its Kodachi and Mousse…" Ukyou said. "They got in a fight with something, they're still unconscious so we don't know what yet."
"Oh! Was it Kuno?" Kasumi asked. "Nabiki said he was around."
"Kuno?" Ukyou almost drapped the phone. "Kuno's back?"
"Nabiki said that, are you okay?"
"Uh, yes," Ukyou said. "No it wasn't Kuno, that idiot doesn't cause the same type of injuries. Ryo-chan thinks it was a demon, if you can believe that."
"Oh my," Kasumi said. "I'll try to tell everybody else, but I'm not certain where they are at the moment. Would you and Ryouga mind staying there at least until one of us arrives, oh what is the hospital?"
"Hey, that's no problem, sugar," Ukyou said before giving Kasumi the hospital's name. She clicked the phone down and walked over to Ryouga. "Any word on the lunatics?"
"Not yet, are you okay?" he asked, noticing her expression as she approached.
"Kuno's back," she said, quietly, sitting next to him. Ryouga looked at her cautiously. Ukyou remembered that fight, she had been panicking and flailing about stupidly. She was worried about being groped, and let the thought distract her. As a result, Kuno had beaten her, badly. Kuno, the joke, the idiot that was always heading somewhere via air-Ranma or Akane. The would-be samurai had beaten her. The fact that she couldn't even touch him after the jerk chose to fight all out didn't help matters.
"Are you going to try and fight him?" Ryouga asked seriously. She looked at him and smiled slightly.
"Not if I can help it," she said. "Not before I finish the baksai tenketsu at any rate." Ryouga kept his thoughts on the matter silent, he REALLY didn't want to make a scene just at the moment. Later, when they returned to camp maybe. "I wish one of these doctors would tell us something."
"What so funny?" Shampoo asked nervously as Nabiki quieted. The moneylender turned to face her, radiantly cheerful.
"She's an Amazon!" Nabiki said suddenly. Shampoo looked at her confused.
"How can magical girl be Amazon, she not even born."
"I was born," Ranko muttered angrily, though no one heard her.
"You didn't know that?" Ranma blinked and looked at Akane, who had the same expression.
"We figured something out before Nabiki?"
"Oh I suspected it," Nabiki waved off the comment, trying to salvage some pride. "But I have enough on my mind at the moment without having to prove that."
"I don't get how magical girl be Amazon," Shampoo repeated.
"Perhaps if the girl that drowned in the pool was an Amazon," Dr. Tofu suggested.
"Hello!! I am sitting right here!" Everybody turned to look at Ranko and blinked. She hmphed and crossed her arms. "Jerks."
"If girl drowned in pool Amazon," Shampoo said. "Then anybody who fall in Amazon?"
"Hey wouldn't that mean that the outsider laws don't apply to Ranma?" Akane asked suddenly. "After all he's been walking around with an Amazon life force this entire time."
"Shampoo ask great-grandma," the Amazon said slowly. "After take Nabiki home, and put in BED." She emphasized the last word strongly, giving a Nabiki a reproachful look. Dr. Tofu, Ranko, Ranma and Akane looked on rather confused.
"We were going to…"
"Shampoo stop by for lunch, Nabiki stay bed and HEAL," Shampoo whispered something and Nabiki laughed, actually blushing.
"You're doing it again," Akane said dangerously. Shampoo and Nabiki suddenly turned serious and faced the other people in the clinic.
"Doing what?" Nabiki asked quietly. Any reply was cut off as Kasumi's voice was heard from the lobby. Ranma and Akane dragged Ranko away from Dr. Tofu while Shampoo carried Nabiki to the far side of the room. Ranma left the room quietly and then returned with a still paralyzed Sasuke. He smirked viciously as he set the ninja on the examination table
"Ka-ka-Kasumi, what a surprise to meet you here of all places…" he stammered. The Doctor reached for something to occupy his hands and found Sasuke. "Is that you Nabiki? You really should keep better care of your skin." Sasuke couldn't scream as his neck was twisted, he could however see the very vicious smirks he was getting from the martial artists backed against the wall.
"You work here Doctor," Kasumi noted. She looked and saw everybody standing away from Tofu. "Oh good, you're all here." Akane and Nabiki noticed the slight sarcasm on the word all, though people who hadn't lived a life time with Kasumi probably would have missed it. "Ukyou just called the dojo, there appears to have been an incident of some kind."
"An incident," Dr. Tofu asked. "Give me a moment to check Nabiki's foot here." His next treatment resulted in mass wincing and chuckling from the martial artists.
"No, this cannot wait," Kasumi said. "Apparently Ryouga and Ukyou had to bring Kodachi and Mousse to the hospital. They had been in a battle of some kind."
"What?!?" Ranma and Akane snapped.
"I told them that somebody would be by, considering that Kodachi lives with…"
"We're on our way," Ranma said, heading out the door.
"Hey Baka, we don't know the hospital!" Akane shouted, following after him.
"Oh my," Kasumi turned to Ranko. "Would you catch up and tell them where to go?"
"Uh…" Ranko blinked and tried to come up with a reason she couldn't do that, but she seriously did not want to disappoint this girl. "Sure, what's the hospital?"
"Don't worry about Nabiki," Kasumi said sweetly. "I'll see her home."
"Hey maybe betty-chan can go with you!" Dr. Tofu suggested. "I'll ask her in a moment."
"Shampoo help Nabiki home too," the Amazon said as she carried Nabiki out of the room from the crazy doctor.
"You shouldn't volunteer other people like that Ukyou," Dr. Tofu lectured.
"How come he thinks I spatula-girl," Shampoo asked herself.
"Don't worry about it Doctor," Nabiki called as she and Shampoo left the room. "See you later."
"My family is very lucky to have such a kind man as yourself as a doctor," Kasumi said, bowing as she left. "I hope to see you again under calmer circumstances." She added the last with a serene smile and a demure wave.
"Oh Betty-Chan, she said I'm a kind man," and Dr. Tofu danced through a wall holding his skeleton. Left to himself was the still paralyzed ninja, ingenuously reshaped into a something a cat would think of as impossible.
"I am quite capable of taking my sister home, Shampoo," Kasumi said calmly. "And I believe that you have work." Nabiki ignored her sister, as far as she was concerned, Kasumi's thoughts were clear.
"Want to make sure Nabiki go to bed," Shampoo hmphed.
"We do agree on that, at least," Kasumi noted. She wanted to apologize to Nabiki for her earlier words, but not with Shampoo there. Even if she didn't altogether trust Shampoo, the amazon provided to easy an out for Nabiki to ignore her. "And just how did you all end up at Dr. Tofu's clinic?"
"Kuno," Nabiki said simply. "That ninja ended up catching everybody but me and Kuno in a cloud of paralysis powder. If Kitty here hadn't shown up I don't know what would have happened."
"Oh my," Kasumi blinked, studiously ignoring the way Nabiki cuddled in Shampoo's arms at the end of that statement. "It seems I owe you some thanks."
"Stupid stick-boy," Shampoo growled. "He run away before Shampoo could beat him. Chasing lost boy that not there, idiot." Kasumi looked at her sister with surprise.
~She cast an illusion?~ Kasumi blinked. ~She's done much since coming back from China. Could she be returning to the art?~ It would be good news if that was so, Nabiki had so much potential. It was a shame that she let it sit unused, at least until she had returned home with sealed and cloaked flasks of Jusenkyo water.
"Yeah, now he thinks I'm a sorceress," Nabiki said, Kasumi knew the comment was directed at her, but Nabiki didn't turn to look at her. "But then he thinks everything walks out of a samurai tale." Then they were walking into the gates of the dojo.
"That is good enough, Shampoo," Kasumi said. "I can handle it from here."
"Must SEE Nabiki in bed," Shampoo retorted. "I don't trust her not to be stupid."
"You'll be paying for that," Nabiki promised sourly. There was no way she was going to get anything done with both of them mothering her. She caught her breath as Shampoo rushed up the stairs with her. Nabiki was aware that they were leaving Kasumi behind at the door, and was glad of it. It was only moments before she was being set down gently into her bed. "I'm not made of porcelain, Shampoo."
"You no martial artist either," Shampoo noted in response. "Not heal so fast as us, so rest. Shampoo handle problems for now." They kissed, holding the embrace for several moments before pulling back. "Besides, you are probably more fun when not all beaten up." Nabiki blushed again as the amazon repeated the encouragement she had whispered in Tofu's office.
"Shampoo, you forgot the water of drowned girl," Nabiki snapped as Shampoo was about to leave. "It's on the dresser there. I was going to give it to you at lunch, but since you're here now…" Shampoo looked to the flask and returned to pick it up, smiling.
"No more Kitty," Shampoo teased as she unstoppered the flask. She looked to where Nabiki was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching her.
"Too late for that," Nabiki said, smirking. "I'm afraid you're stuck as Kitty." Shampoo biihed the middle Tendo as she upended the flask over her head. The tingle of transformation started through her body, and cut short. Opening her eyes Shampoo was not surprised to see her still human hands, she was elated. Letting out a wordless squeal of delight she turned to hug and kiss Nabiki again.
"Cured, and if water-girl really Amazon, then Shampoo free too," the amazon exclaimed. "Wo ai ni!" Nabiki smiled but wasn't so certain that Cologne would accept this.
"And I love you, but you have to go back before the old ghoul starts looking for you," Nabiki said, reluctantly letting go of Shampoo. The amazon nodded quietly, standing up. "And if Cologne doesn't accept Ranko, try to stall her, a week at least."
"That harder than you think," Shampoo said. "But I will try. Be back for lunch." Shampoo was bouncing happily downstairs away from Nabiki's room when she noticed Kasumi waiting for her at the doorway. It appeared as if she had not moved since Shampoo broke away from her upon entering.
"I have to tell you one thing before you go," Kasumi said in her normal soft tone.
"What Nabiki-sister want?" Shampoo asked nervously, she really didn't want Kasumi to dislike her. That was almost a damning comment for this nice woman to dislike anybody.
"I shall be honest and say that Nabiki's…inclinations, while uncomfortable, do not surprise me much," Kasumi said. "And with Ranma having been in the house all this time, I suppose I'll accept it sooner or later. But I do not trust you." She paused to let that sink in. Shampoo was trying to figure out how she could stay so calm in attitude, disapproval without anger was strange to her. "You are a very relentless young woman, and Nabiki is providing you with much to your benefit."
"I am not using your sister," Shampoo said firmly.
"Yes, well do try not to prove me correct," Kasumi asked politely and calmly, as if she were simply asking for a favor. "Now, I must try to find where my father and Mr. Saotome went. Have a nice day." Kasumi smiled and walked towards the living room.
"How be nice and threaten at the same time?" Shampoo asked herself before leaving to get her bicycle and return to the Nekohanten.
Nabiki was sitting on her bed and already glaring as Kasumi walked in gracefully and sat down at her desk.
"I can take care of myself," Nabiki said levelly, watching her sister.
"Recent events would indicate otherwise," Kasumi said, indicating Nabiki's shoulder and foot. "But I apologize for what I said earlier, if it is any consolation I did not mean it the way it sounded."
"How else was I supposed to take it, and stop acting like I'm child just because I made a mistake," Nabiki snapped. "And this time there is no mistake. This time everybody gets what they want, Cologne gets to claim Ranma as an Amazon, Ranma and Akane can be together without interference, our Dads get to see the houses joined, and…I can have Shampoo."
"Are you certain Cologne will accept whatever evidence you have?" Nabiki shrugged in a careless manner that told Kasumi that she had a plan for that as well. "And what will you do afterwards. Which of you is going to turn their backs on their obligations? This is of course, assuming that she is not using you."
"She isn't using me," Nabiki insisted.
"Yes, well try to get some sleep," Kasumi said. "And I mean real sleep, no drugs, not because you're exhausted. You need to sleep."
"There's too much to do," Nabiki said. "I need to find Kuno again, visit two hospitals, and watch Cologne for her reaction to the idea that Ranko is an Amazon."
"Then you need to plan," Kasumi said. "And center yourself, and for that you need to be rested. So do try to get some sleep." She smiled, stood up and walked for the door.
"You don't really think that after all this time not using magic that I'm going to suddenly become a powerful sorceress, do you?" Nabiki asked. "I don't like magic, I've used it a couple of times recently because I have no choice, but that doesn't mean I'm going to make it a habit." Kasumi merely smiled and continued out of the room.
"Great Grandmother! I have good news!"
"What is that, Shampoo," Cologne asked suspiciously.
"Ranma's girl side is an Amazon," she declared happily. "I don't have to kill her now. And Ranma's an Amazon already, so I don't have to marry him. No more conflict with the younger Tendo!"
"How do you know this?" Cologne asked after looking her grand-daughter over.
"She speaks our dialect," Shampoo said, hesitantly. She had expected Cologne to ask for more information, but she did not expect Cologne to be expressing so much hostility with the idea. "And Nabiki and Ranma say so."
"And they explained how this could be?"
"They say that the girl that fell in the stream was an Amazon," Shampoo said, narrowing her eyes. "So everyone that falls in that pool gains chi of Amazon. I'm not going to kill her!"
"Did you think that, perhaps, they are lying to you, my child?" Cologne asked coldly, her grand-daughter was openly defying her.
"Nabiki was not lying!" Shampoo didn't get it. All Cologne wanted was to claim Ranma as one of the tribe, she should be happy to find a loophole that would get him in without the necessity of a family war. The unreasonableness of this reaction had sparked her own stubborn nature.
"And how would you know that," Cologne asked dangerously. "She lies to her own family, what reason would she have to treat you any better." Shampoo blinked and backed off, then she straightened again. "My suspicions are correct then."
"I have work to do," Shampoo declared. "Ranko is an Amazon, Ranma is an Amazon, soon maybe Akane, Nabiki and crazy-girl, if she's alive. Your problem is solved!"
~If I thought I still needed a test, I'd hope someone would put me in a cell next to that Kuno boy," Cologne sighed. ~She has turned against me.~ She thought about the possibility of what she had said though. She could perhaps accept Ranma, but this magically created girl was a problem. If what Shampoo said was true, then there was an Amazon child that could claim to have defeated her. ~I wonder how she ranks up to Ranma.~
Kodachi was surprised that she woke up, at least surprised that she woke up in the mortal world. She expected to be dead. She looked around at the hospital in surprise, trying to work out how she had gotten there. Perhaps Mousse was not so injured as she had thought he was.
"Mousse?" She reached down to gingerly touch the bandage along her side. The gymnast sat up to see a surprised Ukyou.
"Well, this is a coincidence," the chef noted dryly.
"It's the serving girl," Kodachi said, straightening to a dignified position. She felt moderately dizzy and the rip in her side sent a wave of pain to her head. Kodachi as usual did not allow herself to express the pain. Ukyou arched an eyebrow.
"Doesn't that hurt?" Ukyou asked, pointing at Kodachi's side.
"There are standards to maintain, and I will not ignore proper conversational posture due to the protests of my flesh," Kodachi explained irritably.
"Did you and that barbarian bring me here?"
"You could be more polite about it, sugar," Ukyou snapped. ~Ryouga was right, wait a minute, this is a Kuno. I'll wait to hear Mousse's report before I believe this demon stuff. It just seems like too much all at once.~
"Where is Mousse?" Ukyou softened somewhat at the restrained worry in Kodachi's voice.
"In another room," Ukyou said. "He was in worse shape than you."
"Is he….going to be okay?" Kodachi asked after a moment.
"The doctors thought so," Ukyou said. "Neither of you are in much of a shape to do anything strenuous for a while, but you should recover."
"I see," Kodachi let herself relax, but maintained her posture. "You seemed surprised when I first saw you, why is that?"
"Didn't expect you to be awake," Ukyou explained with a shrug.
"Then why were you here?" Kodachi asked. "You obviously do not hold much respect for me."
"Hell, no, you're a Kuno!" Ukyou snapped. "A family of loonies, there's no reason to respect any of you. But I don't know where your brother is and I don't want to do this while trying to avoid a haircut, besides you're closer."
"Do what, pray tell?" Kodachi asked arrogantly. "Challenge my brother, perhaps?" Ukyou blinked.
"You sound happy about that," Ukyou said. "I'm not making the same mistakes this time, he's going…"
"…Down like the rabid dog he is," Kodachi agreed happily. She lay back down and smiled. "I hope I can see the video."
"You WANT your brother beaten?" Ukyou, who hadn't yet heard the reason behind Kodachi's moving into the Tendo dojo, sounded disgusted. "You're all freaks." She started to leave, as she did Kodachi sat back up again.
"Kuonji-san," Ukyou paused and faced the girl again. "Please come here a moment."
"Listen lady, I am NOT anybody's servant.."
"It was not an order, it was a request," Kodachi said. "I wish to make you aware of something." Ukyou narrowed her eyes and growled before stalking over.
"This better be good, girl," the chef snapped.
"I've…only told Mousse about this," Kodachi said, glancing at her curled fists. She continued quietly "But I think he's known. I think Tendo-sensai and Ranma also know, but they've said nothing to me. I didn't even really kn…believe it until recent…events made certain…realities plain to me."
~Tendo-sensai, is she training under Akane's father now?~ Ukyou asked herself. "What are you talking about?" Kodachi uncurled her hand and held out the palm.
"What do you see there?" Kodachi asked nervously. Ukyou shrugged and took Kodachi's hand. The chef took a quick look and blinked. She glanced up at Kodachi and then back down, and dropped the hand.
"You have no lines on your palm," Ukyou said, shocked. "What the hell caused that?"
"Training," Kodachi said after a moment. "My brother expected me to be perfect under all circumstances. Injury, fatigue…." She swallowed and looked away before adding the next. "Heated uneven bars." Ukyou looked at the gymnast with unmasked shock and a little pity. "Do not question my family loyalty, Tatewaki is the traitor, not I."
"I…didn't know," Ukyou said.
"Apology accepted," Kodachi said. "Oh, and Kuonji-san, my brother's quick healing. I don't know much it, but he trained in an endurance exercise called Ao Dah Jong." Ukyou nodded as she backed to the side, letting the doctors and nurses whom had begun to arrive inside.
"I'll tell Ranma and Akane you're awake," Ukyou said wearily as she left the room. A few minutes later she arrived in the waiting room where Akane was standing over an unconscious Ranma.
"Can you not tease Ryouga at least ONCE in your life?!" Akane shouted.
"Look at him," it was that half-chinese Ranko speaking. "He's wearing a LEASH! He's tied to a door! What isn't there to laugh about?" A fuming Ryouga was doing his best not to lash out.
"At least the last duplicate of Ranma's girl side wasn't such a jerk!" Ukyou snapped, glaring at the unconscious red-head.
"At least she doesn't know any better," Akane hmphed. "So you two are going back to training?"
"Yeah," Ryouga said. "She's getting close to the technique, and there are some other things I want to teach her before…" he glanced at Ukyou. "We…uh...get back."
"You're not going to wait for Kodachi and Mousse to wake up?" Akane asked surprised.
"Kodachi's awake," Ukyou said. "And I have training to finish."
"Ucchan, are you all right?" Ryouga asked noticing Ukyou's contrite attitude.
"Just something Kodachi said," Ukyou answered. The gymanst had said she thought that Ranma and "Tendo-Sensai" knew about Kodachi and her brother, but just in case she was wrong, Ukyou wasn't going to specify. "Hey, do you know what Ao Dah Jong is?" Ryouga paled.
"It's a demon hunter thing, why do you ask that?" the lost boy asked nervously. He knew hundreds of body hardening techniques, including that one, he also knew that was one of the more painful ones. It easily surpassed the Baksai Tenketsu for sheer pain, while not giving as much back. At least that was Ryouga's opinion.
"Kodachi said something about Kuno knowing it," Ukyou eyed him carefully. "What do you know about it?"
"Trust me, Kuno hasn't gone through that training," he nearly laughed. "He screams too much."
"Why is that?"
"At least we're at a hospital already," Ranma grumbled as he woke up, he glanced at Ranko and blinked. He suddenly had a sense of standing over his own body. "Okay, this is weird." The red-head sat up grumbling irritably in Chinese at the oblivious Japanese martial artists around her.
"Would you please be quiet, Ryouga was talking about a technique Kuno might know," Akane snapped at them.
"Oh…" all eyes turned toward Ryouga who sweatdropped.
"So what is the big deal about this technique?" Ukyou rephrased her question.
"You see, the point is too deliberately cause as much pain as you can to the trainee," Ryouga explained. "They're supposed to fix it themselves. Advanced training calls for you to injure yourself. To be really worth it you'd have to start training young enough that you don't have a clear idea of pain." Ranma, Akane and Ukyou all thought of Kodachi.
"What's the point of that?" Akane asked shocked.
"Increase pain tolerance and endurance," Ryouga said. "Prepare a demon hunter for what happens when they mess up."
"That's probably the second stupidest thing I've ever heard of," Ranma blinked.
"Demon hunters do a lot of things we'd think were stupid, like…." Ryouga blinked and suddenly burst out laughing. Half the medical staff nearby shushed him. "err…sorry." He continued laughing though.
"Okay, what's so funny?" Ukyou growled.
"Yeah, Ryouga this is serious," Akane snapped.
"What does this have to do with that stupid samurai-boy?" Ranko demanded.
"Another demon hunter 'body hardening' technique," Ryouga giggled. "Is faking death and unconsciousness. They're better than anybody else at it." The other martial artist looked at him as if he'd lost it. "They roll with a hit and just fall, they even control their chi flow to look dead."
"You mean to tell me that Kuno's been faking going unconscious this entire time?" Ranma blinked. "That doesn't sound like the arrogant jerk."
"It would explain why he claims you've never beaten him," Akane sighed. "But Nabiki used to drag him to the nurse's office all the time."
"He must not be fast enough for Ranma," Ukyou shrugged. "But….I'm not that fast."
"Hey, where are you two training?" Akane asked, suddenly.
"Mt. Terror, why?" Ryouga asked.
"Hey, maybe we can join you later today," Akane said. "Maybe, we'll actually manage to get some training done."
"That'll be….nice," Ukyou said after a moment. ~I hope they don't camp TOO close.~
"Good, now we have to go visit my student," Akane said, walking off. Ukyou blinked.
"Wait, YOU'RE 'Tendo-sensai?'" She glanced at Ranma as if to ask him how he could let her train Kodachi.
"It seems to work," Ranma said. "See you guys later." He seemed about as thrilled about joining them as Ukyou did.
"Hmm, that's a stroke of luck!" Ryouga declared.
"Right what a perfect way to intrude on each other's private time," Ranko muttered. Ryouga and Ukyou stared at her. "Oh…heh…was that in Japanese? Uh, I'm going to catch up with them…bye!!" The water girl disappeared after Ranma and Akane.
"Huh? What was that about?"
"How can you and Akane be so dense?" Ukyou growled as she dragged the dazed martial artist out behind her.