Ranma 1/2

Liquid Fighter Gold!

Prologue...

+++++++++++

Liquid fighters, the newest sport to take the world by storm.
Created by German scientist Ludwig Von Krugen in 1965, it involves
using special units, that when attached to the nervous system of a
human, give that person the ability to control the Liquid Units. The
Unit itself is a semi-solid holographic image; they can in any situation
at any time do tasks that are impossible for a human being to match, thus
their usefulness in both industry and entertainment.

These super powered units can do no real damage to property and
cannot harm human beings in any way because of their semi-solid form
and incredibly complex behavioral programming that prevents them from
harming any living thing. However their versatility is not discounted
as various models are created for labor work and public service. The
result being their popular use in street fights and betting matches.

Unfortunately the superior units, known as liquid fighters, also
take a tremendous will and total concentration to manipulate beyond
very basic functions. People like this are rare, and the units
themselves are expensive, keeping only a select few individuals who can
own one. These fighters often never reach near the potential of the
units, but on the very rare occasion that it does happen, the
controller may attempt to prove his or her worth by competing in the
ultimate tournament, the 'Liquid Fighter Gold' competition.

With a cash prize of more than ten million US dollars, this event
is run by a US company and is held in a specialized mega-dome in Tokyo
each year. Legends are born and fall there as the brutal competitions
test the abilities of the contestants to the limit.

The year is 1982, now another legend is about to be born...

Ranma Saotome sat waiting for his father to return; he had gone
into a nearby town and left him sitting here on a rock, alone.
+++++++++++

"How long is he gonna take?" muttered the boy lazily as he licked
his fingers clean of the Okonomiyaki sauce. He snorted to himself as
he laid back, staring at the sky through the treetops that lined the
side of the path. "I wish Ucchan didn't have to leave so soon."

++++++++++++

Genma Saotome walked lazily from a ramen booth patting his
stomach. "I would have brought the boy with me, but he has to learn
the hardships of the road if he wants to be a true martial artist."

The explanation was enough to quiet his conscience as he strolled
back towards the path out of town with a single apple in his hand for
his son. He had more money to buy food with if need be, but it was
unnecessary to tell the boy about it.

He passed by a small pawnshop and stared into the
window for a moment as something caught his attention. "Is that what I
think it is?" he wondered out loud.

The proprietor of the store stopped sweeping and smiled to
himself. "Yeah, it's a liquid unit, combat model too. Unfortunately
it's useless without the machine to put it inside of the body. I'm
sorry I bought the damn thing. Who would be fool enough to put it in
manually? You'd have to slice someone's back open and risk paralyzing
them. No self-respecting company will install one that they didn't
sell you either. It's just a worthless hunk of junk." He eyed Genma
carefully and smiled to himself as the man turned to face him.

"Maybe I can take it off your hands?"

++++++++++++++

Genma whistled to himself as he strolled along the path towards
his son, in his hands was a bottle of sake, and on his back was a
leather bag with the unit inside. "Tonight Ranma, you drink well!"
laughed the man cheerfully as he grinned to himself. Surely, if a
machine could do it, he would not have any problem installing the
unit.

++++++++++++

The next morning... Ranma Saotome lay in tears as his body refused
to move, he had been this way since he had woken up. All he remembered
was his father gave him some strange tasting drink that burned his
throat, and practically forced it down his throat.

After about an hour he had passed out, when he woke up, his entire
body was on fire and his head felt like it was about to explode. He
looked up lazily and realized he was moving, glancing down at his feet
he saw that Genma had created a stretcher of sorts and was dragging
him along behind him.

"Pop?" whimpered the boy pathetically.

"Oh, so you're awake son?" said the man merrily.

"Ow, don't talk Pop, my back..." whispered the boy.

Genma roared with laughter that sent waves of aching pain into the
boy's head. "Don't worry about it son! It's just a hang over, it'll
feel better in a few days!"

Ranma's eyes went wide as he, unwisely, shouted out in alarm.
"DAYS?!"

"That's right son, take it like a man!" said the elder Saotome
with a dark look in his eyes. Genma cheerfully continued on his way
dragging the boy behind him.

In truth it would probably be another month before he could start
to train him again, but now they had a way to fund the training trip.
With Ranma possessing a real Liquid Fighter, they could easily make
enough money to travel around with. Once he got the boy trained with
it, but that couldn't take very long; besides, his son was sure to
have the mental abilities to control such a unit, he was a Saotome
after all.

"Pop, who's that following us?" said the boy groggily.

Genma froze and slowly turned around, "I hope it's not that Kuonji
kid again," he thought, the man had been pressing on him to engage
Ranma and the girl together. He didn't see any real incentive to do so
with the Tendo Dojo in his future, so he had taken the man's gift, and
simply left her behind. He blinked when he saw the girl, and frowned.
It was not Kuonji.

Standing behind them was a young red haired girl of about ten
years old. She stared blankly at them and stopped. "Who are you? Are
you lost?" said Genma gently.

The girl blinked and stared at him. "What is your designation?"

"What?" asked the man in confusion. The girl stared at him in an,
unnerving, emotionless daze.

"What is your designation?" repeated the strange girl calmly.

Genma stepped back and turned around with a shrug continuing
onward with the boy in tow.

The girl continued to follow them silently. Genma frowned as she
suddenly sped up her pace and walked along beside Ranma staying no
more than a few feet away from him.

The boy looked bewildered, but was not very upset by her presence.

Finally, despite the pain involved, Ranma spoke to her. "Who are
you? Why are you followin us?"

"Designation, Combat Unit 000371, you are designated operator,"
replied the girl in a soft emotionless voice.

Genma froze and slowly turned to look at her. "You're the Liquid
Unit?"

"Yes," replied the girl.

The older man frowned slightly at the sight of the girl. "I
remember now, you have to develop the unit! Train it!" he mentally
slapped himself and frowned at her. In time she would grow a
personality based off of her son's emotional pattern.

Suddenly, an idea formed in the back of his mind. "Oh, I remember
now! Son, this girl is uhh...Ranko! She'll be your sparing partner!"

The boy blinked and tried his best to pay attention despite the
pain in his back and head.

"He is suffering from the insertion of the unit more than normal,
perhaps anesthetic should be administered," said the girl looking up
at Genma expectantly.

"We don't have any," replied the man with a frown. "My son can
take the pain, it's training."

"I do not understand," replied the girl simply. She did not push
the matter any further though, and continued to stroll along beside
them.

"So, you're Ranko huh?" said the boy weakly offering his new
friend a smile.

"Is that this unit's designation?" said the girl calmly. It didn't
really sound much like a question.

"What a weirdo," muttered Ranma as he closed his eyes and tried to
go back to sleep while he could.

+++++++++++++++

A few months passed in the blink of an eye. Ranma Saotome jumped
into the air and was struck square in the chest as the girl performed
a complicated air punch that slammed into his chest. He felt a slight
pushing against his chest and frowned as he returned the blow with a
full force strike to the girl's head.

"That is another point for me," said the girl mechanically.

Genma noticed a small smile on her lips, she started doing that
after about a week of operation. The boy took some convincing in order
to get him to train with her, he didn't realize that she wasn't real
at first and still had some doubts. He thought back to the day for a
moment and frowned to himself.

++++++++++++++

"Pop, how come I gotta fight this girl?" snapped the boy a little
bitterly.

"Son, you know she isn't a girl, she isn't even real!" the man
scratched his head and sighed. "Besides, if you lose it's your own
fault, you're the one making her beat you."

The boy blinked and looked at the girl silently for a moment. He
knew every move she was going to make and yet somehow it still got
through to him. The old man smiled to himself as he realized it was a
wonderful idea to allow Ranma to train with the unit. He still sparred
with the boy on his own of course, but this way Ranma didn't have to
pull his punches no matter how good he got. The unit was easily his
son's better at the moment and probably would always be that way. It
still gave him a sense of pride that the boy could even keep up with
the base unit functions. He had heard that it was impossible to do so
for just a normal human.

"Get back to work boy! Don't be lazy!" snapped the man as he
realized his son had stopped training in order to inspect his partner
out of curiosity. Genma had turned around, only to see his son putting
his hand through the girl's chest and laughing to himself.

"It feel's weird pop!" he cried cheerfully before jumping back and
taking up a combat stance.

"Are you prepared?" asked the girl.

"Anytime!" retorted the boy as he rushed forward.

++++++++++++

A few days later, Genma Saotome stood directly across from the
group of construction workers holding Ranma by the shoulder. The small
red haired girl waited patiently nearby in clothes exactly like the
boy's with a blank expression on her face. One of the larger men
stepped forward and smiled at the boy slamming a wad of money on the
table.

"This kid? You're on old man!" A hulking man appeared behind him
dressed in a bright orange vest with a gaze that matched Ranma's unit
easily. He was probably around eight feet tall and appeared to be made
of nothing but muscle. The two older men realized that he wasn't
really made from anything at all, but the boy gaped at him in shock.

"Pop! Ranko can't beat him! He's huge!" said the boy as he pulled
at the bottom of his dogi.

Genma frowned and leaned next to the boy. "Ranma, Ranko can't be
hurt! She's not real. Now come on boy, she's just as strong as he is,
he just looks that way because he's a construction unit!"

Ranma got a determined look on his face as he turned back towards
Ranko, "You can do it!"

She looked at him blankly for a moment. "This unit is superior in
strength and stamina, our speed is the only way to win."

Ranma blinked and pat her on the back. "Right, how about we just
hit him?"

"That is acceptable," replied the girl simply. A moment later the
two units stood facing each other in the center of the construction
lot. Two round golden bars appeared in the air over the boy and the
construction worker's head. The older man sat cross-legged deep in
concentration as his unit put its fists up.

Ranma looked at him blankly and frowned. "What's he doing pop?"

"I don't know boy," replied Genma with a shrug. The man started to
get a strained look on his face as the battle began, while Ranma,
merely stood in a relaxed position and watched.

++++++++++++++++++

Ranko jumped aside as the much larger unit's fist slammed into the
ground creating a dust cloud. She pulled back and kicked him in the
face knocking a small amount of yellow away on the construction
worker's bar. It was replaced by a red portion of bar of the same
color. This continued for several moments while Ranko jumped around
dodging the construction unit's blows easily as it attempted to box
her. Her face was calm throughout the battle even after the unit
picked up a board to use as a weapon. Raising her arm she blocked a
strike from the unit's weapon and Ranma looked up to see a tiny
portion of his own bar was gone.

However, since the construction worker had picked up the board the
operator's face had grown red as he strained for some strange reason.
The boy jumped up and cheered as his unit punched the larger one in
the gut knocking off another small portion of it's energy leaving it
with a small amount.

Suddenly, the construction unit lashed out with a powerful blow
that sent Ranko flying across the construction yard.

Ranma looked up in shock as almost half of his energy bar vanished
in an instant. "What? No way!" he growled and stared the man down
noticing a smirk on his face despite the amount of strain he was
putting out. Ranma felt a strange rage boil up inside of him and Ranko
shot back across the lot like a bullet. She sailed over the counter
strike into a kick that slammed into the hulking construction unit's
face sending it to the ground on it's back.

In what appeared like a wave of energy the unit vanished from the
field, and appeared behind the construction worker as he let out a
breath and almost fell over in exhaustion.

The boy walked over to Ranko and smiled at her. "How come you lost
so much energy? That's not fair!"

"I must build stamina, speed, strength, and skill. That is the way
these games are played," she looked over at the other unit and said
nothing more.

"He doesn't even look hurt!" said Ranma in annoyance.

Ranko replied again. "Units cannot be damaged, clothing and battle
damage is only used for show; to make matches more interesting. Once
the battle is over all systems are returned to normal."

"Oh, that's good I guess," said the boy simply.

He walked over to where his father was standing with the men. The
were arguing with him angrily.

"I'm telling you man, there's no way that kid was controlling that
unit! He didn't even break a sweat! This is some kind of scam!" cried
one of the man's fellow workers bitterly.

"Are you implying that my boy..." started Genma as he lifted the
man by his shirt.

"You're damn right!" snapped the man fearlessly.

"Shut up!" snapped the tired looking man who had faced Ranma.
"I've seen this before."

Everyone became deathly silent. "This boy isn't cheating, he's
gifted. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw him in the Liquid Gold a few
years from now."

"What do you mean?" asked Genma as he dropped the man in his grasp and simply stared dumbly.

"Your son can control the unit without much effort, I've heard of
protege's like him before. Supposedly there's even a boy in China who
can control his well enough to spar with it. You've got quite a
fighter there, and with a combat unit to boot. Old man, you have no
idea what you've just stumbled onto do you?" the man smiled and faced
Ranma, who didn't quite understand what the big deal was.

"Good enough to spar with his own unit you say?" Genma looked over
at Ranma and saw yen signs hanging around the boy's head.

"No freaking way! That's just some stupid tabloid story!" snapped
one of the other workers as he walked away in disgust.

The man handed Genma his money and turned on the men around him.
"Get back to work! Break's over!"

++++++++++


Liquid Fighter Gold!

Part 1

Yet again, Here's Ranma!

++++++++++++

The open expanse of the ring stood before Ranko as she eyed her
opponent carefully; Her body had grown over the past few years, she
now had the look of a girl in her mid-teens, a poor testament too her
skills.

The other fighter looked weary and beaten on, his energy bar
showed more than half gone, with a nervous looking and heavily
sweating trainer seated in the corner as he tried his hardest to
concentrate.

Her opponent was a muscular fighter-class unit, dressed in a white
dogi with long brown hair that cascaded around his face. He smirked
with an almost disgusting looking grin and charged forward reaching
for her.

With a carefully calculated speed she rushed forward slamming her
fist into his gut causing a massive loss of energy on the unit's
energy bar. He bent forward in reaction to the blow and returned her
strike with a spin kick aimed at her forehead. She ducked easily and
reversed the move sending her own leg immediately following his own;
she connected with his forehead sending him down on the mat. Within
seconds the man vanished in a ripple of space and appeared behind the
squatty looking bald man in the opposite corner.

Ranma jumped about excitedly as he celebrated her victory in the
corner. To those watching it seemed as if he were merely a spectator
at the sidelines. He had been energetic and had hardly sat still
throughout the entire five-minute match.

"And the winner, controlled by Ranma Saotome! Ranko!" cried the
announcer as he walked fearlessly into the center of the ring and
pushed a small button that seemed to zap her out of the ring and next
to Ranma.

A wave of cheers erupted through the crowd as they went wild in
the stands.

"Did you see that Pop?" Next to the boy a large panda sipped at
its drink lazily as it watched, it looked completely ridiculous as it
sat there wearing a gold ring on it's claw with a small expensive
looking watch on it's arm. The animal showed its teeth in an attempt
to smile and nodded at its son lazily, with several gold teeth
sparkling in its grin. It flapped an arm lazily waving the sleeves of
its expensive looking Kimono around slightly.

Ranma pat the girl on her back cheerfully. "That was great! We're
in the tournament for sure this year!"

He was sixteen years old now and had grown quite handsomely. His
hair was tied in a loose ponytail behind his back and he had a strange
confident gleam to his eyes.

"Yeah! Just you wait!" replied the girl with a confident look that
matched the boy's almost exactly.

"Say old man, what are we doing now?" She turned to look at the
panda expectantly.

It pulled a sign out from behind it and gave another attempted
grin. "We've got a meeting son."

"You handle it pop, I don't need to be there. I was gonna go spar
with Ranko some, I don't get much exercise at these things," replied
the boy as he turned away. He looked around as the crowd settled in
for the main event fight.

It felt good to be back in Japan again, despite everything that
had happened to him in China he still felt good being on his native
soil. He rarely stayed in the arena to watch the matches after his
own. Glancing up as the professional fighters entered the ring he
smiled, the units in the ring now would completely destroy Ranko as
she was now with a single blow. Still determination burned in his
eyes.

"Someday, that'll be us up there Ran-chan."

"You bet!" replied the girl flexing her arm. The younger Saotome
was hit in the back of his head by a sign.

"You have to be there this time dolt!" The boy looked at his
father and blinked.

"What are you talkin about pop? You always handle this stuff, why
do I need to go?"

"It's not that kind of meeting!" said the panda's sign.

"What kind of meeting is it?" asked Ranko in confusion.

Genma simply stared at them for a moment. "You have to be there,"
said the sign he put up after trying his best to come up with another
response.

"So when do we go?" asked the girl with a deadpan look in her
eyes. Ranma could tell that he was up to something, consequently, she
was suspicious as well.

"Right after we get paid of course!" replied the animal.

"I don't like this," snorted Ranma with a skeptical look appearing
in his face for a moment.

"You don't have to like it you just have to come!" retorted the
panda with yet another sign as it smacked the boy over his head with
it. It stuffed a fat looking wallet into its kimono and shoved the boy
forward as they stepped out of the small auditorium.

"Ow! Okay, okay! Jeez!" replied the boy as he allowed himself to
be pushed out into the rain. Ranma turned towards her father and
frowned. "Good thinking genius!"

"We'll take a cab!" replied the panda.

"Who's gonna stop for a panda idiot!?" retorted Ranma angrily as
her father stood by the side of the road waving his arm in the air.

A cab pulled up next to him and the animal opened the door while
looking at his son. "See?"

Ranko seemed to ripple for a moment as she vanished from Ranma's
side into thin air. "You stop for pandas?" asked Ranma after tapping
the man on the shoulder.

"Hey babe, I stop for anyone wearin a Rolex," he stepped on the
gas and Ranma merely slumped down in her seat.

"Are you going to tell me what's going on now?" asked Ranma
impatiently.

Genma gave his best panda smile again and held up another sign.
"Well you see, I made this promise..."

In the center of the street several motorist and pedestrians
stopped and stared as a scream erupted from the cab. "WHAT!?"

The vehicle started to shake violently back and forth suddenly.
The cabby inside merely looked back lazily and turned up the already
obnoxiously loud stereo to drown out the cries of pain. "It's almost
like having hydraulics," he snorted lazily to himself.

+++++++++++++

Akane Tendo jogged towards her home dressed in shorts and a tank
top shirt. She had a pleased looking smile on her face as she
approached the gates to the grounds. She gave a heavy sigh as she
rushed into the home ignoring her family in favor of the changing
room. Quickly dressing in her dogi she rushed out into the back yard
to get in some power training. After a moment of setup she punched
down sharply shattering the cinder block she had raised into dust. She
gave a satisfied sigh as she looked at its remains and placed another
one for demolition in its place.

"Ah, that was nice."

++++++++++++

Meanwhile...

Ranma dove from the window of the taxi rolling across the wet
pavement and finally pushing herself up into a defensive stance. She
saw her father emerging from the car while handing a small wad of cash
to the driver.

In his paw was a sign that said, "This will be fine."

"No way am I gonna let you do this to me!" snapped Ranma and Ranko
in unison as she appeared beside her master.

Genma stepped back and growled getting into his own stance. The
pair charged each other slamming into each other's bodies' in a flurry
of punches and kicks.

Ranma was outclassed and skittered to a stop on her feet after
being thrown back several feet. He growled and turned away dashing
into the crowd in hopes of a better battleground.

Genma followed easily keeping up with the boy while Ranko lazily
followed a few feet behind him.

They stopped in a deserted looking street corner and faced off
again, this time Ranma had the clear advantage as she rushed her
father.

Genma was clearly more powerful, but Ranma dodged and weaved
between his blows, the girl jumped back after no opening presented
itself. Genma took the initiative and rushed forward with a punch
combination.

"Where do you get off old man?" snapped his son angrily as she
caught the arm and used the momentum to throw the large animal over
her shoulder. "Picking my fiancee for me, without even asking!"

Genma watched her sail over his head and retrieve her bag as he
lay there and snickered to himself.

"I'm going back to China! Suck on that old man!" snapped the girl
angrily. Genma sat up and pulled a street sign from the side of the
road and promptly swung it at his son. The animal froze when the pole
swung right through the girl's pack and into her head. She turned and
smirked at him as the real Ranma slammed into his head from behind
with an angry scream sending the animal to the pavement. "I'm gonna
find a cure for this stupid curse and then win the Liquid Gold
competition! I don't have time for girls!" she snapped as she turned
away.

Genma was not quite out yet though and quickly returned the strike
with his sign, this time striking the correct target.

Ranma was knocked out cold and Ranko seemed to freeze suddenly
before flashing out of existence. Genma snorted and lifted up the two
bags before continuing on with his son over his shoulder. "The boy is
getting smarter, that was unexpected," thought the animal angrily as
it chided itself for being so easily fooled.

Ranko did not look like Ranma did initially; there was a slight
resemblance before, but nothing like after Jusenkyo. Ever since the
boy climbed out of the pool she had looked exactly like him when he
was cursed. He wasn't sure if it was an effect of the pool either
since she didn't look like her old self when he was male.

A few moments later Ranma woke up and started to struggle, Ranko
appeared again next to her and simply walked silently for a ways
watching the scene quietly.

After a short time they walked up to a house with a large wooden
gate in front of it. Genma walked through the structure and headed
towards the house. He stopped outside of the home and put Ranma on her
feet before dropping his traveling bag on the ground. The boy stood
silently glaring at the front door of the home angrily while the panda
went through his belongings.

After a moment of rummaging around in his things, Genma came up
with a small thermos and chuckled to himself. There was a small green
light on the side of it and Genma poured some of the contents on his
son returning him to his male form.

"Ow! Idiot! That's for making hot tea remember?"

Genma was staring at his son with a look of pain on his face as he
danced around in an attempt to cool off his arms and head. "Why didn't
you say so sooner boy?" snapped the man angrily.

"Where the hell are we?" snorted Ranma angrily as Ranko walked up
next to him keeping quiet about the whole affair.

"Put her away boy! We're going to see an old friend of mine and
you're going to marry his daughter and like it!" snapped the man.

"I don't got no time for no stupid girls!" snapped Ranma in retort
as Ranko vanished again.

Genma opened the door and something creaked over their heads, both
men looked up as a leak formed on the porch just over their heads
spraying the both of them with a small trickle of water. It wasn't
much, but it was just enough. "Growf," cursed Genma angrily as a young
girl looked at them expectantly.

"Hello, can I help you?" she asked in a sweet voice.

"Is this the Tendo residence?" said the panda with a sign.

"Oh my," replied Kasumi as her sister and her father rushed up
behind her with expectant looks on their faces.

++++++++++++

Ranma looked down at the man resting across the floor and sighed
heavily.

"This is all your fault daddy!" snapped the middle daughter
angrily.

"Well I assumed my friend Genma's son was a boy!" retorted the man
from his place on the floor.

"Does this look like a boy to you?" cried the girl as she grabbed
Ranma's chest.

Ranma was about to stand up and walk out of the home, she had been
fondled and accosted one to many times by this family and she was
getting tired of it fast. "Stupid old man, they must be some kind of
perverts or somethin; that must be why the old fart like them so
much."

"Nabiki! He...she is a guest!" snapped the youngest girl angrily.
She turned towards Ranma and smiled, "My name is Akane, you want to be
friends?"

Ranma found herself nodding and decided that it might not be such
a bad idea to stick around after all.

++++++++++

"This is the dojo," said Akane as they entered the training hall.
"So you study kenpo?"

Ranma stopped looking around and nodded sheepishly. "A little."

"So let's have a little match then!" cried Akane excitedly. Ranma
could see she was pleased by this revelation. "Don't worry I won't
hurt you."

"O...ok," replied the girl shyly. She still was unsure about her
situation.

What followed was easily a joke on Ranma's part. Akane started her
attack expecting someone who was good, but still below her own level.
Ranma smiled inwardly as she realized this and dodged with a little
more flash and seeming effortlessness each time she punched.

Finally Akane reached the end of her frustrations and charged
forward angrily. "This time for real!" she slammed her fist into the
wall creating a hole there easily.

Ranma landed behind her and touched the base of her neck lightly
signaling that she had won the match. The girl was foolish, finesse
always beat out brute strength, but she still seemed nice enough so
far.

"Wow, you're pretty good!" exclaimed Akane as she smiled with a
hint of embarrassment in her face.

"Yeah," replied the redhead shyly.

"I'm just glad you're not a boy," said the Akane as she turned
away.

Ranma sucked in a quick breath and stared at her in shock. "Huh?"

"It's just that, I'd really hate to lose to a boy."

Ranma clenched her jaw slightly as a sudden fear took hold of her.
"What the heck did she mean by that?"

Kasumi entered the room and stopped the conversation abruptly, as
she showed Ranma to the room she'd be staying in.

The pigtailed girl placed her bag on the ground and looked at the
barren room silently.

"Would you like to take a bath now Ranma?" asked the girl sweetly.

"Um, no thanks," she said quickly.

"You've been exercising haven't you?" chided the girl calmly.

"Uhh, yeah," replied Ranma as she realized she was trapped.

++++++++++++

Once inside the furo Ranma dumped water over her head to rinse
away the soap while Ranko finished scrubbing her back lazily.

"Thanks."

"No problem," replied the girl as she stood up and lowered herself
into the hot water with her.

Ranma looked at her and sighed. "What am I gonna do now?" he sat
back against the tiles and stared at the ceiling.

"You're asking me? You're the one in charge remember?" he frowned
slightly at her comment and looked at her.

"Come on at least try," he said impatiently.

"Ranma, you can't ask me what I think; mostly because you already
know what I think remember?" the girl winked at him and looked down
into the water. "Hey, I can take care of that if you want...it's in my
programming you know," she said calmly.

"No! How many times to I have to tell you I don't need your help
with that?!" snapped the boy in embarrassment.

"I'm also programmed to offer if it happens while we are alone,"
replied the girl with a shrug. "Thinking about that girl out there?"

"You shut up! What kind of pervert programmed you?" snapped the
boy bitterly.

"It's standard on all female models, especially the more expensive
ones like a fighter-unit," she turned away and looked at the doorway
for a moment. "I was designed to cater to rich males, like you've
become by the way."

"Thanks to you, I miss not having money sometimes," replied Ranma
wistfully. He put his head further into the water and moved around a
bit. "What to do though? Should I go out like I am?"

"Don't ask me," replied Ranko lazily.

"I might as well go out like I am," said Ranma as he stood up.

Suddenly, the door opened and there she was standing there staring
at him. He froze in shock and stared at her for a moment with Ranko
getting the exact same expression on her face.

"Sorry to intrude," gasped Akane with a deep blush appearing on
her face. She stepped back out of the room and put on her dogi. "Who
was that?" her mind screamed. She thought back and noticed Ranma was
in there with him, "It's none of my business, but honestly in someone
else's house no less!" the blush returned a new and Nabiki looked up
in surprise.

"I thought you where going to take a bath," asked the older girl
as she noticed the blush on her sister's face.

"Ranma's in there with some guy," replied the girl simply without
stopping as she walked to the other side of the table and poured
herself a cup of tea.

"What does that matter you're both gir...what?" Nabiki realized
exactly what her sister had said and froze.

Kasumi blushed and put her hand up to her face and blushed deeply.
"Oh, my." They all turned to see a boy dressed in Chinese clothes
looking at the floor in embarrassment as he walked into the room.

"Uhh," Akane quickly turned away trying desperately to remove the
mental image from her mind.

"Who are you?" asked Nabiki.

"I'm Ranma Saotome...sorry about this."

+++++++++++

Liquid Unit Profile: Construction Unit Omnicom Designation:
Un15377 Class: C-2 general use model, variant 27 Description and
General info: Used in the construction industry these units are used
by foremen and workers to perform light menial tasks. While large and
slow they are usually used to operate machinery, perform light tasks,
and mix/heat construction materials for use by the human workers.

As with all Units their semi solid form prevents them from doing
any heavy lifting. They can however use hand tools and go places a
normal human being cannot. One unique ability that the worker-class
Units have is the ability to change their relative size to suit the
situation. A six-foot tall worker can easily become a four-foot tall
worker to more easily move in a cramped environment. Because of the
expense of the Unit most workers who wear them are foremen or
extremely trusted employees.

This has caused numerous problems for some companies in the past,
as on occasion the employee would quit soon after the unit was
implanted. This problem was solved when construction companies started
using long-term contracts with all employees using the liquid units.

++++++++++++++

Liquid Fighter Gold

Part 2

Ranma's secret.

+++++++++++++

The girls sat around at the table staring at the newcomer, Ranko
sat beside him looking just as embarrassed as he was.

Genma smiled as he realized everyone was present and started his
speech.

Nabiki was staring at the boy with the suspicion that she knew him
from somewhere and could not quite place her finger on it.

"I am Genma Saotome, and this is my son..." he stopped to allow
the boy to introduce himself.

"Ranma," finished the boy.

"If you're Ranma, then who is this girl?" said Nabiki as she
indicated the red head.

"Huh? Oh that's just Ranko," replied the boy.

"I could have sworn she called herself Ranma Saotome, what a
relief," said Soun with a laugh. "You never told me you had a daughter
Saotome."

"I don't," replied the man simply.

The Tendos looked at the pair in confusion, but remained silent.
Soun finally spoke up, "So tell me Saotome, have you been well?"

Genma looked at the man and laughed. "I'm fine Tendo, the girl is
Ranko, my son's liquid fighter unit."

A sudden understanding seemed to come over the girls as they
looked at the girl. Nabiki definitely had an interest in the pair now,
she could make a lot of money off of this if she played it right.

"I knew it, he's a pervert!" snorted Akane in disgust.

Ranma turned towards her with a look that told her he didn't quite
understand what she was talking about.

"Just what do you think you where doing in our bathroom with that
thing huh? I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do that here!" snarled
the girl as she turned away from him.

"What the hell are you talkin..." the boy was cut off as Genma
smacked him on the back of the head.

"Watch your mouth boy! We're guests here!" chided the elder
Saotome.

"Ouch! You stupid old man! She was callin me a pervert for no good
reason!" screamed the boy in retort as he threw his father into the
air and smiled as he landed in the small Koi pond in the back yard.

"No good reason?!" snapped Akane angrily, she stopped cold when a
large panda emerged from the water and growled at the boy angrily.

Ranma charged forward, attacking the animal full force. "We have
to tell them boy!" said the animal with a large sign.

"They don't gotta know nothin!" retorted Ranma as he kicked the
beast back.

Genma snorted and gave the boy a low sweep that was narrowly
dodged. Ranma flipped back and landed on his feet a few yards away.

Soun stood up and looked at the scene in shock. "Saotome?"

Genma stopped and turned around sheepishly as he held a sign up.
"Hello Tendo."

"What don't we need to know about?" asked Nabiki warily.

"Nothin," replied Ranma simply as he sat down at the table while
Genma produced the electric thermos again pouring its contents over
his head.

"If that's the way you want it boy, I'll have no part in it,"
snorted the man as he changed back.

"Stupid old man," grumbled Ranma as he sat down and crossed his
arms showing disinterest in the whole affair.

Nabiki had a revelation and stared at the boy in shock. "I know
him!"

Akane looked at her and frowned before dismissing the matter.

Soun looked at Genma as the man started his story. "It all started
in China a fateful two months ago..." Genma finished his tale giving
all the particulars of Jusenkyo and how he became a panda. Cutting off
just short of his son falling into the spring of drowned girl after
the boy gave him a warning glare that no one else seemed to notice.

"Ah, that explains it," said the Tendo patriarch as he moved
beside Ranma and grabbed him by the shoulder. "These are my daughters,
Kasumi nineteen, Nabiki eighteen, and my youngest daughter Akane,
she's sixteen! Pick anyone you like and she'll be your new fiancee."

Ranma turned to stare at him in disbelief and was about to protest
when Kasumi spoke up. "Oh, he want's Akane."

"What? Why would I?" started the girl in protest.

"No! I'll take him!" cried Nabiki as she felt her opportunity
falling through her fingers.

Everyone in the room stared at her in shock. "Are you sure
Nabiki?" asked her elder sister.

"Positive," replied the girl as she eyed the expensive clothing
Ranma's father was wearing.

"Hey! I ain't got time for no girls!" snapped the boy angrily as
he started for the door. "The Liquid Gold Tournament is only a year
away and I got some training to do, I'm going back to China!" He
started for the door and was stopped by his father's arm.

"Have you forgotten what's waiting for you in China boy? Are you
out of your mind?" he snapped bitterly.

"If I can last this long I think I can go another year without any
problem, she was an idiot anyway," retorted the boy as he pushed past
him.

Akane almost seemed relieved as the boy walked towards the door.
"I don't need to be around no stupid peeping tomboys anyway,"
commented the boy as he walked just within her reach. Almost as a
reflex she found herself crushing him under the weight of the table.

"Now that he had coming," replied Genma sagely. No one even
noticed Ranko blink out of existence as her master was knocked out
cold.

+++++++++++++

Ranma woke up with Kasumi and Nabiki kneeling over him, "Don't
mind Akane, she's really a very sweet girl; it's just that she's a
violent maniac," said the elder girl to the boy.

"I noticed," replied the boy as he sat up, Ranko appeared beside
the two girls with a neutral expression on her face.

"Oh good Kasumi, that makes a lot of sense," said Nabiki as she
put a towel across his head; she turned her attention towards Ranma
and smiled. "How are you feeling fiancee?"

"Don't call me that!" he replied curtly before laying back down.
"I feel like someone hit me over the head with a table."

"You'll get over it," said the girl with a knowing smile. Behind
her back was a sports magazine, a local rag that had Ranma on the
cover, his picture was inside a small box on the corner of the page.
If the article on him was even remotely close to the truth he'd be on
the covers of magazines across the world someday. "So tell me Saotome,
how advanced is this thing anyway?" asked Nabiki as she looked the red
head up and down. Ranma sat up and looked at her quizzically, it was
not an unusual question; but hardly one he was expecting given his
current situation.

"She's a lower mid-level power unit right now, but her skills are
far above any other know unit of her experience and age."

Nabiki nodded and pushed him back down on the floor. "Lay down,
you need your rest."
Ranma didn't like what was going on around him much, Ranko had a
distressed expression on her face as she watched the situation as
well.

"I don't like this Ranma," she whispered. He looked at her and
decided that maybe he could use another nap.

Akane sat fuming in the living room as the two men laughed and
recalled old memories nearby. A sudden thought hit her. "That jerk was
testing me! He sent that stupid robot to fight me!" It explained why
she had been reluctant to hit her and also why she had been so hard
pressed to connect any of her attacks. The unit wasn't even human, she
never stood a chance against it. Still a surge of pride welled up
inside of her as she realized she had done well against such an
opponent. "I showed that jerk, he'll know better than to mess with
me!" she exclaimed proudly.

Soun and Genma turned to look at her with horrified stares, they
thought she was talking about the earlier incident involving the
table.

"Tendo, is she all right?" whispered Genma.

"To be honest, I'm not sure Saotome," replied his friend as the
turned away from the girl as she laughed maniacally while flexing her
arm in pride.

+++++++++++++

The next day Genma called his son down to the living room after
their morning practice, it was held a good distance away from the koi
pond almost in the front yard.

Ranma sat in front of his father with a confused look on his face.
"School?"

"Yes, we are going to be staying a while," replied the man as
pleasantly as he could.

"You'll be going to the same school as Akane and me, I think
you'll like it there," said Nabiki as she poked her head around the
corner and smiled at him. There was something he didn't like about it,
but he kept quiet. "Hurry up and get ready so we can walk to school
together."

She almost giggled at him and it ran chills down his spine as she
tried her best to look cute. Not that she failed or anything, it just
looked a little faked to him.

"Nabiki, are we going or not?" snapped Akane as she ran down the
stairs and past her sister.

"No, you go on ahead, I'm going to take him with me," replied the
girl indicating Ranma. Akane scowled at him and turned away on her
heels in disgust.

"Now what did you do?" wondered Ranko from beside her counterpart.

"I haven't seen her since last night, you tell me," replied the
boy a little sharply.

"I guess we should go get ready then," replied the red haired girl
as she stood and a school uniform appeared on her body. "All done."

"You know that I hate you," muttered Ranma as pulled his favorite
shirt off the floor where he had discarded it before the morning
practice. Nabiki blinked at this, and turned away.

"That's strange," she muttered to herself as she waited patiently.


++++++++++++

A few moments later the three of them where strolling towards the
school, Ranma walked along the top of the fence with Ranko walking
cheerfully behind him. Nabiki walked just below them and looked up in
surprise, she noted that Ranko was wearing boxers under her skirt for
some strange reason.

The trip was relatively silent, occasionally Nabiki would ask a
question and receive either a nod or a shake from the boy's head. He
seemed strangely reserved and closed to her.

When they almost reached the school he stopped and stared in
disbelief. "What's going on?"

There appeared to be some sort of battle going on at the school.
"Oh that, don't worry about it, this happens every morning," it was
too late though as Ranma dashed forward for a better view.

Nabiki sighed as she rushed forward and tried to keep up with his
pace. The pair came to a stop as Akane was finishing up the last of
her morning attackers.

He jumped down beside her and surveyed the damage. "Boy, you sure
are popular."

"What's it to you?" snapped the girl as she turned towards a large
tree in the courtyard.

"Oh what fools these mortals be, each seeks the honor of your
company in the unlikely event that he defeats you," said a new voice
as Akane caught a rose that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Ranko leaned forward and inspected it curiously. "Hey, what's
this?" she asked.

"It's a rose!" snapped the girl in disgust.

"I know that, but why?" replied Ranko in annoyance.

A seventeen year old boy dressed in a kendo uniform stepped from
behind the tree and smirked, it died down as he noticed the two new
faces beside Akane. Nabiki Tendo stood nearby watching cautiously.

"Get back or you'll get hurt," warned Akane with a scowl appearing
on her face as she got into a defensive stance.

"I'm not worried," replied Ranma with a shrug.

The boy turned his attention towards Ranma. "Tell me, who are you
bore?"

Ranma blinked and pointed at himself. "Huh? I'm..." he was cut off
as the kendoist continued his speech.

"Ah, but is the custom to give one's own name first! Fine then!
Mine I shall give!" cried the boy in what seemed like over dramatic
anger.

"If you want," replied Ranma still uncertain about what to do.

"I am the rising new star of the high school fencing world, the
sound of my voice sends fear into the hearts of my peers. They call me
The Blue Thunder of Furinkan High! Tatewaki Kuno, age seventeen." The
statement was punctuated by a crash of lightening from above as Ranma
tried to understand exactly what was happening to him.

"Ok, Um, I'm staying at the Tendo Dojo..." he started, but the boy
would hear no more.

"Under the same roof as Akane? I will not allow it!" he screamed
as he charged forward raising his bokuten. His heart stopped as the
strange red haired girl rushed in front of his target as he slashed
downward. He sucked in a quick breath and tried to stop the strike as
it cut into her body without any resistance. He froze with a look of
complete terror on his face as the blade remained inside her chest,
taunting him.

Ranko smiled and laughed at him. "Fool." Kuno looked up just in
time to see a fist come through her head from behind, that slam into
his face, sending him sprawling across the ground in shock.

"A liquid fighter?"

Ranma stood over him dusting his hands off with a snort of
disgust, Nabiki Tendo walked up to the boy and kicked Kuno in his
ribs.

"You leave my fiancee alone!" she said angrily.

"Fiancee?" whispered Kuno as the words sunk in. "You mean, he does
not hound Akane?" The remaining students of Furinkan gasped in shock
as the girl's words struck home.

Nabiki looked around and cursed herself, she could have charged
money for that information. She still had a lot of ways to do that yet
today, the most important of which involved the boy lying on the
ground in front of her. "Kuno baby, you are such an idiot," she
grabbed the kendoist by his arm and pulled him into the building.

+++++++++++

Tatewaki sat up and frowned deeply at the thought of this new
development, he shook off Nabiki's grip and stood up. "No doubt he
seeks to take Akane's heart through her sister. I must put a stop to
this evil plot, such a cowardly defense cannot be forgiven either.
Using a woman's body to shield himself cannot be forgiven, it matters
not if she is real." As he stood up and turned towards the school
building a light shower began to fall from the sky. "Vile knave, we
shall see who is worthy of Akane Tendo's heart!"

"That we shall master," said a feminine voice from behind him. It
was emotionless, yet somehow produced a sort of pride.

"Sakura, I shall need you soon. We shall show this upstart who is
worthy of my love's heart," said the boy as he turned towards the
woman behind him.

She looked to be in her twenties, her long brown hair done up into
a pony tail at the top of her head blew in the breeze and yet remained
dry despite the falling rain. She was dressed in a delicate silk
kimono with a katana hanging at her side. Two deep green eyes stared
forward with an almost militaristic stare as she awaited her master's
commands. "It shall be as you say."

Kuno ignored her words and started towards the building with her
following closely behind him.

Nabiki merely smiled at the scene, and walked into the school.

+++++++++++++

Nabiki smiled in her seat as she looked towards the boy standing
over her desk. "Set up a match Kuno baby? Why I thought you'd never
ask!"

Everything was going according to plan, she had suspected that
Ranma and Kuno would not get along. The Saotome boy's gruff nature and
Kuno's idiotic formality were sure to clash, she wasn't expecting this
quite so soon though. "Oh well, more money for me!"

++++++++++++++

That night Ranma sat at the table reading the note Kuno had given
Nabiki that morning. "He's challenging me?"

Akane smiled, it would be good to see him get a lesson, and
something about him just made her angry. The perverted things she knew
he was doing at night with that thing probably had something to do
with it. She seemed to be with him almost everywhere he went. He
certainly kept her out more than anyone else she knew of with a liquid
unit. It was a short list though so she didn't have much to go on as
far as that was concerned.

"Yup, Kuno baby had a liquid unit too, he want's to set up a
match," replied Nabiki calmly. This was the perfect opportunity to
check up on her investment. Her expectations were high, the boy had
easily paid her delivery charge for the letter.

"I can take that idiot anytime!" cried Ranko confidently.

"That's good to hear, but you haven't even met Sakura yet,"
snorted the girl with a deadpan gaze.

Ranko sat down and smiled. "She's got to be at least as stupid as
he is."

"She's the regional champion in middle class units," replied the
girl curtly.

"Middle class?" said Ranma in shock. "That means..."

"Right you are Ranma, she's stronger than Ranko," replied Nabiki
with a smile.

"I've always wanted to see how I'd do against a higher class
unit," replied the red head with a shrug.

It was the truth, but her air of sure win confidence was now gone.
It was replaced by a hard, and determined gaze as she stared at the
letter; no one else but Nabiki noticed that it mirrored Ranma's face
exactly.

Nabiki smiled, if her suspicions where true she could make a
killing tomorrow, regardless of who won.

++++++++++++

Meanwhile, Inside Tatewaki Kuno's bedroom, Sakura stood before a
chalkboard writing the days lessons from school there flawlessly; it
was even in the teacher's handwriting.

Kuno found he rarely had to pay much attention in school since he
could retrieve the lessons from her memory at his leisure. Still,
cheating was beneath him and he still aspired to learn the lessons as
best he could. It was invaluable that he keep his grades up as a roll
model and captain of the kendo club.

It also didn't hurt that Sakura was not wearing any clothing at
the moment.

He relaxed and lowered his eyes to the book in his hands before
placing it aside and flicking off the light.

The liquid unit's voice floated down to him. "Do you wish to
retire? Should I continue the lesson?"

"You may stop," replied the boy as he lay on his mat and sighed.

"Shall you dream of the Tendo girl tonight master?" she asked as
she kneeled next to him once again clothed in the kimono.

"As always my dear Sakura, shall you assist me again?" the whole
event had a strange formality to it and that was just the way he liked
it.

The liquid unit seemed to change shape in an instant revealing a
perfect image of Akane Tendo sitting beside him on the bed. "Oh, my
darling Kuno, thank you for saving me from my savage ways and showing
me the path of true honor."

"It was as it should be my beloved," he replied looking away
dramatically.

"How should I ever repay you?" asked the girl as she removed the
cloth from her shoulders exposing her chest to him.

Kuno did not look at her. He merely stood meekly and honorably
looking away. "I cannot accept such a payment."

"My darling Kuno, we shall be wed on the morrow! Will you accept
me this night, even if it is premature?" she gasped passionately as
she pulled at his back gently and caressed his shoulders.

"It shall be as you say!" said Kuno as he turned slowly to meet
her lips. He broke the kiss and gazed into her eyes. "Tomorrow, I
shall make this a reality as I destroy that dishonorable cur and his
deceitful advance on Akane Tendo."

"Yes master, it shall be as you say!" replied Sakura with Akane's
face and voice as she kissed him again.

They fell against the mat in passion as the night drew on.

++++++++++++

Ranma sat in the furo relaxing in the water as he thought about
the coming day. "Do you think we can handle it tomorrow? A medium
class unit is a big power difference."

Ranko looked at him from her place beside him and smiled. "That's
all up to you and you know it," was her answer.

"I wish you'd stop dumping all this stuff on me," he replied in
annoyance.

"Sorry Ranchan, that's the way things are," she said as she handed
him a towel as they emerged from the water.

Ranma sighed and walked towards the changing room.

He stopped cold as he saw Nabiki standing there in the nude
smiling at him. "Oh, finished already? I was just about to join you."

"Wha?" gasped the boy in shock as he backed away with a look of
complete shock and terror on his face.

"What are you so jumpy about? We are engaged Saotome," snorted the
girl as she walked by him and sat down on the stool. "Besides I would
think you had some experience before now." She eyed Ranko carefully
and smiled as the unit gave her an uncomprehending look.

Ranma quickly removed himself from the room with a completely red
face as he dressed himself and got out as fast as he could. "Man, I
don't know how long I can take this place."
Akane stared at the scene in shock as Ranma walked out of the
bathroom with an odd look on his face.

Nabiki had gone in there not moments before and she reasoned that
her sister had thrown the boy out. "You'd better not even think about
it, cause if I find out I'll kill you myself."
Ranma looked at her and turned away wordlessly. Akane merely
smiled to herself thinking he understood what the score was. "What the
hell are these people talking about?" he asked Ranko as they reached
the top of the stairs.

"You got me," replied the girl with a shrug. "Maybe it's just that
they're all crazy?"

+++++++++++++

Liquid Fighter Gold

Part three

Ranko vs. Sakura.

+++++++++++++

Ranma Saotome sat in a field waiting patiently for his opponent to
arrive as the sun set. He sighed heavily and turned to face the rather
large crowd that had gathered. Many of them appeared to be students of
Furinkan; many others were older people who held small slips of paper
in their hands. He sighed at the familiarity of the situation and
turned back to await Kuno patiently.

Ranko moved about the crowd freely, she took in her surroundings
as best she could while avoiding the mob that had somehow gathered to
observe the fight. The question of how the people had managed to find
out about the fight had been answered when they first arrived an hour
ago and helped Nabiki set up her table.

She had started taking bets immediately for those who had arrived
early. Her smile fell slightly as Ranma's fiancee kept giving her odd
looks as she moved among the people and she tried her best to ignore
them.

"Hey babe, you here for the fight?" said an unfamiliar boy who
walked up to her casually. He was dressed in a school uniform, but she
didn't recognize him.

He was probably from another school. There were quite a few teens
there that she didn't know from her memory files.

A small smile formed on her face as she turned towards him. "I
sure am, come to see the show handsome?" she purred.

"Sure, wanna sit with me and my buddies? We've got ringside
seats," said the boy, as his smile grew three times larger.

"No thanks, I think I'm gonna be a little closer to the action
than you pal," she retorted with a girlish giggle as she started to
walk away.

"Come on, please? I want to talk with you a little," pleaded the
boy jokingly.

"Sorry honey, I'm with someone," she replied with an apologetic
shrug.

"What's he got that I don't have?" snorted the boy confidently as
he struck a ridiculous pose that was meant to show how cool he was.

She smiled warmly and turned on her heels. "Me." With that said
she dashed off into the crowd again losing him in an instant.

"Hey..." the boy trailed off as he realized that she was a lost
cause. "Lucky guy I guess."

Nabiki frowned at her fiancee as he leaned against the table
watching the exchange with mild amusement. "You are a sick man you
know that?"

Ranma looked at her and blinked. "What are you talking about?"

"I saw what you did to that poor defenseless young man. You are a
cad Ranma Saotome. I kind of like that though." She gave him a playful
wink and turned back to the slowly dwindling line at the table.

"What I did?" muttered Ranma in confusion as he turned away from
her and looked towards the red head as she moved over to the food
vendors near the back of the crowd. He turned his attention back
towards the small field and waited patiently for his opponent to
arrive.

++++++++++

After about a half-hour, a figure slowly walked towards the crowd
with the sun at his back slowly fading into existence as he neared the
battleground. He remained silent with his bokuten resting at his hip,
as his Kendo gear slowly became visible as his features became clear.

"I'll say one thing for him, he knows how to make an entrance,"
commented Nabiki dryly.

Kuno stopped and frowned as he noticed the spectators around him.
"What is this?"

"Nothing Kuno baby, just a few witnesses," said Nabiki as she
waved her hand.

The boy ignored her and turned towards Ranma with a cool glare.
"You have turned our battle of honor into a show for the masses? This
is unforgivable Saotome."

The boy blinked and took up a defensive posture. "Hey! This wasn't
my idea! Blame her!" He pointed at Nabiki who looked at the two of
them and frowned.

"Such cowardice, blaming your own faults on the woman you would
call wife," snorted the boy as he sat on the grass crossing his legs
and leaned against the tree that shades Nabiki's betting table. "For
this offence I shall destroy you quickly."

Ranma snorted and looked back towards the crowd. "Whatever, let's
just get this over with."

++++++++++++++

Ranko stood with a bag of cotton candy in her hands, she ate
cheerfully while chatting with a good sized group of boys who had
surrounded her and started to bombard her with questions. She stopped
suddenly as her cheerful attitude fell away. "Well, looks like I'm on
boys, see you later." In an instant she vanished from in front of them
leaving the air puffed sugar behind leaving them all staring in shock
at the space she had once occupied.

"What the hell? She was a liquid unit?" cried one of the boys in
disgusted shock. He and his friends turned and glared daggers at
Ranma, as he stood oblivious too them with his attention on Kuno as
Ranko appeared next to him.

"That sick bastard!" snorted another one of the boys angrily.

++++++++++++

Sakura appeared in a shower of pink flower petals beside her master as
Ranko materialized beside her own. The two girls stood off for a
moment sizing each other up emotionlessly.

"Shall we begin?" said Kuno calmly as he sat in the lotus position
and closed his eyes. Ranma looked at him and merely nodded his head.

The battle started without formalities, Sakura pulled out her
Katana and sliced at Ranko, who avoided the strike and jumped into the
center of the field. Kuno's unit wasted no time in catching up and
rushed the girl. "You cannot defeat me, I am superior to you."

"We'll see about that!" retorted the red head angrily as she
rushed and punched at the girl catching her in the chest and sending
her skidding back a few feet. Kuno smiled as a tiny amount of energy
vanished from his bar.

Ranma leaned forward and blinked at the strain the boy seemed to
be having at the moment. "Hey Kuno, you got a headache or somethin?"
he asked in genuine concern.

The kendoist opened his eyes and looked up at him for a moment. He
almost fell over in shock, as Ranma did not appear to be paying any
attention to the fight at all.

"What trickery is this?" He quickly turned his attention back as
Ranko managed to land another blow knocking off another tiny bit of
his energy.

"Your master has skill, it seems I must fight to win this match,"
said the sword wielding unit as she slashed at the air again.

Ranko moved skillfully out of the way and countered the blow with
a kick that was blocked. The pigtailed girl rolled away from the
strike that followed and barely managed to escape. She jumped back a
ways and stood in a ready position. "That was too close."

"You cannot hope to match me!" screamed her opponent as she
charged forward with her blade becoming a blur.

Ranko backed away as the woman charged and gasped as several nicks
and tears appeared in her clothing. She growled between her teeth and
kicked off the ground putting some distance between herself and her
opponent. "Damn!" Her Chinese shirt was in tatters and she only
received a light blow as she escaped from the barrage of strikes.
Still, the amount of energy taken away from her was about the same as
all of the strikes she had managed to land on her opponent.

Sakura simply stood calmly and lowered her blade into a low
stance. "You cannot hope to win," she said mechanically.

"I can always try," replied the red head simply as she rushed into
the attack again. This time she managed to peg the girl in the face
knocking away even more of her energy.

Sakura staggered for a moment as her retaliation strike missed by
a hair's width. The brown haired unit simply stepped forward and took
the offensive again as she charged forward slashing at an amazing
speed with her blade. This time Ranko was not so fortunate, her shirt
split open revealing her breast as the wind blew across the field. She
didn't seem to notice, but a long red mark appeared in her chest as
even more energy was lost.

Once again Sakura had taken as much damage from all of her strikes
making their readings almost equal again.

Ranma stood watching the fight impassively, occasionally he would
utter a cheer of encouragement towards his unit or jump around
excitedly. At the moment he was dead serious, but still somewhat
distracted.

Nabiki glanced over at him in confusion and shook her head before
turning her attention towards the battle again. Either way she would
make a killing, but it would be much more profitable if Ranma won.

Everyone hung on the edge of their seats as the pair continued to
trade blows in the field, neither one hit very often, Ranko gained
more blows, but Sakura had the clear advantage.

All this went unnoticed by a group of high school boys who
approached Ranma from behind with evil looking grins on their faces.
They spotted the pigtail and smirked as they approached him. He
shifted about excitedly as the battle raged and moved away from Nabiki
towards the center of the spectators.

The lead boy smiled as he pulled the lid off of a cup and walked
within two feet of the pigtailed boy. He threw the contents onto his
back sending Ranma into the air. "Hey! That's cold!" she cried as she
spun around to see a familiar group of boys standing behind her.

Her eyes narrowed suddenly as they stepped back in shock. "Hey,
that's the girl we were talking to," said one of the boys nervously.

"Uh, I'm real sorry Miss Ranko, I thought you were someone else!"
gasped another one of them as he stepped away from her.

Ranma growled as she wiped some of the water off of her back. "I'm
soaked you jerk!"

"Oh, man. I guess this means you don't want to go out huh?" said
the boy with the now empty cup.

Ranma snorted and cracked her knuckles. "You got a strange way of
askin a girl out ya know that?"

"Man, she was a real girl," whined another one of the boys as he
backed away as a rather large group of angry women surrounded them.

"Perverts! They got her blouse wet! What do you think this is?
Some kind of smutty bar?" screamed various girls within the crowd.

Ranma smiled a little evilly at them as a sudden realization and
fear crossed all of their faces. What was about to happen would really
hurt.

Nabiki turned away from the fight attracted by the noise as the
men were pounded within an inch of their lives by the angry mob of
girls and women. A familiar looking pigtail caught her attention and
caused her to do a double take.

Ranko was in the field fighting, but she was also helping the
feminist club beat the tar out of some unfortunate boys. She turned
and started to speak to Ranma, only to find Kuno, still deep in
concentration, sitting alone. "What the? Ranma?" She glanced around
and noticed her fiance was nowhere to be seen.

++++++++++++++

Sakura slashed at the girl taking off the last remains of her
shirt, the girl's pants were in tatters as well, but remained mostly
intact. Ranko was still in good shape. She had more than half of her
energy left while managing to whittle Sakura down to about one fourth
of her reserves. They had been fighting for about fifteen minutes so
far.

Still, only a few well-placed blows would end the fight for Ranko
rather quickly. She spun into a kick and smirked as the woman
staggered back. "I've got you!"

Sakura stood firmly as she regained her balance. "This fight ends
now!"

Nabiki stopped her search for Ranma as Kuno suddenly got a huge
grin on his face despite the strain he was putting out. "And so it
ends."

"What?" snapped the girl as she turned back towards the battle
again. Sakura's blade flew almost too fast for even Ranko to follow as
she slashed upwards. "Taste the Katana Wave!"

A yellow arc of energy flew from the after image of the strike and
slammed into the pigtailed girl's chest sending her sprawling across
the ground with a look of complete shock on her face. Her energy bar
drained in an instant leaving only a sliver behind.

One more strike and the match would be over. She struggled back to
her feet while Sakura waited patiently.

"What the hell? You're no middle class unit!" she screamed with a
look of horror appearing on her features.

"Quite correct, you realize this too late I'm afraid," cried the
woman as she stepped forward slowly.

Ranko backed away nervously. Nabiki stared in shock at the
spectacle not ten feet in front of her. "What the hell is this Kuno!
Middle class units can't do that!"

"You are quite correct Nabiki Tendo, Sakura was a middle class
unit at my last match. She has improved since that time, she is now a
medium-heavy class unit," replied the boy without opening his eyes.

"You've just been playing with her!" said Nabiki as she turned
back towards the pair. Ranma was retreating towards the crowd. She
growled under her breath and cursed, her hopes of making a killing on
the fight had ended abruptly, she how had to settle for merely coming
out a few thousand yen richer. Ranma had easily beaten the spread, so
she was still sitting on quite a nice profit.

++++++++++++

Sakura jumped into the air raising her blade for the final blow
causing Ranko to retreat further into the crowd, not quite realizing
how close she was to them. After a moment she staggered back falling
on her back amongst the crowd, seeming to vanish into the mass of
spectators.

Sakura landed and stood watching calmly as her target seemed to
disappear suddenly. She turned to find her a little ways into the
spectators glaring at a group of badly beaten boys with a rather
satisfied look on her face.

"I have you! Die!" screamed a voice from behind Ranma as she
slowly turned around to see Sakura descending on her from above.

"Huh?" she managed as she raised her arms up instinctively. The
blade stopped inches from her head as if held back by some invisible
force. She lowered her arm and glared at the woman. "What the hell are
you doing?"

"What is this?" cried Kuno in shock as he strained harder
suddenly.

Nabiki smiled at him as she realized what had happened. Sakura had
somehow managed to mistake the strange girl as Ranko. She was
continuing the fight, but her safety programming would not allow her
to harm the girl.

Ranko stood from her spot on the ground and shook her head
wondering why she wasn't beaten yet. She shakily rose to her feet and
glared at Sakura's back as she struggled to strike Ranma with her
sword and finish off the fight. "Well now, isn't this interesting?"
She charged forward with a huge grin on her face.

Ranma blinked as a battle cry erupted from behind the crazy liquid
unit, she spun around, trying to twist out of the way. Sakura grit her
teeth in what appeared to be pure hatred as she struggled even harder
to push the blade down.

Ranko was still rushing towards them when Ranma turned and moved
between her and her target, her grin widened as she continued to
charge.

After a moment a look of surprise and shock covered Sakura's
features as she jolted forward sailing over Ranma's head as Ranko flew
right through him in a flying sidekick.

Ranma smiled slightly and looked at his counterpart. "Hey, good
one," she commented.

Ranko stood huffing for a moment before falling to her knees in
exhaustion. "It's over?" Sakura lay on the ground for a moment longer
before she vanished in a ripple of energy.

Ranma smiled at Ranko and grabbed her shoulder as her clothes
reverted back to normal. "Hey! We won!"

Kuno stood up with a look of shocked horror on his features as
Sakura faded into existence beside him. "This cannot be! How could I
lose? It is impossible!"

He turned and gasped as he saw a short red haired girl that
mirrored Ranko exactly standing with the unit with her arm around her
shoulder. "I see, the fiend Saotome's luck is unimaginable."

Nabiki glanced around at the scene and frowned. "Where is Ranma
anyway?"

"No doubt he has run away lest he face my wrath for such a
dishonorable victory!" cried Kuno as he looked around for the boy. "I
shall not allow this to stand!"

"For whatever the reasons Kuno, you lost today," replied Nabiki
with a smirk.

"Never! I shall never concede defeat!" screamed the boy as he
rushed off in a mad rage.
"Whatever," commented Nabiki as she completely forgot about the
boy and her fiance after realizing all the money she had made.

A very small, and very happy line appeared to collect their
earnings.

Moments later a slightly damp Ranma Saotome walked back from the
vendors near the back of the fight, once again in male form.

He smiled as many angry people walked by him, occasionally though
someone would congratulate him. He mingled a bit as the crowd
dissipated.

+++++++++++++

Nearby a lone figure pushed a thin pair of sunglasses up his nose
despite the fact the sun had set about a half-hour ago. He was dressed
in a leather jacket and had spiky black hair. He smiled to himself as
Ranma stood with his unit talking animatedly too her. "This is...
interesting."

++++++++++++

"Wow, that was great!" said Ranma proudly as he pat the red head
on her back as they walked towards the table where Nabiki cheerfully
counted her earnings.

Ranko blushed at this and smiled nervously. "Yeah, but that Kuno
guy seemed a little mad though."

When they reached the table Ranma froze in place as his fiancee
gave him a gaze of pure ice and stopped counting her money.

"Ranma, who was that girl?"

The boy blinked and turned away nervously. "Girl? What girl?"

"The one who looked exactly like our friend here? You know, the
one who showed up just after you vanished?"

The boy coughed into his hand and stepped back from the table
nervously. "Oh. She's no one. Just someone from China."

That caught Nabiki's attention definitely. "China? If there's one
thing I don't like, it's competition." She looked at the pile of money
in front of her and shoved it into the large purse she had brought
with her. "It seems I may have to work harder than I thought to make
sure we work out Ranma Saotome." She whispered to herself as she stood
and walked away from him.

"What was that about?" said Ranko.

"Got me," replied the boy obliviously, the thought that Nabiki
might see his female form as a possible rival had never even crossed
his mind. "Come on, we've got school tomorrow. I know everyone's gonna
want to hear about this too. Well, maybe not Akane, but I'm sure Pop
and Mr. Tendo will want to know." Without another word Ranma started
to walk after his fiancee.

"Hey wait up!" he called.

He was only a little surprised when she actually waited for him
and took his arm. He didn't even notice the smile on her face wasn't
one of contentment.

"I won't lose to the likes of her, Ranma Saotome is mine. I'm not
going to lose him no matter what now."

TBC...

Next time: Ranma tells of his victory against Sakura, and the
reactions he gets from his family. Some other crazy stuff happens too,
also the heralding of someone else's arrival.