Baba Yaga's Quest.
Ranma ½ belongs To Rumiko Takahashi, Viz video and others. Any other works belong to their respective people as well. I don't own any of this so just sit back and enjoy the tale, oh and don't sue me please that would be bad.
Authors Notes: This story occurs after the manga continuity. I apologize if Ranma, Ryouga and others may seem OOC, but I'm looking for a way to get them to grow up and be different. A way to send them on a gigantic adventure that I have planned so I hope you can handle it.
Also anyone who has read or heard of the Baba Yaga stories my apologies if I have gotten her character wrong. I've looked her up in a number of places and the description is not always the same.
Prologue: Things go wrong and right.
Ryouga Hibiki was alone in a forest. He didn't know where he was, but that was a general state of affairs for him. Staring at the fire he said, "Damn you Ranma this is all your fault."
A voice came from the shadows and said, "Really is that so?"
Ryouga peered up from the fire, but his eyes hadn't adjusted from the change yet. He tried to glimpse the person, but only saw a shadow. "Who are you?" he said and went into a stance.
"I'm a friend and I mean you no Harm, I was traveling and found your camp and then I heard you voice your frustrations with someone named Ranma."
Ryouga looked sheepish and said, "Oh well you can sit by the fire if you like uhm mister?"
The person who moved out of the shadows was wearing a black leather jacket over a green shirt and black pants. On his head he wore a red bandanna. "Call me Temae." He said. Then he sat next to Ryouga and said, "So tell me about this Ranma person who has ruined your life."
Ryouga looked at him and said, "He's teased me since we were children, he taunted me and stole my bread, he didn't show up at the appointed time for our fight, he always wins our fights, and because of him I've seen hell!"
Temae said, "My that is quite a grudge young man. How do you keep it up?"
Ryouga looked startled and said, "What do you mean."
Temae said, "You hate him and continue on in this quest for vengeance? Why not forget about him? Why not choose your own path and be done with it?"
Ryouga said, "I can't what about Akane he treats her so badly, how can I allow it?"
Temae looked at Ryouga and said, "Akane? Is this the girl you love?"
Ryouga replied, "Well uhm there is Akari, but still."
"Still what? Said the dark haired man.
Ryouga looked at him again and felt a connection he said, "Still I need this vengeance, Ranma has caused so much strife and I need it."
Temae looked at Ryouga and said, "You like him don't you?"
Ryouga was taken aback and he said, "What! No I hate him!"
Temae said, "Do you and yet I wonder. Surely he must have done good things for you?"
Ryouga said, "Well he did help me get to school, he tried to give me bread and he's kept my secret, but still he's responsible."
Temae stood up and looked at the moon. Then he said, "Well I must be going young Ryouga, but perhaps you should look inside yourself this hatred and anger you have can not be good for you. Think about it Ryouga think about what is behind that anger and depression and when you meet this Ranma person talk with him instead of fighting. See if it changes anything."
Ryouga was left by the fire contemplating what the man had said. Then he said to himself, "Can it be do I like Ranma is he really my friend? No. Ranma's my sworn enemy. I do NOT like him!"
Still a voice inside was saying, "Maybe I've fought Ranma for every little thing for so long because he is so close to me. Maybe it is really because I like him that I get so angry at him. If I could stop...if I could just realize that maybe he isn't the cause of all my suffering then I could feel better…"
Meanwhile Ranma was sitting in a deserted bark by himself in his female form pondering his own life. He was in the park yet again because of Akane and her mallet. He was getting tired of that in fact he was getting tired of it all. He sighed and said to himself, "What do I do about this all? How do I get out of everything with my honor intact? I can't love Ukyou the way she wants me too. I wish she would just accept being friends. Shampoo is just as bad though and yet her grandmother is always giving me good techniques Why? Does she expect me to join her tribe, but what if I don't want to and what if I say no? They can't just leave Nerima at least not without me." The boy sighed and continued talking, "Akane is just as bad she can't trust me and even though I think I loved her once enough to kill a damn god it isn't enough for her. Maybe, it's not enough for me either. I just wish I could get out of all of these engagements and be my own person for once maybe go back on a learning journey like I did with pops, but leave the damn panda at home."
A voice interrupted his reverie and said, "That sounds like a good idea."
Ranma stood up and said, "Hey who's out there show yerself before I kick your ass."
The owner of the voice laughed and came towards the light she was a tall and lithe red headed girl with a red bandana tied around her head. She looked at Ranma and said, "My name is Maro."
Ranma blinked and said, "Ranma Saotome, funny name your parents have a sense of humor or somethin?"
Maro said, "I think they might have. Would it be okay if I shared your fire for awhile?"
Ranma looked at her again and said, "Sure, but don't get any ideas, I already got too many fiancées to deal with."
The girl laughed a hearty laugh and said, "I know, I heard most of your long winded rant. So tell me why don't you go on this journey?"
Ranma said, "I can't just leave it all up in the air I gotta do something, I uh guess."
"Really, but isn't a journey something? Perhaps there is a friend you could go with?"
Ranma laughed and said, "Friend? I don't have too many of those just Rivals and Fiancées."
Maro said, "That's a sad thing to hear from a boy your age. Is there no way you could get out of those commitments and live a normal life?"
Ranma said, "I suppose I could be adopted by some other family and give up the Saotome name, that would do for most of them, except Shampoo and her grandmother."
Maro said, "Why not do that then?"
Ranma said, "I'm Ranma Saotome what do I have if I'm not that?"
Maro looked at him and said, "You tell me what do you have?"
Ranma replied, "Martial arts, but even then can I still practice my school?"
Maro said, "I'm not sure young Ranma why couldn't you practice? Were not all schools of the art once started by their own creator? Why can't you do the same?"
Ranma thought for a moment and said, "I don't know, but I still think there's something wrong with the whole idea."
The girl stood up looked at the moon and said, "Perhaps there is and perhaps not. Thank you for the fire Ranma Saotome." She then walked away and said on last thing, "I would think that changing your name would be better than seppuku, but perhaps I'm wrong…."
Ranma gaped after the figure and then tried to find her, but she was nowhere to be found. He sat back at the fire and wondered how some strange girl could know so much…
About three weeks later Ranma Saotome was having a good day. He was sitting in the sunlight in a peaceful park and having a pleasant conversation with one Ryouga Hibiki. Without realizing it a smile crept onto his face as the conversation continued. Then it ended as he heard.
"So that's how I'm going to cure myself. Will you help me Ranma?"
Ranma gasped in surprise, looked at Ryouga again and said, "Uh could you run that by me one more time P- Ryouga?"
"Were you even listening Ranma?" Ryouga glared and then calmed down and said, "Look I saw this hut on these two large chicken legs in my travels. I saw the old lady in the hut cure a man of his inability to talk and there was a sign next to the hut that said 'Curses Cured'. When the man left the hut he was shouting and jumping for joy so happily that he dropped a map. This map leads to that hut, but I need your help Ranma. I need you to help me find this place so I can cure myself."
Ranma looked at Ryouga perplexed and wondered why he was even asking Ranma for help. Normally the guy just jumped in with a, "Ranma Prepare to Die!" and combat ensued, but not today. Instead on this day Ryouga had talked to Ranma and spoke about his problems. Today Ryouga had informed Ranma that the grudge was over and he wanted to be friends and along with that he wanted to share his map to a possible cure with Ranma! It was at that point the best day in Ranma's life and Ranma's response was completely understandable.
"Okay who are you and what have you done to Ryouga?"
The boy next to Ranma smiled and said, "It's me Ranma. I am Ryouga, I am P-Chan, I'm the guy whose been telling you that you made my life hell, and I'm the one whose been so depressed for so long, but I'm trying to change. I took some advice from this guy I met and I'm talking to you instead of fighting."
"So uhm what caused the change P-Chan?"
Ryouga glared at Ranma with a blue aura and said, "Don't call me P-Chan!"
Ranma said, "Okay man lighten up. What's with the attitude change man?"
Ryouga looked at Ranma and said, "Like I said I met this guy and before I went to the hut and he had some insights on my life. Then I came to my house and my dad was there. He talked to me too Ranma and told me about some of his childhood and his own anger and depression. He told me that it was part of us Hibiki's, but that we have to get past it if we ever want to lead a peaceful life. It was then that I realized it I realized that I could let go of my anger and depression. I could let them go and try and feel other emotions, so I did and all these other emotions welled up happiness, confidence, joy and more. It was like I had been let out of a prison Ranma a prison that I had created for myself and I vowed that I would never, ever let myself get locked in that prison again, no matter how much things hurt or how bad things were. I would from that point on hold onto hope and confidence instead."
Ranma looked at Ryouga and saw that happiness and said, "Well I'm happy for you man. That's great news, but why stop with the whole 'Ranma prepare to die' routine?"
Ryouga looked back at Ranma and said, "Part of letting go. I think I should forgive you and tell you that I've realized that you've always been a friend to me Ranma that beneath the insults and fighting we have so much in common. Remember, when we were in grade school you really were trying to be my friend and I threw that away. I realize now that I hated you so much because you were my friend and I felt betrayed. Once I realized that you didn't mean to betray me I set out to find you and see if we couldn't regain that friendship. It was in that journey that I found the hut and the map and after that I realized that once I found you we could get ourselves cured! It took me awhile, but here I am ready to start a new friendship and share this with you."
Ranma stared at his friend. More accurately he gaped in awe at the boy before him. Somehow in the space of a few days his friend had somehow grown up and Ranma realized that maybe it was time for him to do the same. Maybe it was time to put aside childish things and get to work on fixing his life. If Ryouga could do it then so could he.
Ranma extended his hand out to Ryouga and said, "Alright Ryouga lets be friends!"
As the two boys were about to clasp hands the entire park went quiet, no breeze stirred, no insect made noise, and everything was silent. Then their hands clasped and a single bolt of lighting rumbled in the distance and clouds popped up out of nowhere. The sunny day had become rain and instead of two boys clasping hands in the park there was a red headed girl holding up a little black pig.
"It figures." sighed Ranma as she hurriedly collected the map and Ryouga's things.
"Com on man let's go find somewhere to dry off."
The two entered the Tendo home. Ranma called out as he came in and went directly to the furo. Ranma checked to see if anyone was there and finding the room empty dropped Ryouga's things and said, "Okay man let's get you transformed back and we can talk some more about this whole thing. I want you to know that I like you Ryouga and that this friendship is a new thing for me. Let's talk about that and see if we can't make some plans for the journey we will take to find this hut."
Ranma then dropped the little black pig into the water and in doing so transformed him, but there was one thing he hadn't counted on. Listening in on the conversation and watching through the open door was one Akane Tendo. A girl who watched as Ranma spoke about a new plan and then transformed her beloved pet into Ryouga. A girl who watched in stunned silence as Ranma also transformed into his natural form and both boys dressed and instead of fighting they kidded around like old friends.
Akane felt like she had just witnessed the ultimate betrayal. Here was Ranma and Ryouga and they were friends perhaps even more than friends and they were joking and kidding around instead of fighting. It was all a plot against her these two perverts were doing this to get her and she just knew it how dare they! It seemed to make sense Akane now and when she snapped out of her shock she had only one thing on her mind, "Ranma you idiot! It was all a lie and Ryouga you too! How could you! How could you do this to me you horrible bastards, you you perverted jerks!"
Then the mallet came, but this time it was blocked. Blocked by a bandanna wearing boy who said, "Wait Akane we can explain. Please I'm sorry it's not his fault." But it was not to be. No apology could console her at this point nothing could sway her at all. She tried one more time to use her trusty mallet, but it was once again intercepted by Ryouga. Akane then said, "Get out Ranma get out both of you!" and ran down the stairs. The boys finished gathering their things and marched down the stairs. As they walked down the stairs a strange energy picked up. Something was manipulating this event.
The boys reached the bottom of the steps and there in front of them were all of the Tendos and the Saotomes. Arguing and fighting broke out and misunderstandings were made greater. Somehow through strangeness that was following the boys and her own anger Akane accused them of having an affair with each other and plotting against her in perverted ways. It became heated and testy and a mallet had to be blocked again and then Soun cried and Genma yelled and everything was turned upside down. Until finally a voice yelled out, "Quite!" It was Nadoka Saotome and she had heard enough, enough of the bickering and enough of the yelling. In fact the strangeness was affecting her as well and she had enough of her son and this boy standing together and facing off against them all. For some reason the fact that the two once rivals were no longer so made her feel that there was some truth to Akane's statements.
Moments later as quiet descended in the house Ranma was given a tanto by his mother and told to do the 'honorable' thing. Looking at the blade he made a decision and dropped it to the ground saying, "I won't kill myself for this foolishness and I'm done with you all. As of this moment Ranma Saotome no longer exists I renounce the Saotome name." He then spat on the ground and walked away anger and sadness clouding his features. The Tendo house was completely quiet as Ranma and Ryouga walked away into the night. It was only later that all the participants realized their actions and regretted the final outcome.
Something had made Ranma lose one home he knew, lost was the possibility of love and trust, lost was the Tendo/Saotome arrangement, but also lost was a network of complex engagements and arrangements that tied him down and made it impossible for him to make his own choice, because he had lost his name. One single gigantic misunderstanding and a bit of magic and the man who had killed a near god for Akane Tendo left the house with his pack, the clothes on his back and his only single gain in that day a true friend named Ryouga Hibiki.
The next day dawned cold and cloudy upon the two young men. They awoke inside a tent and then tried to determine what to do. Ryouga looked at his friend and saw a different person he saw a Ranma that looked gloomy and dim. A Ranma who was losing hope fast and was in danger of becoming like he had been. He looked at Ranma and said the first thing he could think of to cheer him up.
"Ranma Saotome, Prepare to Die!"
Ranma leaped out of the tent and got into a stance with a cocky grin he said, "What is it this time!" Then Ranma realized that Ryouga was still in the tent. In fact the yellow bandanna clad boy was on the floor of the tent laughing his head off. That's when he giggled a bit too and said, "I guess I need to tone down that response, but it's not Saotome anymore man don't you remember?"
Ryouga stopped laughing and became serious again, "I know Ranma I know, but moping and being depressed isn't like you. You can't let it be you man you just can't. You have to realize that depression is a prison that will suck you in and hold you tight. I should know I've escaped that prison and I don't want to see my best friend get caught in it now."
Ranma looked at Ryouga and saw confidence and hope. He saw someone who had escaped depression and thought to himself. I'm always bragging that I'm the best that nothing can put me down, but here I am letting something beat me Ranma. Ranma what? Then Ranma looked at Ryouga and said, "But how can do that now? I was the best and Ranma Saotome didn't lose, but I'm not him anymore how can I be anything when I don't even have a name anymore? Who am I now?"
Then a brilliant plan arose in Ryouga's mind and he said, "You can be a Hibiki. I just know it. Before we set off you can come to my house and I just know my father will allow it. What do you say Ranma? How would you like to be Ranma Hibiki?"
Ranma thought about it and grinned. The conversation with Maro came to his mind and confidence welled up in him again and he said, "Well as long as your direction sense doesn't come with the new name lets try it. Why not? I'll do it I will join your family Ryouga and the Hibiki martial arts style will become the best style in the world. From now on Ranma Hibiki doesn't lose and neither does his brother Ryouga."
It wasn't all that far to walk to the Hibiki house, but as they traveled it started to rain again. Luckily Ryouga still had his umbrella, but with both of them sharing it took a bit longer to get to the Hibiki household than it normally would have. Still they were able to arrive in their natural forms and there they met Ryouga's father Ryouma (Note I Made that up I can't find a name for Ryouga's parents anywhere).
Ryouma was a kind and gentle man. He understood and when he heard the tale it was easy for him to decide that he would indeed take Ranma in. He laughed and said, "I just hope I don't get too lost on his way to file all that paperwork." The two teenage boys looked at each other and laughed as well when they all heard the front door open. As the door open the clouds in the sky parted momentarily as a petite black haired Japanese lady walked in the door. Her green eyes sparkled with delight as she saw both her husband and her son in front of her. Kiana was an office lady who spent long hours at work knowing that she would only see her husband and son on rare occasions. She accepted that it was part of loving a Hibiki after all. Still she always wished they could all be together sometime and here they were! She too was updated on all the news and agreed with her husband that they should put Ranma on the Hibiki family register at once. Then the entire new Hibiki family went out to eat at a nice restaurant and whiled the night away with reminiscences.
Once again a new morning dawned. This morning found two teenage master martial artists sparring outside the Hibiki home. Well to an untrained observer it would look like they were trying to kill each other, but sparring it was. The two went to the heights of their martial prowess and then upped the ante and just when things were getting a bit out of hand when Ryouga heard Ranma say, "Mouko Takabisha" and fire a burst of confidence at him. Ryouga took the blast and fell to the ground. He then made a gesture of surrender and. Ranma landed on the ground as well.
Ryouga looked serious and said "Okay Ranma I think we need to re-look at our attacks."
"What do you mean?" Queried Ranma with a bit of confusion on his face.
"Well.." Started Ryouga with a serious look on his face. "I have been thinking about those moves of ours and I think that maybe, just maybe our moves might not be good for us. Look at me now I'm unable to do a Shi-Shi Houkodan and it's because I'm not depressed and yet here you are a day out of something horrible that happened in your life and you are still confident enough to throw out your Mouko Takabisha. Don't you think there's something even a little odd about that?"
Ranma chewed on that and thought for a moment. He then said, "You know thinking about it I have been able to get through this easily. It's almost like after you spoke to me yesterday and got me out of the depression I'm now back up to full confidence. Maybe I'm just confident in my abilities, but maybe I'm getting overconfident? Is that possible Ryouga, but if I'm still overconfident why aren't you still depressed?"
Ryouga frowned and said, "I don't know Ranma, maybe we should talk to my dad he might have an idea."
The two teenage boys went into the house and were lucky to find Ryouma half naked in a closet. The elder Hibiki looked up and said, "Ah Ranma my boy you wouldn't happen to know where my wife moved the bathroom to would you?"
After a few directions and a short wait the three men were sitting at a breakfast table eating a meal that had been wonderfully prepared by Kiana. Kiana, however had to leave for work, but made Ryouma promise not to go anywhere until she returned that night and whispered something in his ear that made him determined not to leave for quite some time. Only after that were the three able to speak about why Ryouga was no longer depressed and what had happened on the day that Ryouga felt his outlook change.
Ryouma then proceeded to inform the boys that the day Ryouga remembered hadn't happened. Ryouma wasn't at the house until just the other day and he hadn't seen his son in quite some time. This news shocked the two boys to the core. What could have been responsible for this change and why had it happened? They kept digging to try and get to the bottom of it, and then Ranma thought of the solution. "The Hut!" he said with a gleam in his eye, "It has to be the hut." The other two looked askance at Ranma and then he explained further. "Don't you see everything changed for Ryouga at that hut? I think that he must have gotten caught up in the other persons cure and somehow that cure made him lose his depression. I don't know why he thought about you Mr. Hibiki and the engagement to Akari, but I think that the hut is the one item that is a possibility for change. I really think that we should look into that hut." Ryouga realized it too and then suddenly realized that if his father hadn't come home then he wasn't engaged to Akari and that while it was a bit depressing his new found hope and confidence washed that feeling away. Then a thought came to his mind, "Ranma, what if we go to the hut and I revert to the way I was? I don't want that Ranma maybe we shouldn't go."
Ranma saw the concern on Ryouga's face and said, "You know we don't have to if you don't want to bro, but it is the only link we have to the changes that have happened in your life. I think you owe it to yourself to go there and I owe it to you toe help you find that place. Somehow, I don't know how, but somehow I think that hut is responsible for quite a bit of what has been happening lately and we need to find out why."
That had done it. Ryouga was convinced to go to the hut with Ranma as soon as possible. To sort out the mess that might have been created and face the demons of his dark depression one more time. The quest was set and the two Hibiki boys were up for the challenge.
It took a few days for all of the preparation to be made, and in that time Ryouma was able to keep from getting lost and filed the papers, so in that time Ranma became and official Hibiki forever breaking all of Genma's engagement promises and setting him on a new course in life. In the time they had the two teens started getting serious about teaching each other parts of their styles teaching each other the things they knew about martial arts and then Ranma realized he could teach Ryouga a part of his art that he had previously sealed an art that could replace their emotion damaging chi attacks with something more powerful. In the time they had available Ranma started to teach his new brother the secrets of the Saotome "forbidden" techniques. It was with this new course of study that the two boys set off on their quest a quest to find a hut that stood on two chicken legs. A quest that would change them for all time.
Author's End note: I changed this prologue somewhat to try and fit more into Ranma and Ryouga's characters. I'm trying to be less OOC and have it be more of a change in character. The two conversations were added and the event that has Ranma change his name is given more consequences for not doing so. In all none of the changes should affect the developing plot line…