Ruroni Ranma.

Part one,

Here's Ranma.



Nodoka Saotome looked down at her son as he stood proudly with his
father, a shinai was strapped across his back just behind his
traveling bag as he stood and simply smiled at her. She fell to her
knees and smiled at him gently as she pulled him into a gentle hug.

They were standing in the door of the Tendo home, the sun had not
yet risen and a cold wind blew outside. Both father and son looked
serious as they prepared to leave on their voyage of training. Nodoka
squeezed the boy a little tighter, not wanting to let him go.

"Remember my son, do not forget your heritage while on your
voyage, no matter what your father tells you." she whispered into his

Genma looked away in frustrated and impatient embarrassment as he
eagerly awaited the journey he was about to embark on with his son.
The boy would learn the Anything Goes style of Martial Arts and forget
this foolishness his mother had implanted in his head. The bamboo
practice sword would be thrown out at the earliest convenience once
they left the home.

The boy returned his mothers embrace and simply whispered his

Without the elder Saotome noticing she slipped an aged looking
scroll into the boy's backpack.

"When we return, our son will be a true man," announced Genma as
he pulled the boy away.

Nodoka merely nodded and said nothing more as she watched her son
leave. Her instruction had been minimal, and the fact that her own
skills with the blade would be considered atrocious by any master of
the art. Still, she had a faint hope that her own son would secretly
carry on her family style. She bowed her head slightly and turned back
into the house having only her memories to comfort her.



Ranma Saotome stood in a vacant lot and stared patiently at the

"Boy," growled his father angrily.

"I will not leave until he comes," replied Ranma firmly. He simply
stood waiting; the blade at his side kept his father at bay. He knew
better than to press the boy's honor. His son had been practicing with
a sword in secret for most of the journey. Waking up in the night and
sneaking away into the shadows, Genma had ignored it at first, waiting
until the boy's exhaustion would tire him of the game.

Unfortunately that day never came. Ranma just became more and more
focused on his mother's arts.

After about three years of vainly hoping that the boy would give
up the blade, he confronted his son. The battle had been remarkably
short and Genma decided to allow the boy to continue to practice his
art, so long as it did not interfere with his training.

Ranma smiled at his father's wary gaze, the shinai had long ago
been destroyed, it was replaced by a worn looking boken. The boy was
progressing favorably in the family school, but his skills with the
sword were down right frightening to the man. If he ever got his hands
on the family blade Genma would have more fear of him than his own
wife; Ranma was not aware of this of course, but still, the elder
Saotome decided to wait another day for his son's rival to appear.


On the fourth day, Ryoga Hibiki arrived. He was dressed in black
traveling clothes with a yellow and black bandana tied across his
forehead. He stood firmly opposite Ranma and smiled. "So, you had the
guts to show up?"

Ranma merely nodded his head and smiled. "The same could be said
of you."

There was a ferociousness in his eyes that only served to
strengthen the Hibiki boy's resolve. "I will not be so easily beaten!"

Ranma merely took up a loose kenpo stance and waited. Ryoga
charged forward screaming in rage as the pair collided. His fist
slammed into Ranma's face sending the boy back with a look of shock on
his face as he staggered under the force of the boy.

He recovered instantly and kicked out his leg taking the boy in
the jaw and lifting him off the ground sending him sprawling across
the ground. Hibiki reacted true to form and recovered instantly rising
to his feet just as Ranma slammed his foot into the ground where he
had been a moment before. They stood and charged again, Ryoga faced
the wrong direction and glanced around in confusion before paying for
his mistake as he received a hard kick in the back of his head. Taking
advantage of the situation Ranma pulled Ryoga into a hold as he locked
his arms around his neck and squeezed slowly.

Ryoga screamed in rage, but slammed his palm on the ground
signaling his defeat. "Damn you Ranma."

The boy smiled at his opponent and flipped his ponytail back over
his shoulder. "It was a good match, I hope you're stronger when I

Ryoga looked up at him from his place on the ground in surprise.
"You're going somewhere?" His voice almost sounded hopeful, but also
disappointed at the same time.

"See you around Hibiki," said the boy as he walked off and met his
father in the middle of the road. Genma looked back and sighed as he
watched his son's rival stare at them in shock as they walked away. He
would miss the boy, he had been good for Ranma; but his training would
progress too slowly even if he remained here with him as a rival. The
best way for them was to move on, besides, he owed rent money on the
apartment anyway.

Ryoga simply watched as they vanished into the sunset. Ranma
Saotome was indeed an honorable man; he had waited four days for him
to arrive and given him a good fight. "All right Saotome, when you
return, Ryoga Hibiki will be your strongest opponent!" He pulled his
bag over his shoulder and turned away for his own voyage of training.



"Tendo, coming from China, Saotome."

Soun Tendo held the postcard in his hand as he trembled and simply
stared at it in disbelief. "Oh, how I've waited for this day..."

A few moments later his daughters sat around the table staring at
their father in shock.

"Is he cute?" asked Nabiki shrewdly.

"Ara, I hope he's older, younger men are so...young," gasped
Kasumi with
a worried look on her face.

"I don't know, I've never met him," replied Soun honestly.

The girls looked at him for a moment when a noise came from the
hallway. Soun stood up and rushed to the door with an excited look on
his face. Kasumi and Nabiki followed close behind him while Akane
merely scowled angrily.

Soun threw open the door to greet the newcomer and stopped as a
boy of about fourteen years old stood with his hand in a knock and
looked at him blankly. On his face was a cross shaped scar, his hair
fell back into a long ponytail, and his dress was that of a
traditional samurai, although the red and black color scheme was a
little unusual. Soun froze in place as he saw the scabbard hanging at
the boy's side, throwing his arms wide he grabbed him in a rough hug.

The boy merely looked at him and cocked his head slightly. "Oro?"

"Ara," said Kasumi as she was uncertain of what to do at the

"Is this the Tendo residence?" asked the boy cheerfully.

Soun flustered for a moment and regained himself. "Yes, why yes it

"I'm Ranma Saotome, pleased to meet you," replied the boy as he
bowed to them politely.

Soun grabbed him in a rough hug instantly and squeezed him. "Oh,
I'm so glad you came! Tell me, where is your father?"

Ranma looked down at the ground and said nothing for a moment.
"He's dead," he muttered quietly.

Soun Tendo decided that the information was too much for his brain
and passed out.

Ranma turned towards Kasumi and smiled at her warmly. "Is there a
place I can put this?" He held up his bamboo umbrella.

The girl blinked for a moment and indicated the umbrella stand by
the door. "He's so... young," she sighed with a hint of disappointment
in her voice. The boy in front of her didn't look any older than


Nabiki sat with the boy at the table with her two sisters flanking
her on either side. "So, who are you, and what's with the weird
clothes?" The boy was dressed in a long black Hakama and a rather
flamboyant red shirt; he also had a Katana resting on his hip. He
looked like something out of a samurai movie.

"Ranma Saotome," replied the boy cheerfully. "What's so weird
about them?" He lifted one of his sleeves up and inspected it for a

The girl looked away muttering something about 'Kuno' and seemed
to lose interest.

The youngest girl rolled just her eyes.

"Why are you here kid?" snapped Akane.

Ranma looked confused for a moment. "Didn't your father tell you?
I'm supposed to marry one of you and continue the school of martial
arts in my father's name."

Akane looked at him for a moment. "You knew about this?"

"Of course, it was my father's dying wish that I come here to
honor the agreement," replied Ranma with a small shrug.

"To this little kid?" said Nabiki with a small snort of disgust.

"Um, did you say 'little kid?'" said the boy nervously. He was
about to continue when Kasumi spoke up and placed her hand on his

"Ara! A final request!" said Kasumi with a horrified expression on
her face. "It must be hard for someone as young as you."

"Yes, it was my father's last request, I wasn't planing on
marrying anyone anytime soon. I hope you don't mind," said the boy
with a slightly worried look on his face.

Akane's face softened a little, but her glare remained. "I don't
care why you're here. I'm not marrying anybody! Especially not some
little kid!"

"I suppose I'll just have to choose someone else then," replied
Ranma simply as he turned his gaze towards Nabiki and Kasumi.

Soun sat up and remained silent as he took up his place at the
head of the table. "Tell me, Saotome is he really..."

"I'm afraid so, he died honorably," said Ranma simply as his face
took on a seriousness that the girls had yet to see from him.

"How?" asked Soun.

"In the final battle of Jusendo, against the Musk Dynasty,"
answered Ranma with a slight tensing in his voice.

"You were involved with that?" asked Akane as her eyes suddenly
became wide in shock. Her sister's reactions were similar.

It was no small matter, several years ago war had erupted in China
between three factions, the Chinese Government, the Musk Dynasty, and
The Joketsuko. In the end the Chinese government had won, but at heavy

An alliance between them and the Joketsuko was formed; they all
but wiped out the Musk Tribe.

"Yes, we were forced into service in the Chinese military, we
fought bravely until the end for the cause," replied Ranma simply.

"I'm sorry," said Kasumi gently.

Ranma nodded, "I would have joined even if they hadn't forced us."

Akane nodded as her eyes fell on the sword that hung at Ranma's
side; the Japanese government had sympathized with the communist
government despite past relations with them. Japan was against the
Musk and what they represented during the course of the drawn out war
that lasted almost nine years. Herb was a monarch, a complete and
total ruler. His rise to power had shaken many of the democracies
around the world.

Soun smiled at the boy and took him by the shoulder. "Well, now
that you're here, these are my three daughters! Pick anyone you like
and she'll be your new fiancee!"

Ranma blinked and his serious face was gone in an instant. "Well,
we have plenty of time to consider that later."

"Oh, he want's Akane!" said Nabiki sweetly.

"Most definitely," agreed Kasumi as they pushed their younger
sister towards him.

"What? Why would I...?" snapped Akane before Nabiki cut her off.

"He's one of those strong martial artist types, you two should get
along well!" reasoned the girl desperately. "Besides, you're the only
one young enough to marry him without looking weird," she whispered
into her sister's ear as she gave the boy a sidelong glance.

"What?!" cried Akane in shock.

"He is a bit young, but perhaps you'll grow to love him?" said
Kasumi cheerfully.

"There's no need to be pushy, we have lots of time before..."
started Ranma as he looked at her as she crossed her arms and looked
away from him purposefully.

"So, Akane it is Saotome," said Soun cheerfully as he pat the boy
on his shoulder.

"Now wait a minute Tendo I..." started Ranma, it seemed everyone
was ignoring him.

Akane glared at him with a stare that was almost pure hatred. "I'm
leaving," she stomped up to her room and slammed the door, after a
moment it opened back up and she stuck her head out again. "I'm not
marrying him!"

Soun looked at Ranma and smiled. "Don't worry, just give her a
little time, she'll warm up to you."

Ranma merely blinked again and opened his mouth. Nabiki covered it
quickly and winked. "Don't worry Ranma, I'm sure you and Akane will
get along fine."

The boy hung his head and sighed. "I see..."


Soun looked at the board in shock, he had intended to sit and
reminisce about his old friend while playing a friendly game of Shogi
with the man's son. Unfortunately, the boy was wiping the floor with
him quite nicely, despite the fact that he was cheating as much as
possible under the boy's careful gaze.

Ranma started a casual conversation. "So, how is the dojo doing?"

Soun looked up at him and blinked as he realized he had been asked
a question. "Well enough, we don't take many students nowadays."

"That's too bad," replied Ranma with a shrug as he placed a tile
down on the board.

Soun looked back and fourth between his side and Ranma's and
started to sweat a little. "It seems you have me."

"It does?" said Ranma as he raised his eyebrow slightly and looked
at the board, he saw at least three ways Tendo could retaliate. "So
tell me Tendo, what kind of girl is your daughter?"

"Ah, trying to find out what you've gotten yourself into now?"
asked the man as he leaned over the board and pat his shoulder.

"Something like that," replied Ranma with a knowing smile.

"Well, her measurements are twenty-seven, twenty..." started Soun.

Ranma merely blinked and stared at the man in shock. "Oro?"


A few moments later Kasumi walked up to Ranma with a small armload
of sheets. "I'll show you to your room Ranma."

"Thank you," replied the boy with a pleasant smile as he stood up.

Kasumi blinked and felt a tiny pang of regret for dumping him off
on Akane; he seemed like such a nice boy. She shook the thoughts away,
he was after all, still a boy.

As she led him into the spare room she turned to see him placing
his traveling bag on the ground and glancing around at the windows and
the closet carefully. The boy smiled and bowed to her, "Thank you
again, Tendo."

"Oh, you can call me big sister if you want too!" she replied
cheerfully and blushed at her reaction to his formality.

"How about, just Kasumi for now?" said Ranma wryly.

"That will be fine," replied the girl. "Would you like to take a
bath now? I just filled up the furo a short time ago."

"I'd like that, thank you," replied Ranma.


A few moments later, he sat on a stool looking at his reflection
in the mirror. His hair dripped with the water he had dumped over his
head and ran down his breast creating a strange yet familiar
sensation. Ranma-chan sighed heavily as she stared at herself and
stood up turning her back and inspecting herself.

"How do I tell them about this?" she wondered out loud. "Well, I
suppose there's no need to if I'm not staying long."

After a moment she stepped into the water and relaxed feeling the
change overtake her again. "This is nice."

A noise caught his attention outside the doorway and he looked back at
it for a moment. Whoever it was turned away and left again a moment
later. He shrugged his shoulders and continued to relax.


Akane looked at the basket and saw Ranma's clothes there. She frowned
slightly and turned back out the door. "Kasumi, why did you tell me
the bath was ready when Ranma's already in there?"

"Sorry, I must have forgot about him," replied her sister sweetly as
she stuck her head out of the kitchen.


It was evening, Ranma stood out in the yard and breathed calmly as he
stood silently with his sword in his hands. He slowly opened his eyes
and stepped forward in the first motion of a slow kata. His movements
were smooth and precise, nothing fast or particularly flashy. It was
flawlessly executed though.
Nearby just inside the house Nabiki Tendo watched carefully while
eating a bag of chips. Beside her Akane sat staring at the spectacle
only half way interested. "What style is that? It isn't Anything
Goes..." she commented.

Ranma appeared beside her with his grin still plastered on his face.
"It's called Hiten Mitsurugi style."

Akane blinked for a moment and stared at him, she hadn't even realized
he was finished yet. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" She slapped him
across his face and he merely stood there looking at her.


"Very impressive," noted Soun calmly as he nodded in approval. "I take
it you learned it while you were in China. I've heard rumors of a
Japanese man who killed with decisive efficiency during the wars. Did
you happen to meet him?"

"He was called Battosai," said Nabiki as her father handed her a small
yen bill with a questioning look on his face.

"Thank you Nabiki, tell me Ranma, did you know this Battosai?" said
Soun cheerfully.

"The name does sound familiar, I've been practicing Hiten Mitsurugi
style almost as long as Anything Goes. I don't remember where I
learned it, but it is very important to me for some reason. I can not
stop, I think it was a promise I made..." the boy trailed off and
looked into the distance outside.

"Hmm, I see. Well, I suppose we can spar a little tomorrow after you
get back from school, I'm getting out of practice myself," said Soun

"Oro?" said Ranma as he whipped his head around with a confused look
on his face. "School?"

"Well, you are going to be staying a while Saotome," replied the man

"I suppose I should return to school, I kind of forgot what with all
the excitement over the past few years," said Ranma with a small laugh
as he scratched the back of his head as if purposely avoiding

"Honestly," growled Akane half-heartedly as she turned away from the


Ruroni Ranma

Chapter 2

The soul of the true samurai.


Ranma sat across from Soun Tendo, the three daughters had recently
gone to sleep while the men sat together in the living room around the
table talking. Soun relayed old stories about the boy's father, while
Ranma recounted a few tales from China. He skirted around the years
they had spent in battle though. Soun let the matter pass; Ranma would
reveal those things to him when he felt comfortable with it. After a
long moment, around eleven o'clock, Ranma suddenly became serious.

"Tendo, I'm sorry to say this, but I'll be leaving tomorrow," he bowed
politely and sat with an almost rigid position across from the man.

Soun's face fell as he looked at the boy in shock. "Pardon?"

"I said I'll be leaving tomorrow in the morning," repeated Ranma

"Why? Where are you going? When will you return?" said Tendo as he did
not quite understand what the boy was telling him.

Ranma took in a deep breath and hung his head. "I won't be coming
back, it is obvious to me that none of your daughters desires this
marriage. I will not force myself on any of them, even as a last
request from my father."

Soun looked at the boy and suddenly became almost as calm as he was.
"I see..."

"I am truly sorry, Tendo, but I cannot force an unhappy marriage upon
one of your daughters," Ranma was stern and did not waver under the
man's harsh glare.

Soun's face softened slightly and he bowed before Ranma. "I have a
request of you."

This took the boy by surprise and he raised his eyebrow slightly.
"Yes, Tendo?"

"Give it one month, that is all I ask. Akane has never had a good
relationship with a boy. She is hostile towards most men, I believe
she will grow to like you quickly, Saotome, but it will take time for
a girl like her. Please, all I ask is for you to remain here one
month. If she still does not wish you to stay, you may leave with your
honor intact."

Ranma paused for a moment and seemed to consider this, it didn't take
long. "All right, Tendo, I give your daughters one month. If one of
them does not ask me to remain here, I will leave."

"You have my gratitude," said Soun with a relieved sigh. "Now, it's
getting pretty late, you do have school tomorrow do you not Saotome?"

Ranma blinked. "I suppose you're right."


The next morning Ranma stood waiting for Akane outside the dojo. The
girl came running out, and stopped cold as she saw him standing there.

"What do you want?"

"Your father thought it might be a good idea if we walked together
Akane," replied the boy simply.

She looked him up and down and frowned when she realized he was
wearing the same kind of clothes he was wearing the day before. They
were slightly different; a flame pattern was dyed into the sleeves and

He smiled at her and started walking. "Why don't you just go by
yourself? I don't want anything to do with you."

Ranma didn't turn to face her; he merely stopped and spoke to her.
"One month."

"What?" said the girl in confusion.

"I told your father I would remain one month, if you still wish me
gone a month from now I will leave without question," Ranma started to
walk towards the school once again; suddenly he stopped and looked
thoughtful. "I just realized I don't know where this school is at.
Perhaps you could show me?" When he turned to face her the smile was
there again as if it had never left his face.

Akane shrugged and started walking beside him. "All right, I'll show
you, the middle school is this way..." She took a turn by the
chiropractor's office on the corner.

"Um, Akane? I should be going to high school shouldn't I?" said Ranma
in confusion.

Akane looked at him and frowned. "Look, I don't care about this
engagement thing, but if you think I'm gonna drag you to school with
me just because we're engaged..."

Ranma coughed into his hand. "Um, I'm sixteen years old Akane."

The girl blinked and stared at him for a moment in complete shock,
unable to speak, finally she let her jaw drop. "SIXTEEN?!" After a
moment she recovered and turned away from him. "Fine, when we get
there we don't know each other."

"Fair enough," said Ranma simply.

"Right," Akane started to run forward and Ranma followed close behind


As they neared the school Ranma jumped away from a small old woman who
was emptying a bucket of water on the sidewalk; he paused and
inspected himself by looking down and patting his chest. He gave a
relieved smile and started forward again after a second or two.

"What is it?" said Akane as she stopped and turned back to him.

"Sorry, just making sure," replied the boy simply as he started
forward again.

Akane rolled her eyes and continued forward towards Furinkan with a
strange determination in her stride. "I hate boys," she muttered under
her breath as her speed increased as they came closer to the school.

Ranma appeared next to her keeping up with her stride easily; his face
suddenly became serious. "Why do I get the feeling you're preparing
for battle?"

Akane ignored him and blasted into the crowd that awaited her. Ranma
gaped in shock and frowned as he watched the scene carefully with his
hand on the hilt of his blade.

After a moment he paused and strode forward purposefully ignoring the
battle around him. Finally he came to stop and leaned against a wall
waiting patiently for the fight to end. It did rather quickly and he
watched a nearby tree without moving as Akane finished off her


Nabiki sat and watched the exchange from her usual place in the
window. "What's he doing here?" she wondered as she saw Ranma run up
behind him. "He must have walked her to school. How cute." One of her
friends walked up beside her and followed her gaze down to Ranma.

Nabiki was about to call out to the boy when she realized that he was
watching the tree. Kuno stood in waiting just behind it patiently. She
frowned and realized that there was no way he could see the boy from
the angle he was standing at. Still, he sat and waited. "What's he up

"What was that boss?" asked her friend as she turned her gaze towards
her in confusion.

"Nothing," replied Nabiki calmly.


Akane finished up the last of her opponents and panted while remaining
in a ready stance. Her hand darted up in time to catch a single rose
that had flown into her hand.

"What fools these mortals be, they seek the honor of your company on
the eve that they might defeat you," said a voice as a tall almost
bishonen looking boy emerged from his cover and stepped out into the
open. "Now, might you spar with me?" the boy chuckled to himself as he
held his boken up towards her.

Akane was about to answer the challenge when a new voice spoke up.

"I think I've seen about enough."

Kuno turned and saw the strange boy leaning against the wall with his
head bent down. He growled when he noticed the sword hanging at his
side and his familiar dress. "Who might you be boy? Were you not
taught how to respect your elders?"

"Elders?" Ranma frowned for a moment and looked up at the kendoist.
"I'm just a vagabond who's found place to stay for a while. I must say
your technique is cowardly."

"Who are you to speak of such things?" snapped the boy as he diverted
his attention from Akane for a moment.

Ranma ignored him. "Using weaker opponents to wear her down, so that
you can take advantage of her weakened state and defeat her easily. A
masterful plan, but hardly the way of a true warrior. If you truly
wished to test your own strength you'd do it without all this
pageantry. If you truly believe yourself to be a samurai of honor you
will stop this and face her alone."

"Who are you boor? How dare you speak so to one such as myself!"
snapped Kuno as he stepped towards the boy.

"As I said, I'm just a vagabond, nothing for you to concern yourself
with. Let her go peacefully, otherwise she might be late for class,"
replied Ranma simply. "Please."

Kuno looked like he was about to burst a vein. "How-how dare you! A
lowborn fool like yourself cannot begin to comprehend the honor of
this battle! Do you know who it is you address? I am the mighty True
Battosai of Furinkan High! The rising new star of the high school
fencing world; Tatewaki Kuno!" Kuno stepped forward holding the boken
in an offensive position.

Ranma's eyes narrowed as he stepped back. "I did not come here to
fight with you."

"You speak of honor and wield a steel blade against an opponent with a
bokuto," replied Kuno as he pointed to the scabbard at the boy's side.

Ranma shook his head. "You misunderstand, this isn't a blade that can

"What foolishness is this? How can a blade of steel not kill? Is that
not the art of the sword?" Kuno seemed to puff himself up in what
appeared to be the worst bluff of all time.

Ranma removed his hand and smiled. "This is not the time or the place
for such things, I ask that you stand down."

Both men stood off in the center of the schoolyard Ranma ignored
Kuno's stares and simply smiled at him. "So be it, I shall issue my
challenge at a later date," announced Kuno as he turned to address the
crowd, the crowd that was no longer there. "What is this?"

Ranma looked up and saw Akane Tendo disappearing into the doors of the
school. She stopped long enough to stick her tongue out at both of
them and slammed the door behind herself. The pair stood alone in the
courtyard for a few moments until the first bell of the day rang.

Ranma could only say one thing. "Oro?"


A few moments later Ranma stood out in the hallway after his short
introduction to the class. In his hands was a pair of buckets filled
with water. He sighed to himself and looked up at the ceiling. "What
have I gotten myself into?"

Tatewaki Kuno stared Nabiki down at her desk. "What? You say you know
this strange vagabond? Tell me who this stranger is!"

"Oh, Kuno baby, that is really going to cost you," replied the girl

With righteous tears in his eyes Kuno set down a wad of bills on her
desk. "Tell me who this miscreant is so that I might deliver my
message of challenge!"

"His name is Ranma Saotome, and he's Akane's new fiancee," replied
Nabiki with a smirk as she accepted the money from him cheerfully.

Kuno froze and simply stared at her, "Wh-what?" The entire class had
gone silent as well.

"Three thousand yen for a repeat performance Kuno baby," said the girl


Ranma was passing the time away humming to himself as he waited to get
called back into the room. He felt something vaguely familiar from
down the hall and turned to see Kuno charging him with his boken
ready. He blinked for a moment and stepped back in a battle ready
stance dropping his buckets to the floor.

"I Tatewaki Kuno, shall not allow this travesty to continue!" roared
the boy angrily as he sliced at Ranma. The boy retaliated by raising
his scabbard up and blocking easily. Kuno seemed beyond anger. "Never,
never shall I allow this engagement! I shall never allow your
engagement too, Akane Tendo!"

Ranma's eyes went wide as the boy shouted. He hadn't told anyone about
it, as far as everyone else was concerned up till now he didn't even
know Akane Tendo.

The windows to the nearby classrooms flew open as hundreds of shouting
students leaned out of them and shouted for verification of this new
rumor. Ranma grit his teeth and jumped away from Kuno just in time to
avoid another strike from his weapon.


Akane Tendo sat at her desk fuming with anger. "How dare he! How dare
he butt in on my fight?!" She scowled angrily and looked at the
silhouetted figure standing just outside the doorway. "When I get home
I'm gonna give him a piece of..." She froze as a familiar voice
floated into the room from outside. The teacher looked at her as she
stood up from her seat with a look of horror on her face.

"Is something wrong Miss Tendo?" said the man impatiently. He was
promptly cut off as a shout from the hallway told him what was wrong.

Akane's vision suddenly became red as the entire class looked at her
in almost perfect unison. There was no doubt in her mind everyone
thought she was some kind of weirdo pervert as young as he looked. "I-
I-I'll kill him!"


Ranma was having a bit of a difficult time in his battle in the
hallway. The narrow space didn't give him much room to move around and
he didn't really want to hurt this boy now. He turned away and jumped
out of the path of another strike. "This is not the place to fight

That stopped the upperclassman for a moment. "I see, lead on then!"
Ranma looked back at the room and turned away leading Kuno down the
hall. He smirked as he jumped out of an open window and noticed the
student body closing in behind them.

Akane rushed forward as Kuno followed and snapped at Ranma angrily.
"This is the third floor fool!"

"Oro?" said Ranma as he balanced on the top of a flagpole just outside
the window. He was leaning over and looking down in confusion at Kuno,
who was face down in the pool three stories below. "I was going up to
the roof, but I guess he couldn't keep up with me." He looked a little
ashamed and stepped back into the building.

"Why didn't you just take the stairs!?" snapped the girl angrily.

"Oh, yeah..." Ranma turned his head and looked at the flight of stairs
that wasn't even ten feet away from him.

Akane merely hung her head and sighed. In the back of her mind she
wondered if he ever intended to fight Kuno at all. Perhaps it had just
been luck that he jumped out onto the flagpole instead of into the
water below?

Ranma stood next to her and glanced out the window nervously. "Well,
that was a close one," he muttered to himself as he eyed the water
below where the kendoist floated face down.


Kuno walked out of the pool and shook off his arms as he turned
towards the building and glared upwards in anger. "Ranma Saotome, I
shall not forget this offence! Be ready for my challenge!" He sat down
there on the pavement and fished a soaking wet notepad and pencil from
his shirt. "You will suffer for this humiliation!" he started to laugh
to himself as he scrawled, or attempted do considering the condition
of his utensils.


Ruroni Ranma

Part 3

Kuno Strikes Back.


Ranma Saotome sat at the table and glanced at the sheet of paper that
had been given to him calmly. "A letter of challenge?" He sighed and
tossed it across the table.

"Serves you right for butting in on my fight," snapped the youngest
Tendo angrily. She froze suddenly; the note in her hand began to shake
as she read the challenge carefully.

"What is it sis?" Nabiki peeked over her shoulder and gasped.

"Ranma Saotome, I hereby challenge you to a battle of honor, your
cowardly ways shall come to light as my mighty and swift justice comes
upon you. Meet me tomorrow on the field of battle as I show you the
might of a true samurai of noble blood. I shall meet your challenge
with steel and a noble heart. Come prepared. Yours truly, Tatewaki
Kuno, the True Battosai of Furinkan High."

"Ranma, he's going to use a real sword! One of you will be killed!"
gasped Nabiki with a horrified look on her face.

Ranma blinked and looked at her. He took the letter back and read it
again. "Hmm, So it seems..." He turned towards the girl and smiled.

"Don't worry Nabiki. I won't kill him."

"What?" said Akane in confusion. "You'll get yourself killed! Kuno
might not be much of a fighter, but his kendo skills are exceptional.
Especially when facing a male opponent!"

"Don't worry about it, I can handle myself." replied Ranma simply.

"Let me guess, the war in China right?" said Nabiki flatly.

Ranma nodded his head quietly.

Akane gasped in shock and looked at the boy oddly. "You killed during
the war?"

"That is what one does in a war Akane, I have a lot of blood on my
hands," replied the boy simply.

"Tell me, what is this True Battosai nonsense Tatewaki is going on
about?" asked Ranma. "He's a Kendoist, does he even know what Battosai

"You of all people should know that, you said you met this Battosai
character," replied Nabiki with a smug grin.

"Oro?" said Ranma as he blinked at them.

Akane sighed, "Kuno thinks of himself as a samurai, a noble. So
naturally when a real samurai becomes a legend in a war like that he
makes him his hero."

"He thinks of Battosai as a hero?" said Ranma in confusion.

Akane seemed quite miffed at this insinuation. "Battosai was a hero,
people still talk about him today when they hear about him fighting
against the Musk during the war."

Ranma seemed a little upset by this. "I always thought he was the kind
of guy who faded away and never made it into the history books. A
shadow assassin, who was never really known," he looked oddly
thoughtful for a moment. "Hero huh? Weird."

"Well, normally I suppose he would, but he was a major player in an
important war, and also one of a very few Japanese nationals involved
with it." Nabiki shrugged her shoulders and went back to her bag of
chips. "I guess it's just circumstance."

"Quite so," agreed Ranma as he went back to studying the letter. "But
what to do about this fool? I don't really want to fight him."


As the sun set Ranma stood alone in a field. He waited patiently for
his opponent as the hour dragged on. "He's late."

Almost as if on cue Tatewaki Kuno appeared on the street silhouetted
in the setting sun as he approached the designated battleground. Both
men were dressed in traditional samurai garb, with Ranma being a bit
flashier overall with his bright red shirt.

"So, you finally decided to show up did you?" asked Ranma smugly.

"I felt the need for an appropriate entrance," replied the boy calmly
as he lifted a rose to his nose and smiled.

"I can understand that, but all this pageantry still says nothing for
your skills. Tell me, why am I here facing you?" Ranma remained calm
and watched the boy look up in surprise.

"You have insulted my honor, and interfered with my sacred battle with
Akane Tendo," replied Kuno angrily.

"These are killing offences?" said Ranma in a questioning voice.

"I would choose the honorable path, such is the way of a samurai,"
replied Kuno with a shrug. "My honor must be avenged."

"The one you chose to name yourself after, never believed that. There
is no justice in killing over such foolishness... Besides, I never
stopped you from facing her; I merely pointed out that it was
dishonorable to have others attack her before you merely to wear her
down. I will not stand between you if you wish to continue, after all
no one was really hurt by this," Ranma met his gaze coolly and smiled.
"So let's just forget this all right?"

"For deceiving young maidens with your young looks and forcing
yourself upon Akane Tendo. I cannot allow this transgression to
continue, have at thee!" roared Kuno as he charged forward and drew
his blade.

Ranma merely sidestepped the strike and stepped away from him as Kuno
staggered for a moment after missing. "You have good technique, but
your killing power is extremely lacking, I bet you've never taken a
life before have you?"

"So, you say my sword ki is low?" replied Kuno with a chuckle, "Tell
me knave, how would one such as yourself know of such things?"

Ranma merely smiled and got into a low stance with his hand on the
hilt of his sword, his aura seemed to grow ten times as strong. Kuno's
hand loosened and his grip on his sword faltered for a moment, he
froze in place with a look of terror crossing his features as he
simply gaped in awe at the strange boy before him. "This is... it is
impossible! No man could be stronger than I with the blade! It is not
possible to exceed perfection!"

Ranma smiled at this; "There is no such thing as perfection in battle.
There is always a way to defeat even the strongest of opponents, it is
one of many hard lessons I had to learn in my life. Now, let's end
this foolish battle peacefully, I have no desire to draw against you."

Kuno seemed to snap out of his trance and pulled the blade up right
before charging again. "You speak wisely; however, I shall not lose
today!" He rushed forward sending the blade towards Ranma hundreds of
times in the space of a few seconds. "As with the mighty Battosai of
Japan, my kendo is unrivaled!"

Ranma ran backwards avoiding the strikes easily with a firm look on
his face. "The one you call Battosai does not use kendo, he uses Hiten
Mitsurugi style Batojitsu. That is how he earned his name."

Kuno blinked in shock and staggered for a moment, just long enough for
Ranma to jump comfortably out of range. "How do you know of such
things? Do you take me for a fool! Everyone knows that kendo is the
strongest art of Japan! Only Sumo Wrestling comes close to it's mighty
power! What else would the great hero of Japan use against her
enemies?" He charged again bringing his sword down in a wide arc
towards Ranma.

The ponytailed martial artist merely stepped back as his hand flew to
the hilt of his sword. He thrust out in an upward cutting motion and
Kuno's blade was stopped cold and thrown up leaving his belly open to
attack. Ranma wasted no opportunity to strike and Kuno fell to his
knees clutching his wound.

"So, this is how it ends, a noble death for one such as I. I am
pleased to have died in battle against a fellow samurai," Kuno coughed
and fell forward onto the ground as his belly burned in pain.

"You've obviously never had a sword wound before," said Ranma with a
slightly amused chuckle. "Don't worry, I cannot kill, not ever again,"
Ranma was standing with his sword draw at his side with his back
turned towards Kuno in a rather dramatic pose. "Still, it was a good
match, perhaps we can do it again without our steel blades sometime."

"What?" Kuno reached down to his stomach and felt the blow. It was
badly bruised, but there was no cut. He coughed again and struggled to
rise to his feet only to fall again as he turned to see Ranma placing
his sword back in the scabbard. He gasped as he saw the blade just
before Ranma finished sheathing it "A Sakabato?"

"Yes, a reversed blade. I swore I would not kill once the battles
ended in China. I will only use my sword to protect those who need it.
Akane Tendo does not need your idle threats or your love, go and find
another passion for your heart," the boy turned away and started
walking off into the darkness as the sun finally fell, leaving the
night sky behind.

"China? Battles?" he pushed the thoughts aside for the time being. "I
cannot give up my love for her, it shall burn eternal!"

Ranma turned back and glanced at him with an odd look on his face. "So
be it, but I suggest you find another way to prove your affections to
her. Anything between us ends here Kuno. I don't need another enemy."

Kuno finally found the strength to rise to his feet as he watched the
boy walk away. He looked down at his blade and noticed a chip fall
away where the Sakabato had struck it. "A very strange man indeed." He
fell to quiet musings and put the blade away before walking towards
his home.


Ranma entered the Tendo house and smiled as Kasumi walked out of the
Kitchen with a pan in her hands. "Oh, Ranma! You're just in time for

"Oh good," said the boy pleasantly. He sat down with the family and
looked around when he noticed no one had started eating yet. "Oro?"

"Well?" said Nabiki excitedly; there was a hint of nervousness in her

"Well what?" asked Ranma seemingly oblivious.

"What happened dolt?" screamed Akane in frustration as she slammed her
fists on the table cracking it down the middle.

"Saotome, I'm not going to get a call from the police about this later
am I?" asked Soun with a slightly worried tone.

"Police? About what?" asked Ranma in confusion.

"Ohmygod! He killed Kuno!" screeched Nabiki.

"Ara, you bastard," said Kasumi sweetly. Everyone looked at her for a
moment and she blushed.

"Kuno is fine," replied Ranma simply as he continued to give Kasumi a
slightly odd stare. "Well, not really, but he isn't dead at any rate."

"That is a relief to hear," said Soun a little more relaxed. The
family settled down for the evening after that and enjoyed themselves.


After the meal was over, Ranma stood up and grabbed some of the dishes
off the table. "I'll help you with this Kasumi."

"Oh, don't worry about it Ranma, I can handle it," she said sweetly.

"I insist, I don't want to be a dead weight around here," replied the
boy firmly.

"Oh, all right, you can help dry them off. How's that?" Ranma nodded
at her suggestion and smiled.

"That pervert had better stop hitting on my sister," growled Akane
angrily as she cracked the table under her grip.

"Why not? If you don't like him what's wrong with Kasumi taking him
instead? Did it ever occur to you that he might want to earn his keep
around here? He's young, but I bet he'll grow up handsome, maybe
Kasumi will notice it and let you off the hook?" replied Nabiki with a
small smile on her lips.

Akane turned her head away and 'Humphed' as a huge blush crossed her


The next morning Ranma whistled to himself as he walked towards
Furinkan High in his brand new school uniform. "I hate new clothes,
the fabric is all itchy." He scratched at his back lazily and stayed
fairly close to Akane as she walked despite repeated attempts by her
to move away from him.

"Aren't you gone yet?" she snorted lazily. "Stop following me!"

"I said I'd give it a month and that's what I meant," replied Ranma
dryly as he put his hands behind his head and looked away from her.

"Don't worry, you've only got three and a half more weeks to put up
with me."

Akane seemed to turn to stone on the spot as a single tear fell down
her face. "Three weeks?"

"It's not that bad!" said Ranma as he turned away and continued to
walk with a neutral look on his face.

Once they reached the school grounds Akane froze as she saw... no one.
There were no boys waiting for her in a huge mob. Something had

She turned towards Ranma and frowned. "What did you do to them?"

"Do?" said Ranma looking completely oblivious once again.

Akane almost jumped when a rose flew from behind a tree and landed in
her palm. "Eeek!"

Kuno emerged from behind the tree and smiled at her. His bandages
showed through his shirt easily and he leaned against his bokuto as he
stepped towards her. "Akane Tendo, I have revoked my challenge. From
this day forth, no man shall lay a hand upon the head of Akane Tendo
without facing the wrath of the True Battosai of Furinkan High. This
is my gift to you," he bowed dramatically and strolled away leaving
Akane in shock.

"That was certainly nice of him, of course it would have been better
if he never issued the challenge in the first place, but..." Ranma was
cut off as Akane became angry again.

"I don't need you to protect me you jerk!" she screamed as she charged
and performed a flying sidekick that hit Kuno in the back of his head
and dropped him like a rock.

"Oy?" said Ranma as he poked at the boy lightly as he lay on the

"You ok?" He looked up at Akane and smiled. "A very independent

Kuno appeared to be crying tears of joy. "Such ferocity. Surely she
intends to show her spirit and true love for me by continuing our
honorable combat even though I can no longer partake in it with her!"

Ranma blinked. "Orooro?"


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