Rurouni Ranma

Part 11

Murderous intent!


Ranma looked out over the sky as he lay on his back on the back
porch of the Tendo home. He had a rather contented looking smile on
his face as he lay there. Akane and Yuriko were both sparring in the
yard, the young girl would occasionally yell out an obscenity.

"Sure is peaceful," commented Ranma lazily.

Nabiki turned and stared at him for a moment. "You're kidding
right?" She glanced back out in the yard again and frowned. Akane was
currently chasing her student around; the younger girl was pulling
down her eyelid and sticking her tongue out as she ran.

"I suppose they are a bit noisy, but it's good for them," said
Soun cheerfully as he rustled the morning paper a little as he turned
the page.

"Yes, Yuriko is becoming stronger, and Akane doesn't hate her as
much as she pretends," agreed Ranma. "They have a good relationship

"Right," muttered Nabiki as she turned back to her manga again. It
was obvious she didn't believe a word of it. After all, Akane had
caught her prey and had applied a chokehold on the little girl.

Yuriko had gotten her hands on a shinhai, and was beating her
teacher over the head with it.

"I've got to go too the store, I'll be back later," said Kasumi as
she walked into the living room.

Ranma looked up at her and stood. "I'll go with you, all this
inactivity is starting to get to me you know."

"All right," said Kasumi sweetly.


"So, where are we going?" said Ranma cheerfully. He was dressed in
his samurai robes again and had the sakabato at his side as always.

"Just to the grocery store," said Kasumi cheerfully. "There's a
few things I need to pick up. I'm actually glad you asked to come
along, now that I think about it."

"Well, all you have to do is ask, Kasumi-donno," said the boy

Kasumi blushed at the formality of the boy's speech. "Please
Ranma, just Kasumi is fine."

"Hold knave!" said a familiar voice from behind them.

Ranma turned and saw Kuno rushing up behind him, his boken held
firmly in his grip as he rushed up. He paused when he recognized Ranma
and frowned. "So, it is merely you Saotome."

"Kuno, what brings you here?" said the boy in confusion.

"I hunt the man who claims the name Battosai. His murderous
rampage must be brought to an end," said the boy as he puffed out his
chest proudly.

"I've heard about that in the news," said Ranma with a small nod.
His face had become serious again.

"Oh my! That sounds dangerous," muttered Kasumi nervously.

"I assure you that it is fair maiden," said Kuno with a short nod.
"He must be brought to justice, I cannot allow this travesty to
continue. He has killed seven people, and the police have been
powerless to dissuade him."

"So I've heard," said Ranma with a small sigh. "Well, I wish you

Kasumi and Ranma started to turn away, when the familiar sound of
police whistles sounded down the street.

"It is he!" cried Kuno as he rushed off.

"Wait!" cried Ranma in alarm.

The crowd parted, revealing a rather large man standing in the
middle of the street. He was armed with a Katana and cut down two

"Heh, you fools are weak!" cried the giant. He was dressed in what
looked like ninja gear, but he towered over everyone else in the
street easily. "I the mighty Hitokiri Battosai, of the Kuno Hansha Ha
Ryu, shall never be defeated!"

Ranma paused while Kuno continued to charge forward. "Kuno Hansha

"Knave! I shall smite thee for thy insolence!" cried the kendoist
as he raised his boken over his head and slashed at the man.

The hulking figure sidestepped the blow and chuckled, the katana
in his hand slashing down in a counter blow. Kuno was forced back into
a wall, and gasped as his wooden blade fell in two pieces.

"Die!" cried Battosai as he cut down, hacking the wall behind the
kendoist in two.

His target was gone, he glanced over to the side and saw Kuno
sprawled across the ground. Ranma had been lying on top of him and was
slowly rising to his feet, eyeing the man cautiously.

Several police whistles sounded from down the street, and the
hulking monstrosity of a man jumped onto the rooftops of Nerima,
vanishing into the street.

"No! He has escaped me!" cried Kuno angrily as he jumped to his

"You shouldn't be so reckless. A boken shouldn't be used against a
real sword," said Ranma as he dusted his pants off for a moment.

Kuno hung his head, "You are correct, a blade of steel would be a
much better way to match this villain. He slanders the name of my
family school. I cannot permit this any longer."

"So it seems," said Ranma with a small nod. He was watching the
police approach.

"Saotome, I do not require your assistance, although this act has
not gone unnoticed," he bowed very slightly and turned away.

"I understand, be careful. I'd hate for you to become injured
before we had another match," said Ranma as he turned to walk away as

"I look forward too it," said Kuno with a small frown forming on
his face.

Kasumi rushed up to the ponytailed boy's side, worry etched onto
her features. "Oh! Ranma, are you all right?" She glanced down at the
ground and saw the two dead officers. "Oh my!" She quickly turned her
eyes away, covering her face.

The other police had moved up and were directing the crowd around
them. Fortunately, some of them had seen what had happened as they
approached, and Ranma was not suspected. Two of them were performing
emergency CPR on the two officers.

"Don't worry, I'm not hurt. Kuno injured his shoulder though,"
said Ranma as he turned his gaze towards the direction the other boy
had left.

"You there! Wait!" cried one of the officers as he strolled up to

"Can I help you?" said the boy calmly.

"You are from a nearby dojo? One of the martial artists attempting
to apprehend the murderer?" said the man calmly.

"No, I was out shopping with my friend here, we just got caught up
in this mess," said the boy with a slight nod.

"Do you have any idea who this man is?" asked the officer as he
pulled out a pen and pad. The area was now swarming with police and an
ambulance could be heard approaching in the distance.

"I'm afraid not," said Ranma with a small shake of his head. "He
was a rather large man though. Most unusual."

"Yes, we've got nothing more than a description," said the officer
with a hateful frown.

"You are aware that wearing weapons is forbidden, we're going to
have to confiscate that sword," said the officer as he nodded to the
blade at Ranma's side.

"What this?" said the boy cheerfully as he held the hilt out to
the man. "I'm afraid I couldn't kill a puppy with this thing."

The officer took the blade and pulled it from its sheath. "A
sakabato?" He snorted to himself and handed the blade back. "All
right. I'm afraid we're going to have to detain you, for questioning."

"Ranma?" muttered Kasumi with worry in her voice.

"I'll be happy too answer any of your questions officer, I'm
afraid my friend here didn't see much. She arrived after the fact,"
said Ranma calmly. "I don't know how much help I can be."

"Ranma?" said the girl in surprise.

"Don't worry, you go ahead to the store, I'll catch up," said the
boy cheerfully.


Ranma walked away from the scene about ten minutes later. The
police had questioned him a few times by one of the squad cars, and
basically got the same answers. He gave a description, but that was
about all he could tell them. Or more precisely, all he wanted to tell
them. After that, they had taken his name, and sent him about his

He did know something though, the man who claimed his name, was
indeed using Kuno's school of swordsmanship. That was something he
couldn't ignore.


Tatewaki Kuno was sitting on the floor of his room, applying
disinfectant and bandages to his shoulder. He had taken a hit when his
bokan was destroyed. He was strangely contemplative about that, the
Saotome boy had seen the injury, and there was no doubt about that. He
had said nothing though.

He closed his eyes and frowned even deeper as he pulled his shirt
back on after applying the bandage. There was no doubt in his mind
that the boy also knew that the man was indeed using his style. A
great shame to his family and his school.

He turned his gaze towards the portrait on the wall and frowned.
It was a painting of himself, his sister, and his father. It was only
about three years old.

"This man, he has dishonored our name, father, sister, I shall
have justice," he hung his head and lifted the katana from his side.
He carefully placed it across the floor in front of him, and began to


"You're going out again?" said Akane as she looked at the
ponytailed boy dumbly.

"Can I come?" asked Yuriko as she strolled up to the conversation.

"I'm afraid not," said Ranma as he pat the girl on her head and
smiled down at her.

"You've got practice!" snapped Akane irritably.

Ranma had returned with Kasumi, and helped her carry the groceries
into the home. Neither of them had spoken about the incident in the
street to the rest of the family.

"Yes, I've got to go speak with someone about something," said
Ranma cheerfully. "Don't worry, I'll be back later this evening."

"Oh! You're not staying for supper?" said Kasumi with a small

"I'm afraid not, and this may take a little time, so don't wait
for me," said Ranma cheerfully as he turned towards the door.

"What was that about?" muttered Akane as she watched him go.


Tatewaki Kuno was standing in the middle of his family's dojo. The
boken in his hand blurred as he went through his kata feverently.
"Curses! This foul demon torments me!"

His exercise was stopped as a shadowy figure appeared in the
doorway. A huge bulky form sneered at him, holding a sheathed katana
in a wooden hilt over his shoulder. A dozen smaller men walked in with
him, each armed with a boken of their own, or a sword.

"Who dares?" snarled Kuno angrily. He gasped in recognition as the
large man strolled forward and removed the hood from his head.

"At last, I shall have my revenge," said the man with a chuckle.

"Gohei!" said Kuno as he stepped back and pulled the boken up in a
defensive position.

"It has been some time whelp, at last I can destroy your family
for what happened to me," said the man hatefully. His face still
hidden by the shadows. He stepped forward, revealing a shining bald
dome and clean shaven face.

"You? You have done this?" said Kuno in shock. "Cur! You dare
challenge me here? I am the master on this ground! You have no hope of
defeating me!"

"Maybe so, but I have mastered your family's style, and you are
nothing but a weak boy!" snarled Gohei as he blocked Kuno's strike
with his sword calmly. He did not unsheathe the blade, using the
weapon like a boken.

Kuno twisted his wrist, striking the man in his belly and forcing
him back. "Fool, I am the only true master of Kendo. Your skills are
nothing! You're pathetic swordsmanship cannot defeat the might of
Tatewaki Kuno! The Blue Thunder of Furinkan High!"

Gohei glared up at the boy, "Take him."

The men who had entered with him slowly circled around Kuno, and
then charged in.

The boy fended them off admirably, but there were too many. He
feverently blocked their attacks, but was forced back, and found
himself pressed against the wall. Finally, two of the men fell from in
front of him as he lashed out with quick strikes.

"Idiots! He's alone!" snarled Gohei as he strolled up and slashed
down, at Kuno. The boy pulled up his blade to block, but the force of
the blow shattered it, and he was struck in the shoulder.

Kuno screamed in pain as his wound was opened again, and his
vision blurred. He fell to his knees for a moment.

Gohei chuckled and lifted the boy up by his shirt, leaving him
hanging in his grip. "I'm going to enjoy this. At last I shall have
revenge on your family for this disgrace!" He pointed up at his bald
head and shook Kuno violently.

"Cur," muttered the boy angrily as he struggled to stay awake.

"Cur? You dare?" Gohei pressed the boy's chin up with the butt of
his hilt. "I've suffered for ten long years because of your father!
The humiliation I've endured."


Gohei chuckled as he slashed a cut into the kendo student in front
of him with his katana. The students around him moved aside as he
glanced around in search of his next opponent. His long dark hair
flowed down his back, and a thick beard and mustache covered his face.

"What is the meaning of this?" said a booming voice over the

The students, all of whom had shaved heads shuddered and moved
aside as a bulky looking man strolled through the middle of the room.
He was dressed in a kendo uniform as well, but held no blade.

"Mr. Kuno!" gasped one of the men in shock.

"Now, you know my wife will be displeased with you, Gohei," said
the man calmly as he looked down at the injured boy.

"Bah! I'm tired of bowing and scraping before that woman! Kendo is
a man's sport, and shouldn't be soiled by such filth!" snapped the man
angrily. He was the oldest student, and the only one who still had a
full head of hair.

"You're being very, naughty," said the man as he got a dangerous
looking gleam in his eyes. "I'm afraid you know the punishment for
such behavior in my home."

"Bah! You fool! You're as weak as that woman of yours! I'll
destroy you!" cried Gohei as he charged forward.

Kuno pulled a pair of barber's shears from behind his back and
grinned with a wild madness as the boy charged. "Now you learn the
true power of the Kuno family's secret technique!"

A moment later, Gohei was on the floor with shock in his eyes. His
sword clattered across the ground in front of him, stopping at the
doorway to the dojo. His hair was completely gone, all of it, even the
beard he was so proud of.

Young Tatewaki stood in the doorway, watching the scene in horror.
He reached up and felt his own shaved head.

Gohei turned his head up and glared at the boy, a mad anger
burning in his eyes.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You're no longer a student here, I'm
expelling you now!" said the elder Kuno as he casually walked out of
the room.


"My hair never grew back!" snarled Gohei as he held Kuno up
against the wall.

"A fitting punishment, surely the Kami are just indeed," said Kuno

"I'll show you! I'll shave your head after I cut it off!" snarled
the man.

"You'll put him down now, that's what I think," said an unfamiliar

Everyone in the room turned their attention to the doorway. Ranma
Saotome was standing there, watching the scene calmly.

"Who the hell are you?" snarled one of the men.

The ponytailed boy ignored him and stepped forward. "Regardless of
the shame that was brought on you, murdering others is not justice.
You have earned that curse, if not by your actions then, then by those
you have done since."

"Saotome?" muttered Kuno in surprise.

"Shut him up!" said Gohei.

"I don't wish to harm anyone," warned Ranma as he readied his
sword, pulling it out slightly.

"Heh, no one's going to get hurt. Just one death!" cried one of
the men as he lead the charge forward.

Ranma shot forward like a bullet, moving in and out of the strikes
of the men easily. They fell in droves, four or five at a time. Two
seconds later, it was over. Only a single disarmed man remained, and
he was cowering in the corner.

"Your style, I recognized it. It is not the style of the Hitokiri
Battosai. He uses the supersonic techniques of the Hiten Mitsurugi,"
said Ranma with a slight smirk on his face as he put his blade on his

Gohei dropped Kuno and turned to face the man. "That scar...can it

"I have no love for the name Hitokiri Battosai, but I can't allow
someone like you to use it," said Ranma as he eyed the man coldly.

"Well, if I kill you...that won't matter," said the man with an
evil chuckle. He slowly pulled his sword from its scabbard.

Ranma prepared himself.

"Hold Saotome!" said Kuno as he jumped between them. "This battle,
belongs to me." He was now holding a katana in his hands.

Ranma nodded and resheathed his own blade. "As you wish."

"Whelp, I'll cut you both in half!" roared Gohei as he charged

"Fool! Your techniques will not defeat me this time!" snapped Kuno
as he sidestepped the strike and shifted the sword to his uninjured
left hand. He slashed upward as the man passed by him, already
committed to his strike. "I am the only true master of the Kuno Hansha
Ha Ryu!"

Gohei staggered for a moment, staring at the doorway to the dojo
in silence for a moment. A line of blood erupted across his chest, and
he fell forward onto the ground.

"Master Gohei!" cried the only conscious man remaining.

"Justice is served," said Kuno as he looked down at his fallen
opponent for a moment.

"As you say," said Ranma with a small nod. His eyes betrayed no

Kuno dropped his blood soaked katana to the ground and simply
stared down at the man for a moment. He said nothing as he looked at
his body.

"Well, it seems that the Kuno Hansha Ha, has defeated the Battosai
impersonator. I wonder what sort of swordsman he really was? I suppose
we'll never know the name of his style."

Kuno looked up at Ranma for a moment, not saying a word.

"You'd better go to the police, and tell them what happened here.
Your friends will need to be arrested," said the ponytailed boy as he
turned towards the bumbling henchman for a moment.

The man gasped in shock. "They're all alive? But..." He glanced up
at the stares the two men were giving him, and decided it would be a
good idea to follow those instructions. He promptly rushed out the
door, leaving them relatively alone.

"I suppose I should be going. I was going to ask if you knew
anything about this man, but I suppose I don't have too anymore," said
Ranma as he turned towards the door.

Kuno looked down at his katana, no emotion showing on his face, or
in his voice. "My blade has tasted blood."

"It is something you must deal with on your own," said Ranma as he
paused in the doorway.

Kuno nodded and lifted it off the ground carefully. "It should be
treated with more respect. I am a fool for not doing so." He paused
again and sighed. "Saotome, I must thank you for your assistance, even
if it was not needed." He glanced up, and saw that the boy was gone. A
light smile formed on his face. "I see."



Next Time: Ranma Saotome! Fugitive from the law?