A/N: Back in action. Need I say more?
Adonis sighed as he gazed at the Overlords castle for what seemed like the millionth time. While Laharl didn't know it himself, his castle was nearly impregnable due to the defenses the late king had put around it. The kid overlord in all his obliviousness probably never even wondered why no one had attacked his home in the two years he had been asleep either.
The truth was, the ex-overlord had spun some of the mightiest protection spells of his time around the castle which endured even after his passing. Anyone trying to teleport in would hit a rubber like wall and be bounced back. There was no way to approach the castle on foot either, since it had neither bridge nor walkway and was surrounded by a moat of lava. Although this also meant no one could get out on foot, they hardly needed to since Laharl now held a dimensional gatekeeper.
Furthermore, dimensional gatekeepers were a pain in the ass to get. Firstly, one had to get explicit permission from the high judge of the dark assembly. Second, you had to find one…a good one. Get a bad one and you might just find yourself teleported into a mountain. Finally, you had to keep their wallets full, and they had BIG wallets.
He had never actually met King Kircheskvoy, but considering he had an excellent gatekeeper swear fealty to him even in death, he must have been one hell of a ruler…no pun intended.
For right now though, he needed to find another way to get the kid overlord outside his castle to check up on the new arrival.
"Ranma! Clean my shorts!"
"Saotome! Make my breakfast!"
"Ready for you in the kitchen."
"Wake up the vassals?"
"Etna took care of them."
Ranma produced the plastic coffee cup and handed it to him. "Black. No sugar. Lot's of cream."
Laharl took a long drink. "Ah, that hits the spot. So have you cleaned the castle?"
"Swept, dusted, and polished."
"Weapons and armor?"
The martial artist produced a cape and sword from behind his back and handed them to him. "Just finished while we were talking."
"...You know you're not that fun to boss around.."
Ranma shrugged. "Sorry," he said unconvincingly.
"How did you even know to do all that stuff anyways?" he asked, slightly bewildered. "You've been my vassal for less than a day!"
The martial artist pulled a sheet of paper from his sleeve. "Etna gave me a list of the top twenty things that you're most likely going to ask me to do. I took the liberty of doing them all while I was doing my morning routine. It was decent training."
"Way to take all the fun out of it," he grumbled to himself. "So, are you ready to be reincarnated today?"
Ranma blinked. "Rein-what?"
"Reincarnation of course. Did you think I'd let you stay a weak human while being my vassal?"
"Would it greatly surprise you if I just said yes?" asked Ranma wearily.
"Of course not! That's why I prepared a contingency plan." Laharl brandished the sword that was nearly as big as his body. "If you can defeat me in combat, I'll acknowledge your fighting skill and allow you to chose your new form."
"And if you win?"
The kid overlord smirked. "I'll choose what you reincarnate into."
"...That doesn't sound like a very fair-"
"Demon. Don't care." He was cut off suddenly as Laharl charged, forcing him to dodge several quick strikes of his blade.
"Do you *dodge* really think *dodge* we should *dodge* be doing this inside?" Sidestepping a chop, Ranma moved inside the demon's guard and flicked him on the forehead, sending him staggering back a step.
The query gave the demon pause. "Huh. Well, I guess I wouldn't want to destroy this castle during a friendly fight."
'Friendly huh? Riiiiight.'
Laharl suddenly snapped his fingers. "I know exactly where we can settle this. Meet me at the dimensional gate in twenty minutes." The kid overlord's cape twined around his sword, depositing the blade into subspace before walking off.
"Well, this is going to be fun." The sarcasm was thick in his voice.
"It could be worse," said a voice from his left. The martial artist turned to see Etna emerge from her room, a spear strapped to her back. "He could have just ordered you to do it. You are his vassal after all."
Ranma raised an eyebrow. "So why didn't he?"
Etna shrugged. "Think of it as an illusion of free will. Either that or he's just been looking for a chance to fight you."
"Why didn't he just fight me here?"
Etna was silent for a minute. "You ever watch Dragon Ball Z?"
"Tried to. Took too long to get to the action though, and took too long showing the action."
"Well let's just say that we're trying to preserve what's left of this run down castle."
"Fair enough. So what's our battleground then."
"Tutorial map number one."
"Training ground number one," she corrected quickly. "It's where we go to beat each other up. Very therapeutic for when I need to put the prinnies in line. Did you know they blow up if you throw them hard enough?"
Ranma filed that little tidbit away for future use. "No. Can they do this multiple time or is your employee turnover rate even worse than McDonalds?"
"We have extensive health coverage," provided Etna simply. "As long as your soul doesn't get torn from your body, we can probably put you back together, so don't worry about Laharl accidentally killing you or anything."
"Gee, that makes me feel so much better." An anime sweatdrop had appeared on his head.
"Good to know," the demon responded cheerfully. "Did you want to pick up a weapon or are you cocky as well as confident?"
"I prefer to think of it as having faith in my abilities," he replied nonchalant.
"Suit yourself. Not like I'm footing the medical bill."
"Good thing too," he muttered under his breath. I get the feeling you'd let me rot for a bit to save money."
"What was that?"
"I said good thing too. Resurrection must cost a lot of money. We have time to pick up some coffee first?"
"So, this is tutorial map number one huh? Looks pretty plain."
And indeed it did. The surrounding land was simply a grassy plain with a few trees as its only distinguishing feature. Perfect for a fight with overly destructive attacks flying around. Etna was several feet off to the side, using one of her prinnies as an improvised chair, the other two holding a food and drink tray.
"We renamed this training map one after we got past the first chapter," corrected Laharl. "You only ever need a tutorial once. But that's beside the point." His cape twined around his arm as he slowly drew his sword out of a subspace pocket. Near the bottom of the soft incline, Ranma watched with interest as he sipped on his coffee.
"Are you ready to prove yourself to your lord and master?" he shouted dramatically.
"Can I finish my coffee first?" the martial artist asked politely. "It tastes disgusting when its cold."
"Then it's a good thing this will be over quickly!" The shout was a prelude to his attack. Brandishing his sword, he ran at the martial artist, intent on finishing him off in a single blow. Unfortunately, even while drinking coffee, Ranma's dodging skill was top notch.
"You're not -swing- taking this -swing- seriously -swing- are you?"
"Sure I am -dodge- I think it's important -dodge- to give my enemy -dodge- my full attention." Jumping away from a horizontal slash, Ranma finished off the drink in midair before tossing the cup to Etna. "That's why I wanted to finish first. Hold that will you? I don't like littering," he said aside to Etna. The demon merely incinerated it in her hand.
He turned his attention back to the fight just in time to sidestep a large blade of energy that left a scar in the ground.
"Are your ready to pay attention now?" asked Laharl evilly. He raised his sword above his head again, the blade giving off a white glow. "WIND BLADE!"
For a moment it seemed as though the blade had detached from the sword and was hurtling towards him, but it was simply the buildup of energy around the sword taking form and being released. With little thought, he sidestepped the blade, paying little attention to the destruction left in its wake.
"Pretty impressive," said Ranma honestly as he walked forward, hands in his pockets. "But can you do that without your sword?"
"Wha-" Even before he had started speaking, Ranma had closed the distance between them, throwing several light kicks, forcing the demon kid backwards. "You're pretty fast for a human," complimented Laharl, "But don't think I'm a pushover."
As if a switch was flipped, Laharl suddenly went on the offensive with increased speed, forcing Ranma to dodge more and attack less. The trade went back and forth for a few seconds before it looked like Laharl was about to land a decisive hit. Suddenly, Ranma's left hand darted out of his pocket and caught the blade harmlessly between his fingers. Taking advantage of the overlord's surprise, Ranma snap kicked the kid's wrist, forcing him to let go of the blade.
"So tell me," said the martial artist smugly, the overlord's blade over one shoulder. "Can you use those fancy sword techniques without your sword."
Laharl glared at him. "No, but I can do this." Back-flipping away from Ranma, the kid overlord took on a look of concentration. "RAAAAAAAGHHHHH!"
As if someone had just let the top off of a shaken bottle, several balls of destructive energy flew from his small form, stopping suddenly to hover in the air. Ranma, hand still in his pocket, simply stared at the massive amount of energy on display.
"OVERLORD'S WRATH!" With a thrust of his hand, Laharl sent all the energy flying towards the martial artist.
"Oh shi-" BOOM!
A huge cloud of dust was thrown up, obscuring the martial artist from view.
"Ahahahahaha!" Laharl crossed his arms as he surveyed the destruction in front of him. "Ready to accept your reincarnation?"
In response, a small rock flew out of the dust, hitting Laharl right between the eyes. This was immediately followed by more small rocks, followed by medium sized rocks, and ending with a huge boulder, forcing Laharl to desperately dodge out of the way. A few seconds later, a dusty and coughing Ranma emerged from the crater, covered in dirt but otherwise fine.
"How the hell did you dodge that?" asked Etna from the sidelines.
"Hid underground," he said simply. "Breaking point technique is a godsend."
Laharl smirked. "You're quick, I'll give you that. But how long can you hold out? RAAA-ugh!" Laharl's eyes widened as a fist impacted his stomach. A follow-up roundhouse knocked him several feet away.
"Pssh. Like I'd really let you do that again. What do you think this is, Dragonball Z?"
Laharl grabbed his sword as he got back to his feet. "Alright human, you've made your case. You don't have to get reincarnated."
Ranma raised an eyebrow. "Oh really? No tricks or anything? Even though your a demon? I can really trust you?" The sarcasm was thick in his voice.
"Sure you can." The grin on the kid-overlord's face told a different story. "You are my vassal after all."
"Oh goody. I guess that means I can turn my back and walk away from the battlefield and not be worried about someone trying to hit me in the back." As if narrating himself, he did just that, turning his back and walking towards the dimensional gate.
Etna face-palmed. She was having a hard time trying to decide who was being more stupid at this point.
Sure enough, as soon as his back was turned, Laharl unleashed another wind-blade, headed straight for Ranma's back. Without even turning around, Ranma took a small step to the side, as if not even noticing the gigantic release of energy.
"Hey look! A fifty yen piece." Ranma bent towards the ground as another blade of energy passed over where his head had been a second ago.
"Grrrr...Quit messing with me!" Shouted Laharl indignantly.
"What, you actually thought I'd fall for a trick that stupid? What do you think this is, Ranma one half?" He ducked reflexively as Etna threw a cup at him from the sidelines.
"No! It's Disgaea! Now quit breaking the fourth wall!"
Ranma rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry." He turned his attention back to the kid-overlord who was now seething in rage. "Now where were we?"
Laharl began attacking in a rage, the power level easily surpassing Ryoga, but the skill barely a tenth of what his rivals was. All in all, it was shaping up to be a pretty boring fight, at least when compared to Laharl's father's minions who fought with both skill and power. Sidestepping another wild sword slash, Ranma stepped into his guard and flicked him on the forehead, sending him staggering back a few steps.
"Look, can we stop this before someone has to pay a hefty medical bill? If I beat you up Etna says it's going to come out of my paycheck. I really don't want that."
If anything, it only served to infuriate the kid-overlord even more than before. The sword dropped from his fingers, laying useless at his side as an aura of pure anger and power manifested around him. "STOP TOYING WITH ME!"
His body began to lift off the ground and the landscape began to show the signs of heat as the few trees in the area began loosing their leaves and the grass began taking on a shade of black. Even Ranma was feeling the heat of his aura and was forced back a couple of steps.
Quickly, the martial artist ran through his options. A Hiryu Shoten Ha might have been the best option, but he didn't really think unleashing a tornado on his employer (he refused to think of him as a lord and master) would go over well in the end. He could try to fight through the heat, but he rather liked his clothes and hadn't been able to buy any new ones in the netherworld yet. Hiding underground again was an option, but at the rate the kid was powering up, he'd probably just unleash a blast powerful enough to reach him no matter how deep he dug. Running was looking like a better and better idea, but that would just be delaying the problem. Then, he spotted Etna.
'That just might work,' he thought evilly.
Etna nearly toppled off her impromptu stool when Ranma suddenly materialized beside her. "Sorry but I need to borrow your vassals for a bit." The prinnies only had a second to look terrified before Ranma had scooped them up, stealing Etna's seat in the process. With an arm to make a major league pitcher jealous, he threw the first two prinnies towards the prince, making them explode on contact. The explosions only seemed to annoy him though as his aura continued to grow bigger.
"Have to do something special for this one," he said morbidly, unmindful of the terror stricken look on the last ones face.
Grabbing the whimpering penguin's head, he forced it down into the body, collapsing the thing into a ball shape. "Stay just like that," said Ranma. Before the prinny could nod in agreement, Ranma had already tossed him into the air.
"Saotome Anything Goes School of Martial Arts Super Secret Improvised Final Attack!"
A huge beam of energy came from the demon, but Ranma had already jumped into the air in a slow back-flip, timing the apex of the flip to the thrown prinny's decent. In an inhuman feat of timing, his foot connected with the ball like prinny, just as he was completing the back-flip.
"SPHERE SHOT!" WHAM!
"So why do I have to carry him again?" complained Ranma as he shouldered the unconscious overlord on their trek back to the dimensional gate.
"Because you knocked him out," she said simply.
"Well one of us were going to get knocked out from this," he complained further. "Aren't you like his most trusted vassal or something?"
The girl demon raised an eyebrow. "Trust? I don't think you've learned quite how things work around here."
"Gee, I'm just being showered with comfortable thoughts today. Should I start sleeping with one eye open or should I just fight you now and save us both the sleep?"
"Aww, he has a sense of humor," she mocked. "Tell you what, you just drag his royal butt back to the dimensional gate and I'll let you get all the sleep you need."
"Whatever. Not like you'd succeed anyways." Nevertheless, he continued carrying the sleeping prince as they trekked back through the gate. As they stepped through, they were greeted by Dr. Deth and his nurse Ms. Coffin.
"You know, I honestly expected you to come back through in a near-death state or something," said the medical professional adjusting his glasses.
"Sorry to disappoint," said Ranma nonchalantly.
"He'll probably wake up in an hour or two but I'll give him a checkup all the same." Gratefully, he expelled his burden, stretching the kinks out of his muscles.
"That kid's heavier than he looks," he observed as the doctors carried him off.
"You do know he's older than you right?"
"Yeah well mentally he's the equivalent of a little brat." Etna shrugged, unable to disagree.
"Welcome back you two," said an overly cheerful voice. Ranma turned from his conversation to see Flonne waiting for them, staff in hand. "Oh, Laharl lost? That's surprising."
"Lots of power, little skill. Seems to be the standard around here. You'd think that no one around has learned to dodge."
"Maybe it's more like Dragon Ball Z then you think," mumbled Etna under her breath.
"Hey, let's not beat that joke to death now," cautioned Ranma. "But yeah, there's a lot more you can do with a sword other than swinging it around like a maniac and unleashing high powered energy blasts."
"Can you use a sword Mr. Ranma?" asked Flonne politely.
"Not well, but I know what not to do with a sword, and I'm the conscious one right now."
All of a sudden, a loud banging sounded from the infirmary. "Fool! I have not yet begun to fight!" CLANG!
Dr. Deth emerged a second later. "The patient has been sedated for now. He'll be fine in a couple hours."
"Dr. Deth?" One of the nurses emerged from behind the curtain holding up a washtub bent at an odd angle. "What would you like me to do with this?"
"Recycle it please. Wouldn't want it to go to waste."
"So tell me, do I get my own room here or do I have to stand around and look intimidating like everyone else in this castle? Seriously, I don't think they've moved once since I fought with Zommie."
"They're very good at sleeping on their feet," complimented Flonne as she led him down one of the many stone corridors.
"Don't worry, you'll learn quickly," said Etna humorously from behind. Ranma cast her a sidelong glance. "I'm just kidding. There's special quarters for vassals. They're still empty though, since you're the only vassal he currently has."
"What about you?"
Etna smirked. "I like to make him think that I'm his vassal."
"I'm just here to teach him about the joys and wonders of the power of love!" A fire had sprung in her eyes at the recitation of her mission.
Ranma sweatdropped. "Uh...yeah. Hope that works out well for you."
Opening a large wooden double-door, Ranma entered a large empty room that might have easily stretched the length of the castle with several bunk beds lining the walls.
"I suppose this place will fill up once the prince decides to stop being lazy," she commented offhandedly. "But hey, you've got a bigger room than I do. Would you like a top bunk or a bottom bunk?"
Walking over to one of the bunks, Ranma karate-chopped the support poles in half before removing the entire frame from the bed. Tossing the top part of the bunk aside, he flopped down on the now single bunk-bed. "I don't like people sleeping close to me," he said in explanation.
"Wow! He's like a real ninja!" The admiration in Flonne's voice was clear.
The demoness rolled her eyes. "Pssh. Showoff. Come on Flonne, let's go mock Laharl while the nurses poke and prod him."
"Okay!" Her voice was eerily cheerful.
"These people are all insane," muttered the martial artist under his breath. "Still, it's better than Nerima. Of course, it'd have to get pretty bad before I start missing Nerima. Like being stuck in a Sailor Moon universe, or a Dragon Ball-" THUNK!
Ranma blinked as a can came seemingly out of nowhere and bonked him on the head. "Huh? Where the heck did that come from? And why do people keep throwing cans at me?"
"Hey Vegeta? I don't think that's the right way to play kick the can."
"Oh shut up Kakarot. You only wish you could kick cans through dimensional time and space and plot holes."
"Why would I wish for that? What use could it possibly be?"
"You'd be surprised," he said mysteriously.
A/N: -cough- -cough- Man is there a bit of dust on this baby. I hope everyone takes this as an offering of my continued existence. Reviews are appreciated, criticism even more. Flames will probably end up on one of my discussion forums somewhere to be analyzed and dissected.
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