Okay, I'd like to say hi to all the people who read this fanfic. As its my first I'll introduce myself, my name is Craig and I live down-under(Australia). I've read a lot of fanfics in the last year, and finally thought I'd like to give it a try. I would appreciate all C&C, but as many people say, don't flame me if you don't like what I write. At least tell me why you don't like it. All characters will be a little out of character, this is due to the fact that people do change, they mature, they enter new and exciting challenges, thats whats gonna happen here. I have to say the OOC will get worse as the fanfic goes on. The plans for this story are tentative but at the rate its going this is gonna be epic size, so I hope I can get a good flow of chapters going.
Let me tell you a little about the fanfic.
Okay as for timeline, its one year since jusendo, so Ranma and Akane are 18 and in their final year of school. yada-yada Saffrons dead, wedding attempts failed three, though each time Nabiki earns more off selling invitations than the weddings cost, so that's no real loss. Nabiki is starting her second year at Tokyo U, Soun, Genma and Nodoka are still living at the Tendo dojo, as is Kasumi. Truly the only thing that has really changed is Ranma, who has been conviced by Kasumi, Nabiki and Nodoka that he needs to take his education seriously, they just don't know how seriously he's taken it. I'm not sure how long the fanfic will be, it's fairly open ended at this stage. I know one thing, I'm not going to say its going to be a certain length and then renege on that. At this point there are tentatively twelve chapters, but that's only the start, and does not cover the whole story, its like one of those tv ads, you know the ones, they go "But wait, theres more! if you act..." Its just I don't want the story set in concrete at this stage, I like a story that's fluid, and like fluid in the story, you don't always know what its gonna do. Or at least I hope I can keep a certain sense of suspense.
The next paragraph contains no spoilers, it is a dissertation on the nature of the Phoenix. Ranma may, and probably will not for decades realise that he is changed.
Oh yeah, I better let you know what it's called, and maybe a little of the reasons why. The working title is 'Phoenix Ascension'. The reason for phoenix in the title has very little to do with Saffron, it has to do with the phoenix itself. This gets a little confusing in my head so I hope you can follow this. The phoenix is a creature (spirit) that attaches to a strong host as a survival tactic, now its not a parasite as a parasite takes and gives nothing in return. Its a, oh damn I forgot the term(happily someone clued me in and told me it's a symbiote), its a creature that gives something to its host even as it takes what it needs(in this case survival). In itself it's a fairly weak creature, but its ability is to open up the true potential of its host. Now that I wrote that down it seems to extend the survival ability of itself but its still giving something good to the host so it's still not a parasite. Now Saffron is still a phoenix, it didn't jump ship as it were. It's another survival tactic, find a host that can beat your present host and lay a metaphysical egg in the winners mind. Sounds icky, but its not really, it has no dimensions its more of an energy package, so it doesn't push things aside, and it takes no control of its host. It's more that the phoenix is using the host as a vehicle, something like a hot-air balloon i.e. the host goes where it wants and the passengers just enjoy the ride. Now as it lays an egg its not really apparent at the beginning of the fic what's happening.
I'm a little tired of the whole disclaimer thing so I brought in a professional disclaimer for the duration of this fic. Okay 'Disclaimer Boy' get out there and give it all you got.
Uh right, and ah like he said I don't, like own any of the characters in this here fic. Oh crud, thats he don't own them. He ain't got nothing worth sueing him for, so don't bother. The characters are owned by the ever masterful Rumiko Takahashi, and any of those big companies that put out her works. Yeah and I think that covers all that jazz. So like 'Disclaimer Boy' away. (Sounds of footsteps running off)
"That's right 'Disclaimer Boy' you just keep running, and don't come back. You ain't never gonna work in this fic again."
All C&C, is welcome it allows me to fix holes in my plotline. Please review my modest efforts.(heh heh heh)
"I have to say, I never thought I'd return to Nerima. In all these years I hoped against hope that I could forget the time I spent here. It was a hell-hole for me, my own personal nightmare. But I have promises to keep. They're not my promises, they never were, but I choose to keep them all the same."
"Ahhhh. I see by the look on your face you don't recognise me. My apologies for that oversight. I once was told that it was rude not to introduce myself before asking the same. My name is Ranma, Saotome Ranma. Yes, yes I know, I don't sound like Ranma. Then did, you really expect me not to change in thirty or more years? Curse not withstanding of course. No, that last year in Nerima started to change me. I mean, I was nearly married to Akane, I was exploited by Nabiki, my father, my mother, Tendo Soun, hmmmm, I could keep listing the people who wanted my skin in one form or another, but it sums up as everyone wanting a piece of me. Oh, did I mention that I killed a God? Or maybe he was a Demi-God, I've never been sure which He was. As if it matters now. That was the Phoenix King Saffron, of course being a phoenix means I didn't really kill him, he was reborn from his ashes. All of this happened and more. Nerima was never a tame place, hell I'm not sure if it was a sane place, you couldn't tell from the actions of the citizens. Then again maybe you could. Later in the year I became a little like a phoenix myself, my world turned to ash, and I chose to resurrect myself, to rebuild, and for the first time to shape my own destiny."
"You ask how I did this, hold on a second while I find my journals. My father never knew I kept one, he would have lectured me that keeping a diary was too much of a girly thing, of course in the last few years we had contact he would have been right for quite a bit of the time. Here it is..." Phhhhffeuuuhhh a small cloud of dust is blown into the air and swirls around the diminutive figure..
Council of WAR!
The main room of the Tendo home was bathed in the light from a glorious blood red sunset. It had turned Ranma's dark hair almost the same colour as his female forms. His intensely blue eyes never wavered from his latest enemy. The Tendo family sat across the low table, while the last remnants of the Saotome Clan bracketed him on either side. No one was smiling, but then Kasumi had just left to make some tea. When she returned there might be one smile, maybe...
"It seems that neither of you are taking your engagement to the other very seriously children." Was Soun's opening salvo. Akane frowned, 'It's all Ranmas' fault, he won't take me seriously, not to mention his harem.' She glanced at the offending party to see how he was taking it.
"Yes, you have brought great dishonor to the family." Genma pitched in. Now it was Ranma's turn to frown.
"Who are you to talk of honour Pops, lets face it, ya ain't got none yerself!"
"But daddy... How am I supposed to marry that pervert over there?"
"I tol' you before. I ain't a pervert, you un-cute tom..." Ranma never got to finish that sentence. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to why. The hammer strike didn't quite have the desired effect though.
"You must be losing your form Sis. You used to put Ranma through the floor. I think its better this way though. We don't even need to call a builder." Nabiki smirked at her younger sister.
Sure enough the blow had rattled his teeth, but the rest had been absorbed when Ranma had moved his head with the blow, and then twisted, redirecting it into his father, who sat there looking unfazed for a moment before toppling to the side. Soun winced, then gave his youngest a reproving look.
"Daughter, we are trying to have a serious family discussion here. Please refrain from doing that again."
"Sorry daddy." Akane's skin turned pink in embarrassment.
"Thanks Tendo-San!" Ranma smiled at the Tendo's patriarch
"Alright, as it seems Genma won't be joining us for awhile, I'll have to take over, Son. As you know since your father left on that training trip with you, the Clans honour has been besmirched too many times to count. I have tried to handle all the financial debts, but there are limits to what I can achieve."
"So where do I come in mother?"
"Let me spell it out for you then. Clan Saotome's coffers are finally exhausted. There is no longer any way to avoid the fall out from your fathers greed. Our creditors have moved from politely worded messages, to the threat of arbitration. Some even wish to bring it to the courtroom. As you now know the only satisfaction they could have doing this is to totally destroy what's left of our Clans tattered honour."
"Maybe if we sold the panda to a zoo we could pay the debts." Ranma smirked at the idea. Nabiki smiled like a shark as she thought of the commission she'd receive if she brokered the deal.
"That is not funny Ranma."
"Who said I was joking mother? If the old man is left around it seems to me he'll just keep building the debt. If that happens it doesn't matter what we decide to do. He'll drag all our plans and us into the gutter." Nabiki blinked once or twice, then banged the flat of her hand against her ear to make sure they were working properly, as that had sounded like an intelligent statement.
Ranma looked her in the eye and then winked for good measure.
"So again, what's this got to do with the engagements?"
"Maybe I can shed some light on it for you. Thanks to me the Tendo Clan is highly solvent. But that is coming to an end. As I have left school, I have also left behind the activities that earned all that money. Things that could be overlooked in a minor will not be tolerated in an adult. And as such that would mean prison time. This would again be an undesirable situation. The only way for our Clan to continue financially is to re-open the dojo to students. This is where the problems begin, due to Japanese law the inheritance laws kick in, and the taxes due would be massive. If you look at all the homes around us you would see that they are all about one tenth the size of our compound, land prices here are so exorbitant that only corporations could afford to buy this much land. That increases the taxes beyond our reach. The second problem is that father, while he was highly skilled, has left the art for almost ten years. His skills are rusty now, and to be honest we could not in faith ask anyone to train under him untill his skill is re-honed." Soun winced at his daughters' brutal honesty.
"though it wounds me to admit it, Nabiki is right."
"There is however a way to sidestep the taxes that would be due. And that is to..."
"No let me guess. That would be to make it the dowry of one of the Tendo daughters. Yeah I think we already covered that when I first arrived, so whats changed?" Ranma looked at Nabiki seriously for a moment. Then continued. "Okay thats one option. What about financing the redevelopment of the block your selves? Ten or so apartments on the block where the koi pond is now should take care of the taxes for you. And as an added bonus we wouldn't have to worry about falling in it anymore. With the size of this block you won't even have to interfere with the house or dojo if you plan it right."
"Okay who are you and what did you do with the real Ranma?" As everyone was staring at him it seemed like he would have to answer the question.
"Drat! I thought I could fool you, but it seems you are too sharp for me." His voice had deepened and he added a snarl into the last words.
Pandemonium broke loose at that stage, there had been too many imposters for them not to take it seriously. Akane powered up her aura and brought her hammer into real space. Soun leapt to his feet and took a defensive stance, but Nodoka was the real surprise. She rolled back and away from her son, when her hands touched the floor she thrust them downwards thus catapulting herself into the air. The family blade came clear its sheath and turned into a silver halo around her, a web of protection only visible as an afterimage as it passed in a blinding non stop arc. After two sommersaults and a full twist she landed facing the imposter with her katana drawn in a high guard, while the sheath was held to the side angled away from Ranma (we'll re-label the sheath - blunt instrument). She was glaring at her 'son' in a most unwholesome manner.
Ranma for his part rolled his eyes as he fought to hold in his laughter. Then he saw his mother and his laughter erupted.
"BWA-HA-HAH-HA..." He rolled onto his back and then rolled from side to side as his mirth overwhelmed him. After a few minutes of watching everyone's faces switch between anger, confusion, realization, relief and then anger again he managed to gain control and sat up. This was a mistake as his mother was incandescent with rage, the sheath made an unholy whistling sound as it thunked into the back of his head, THONK which then in accordance with the laws of kinetics transferred its velocity to his head which smacked into the table. He straightened up and then rolled back to join his father in la-la land.
Nodoka blinked at her sons prostrate form and then muttered to herself
"He gets his speed from me! He gets his strength from me! He picks up techniques like I did! He even looks like my side of the family, even when he's a she. So why for Kami-Samas sake did he get Genma's sense of humor?"
Everyone who was as yet conscious face-vaulted when they realized that Ranma had played them like a drum.
Then Nodoka upended her water glass on him. Ranma-chan sat up sputtering.
"Ite-ite-ite! That hurt you know?"
"It was meant to! And if you pull a joke like that again I'll give you another lump. Now answer Nabikis' question."
"O.k., o.k. All right, this goes back a little ways so bear with me. You all know about the training trip, or at least you think you do." He held up his hand to forstall any comments. "Well there's more to it than that, all that time my focus was on the martial arts, but that wasn't my choice. Anytime I showed even the slightest interest in anything other than the Art Pops smacked me down, and by smack-down I mean I needed medical attention sometimes. After a couple of years I stopped trying to learn anything else. It wasn't like I was trying to learn girly stuff either, turns out school was a no-no, unless the truancy officers caught me. In twelve years I spent less than a year in school. I remembered people tellin' me there was more to life than martial arts; well thanks to pops I never believed them till I met Nabiki. As you know Nabs here has been doing some things that she knows will get her in trouble. Well a lot of that was aimed at me, and lets face it I got tired of it, what's the point of being some great martial artist if anyone can walk up and sucker ya. So I took steps to learn what was what. I started paying attention in school while no one payed any attention to me. Books can be really handy things too, then there's the net. Some real smart people out there taught me some different types of techniques. I just thought it was time some people learned that I'm not as dumb as they like to think." He gazed innocently at the other people in the room.
"The next point I wanted to make is that while Tendo-san is old, he ain't ancient. He's got years before anyone has to worry about inheritance taxes. In fact the only one who stood to get a thing out of this is Pops." He left the words hanging for a moment before continuing. "You think he truly felt my education was a waste of time? You think that poor un-educated Ranma could manage a dojo? Oh no Ranma let your father help you with that, don't let those nasty numbers worry your little head. What? They don't seem to add up, well I never, I'll sort that out, just you don't watch!" By this time a number of eyes had turned to look at the recumbent figure of Genma, fire blazed in a few, what was in the others we'll leave unnamed as such emotions should never be talked about. Those emotions would have sent a shiver up the spine of any decent demon.
It was lucky Genma was still unconscious, of course that would change several times in the course of the night.
"Yeah so I don't totally trust Pops, what's new. So here I am honour bound to marry a Tendo, with Pops and Soun here pushing for all they're worth. Of course I started fighting them on this. I mean I'm only just eighteen now; I'm not ready to marry Akane! I'm not ready to marry anyone. With the way things have gone in the last two years, I don't know if I ever will."
"You don't like me?" Akane spoke in a small voice; she had begun to look at Ranma in a different light since Phoenix mountain. She wasn't ready to jump into his arms and declare her everlasting love, but who knew in the near future?
"Nah, na Akane! It's not like that, not like that at all. I really do like you, and thats a part of the problem."
"Nani?" Akane exclaimed at the top of her lungs.
"Well ya see, I don't have just you to consider. There's Ukyou and Shampoo to think of too." Slight sounds of mount Tendo rumbling in preparation of eruption. "NO! LET ME FINISH! NO ONE EVER LETS ME HAVE MY SAY! AND I'VE HAD ENOUGH!." The final roar caused Soun's hair to stream away in the breeze. Everyone sat there blinking. "Right, now I reckon I've got what you'd call MFD." At the blank looks he recieved he decided to clarify it for them. "That would be Multiple Fiancée Disorder or maybe that's disaster, I'll get back to you on that. From what I know, there could be more than the seven fiancée's that have turned up so far, as pops would trade my hand in marriage on a regular basis. The two that concern me are Akane and Ukyou. Shampoo says we're already married by Amazon law, but I'd like to see them press that in a Japanese court of law. Ukyou and Akane on the other hand are Japanese, and both have legal and binding engagement contracts. So lets clear up a few points shall we? Tendo-san you and my father here engaged us at birth, yes?"
"Ah that's not quite correct, we did talk about it before we had any children but no decisions were actually made. You were all quite a bit older when the actual formal agreement was made."
"Huh? That's news to me, pops always told me that we were engaged at birth. Okay, lets put that aside for the moment. Now as I understand it the dowry was to be the dojo, is that right? And if it is when was the dojo supposed to change hands?"
"That is correct the agreement was that the dojo would change hands when the two of you were old enough to marry. Then there was the part about you being the greatest martial artist of your generation."
"What? So let me get this straight. By those rules the dojo should have been exchanged already."
"Ah, well, you see..." Tendo Soun temporised nervously.
"So, you know of a better martial artist than me, hmmm? How does killing a God stack up on what ever scale you're using? And as for Happosai, has anyone seen him recently? You wanna know why? Thats 'cos I resealed the little hentai away."
Soun looked stunned, not that it takes much to do that to the over-emotional patriach of the Tendo clan.
"Do ya wanna know what I think?" Not waiting for an answer he plowed on. "I think that you haven't given the dowry yet because you're not ready to see your little girls married. I also think thats why you personally have been pushing us so hard, you knew that the harder you forced the issue the harder Akane and I would fight it, isn't that so?"
SWISH SWISH Soun shook his head so hard his hair swung out behind him, while Akane stared very hard at her father.
"It's true isn't it father? But why? All you had to do was set the ceremony for some time in the future. So why try to force us?"
Soun looked defeated, his shoulders slumped as he sighed.
"After your mother died I fell to pieces, and I know thats not news to anyone. It left me weak and very fragile. This was when Genma came to me to suggest that a union between our families would be beneficial, as I had three daughters and no heir I thought, no thats not it, Genma thought, and he kept talking, cajoling and leading until I gave my word. Two years later he left on the training trip. I recovered somewhat and found that I really disliked the idea. But my word I had given and by my word I was bound. In the two years I mourned Kimiko my daughters picked up the responsibilities that should have been mine, and when I recovered enough to see this I was too weak to take these tasks from them. If I had, maybe I would be a different man now, but 'If' does not count for much. And since then they have made it so easy to sit back and let them do what they will." Soun sighed again then took a breath. "I stopped crying for my wife eight years ago, now I cry for my guilt, and for the years I have stolen from my daughters childhood."
"FATHER" all three Tendo daughters looked stunned at his admission.
"No, the time is past, long past, that I stepped forward as the adult in this house! We will find legitimate means to make money, and we will rebuild this clans honour. I will talk with you at another time Nabiki about this, and many other things that have come to my attention over the years. You will turn over all the money you have earned to the family coffers. You will destroy your files on students and teachers. And you will hand your camera to me, your days of photographing Ranma and Akane are at an end."
"Ummm. If you don't mind Tendo-san I have no real objections to the photos."
"What!" Now all attention was back on Ranma.
"Well you see, I knew about the photos."
"You did?" Nabiki asked.
"Of course I did. Do you think I couldn't sense you, you give off a lotta chi when you're thinking about money. I could have stopped you at any time. I just needed you to know I'm not like Pops, I won't mooch off this family the way he does. When we came I knew you guys had trouble, and didn't need us eatin' ya outta house and home, so I looked for work. Yeah, theres no need to look like that. I even got a job or two, but then Ryoga showed up and you can guess how things went from there. I have yet to figure out how someone with his sense of direction always managed to turn up and cause the most damage to my life, oh well. Everything I earned was kept to pay off the damages, and before long everyone knew hiring me was a bad idea. I looked for other stuff to earn money, but I seem to be cursed in that department. The only skills I had were martial arts, and no one wanted to hire a sensei as young as me, even if I did beat all their blackbelts simulaneously. Then I sensed Nabiki spying on me. I decided to find out what she was up to, and thats when I found out she was selling photos of us to Kuno and when I saw how much she could make off a few photos I decided to pose a little for her." Ranma smirked at the stunned expressions on the faces of the others at the table, Nabiki's only response was a slow blink blink.
"Ah - yes, well son I think we're getting away from the issues at hand. Soun, um, Soun? TENDO-SAN!"
Soun's head snapped around to look at the Saotome matriarch, then he blinked like an owl as his mind came back on-line
"If I understand the gist of what you've said you would like to negate the marriage contract between our two clans. Yes?"
"I'd like to yes, but there is the small matter of the loss of honour involved."
"Daddy? You can't mean it."
"I do daughter. Since Ranma has been here I have watched you lose control of your temper more and more often. I now know this is to do with the stress of the contract. I will remove that stress if I can."
"B-bb-ut I w-w-wan-t to, ---."she looked surprised at her own admission. Ranma on the other hand was a little more than shocked. Nabiki just snickered behind her hand, not even trying to hide how she felt.
"Nani? You do? Since when?" If looks could maim Nabiki would be a quivering pile of nerve endings by now. "Will you stop that Nabiki, this is not funny. I want to know this."
Akane went bright pink, her embarrassment so intense she had to hide her face. Then she closed her eyes for good measure. She was afraid that her feelings would be written in their depths, not that her sisters didn't already know all this.
"Ummm." She had to pause and take a breath. "Since I saw you in the furo."
"Huh? What the hell. Why did that change your mind?"
Nabiki went cross-eyed trying to hold in her mirth, then as she saw his genuinely confused expression she let out a howl of laughter.
"HEE-HEE-he-heh, the-the look on your face --- Ha-ha-ha oh this is priceless."
"Oh!" As realisation sunk in. Then his and Akane's faces flamed.
"NABIKIII! NO! BAKA!"
Then Nabiki went cross-eyed as she focused on the hammer right in front of her eyes, she went white. As the hammer stopped resting against her forehead, withdrew a centimetre then pinged her hard enough to roll her head back.
"Hah! That'll teach you."
Soun glared at his youngest daughter until he realised that Nabiki was really uninjured.
"Oh my, it seems I missed something. Oh the teas ready, sorry it took so long Father, I decided to make some snacks as I have a feeling this may take some time. Here you go Ranma-chan thought you might need this." Kasumi held a kettle of hot water while she smiled benevolently around at the assembled family. Ranma relaxed a little as now there was one smile that was aimed in his direction. "Now tell me what I missed."
Soun and Nodoka summarised for a while. Then Kasumi's brow furrowed in thought. "I'm not so sure that cancelling the engagements is such a good idea."
"Nani?" Was shouted from several sides.
"If you cancel them it leaves the way free for the Amazons to step into the void. As things stand they have no real claim that would threaten the current status quo. But with no engagements they may be able to get official recognition of contract from the authorities. Nabiki back me up here."
"Well it is true that the government won't do a thing while there are official engagements, but with them gone theres no telling. I mean they always like to say that ignorance of rules is no defence in a courtroom. They may contend that on entering a new situation the Saotomes should have found out the local laws. Hmmm, thats a good point Kasumi. Hold on I'll go and get my copy of the 'Rules of Amazon conduct'." She then bustled off towards the stairs.
"Hmmm something to consider, indeed." He looked around the table and then suggested. "Maybe we should take this time to enjoy the repast Kasumi has made for us." Ranma looked blank for a moment.
"What he means son is lets eat and drink, yes?"
"Oh. Then why didn't he just say that?"
"He did dear. Genma put down the plate, you've got to share that food." Looking rather rebellious he slowly returned the food to the table but not before taking almost a quarter of the snacks. Nodoka sighed in resignation as her son plundered an equal share and started to stuff his face.
Nodoka's brow furrowed as she pondered the present situation, every so often her hand moved a snack to her mouth only to return to the table top. 'Firstly I think we need to find out how many engagements there are. Hmm, as Ranma was so young for most of them I guess I'll have to ask Genma' She paused in her eating and glanced at her husband of nearly twenty years, he continued to stuff his face with food faster than the eye could follow, totally oblivious to his surroundings. 'Maybe I'll wait for a little while, the last thing I need is to be sprayed with food.' Silence decended for a few minutes as everyone consumed the snacks Kasumi had brought out for them.
"Okay Genma, its time for you to tell me how many fiancée 's Ranma has. We know of three official fiancée's and the four we've routed from the doorstep, and of course theres the Amazon, and the Kuno girl."
"Mom don't even joke about Kodachi, that girls nuts, and I mean that with a capital N, U and T."
"Ranma! It's not manly to insult a young womans mind like that."
"Okay Auntie Nodoka, I'll do it for him. She's loopy, totally insane. The only reason she isn't in a padded cell is because of her families influence. If it were one of us, we'd have been charged with criminal insanity and put away for as long as the judge liked." Nabiki smirked as she re-entered the room with a small tome under one arm and her laptop dangling from it's strap on her opposite shoulder. Setting both down on the table she began to thumb through the leather bound volume. "No that's not it, maybe...hmmm. I've looked through this many times and still haven't found any loopholes in the marriage laws. Damn it I even spent good money getting a specialist to look at them, he couldn't find anything either." She started muttering as soon as she sat down. Nodoka however wasn't ready to let it go.
"She can't be that bad, can she?"
"Lets see, she has a pet crocodile." Ranma stated as if that was all the evidence required.
"Well thats certainly strange, but I wouldn't say insane."
"She thinks its a turtle. Oh and its scared of her."
"Oh, I think I begin to see what you mean. Well we can certainly scratch her from the list. So would you care to answer the question Genma?" Ranma released a sigh as Kodachi was scratched from the list of his worries.
Genma looked frustrated, of course he didn't want to answer the question, but that had never helped before so he just frowned a little. After a while he started to tick off his fingers, when he ran out of fingers he looked around for something else to aid his count. His toes were a distant memory as his wife sighed in frustration.
"I think I get the idea 'Dear'. Could you at least give us a ball park figure? Its obviously more than twenty, is it as many as fifty?" Genma thought then nodded slightly. "Surely not anywhere near a hundred?" Genma again frowned in thought, and after a moment thinking about physical harm he shook his head vigourously. "Okay, so it's over a hundred. I think we may have a rather large problem here."
"I just said it wasn't near a hundred woman." Genma said in frustration.
"Yes I know you did, but I guess I just don't believe you. In more ways than one."
Ranma sat and twitched, he was having enough trouble with the three fiancee's he had on hand. The thought of another hundred or more caused his calm mental processes to explode in fury.
"THATS IT! THERE'S NO WAY I'M MARRYING ANYONE, YOU DAMN PANDA."
"You will boy, its for the good of the clan."
"SINCE WHEN DID THAT MATTER TO YOU? ALL YOU CARE ABOUT IS YOUR FAT STOMACH!"
"That's enough boy, if you don't marry one of them I'll disown you. We'll see how you like being ronin. You may not like me, but you will respect me, boy!"
"I know I don't like you, and as for respect I believe hell will freeze over before I do that." Down below the Devil looked slightly nervous, but then relaxed as his domain failed to develop any ice. Damn but he hated it when people made crass statements like that. And it was one of the few times he disliked liars, he had a special hell lined up for people like that. "And as for marrying any of them, HAH! It's not gonna happen pops."
"Then you leave me no choice, from this day forward there is no child of this clan named Saotome Ranma. You are as dead to me as the leaves that fall from the trees in autumn. Cry out in need and none from clan Saotome shall give aid. You will leave here now, and you shall not return."
"What you can't mean that pops." Ranma looked shell-shocked by his fathers' statements. The words did not just affect Ranma; everyone else seemed to have something to say.
"Now that's a bit much isn't it Genma? You don't need to go that far." Soun let his old friend know that he was un-happy at this turn of events. He still liked the boy, even if he didn't want his daughters to marry him yet.
"Oh my!" Guess who?
"Ah, Genma I hate to point this out but this is our home, so you can't tell him to leave." Nabiki wasn't even smirking; this could seriously affect her profitability in the future.
Akane had been so deep in thought about her life for the last two years that she hadn't heard a thing since her admission about liking Ranma. She didn't even look up when he was disowned.
"Did I just hear you correctly Genma? Did you just disown my son?" Nodokas' hand slid across the floor as she fumbled for her katana.
"Say that again Genma!"
"You heard me woman. If Ranma is not going to uphold the honour of the Saotome clan then I disown him. He is dead to me! Do you hear me boy! Dead I say!"
"Thats what I thought I heard. Husband..." She raised the katana above the table top, and for the first time Genma started to go pale and sweat. "I have waited such a long time for you to finally do something this stupid." She drew the blade and allowed the electric light to gleam on the razor edge, then much to his relief she laid it down on the table in front of her. His relief died a quick death as he saw her reach a finger nail into the sheath and withdraw a yellowed piece of paper. Now he was more than sweating.
"Now Nodaka there's no need for that, I only did it to pressure the boy!"
"I know that, you baka. Your problem is you did it in front of so many witnesses. You speak of family honour, but you use it as a tool. I say it's no mans tool, it is life itself to my clan. You have allowed me to do something my clan has wanted me to do for a long time." She sighed before continuing. "You have relinquished all rights to guide our son, you have no right to berate him, you have no claim on his honour. This night you become the last of the Saotome clan. With this paper I will make sure of that." Nodoka unfolded the paper and then removed a second piece from inside, laying them flat side by side she then looked at her son for the first time in ten minutes. He looked pale, he knew what one of those papers meant.
"My son, it has been a long time since I have looked at these papers, only the first one applies to you directly though."
"Uhhh. Don't I get some kind of say in any of this?"
"Of course you do son. You may always refuse the honour my clan would bestow on you." Now several people looked puzzled. How could any clan believe that a seppuka contract was an honour.
"What honour, I'm not ready to die!" Ranma almost shouted as he confronted his mother, and she had seemed so reasonable earlier in the night.
"Die? Who said anything about die?" Now Nodoka was the one to look confused. She sat looking pensively as she thought about the situation, then straightened her back as she reached some kind of resolution. "I see..." She turned to her husband. "...so you told him of that contract you forced him to sign twelve years ago?" Her eyebrows lowered as she glared at the man she had hardly thought of for the previous decade.
"Well of course I did, you think I wanted to die, I told him to protect him from you."
"From me? Me? You were the one who came up with that piece of idiocy. You were the one who made our son sign that contract. You didn't even have the decency to show it to me before you left! You took my son and left a piece of paper, you didn't even let me say goodbye!" If she had been angry earlier she was now furious, Genma could see flames in her eyes. He went from being confident and smug, to being nervous and cowed.
"Is this true Genma?"
"Now Soun I only did it to protect my son, I never wanted him to grow soft or complacent, and with his mother there he would always have someone there to run to, to make excuses for his weaknesses." He allowed his gravelly voice to take on the tones of the righteous father, the man who would do anything for his son. Soun looked at him sceptically, he had begun to question his friends motives earlier in the evening when he had several truths revealed to him, now his doubts crystallized even further.
"But Genma, you have no son. This young man has been made ronin this night. You released him from the honour of the Saotome clan, and as such he has no honour to uphold."
"Surely you won't hold me to that Soun my old friend?" He almost pleaded with the other man.
"After listening to the both of you I think I might. I never believed you could show such a lack of compassion, where did the man I know go Genma? You once were a man who would stare death in the face to uphold your honour. When did you replace that implacable will with this shadow?" Soun shook his head slowly as if he could not believe any of the last revelations about his old friend could be true.
"You can't mean that, she still means to hold him to that contract. Look at her, she places it down in front of us and does not even have the decency to look ashamed."
Nodoka turned white, as several things clicked in her head. "You dare! That contract no longer exists as far as I'm concerned. I wanted to burn that execrable piece of paper. I only kept it to remind me of what a bastard you truly can be. I attempted to follow you, you know that. But you used the Umi-sen-ken, I could not sense you, you left no trace to follow!" She screamed the last, the anguish on her face was enough to convice all at the table except one that she was sincere. "I asked for clan assistance to find you but every time my clan got close to you, your danger sense would kick in and you'd run. My clan truly hates you, they have for years, but they would not tell me why. Since your return and finding out about the neko-ken training I made a few guesses, and so I asked based on that knowledge. The answer did not please me, they decided that since I already knew, it could not cause anymore damage, they were wrong. How could you push my son again and again into a pit filled with starving cats, they found that pit, so they knew you had succeeded, you left it as it was when Ranma turned neko for the first time. They found the mutilated corpses of all those cats. They were not just killed they were shredded. You turned my son into a killing machine with no control, you broke his mind, and you have never once showed any remorse."
"Now Nodoka any man could have made that mistake..." That was as far as he got before they heard the hissing sound as her blade left its sheath for the second time in under an hour, no one saw its passage as the blade arced towards Genma, not even Genma saw the blade, but his danger sense was as strong as ever and he leant back just in time to make sure he kept his head. Soun looked blank as a fine mist of blood struck his cheek, he turned to his friend in time to see the slice to his neck open, it was only a shallow cut but it was bleeding quite nicely, it was no where near enough to endanger the martial artists life, but it was shocking how close it had been. He would not find out until later how close the blade had come to himself, he looked in the bathroom mirror and went pale. The blade had not touched his skin, but his beautiful glossy moustache was a different matter. As he realised the side closest to Genma had been cut in half he started to bawl, as the second realisation struck, i.e. how close he had come to death, he fainted dead away. Back to earlier.
"YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!"
"DON'T TEMPT ME! YOU CALL YOURSELF A FATHER. HAH! WELL YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT HIM ANY LONGER, MY CLAN WILL ADOPT HIM, YOU GAVE US THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP HIM, YOU DID!"
"You don't mean that! You can't. He's a Saotome!" He had turned pale again at this turn in the conversation.
"By your own word you declared him ronin, my clan has waited eleven years for the honour to claim him. Our clan elders have had the papers drawn up for that long, we just needed the opportunity." She was almost gloating now. "That is what this paper is, his adoption papers."
Ranmas mind seemed to come back on line at this statement he had been watching the previous conversation almost like a tennis match, taking in the action but not thinking anything. He thought it had been 'the contract' and now he knew he was wrong, all of the meaning in the previous words pilled into his mind as he began to comprehend their meaning. He realised several things almost instantly, the first was that this was really happening, tonight was supposed to resolve a number of fiancé problems, but this was way beyond that. Secondly he realised that his father was no longer his father, everyone at the table was angry at Genma, and so were likely to act as the needed witnesses to a disowning. Thirdly he realised that his mother was not the monster Genma had painted her, he had known that she had been lonely all these years but he had thought it was self inflicted. But then his mind latched on to that last statement from his mother.
"Adopted?" Nodoka turned to look at her son, she saw that the colour had returned to his cheeks.
"Yes Ranma, adopted. Clan Itsunagi has been trying for a long time to bring you into our clan."
"That's right my son, you."
"B-b-ut why? They don't know me."
"While it's true they never found you, they did find most of the dojos and senseis' your father took you to. To be honest at first they wanted to find you for my sake, but as the years passed they became impressed with you, at each dojo they found that the masters were all impressed with you, not just your skill, but also your inate honesty, and your work ethic. Your father on the other hand destroyed what respect they held for his skill. He stole from and lied to them all the time, when he found scrolls on techniques he would attempt to steal them, sometimes he did and he would run for the hills with you, but othertimes they would catch him in the act and then he would run for his life. This led to a deepening of the respect in which you were held. You held to your ideals even with your fathers example."
Ranma blushed at his mothers praise, he had never thought about those early years in quite the way his mothers clan and all those other people had. He never knew why his father had always run away, he knew why Genma ran from the farmers and villagers he stole from, but not from the dojos and the like. Now a great many things were becoming clear.
"And you say I've no honour? You are dead to me, what respect I held for you as my father is as dead as the cherry blossoms that fall in the springtime. That such a thing of beaty could wither in the winds of your deceit." He went silent as he glared at the old man.
Nabiki looked at Ranma and asked herself when Kuno Tatewaki had arrived. Genma was torn, all of his sons life he had been the pillar that his son would lean on, now when he stared at his son eyes he saw nothing. No love, no respect and certainly no fear. He began to open his mouth to say something in his own defence but the look he received from his son convinced him to remain silent.
"Mother I don't know if I'm ready to join your clan, but I would like to have time to consider the honour they would give to me. I do not know these people, and I feel I need to, even as they need to learn the truth about me." He looked to his mother, his anxiety shone in his eyes. He had spoken slowly, as he needed to piece them together in his own mind. He had never been good with words, but this, this was too important to mess up.
"How do you mean the truth about you Ranma?"
"Well they ain't never met me, so all they know 'bout me is what other people think. Thats not always a good thing to trust." Tendo Soun looked at the young man before him with a new found respect, he had always respected his fighting ability, now he began to respect his mind. Nabiki had just decided that she needed to have a long chat with Ranma, he seemed to have more potential than she had realised. 'Damn the curse, if not for it I may have noticed sooner.'
"I find nothing wrong in anything you have said my son. I will introduce you to my family in the near future, and you can learn all about them. For now we need to continue with your fiancee situation. In a way Genma finally did something right, by disowning you he has voided all agreements that include a Ranma Saotome. As that young man no longer exists you are now free." She smiled as her sons face lit up.
"Well thats just great, now you get to go to China with the Amazons." Nabiki looked at Ranma, his face had dulled at his sudden realisation that she was correct.
"Nani?" Akane sat looking like a fish out of water.
"Remember, no fiancé no prior claim, no prior claim, no defence if they choose to take matters into court."
Ranma remained silent for a couple of minutes while the others talked about his situation. Now Ranma was no great thinker, but strategy and tactics was something he excelled at, in a fight with his experience to back him he could make split second decisions that would save his life of defeat his enemies. Now for perhaps the first time he began to apply them to his own life. He just needed to figure out the correct sequence to follow.
"Hold on a second, " everyone turned to look at him, "one thing I learned in the art is, if someones gonna hit you, your best defence is not to be there to get hit. If you can't block, you dodge."
"Well duh Ranma, whats that got to do with this?"
"The last time Shampoo followed me it took her nearly three months to figure out where we were going, so all I got to do is figure out where to go. Mother I think I'd like to go and meet your family. Where would I have to go to do this?"
"Our clan home is in Okinawa. If you'll let me I'll make some calls and we can set everything in motion."
"So you finally admit it, you'll runaway like a coward!"
"Now even you've got to admit theres a certain amount of irony in what you just said Genma." Nabiki smirked at the older man. Genma didn't have the grace to blush at that statement.
"Oy, I never run away, I'm just doing one of those strategic retreat thingies. I need time to plan, I can't defend this position, so I find one I can, it may even be this one in the end, but only when I figure out how. I've needed time since I got here, but everytime I got some space to think some insane martial artist showed up and challenged me, or a new fiancé or something like that. Okay I think I got a plan of attack let me know what you think Nabiki. First off when I go the first thing Koh lon will do is gather information, so we control what they know. Let them know I've been disowned, tell them that I dissappeared with no trace, oh and you'll like this bit Nabiki, you get to charge them for the information. If you don't they'll never believe you. Or, oh, now this is evil, what if we get Akane to run around frantically asking where I am. Don't look at me like that Akane, it'll give you a chance to act, you ask everyone we know if they know where I am, then tell them what happened with the disowning. Next we lay a false trail for them to follow, make it look like I just ran off with no real plan. Hmmm let me think, lets say Ranma Saotome boards a ship as a deckhand, pick a destination on the other side of the world. Now the family keeps searching for me, Nabiki stumbles across the 'false trail' and then charges all interested parties lots of money for the information. Then we sit back and watch their reaction." He smiled as he waited for Nabikis reaction.
"Whoa! You just came up with that." She looked at him, and then with profound respect offered a bow. "I think it will probably work too. And you were right that was an evil idea." She joined Ranma in his smile.
"Son, I think we can take it a step further, you have several cousins in the area who might be interested in going around the world like that. Let me talk to them and we'll see. It would lend even more credibilty to the story if postcards started to arrive from all over the world." Nodoka looked pleased at her sons idea and everyone around the table started to smile, that is with the exception of Genma.
"Lets look at the positive effects, firstly we pre-empt their own searches, so they don't feel the need to hurt anyone to get information." Nabiki ticked each point off on her fingers. " Secondly, all the fiance's who are serious will do one of three things, one they stay here and wait, two they give chase, or three they give up and go back where they came from. Not one of those options is a loss as far as I can see. Thirdly Ranma gets the chance to figure out what he wants, and how to get it."
Ranma was looking a little befuddled. "What I want?" No one had ever given him a choice before and he wasn't really sure what he wanted, but it might be nice to have a little time to himself and sort it all out.
"You've got it all figured out don't you?" Genmas harsh voice cut across the pleasant feelings everyone was sharing. "You forgot one thing, I no longer seem to have a stake in whats going on, so I have no need to protect this ungrateful creature that was once my son."
"You wouldn't tell them would you?"
"Why not? What has anyone offered me for my silence, huh?" That was as far as he got before a fist entered his field of vision and connected right between his eyes. For those of you confused at the sequence of events I shall now give a slow mo version of events.
As Genma spoke for the first time everyone turned to stare at him, his voice had turned most viscious, everyone looked a little pole-axed, at his second statement about his son, some at the table opened their mouths to shout at him, but Akane was first to speak.
"You wouldn't tell them would you?"
As Genma continued Ranma decided he needed to act, he was in the act of leaping across the table when Souns hand flickered out almost like a snakes tongue, it impacted with Genmas head and that was that. He didn't so much roll backwards as he flew. He struck the wall in an upside down position and slumped, with his shoulder blades touching the floor, then his body folded and his feet fell to the floor also. Now Genma might not normally fall for such a backhand, but his focus had been on his son not on his old friend so when the back-fist appeared in his vision his guard was up, but it was directed at his son.
Okay now that everyones back up to speed, we'll resume our regular fanfic.
Ranma blinked, his extended fist in the space his fathers head had occupied just seconds before, then he turned to look at Tendo Soun. "How the hell did you do that? I've never managed to blindside him like that before."
Soun looked at his hand, he hadn't felt that he could move like that for years. Then he looked at the young man kneeling in the middle of the low table. "Let me see if I can explain it. As you know there is a fundamental difference in the two styles of anything goes, Genma developed his style to be extremely aggressive, paring away anything that had even a scent of the soft arts(Tai chi would be an example of a soft art, most westerners believe its an exercise like aerobics, but in truth its one of the more dangerous arts. It takes the energy that the enemy puts into their attack and then redirects it so that the opponent injures themselves and not the target. Sounds easy but its not. it can take decades to become truly effective.). He developed his danger sense based on those kind of attacks. Now I've always been able to surprise him like that, Genma reads levels of aggresion, thats how his danger sense works. On my side of the art we take into account everything, soft arts, meditation the works. In meditation there is a mental state called the mind of no mind, now no one really knows what that means even if they've achieved it, but when I enter that state there is no delay between thought and action, and emotions play no part in said actions. With no emotions, Genma has no danger sense. Does that clear it up for you Ranma."
"Uh yeah, I think so."
"Now while it felt good to strike him we still seem to have the same problem. He will continue to blackmail us. It shames me that I once called him friend. We need a plan to take care of him."
"I think we need to figure out what the acceptable outcomes could be. I mean are we willing to kill him?"
"No, not that far. He may have disowned me but I still think of him as my father, at least I do for the moment. I suppose I could seal him as I did the master." Ranma looked hopefully at the other people around the table.
"Genma doesn't have the same survival techniques as the master, Happosais' like a rodent that hibernates. He sleeps and begins to burn energy at a very low rate. Genma though is different, I feel it would probably kill him. As surely as if we stuck a knife in him." Soun frowned as he tried to think of all the repercussins of any plans they might come up with. Well as he was drawing a blank he looked towards Nabiki for assistance. "Can you think of anything that we might be able to do Nabiki?"
She looked at her father cooly as if to say; 'Do you really need to ask?' Moving the book of Amazon law aside she flipped the lid on her laptop, and searched her contingency plan files for the ones marked panda. "Here's one I prepared earlier. At one stage there we weren't earning enough to keep the house in repair, hell it nearly got bad enough that next weeks foodbills could be troublesome. So I started to look for ways to cut expenses, once I saw how much the Saotomes actually cost us, it became clear we'd have to get rid of at least one of them. Ranma here was doing alright, he was actually earning money for us, but the panda, it wasn't just the food it was the damage it did to the compound. So I thought about how to earn the maximum money from him." She paused to take a sip from her teacup then resumed speaking. "The first thing I thought of was he needed to get a job, but then remembered he'd had one for a short time, then he just stopped going. Then just as I started to despair I saw an article in the Tokyo Business Review, it had nothing to do with money making, it was a fund-raiser. It seemed that Tokyo University and the Main Tokyo zoo were entering into a joint. breeding program for rare species, they decided to start with pandas and if they could succeed where others had failed they were going to move on..."
"Yeah that's real interestin' Nabiki, but could ya cut to the chase. It's getting a little late and I wouldn't mind some sleep tonight." Ranma burst out with his usual tact.
"Oh, right, sorry about that. Pandas are rare, ergo they're worth money. So I thought I'd get rid of our biggest money drain and maybe earn a big reward. So then I worked up a pros and cons list, there weren't that many cons. There was one that I couldn't find any way around, pandas are good at climbing but they're not that energetic so escaping is no real threat from a real panda, therefore panda enclosures aren't strong enough to keep a powerful martial artist locked up, then we'd be back in the same position, but this time with the zoo asking where their panda went. With our luck they'd get here just as something activated Genmas' curse, then we'd be even worse off as they'd sue us, or charge us with fraud over selling them a trained panda. So you see I thought real hard about contingency plans, but couldn't really make it work." Sighing to herself she shut the computer down and sat back.
"Well if strength is the only problem I think I might have a solution. Remember the Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion? Well when I found it's cure I also found out how to activate it." Ranma smiled to himself, the only piece he hadn't found easily had been the cure, the rest had been easy to read and with his eidetic memory he'd memorised the whole thing in seconds. Time to see if the thing really worked the way it should. Leaning over his father he simultaneously struck several accupressure spots using his ki to apply the moxibustion heat, the fact that they were a couple of feet apart didn't faze him as his hands blurred, striking deeply into the large mans torso. "Alright that should do the trick. Now all we've got to do is test it out." He dusted his hands.
"How do we do that son?"
"I'd say the quickest way would be to hit him. It can't be one of the martial artists though, as that won't prove a thing. So how about it, you up to hitting the panda Kasumi? How about you Nabiki?"
"Oh I could never do that Ranma!" The oldest daughter looked shocked that anyone would even think she could hit someone.
"I don't know if I could get close enough Ranma. I make him nervous."
"Hate to say this Nabiki, but you make anyone with a pulse and a pocketbook nervous. So what's your point." He smirked as he licked a finger and made a point scoring gesture in the air.
"Well if you're wrong I don't think he's got any qualms about hitting me. Kasumi on the other hand. Well lets just say I don't think he'll see it coming, and I know he won't hit the best cook in the house." She chuckled at the thought of Kasumi refusing to cook for him.
"Well thank you sister, I think. I really don't wan't to do this, it just doesn't feel right." The smile she usually wore had gone missing sometime in the last few minutes.
"What? You feel it's better that he have free reign to ruin all our plans?"
"Let me get back to you on that."
The thud as several people face-vaulted began to rouse Genma from his unscheduled nap.
"Okay we've got one shot at this, Kasumi we need you to do this. I want you to think of all the bad things that have happened here over the last two years, picture it in your mind. I want you to think of the things he's said and done tonight. Now close your eyes and imagine the pain he'll cause if he's allowed to talk to the Amazons or Kunos'. Can you see the damage?" Kasumi nodded hesitantly. "Can you feel the pain of your family?" This time the nod was slow and definite. The smile was a distant memory now. "You can stop him you know." Kasumi looked at Genma as he started to stand up. She nodded slowly. Then she walked over to him. Her thoughts were a little chaotic at this point, she had decided that she was a mother figure years ago, and now she was realising that she could also be the protector. This man was responsible for so much pain, she had sat in her kitchen and listened to Ranma tell forlorn stories of his childhood, a childhood that never really existed. She thought of the pressure Genma had applied to her father and little sister that had allowed their emotions to go haywire. Now she thought she might just be able to punch the bulky martial artist right on his fat bulbous nose 'Oh my, did I just think that?' She looked at Genma as he stood glaring at his son.
"You really should have done something while I was down boy! That's just sloppy, you call yourself a master of the arts?" His face contorted into true ugliness as he sneered around the table, as per usual they had truly underestimated him, and he was going to take advantage of that fact.
"Hit him now Kasumi." Nodoka urged the younger woman.
"What her? Don't tell me all you big strong fighters don't have the guts to fight me?" He sneered again. Kasumi didn't think she could hit him. "She couldn't hit me if she tried! Shes just a flabby little housewife, even if she hit me she wouldn't leave a mark. Come on then little girl. You want to hit the man, you hit him right here." he placed his finger on his chin and gloated as Kasumi hesitated.
Ranma was off to the side looking at Kasumi with wide eyes. That can't be right, she can't be doing that. Heat waves seemed to roll off of her as she stood in front of Genma.
"On the chin you say?" She didn't remember the stance properly after all it had been over ten years since she worked out in the art. So she raised her hands as she'd seen some boxers do before she'd been able to change the channel. On the surface she seemed calm, but just below the surface was another matter.
"Oh who are you kidding? Why don't you go back to the kitchen where you belong." This proved to be the exact wrong thing to say as Kasumi let out a yell just like Akanes' then swung with all the anger she'd repressed ever since her mother had died.
Now this is where the fun started. Kasumi had heard of Ki attacks, she'd even seen them on many occasions but she had never executed one herself. She'd never even believed she could. So you can imagine her surprise as the anger coaleased around her, flowed upwards like an anti-river then swirled into rapids as it condensed along her arm and into her fist. As the first knuckle met Genmas' face there was a brief flash, followed by a loud boom. To say Genma was startled would be an understatement, he smelt his weedy beard and moustache as it was vaporised. Followed shortly by his nasal hair and eyebrows, then the bandanna he used to protect what little hair he had left. The frames of his glasses melted, as they were no where near as dense a metal as Genmas' head, the lenses fell and as they hit the back of Kasumis hand they shattered into a chrystalline powder and puffed away. Genmas head started to move backwards even as his feet left the ground. By the time he made a hole in the compound wall he was a horizontal blur. Half a block and three similar walls slowed the old man enough to finally plow a thirty foot furrow in someones backyard. When he came to rest with his head against a rockgarden, from this distance it looked like nothing other than a tombstone. Kasumi stepped through with the punch changing her lead foot and placing her in a similar stance to the one she started in, she was ready to strike her opponent again but he seemed to have dissappeared. She raised her eyes and followed the path of destrution. Then she turned her fist and moved it so she could examine it, she slowly went cross-eyed as her mind shut down for a second.
"Owwwww" Kasumi realised that her hand was sending little messages to let her know it didn't appreciate being used like that, especially if she wasn't going to brace it right. Time elapsed from start to ow; half a second. She was still looking at her hand like she hadn't known it was loaded when the others started moving again.
Nabiki got up to examine the hole in the wall, then turned and let loose a low whistle. Akane slumped down, now theres another one who's more powerful than me, it's not fair. The two adults just sat and blinked a few times, Nodoka finally moved to examine Kasumis' hand making little tsking sounds as she turned the hand over and asked her to move her fingers one at a time.
"Holy Kami-Sama in a hand-basket, where the hell did that come from K-chan?" Nabiki turned away from estimating the cost of repairing the damage to ask her sister.
"Huh?" Kasumi was as stunned as everyone else. "Did I do it right Ranma-kun?" She asked in her usual calm tone of voice.
"Ahh yeah, and then some. Problem is the experiment was inconclusive. I think you'll have to hit him again." Ranma laughed as everyone else face-vaulted. He was starting to enjoy that kind of reaction, walking past the prone figures on the floor he marched to where his father lay unmoving. He checked for a pulse, and then breathed again as the slight flutter against his fingers told him all he wanted to know. Picking the older man up by his gi collar and dragging him back to the dojo he laid him out on the floor, then moved over to the telephone. This was an emergency, after all Kasumi was hurt.
"Hello. Dr. Tofu, yes I realise its late but we need you to come over. I'm sorry but kasumi has hurt her hand and we need you to look at it."
"WHAATT!" The rest of what he said turned into the normal high pitched burble that you heard from someone elses phone conversaion.
"Okay Doc, see you in a little while." He turned from the phone and watched as Soun started his wind up to a major hissy fit
"WAAAAHHHHH! My babies been hurt." Ranma felt the change happen even as he started to move away from the Tendo patriarch.
"Oh stop that, Soun. It's actually not as bad as I feared it might be. And look on the bright side, she's learned a valuable lesson here." Nodoka gave the older man a level look.
Soun sniffed as he attempted to get himself back under control. "What do you mean? She's been hurt, what did that teach her?"
"Well the first thing she learned is that if you're going to hit something then you have to get the technique down first, just ask Akane." Akane perked up as someone mentioned her name. For the last half hour or so she'd deemed it best to keep her mouth shut as she still hadn't returned to normal after putting her foot in her mouth. 'Looks like whatever Ranmas got is contagious.' She though to herself. "And secondly she learned that it's not a good idea to hit my husband in the head. Anywhere else and she would have been fine. It's like hitting an immovable object with an infinite force, somethings got to give. Unfortunately it seems she has two dislocated fingers and her wrist is swelling rapidly. I do hope Dr Tofu arrives shortly." She looked up to where her son had dragged Genma back into the family room and narrowed her eyes.
"Is he alright Ranma?" Akane asked hesitantly.
"I'm not sure I care at the moment Akane, but, yeah I think he'll live. Of course we'll know more once the doc arrives." He was getting confused, he really should hate the old man after all the things he'd done to Ranma. But there was a stubborn core of, if not exactly love, then maybe affection. After all he'd been his sole companion for over ten years when they'd been on the road. It was no longer enough to base a relationship on, but it still hurt.
"What could be taking him so long Ranma?" Akane was getting worried, while no one liked Genma at the moment, she wasn't entirely sure that anyone really wished him dead. Kasumi certainly wouldn't handle it very well.
"He moved Akane, you know that. He was offered that partnership a ward over. He's been gone a year, the only reason he's still our doctor at all is because we challenge his healing abilities, and well he gets to see Kasumi." He'd whispered the last while scratching the back of his head. Yeah that partnership wasn't what really convinced the good doctor to move, it had been the fact he lost control everytime he saw the eldest Tendo daughter. He'd tried all kinds of mental exercises to rid himself of the afliction, but it had only gotten worse as time went on. Finally he'd just walked away cursing himself for his weakness.
"Yeah I know what you mean Ranma, he's so silly when Kasumi's around." She tried to hide her smile but it lit her eyes and that's when Ranma thought, 'Yeah like he's the only one, there's me, you and Ryoga too. We're just as bad in our own ways.'
"Ummm. Akane, after the docs' gone I think we need to have a private talk." He started to look nervous.
"What do we need to talk about Ranma?" The corners of her eyes narrowed as her temper began to fray.
"Well I'd really like it if you'd wait till the docs gone. Can ya do that for me Akane?"
"I suppose so, but this better be good. It's getting late and I'm tired." Her tone had gone flat, she hated it when she didn't get answers instantly.
"Well it shouldn't be too long. The docs almost here." He frowned for a moment. "I've gotta figure out how he gets so close without me being able to sense him." Akane looked around for the doc, thinking he'd snuck up on them as he normally did.
"Where is he then, I can't see him."
"He's a couple hundred metres to the south and closing fast, whoa is he fast. I'd think he was in a car if he wasn't crossing roofs." There was a crash in the distance then Ranma glanced up as if watching a bird fly over, he followed it until a dark blur shot past the guttering, it struck the outer wall of the compound and rebounded towards the door to the family room. Doctor Tofu hit the ground feet first and tried to stop, he skidded across the yard for a couple of metres raising a cloud of dust. Then his foot struck one of the sunken stones that led to the Koi pond and he became airborne again, he flew towards the open doors. As he passed the edge of the deck his hand flashed out and grabbed the timber, killing most of his forward momentum and changing his trajectory enough so he could flip back to his feet. He only looked slightly disshevelled as he almost casually walked past a bugeyed Akane and Ranma.
"Now where's my patient?" He asked in his usual calm tones. Nabiki strode over and grabbed his hand.
"She's over here Dr. Tofu." Matching action to words she dragged him over to her sister, then ran for the furthest corner, making sure there were several people between her and the good doctor. 'He's a nice man but Kami he's lethal when Kasumis anywhere near him.' Nodoka and Soun looked puzzled at her rapid retreat but were too busy watching the new drama unfolding before them.
"K-k-ka-sumi? Fancy m-meeting you here?" His glasses were already in the process of fogging up, and it wouldn't be long before he did something silly.
"Dr. Tofu, I live here silly. Could you look at my hand please, the icepacks just aren't helping anymore." She held her hand out for his inspection.
"Yes, yes nice to be meeting you here too." He reached forward to shake her hand, but didn't quite make it as Ranma darted across the room. He picked Tofu up by his lapels and slammed him into the wall.
"Dammnit Doc get a grip willya? Snap out of it Tofu, you gotta help Kasumi!" Dr. Tofu reached out to tap some accupressure points, his eyes still glazed from his encounter with the woman of his dreams. Ranma was having none of it as he backhanded the older man sending his glasses flying across the room. "Come on doc, you can't do this, " he slapped him again, "snap out of it doc. Doc?" Tofus' eyes focused on Ranma for the first time since seeing Kasumi.
"Oh damn, it happened again didn't it?"
"Yeah doc, but we ain't got time for that now. You really need to examine her wrist, then you can look at Genma as well." Nodoka and Soun sat and big-sweated. "Now are you gonna be okay? I can slap you again if you like."
"Uh, no thanks. I think I'll be all right now Ranma, its just been too long since I saw her. Now where did my glasses go? Can't see a thing without them." 'I'm not sure you can see with them doc. Anyone else can see you're crazy about her why can't you just admit it?' Can anyone spell IRONY?
"Here they are Doctor Tofu." Akane handed his spectacles back to him.
"Thankyou Akane." He turned to face Kasumi and visibly braced himself, almost like an ancient warrior girding himself for a battle. Tofu pulled his backpack off and placed it on the floor. He approached her slowly, not meeting her eyes he knew she couldn't have any respect left for him after all the foolish things he'd done. He tentatively reached out with his hand, this time palm up so that she could present her injured hand for his inspection. As her skin touched his he felt his control slipping again, but then he felt her tense slightly and his resolve firmed yet again. 'I will not lose it and hurt her.' He began to examine and catalogue her injuries. 'Hmmm. Dislocated first and second knuckle on first finger, and first knuckle on second finger. Possible fracture to thumb. There's going to be massive bruising shortly. Okay the wrist feels, oh shit that's not good, this is going to need x-rays.' His chi senses were looking at several breaks in the flow of energy in the wrist, meaning the bones were broken, there also could be bone fragments too small to show to his senses.
"I need to call an ambulance, she's got to get x-rays of her wrist. I can give her something for the pain, and this should bring the swelling down a little as well." Opening his pack he put a pair of thin latex gloves on, then he pulled a small black glass jar from his backpack and opened it at arms length. "Now I would take a deep breath and hold it, the fumes from this will make you dizzy, if they don't make you feel ill first." Reaching into the open bottle he pulled some dark green mush out and began to smear it on the wrist and knuckles of her injured hand, faint tendrils of mist drifted off the medicine. Kasumi sucked her breath in for the second time since his gentle examination had begun, this time because the green mess on her hand felt colder than ice, it almost felt like it was burning her. Then a second later she hissed as feeling began to leave the injury. 'Oh now that feels wonderful. Almost as good as when the doctor took my hand.' She blushed lightly, but Tofu still wasn't looking at her so he was the only one who missed it.
"If I didn't know better I'd say this injury was done by punching someone. Heh, he." Chuckling at his own jest he returned to putting Kasumi's arm in a sling.
"Uh, Doc." Ranma gained Tofus' attention and then gestured to Genma on the floor.
"Yes, yes, I'll get to him in a moment Ranma. I just have to finish with Kasumi here first." He had obviously failed to draw a connection between unconscious Genma and Kasumi's hurt hand.
"Now we just have to make sure when you arrive at the hospital that none of the medics touch that stuff. They'll not thank me if they can't feel their fingers for the next eight or so hours. Of course I'll be with you, but if we both remind them there's less chance of it happening. Now Tendo-san where's the phone." He turned to face Soun as he asked his final question.
"That's okay Dr. Tofu, I already called." Nabiki said as she sauntered back into the family room.
"Thanks Nabiki I'd really rather she got there as soon as possible." Looking slightly relieved he started to walk over to Genma before freezing at her next words.
"Oh sure, no prob Doc. I'll just put it on your tab shall I?" She looked at Tofu innocently as the rest of the room started to errupt in outrage. "Come on can't anyone take a joke? You did hear me earlier when I said I don't do that kind of thing anymore, didn't you? And besides, I wouldn't do that to the Doc or Kasumi." She looked miffed that anyone would think she'd go that low. Then had the grace to blush as she thought of some of the stunts she'd pulled for money in the past. Of course things had changed since the failed weddings, she'd realized too late that she was hurting her own sister, and even Ranma, who now seemed to be part of the family to her. Nothing like hindsight to make a point for you.
"Yes well Nabiki, I don't think there's any call for that kind of humour at the moment." Tofu's tone turned slightly chilly as he looked at the young woman. Then he continued on his way to Genma.
Nabiki winced, 'Oops, that didn't go the way I thought it would.'
Dr Tofu knelt next to Genma and began a thorough physical examination. "I need someone to tell me what happened to him. It looks like he got hit with a wrecking ball." 'Yeah right, he got hit by a Kasumi, is what he got hit by.' Ranma thought to himself. 'Still not sure how she did it, but whoa, sure looked great.'
Nodoka began to explain how they had been planning Ranmas' escape when Genma had put a spoke in the wheel, so to speak. She went on and told him of Soun's punch, and Ranma using the Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion on him. Then Dr. Tofu jumped into the conversation.
"I can't believe you'd hit him like that Ranma, I mean with him being so weak and all." He looked at the young martial artist with a cold condemning look.
"Wasn't me Doc, honest. Anyway if I hadda hit him in that condition we'da been calling a funeral director not a doctor. We needed someone who wasn't a strong martial artist so we could test if the technique worked." Ranma released a sigh of relief as the doctors gaze slid away from him and Akane. Akane smiled, seemed the doctor took her seriously as a martial artist after all, it was nice that someone did.
"Hey don't look at us, we didn't do anything." Nabiki looked Tofu straight in the eye, which with Nabiki was no guarantee of honesty. The looks of the two behind her however convinced him.
"So who's responsible for this?"
"Well if you had let me finish before jumping to conclusions I would have told you. We kind of elected Kasumi for the task. Now hold on, we had valid reasons for asking her, and we knew there was no way Genma would retaliate against her if we were wrong. You know how much he likes Kasumis' cooking." Nodoka paused and then offered him a reassuring smile.
"Okay I know who, now I need to know how. I mean the wall, the furrow through those gardens, how could someone as gentle as Kasumi do that?" He looked around confused, hoping that someone would tell him it was a joke or something.
"Not quite sure how she did it Doc. I mean she was standing there refusing to hit him, when he started insulting her, said some real nasty things, that's when she snapped. As for the punch well she gave up martial arts years ago, didn't even use a real stance, I'da said she shouldn't be able to punch like that, but I saw her do it. If I were you Doc I'd check her ki reserves and her chi flows, she's probably gonna feel backlash at some point." Ranma looked concerned.
Dr Tofu was looking at Kasumi, rather closely, he wasn't sure he believed everything he'd been told, but her body-language was slowly convincing him. The woman in question was blushing for all she was worth, she watched as her toe drew patterns on the floor. "Is that true Kasumi, did you hit Saotome-san?"
She glanced up at the doc then back down. Speaking quietly she squeaked a yes for him.
"Oh, well that's alright then." He chuckled darkly to himself. He continued to examine Genma, some of the others winced as they heard Genmas' joints being rearranged. Ranma held up a white placard with 'Technique' written above a 9.9, while Akane held a similar sign saying 'Artistic Interpretation' followed by 9.6. Dr Tofu smiled while thinking 'Oh well looks like I'll have to try harder in the future.' Then he turned back to his recently finished work 'Martial artist to infinity' and then turned to Ranma and said "I think we need to take Saotome here to the hospital for observation, I think he may have a fractured skull, and I'm not really sure about the rest without any equipment. At this stage I'm just making educated guesses. In any case I'll let the 'professionals' sort him out." He was thinking dark thoughts to himself. 'He insulted Kasumi did he, well he got what he deserved then. He's safe for the moment, but the second he regains consciousness he's going to answer to me.' Ranma shivered as the temperature dropped in the room, and the expression on Dr Tofus face wasn't helping any. For a few minutes silence descended as several people thought about not ever making the good doctor angry at them. Then Ranma made the descision to have his chat with Akane a little sooner.
"Hey Akane, I think I'm ready to have that talk now." He whispered in her ear, he sounded totally serious. Akane shivered as his warm breath did strange things to her nerve endings, strange but nice things. Talk about mixed signals.
"O.k. just give me a second. Where do you want to have this talk Ranma?"
"The dojo is probably the best place, I'll meet you out there." Having said that he walked out without a backwards glance. Leaving Akane to wonder if she was going to like what he had to say, she turned away from the open door. She had to find out what was happenning with her sister before she'd have a chance to find out what was going on with her fiancé.
"Ah, father, what's happenning with Kasumi, are you going with her to the hospital?"
"Of course I am, so are Nokaka and Dr. Tofu. Would you like to come as well?" He looked at both his youngest daughters in turn.
"No father, I think I'll stay here and plan out what we're going to do over the next few days."
"I'm sorry dad, Ranma needs to talk to me. Could you give us a call when you know more please?" She pleaded with her eyes, she hated to be torn between two things she knew were important.
"Okay, I can do that Akane. It may take some time to find out anything though, so don't be surprised if you get a call sometime towards morning."
"That's okay dad, I'd really rather know how she is, and somehow I don't think I'm going to sleep very well anyway. Good luck Kasumi, I hope it's not too bad." She slowly turned away and walked out to the dojo. Outside the temperature had fallen a little. Clouds had rolled in from the sea as the sun had finally set, and trapped all the humidity, it felt horrible as there was no breeze to make it bearable. Up above a pale disc of light could be seen through the layer of cloud, very little of that light made it to the ground, making it hard to see the pathway. As she neared the open doors she spotted the dark silhoutte of her fiancé.
"Hey baka why didn't you turn the lights on." She fumed, she'd stubbed her toe on a rock on her way over and was now looking for someone to blame. As per usual the two rules of Neriman life had struck again. Rule 1 states that if anything goes wrong it's automatically Ranmas' fault. Rule 2 states that in the unlikely event that Ranma wasn't responsible see Rule 1.
"Akane, I was just sitting here enjoying the night air. We don't need the light to sit here and talk. And in anycase I think I'll find it easier to say the things I need to in the dark."
"Okay that makes sense I suppose." She sat down with her legs dangling over the side of the dojos' porch. "Now what was it you wanted to talk about?"
"Er, as you know I'll be leaving soon." Ranma mentally slapped himself upside the head, 'Man that was lame, she already knows that.'
"You didn't bring me out here to tell me the obvious did you Ranma? 'Cos if you did I'm going to bed." She'd started to fume the second he opened his mouth.
"Yeah okay, but what may not be so obvious is the reasons why Akane." He kind of mumbled the last bit to himself.
"Would you mind getting to the point sometime before the new millenium sets in?"
"Could you just shut up for a few minutes? I'm having enough trouble figuring out what to say without you pressuring me."
"WHAT! How dare you tell me to shut-up." The dark night faded as a red aura flared up around the irate young woman.
"That's it. I'm going back in. I'm just so tired Akane." Ranma sighed as he backed away from her.
"So what? I'm tired too, yet I still came out here to talk." Confusion laced her tone of voice. And why was Ranma backing away from her?
"Yeah but I think we're tired of different things Akane. Me, well I'm tired that everytime something don't go your way you mallet me." He was resigned to his fate now, bracing his body for impact. 'But I'll be damned if I'm not gonna finish this now.'
"What do you mean, I wasn't going to mallet you."
"Yeah sure, Akane, just like you never malleted me all those other times. Everytime Ukyo or Xian Pu did something to me, you'd mallet me. Why'd you never mallet them?"
"Well you always just stood there and let her glomp you, and then you'd make no attempt to get away. You'd just stand there and let her rub herself all over you. Why'd you think I was so angry?"
"Ummm. Akane you do know the Amazon Glomp is an advanced martial arts technique don't you?"
"Right, pull the other one baka. Do you think I'm stupid enough to fall for that crap?"
"I think it's time I demonstrated this for you then. You don't trust me to tell you the truth, right?" Ranma turned to the dojo, then walked over and flipped the lights on. Akane squinted as the bright lights hit her eyes, after the darkness of the night it was almost painful. "Come on then get in here." Ranma walked to the sink inside the doorway and splashed himself with water then she walked to the center of the dojo.
"That'll do. Stand right there. Now I've seen this technique so many times I could do it in my sleep. After Jusendo I also figured out a defence against it. Why do you think she hasn't succeeded in getting me for a while? Enough about that, prepare to defend yourself Akane. Now remember you can't use attacks as I'm in girl form and you're supposed to be me as a male okay?" Ranma moved to the far corner of the room then turned and faced his opponent. Crouching slightly he used his powerful leg muscles to spring forward parallel to the ground. A split second later he had a stunned Akane in her arms. The victim hadn't had time to react, and even if she had she hadn't known which way to go, as it had seemed that there were multiple Ranma-chans approaching.
"Okay that's the first part, did you notice the afterimage technique? That's right I never knew which one was the real Xian Pu, so I couldn't avoid her. I figured the Amazon Glomp is the first step in training for the Splitting c-ca-c-cat hair technique. Though I'm still not sure about the transition to the more advanced technique as I've only seen it once. Now here's the second part. You've got to remember, you're a big strong male who was raised not to hurt girls okay?" After recieving a slight nod from Akane she continued. "So now I want you to remove my hold on you. Go ahead, but you can't attempt to hurt me okay." Akane raised her hands and started to push Ranma away. Looking at his face she saw him start to smirk.
"What are you smiling about you baka?"
"Well maybe you should look at what your pushing against Tom-boy." His smile widened as Akane looked down and started to blush. "I never knew you felt that way about me Akane. I mean touching my breasts like that, gee I guess you really do like me." Now Akane just hoped the ground would open up and swallow her.
"Oh but there's more, why don't you try a leg sweep? Be warned there are two counters to that." Ranma had a very evil grin on his face now, this was more fun than he'd realized. Akane attempted to use her limited leverage to sweep her opponents legs, that was when Ranma simply lifted her legs to both sides then wrapped them round the others waist. Now they were both feeling extremely warm, this was more intimate than they'd ever been with each other.
"Ah I kind of like this one Akane. But there's one more counter you could try. Try a leg hook, I dare you." Akane hesitated for a moment, but then shrugged. She had forgotten how strong Ranma-chans' arms really were, so when she went to one foot to accomplish the leg hook she was automatically off balance. When she threw Ranma off balance, she refused to release her grip and both girls ended up prone on the floor. Akane was on top looking into Ranma-chans eyes. Ranma's grin got wider if that was possible.
"Wo ai ni, Airen!" Then she tightened her arms even more, before she released Akane and gave into her laughter. She giggled outright at the expression on Akanes face, the other girl had never been so embarrased in her life and it showed.
"Now do you see why I stand there and let her do that? If she manages to get hold of me there's no way to escape which doesn't hurt her or make the situation worse." Ranma looked smug as Akane absorbed the implications of what she'd been shown.
"Why didn't you tell me before?"
"Uh, you sure you really want to know?" At the slight nod she gave him he continued. "Simple answer, you always malleted me first, then never asked questions or wanted to hear explanations. Hey don't look at me like that, you name one occasion where you really gave me the benefit of the doubt. Well? Go on." Ranma waited patiently until the blank look on her face started to get to him.
"Okay too hard for you on short notice? Well I'll give you some time, I reckon I'll be gone for maybe six months. That should give you some time to think about where out relationship started and where it's going to."
"Why do you have to go in the first place? Why can't you stay here and sort it out?" Akanes' eyes began to shimmer as her confusion and hurt started to get the better of her.
"As I said before Akane, I'm tired. I can't catch a break no matter which way I turn. Since Jusendo I've felt really bad, especially when I think that I killed Saffron. Don't bother telling me I didn't kill him, cause the truth is I did. I tore him limb from limb, I knew I had to, because I wasn't strong or fast enough to make him back down. The truth is I was too weak to stop him any other way, and I know I'm too weak to handle the emotional crap that came with it. Throw in Nabiki sabotaging our relationship every chance she got, the kunos' either hating or loving me in respect to what ever sex I happened to be at any given point in time, then there's those stupid Amazons' with their marriage laws, our parents. And lastly there's Ryoga."
"What about Ryoga, we haven't even seen him for a while so how can he be stressing you out." Akane snapped at him, 'He's not even here and Ranma's picking on him.'
"With all that's happened tonight Akane, would you say I had any honour worth protecting at the moment?"
"Well no since your father made you ronin, I'd have to say you were clear of concerns of honour." Now she was just plain confused.
Ranma sighed in relief. "I've wanted to tell you this for the longest time. But Ryoga made me swear not to reveal his weakness."
"What are you talking about Ranma? Ryoga's one of the strongest men I know."
"Yeah well at some times that would not be the truth. Do you know where he caught up with me in China? That's right, he caught up with us near the cursed training grounds. In fact he met us on the day I was cursed. I was too busy chasing Pops at the time to notice when I knocked him off the low cliff above the training ground. Yeah well, I'm not the only one with a curse, but at least I stay human, and Pops is still big enough to defend himself." Akane was beginning to fear hearing what he had to say. "Allright as you don't even want to ask where this is going I'll tell you. Ryoga fell in the pool of drowned little black pig. Then when he came out Pops found him and threatened to eat him. That's the real reason he hates me."
"Why? Why didn't you tell me? He listened to all my doubts and fears, he, he saw me change. The bastard slept in my bed. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" She started to pummell Ranmas' chest.
"I hinted all the time Akane, it was the only thing I could do. I was always calling him names to do with pigs, I even called him P-chan on a number of occasions, but instead of thinking it through you always took his side and told me to stop picking on him. And all that time he'd told us that he'd destroy my happiness. Well he couldn't beat me in a fight but while he played your pet P-chan he didn't have to did he? As for why I never told you outright, my honour wouldn't let me. He knew how strong my honour was and that I'd never betray him once I gave my word, then right after that he came to you." Tears had begun to stream down Akanes cheeks as all of his words tore into her, she had no defence as time after time her memory pulled up times where Ryoga had laughed while he used something she'd told him against Ranma.
Silence fell for a few moments. "That's why I have to leave Akane, deep down you don't trust me. I just need to find out what's important to me now. Once I've got a better idea of who I am I'll come back and we'll have another talk, see if we have anything to salvage. Now as you said it's getting late, maybe we should go to bed huh?" Looking depressed he headed for the door.
"But I want to fix this if we can."
Turning back to Akane he spoke for the last time that night. "There's nothing to fix at this point Akane. You don't trust me, and I don't think I can stand to be around you while I think this through. I certainly know we can't deal with all the others while we think about this. Good night Akane." Akane watched him turn away and walk out the door, as he faded from sight she dropped to her knees and began to sob.
Authors Note:- Hope you liked this chapter even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'd like to think that there were a few twists in this chapter and maybe even a chuckle. Who would have thunk Kasumi had a punch in her like that? Er yeah I suppose thats true, I would. Okay some people may be thinking to themselves "Kasumi go BOOM, why Kasumi go BOOM?"(DBZ Majin Buu reference) Okay simple answer, the whole punch was done in something like 0.2 of a second, put simply she broke the sound barrier. So not only was Genma hit with a Ki laden fist, he also got hit by the wall of condensed air, and vacuum that followed the fist. This is similar to the vacuum blades Genma can use except over a broader surface.
The Amazon Glomp is the precursor to the Splitting Cat Hairs technique, and was later developed to help advanced Amazon warriors to progress to the much harder job of splitting into many different images spread over a large distance. What happens is the attacker causes multiple images to appear around her body, not only that but they phase back into and out of the attackers body, some stay still and others rotate around the body as they phase, and there's no common speed or direction i.e. there's no discernible pattern. Oh and just to clear it up aiming for the central image is no garuantee as it may also be an after image. To make things even harder on the victim each of the images is infused with chi so that they show to ki senses as a solid or real threat. That's the real reason Ranma always looked like a deer caught in headlights when he was glomped.
This story is going to be even longer than I originally thought, going by length of chapter and time elapsed. Theres much story to tell. All the early chapters will be kind of resolution chapters. Hey, everyone else got a chance to do it so why not me? Having said that I don't plan to resolve every little detail, just the ones that will impact with the story at a latter date. Some things will get resolved at a different time. The story itself may take ten or more chapters to really get to the nitty gritty but they will be vital components in what I hope becomes a well rounded fic. After all you can't build a castle of fantasy if you can't also give it a strong foundation.
As always - as always he says, ark at him writes one lousy chapter and it's as always, hah - Er where was I? Oh yeah as always any C&C is greatly appreciated, but send me no flames - gee rolls off the tongue don't it, maybe you should write songs instead - Will you shut the hell up I'm trying to speak to my reader here - Don't you mean readers? - Well I suppose I can hope, can't I?
Right thats it next time you interrupt I'm gonna hunt you down - sheesh - (Sounds of a graphically violent nature in the background) Ah thats better - groan Sez you - Now please check my homepage for my e-mail address
If you really don't like what I write please let me know why. Can't change those things if I don't realise I'm doing them. Just so we're clear though, I am the author. If I don't think your suggestions will help with the story line I won't use them, but theres no harm in suggesting.
If you really don't like it, and nothing seems to be helping, then I suggest that you find a fanfic that you can enjoy, because thats what it's all about, both for you and me.