The Art____ (prologue)

by GreggSharp

Ranma 1/2 created by Rumiko Takahashi, AMG created by Kosuke Fujishima, etc.

i don't have money so don't sue me, hire me and we can BOTH make money.
yes, this is an Alterniverse sort of thing. The idea was: with all the talk about dedication to the Art, what other kind of Art could have required this much dedication and training. This is the result.

No, this Frostbite is not my SI character. This is the bigger fellow that the D&D char got his name from.


the beginning

There was darkness, a void.

Then there was light. Energy formed. Matter developed shortly thereafter. In the vortices of energy and structuring reality formed they who were the First. They who would be called demons, or angels,
gods, or the Great Dragons.

Stars formed, some alive, some aware. Planets formed, some alive, some aware. Life appeared.

Amongst these were beings who could tap or manipulate forces of the universe that would come to be known as magic. Among these were the faerie, the true dragons, the triclops, the oni, and the humans.

Lake Biwa region, Japan, 1787 AD:

Happosai considered the others. The Amazon squad leader Cologne from a distant part of China was one that he knew. She seemed displeased to see him again. Well it was a mutual feeling.

Kuonji the Ninja Master from the Capital, one he'd the dragon known as Frostbite (a ghostly image sent from his lair in the Antarctic), and his own brother Hadagi - the worst of the lot.

"Hmmph," Cologne spat from her vantage on a tree limb. "A panty thief, an assassin, a merchant, and a old wyrm that doesn't even bother to appear in the flesh. Pretty pathetic group you've got here."

"Like your Amazons," hissed the dragon with a faint sound of amusement, "I work with what I have available. You do not have MY years of experience, warrior of the Amazons, so you do not see what I do."

The dragon's image was merely three feet in length. Nobody really knew how big it was in person. "Do you want to know what it is _I_ see. I see the seeds of greatness. Kuonji Isako will pass away within the decade, and that is HER choice. Her line, however, will continue."

"Yes, the deal," breathed the Ninja Master, who was an old woman who was entirely too tired of life to have been tempted, "a sharing of a dragon's longevity and vitality, of knowledge shared and of other things hinted at and promised. WHY?"

"I could tell you three things, all true. One, that I have always liked humans. Not all of them, but just as I get ready to condemn the whole species as a waste of flesh one of you will come forward and prove the exception to the rule. Two, that there is a Needed Thing. Not now, but the preparation should begin NOW. Events I have glimpsed in the future that will be beyond MY talents should I stand alone. Third, that in a life where I've seen you humans build a nearly perfect society only to rip up the Ancient Moon Kingdom and lay it waste in petty intrigues and power struggles, all the way to the present day, it can be terribly boring to watch the same mistakes over and over again."

"And the real reason," Hadagi asked quietly.

"We all want to leave a Legacy, do we not? For Cologne it is the Amazons, for Happosai his Anything Goes school, for Kuonji it is the
clan and the nation, and for Hadagi it is the appreciation of beauty.

"I will eventually pass on, the last of the Great Dragons stranded here when Crystal Tokyo fell and the Riftgates ceased to be. I will
leave this universe one final time, and there are few remaining dragons of any kind here. Certainly there are none I would pass any sort of Legacy on to, at least that are in the world now. This shall be MY legacy."

Happosai affected an air of indifference but could imagine what having even one thousandth the lifespan and vitality of a dragon would be like. Imagine the panties he could lay claim to.

Cologne imagined rising to the Council Of Elders and continuing on for hundreds of years giving service to her tribe.

Hadagi imagined the money he could make with that sort of lifespan, and with never having to deal with illness or injury to slow him down for long.

Kuonji glowered at the others but quietly thought of her clan and nation surviving even in the face of such powerful enemies as could
be found in the world outside.

Frostbite watched all four. They eventually agreed to his terms. He knew they would.

It was all foreseen.


Lo Phat's Diner, Hong Kong, November 18 1975

"We meet again." Cologne nodded at the two shrunken old men and the much younger man who was wearing a bandoleer of spatulas.

"The two families I have trained in the Anything Goes style have decided to unite!" Happosai said with a smile. "The espers of Clan Tendo and the mages of Clan Saotome will be united in this next

"Wait a minute," Kuonji growled. "It was to be my line and the Saotomes..."

"No, we were going to have Happosai's disciple and my disciple!" Cologne rubbed her temple. She'd known this was going to be trouble. She didn't like the deal, but it looked like this Nodoka Saotome
might be able to pass on some decent qualities to her son.

"Oops." Happosai thought about this for a few seconds. "We'll just have to see how it develops."

Hadagi wisely kept silent. He thought it likely if he brought up that the son of his disciple, Hibiki, was also to be promised to the young heir of Anything Goes Psi-fu that there would be combat commencing in
short order.

Well, everyone knew what his brother was like. Happosai'd get blamed for it anyway. Besides, each of them was used to manipulating things from the shadows. They knew the real decision would be fought in that

Frostbite watched from inside a candle flame with eyes that rarely blinked. It had all been foreseen.


Tendo-ke, Nerima, Tokyo, Japan, 1990

"What've you got, Nabiki?" Akane and Kasumi got together behind their sister and watched the computer screen. Shampoo was off learning more of her Amazon heritage.

"This is REALLY wild," said Nabiki. "I was using some psychometry, trying to get impressions through my Niftyserve account, when these files suddenly came over."

"Oh dear," Kasumi managed as she looked at the screen. "Isn't that mother's picture?"

"Right. It turns out that dear Mother's legacy to us included more than psionic talents, but you knew that. Among other things, one of us has an iinazuke."

"A fiancee?" Akane growled. "Did father know about this?"

"Daddy thinks it was his idea and that of his dear friend Saotome. Both trained under a martial arts master and hentai freak of nature whose name I won't mention lest we somehow attract his attention. Actually it was arranged by both mothers, and it looks like it was
planned long before any of us were born."

"He's not too young, is he? Younger men are so..."

"Don't worry, Kasumi. According to these files, he starts out pretty brash, no social skills to speak of, and his father is a total writeoff, but he's got a few good qualities that will come out within a year of having a permanent address."

"Well, you can have him. It's not like I want anything to do with boys anyway."

"Now, now, Akane. We've got a little over a year before he arrives. His father has dragged him through hundreds of different planes of existence, learning new spells and fighting techniques as he did. This has gone on for ten years now and he's even been to Asgard!"

"Hmph. So he's been to Asgard, BIG deal."

Akane demonstrated her own bit of divine blood by summoning Mjolnir III to her hands. Little bits of lightning crackled around the sledgehammer.

Nabiki agreed. "True, but you have to admit the average guy down at Furinkan isn't likely to have gone any further than, say, Hong Kong?"

Akane smiled slightly at the thought of almost any of her classmates trying to deal with one of her great grandfather's parties.

"Mind you his mother is descended from a similar bloodline," Nabiki cautioned her sister, "and there are two more things I need to followup on. Kasumi, could you stay a moment?"

Akane took the hint and left, no doubt to go smash something into elemental particles. She *enjoyed* such things, part of her inheritance being increased strength and a propensity for violence.

"What is it, Nabiki?" Kasumi had her own share of their mixed heritage, which usually manifested in the aura of calm surrounding her. If that third eye opened though, all bets were off.

"There's two major problems with this guy, and one with Akane. Dig this."

Kasumi studied the new picture up on the computer screen. "That's the Faerie Realm, isn't it?"

"Right. That's the next stop of the two Saotomes."

"Hmm. So they're idiots?"

"No, Ranma isn't." Nabiki stretched in her chair. "Well, at least not as much as his dad."

"But nobody enters the Mists Of Faerie without some kind of enchantment, curse, or other transformation. Don't they know that?"

"I kid you not, sis. This 'Genma Saotome' has literally dragged his son to Hell and back in the name of perfecting his Art. This is the other problem, that his Dad cut deals and made other lapses of judgement all along their trip. The only definite thing I can get
is that the Saotome-Tendo engagement is the oldest and that this makes one heck of a case for its validity."

"He lives in interesting times then." Kasumi sighed. "Precog and healing are my specialties but I never had a lock-on for this."

"That's part of it," Nabiki admitted. "I can't tell what kind of enchantment they'll exit Faerie with."

"Where the Wylde Magicke flows, Nothing Be Certain," Kasumi quoted.

"So, Genma promised his boy in marriage to a LOT of people." Nabiki started counting off. "At least one Valkyrie, a Greek demigoddess, a dragon, two slavers, four merchant-barons, and a demoness that I've been able to see so far."


"Third, there's this." Nabiki called up a computer file. "This is that other problem I alluded to earlier."

Kasumi noted a simple text file. She took Nabiki's place at the computer and started reading while Nabiki took a seat at the bed.

Nabiki sighed. "This was included with a note about this being one of the 'infinite possibilities' that could occur. It said that there would be differences, that the divergence point had already occurred, but
that you should be ready to react as if it is accurate."

Kasumi speed read the file and turned to her sister. "Aptly named. 'Bitter End' indeed. While it contains some inaccuracies, I can see Akane behaving in a similar manner."

Nabiki nodded. "If this Ranma shows up with a curse similar to this, I think we ought to assume the worst and the file is more accurate than not."

"So desu ne." Kasumi watched as Nabiki reached over and clicked an icon with her mouse. "Hmmm. He doesn't look so young."

"That's Ranma at age 20, providing he lives that long. Frankly, he's kind of cute and I might go for him myself. We'll have to see."

"We certainly shall." Kasumi agreed.

"I still don't know who sent me all this, but scanning it with my esper talent shows no hostile intent or deliberate lies. I'm getting pretty good at combining the tech stuff with psychometry, so assume that our 'benefactor' is either exceptional at covering tracks or is legit." Nabiki jerked a thumb at the screen. "If I get any further info, I'll tell you."

Kasumi got the hint. "I'll do some basic scrying techniques now that I've got something to target. When Shampoo comes back, we ought to mention this, she IS a member of the family. Be careful, sis."

"Always," said Nabiki with her usual smirk. "Always."

D-chan, Nabiki's stuffed dragon seemed to smile and blink as Kasumi left the room.


A dragon, deep in the Antarctic in an iceflow that hadn't moved much in 6,000 years, watched. With few exceptions, this had all been foreseen.


ja ne,
gregg, (i'll leave the Great Works to someone else, let's see if i can manage something fun while they do that.)