Across the Veil
By Ascended Warrior
AN: I know that Of Crimson Tears is not completed yet but I'm having trouble continuing it, I find that I lost interest in writing it at least for now I will continue it at a later date.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or settings herein; Forgotten realms and Ranma ½ are the property of their respective owner's and not mine.
Warning: I am a rather sporatic writter and as such there will be no predicting when I will update this fic, that being said I will sometimes upadate it more than once a week, and I also plan on finishing this particular one. So please bear with me while I write this fic, I will also ignore flames, only constructive critism will be listened to. I also do not have any prereaders for this story so it is quite rough... anyone that wants the position please volinteer.
'Damn him', Ranma thought darkly as she gazed upon the arogant dragon prince. The smoldering murder in her eyes was enough to send lesser mortals running for the bathroom, but all it appeared to do was amuse the bastard.
Her gaze shifted to the side for a moment taking in the fierce battle between the lost boy and one of Herb's retainers, Lime. The Ryouga appeared to be winning if only slightly, he looked desperate to deliver the Open water kettle to her so she or rather he could win the battle.
"I will beat you," the words spoken in a low hiss by the injured Ranma. The sound did not even reach five feet in front of her as the wind picked up for her latest revision of the Hiryu Shoten Ha. As she got closer to the completion of the spiral Ranma had to suppress a smile; the dragon prince was falling into her trap. Although he had a counter to the standard version of the Hiryu Shoten Ha he would not be able to detect the revision until it was too late.
The only problem with this plan was that it required her to at least finish the spiral, which from the look of it would not happen, she had the footing correct but the she was unable to dodge the final blow that the dragon prince dealt to her. The pain exploded across her jaw from the blow, the world spun for a few seconds before she spun and hit the ground hard. Herb's retreating form was the last thing to register in her conscious mind.
Chapter1: Strange Locations and Large Visitors
Looking around the crater-laden mountaintop the figure gritted its teeth in frustration. The pointed ears, silted eyes and pink white hair easily identified him as Herb prince of the Musk dynasty. Herb and his two retainers Lime and Mint were searching the mountaintop for the one of the other participant's in the battle royal that had happened there.
The figure that the trio were looking for was a familiar pig-tailed matial artist, flaming red hair in a tight bind, red Chinese shirt with black pants and short for her age. The reason they were looking for the pig-tailed girl was two fold, one they wanted to check on her health, the other reason was of importance to the dragon prince himself. You see the musk have a history of taking strong animals and dunking them in the spring of drowned girl, and then using an artifact called the locking ladle to lock their curse. This in itself was cruel and unusual punishment for said animals. No what was really distressing is what they did afterward, which was the real problem, you see the Musk dynasty used these animals locked in human female form to breed.
Going into this though one must remember that it is Musk history, and if the current prince sometimes princess of the Musk Herb had anything to say about it, it would stay that way. For you see although when he first went to the Accursed springs of Jusenkyo his thoughts ran along a similar line to the ancient Musk, but after some soul searching (and getting locked as a female for a good two months) he changed his views. Now he no longer was going to turn an animal into his bride, he was going to look for a strong female to be his bride.
This revelation of course excluded 'any' Amazon women. Although strong, they treated their men almost as bad as the Musk treated their women. So when he or rather 'she' at the time traveled to Japan in search of the one artifact of the Musk that could unlock his curse, he was on the outlook for a strong women to be his bride. When the two fool retainers brought some women they heisted off the street to his meeting with the Amazon matriarch he felt like blasting them for their stupidity.
Then that arrogant punk entered and fought him, he even managed to get a hit in, which consequently revealed his, or rather 'her' female status at the time. For those that encounter dragons it is good advice to never piss them off, while Herb was a 'dragon' prince (princess at the time) the blood in his veins was so diluted that he did not have near the temper of his greater cousins. That is not say that he didn't have a temper however, which is why he beat the snot out of the punk. When the punk was doused with water, and changed gender Herb graciously inflicted him with the same condition that he had possessed, a locking of the curse.
Later that night when he and his retainer's were camped just outside of Tokyo the Amazon matriarch approached their camp. After 'dealing' with his companions. Herb had a talk with her, what was revealed in the talk with the matriarch was that the person he locked was named Ranma and was her current 'son-in-law'. She instructed Herb on a plot that she had recently hatched to snare the poor boy and bring him in line. All that this plot required was for him to get the open water kettle unlock his curse, and return to Tokyo while the boy searched the mountains for him and his retainers.
When Ranma returned distraught and still female, the matriarch would offer to unlock his curse 'if' he returned to China with the amazons. Although the plan had merit and could possibly work, Herb did not like the amazons, they may have been at peace but their was too much bad blood for him to get involved with their plots, besides he heard what they did to break their husbands and he wouldn't wish that on any man.
So with the Amazon plot in mind he planned on screwing over the old bat, him and his retainer's would still get the open water kettle, but they were not going to bring it back to the amazons. Herb planned on again defeating this 'Ranma' and then if he fought well enough, unlock his curse to spite the ghoul. If the cursed boy had not improved enough to give a decent challenge then he would leave him female and return to China himself.
They say that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and with Ranma this is doubly so. The pig-tailed martial artist and a couple of her friends had caught up with them at a bathhouse near the mountain that continued the kettle, and the following battle had been entertaining if nothing else. Just for that he planned on unlocking the boy's curse, but what surprise him more is that the trio caught up to them again a few days latter. This Ranma had to pick better allies, the two boys that came along with her betrayed her turst at the first opportunity, they tried to use the locking ladle to cure themselves. The two morons didn't even try to use hot water first, going to the near by river the two doused themselves in the water, effectively locking their curses.
The next day when they located the open water kettle and he unlocked his curse, in the ensuing battle Ranma had told her two friends's to get the kettle and unlock them, an act that completely baffled him. The two had betrayed her trust but she was still willing to unlock their curses first, it is not often you find such innocence in an individual. What surprised him more was that she almost fought him to a stand still. Even now he could feel how much harder her hits were, how much better she fought the first time around.
This and the entertaining fight from before more than ample reason to unlock her cure, but sadly it was not to be. When her friend who was being surprisingly loyal at the time, retrieved the kettle and was bringing it to her. He ended up destroying it in a fit of rage when Lime impeded him, crushing the kettle that he held in his grasp when he clenched his fist. The artifact had exploded violently, injuring Lime and almost killing the boy, he would live but would never have the same range of motion with his arms again. Of course at the time he was still in battle with the pig-tailed girl, only after he had finally defeated her did he notice what happened.
He almost had his retainers execute the boy on the spot but held himself back, knowing that it was not completely his fault and his injuries from this battle would be enough punishment for now. What really pissed him off though was the Amazon boy that had followed the other two was making off with the locking ladle, this he could not allow. So Herb with his retainer's Lime and Mint chased the boy across the mountain and into the forest.
It took them several hours to retrieve the ladle from the boy but they had done so. His only consolidation when the duck got away was that he might have accidentally locked himself in his cursed form when he fell in the river. After having Mint retrieve the ladle from the river he and his two companions returned to the mountain to retrieve the bandana clad boy and the pig-tailed girl. After chasing the Amazon boy for a while and the subsequent walk back, Herb found himself changing his pervious plans, now that girl's curse was locked now, possibly forever. The fact was this Ranma was rather atractive, and had a warrior's spirit also contributed.
So he began to hatch a new plan for his stay in Japan, being of Musk heritage he was not averse to taking a cursed individual as a wife. With this in mind he began to plan what to do from here, he could just tell the girl outright, but that would not go over well. He had to be subtle about this, maybe becoming her friend before trying for something more serious, and because of his curse he could be a female companion if he so wished. Although the latter did not appeal to him in the slightest he would be willing to do so on a few occasions.
The only other problem that they would have if they stayed in the Tokyo was his two retainers, each although good fighters, were complete and utter perverts. So he had to figure a way to 'desensitize' them, hopefully stopping their behavior permanently. If he could not find a way, or heaven forbid they became worse he would have to take drastic methods i.e. beating the living hell out of both of them. But before he could even implement one of these plans he and his companions would have to return to Tokyo with the others in tow.
Sighing as they finally reached the battle sight Herb ordered the moronic duo to take care of the Hibiki boy. Making his way over to his hopefully future bride, admiring her as he approached. Bending down preparing to take her with him in a fireman's carry, he suddenly jerked as his danger sense went full out. The entire area around him screamed of danger, stepping back from the unconscious girl he looked around frantically for what was threatening him. The last thing he saw before his world went white was the surprised looks on the faces of both Lime and Mint.
Ranma slowly regained consciousness, her entire body aching as if she had been in a vicious fight. 'Oh yeah, never mind I was in one,' she thought, 'oh well can't do anything about it now'. As she opened her eyes she noticed that she was not on the potter marked mountaintop she had gone to sleep on, this in itself was quite worry some.
After she had regained her footing she had a chance to look around the area and a deep feeling of dread seem to seep into her stomach, the mountains, were not the ones she had been knocked out on, they did not even look like any of the mountains she had visited in Japan. During the training trip she had visited many mountain ranges all over Asia and the island of Japan but none of them looked like these, she had to be somewhere in north America or Europe if not, well that was best left for thinking of later.
The unfamiliarity of the mountains around her while very concerning was not what caught her attention. There were eight bodies behind her, each charred beyond recognition, and the fact that the bodies were burnt was not what was of concern however. The fact that each corpse stood more than 16ft tall was. "What the hell...?" Whispered a wide-eyed Ranma. The entire mountaintop behind her had been scorched, there were several large piles of burnt wood obviously used to build some sort of siege engine, but Ranma could not stop staring at the bodies.
For a few minutes Ranma stood there gawking at the massive corpses and the scene of destruction. She would have continued to do so if the sound of voices coming up the path hadn't altered her to the approach of more the those... creature's. Knowing that they would immediately assume that she was responsible in some way for what had happened here, Ranma decided that the best course of action should be to hide and then slowly sneak away from the 'giants'.
Quickly surveying the area, she noticed the mountain went a little higher with slight rocky outcroppings all along the area. Moving as quickly a possible from her current position she hid behind the rocks, flattening herself against the ground. Hopefully this would allow her to sneak off while the giants weren't looking.
Peeking her head off to the side of the small hiding spot she was currently in she finally saw the giants cresting the hill, there were several of the critter's speaking in a strange tongue she could barley hear less understand. Each stood about 24ft tall, clad in what appeared to be European chain mail, the most striking feature besides their height was the strange blue tint of their skin. The four were facing each other conversing, apparently about what had happened on the mountain peak.
They talked for a couple more seconds before two walked away from the area back down the trail, the other two started looking over the area carefully seeing if they could find any hidden ambush. Cursing her curiosity Ranma slowly using all the stealth skills she learned from her father to sneak away from the giants.
Fifteen Minutes Later
'I have to admit' Ranma thought to herself. 'Pop may be a lazy good for nothin' panda, but he's got some good stealth techniques, if I only didn't know how they were developed.' Ranma stopped that line of thought before it could continue. Thinking of her current state and the events leading up to it, would leed to a deep depression. Shaking her head to clear it of its current line of thought she continued on.
It had taken her fifteen minutes to reach the heavier area of cover, unnoticed by the giants who continued on doing their business. Getting up from the prone position she had crawled in for the past while she looked over the area she was in currently, the many rocky out-cropping were of no concern, but she needed a better view of where she was and where to go. Taking several more minutes to make sure that she was at a respectful distance and one she would consider safe Ranma stood up to get a better look at the area she was in.
All around the area she was standing in there were mountains of assorted height, along with deep gullies crossing though all of them. Right across from the current edifice she was standing on was a larger mountain that would be perfect to get a better view of the surrounding area. Her destination set Ranma proceeded towards it. She estimated that it would take her a good couple of hours to reach the peak of the mountain, being a high trained martial artist had it's advantages after all, 'normal' people would have to scale back down any gullies or set up some sort of rope bridge, all she had to do was jump the gap and continue on.
a while latter...It had taken Ranma far longer to reach the peak of the mountain than she suspected it would, for the first part of her journey it was clear sailing, but it was not to be. The second half of the travel to the mountain is when things began to slow down.
During one of her jumps across the yawning gaps below, she had almost landed on a group of scraggly humans. The assessment that they were human was ify, hell most of them would have sent a mother into a screaming fit if she gave birth to such monstrosities, well they were not 'that' bad, but they were still ugly as sin. She had almost landed on a group of them when she was able to right herself, calling out to the 'humans' seemed like a good idea at the time, but the greeting she had planned died in her mouth as she got a good look at them.
The creature's had sat there stunned for a few moments, combined with Ranma's staring, both parties were too stunned to do anything about the other. It was surprisingly the 'humans' that gained their sense's first. While one might wonder why Ranma would be stunned by a group of orc's they fail to take into account that no-one he/she had ever faced was quite so... ugly so he/she could be excused for sitting in stunned awe.
The battle was surprisingly short (or not so surprisingly, it depending on your opinion). The 'humans' had charged intent on some sort of nefarious deed; weather to kill the interloper ('umie as they would say) or to have some 'fun' was not sure. But whatever their plot was it quickly became a moot point. Although stunned by their looks Ranma had been in many battles before, and knew when one was about to begin. So without fanfare, she dealt with the onrushing horde, sadly even though what they had planned was the lowest and sickest things that could be done to a human being she left all of them alive.
After the battle she having regained some of the body heat she had lost crawling on the cool mountain rock hiding from the giants. However it soon became apparent that she would need more drastic measure's to keep warm soon, her Ki while keeping her comfortable currently was not limitless, and she could not use it while sleep so she needed shelter. Hoping that she could spot some place to rest from the mountaintop she pressed on.
It became apparent that the single group of 'humans' was not the only ones on the mountain, there were several parties each seemingly either dithering around or going to some specific location. The one thing the 'humans' were lacking more than looks appeared was intelligence, while not complete idiots, they used very little common sense and were quite vocal on their opinions of each other. In that way was it easy to sneak past the groups of 'humans'.
Because of the many 'humans' mulling about it had taken her a good chunk of the day to reach the mountain and ascended it. The sneaking around stopped her from using her superior jumping skills and speed to reach the mountain quickly so in their stead she had to climb and zip from cover to cover. But after half a day she had finally made it to the top of the mountain. Dusting herself off as she stood on the peak she finally got a good look around the area.
It was obviously a large mountain range, for as far as the eye could see there were mountains, only just south of her did they beginning to break up. Now that she had taken in the surrounding area she could look for any details that could lead to shelter for the night. South of her location there looked be some sort of large gathering of people, maybe the same ugly one's as before but she couldn't be sure. There was obviously a few of the 'giants' mixed among them from the look of the forms towering over their lesser brethren. Deciding that she did not want to spend a night even a few hundred feet near those 'men' she looked for another suitable location.
Sighing as she found no such local she decided to head east, along the spine of the mountains hoping to find some sort of crevice or shelter before the night set in.
Consciousness slowly returned to prince currently princess of the Musk. The pounding inside of her head was the first real sign that she was truly fully conscious, that and the slight pain from being dropped from some unknown height. Herb waited several minutes to wait for the pounding in her head to recede before opening her eyes and standing erect. Shaking the final cobwebs from her mind and vision she surveyed her predicament.
She was obviously in some sort of forest where, she had absolutely no clue. The tree's all around her were not of a variety found on Japan, hell not on the whole Asian continent, thinking for a minute she realized that the white flash must have moved her somehow to some location that was located in neither Japan or China. Sighing Herb picked a random direction to walk in, hoping against hope that it would lead to some sort of civilization.
After walking for a few minutes to no avail she made sure to look over the surrounding, so as not to start walking in circles. It took her only a couple of minutes looking around to spot a campfire off in the distance, deciding that whom ever had set the fire would be better company than the empty woods she headed in that direction.
Gulplac was a simple man of wealth; he was good and honest with a little too much facial hair and a scraggly black mop of hair on his head that most women would die for. Sure not one had even looked in his direction but he knew that they liked him; they were only playing hard to get. Just because he had relieved some of the richer folk of there items of value (and the not so rich but that's another story entirely) did not mean he was a thief, oh just because most of his money came from some establishment that call a 'bank' did not make him nitrous. Why would anyone hoard his or her belongings in one place like some dragon? No whoever decided that a 'bank' was a good idea obviously had a few screws loose.
It was for this reason that the good and kind person (he only killed five men in cold blood after all) decided that silverymoon could do without his presence (he had a 10,000 gold piece reward on his head). So here he was enjoying a nice relaxing vacation in a forest only a couple hundred miles away from home (they'd never find him here).
It had only taken him a few minutes to get a good fire going, he knew that there was a few orc's in the area but he was confident that he could handle them (boots of striding and springing do wonders for one's speed), plus the fire would keep any unwanted animals away from his camp.
The first thing he decided to do was cook some of the meat he bought (read: stole) from a traveling merchant. Rolling up a convenient log and getting a good strong stick he began to slowly cook the raw meat over the fire. He had been only doing so for a few minutes when a vision of loveliness came from out of the woods, her pink coloured hair and slitted eyes making her all the more beautiful in his eyes. Standing the meat forgotten in the flames he approached her ready to take her into his arms, and make sweet passionate love to her.
To be Continued...
AN: Enjoy the New chapter segragation, and mispelling of the Authors notes! I have been doing some minor revision of each chapter in chronological order so there will be some minor changes to each one...