No Need for Destiny
No Need for Wrecking Crews
Disclaimer: I don't own this series or any other series. I am just floating an idea. I am making no money, nor plan to, off this venture. If you think of suing me over this, then grow up.
I would like to first personally thank all of those reviewing my stories. I enjoy reading your comments, and try to correct the grammatical errors I miss with my final read-through as well as my spell checkers. The suggestions you all make will help make this story better for everyone to enjoy, as well as allow me to fix some plot holes I may unintentionally leave. If you find any, let me know, and I will correct them and repost the chapters.
Eleven years in the past…
"I don't know," said a young little girl, following her sister down a dirt path near the shrine they had grown up in. "Jiji said we're not to supposed to be out here without him."
The elder girl nodded slightly, still pulling her younger sister down the path. "Can't be helped, we gotta do it," she said.
"But why?" whined the younger child.
Her sister turned, reaching into her shirt and pulling out a small medallion. "We have ta because of this."
The younger child blinked before copying her sibling's movements, pulling out a similar medallion.
The elder moved closer, flipping both medallions over to show the same symbol on each, a symbol their Jiji hadn't been able to tell them what it meant. "We each got found with these, and because of this symbol, Jiji said we're really sisters. He thinks it is a family or clan symbol."
"But what about da other sides?" asked the youngest.
The eldest shrugged. "Jiji said they might be something like names." She really didn't understand much of what he said. He just murmured that they resembled symbols for two planets, but with hearts instead of circles.
"But why do we gotta go out here without Jiji?" asked the youngest, tears in her eyes. "He's not feeling good and I wanna be there ta help him!"
"But what is today?" asked the eldest girl.
"Um … Tuesday?"
The eldest giggled lightly. "It is also the day he found me and you."
The eldest nodded. "Seven years ago, Jiji found me out there in a pile of sand with only my medallion. And then five years ago, we went there and we found you, Little Sister."
"And now, I'm taking you there in case we find we get another sibling! That's why Jiji brings us out here every year."
"Okay!" cheered the youngest, now dragging her sister down along the path.
The eldest giggled as they continued down the path. Her sister always had wanted a younger sibling. Who knew, perhaps today would be the day they found one.
"Come on, Natsume!" cried the youngest. "I wanna see if I got a new baby brother this year! We've been real good and everything!"
"What's wrong with a baby sister, Kurumi?" asked Natsume.
"Nah, cause then they'd try and take my toys!"
As both girls continued on, they failed to take notice of two tracks in the nearby dirt.
One was the large paw-print of a bear.
The other belonged to…
"Ah!" sighed Happosai. "Those fools will never find me here. Knew I should have brought Soun and Genma along. Those two really need to train harder, definitely getting soft with all their whining." Nodding in his new plan, he returned to cooking the food before him. "All that talk about missing their families and wanting warm beds to sleep in. Feh, how could I have raised such worthless students?
"If nothing else, the two oafs could have helped carry more food and sake. Then I wouldn't have had to leave it all behind in order to secure my silky darlings," he said with a sad sigh, looking to the clouds.
Blinking, he darted towards the screams. He may have been a huge pervert. He may have had issues with anyone over the age of ten. He might even been known to throw a temper tantrum or two.
But he would never ignore a small child in need.
After all, small girls grew up to be beautiful ladies.
"Oh, Akane," said a giggling Kasumi, as she and Nodoka continued to prepare dinner, "did you find out what was taking Nabiki so long?" she asked.
Akane just blushed, turning her head to the side. "Um … she was … busy. Yeah, busy working on something. But I think she'll be down soon."
"Oh?" asked Nodoka, noticing how embarrassed the youngest Tendo was. Far be it from her not to tease her future daughter-in-law. "What was she doing, Akane-chan?"
Said Tendo flushed heavily, turning around, her fingers steepled as she tried to figure out how to tell a story that wouldn't end in outing her sister. "Well, she was… Nabiki was…?"
"Was she and my manly son exploring their passions?" asked Nodoka.
"… WHAT?" screeched Akane.
"Well, we did send Ranma up there earlier," spoke Nodoka. "And he only came down a few moment ago to watch television, with you soon following. So he could only have been upstairs until then. And since he didn't come down sooner to let us know Nabiki would be a few more minutes longer, we assumed he was up there with her."
"He was," mumbled Akane.
"Oh my; was Ranma-kun being improper with Nabiki?" asked Kasumi, somewhat scandalized by the images forming in her head. Had her future brother-in-law decided to shift his attentions to Nabiki? Would Nabiki respond or would she play with his feelings again?
"What? NO!" cried Akane. "She was… Nabiki was…"
"Nabiki was upstairs chatting with a friend from school," said Ranma calmly, entering the kitchen to grab a snack while he watched TV. He had listened in to Akane's attempt to explain their prolonged absence before deciding to intervene, feeling it was best to step in before Akane revealed what Washu had done upstairs to the middle Tendo.
If there was one thing he truly knew about the youngest Tendo, it was that she sucked at making stories up on the fly. Sure, she could pull some insane moves out at times, but like Ranma had been before their 'trip', those moves were based more on fighting than daily life.
And lying straight to Kasumi, let alone his mother; that took a fine hand. However, that explained why no one in Nerima ever succeeded in doing such. A Ward of gentle touches, this was not.
"A friend?" asked Kasumi. "She's hasn't had a friend over for years," she finished with a smile. She felt a burst of joy that perhaps her little sister wasn't as 'frigid' as people sometimes alluded to.
Ranma nodded, smiling as his mother slipped him a few more snacks on his plate as he filled his glass up with milk. "She was introducing me to her when Akane found us. Apparently, she and Nabiki have known each other for a while. When the girl heard we were back, she rushed over to hear all the juicy details of what happened to us.
"I'm a girl half the time and I swear I'll never understand the gender," he muttered, walking back towards the living room. "All I know is that ice cream is actually addictive to females," he finished, leaving.
The elder females just giggled after he left.
"Oh darn," smiled Kasumi, "he has learned our one true weakness. Whatever shall we do?"
Nodoka just giggled as well, before trying to put out a look of utmost seriousness. "Do not worry; I shall inform my son of the penalty if such information makes it out to the males." She was only able to hold the appearance for a few more seconds before she too broke down in laughter once more.
With that, to the surprise of Akane, the subject was dropped as the two went back to meal preparations.
No more questions, no more teasing, no more wondering what was taking Nabiki so long to get down there. How did he do that?
"Oh, hello everyone!"
Gulping as fear rose up in her stomach once again, Akane turned towards the entrance to the kitchen, spotting Nabiki and her … girlfriend … standing side-by-side, smiling.
"Oh, you must be Nabiki's friend," replied Kasumi. "I'm her sister, Kasumi."
"My name is Nodoka, but you can call me Auntie, dear," smiled the Saotome matriarch, bowing slightly towards the strange girl.
"Nice to meet you," smiled the girl. "My name is Washu Hakubi. It is a pleasure to meet you."
"Nabiki, how come you didn't tell us your friend would be visiting?" asked Kasumi.
"Trust me, Sis; I was as shocked as you when I saw her," replied Nabiki, trying to keep her face straight. She was relatively certain Washu wouldn't do anything too…
Oh, who was she kidding, she mentally admonished herself. The Elder Goddess had all but tore off her clothes upstairs when Akane was in the room with them. There was simply no telling what mischief she would start in the same room with all three Tendo sisters and Ranma's mother. Hell, she probably would rip off my clothes if Ranma was in the room with us.
"Oh, Nabiki-chan, I'm shocked," admonished Washu. "Have we not known each other for long enough to know I would come right over after hearing my best friend had finally returned?" She completed the appearance with wide eyes, tears ready to fall at any moment.
"I did no such thing! Stop that!" growled Nabiki.
"What? I can't tease you anymore?" asked Washu. Turning, she bowed once more towards Kasumi and Nodoka. "Would it be alright if I assisted you in making dinner?" asked Washu.
Nabiki nearly choked on her tongue.
She was going to stay for dinner!?
This was bad; this was very bad. This would mean Washu would have additional hours to cause trouble of some sort, hours to play up the 'Nabiki's girlfriend' angles, hours to even get a few embarrassing shots in on Ranma! Nothing good could or would come of this.
"Oh, but what about your family?" asked Kasumi.
"Oh, I can give them a call and let them know. I'm sure they can handle things without me for one night. And while I may not be as good of a cook as my sister is, I'm sure I can help make a wonderful welcome-home dinner for Nabs."
"Don't call me Nabs," groused Nabiki.
"No need to worry," said Nodoka. "Just use the phone over there and let them know. Will you be staying the night as well?" she offered.
Nabiki and Akane choked on their tongues for completely different reasons at that moment, both not noticed by the cooking duo.
"If I won't be any trouble," said Washu with a cheery smile. "You know, Nabiki's never invited me over for a sleepover."
"Oh, we should do that tonight!" added Kasumi. "A slumber party, just us girls!" She giggled for a moment. "It'll be just like I used to have in high school."
"Will you join us, Auntie?" asked Washu, ignoring the gaping stares of the two youngest—in theory anyway—Tendos. "We should have some adult supervision."
"I would be honored," said the smiling Nodoka. "But you really should get permission first before we make any further plans."
Nodding, Washu skipped towards the entrance and the phone, pausing only to shut Nabiki's mouth. "I'll be right back, Nabs," she finished, continuing on her way to use the phone.
Had Nabiki not known that Washu really did have a home to call, she would have suspected that it was all a ploy to steal some time with Ranma. That woman … is pure evil. Nabiki rubbed the bridge of her nose, fighting off a migraine. Her co-wife had just gotten herself invited not only for dinner, but for a sleepover as well!
I'm a damned woman from this moment on. She'll pull out all the stops to have her fun at what will likely be my expense.
Turning slightly, she saw the shocked gaze and open mouth of her youngest sister beside her, no doubt wondering what Nabiki's 'girlfriend' would be up to that night as well.
Shaking her head, Nabiki closed Akane's mouth, before making her way into the kitchen. "Come along, Little Sister; we might as well help get the meal ready." With any luck, she could buy herself a few brownie points before everything went to hell.
Who knew; perhaps she'd even think of some excuse to get Akane to stop with those weird stares she was directing towards her.
One miracle at a time, Nabiki; one miracle at a time.
Ranma ignored whatever warnings his senses were giving him as he focused on the television. Yes, focusing on the television would mean he wouldn't hear any screams or have to worry about embarrassing questions sent his way. So this is why most of the adults on Earth seem to lose themselves in this device.
Man, it's even worse than on Seniwa. About a hundred channels and not a damned thing on! At least there, I'd have another fifty thousand to check.
Oh, shit! He knew his plan would not work on Washu. Ignoring her only made her try harder to get your attention. With Washu, it was always better to face things head-on, damned the consequences. "I assume I should surrender to the inevitable?" he asked.
"Probably," smirked Washu as she went over to the phone. "Don't get me wrong; the sex was good. Just not 'all is forgiven' good."
"I figured," said Ranma, staring at the local news report. "So you will keep from revealing our secrets before we are ready?"
Sighing, Washu put the receiver to her ear. "I promised, didn't I?"
Ranma just nodded. That's what worries me.
"Yes, Mother," said Mikumo Kuramitsu. "I will inform Lord Tenchi and the others of your plans for the night."
"So then, what will you be up to, my son?"
"Me? Oh, I will be busy connecting with my half-sister," he said.
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" screamed Ryoko, flying by as fast as she could.
"WAAAH!" cried Mihoshi, darting after her great-grandaunt. "I just wanna show you the family album!"
"So … Mihoshi finally put it together, huh?"
"Yes," he murmured. "Will they be alright?"
"Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine. If things get out of hand, Lord Tenchi will deal with it. Perhaps Lord Yosho might finally get off his hill and rein them in."
"And if not?"
"Then we may need to reset the universe again."
"At least I'm not going to end up blown to the outer edge again," Mikumo muttered. "Have fun, Mother, and do take it easy on them."
"Son, trust me; they wouldn't respect me if I didn't do this." With that, the line went dead.
Shaking his head, Mikumo set the phone back into its cradle, and turned slightly to spot his aunt/grandniece. "Mother will not be joining us, tonight. She will be having a 'slumber party' at the Tendo Dojo."
Sasami nodded with a smile. "That was very nice of her to call. Usually she hides inside her lab and I have to go get her."
"Why not one of the others?" he asked.
"Washu-chan tends to be … excitable around the others," Sasami responded as diplomatically as she could.
He nodded in understanding. Anyone else who went in there to fetch his mother would be open targets to be guinea pigs. Sasami was off limits for some reason, perhaps because his Mother had sensed their connection with the young princess before she had awoken.
Or perhaps it was just because she was an excellent cook.
"She's really a nice person, but sometimes Washu-chan can be an insane mad scientist."
"I … gathered."
"COME ON, RYOKO! PUT ON THE UNIFORM! IT IS FAMILY TRADITION!"
"I AM NOT A MEMBER OF GP!" yelled the former space pirate as she tried to fend off the attempts of her distant relative and the uniform in her hands.
"I am surprised Lord Tenchi maintains his sanity in such an environment," Mikumo commented. Although, it probably added another reason to his mother's desire not to be in the Masaki house that night.
"Eh," shrugged Sasami. Part of her didn't find it that difficult. In her opinion, it merely gave the prince more … world experience. After all, if he couldn't keep his two betrothed from destroying the planet or each other, what chance did he have to maintain peace as the future Emperor of Jurai?
"Do you need assistance in the kitchen?" he inquired. "Father insisted we all learn to cook at a young age and I have been told by my wife that I am quite handy with a skillet." Of course, it went without saying that his lovely wife, Miyuki, received other lessons with what to do with blunt cooking instruments, from her mother.
Anything Goes Spousal Debate, a battle that always ended in favor of the female.
"Thank you," smiled Sasami. "I wouldn't mind."
Yes, Mikumo decided he had made the right choice.
"Damn it, Ayeka; help me!"
"Hell with that, Monster Woman!"
"Hey! We can be partners together, busting criminals in space!" squealed the tanned blond, somehow producing yet another GP uniform.
"We … really should start dinner now," murmured Mikumo, escorting Sasami a little more forceful than he meant to towards the kitchen.
Tonight, he was sleeping aboard his Tree Ship. He had a feeling it would not only be quieter, but also much safer.
Cologne looked over the notice, knowing it would only be a matter of time before the Goddess arrived, most likely with a strong contingent of Amazon warriors. Depending on how her rivals in the Council twisted the facts, that contingent could include more than a few eligible females seeking a few of Nerima's more entertaining fighters.
But there would be twice as many seeking to acquire Ranma, now with Shampoo's own failure nearing the time limit.
Not only do I have to contend with those vultures seeking to pick at my legacy, but also the girls who will chase after Son-in-Law like Mousse chases Shampoo. And not only that, but the Goddess herself chose this moment to visit.
I fear they would not have been brave enough to try this now, if not for her presence. With her here, I fear how far they may try to carry this action of theirs.
Shaking her head, she sealed the scroll once again. The Goddess could transverse distances in a blink of an eye. Getting from China to Japan would be no issue, no worries with Customs, passports, and whatnot.
That would give the people of Nerima some cover. When Cologne had first arrived, she had taken quick action to legalize the presence of herself and her charges. Paperwork, even for a nation like Japan, was a nuisance of the highest caliber. It could dog a person down for days even if they had the luck of the Gods, years for the saps unable to navigate the entrenched bureaucracy. It had only been sheer luck that the Amazons had went out decades earlier and entrenched some protocols in those same bureaucracies to make their hunts all the swifter.
It was amazing what politicians would let slip by when the beauty 'enticing' them was exotic, bouncy, young, and didn't appear to be a threat.
And now those same resources might be her only edge, assuming the other Elders accompanying the Goddess would forget to make such allowances.
But that was the whole issue, wasn't it? She only had guesses and possibilities of which her rivals might politically strike at her with. There was no telling how they would assault her position, if they would. The arrival of the Goddess might sway them from such a path.
But she knew it wouldn't. She may have been gone from the Village for so much time, but not enough for her people to turn into the Federation from that 'Star Trek' series.
Damn it, I need to stop letting those teens switch the TV station. They're turning me into a Trekkie. Next thing you know, I'll start thinking Son-in-Law is engaged to a Q.
"Are you alright, Lady Tokimi?" asked Ayeka, hiding nearby to avoid the blond police officer with delusions of expanding the GP ranks.
The Goddess blinked. "I'm not sure. That was a sneeze, right?" she asked.
"… I think I like them."
"Great-grandmother," interrupted Shampoo.
"Shampoo is done cleaning. I go visit Airen now?" she asked hopefully.
"Not tonight, great-granddaughter. Check Mousse's work, then get prepared."
"Prepare for what?" asked the young Amazon.
"It would appear a Gathering has begun at the village, one I'm quite sure will soon end up with our Goddess visiting us here."
"… She come here?"
Cologne sighed. Perhaps waiting so long to tell them had been a bad idea. But the last thing she needed was Mousse trying to defeat Son-in-Law somehow in the insane thought that doing so would curry favor with Shampoo or the Goddess. "Yes, Shampoo."
"… AIYAH!" cried the girl. "Shampoo not ready! Need to polish weapons, make sure armor fit!
"Noooo! Shampoo need Airen beside her, Goddess bless union, help Shampoo keep Airen from kitchen-destroyer!"
Ah yes, the other reason not to tell them. "Shampoo, Son-in-Law will not be here for the Goddess's arrival."
The bouncy Amazon blinked. "Why?"
"Because my dear, if the Goddess comes here, she will be bringing our tribal sisters, as well as other Elders since even a newborn Musk would not dare attack the village during her Gathering, lest she wipe them from the world.
"And the last thing I want is Son-in-Law somehow throwing a Gremlin into the works. Can you honestly say that there is no chance that Genma or even Happosai did not offend the Goddess somehow?"
"Shampoo no take stupid bet," the girl grumbled. "But Shampoo want Airen here!"
"He is not an Amazon, nor was he born in the Valleys of Jusenkyo," glared Cologne. "Until you have taken him to bed—"
"Shampoo sleep with Airen!" the bubbly Amazon replied. "Airen very comfortable, no snore!"
"Bed as in sex," growled Cologne.
"Oh! We no do that yet, Airen no put out."
Cologne rubbed her forehead, making a mental note to really ramp up Shampoo's mental training. The girl really needed to learn proper Japanese. "Until then, he isn't part of the tribe, therefore not granted the honor of meeting the Goddess without her permission first.
"Do you understand?"
Sighing, the girl nodded. "Shampoo understand."
"That goes for you as well, Mr. Part-timer," stated Cologne, looking at a dark doorway. "Until the Goddess states otherwise, Son-in-Law is off limits for your usual foolish attempts. I would like this meeting to go off with as little chaos as possible."
"No buts!" yelled Cologne. "I will not have the Goddess angered at our tribe because of you doing something stupid that you think will endear Shampoo to you. If I had more warning, I'd drag you to an eye clinic and force you to have laser surgery to ensure you don't hug or insult her! Even your family's connections would not protect you from her ire! Is that clear?"
"Yes, Elder," sighed Mousse. Just you wait! I'll have the Goddess okay my fight with Saotome! Surely, with her blessings, I will finally defeat him and win Shampoo's heart!
Cologne just sighed. I knew I should have focused more on their mental development and less on my soap operas.
Blinking, all three—amazingly including Mousse—stared at the small creature on the front counter.
"What this?" asked Shampoo.
Cologne reached over, grabbing the small scroll from the tiny humanoid. To their amazement, once the scroll was out of its hands, it vanished in a small puff of smoke, disappearing as it had come, no signs it had ever been there.
"Shampoo not know how it get past us," murmured the busty Amazon maiden, staring at where the messenger had been.
Cologne nodded. Her senses had failed to pick up its method of arrival or departure as well. "Truly a messenger of hers." Opening it up, she read the scroll quickly, committing it to memory as fast as she could, in case it too was about to vanish from her sight.
Nodding slowly, she turned to look at her two charges. "Well, I have good news and bad news."
"… What good news?" asked Shampoo.
"The good news is that the Goddess will be coming over tomorrow around eleven, our time, for her visit."
"And the bad news?" asked Mousse.
"It appears she will be accompanied by several husband hunting parties and the Elders."
"Well, that's not too bad," sighed Mousse.
Shampoo just smirked. "Maybe they bring Dowel. She have crush on Mousse, yes?"
"Grk!" was all the myopic Amazon could force out, remembering Shampoo's final match a last year's tournament. "She what?"
"Ah yes," murmured Cologne. "I believe she might be included. They are all coming to find some strong husbands."
"… They in big trouble," sighed Shampoo, wondering which fool would be the sad Amazon stuck with either of the Kuno males. Not that she didn't have plans to lead a few of her fellow Amazon maidens to that plot of land, if for nothing else than to get them out of her hair. "Strong husbands here, yes. Not very bright or with sound mind," she concluded. "Might be more harm than good."
Cologne could only nod. Sure, this land had many strong fighters, but nearly all of them had one issue or another, one eccentric actions or another that would make them usually unfit to join the tribe. Anyone with the last name Kuno was self-evident. Ryoga's family curse was a good example, unless the Goddess herself could cure such an affliction.
Of all the men, perhaps Ryu—the young lad who had pretended to be Ranma Saotome to gain access to the Forbidden Scrolls of the Saotome School was sadly the best pick.
Well, aside from son-in-law. Minus the boy's large fear of all things feline, he would be the best available pick of all. Ryu would still be the second best, if only because Ranma had beaten him in a fight.
"There is also something else," muttered Cologne. Part of her didn't want to say this to her descendent, to damage her hopes for the future.
But part of being an adult was making such difficult decisions. And Shampoo's future would be served much better with full knowledge than missing facts. Better to hurt the teen now than to see the looks of betrayal in her eyes later.
"What is it, Great-Grandmother?" asked Shampoo.
"Some of the Elders have been pushing to open the pursuit of Ranma," she said.
"… BUT AIREN IS SHAMPOO'S AIREN!" bellowed the foreign beauty.
"YES!" cried Mousse, very tempted to begin dancing in joy.
It was only tempting, since as soon as he finished his cry, he was silenced by a quick strike from Cologne's staff.
"We have discussed this point already, Mousse," growled Cologne. "The current hunt is Shampoo's alone. Do not make me hide you as a duck at a pet store for the Goddess's visit. I don't fear her disapproval of you being missing that much."
The myopic Amazons merely nodded, still smiling. If others pursued Saotome or even caught him—granted, there probably wasn't enough drugs in Japan to allow it to happen, but he could still dream—then Shampoo would be free to be wooed by him.
"Why they do such, Great-Grandmother?" cried Shampoo, tears beginning to flow down her face.
"Son-in-… Ranma," she continued, catching herself, "has defeated two leaders of the two tribes in the Valley aside from our own. He defeated me for the Phoenix Pill. And in the present, the other Elders claim they do not wish to antagonize such a powerful force.
"Truthfully, many also have single Amazon maidens as descendents who they undoubtedly wish to have him breed with." Shaking her head at the pure pettiness she had witnessed among the council as of late, she continued. "As such, they have been pushing in the Council lately to open the pursuit of Ranma to other Amazons. They claim you have had enough time to acquire your husband and wish to open the claim for other Amazons so his genes will enter the tribe."
"But Shampoo is trying!" bellowed the young female. "Shampoo try to win Airen, even though Airen seem obsessed with Kitchen Destroyer.
"Actually, Shampoo wonder if Kitchen Destroyer is using potions. Not see big deal with her." She had been wondering what it was that the youngest Tendo had done to win such devotion from Ranma, if for nothing else than to see if she could use a similar way into his heart.
Cologne shook her head. "Never underestimate a true offer of friendship, child; even if it is immediately followed by a sound beating."
The middle Tendo was always a good source of information, willing to trade a lot when the eldest wasn't cooking dinner that night.
"What I do?" asked Shampoo, looking to her relative for guidance.
"For now, Child," stated Cologne, trying to compose a proper message to keep Shampoo going, "keep your hope. The new prospects will chase after him, no doubt about it, but certainly not in the presence of the Goddess herself." Traditions be as they were, Amazons would never debase themselves in front of their Goddess. It went against how they were brought up to see the female gender as the superior one. "If anything, they will request to remain behind after the Goddess brings them here.
"As such, when not required for the Goddess's needs, you shall still pursue him, but under the confines of his mother's demands." If anything, that last statement would have more leeway with the young charge than anything Cologne would say. After all, even if they were foreign, a mother's word carried a lot of weight with the Amazons.
"Shampoo do," stated the Jusenkyo-cursed girl, standing tall, pride and determination filling her eyes. Before the Goddess left, she would stand before her with her Airen and receive her blessing.
Then … she could begin the making of many future Amazons.
Cologne ignored her descendant's perverted giggles. For now, the immediate problems were dealt with.
Now, she had the long-term ones to handle.
Keitaro Urashima, landlord of the Hinatasou, and recently discovered descendant of space aliens, made his way to his private bath. Sure, it was just a half-barrel set on a porch. But it was his, so he didn't have to worry about his bad luck acting up and walking in on one of his tenants bathing.
Though why they never put out the "In Use" sign for the hot springs was beyond him.
Shaking his head at what had been an eventful morning, he paused before the door leading to his bath. So many things had changed in the last few hours, things he was struggling to understand, to fit into what he knew of life. He had alien ancestors—he wasn't quite sure how Japanese ancestry was viewed when one had ancestors not born on this planet, so that was confusing.
His grandmother had hidden so much from him—and he had thought her worst sin on that issue had been inviting him to stay at the Hinatasou and 'forgetting' to mention it was now a girls' dormitory.
"And I just got into Todai," he murmured, shaking his head. "So much for things getting easier." Thus said, he opened the door.
And spotted his great-grandfather soaking in the barrel, looking out from under a towel placed on his forehead.
"Come in, child," said Yajiro Kojima Kuramitsu, soaking in the hot water. "We have a lot to discuss."
Keitaro gulped, fear rising in him quickly, growing exponentially when he saw his ancestor's sword laying against the soaking basin.
Yajiro turned away from the boy, lowering the washcloth to cover his eyes. "Hurry up, Keitaro. I'll wait for you to get washed, but just because I'm older than you doesn't mean I have a great deal more patience."
"Well… I mean…"
"YES SIR!" cried Keitaro, tripping over his own feet as he rushed to the washing area, ripping off his clothes as he went.
Yajiro sighed, saddened by what he was already seeing in the boy. If Hinata was correct, a sleeping power rested within him, a power to that point unknown to the Kuramitsu.
Not that such was odd. From what he knew of the family he married into, ki-adepts were popular within the bloodline. So it was entirely possible that Keitaro's indestructible ability could simply be a ki-process.
I need to stop thinking about such things, he internally sighed. Those questions were best answered by people other than him.
And he wasn't here to dissect the boy's existence. Keitaro had had a very rough afternoon, learning secrets he should have known years ago. And now because Hinata had put such off for so long, the young man was unsure of what it all meant.
Yajiro was not about to trust his daughter to fix such a mistake sadly.
Keitaro eased himself into the bath, blinking for a moment as he noticed a few shifts from the barrel. It was no longer small enough to barely sit two comfortably, was now easily double that. The inside looked nothing like the barrel, but more like what one would expect out in the artificial hot springs the women used.
"I updated it a bit," commented Yajiro, taking a guess at why his great-grandson was not fully in the tub by now. "Rushuna's addicted to hot springs. And after so long, I guess a bit of that has rubbed off on me. I hope you don't mind."
"N-not at all, sir," Keitaro stuttered, easing himself into the waters. He had to admit that the seats did feel much better than the old ones, the backs no longer being a constant threat of splinters—and good luck getting someone to remove them without creating more chaos at the Hinatasou.
The less said about those incidents, the better. But he had gotten smart enough after a while to ask 'outside' of the inn to keep down on roof repairs.
"How are you handling things?"
"Sir?" asked Keitaro.
"Child, you found out your grandmother was keeping massive secrets from you, making massive plans for you, found out your ancestry, found out why that Kaolla Su girl was able to create such advanced technology, and several other items; each of which would send the average man running to a shrink.
"So … how are you handling things?" he finished, raising his washcloth a bit.
"Well … I guess it hasn't really sunk in yet," Keitaro answered lamely, rubbing the back of his neck.
Yajiro stared at the man, before slowly nodding. "Yeah, too much at once and too little time to process it. I've seen it before, usually on the battlefield.
"Then again, I guess from what I've learned so far, this place would fit."
"Well, they're not that bad, sir," offered Keitaro. "And I do deserve it sometimes."
"Ah yes, the difference between a pure heart and a pure mind," Yajiro commented.
"A pure mind sees no perversions, commits no perversions, and thinks of no perversion," the elder man stated. "A pure heart understands perversions, but commits none."
"I … see."
"You're surrounded by nubile girls who sometimes get into situations with you that could be considered perverted to an outside observer with no background, but you did not seek to start such things."
"Exactly!" said Keitaro in awe. Finally, someone understood it! It was a load off his mind that someone finally got what he went through. He felt like a huge load had been lifted off his shoulders, his … relatives possibly considering him a pervert.
"Blame the Kuramitsu luck for that," Yajiro mumbled. "Not sure the reason, but even Rushuna's father had some bad luck with women, having that same issue."
"So I'm not alone," sighed Keitaro. "It's just some alien luck."
Yajiro remained quiet. That wasn't his story to tell.
"So … ah, what now?" asked Keitaro.
"Presently, we're getting ready for a family reunion here on Earth," stated Yajiro. "After that, it is pretty much up to you as long as you don't become a threat to the locals."
"You mean, I won't have to leave Earth?" Keitaro asked.
"Only if you want to," answered Yajiro. "We stayed here together for three decades before we ever first ventured off Earth together. And we've been back quite a few times. So no, we won't be forcing you to leave Earth.
"Don't get me wrong, you can't stay forever. Unless you and those girls choose not to have the medical upgrades, you won't age like everyone else. And people might wonder why the guy they've known for fifty years still looks the same after all that time."
Keitaro nodded, the image of his two friends…
Well, he couldn't remember their names now, but the thought of them as old men while he looked the same was a little creepy.
"Wait, girls?" asked Keitaro.
"Why would they be involved?"
He raised the washcloth off his face, looking at the boy. Was he really serious? Did he not see how some of those females had reacted at the news Hinata had finally released?
Looking at the boy's clueless expression, he concluded that yes, he was. You know, you hear stories, but to see it actually is a family trait… "Those girls you live with desire to stay with you. My guess, the fact polygamy is okay for our family put a few ideas into their heads."
"What?" gasped Keitaro, not sure if he should be afraid, happy, or afraid that someone might think he was happy.
"And your great-grandmothers are in the main hot spring talking to them," Yajiro continued. "So it is a distinct possibility you'll have a few women interested in a marriage proposal in—for the love of the Elder Goddesses, don't faint in the hot tub!" bellowed Yajiro, reaching over and pulling the unconscious man from the hot liquid.
"Oh yeah, Hinata; you really prepared him for his future," he growled as he worked on yanking the boy out of the bath.
Ranko sighed as she finished her fourth kata, happy to have found a spot within the local park where she didn't have to worry about people staring at her. Most people on Earth had never seen a person jump nearly five meters in the air, let alone seem to ignore the Law of Gravity to slow their descent, packing more moves into the fall than should have been possible.
Not that Minato Ward didn't have similar scenes in its recent history. But unlike Nerima, those scenes usually always revolved around magic girl battles and their enemies.
Seeing a supposed human female do such without the aid of magic probably would have sent people screaming, a detail she had hoped to avoid by practicing in the secluded area of the park.
The fact it wasn't covered in trash or examples of teenage hormones was a good bonus if she did say so herself.
But she had needed a break. After moving in, meeting her new roommate, her roommate's friends—she swore someone had gone through her manga, one of the blonds if the hair she found was not dyed—and had a good few days with them. Sure, they were magic girls, two of which were 'Lost' Kuramtisu from the old Moon Kingdom period of Sol. But at least the group was fun to hang out with.
Too often, she had to worry about if people were her friend simply because of who her parents were. "Stupid spoiled rich assholes," she muttered, slipping into the second form of Infinity School, her anger rising. It was amazing how many wealthy families tried to 'match' her up with their sons—and a few daughters, but the less said about that, the better.
Her hands and feet began to glow with red ki as she felt her rage swell. Most of those brats hadn't even been able to look beyond their own noses, too busy mouthing off about what they would inherit, what they had, and how things would change once they were in charge.
And that didn't include the occasional heir who preferred her brothers to her.
Her eyes narrowed as she saw some of the grass turn black as her leg went for a foot sweep. "Damn, losing my temper again," she growled.
"Guess I better count myself lucky," she murmured. "I only had to deal with them a few years." Some of her siblings—even the happily married ones—had had such pressures and attempts all their lives.
"And I could be in Nerima," she sighed, restarting the kata. At least she didn't have to worry about a certain Blue Blunder's attempts to woo her. And no doubt, when she started school in a day or so, she'd have her own following.
She could only smirk, remembering Makoto and her friends showing her a yearbook from Juuban High, pointing out the playboys and the perverts.
Spirits lifting, she released a deep breath, preparing to go into a higher kata. Yes, the open air of a planet—even one with as polluted an atmosphere as this one—always was great for calming her down. And why shouldn't she be happy? She was on her own, away from her folks, single, not being targeted for some political marriage by the Devil Princess, and lastly was not her sister Hippolita. All grand reasons for her to continue on with a smile.
And she knew tonight would be a good evening with her roommate.
"I just hope she'll be okay," she muttered. She recalled her brother Enma explaining a few things to her before he left, saying he would be delivering some old magi-tech data crystals to the 'Senshi' and that Ranko should watch out and ensure nothing bad resulted from it.
Bad? The magi-tech was ancient! Couldn't he have updated them at least?
And what was on them that would be so dangerous that he would ask her to watch out for them?
Blinking, she turned, spotting a crystalline female figure a few meters ahead.
"Your life energy will be mine!" cried the figure.
"… Oh, you're one of those youma-thingies I was told about," stated Ranko, facts clicking together in her memory. She remembered her initial debriefing about the area before her parents set her up there. "But I thought you were all killed off with Queen … Beelzebub?"
"Queen Beryl!" it bellowed. "And I don't need her! I shall take this world for my own!"
"Wow, other than answering who Queen what's-her-name was, that told me absolutely nothing important," yawned Ranko. "And besides, since you're evil and everything, I can't exactly let you go. My parents would never let me hear the end of it."
"Foolish cow, how could you—"
The youma barely recognized the searing pain until after she had flown through a tree, a boulder, and a nearby SUV.
"Cow?" growled Ranko, red ki flaring about her. "Cow? Does this look like the body of some fat heifer?" she bellowed. "I worked hard to maintain this figure! This sort of natural beauty doesn't come from sitting on your ass all day!" She wasn't narcissistic, but she did take pride in her appearance.
Considering what her grandfathers looked like, she wasn't going to take any chances.
The youma slowly extracted itself from the steel frame of the SUV, ignoring the crying owner nearby. The human's attack had hurt.
But the human was now looking like an all-you-can-eat buffet; life force was literally exploding from it. If she could just get close enough to absorb some of that overflowing life energy… "Cow is right, for you are my meal!" sneered the youma, what passed as saliva dripping out of its jaw as it slowly approached, trying to even drain some of that energy straight from the air. Yes, this one was perfect to feed it before those Senshi showed up.
What could go wrong?
A spiraling blast of energy slammed into the youma's side, trapping it inside as it ripped it apart with the conflicting energies of hot and cold.
The anger ki flashed out of existence as Ranko blinked, the energy wave finally relenting, revealing the broken body of the youma before it crumbled into dust. "That's it?
"Man, these guys suck," she commented. "I didn't even get to kick its ass for calling me a cow."
Blinking, she turned, spotting two girls quickly approaching her from the direction of the energy spiral. "Uh … do I know you?"
The smaller girl began to tear-up, as she appeared to cross the distance in a heartbeat, standing before Ranko. "Y-you mean you don't remember us?"
"I just got here," Ranko replied.
"Did we not fight each other at the Tendo Dojo?" inquired the taller female.
"Uh, no," replied Ranko, figuring out they were referring to her father's female form. "I do have a cousin who looks like me. You might be referring to her."
"Oh, then we're sorry for mistaking you," offered the taller girl. "My name is Natsume and this is my younger sister, Kurumi."
"Ranko Kuramitsu," Ranko replied, bowing with the sisters. "Thanks for the help, but I wanted to pound that youma's face in. The bitch called me a cow."
"That was a youma?" asked Natsume in shock. "I had heard of them, but I thought they were all defeated by a local group of magic girls."
"They missed a few," grumbled Ranko. "And with attitudes like that, it's no wonder they're all—"
Natsume blinked as the girl in front of her vanished, reappearing a few meters back, hand outstretched, stopping Kurumi from grabbing her snacks.
Kurumi giggled nervously, having been caught. "Um … sorry?"
"Please forgive my sister," said Natsume, approaching them. "Try as I might, she still at times thinks solely about her stomach."
It was at that moment the stomachs of all three growled in hunger, loud enough even to shut up the crying SUV owner.
"Well, I guess I can cover us all for a meal," Ranko complained. "As thanks for the help, not charity."
"Of course," bowed Natsume.
"Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!" cried Kurumi, tackling the Kuramitsu teen with a flying hug.
To Natsume's surprise, the girl didn't go down, simply swayed slightly before patting the younger girl on the head. "Fine, let me just get my jacket and we can get going. There's a place to the north of here I saw on my way."
As the girls nodded happily, Ranko bent down and grabbed her gear, stuffing what she could into her backpack—what with people watching and random teleportation not being allowed within view of 'normal' Earthlings—and stood back up, tossing her jacket over her shoulder, still feeling too warm to put it back on. "Follow me," she said with a smile as she took off in a light jog.
The sisters followed, their pace soon becoming automatic as their eyes spotted a large symbol on the back of Ranko's jacket when a gust of wind caught it. Upon seeing it, their hands instantly grabbed medallions under their shirts, medallions that each had two symbols, but only one that labeled them as sisters.
"C-could you tell us about the symbol on your jacket?" Natsume asked, worry and hope rising in her voice.
Ranko blinked as she paused in her jog, slowing down a bit to be heard. "Oh, it is the logo for my parents' company: Kuramitsu Sol."
Turning back around to continue their journey, she missed the two looks on the faces of the sisters, the looks of those who found the first real clue about the identity of where they came from.