Ranma 1/2: Localization Part the Fourth

fanfic by Logan J. Goodhue ([email protected])

05 July 2001

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FIRST FIC ALERT

This is an attempt at a ham-handed localization of the Ranma 1/2 story to the American Wild West. Seriously. Hey! Stop laughing! Um, wait a sec, it's supposed to be comedic... sort of. So, go ahead and laugh, enjoy any WAFF's that show up, and give me feedback, please!

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Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 characters, etc. are Copyright and TM Rumiko Takahashi. Characters appearing in this fic who are *NOT* obviously from the Ranmaverse (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) are copyright 2001 Logan J. Goodhue, most notably Xi Mei-Ling, Master Xiao Xien, and any self insertion I can't resist putting in. (I'll try to avoid the temptation, really!) Any real people in the fic have been dead for a long time, so they don't care and are public domain/fair use, anyway.

A special note on ethnicity: In order to keep the confusion to a minimum, "Indian" in this fic refers to "Native Americans," and "Hindu/Hindi" refers to natives of India. I am attempting to be sensitive in the use of epithets, slurs, etc. (i.e., I ain't using 'em unless the CHARACTER would, and only if I can't dodge it any other way!) In the interest of fairness, most, if not all, of the tribes I will be using are made up of whole cloth, so I don't embarrass myself by having an Apache act like a Seminole or some such thing.

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Xiao Xien looked disapprovingly on the other passengers in the stagecoach. He looked disapprovingly on most other people, it was true, but these people were in for the frowning of a lifetime. Well, except for his granddaughter, Xi Mei-Ling, they were.

A soft smile crept across his lips as he observed her proper behavior. She sat quietly, seeming no more than a carved statue. She was the very epitome of control. Not a drop of sweat marred her alabaster skin in the ghastly California heat. Her perfectly styled mahogany hair never stirred in the breeze of the coach's movement. Her jade-colored eyes never wavered from the point approximately three inches above the head of the man across from her. Her soft, even breathing barely flared the nostrils underneath the light dusting of freckles no amount of powder could ever hide.

So much like her mother, he thought for the thousandth time. While many men considered her beautiful, and never thought beyond that, Xien knew her better than any man alive. Beneath her half-blood exterior dwelt a lively spirit that loved to laugh and sing to the heavens, a spirit he encouraged. It would not do to crush it totally. Control it, yes, but never crush it. After all, wizards weren't often in the habit of lying to themselves or letting their family do the same. Besides, the sheer power she had gotten from her mother's lineage came with a fey temperament. Literally.

Shaking himself from his reverie, he returned his scowl to the other passengers. When they had come aboard in Los Angeles, the man and his wife had tried to have him placed on the outside bench, where they thought "Chinamen" belonged. He had merely handed the driver an extra twenty-dollar gold coin and smiled at them. They at least had the grace to look shocked. Too bad those were the only manners the couple had displayed. They had been garrulous and rudely silent in turns throughout the trip, with their favorite topic being how America was being ruined by all the immigrants. Hypocrites. Stealing the land from the Indians, building a huge country on the backs of the poor who had come seeking hope, and enslaving or taking advantage of people just because of the color of their skin? Then having the temerity to completely ignore the fact that even one generation ago, their family were immigrants? Inexcusable. He intensified his inscrutable scowl.

He had been greatly relieved to notice they hadn't said anything about Mei-Ling, but he supposed that was due to the simple glamour she was projecting. He had told her to practice her magic more, to hopefully gain more control over her fickle, yet staggering power. It had worked, to a point. She could perform simple spells without too much trouble: minor divinations, lighting candles, and the like. As the power of the spell increased, her control diminished. She had power to burn, and it usually did as it wished. It would build up, and add strange effects to everyday occurrences. She was practically followed everywhere by a cloud of flower petals, unless she was concentrating, like she was now.

With a sigh of relief, Xien saw that the couple was getting off at the next stop. Good. He had been so busy thinking, that he hadn't given them a proper scowling. Not that they'd appreciate it. He sighed, allowing the bad vibrations to leave with them. Now he could meditate in peace until the coach reached the pass in the Sierra Madres which led to Million Springs, and his home by the magical site known as both Totem Springs by the natives and as New Jusenkyo by the small bands of Chinese immigrants trying to eke out an existence in the shadow of a failed mining town.

I hope there haven't been any unusual visitors, he thought. I left Pao Long in charge of the Springs. The idiot had been the youngest son of the family that held the post of Guide to the springs in Jusenkyo, and couldn't seem to get it through his head that the place was subtly different. He had been sent to America to try to keep him away from the real springs and the Nichiezu village. Fat lot of good that did. He harrumphed. How were we to know there'd be an Amazon tribe in America, too? And Long even uses the "very tragic story" bit that's been done to death! Xien remembered, too, that Long tended to use the legends from Jusenkyo instead of the true tales that had been told by the lost Muskakur tribe of Indians. Ah, well. It can't have been too bad. I would have noticed a change in the dragon lines by now if something unexpected had happened.

Suddenly, Mei-Ling sneezed, and Xien found himself sitting on the ground next to a pumpkin, four startled mice, and a very confused-looking dog. Mei-Ling looked embarrassed, and said the word that sent a thrill of fear through anyone who knew her.

"Oops!"

As the flower petals swirled around them, Xien thought, not for the first time, how much nicer it would be when Mei-Ling wasn't a teenager anymore and had some control.

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Sam Tendollar looked at his friend Gene in amazement.

"You found one of my tribe's holy sites?" he asked incredulously. "Which one?"

"We found Totem Springs," Gene said softly. "And, apparently, we accidentally angered the guardian spirits. They cursed us." He looked puzzled for a minute, then looked around as if he heard something, but couldn't locate it.

"What curse did they lay on you?"

"I'd rather only explain this once, so when Robin gets back, I'll tell the whole family."

Sam was concerned, but trusted his friend enough to let him take however long it took to explain the strange circumstances of his arrival. Knowing that Gene's daughter Robin was sparring with his daughter Anne, he decided to spend some time getting reacquainted with his old Army buddy.

"Do you still play chess, Gene?" he asked.

"Some," Gene said with a small smile.

Getting up, they went into the parlor and began setting up the pieces for what they hoped would be a short, friendly game.

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Bear was not having a good day. He had been bound to a total idiot as a totem spirit. What was worse, he couldn't seem to communicate with him to tell him he was an idiot. This Gene Sayerton seemed to think he was cursed, instead of blessed with one of the finest gifts any warrior of the Muskakur arts could receive. Hopefully, Maiden was having an easier time with the idiot's son. The boy seemed to have a natural talent for the art of combat, but was rough around the edges. That was why Maiden had chosen him. His potential would make him a great spirit warrior someday. Not for the first time, Bear regretted being so eager to get a charge. If he had waited, he could have trained the boy instead of the idiot.

Feeling blue, Bear? Maiden said from behind him.

A little, he admitted grudgingly. How's it going with your charge?

Better than I expected, she said thoughtfully. Did you know that he's to be engaged to one of the last three women of the Muskakur line?

He is? Bear was shocked. They had thought that disease and battles with the Naxe and Thunderbird tribes had completely destroyed the Muskakur. How did you find that out? I haven't been able to get the hang of this "English" from my charge's mind yet.

Well, she said smugly, my charge isn't quite as stupid as yours. She stuck out her tongue at Bear, then giggled. He actually asked for advice from me! Granted, he didn't know I was there to give advice, but he still asked. He took it, and has already told one of the girls about his gift. A slight pout crossed her features. But, he still seems to think it's something of a curse. It's all that stupid guide's fault! As quickly as the dark mood came, it went, and Maiden turned away.

See you later, Bear! she said cheerfully. My charge is going to need some help if he's going to marry the girl of his dreams!

Bear waved farewell, then turned his attention back to his charge. Maybe I can learn the language while he's busy with this game he's playing, he thought. Nodding to himself, he entered his charge's mind, such as it was, and began rooting around for the basics of English.

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Anne Tendollar felt like she had been run over by a train. A strange, muzzy sensation filled her ears, and she was having the strangest dreams. She had dreamt a strange girl had come to her house and been turned into a boy. Utterly ridiculous, she thought. No way that could have happened.

A voice seemed to be saying something, but she couldn't make it out. Something about something being "all white?" No, that wasn't it.

"Anne," the voice said, concerned. "Anne? Are you all right?" The voice was gentle, barely above a whisper. From the tone, it could have come from a deep-voiced woman or a high-voiced man. She let that go for now.

Now that her hearing had come into focus, her mind began on her other senses. Touch settled in quickly, telling her she was being held gently by a pair of strong arms. A flash of concern sparked through her. She was being held by a man. And she'd been unconscious. She started to feel her temper flare up.

Trying to keep it in check, she let her other senses report in. Her nose detected sweat and canvas. That told her she was in the gym and someone had been using the equipment. That's right, she thought. Robin and I were sparring earlier. Something had happened when they had finished, but she couldn't exactly remember what. Opening her eyes, she looked at the man holding her.

The concern in his startling blue eyes allayed some of her anger. Not all of it, that was certain, but it would do for now. Taking in the rest of his face, she noticed that he looked a lot like Robin. Could this be her brother? Then, it hit her. It was Robin. The girl she had sparred with had turned into a boy.

"Good," he said, his relief evident. "You're awake! I got worried when you fainted like that."

He was worried about me? she thought, dumbstruck. Then, she realized she was in a rather compromising position with a boy she hardly knew. She jumped to her feet and pulled away from him, eyes wide.

"Wh-what happened?" she asked nervously. She looked at her erstwhile rescuer and did a quick evaluation. Wow, he's incredibly handsome, she thought, then shook her head. He was a man. And all men except her father wanted just one thing from girls. Her anger had begun to resurface.

"Um," he said hesitantly, "you fainted. I was able to catch you before you hit your head."

"That's not what I meant," she said with a bit of an edge. "How did you turn from a girl into a boy?" A thought occurred to her, which made her angrier. "Why did you get me alone like that?" Her voice was getting louder. She felt her blood beginning to boil. What kind of man would turn himself into a girl just to be alone with her? A pervert. She began to see red.

He looked around, then seemed to realize he was alone with a girl. He blushed crimson for an entirely different reason than Anne did.

"Sh-shouldn't w-we," he stammered, "go inside or somethin'? Where our dads are, I mean?" He cringed, as though he was expecting a blow.

Anne's anger went out like a candle. He was so scared. She knew just from sparring with . . . him that he was a really good fighter. And he was scared of her. Then, she remembered her promise. She'd sworn on her honor as a Muskakur to be Robin's friend. She released a potent sigh, then began to speak more calmly.

"I'm sorry, Robin," she said. "one of the first things all my friends seem to learn about me is that I have a bit of a temper." She grinned ruefully. "Still want to be friends?" She offered him her right hand. Shyly, he took it.

"Yes," he said softly. Letting her hand go, he turned to the house. "Shall we?"

"Let's," she said. "Father has some explaining to do."

"Both of our Pops do," he said bitterly.

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Roger Huntington was lost. He had been since he had left Totem Springs. This cursed fog wasn't helping matters, either. Only one thing gave him the courage to carry on. He would find Robin Sayerton and have his revenge.

He would have his revenge for the times he had been humiliated in school. He would have his honor satisfied for the challenge Robin had run away from. He would make Sayerton pay for making him suffer all the torments of Hell. He would force the coward to give him a cure for his curse. However, before he could do that, he needed to find the miserable wretch.

Sighing, he decided to ask for directions.

"Excuse me, sir," he asked a policeman. "Could you tell me how to get to San Francisco?"

The policeman stared at him in shock. He rubbed his nightstick along his tall helmet and shifted a little uncomfortably in the yellow gaslight.

"'Ere now," he said briskly, "What's all this abowt San Francisco, guv'na? That's one of those Yank cities, innit? Well, you're in the wrong part of the world for that, Yank!"

Roger's eyes grew cold.

"Don't," he said forcefully. "Call. Me. A. YANKEE!" His fist shot out, and the London Bobby was slammed into a wall, crushing bricks and knocking him out.

Adjusting the Confederate battle flag he wore as a bandanna, Roger checked his umbrella to make sure there were no holes in it. Satisfied, he walked into the smothering fog, grateful it wasn't wet enough to trigger a transformation.

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