The Dragon Within

Ranma Fanfic by Seras4545

A/N: Really, I am sorry for the late updates, but I'm getting back in my groove so I should be able to push a few chapters out before I get into a funk again because of school. Oh, and for those who had trouble with the understanding of True Seeing, it is the act of seeing beyond the surface. So it would allow Ranma to see past most illusions and also to see the aura of those around him. Hope that clears up some confusion.

On with the show!

Chapter Seven: The Blue Thunder Versus The Blue Dragon

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Ranma woke to a pounding headache, feeling as if he had the hammers of Thor using his brain as an anvil. He opened his eyes to find that it was pitch dark in the room and that was when he decided to get some more sleep, feeling quite drained. Besides, he was comfortable and had a warm blanket and soft, warm pillow. When he began to burrow deeper into the blanket and pillow however, he noticed that the pillow didn't have as much give as a normal pillow should and that it was a little too warm... Not only that, but he found he couldn't move that much as he found something warm blocking his movements on both sides and he began to panic a bit.

Okay, okay. Calm down Ranma. Think this through. Just make a little light to see what you've gotten yourself into. He thought rationally. He tried moving his arms and found that his right was the only one unconstrained. He quickly traced a cantrip in the air and slowly a ball of light encased his right hand. What it showed him caused him to have a nosebleed and nearly pass out again.

On either side of him lay well endowed women who were entangled with him underneath a rumpled blanket. What's more, the thing that Ranma had thought was a pillow turned out to be a breast of the girl on his right, who he recognized as the girl he had created.

"Geez, just what the heck did I get myself into?" Ranma muttered, as he tried to find some way to extricate himself from the potentially incriminating position. He nearly laughed at the irony of it all though. This was something out of the perverted fantasy of just about any ordinary guy's dream, a situation that any guy would kill to be in. Ranma had the feeling, however, that this may become very troublesome if he let it continue.

After several unsuccessful attempts to untangle himself, he finally traced another cantrip that levitated the two girls and smoothly changed their positions so that Ranma could get up and out of the room. It wasn't until he was out and in the halls and felt a draft that he noticed, quite embarrassingly, that he was practically naked, only wearing his boxers. Dang, just what did those two intend to do? And people say guys are perverted...

Deciding he had pushed his luck a little too much with untangling himself from the two girls, he opted to create some new clothes rather than risk waking them up. He traced several sigils in the air and looked them over, then decided to add a few to define the clothes and give them a few special properties, such as the ability to enlarge and shrink to fit his form. When he finished he enacted the spell and he immediately felt the drain on his mana reserves and nearly passed out again. Damn, guess I should wait to do any serious magic again. He thought as his power stabilized and the spell took effect.

When it finished it's work he was clothed in black form fitting pants made of a stretchy material and a green shirt with encircling blue and gold dragons that laced up the front made of the same stuff that adhered to his form. Nice, it's like wearing a second skin, though it does a little bit better at hiding the indecent parts. Maybe I should get into making clothes or something... He thought as he looked himself over, seeing that it looked pretty good on him. It was also very flexible, allowing for full range of movement.

He then walked down the hall and headed down the stairs to get something to drink. He noticed a light as he got closer to the first floor and saw that it came from the kitchen. He peeked inside and saw that Kasumi was up and making breakfast already. He watched for awhile as she chopped some onions up and noticed the fluid and precise movements and knew that in cooking, Kasumi was a cultivated expert.

He decided to offer his help, after all he still considered himself a freeloader. He walked into the kitchen and waited for Kasumi to notice him. After a couple of minutes though it was obvious that she was too absorbed in her work to notice him unless he did something.

"Hey, Kasumi, watcha doin' up this early?" Ranma asked after a few more moments.

Kasumi jumped in surprise and then yelped when she cut her hand on the knife. As soon as Ranma saw the blood he ran over to Kasumi.

"Are you alright Kasumi?" Ranma asked, panic in his voice.

"Yes, I think I'll be fine. The cut isn't too deep." She said a little shakily. Ranma heard a little sadness in her voice as well and decided to do what he could to help.

"Here, let me see." Ranma said as he took Kasumi's hand and examined the cut. It really wasn't all that serious, but it would leave a scar. Ranma also took notice of all the other scars on her hands, the price a true culinary chef must pay in order to become as good as she was. And that was why she was also sad, the scars were numerous and crisscrossed all over her palms, making them slightly rough.

Ranma checked his reserves and found that he should have a little more than enough for what he planned. He looked into Kasumi's eyes and saw her nervousness.

"May I?" He asked, feeling that he should ask permission of her before using any magic around her.

At her slight nod and smile, he concentrated and drew some sigils over her palm, pouring power into the spell. The cut healed quickly and sealed up without a trace. Then his true gift showed through as the scars that she had accrued over the years began to fade and sink into her skin, returning to normal, healthy, pink flesh.

"Oh, my." Kasumi whispered as she saw the scars disappear as if they had never been. He then motioned for her other hand which she silently placed in his palm, still in awe of what he could do. He then repeated the same process with that hand as well, leaving her hands without a single mar, as complete and soft as the day she was born. He released her hand and she stood staring at them in fascination, as if not daring to believe they were her own.

Then she surprised him by enveloping him in a crushing hug. "Oh, thank you Ranma-kun! You have no idea how much this means to me! How can I ever thank you?"

Ranma smiled, happy that he had done something good for her. "Well... How about you let me cook the rest of breakfast?"

"Oh no, I couldn't, I mean you're a guest and..." She stopped when he raised his hand.

"It's alright. I like cooking anyways. Besides, I know quite a few interesting recipes because of Lethander."

She didn't look like she was going to let up, but at his mention of recipes he saw a spark of interest in her eyes.

Ranma decided that he could at least keep her from doing all the work this way. "How about I teach you some of them?"

Kasumi still tried to keep up her resistance, but her curiosity of what kind of recipes a dragon may know got the better of her.

"Well, alright, you win Ranma-kun."

Ranma smiled, glad he had won at least that much from her. He finished up the dish she was making

and gathered the ingredients he would need to prepare his own.

Kasumi watched with great interest as Ranma prepared some strange dishes, asking questions on some about how they were proportioned with other ingredients and how long they would last as leftovers and such. She helped set up the table and poured the tea that she had prepared during his cooking, dishing out some coffee for Nabiki as well.

Ranma took a vial out of his supspace and poured some of the slightly glowing liquid in it into the coffee. When he saw Kasumi's look he elaborated.

"It'll give her the energy she needs. Those who can use magic require... different kinds of sustenance than normal people, or we become quite unhealthy and if left untended too long we could die. Thankfully, normals here found one of the more potent restoratives to be to their liking. While not quite enough for an active mage, coffee has enough potency to keep someone like Nabiki healthy and energetic. Now she will find that using magic will not exact a heavy toll on her. I've also put some restoratives into most of the food, so you can expect everyone to be rather energetic today."

For good measure he poured some into Akane's tea as well. She had started her exercises in magic and probably wouldn't feel too good after it. He then drained what remained in the vial himself, feeling the warm liquid rush into his body, infusing his limbs with more vitality than he had felt in a while. He knew that drinking that much concentrated ether in one go would have side effects later that he would ave to contend with, but he would need it in order to be up for his overdue battle with the 'true blunder'.

He put the vial away in his pocket and helped Kasumi clean the kitchen while they waited for the others to get up and come down for breakfast. Just as they finished they heard the first of the slumbering inhabitants of the house wake up. This person revealed himself to be Soun, who appeared to be a morning person as the only sign that he had been asleep was his hair which was slightly tousled.

"Morning Kasumi." He said as he yawned and began to sit down at his place at the table. Then he noticed Ranma standing at the other end of the table and smiled.

"Well, morning Ranma. Glad to see you up so early. What have you been up to?"

"Oh, nothing much, Mr. Tendo. Just woke up early and found Kasumi down here making breakfast and decided to lend a hand. As you can see, I've added my own little touches."

Soun looked at the array of food before him and had to admit that many of them looked slightly exotic, and something about their smell was a little nostalgic to him, though he had never seen or eaten food of this kind before.

"Yes, I can see that. Thank you for helping Ranma, it all smells wonderful."

"Well, thank you Mr. Tendo, I was just trying to find some way of helping, what with my father and I being freeloaders and all."

"Oh, not at all Ranma! You and my friend Genma are our guests! Not freeloaders!"

Ranma shrugged, deciding to let him have his say. "Well, it's a matter of perspective I guess. At the very least, I will be a helpful guest."

Soun looked as if he was going to argue a little further but then decided to let Ranma have his way. "Well, if that's how you feel."

Ranma nodded. "It is."

Just then the rest of the sleepers started coming down, most drawn by the smell of food, one by the smell of coffee which smelled even better than usual today, and the last was drawn by the presence of Ranma.

They all arranged themselves at the table for the meal, Ranma finding himself between Nabiki sipping her coffee with sounds of deep satisfaction escaping her every once in a while, and Ranko, who just stared at him with her oddly disturbing eyes that seemed a little off from his own, even when he was in girl form.

"Well, lets eat then, shall we?" Ranma uttered nervously.

They all looked upon the food and noted how it was different from their usual fare. Akane took a serving of a dish that looked something like a mix between enchiladas and coffee cakes and bit into one.

"Oh my, this is really good Kasumi! You've outdone yourself this time! What kind of food is this?" She shouted out when she got over the ecstasy caused by the wondrous flavor.

"Well, I didn't cook it, sis." Kasumi said, looking flustered that someone could make food that tasted so much better than her own.

Akane looked confused by this statement. "Well, who did then?"

"Ranma did." Kasumi stated simply.

"WHAT?!!" Everyone with the exception of Soun, Ranko, and, surprisingly enough, Nabiki shouted in surprise. Nabiki simply gave Ranma an appraising glance and then continued to sip her coffee, the color of her skin and eyes improving as she drank it.

"You mean, he did all this?!" Akane exclaimed. OH GREAT! YET ANOTHER THING HE IS GOOD AT THAT I'M NOT...

Ranma could see Akane's face turning an angry red and hurried to diffuse the situation. "Don't take it too seriously, Akane, I had a great teacher who happened to be a master chef in his region." Not to mention that the chef was a mind flayer and had used the richness of his cuisine to lure humans and other beings to their death and that Lethander had 'extracted' the skills from it, but Ranma wasn't about to tell Akane that.

Akane looked little mollified by Ranma's statement, but settled down and went back to eating the rather elegant breakfast. Soun looked at Ranma inquisitively, but left the subject alone. Nabiki was another matter though.

"So, what was this chef like? And what were his favorite dishes?"

"Um... well, lets just say that he had a rather unique taste and diet, but that he was great at serving others and catering to just the right tastes that brought the most people possible. As for his favorite dishes, again lets just say they were unique and not something most people would want to eat and leave it at that shall we?" Ranma said with a sickly grin, which told them that they really didn't want to know. In truth, Ranma would rather have not known what a mind flayer ate either, but once you knew what it's race was called, you pretty much knew. Mind Flayers eat brains, the older and more filled with memories, the better.

They all ate the meal in silence from then on, and when they finished everyone thanked Ranma and Kasumi and went about preparing for the start of the day. Ranma went and engraved some protective charms and wards into his new clothing, making sure that they would be protected from damage, especially from lightning. He may be immune to lightning now, but whatever he was wearing didn't happen to share that protection.

"Hey Ranma, hurry up! Me and Ranko are ready to go!" Akane yelled from downstairs.

Ranma sighed as he put the last touches to his clothing, then walked downstairs, wondering how he was going to explain to witnesses about his 'sister' and her fight with Kuno. Ah, screw it. I'll let her figure that one out. After all, she has all my memories and training, so she should be good at making up a good story. Ranma decided, not wanting to deal with it right now.

"I'm coming! Jus' one sec!" Ranma replied, grabbing his schoolbag which was not filled with metal this time thankfully. Now it was filled with actual school supplies and had a few potions within that would help with healing and mana regeneration, just in case.

He hurried downstairs and joined Nabiki, Akane, and Ranko to walk to school. Kasumi bid them all farewell and handed them bentos for lunch, making sure to tell Ranma to be careful in his fight with kuno.

After assuring Kasumi that all would go well, they set off for school at a normal pace. At least, normal for Ranma and Ranko. Ranma scooped up Nabiki and Ranko grabbed Akane and started roof hopping toward the school, making very good time, Though Ranko had a little trouble with Akane as Akane wasn't used to being handled in such a way, whereas Nabiki simply cuddled in closer to Ranma's chest and listened to his heart beat, reveling in the feel of his body against hers, glad to have had the good fortune of meeting him and being able to be forward in her desires for once.

They reached the school all too soon however and she reluctantly let go of him, though Akane seemed glad to escape the grasp of Ranko, who seemed to have enjoyed the challenge of keeping her from falling. Akane was about to tear into Ranko for manhandling her when she suddenly stiffened, as did the others, when they felt the tingling sensation of magic at work.

Ranma turned to face the direction of the source, as the others stepped back except for Ranko. Everyone who had been around and had witnessed Ranma and co's arrival stopped their gawking and retreated to a safe distance as Kuno approached, wearing traditional samurai armor, though with strange etchings on it, and three different swords on his person. The sword he had used when he last faced Ranma and one that all the other students were familiar with as his kendo sword. A wakizashi that looked even more deadly than the katana, despite it's smaller size, and glowed a faint light blue with a purple tinge. Then there was the monster on his back, a Dai-Katana, nearly his own height in length, that was the true power that everyone was feeling and made Ranma frown with worry. The katana he knew he could handle, the wakizashi would complicate things, and the armor was yet another obstacle to overcome. But the Dai-Katana held a power that made the hairs on Ranma's neck stand up, one that made the magical aura's of the other three artifacts pale as a candle flame in front of the sun.

"What is this feeling?" Akane asked, the combined magical auras causing her to kneel down under their pressure, the ether too heavy for her own growing abilities. Nabiki also showed some strain, though she remained standing, if with some considerable effort and force of will.

"It is the feeling of a magical force greater than your own. The kendo sword with the hidden blade is charged with lightning element magic. The wakizashi is just as dangerous if not more so, as it is enchanted with Vorpal, a magic that if a successful attack is made and you don't have enough magical resistance will literally rip you apart, and will permanently remove your head. If it is strong enough it could even kill a god. The Dai-Katana is the most dangerous however. I have no idea what magic infuses it, but it is truly powerful. Even Lethander isn't able to identify it, though in the viewpoint of the gods he was very young and so he doesn't know everything about all the magical artifacts in existence, especially since he was a god of only one plane of existence. All I can say is that I hope I can take Kuno down before he has a chance to use it."

Nabiki and Akane shuddered as they heard the doubt and worry in Ranma's voice. Ranko was also frowning in worry.

Just like everyday, as Kuno approached the sky darkened as clouds rushed in to fill it and turned an angry black with strobes of blue-white lightning flashing down. This time however there were also strange swirls of energy that could be spotted in the clouds, spread great distances apart.

"Just as foretold in the prophecy! So, it is time for the unveiling, eh? Come Saotome, you foul demon ridden sorcerer, I, Tatewaki Kuno, ascended god and descendant of angels shall destroy you and your impure demoness." With this outlandish statement Kuno drew the hidden blade with speed far greater than Ranma remembered.

Prophecy? Ascended god? Descendant of angels? What the hell? Is this guy on crack or something? And what is he talking about, calling me a demon ridden sorcerer? I'm a mage, not a sorcerer and I would not stoop to consort with demons. And I can't let that remark about Ranko pass either. But hell, there goes our plan of accusing Kuno of trying to kill my sister and ridding the world of him altogether when he attacked, but oh well, this works just fine too. Now we can say that we were defending the school from his obvious insanity.

But there was one thing he needed to clear up to sate his curiosity. "What Prophesy do you speak of, Kuno?"

Kuno scoffed at the knowledge that even his opponent did not know of the prophesy. "As foretold in the scroll handed down throughout my divine lineage: On a day of lightning and thunder, a fair maiden with flame red fair will appear. She shall be struck with lightning and be as dead but on the next day shall reappear with her master at her side, appearing as if no harm had befallen her. On such a day, a conflict will occur between one with divine angelic blood and bearer of a god and one who is to become a home of demons. The world will be torn asunder by the demon lord, and the gates will be opened by the avatar of chaos. Thus shall the war begin." Kuno said with a smirk.

"I shall destroy you before you are able to destroy this world, and I will do so with the divine power handed to me by my lineage." Kuno suddenly disappeared Ranma was just able to dodge the blade of lightning that he now wielded.

Damn, this is only the second fight I've had with this guy and he is already pulling out all the stops. But if this so called prophesy is true then I have more reason to end this fight early, for the house of demons will be Kuno. I already know that I am part angel, and have a god residing within my soul. This could be really bad.

Ranma decided to pull out all the stops himself and started to release the seals on his power just as Lethander had taught him. As Kuno attacked Ranma started to gain speed, dodging the attacks that he launched with ever increasing agility. He could see Ranko doing the same as him, and could see the slight glow that suffused her skin. When she looked up at him he shook his head in a negative. He didn't want anyone else getting involved in this fight. She frowned but nodded, she did not close her seals however.

Ranma leapt backwards from a slash from Kuno, his speed no match for Ranma's anymore. Ranma rushed in and grabbed hold of the lightning blade, absorbing it's powers for his own, and shattered the now worthless blade. Kuno leapt back from him, a scowl on his face at the destruction of his favorite weapon and at the knowledge that lightning would not avail him this time around.

He drew his wakizashi and the unearthly glow of it's virulent energy bathed him in a light blue glow. The energy pulsing from it informed Ranma that if that thing lands on his neck then this will be his last fight.

Kuno rushed in with even greater speed, a red glow appearing in his eyes as he roared his defiance at Ranma. Ranma used the power he had just gained to build a blade of lightning himself, and blocked the dangerous blade, the energies of both blades crashing together, creating a spectacular light show with coruscating colors as the two spells clashed for dominance. Ranma dodged to his right as he felt his spell fail, the vorpal just barely grazing his left hand. The blade itself had missed thankfully, though his entire left arm was numb and he couldn't move it. Blood dripped from a very large gash in his hand, one that exposed veins and bones and muscles for all to see.

Kuno cackled with glee at this small victory, assured that such a crippling blow would allow him to defeat him. He rushed in with little thought and paid dearly as Ranma slammed his right fist into his armor, discharging the lightning he had been gathering into it during Kuno's charge. Ranma felt bones break in his right hand as his fist met the protective spells engraved into the armor, though it broke through and shattered kuno's armor and stunned him with the debilitating effect of the electric charge.

Ranma used the counterforce of the protective wards to put some distance between him and the now dazed Kuno. Using his chance, Ranma reached into his backpack that he had discarded at the beginning of the fight and grabbed a powerful restorative potion and drank it all in one go. He would pay for it later, but he had to focus on this fight as Kuno seemed to be getting stronger rather than weaker after each successful hit Ranma made.

The potion went to work and Ranma could feel his body mend itself and felt his depleted reserves become replenished. He straightened as he felt the energy spread through him, just in time to dodge Kuno's next attack which had become even faster.

Crap, I guess destroying that heavy armor wasn't the best idea, now he's even faster.

Ranma opened a hole to the contents of his bag of holding that he had gained during his travels and pulled out a sword that had been a gift of one of the trainers at a Buddhist temple that he had visited. It was a fairly powerful artifact in it's own right, being made to fight demons, but after Ranma was done with it, it had become a holy force to be reckoned with.

Ranma awoke it's powers, knowing that he would need them in this fight. He felt the enchantments take effect and used his hastened speed to attack Kuno, smashing full force into his Vorpal blade. Once again there was a cascade of of light as the spells fought for dominance, but this time Ranma's prevailed and Kuno's sword was banished from this realm by Ranma's sword.

Kuno frowned at the difficulty he was having. Wasn't he the divine chosen one? An opponent such as this should be no problem for one such as he. Yet it seemed the gods favored him more than himself. He had no choice then. To prevent the catastrophe that was foretold, he would even sacrifice himself. He drew the blade from his back, seemingly as light as a feather to him. The blade that had been handed to his family by a god years ago, one that granted the user unlimited power for a short time before his life was snuffed out and the soul was crushed by the power. In order to defeat this fiend, he would take the suffering of the world upon his shoulders, and if he should survive then the beauteous Akane would be his at last.

Kuno raised the sword to the sky and gripped it double handed in a style of offering that Lethander recognized.

NO! That is a summoning foci! Ranma, stop him!

"Behold, the divine sword Ashura! Ashura, as defined in our contract with the god, Garyx, I offer my soul unto thee, in return for ultimate power!" Kuno shouted to the heavens. Ranma tried to attack him to interrupt the ritual, but was thrown back by the forces that now swirled around Kuno.

Kuno was bathed in a miasma of black clouds, shrouding him from Ranma's sight. But Ranma could feel the power of the magic building upon Kuno and knew that he had to find someway to stop the summoning. But before he could do anything, the clouds were blown apart and were Kuno and the sword once were now stood a man with blood red hair, blackened skin, and fire red eyes. His body was thin, almost to the point of being gaunt, but the muscles of his form seemed to vibrate with power.

...Garyx...Damn! I knew he wouldn't be killed that easily!

Ranma could feel the power behind that being, and knew that as he was now he was outclassed. But he had to do something, in order to protect the others...

Nabiki was terrified. The force the being radiated was overwhelming. And she could see even Ranma quivering before it. She couldn't have moved even if she could think to try. All she could think of was Ranma.

The being materialized a sword that had an onyx hilt and ruby blade and raised it above his head.

Ranma... no... don't...

A point of energy formed at it's tip and the being swung downwards as a blade of iridescent red energy flew from it.

No...

Ranma raised his sword to block it, the energy crashing into him with the force of a tidal wave. Nabiki watched in horror as Ranma's sword wavered, then fell and he was enveloped in the energy. There was a flash of blue light, and then an explosion. As the dust cleared all that remained was a crevasse that extended down into the depths of the earth. Of Ranma, not even a grease spot remained.

No... No... Not again... this can't be happening...

Nabiki fell to her knees, the pain in her head and heart too much to bear and curled in on herself, trying to comfort herself.

"Hahahahaaaa! Finally! It is done!" The fiend roared in victory. Then he turned his attention to the world around him.

"Hmph... What a useless place. I think I'll get rid of it." The fiend plunged the sword into the ground and cracks began spreading outwards. Those closest to him were instantly incinerated by the heat rising from the cracks, their ashes falling into the rising blood of the planet.

Nabiki watched in fascinated horror as some of the people she had known all her life disappeared in mere seconds, whole webs of her life that anchored her in reality ripped apart. As one crack raced toward her all she could think of was Ranma, and her family.

Ranma... Akane... Kasumi... everyone...

As she felt the heat touch her a flash of blinding blue light enveloped her, and then all she knew was darkness...

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A/N: So sorry for not posting for so long. Work is very tiring lately. I'm trying to finish a chapter for each story, all in varying states of completion. Hope you like this little twist in the story. Well, good night. Oh, and please review, it really bolsters my writing motivation.

Seras Out! Till Next Time!