I keep starting new stuff. I really need to stop that sooner or later, it's just going to make it harder to finish everything else... but what the hell.
Anyway, this idea came out of my head after reading 'Just won't die'(still haven't finished all of it), some fic I can't remember the name of, but found on a site where the last update was months ago, and it wasn't one of the updates, and a few more. Now, I'd read all of these all at once, so the original idea for making an amalgam of them came up at roughly five-something in the morning, after having been up all day and all night prior. Fortunately I passed out before posting it because, frankly, the first script sucked ass. Fifty Kilos of nonstop typing after forty hours plus of insomnia equals Fifty kilos of pure, unadulterated, horsecrap. Every other word was misspelled, grammar flew out the window, Shinji hooked up with Asuka and was devoured by mutant fluffy white bunny rabbits... just take my word for it, it sucked, and I've already deleted it.
So, after a long brainstorming session with myself, most of the time being spent by various sections of my brain pointing fingers at one another and yelling about who's idiot idea this was in the first place, I've finally managed to churn out a somewhat decent prologue.
Enjoy. Or not, as the case may be.
(Lost boy ain't got nothing on this.)
Ukyou wasn't sure why she was browsing through the odd little shop, actually. Perhaps, despite experience, it was curiousity. You see, she had walked this road every day, twice, to school and back. Yesterday there had been an empty lot here, now, the lot had been filled with a shop promoting 'rare artifacts' and 'souveniers'.
Most people realizing that, unless the storeowner practiced some sort of construction related martial art, in which case it would be safest to avoid the shop anyway, there was no way the little store could be erected in one night. Some of those more experienced in such matters would swiftly realize that magic would be heavily involved.
Unfortunately, the most direct experience with magic and the supernatural Ukyou had had was the time she'd taken Ranma and Akane to the 'Tunnel of Lost Love.' That, coupled with the curses that most of her friends seemed to have proved to her beyond a shadow of a doubt that magic did exist, and was a force to be reckoned with when encountered. The problem was, that she didn't know enough about it yet to know how dangerous it was, and how wary one should be when using magical items.
That was why she was salivating over the summary to one of the scrolls she had found.
"Upon use of the spell contained in this scroll, the targeted individual will be bound to the other half of their soul, body and soul united for all eternity. Soulmates... just like me and Ranma-Honey! Body and soul..."
From Ukyou's perspective, the smoky interior of the shop faded away to a church, her rivals in love bound and gagged by invisible magic threads, as the minister calmly pronounced them man and...
"Shopkeeper! How much for this scroll?"
"Ten thousand yen. But..."
Sadly, Ukyou paid and left at such speed that the wizened old man at the counter didn't have the opportunity to warn her to be sure to read the instructions in their entirety before beginning any incantations. Instead he sighed and pulled out a small slip of paper, marking a note.
"Hmm... fifth customer already? ... Such a pity for that poor girly. But there are rules and regulations I must follow. On to our next stop, then."
The old man reached down to his side and pulled a small lever.
"Lets see, now. Oh yes, theres a lovely lot in Great Britain, somewhere around Fifteen Seventy..."
The old mans voice faded with his shop, and soon there was once again an empty lot, with an old sack or two of someones garbage tossed in a corner and a few strays picking through them for edibles.
"Lets see... light five red candles around the pentagram. Check. Place personal item of target in stone bowl at center of pentagram."
Ukyou winced as she dropped a memento of her childhood, a small, braided, lock of Ran-chan's hair that he'd cut off and given her before leaving, into a stone bowl. The bowl was marble, an antique and expensive, but the only bowl made of stone she'd found in the entire district.
"Check. Fill bowl with a mixture of red wine and goats blood."
The wine was easy enough, but she hadn't enjoyed explaining to the butcher just why she'd needed fresh goat blood. He obviously hadn't bought any of her feeble excuses, but had eventually sold it to her anyway.
"Check. Sacrifice at least three drops of your own blood into the mixture and light it."
She looked away as she drew the sharpened edge of one of her mini-spatulas over the back of her hand, wincing as she sliced slightly deeper than she'd intended to and a thin trickle of blood flowed down her hand and into the bowl, forcing some of the mixture over the edges to splatter on the floor. She wrapped a nearby napkin around her bleeding hand and struck a match, lighting the alcohol of the mixture before shaking it out and flicking the spent match into the dustbin.
"Check. Begin and finish the incantation within five minutes of midnight."
Ukyou turned to the clock, counting down the seconds until the appointed time.
In his sleep, Ranma slowly began to stir, as his danger sense began a low hum.
His danger sense suddenly flared, and his eyes snapped open to probe the darkness.
He suddenly found himself unable to move, to turn his head, or even to move his eyes. All any watchers would see would be Ranma bolt out of sleep, stiffen and begin to slowly float in the air. After a minute or two, small green sparks began floating around the immobile floating boy. Another minute and they had attached themselves to his skin, and his entire body began glowing green. Three minutes later, the glow faded, and a set of worn pajamas slumped to the floor.
Of course, it was the middle of the night, so there were no viewers to the odd phenomena, all sensible people long since to bed. The entire incident would go unnoticed until everyone realized, days later, that Ranma was gone and Nabiki began playing back her security videos to show just when he left.
Ukyou slumped down to a sitting position, unpredictably exhausted by the ordeal. The words had seemed unpronouncable at first, but after she'd made out the first one the words began pouring out of her mouth, almost as if the scroll was using her to read it rather than she was reading the scroll.
Dazedly, she unrolled the scroll to read it a little further, hoping there were no more steps that needed to be performed immediately.
"Congradulations are in order," she read, smiling slightly before passing out, too tired to differentiate between a comma and a period, not realizing that there was more to be read and her little voodoo trick had done nothing like what she had intended it too.
She dreamed of a wedding, and a new restaurant next to a house, where she would work while her beloved husband cared for their many children.
Ranma groaned softly to himself as he tried to sit up. And couldn't. At first he was curious, but as he tried more and more to manipulate his body... open his eyes, move an arm, or a leg, or anything, growing more and more hysterical as nothing worked.
He screamed, breaking it off as he realized that neither his tongue nor lips had moved. There were no words for what he was feeling at the moment. Shock, fear, anger... it all paled. He was a martial artist. If he could not move his body, he was nothing... less than nothing.
Then... could he have done so, his jaw would have dropped as his eyes opened and glanced at the clock, and his body began moving without any direction from him. The closest description of the state he was in was terrified curiosity.
"Where... What's happened to me...? Where am I?"
Rei glanced around the room as she woke and began preparing herself for the days tasks. For some reason, she got the feeling that there was someone here, but a quick glance around the apartment denied the possibility. Were she anyone else, she would have shrugged, but she simply headed to the restroom to shower before she prepared for school as instructed.
She didn't pause to turn around and glance around the apartment again, as others may have. She had already scanned the apartment for intruders, and had heard noone enter. The logical conclusion opted to stop there rather than take one step further and wonder who was talking, then.
'What's happened to me...? Where am I?'
Rei pondered the odd questions, but felt no need to answer. Nothing was out of the ordinary, save that she was hearing a voice that shouldn't be there, and she was Rei Ayanami, second child and pilot of Nerv's unit 00. Upon a brief internal analysis, she had noted that hearing voices where none should be was not one of the things that she was required to report to Commander Ikari immediately, and opted to continue listening to the odd voice.
"This... this can't be happening to me... Wait, a mirror! If I could just see in the mirror I might be able to tell..."
Rei paused and took a moment to glance in the mirror.
"That... that isn't... That's not me... wait... she's still looking, did she... hear me?"
At the sound of the voice reverberating through his mind, Ranma freaked.
In Nerima, Ukyou had missed an entire day of school, as she hadn't woken up until well after noon. Fortunately Konatsu had looked after her when he woke, as she discovered when she woke up in bed rather than on the kitchen floor and read the note he'd left. Apparently a member of a powerful ninja clan had been spotted at a teahouse a few miles away yesterday, so after bandaging her cut and clearing up the mess she'd made last night he'd gone to find her and ask for training in kunoichi arts. Ukyou, upon realizing just how late she was, decided to sleep and hand in a sick note tomorrow. Hey, she really didn't feel that good anyway, stupid side effects, so it wasn't like she was lying. Her wedding could wait another day or two.
Unfortunately, Konatsu had forgotten to lock the door, so when a screaming Akane decided to burst in and interrupt her sleep, she'd had nothing in her way.
"Ukyou, come quick! That pervert's dissappeared again!"
That, however, brought her right out of bed and dressed in seconds, pounding migraine or not.
"So," Cologne stated. "We're all here, now we can get started on what happened to Son-in-law."
Genma stood up.
"I'd like to say this," 'Before everything breaks out into a catfight and we cant hear ouselves think over the screaming.' "Ranma prides his honor above all, he wouldn't simply run away from his engagements." 'He couldn't. And even if he did, I would know.' "Besides, the coercion spell should be good for another six months, at least."
Instantly weapons were drawn and leveled at the stout man, as he broke out in sweat trying to figure out what had set them off.
"Wh-what'd I do?"
"Well tubby," Cologne cackled "If I judged the pauses in between sentences correctly, then on your last statement you thought what you meant to say, and said what you only meant to think. Happens to everyone eventually, just a pity about your timing. Now I believe you mentioned something about a 'coercion spell'? Do explain."
Genma sweated and tried to laugh slightly, giving evidence to just who taught Ranma how to lie under pressure.
"Coercion spell? What coercion spell? I'm sure I didn't say anything about using a coercion spell to bind the boy so he couldn't run away from me again, and to influence all of his actions in a small way. Not a thing."
Most of the listeners simply sweatdropped at his sheer stupidity, but Cologne raised an eyebrow before turning to Shampoo.
"Fetch me a hickory switch, an extension cord stripped of its insulation, six gallons of water, a small pot of boiling oil, a half-dozen shaved dogs, a six pack of soda, a sack of marbles, and three live trout."
"NO, WAIT! I'LL TALK!"
Cologne turned back to Genma, now panting lightly with fear and glancing at the exits... all guarded and the windows barred...
"Then talk, tubby."
"... It was roughly a month before we swam back to Japan. After Jusenkyo, but before arriving in your village. The boy had been becoming somewhat... stubborn... over the last few years, but the curse was apparently the last straw for him. He slipped off in the middle of the night. Fortunately, he had picked up little of fleeing from people yet, and I found him in the nearest village, trying to find a job. Feh. My progeny, actually working to pay for his food. It was disgusting. I knocked him out from behind and, afraid that he would try again, perhaps more successfully, used an item given to me in thanks for aiding a man in dispatching a monster. ...Really! I swear! It had me trapped in a small cave and I couldn't escape if you must know... Anyway, this person... an odd fellow, dressed all in red... gave me what appeared to be a slip of paper. He called it a 'Stat Sheet' and explained its use. While he was... sleeping... I wrote my sons name on top, and the magic of the parchment caused it to fill itself out instantly. Everything about my son appeared on the paper, though some of it was difficult to interpret. I simply... meddled with what was neccessary. He didn't seem to care about his female form too much, merely that he had been cursed at all. I couldn't have him accepting or, kami forbid, being comfortable in such a body! In an effort to stave that off, I used the sheet to raise his 'STR' or strength in male form and lower it in female. Unfortunately, this corresponded to an equal and opposite shift in 'SPD' or speed. Before then, both bodies were actually equal. I knew that eventually some of the other... girls... would catch us up, and if he fell in love with one of them then my plans would be ruined, so I... altered his personality just a bit. Made him rude and condescending to females in general, and lowered his hormone and testosterone ratios to keep him from even looking at girls."
Genma paused as he considered that, and came out with a statement that started Akane silently fuming for reasons that she would deny to everyone, including herself.
"Now that I think about it... that may be why Soun and I haven't been able to get our kids hitched yet. I messed with his mind again after arriving in Nerima, to make him like Akane, but never removed the lack of desire. That kinda makes sense... he liked her, but didn't seem to think about her that way, even in the slightest. Wow. And here I thought he was subconciously resisting the spell when all along it was my fault... boy do I feel dumb."
"Shampoo think too-too stupid Panda-man should get to point."
"Huh... no respect. Children these days... Anyway, if you'll all put your weapons down, I can just put a strong desire to go home in the back of his mind."
Instantly, weapons were sheathed by the girls (the guys were out celebrating Ranma's dissappearance), and expectant looks were cast his way, but interrupted by Nabiki clearing her throat from the door.
"Well, interesting as that story is, did that 'stat sheet' say anything about Ranma's rivals and enemies?"
At Genma's slow nod she continued.
"Any of them know magic?"
Genma paused and hesitantly shook his head no.
"Not last time I checked, no. Unless that Hibiki boy found a magic artifact or something... again..."
"Well, I suggest you all take a look at this then. And just this once... I'll even waive the fee."
Nervous chuckling spread throughout the room, as noone could really tell whether she was joking or not.
"Right... fast forward, this is just a few hours of sleeping here... and play."
For a moment, the screen only showed the sleeping Ranma, but then...
Ukyou's eyes widened, thankfully masked by everyone elses similar reactions, as the tape continued to play. However the thing that bothered her the most was the time that the odd things began. Exactly the same time as when she'd begun the chant.
Cologne's brow creased, and she frowned, as everyone merely gasped at watching Ranma's dissappearance, one girl flushing as she noted the pajamas fall to the ground, meaning that wherever he was, he was naked. Her hand twitched as if to grab a mallet as her mind filled with naughty thoughts.
"This..." Cologne mumbled "Is not good at all."
"Aiyah! What great-grandmother mean...? What happen to Airen?"
Cologne rubbed her head and sighed.
"It's nothing that I've ever seen before... and no one I know has ever claimed to see it either... but I found records of a spell thats effects were described as almost exactly the same to what we just watched. The curse of union."
Unnoticed, Ukyou flinched at the name, thinking of the scroll. She spoke up, anxiously.
"Curse... of union? I don't get it."
"You wouldn't child, because I haven't explained yet. At first it was only a spell, intended to unify people with their soulmates. Unfortunately... Allow me to explain. You may believe that you are born with a full soul. That is the concept easiest to understand. However, it is not entirely true. When you are born, you only have half a soul. Sometimes less. It doesn't matter, the soul is actually rather useless for most things, it's just there. Now, the concept of Soulmates... Your Soulmate is the person who was born with the other part of your soul. Should the two of you meet... I recall the school did a play a while back, a comedy spinoff of Romeo and Juliet. Those of you who have read or watched the real thing will know what I'm talking about when I say 'love at first sight'. Romeo and Juliet were the most famous recorded Soulmates of Europe, even more than some of the other tragedies. Lancelot and Guinevere. Tristan and Iseult. All Soulmates. Upon eye contact, the soulmates will feel and instant and undeniable surge of love and lust in equal portions. They will be driven to be wed as soon as possible... or at least to frequently 'make the monster with two backs.'"
She sighed as the reference shot straight over the younglings heads.
"Think rabbits. All. The. Time. Every available opportunity. Gender, age, and previous preferences... none of them matter once you've gazed into the eyes of your Soulmate. That brings us back to the spell itself. It was developed by a... less than attractive sorceror... who often complained that his bed was cold and lonely at night. He cast the spell upon himself, in an effort to bring him and his Soulmate together. To all appearances it failed, resulting in what we just watched. After decades of intense study, one of his students realized just why the spell had apparently failed. You see, it hadn't. The spell did exactly what it was supposed to do... make its victim one with his or her soulmate. It propelled the soul and concsiousness through the aether... throughout the very fabric of reality some believe... the problem was that no spell, however strong, could do the same with flesh and blood without requiring the sacrifice of the casters own life. At that discovery, the students made every attempt to destroy all records of the spell, but some less scrupulous sorceror had already stolen a copy, and learned, just like they had, how the spell had failed in design. The creator had used it in the hopes of love... this other used it to be rid of his rivals. What better way to dispose of an enemy, after all? Even better than assassinations at the time, for it left behind no corpse to be discovered, and few would admit to hear anothers voice in their minds. Think of Multiple-Personality-Disorder. It isn't quite the same, but similar enough. That's all Son-in-law is now, just a quiet voice in the back of the mind of the man or woman who would have been his soulmate. The tribe will mourn his loss. Shampoo! Gather your things, we leave for the village tomorrow."
"Aiyah... but... but Airen..."
"Forget him child. The only thing he has going for him now is the curse that his mind was altered to hate." She cast a withering glance at the stuttering Genma. "And even that is a theory at best, and unlikely."
"W-wait! Tell us this theory! Ran-chan has the habit of beating the odds."
"Kuonji... don't get your hopes up. Then again, I suppose you can't help but be hopeful, as all your dreams of the future pivoted on him. Very well. The theory is this, when cursed by Jusenkyo, the pools create an alternate body for you... basically what you would have been had you been born a panda, or cat. But to constantly reshape your body to that form and back would require far more magical energies than what the village sorceresses claim are used when a victim is splashed. The only real point of severe usage of magical energy is at the actual cursing at the pools. How does it work then? They've theorized that rather than actual shapeshifting, the curse places whatever body you aren't using into stasis somewhere, and the spark of magic that occurs when the victim is splashed is like a signal for the bodies to switch. How this happens exactly is still undetermined, but if true, then the curse would have to be bound to either the consciousness or the soul, as binding such a thing to a body that is replaced would be impossible, and result in a permament curse. That may also be how the locking ladle of the Musk works... or worked, if the rumors are true and Herb has destroyed the thing, by shifting the binding of the curse from the soul to the body. It's probably the only explanation for how it does that with so little expended magic. But even so, Ranma was... sent away... in his male form. As such, even if the theory proves correct he will only have his female form left, as his male form will have been replaced by his Soulmates. We're still going back to China, Shampoo. Soulmates are typically never too similar, so Ranma's... host, will certainly not be a martial artist. Likely not very physically strong either. If Ranma manages to return, but his Soulmate was female, then you'll be required to kill them on sight, as per the Kiss of Death. If his soulmate was... male..." She ignored Genma's indignant skwak at the implication. "... then you will still never have your Airen, because the male of the two will likely be incapable of defeating you in combat, and fighting Ranma as a female would only reinforce the Kiss of Death. Besides... in those conditions it's likely we would have better luck trying to use Mousse as bait to lure them to China, as it's highly likely that Ranma's Soulmate would be."
"NO!" Genma stood up, fires burning in his eyes. "I refuse to believe that anyone related to me in any way could possibly find themselves such perversions against nature. I FORBID IT! Ranma's Soulmate WILL be female... or he is no longer accepted as a Saotome!"
Hours later, after everyone had left to consider just what they would do now, Shampoo paused as she thought of something Cologne had said.
"Great-grandmother... what mean when say sometimes have less than half of soul?"
"... You mean what happens when a soul is split between, for instance, three people, rather than two? I believe there's a name for that sort of thing..."
Cologne let off an amused cackle before finishing.
Not nearly as long as the original draft, no... but I can proudly say that this doesn't suck. As you can probably tell by the name, this begins in the world of angels and evangelions... that by no means means that it will stay there forever.
Also, I seem to be having computer trouble, so it may be a while before I update... anything really. It depends on how long until the computer decides to start working for me again. I'm seriously considering having the thing exorsized, just to see what happens. Either that or smash it in a fit of rage after the thirty billionth time it decides to turn itself off... this week.
Ah, but my problems don't really matter. Just enjoy the story and I'll get stuff done when I get it done. That's the best I can do.