Ranma the Apprentice

None of the characters in this fic are owned by me.
Ranma characters belong to Rumiko Takakashi. Ah! My
Goddess characters belong to Fujishima Kosuke. All
other characters to appear in this are owned by their
respective people. Please don't sue me, I'm not rich.

This is a continuation of Greg Sharp's
The Bet: Apprentice Option. The idea originally came
from him and intrigued me. I talked to him about continuing
the fic, and he said for me to go for it. The first three
chapters of this are very close to the original Bet version,
with some added detail and modification from me. If you
like the story, then I suggest that you read the other Bet
fics, they're all great. You can find your way to them
at Greg's homepage, http://metroanime.home.mindspring.com/.

E-mail me any C&C at NighthawkTM@yahoo.com. Flames will be
ignored.

Enjoy the Fic,
Tomas Megerson

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Chapter 1
Battle at the Springs


The battle had become a ritual, but all rituals had
a beginning and they had an end.

Every day the two had met and fought over the
Cursed Springs for weeks now. Every day the two had pulled
back to lick their wounds and return the next day.

They both knew this was the last such time they
would do so. Others of their kind had come, to witness, to see
that if they were going to engage in this fight that they would
settle it once and for all TODAY.

Asuralle made her peace with the Almighty and
spread her wings.

Across the Valley of Jusenkyo, Amon snarled, spat
and spread his wings.

Within the Valley, two martial arts disregarded the
portly Guide and leapt to the top of bamboo poles.
----------------------------------------
"I won't go easy on you," growled the father to his son.

"That's how I want..." Ranma stopped. The hair on the
back of his neck was rising and his instincts were screaming DANGER!

His father prepared to leap, then cocked his head, getting
a similar premonition. The feeling was so great that it forced its
way through Genma's usually weak perceptive skills.

"Oh sirs, very bad you fall in Spring!"

"Pops? What the heck?" Ranma's eyes swept all around.
"Something's really, really wrong here."

"I feel it too, boy." Genma growled. That chill was as if
the Master himself was present. No, even worse, though if you'd
asked Genma a minute ago he would have sworn that the idea of
something more evil than his old sensei was laughable.

Lightning flared and struck and a battle commenced
overhead.

"WHAT THE HELL!?!?" Ranma almost fell from the top
of his pole as Something Wicked this way flew. It was at LEAST
fourteen feet tall, covered in black greasy-looking fur, bat-like
wings, spur-like growths rearing back on its head, and reddish eyes
that briefly met his and said "not only are you a tiny little puking
worm, when I get done here I'll come back and devour you and you'll
die in agony over the next century."

Genma met the same gaze and knew that his old Master
was a perverted sick little b*stard but he was looking at Evil
right now. He desperately tried to remember those Forbidden
Techniques, because if that Thing came back he'd need everything
he had and Genma knew that it still probably wouldn't be enough.

Something else shot past the two and in every way
the two could perceive, it was the Opposite of what they had just
seen. It had white, feathery wings and radiated a light of pure
goodness, one that brought joy to their souls, where the other
brought fear.

There was a scream of "oh no, not again" and the Guide
went racing towards his hut. He didn't mind a religious
experience, so long as it didn't involve personal danger
or meeting the beings in question.

It's quite one thing to profess a belief in a god or gods,
quite another when you find out that you may have an appointment
with said beings for later that same day.

Black fire slammed into a cliff wall, spreading cracks all
through the surface.

Lightning flared and shot from the ground towards the
sky.

"RANMA! LOOK OUT!" Genma leapt, his concern for
his son for once overwhelming his own self-preservation instinct.
It was his finest moment in a life filled with mistakes. This
unselfish act brought much forgiveness to the man. Given time to
think about it, he might not have done it.

Genma took a blast of the same black flame and was dead before
he had finished falling.

"NOOOOOOOO!" His father had been an annoyance,
a harsh taskmaster, and had thousands of faults. But he was still
his father, Ranma jumped down to where his father had hit the
ground, not realizing how close he had just come to turning into
a panda. He could only stare at the blackened, chard body of his
father and curse the demon that killed him.

The battle waged above continued to increase in scope.
Chi blasts met darkness. Hellfire met light. Serpents of black
energies formed and wrestled with serpentine golden forms.

The large black-furred figure smashed the smaller glowing
one down towards the ground like a volleyball being spiked.

The feathered one spared a moment. "Mortal, leave this
place, the pools are dangerous. My opponent more so."

Ranma blinked. That hadn't been Japanese but he'd
understood it anyway. "No shit." 'As if I couldn't tell by
the way it killed Oyaji.'

"Don't be talking to my lunch," Amon growled, diving past
Asuralle to land on Ranma's father.

"HEY!" Ranma leapt away, landing in the waters of a pool
a moment later.

Amon's claws ripped into the corpse beneath him. He'd
sensed some tiny amount of power here, and any advantage was
to be seized in this fight.

In the water Ranma's thoughts ripped toward revenge. His
legs wrapped around a thick throat and began squeezing, while
his hands came up and popped the demon's ears, reasoning correctly
that the creature's thick fur would tend to blunt more typical blows.

Ranma was ripped free of the pool and thrown the length of the
valley. He had a chance to look up and see the massive fireball
heading his way and prepared to join his father in death. He put
his arms up to block the blast knowing it was for not. It was
then that an object dropped in front of the flaming projectile
and blocked it.

The angel dropped to the ground and wasn't moving.
Ranma looked from the downed angel to the limping ,approaching,
demon, and gathered himself. He'd die doing it, but he could at
least get a couple of good hits in. He would make the demon pay
for the pain it had caused him. He only wished, for the first
time in his life, that there was a cat around so he could use
the Neko-Ken on it.

Asuralle waited until Amon was closer then formed
her sword the last time and thrust it home, even as a clawed
hand slashed deep into her chest.

The demon seemed to smile briefly, then collapsed. The angel
looked up at Ranma. "Told you to stay away from
the pools." Blood trailing from her mouth, she tried to smile.
"Could be worse. Sorry about your father, but he's made up for
a lot by saving you... Tell Bell..."

Ranma looked at the corpse he was kneeling at, watching it dissolve,
glancing up to see the demon likewise dissolving. Where the angel
seemed to convert to glowing dust motes that whisked away on the
breeze, the demon was simply turning an opaque black and collapsing
in on itself. At the loss of the angle Ranma felt a profound sadness
wash over him.

"Well, that's it." A man faded into existence nearby.
"Those two just HAD to keep going at it."

"What?" Looking up Ranma saw a man who radiated a light like the
angle who had saved his life.

The man brushed his hair back away from his
face and regarded Ranma. "Well, you're involved now. Might as well
take care of Asuralle's last request."

"Huh?" Ranma was confused about the involved part. Wasn't he just a
bystander?

"Though I'll have to warn a few people off, or did
you realize that the pool you jumped in had turned you into a
girl?"

"WHAT?!?" Ranma looked down and realized that
she had WAY too many things on her mind at the moment to
not notice that.

"C'mon, we'll get you that training."

"Training?" Ranma repeated, his mind having gone
into overload.

"Yeah, you were on a training mission right? C'mon,
we can at least get you dry clothes. Between me and Belldandy,
we'll get you trained, don't worry about THAT."
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It had taken a couple of years, but Ranma finally had
Yggdrasil access. He owed Skuld a favor for getting it for him.
The young Norn goddess had become a good friend. She had introduced
him to the wonders of ice cream and was someone he could talk to.
He had also become close to her sister Belldandy. She had become an
older sister to him. She helped teach him manners and to control his
loose tong. She had also helped him gain control of his macho attitude.
The last Norn, Urd, made him very nervous. While she had helped him more
than once and became a friend, he caught a look in her eyes every now
and then like a predator looking at prey.

Looking at the terminal he started to check his own file.

"Let's see. I was SUPPOSED to go to some Amazon
Village, defeat their champion, run away, get engaged to some
girl named Akane in some mutually abusive relationship that
dragged on for two years, meet some girl named Kodachi who'd
fall into an obsessive disorder centered on me, meet my...
Ucchan's a GIRL?! How many fiancées?" Ranma blinked over
at his friend of the past year. "Did you read this?"

Skuld nodded. "All of this was kinda invalidated
the moment that fight broke out while you were at the Springs.
Yeah, makes for interesting reading, especially when you
consider the various alternate timelines. I kinda prefer this
one over here where you marry one of the Sailor Senshi."

"But this was my timeline, and then it split off."
Ranma continued to read the file. "Oh man, how could I be
stupid enough to do THAT?! Geez."

"Hurry up, will ya? You know this is strictly
forbidden. Who knows what your sensei would do to you
if he found you like that." Reading your own files was really
discouraged.

"Hey, compared to my old man, Tyr ain't nearly
so bad. Oh no, I do WHAT?! And then this Happosai guy
drinks the water? And after all that we get a messy divorce
in two years and never speak to each other except in the
settlement. Oh man, I screw up everybody's life, don't I?"
Ranma finished scanning the stack. "So..."

"So when you go back to the mortal plane in
a couple of days..."

"Hey, they ain't gonna do any of that memory
sealing crap, are they?"

"I don't kn..." Skuld vanished in mid-word.

"Uh oh." Ranma managed before he also
vanished.

The terminal shut itself off.
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End Chapter 1