Forward—This idea has actually been on the drawing board for a bit, but I've held off because of the recent glut in Ranma/Hild fiction. Regardless, the idea was too persistent to put off any longer. Nick and Sarah, enjoy.
Hell is a Martial Artist
"Don't be so grumpy. It was just a harmless joke."
Belldandy, Goddess first Class, Second category unlimited didn't look grumpy per se. In fact, many of her closest acquaintances would swear that it was all but impossible for the Goddess of the Present to even emote grumpiness. Be that as it may, the brunettes face wasn't exactly the picture of happiness at the moment, and the elegant blue and white robes she wore seemed to emphasis that fact, fluttering to an invisible breeze as if agitated itself.
"I'm afraid this goes far beyond a mere joke, Hild-sama." The Goddess accused solemnly, floating across from her adversary while people went about their business below, as if four women weren't floating above their heads having a conversation.
"You turned Keiichi into a nymphomaniac." The white haired woman beside Belldandy stated flatly, no more amused than her sister. Besides, that was her job, Urd thought to herself silently.
"You're just a big meanie, Hild!" Skuld rounded out the condemnations, waving her long hammer at the Grand Mistress of Hell in a menacing fashion. Granted, Keiichi wasn't first on her list of favorite people, but nobody deserved to be turned into a lust starved automaton.
"Pah-lease." Hild rolled her eyes. All in all, she looked much like her white haired daughter, save the red star on her forehead and liberal state of dress, which was even more revealing than that of her daughter's deep blue body wrap. Urd's plunging V neck had little on the pink on black vinyl dress Hild wore, which left absolutely nothing to the imagination.
The Daimakaichō smiled impishly. "Besides, you really need to loosen up, Bell-chan. Nothing a nice roll in the hay wouldn't cure."
"Release the spell, Hild-sama." Belldandy ordered in no uncertain terms as a light blue aura manifested itself around her. Beside her, Urd began to crackle with electricity while the black haired Goddess of the future pulled a Skuld Bomb from subspace.
"Enough with the meddling, Mother." There was no mistaken the frigid tone Urd used when addressing Hild, causing the demoness to frown. "Turn him back."
The well tanned women shook her head, clearly disappointed with the situation. "Daughter, I would think you of all people would appreciate my efforts in this romantic endeavor."
"Assuming your intentions were something this side of pure." The Goddess returned testily. "maybe if you weren't such an egomaniacal, self serving, demonic..."
Hild smiled, waving the comments aside. "Now, now. Flattery will get you everywhere."
A ball of power began to coalesce into Belldandy's palm, and she pointed it into the parcel of sky the demoness currently occupied. "This is your last warning, Hild-sama. Please turn Keiichi back before--"
The bolt of mana wavered with the distraction as a blue blur streaked through their altitude from on high and impacted into the park below with jarring force and angry cloud of debris that sent rock flying. From there, the blue projectile dug a fifty foot trench across the greenery and promptly annihilated one of the districts many fountains, which promptly exploded into a geyser of cold water. The Demon Mistress blinked, looking up from the sky and down to the trail of ruin below as mortals fled for their lives. Normally Kami-sama wasn't quite this obvious in sending reinforcements. Then again... Hild stared at the goddess trio hovering across from her and noted their own stunned expressions. No, they clearly hadn't been expecting this either.
Three divine beings and one damned watched curiously as the plume of dust cleared and the rubble around what was left of the fountain shift. From it, crawled a slight redheaded girl, appearing to shake off the effects of her entrance.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow..." She complained, rising to her feet and dislodging bits of embedded concrete, dirt and grass in the process. "Stupid tomboy... Didn't have to get so upset. It was only a picture."
She paused mid thought, looking around to find the park around her deserted. Then, as if she had sensed them, turned her attention skyward to make complete eye contact with the women floating above him. She registered mild shock for a moment, then cocked her head curiously.
"Eh, Ranma Saotome. Sorry 'bout this."
No, Ranma Saotome amended as he brooded on the Tendo's rooftop. Make that an epically lousy day. It was bad enough that he had to hide from his own mother every time she made a visit. Thanks to her old man and the pact, he had to reckon with being a man among men or face seppuku. Hard to be a man among men when you were cursed to become a cute redhead at the drop of a hat, also thanks to her old man. The martial artist shivered as visions of a katana wielding Nodoka Saotome flashed through his brain, standing beside him in judgment.
Oh yeah. Love that man among men stuff.
Topping this wonderful day off was the appearance of Kumon Ryu, who had assumed his identity in order to obtain the other half of the Saotome sen-ken arts. The confrontation with him revealed the curse and strengthened his position with her mother, forbidding contact with her entirely until Ranma could master the Yamasen-ken's opposite school.
And what that gain him? Ranma thought to herself bitterly. More time with his mother as 'Ranko' and the ever present threat of a beheading. Yay. It was hard enough keeping hope alive that a real cure existed as everything up to this point had turned out to be a fraud, trick or just plain didn't work. Ranma let out another sigh and stared into the blue, cloudless sky one last time. Enough moping. If he was ever going to master the Umisen-ken arts, he need to practice hard and the only way to do that was to do so in a high threat environment.
Which is why Ranma walked to the edge of the roof and dropped down into Akane's bedroom.
He balanced at the window sill a moment before activating the technique by concentrating on the ki within his body and inverting its natural flow. While the process wasn't painful, it was somewhat disorientating as all traces of his existence were removed from the world. In reality, he knew that he wasn't invisible but imperceptible, the difference being that people were no longer encouraged to notice him due to the unnatural flow of his ki into the world around him. Regardless of the terminology used, Ranma Saotome was now running under full stealth as he entered his fiancées room and began to sneak around, removing items from the desk beside her bed at speeds that would make greased lightning envious. Pencils, notepads a couple books and various other supplies were liberated from the desk in short order until he happened upon a picture of Akane and her mother.
Well that's where she gets the smile from, Ranma noted as he fingered it gently. Very cute. At least when she's not cooking, swimming, doing martial arts or pounding my face into the earth, he amended with a wry grin. At least she--
"Ranma, what are you doing?"
The Saotome's gut imploded as he realized the distraction had cost him concentration and the stealth, revealing his presence to the girl who had just walked into the room. He turned around, picture in hand, to find Akane Tendo with a neutral expression on her face. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all? "Eh..heh... Just practicing..."
"The Umisen-ken?" She asked, calmly crossing the threshold into her room.
Akane nodded as it were a given, noting the items stuffed into the dark green curtain beside him and the picture in hand. "Are those...?"
The pigtailed boy began to get a sinking feeling in his stomach. "Um..."
"And is that my picture of my mother in your hand?"
"Er...," Ranma stammered as the picture was replaced in its proper spot so fast that it appeared to have teleported.
"Ranma, what did I tell you," her calm demeanor suddenly evaporated, instantly replaced by a bright red aura and a scowl across her face. "ABOUT NOT PRACTICING IN MY ROOM?!"
The martial artists eyes widened at the abrupt shift in attitude and watched in horror as a glowing fist reared back, cocked, and streaked for him in the form of a vicious uppercut.
Ranmna Saotome was fifty feet up and through the roof before regaining his senses, rapidly gaining altitude through a lazy spiral. Fortunately for the martial artist, the Saotome branch of Anything Goes was a predominately aerial school, and he righted himself within a few seconds with a couple of bodily twists as the dojo rapidly diminished in size.
Damn, he groused internally. Damn, damn, damn, damn! Of course, it had been his fault, Ranma realized as his spiraling arc passed through three hundred meters and began to flatten out. Even so, she didn't have to get so violent over a stupid picture. It wasn't as if his mother, art or manhood were at stake, nosiree. The Saotome ground his teeth together in frustration as he passed a seagull and watched the city below. Well, I'm out of Nerima, he realized as his decent began. Looks like Juuban to the east, which would make this Chiba, I guess. Great, a new distance record for the gorilla.
At least it was looking as if he was going to land in a park, he noted with little humor. Grass and dirt was always better than concrete, right? Committed to his finally approach, Ranma began to harden his body with ki and braced for impact. Might as well give the little kids some warning too.
The grass and dirt performed as advertised, absorbing a good chunk of Ranma's deceleration trauma as the terrain buckled around him violently. While the remainder of the impact was well within his abilities to compensate for, the horizontal inertia wasn't and Ranma careened wildly from the initial crater, across the park and into the only fountain within eight kilometers of his- now her -present location. Its destruction was suitably spectacular and a geyser of unrestrained water shot skyward, drenching the now stationary martial artist as she sat slightly stunned amid the rubble and debris.
It took another couple of seconds for Ranma's brain to reboot, which in turn allowed herself to stagger out of the long thirty meter trench she had dug herself while complaining about a certain fiancée. Irony gripped the redhead as she flexed a sore arm whose sleeve was now mere silk tatters. Funny how the landing always hurts more than the hit itself, she mused, watching as the last of the park goers evacuated the area. After all, it wasn't everyday your local water fountain spontaneously detonated.
Ranma looked around, trying to get her bearings when she noticed it-- waves of power wafting around her like a blanket. It wasn't ki or a battle aura, but it was definitely tangible. She looked around the park, finding it devoid of people, then up eyes widening. There above her were four women staring down at her, three facing off against one.
That's one hellva technique, Ranma's brain registered as it finally pushed through the impossibility of what he was seeing, then noticed that all eyes were on him. Maybe explanations were in order so they wouldn't get the wrong idea...
"Eh, Ranma Saotome. Sorry, bout this."
"She can see us?" Belldandy whispered, quite amazed that the girl had come through the violent ordeal intact, while Urd took a slightly more verbal stance on the issue.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
Hild smiled at her daughter's impetuousness and watched the redhead curiously study them from her earthbound vantage point. Like Belldandy, she was quite amazed that the girl had taken the impact as well as she had and was now wondering all sorts of interesting questions about her. What kind of mortal just falls from the sky, destroys a park and gets up as if nothing happened?
Ranma Saotome looked from the trio of floating girls to the lone white haired one, studying the four with an equal amount of curiosity. Her eyes narrowed on the three and she frowned ever so slightly. I see, she realized, watching the brilliant blue bolt waver in the brunettes hands. Likewise, the armed little girl and the other white haired woman crackling with electricity. The martial artist gave her ragged silks one last brush down before cocking her head toward the lone white haired woman.
"Need any help?"
Hild blinked. Urd's jaw dropped and Skuld's eyes widened. Even Belldandy gasped slightly. There was no doubt, the question was directed at her and she couldn't help but to smile. "No, I'll be fine."
Ranma arched an eyebrow, studying her intently now. Somehow, she didn't doubt for a moment the woman would be fine. The power she was radiating was pretty damn heavy, even if it wasn't Ki. That, and she seemed sure of herself, so who was she to get involved? Probably for the best, Ranma decided. The way they were all dressed they were probably fiancées or something and she already had enough crap going on her life at the moment. Last thing she needed now was a run-in with magical girls.
She shrugged and flipped her ponytail back off her shoulder. "Suit yourself." The martial artist began to walk toward the nearest street when she paused, smiling wickedly. She turned back to the trio who were still staring at her incredulously. "But just so ya know, three to one odds are pretty weak."
It took a moment for the comment to register with Urd, but when it did her cheek began to twitch. "You have no idea what's going on here!" She exploded back, causing Ranma's smile to widen. "We're...! She's...! You're...!"
Urds fuming stalled as she realized she couldn't possibly let the girl know that they were Goddess or that the woman she was offering to help was, in fact the Daimakaichō herself. That didn't stop the girl, however, who stood there with that infuriating smile and hand on her hips. "I mean, you must suck pretty badly if you can't take her one on one."
Hild stifled another chuckle. Watching the little mortal antagonize the Norns and her daughter was priceless!
Urd was now glowing and even Skuld was getting visibly upset. "Just who do you think you are?! You can't just, um, fall out of the sky and get all rude!"
"Says the little tomboy with the hammer." Skuld's eyes widened to the size of 500 yen pieces and her red and white robes began to flutter noticeably. "Bet you go around hitting all sort of innocent people with that thing, huh?"
Hild's own jaw just about dropped from its hinges as the youngest Goddess began to glow with righteous indignation. The little redhead was talented, no doubt about it. May have to have to send her a fruit basket later or something for all the entertainment she was providing her.
"But don't mind me." Ranma continued, turning back to the street. "I'm just passing through."
Urd watched the infuriating girl walk away as she trembled. On one hand, she wanted to clean her clock well and good, but on the other, the girl was only a mortal. Her hands were tied when it came toward outright reprisal. But Goddess second class or not, there was one thing she couldn't resist, and that was getting the last word in.
"That's right little girl." Her tone and mannerisms affected a clam she really wasn't feeling. "Best you be getting home before your mom starts to worry."
Five steps from the sidewalk, the redhead froze. She turned back, eyeing the smiling magical girl. "A little girl now, am I?"
Warning signals sang inside Belldandy's brain as the wrongness of the situation echoed through her brain. This shouldn't be happening; shouldn't be spiraling out of control so quickly! "Urd, I really think--"
"You have no idea who you're up against, kid." Bell's warning went unheard as she glared daggers into the redhead.
"Riiight." She shook her head and yawned. "You just gonna sit up there and talk or are we gonna see if you can back those words up?" With that statement, her lopsided grin grew to its fullest measure. "Unless you're too tired, seein' how old you are and stuff..."
Even Hild's eyes widened with that last comment and the voltage playing along Urd's body crackled to new heights. Oh, she was definitely gonna have to do something nice for this girl once this was all said and done... If she managed to survive the next five minutes, that is. Even the fact that the demoness was still floating less than twenty meters across from them was forgotten as the mortal girl continued her ruthless verbal assault.
"That and your kid there." Ranma waved at Skuld nonchalantly, whose own fuming rose to a steady boil. "I mean, of all the people that should be going home when the street lights come on..."
Skuld bit down hard as her patience abruptly expired. Seeing only red, she keyed a switch on her misshapen bomb and wound back. "ALRIGHT, THAT'S ---"
A lightning bolt shredded the air and pulverized the redhead's position, blasting the earth into rock and slag, adding yet another hole to the already demolished park. All eyes turned on Urd, who was smiling wickedly. Oh sure, they all knew it was a relatively low yield blast, but the suddenness of the blast took them all--
"You wasted my time for that?" Urd's jaw fell open as the new cloud of dust blew downwind, revealing the clearly bored redhead inspecting her nails as if nothing had even happened. Less than a few centimeters away was the park's newest smoldering crater. "I mean, I know pandas with more finesse than that."
Even as the white haired girl choked on her own fury, Ranma Saotome was rapidly revising her own tactical situation. The woman may have been an arrogant hag, but that bolt was damn powerful. Kumon Ryo was no pushover, but she was confident that she could beat the bastard. This one, however... Ranma knew she was going to have to go all out when it hit the fan, and judging by the burning glare, it was about to any minute now.
Urd snapped out of her shock and charged down at high speed, lightning crackling in her hand while Hild smirked. Talent, hell, she decided. The redhead was nigh gifted if she could just make her daughter lose control so completely. Sure, that was a double edged sword in and of itself, but that didn't make it any less impressive.
The Goddess of the Past closed to blank range and swept in with the handheld bolt, cleaving empty air as the girl took to the air herself, arcing over the passing deity and using her head as a springboard to her next target. Urd promptly augured into the ground face first as the martial artist ascended to Skuld's altitude. The stunned debugger broke from her own awe and chucked the already armed skuld bomb, only to have the girl twist around it and tag it with her foot, sending it down into the patch of realistate that Urd was only now pulling her face out of.
"I AM SO GOING TOO--"
The sizable mushroom cloud that detonated atop Urd's head did little to distract the red headed whirlwind as she flew into the youngest Norn, forcibly disarming her before unleashing a devastating combination into her body. Shining blue eyes and an impetuous grin were the last things she saw clearly as the girl plowed into her, the momentum of the collision carrying both back to the earth in an uncontrolled tumble. Well, at least Skuld was in an uncontrolled tumble, having lost focus and unable to compensate for the new mass attached to her. At a height of twenty meters, the Saotome shifted her weight around, putting the black haired below her while using her as a catapult to simultaneously slow her own decent and accelerate Skuld's. There was the crunch of impact and Ranma couldn't help but to wince as she landed. The girl obviously wasn't a fighter, and it pained her to punish her so, but she wasn't exactly a noncombatant either. Ranma looked over her shoulder at the results of the bomb she had thrown, noting the smoking ruin where it had landed.
The sight lessened her guilt considerably.
The black haired girl herself was buried in her own grassy knoll, senseless for the moment. With any luck, she'd stay down long enough to take care of the--
Ranma arched an eyebrow and turned back to the pillar of ruin as a disheveled white haired mess staggered out of the blast zone. Some of that white hair was smoldering while her once elegant blue wrap bore evidence of being exposed to high temperatures. Simply put, she was a mess and a half.
"I'M GOING TO--!"
"Haven't we been over this already?" Ranma rolled her eyes and put her hands in her pockets. "You're a slow poke. Let's call it a day."
"I'm slow, hmmm?" The woman's body language went from enraged to dead calm, sending every muscle in Ranma's body into high alert. "THEN SUCK ON THIS!"
Ranma's only warning came from behind as the woman disappeared and air was instantly displaced behind her. The martial artist didn't even have time to think as she rolled out wildly, barely missing the crackling lightening bolt and white haired fury striving to violently intercept her head. Even as Ranma recovered, the magical girl was gone and air displace once more. This time, she wasn't fast enough and a blue arc crashed into her chest, sending her sprawling across the grassy earth. She rolled with the tumble, righting herself just as the woman phased into existence on her flank. This time, she was in the right position and deflected the lightning bearing arm up and out, pulverizing her sternum with Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken fury. The best she could do was stun the woman, who gave little ground to the attack while she formed another lightning bolt.
"Not good enough, little girl!" Urd snarled and took another swing, only to have the youth leap up and away from the attack in a somersault that opened the distance between them.
Ranma smiled, confusing the Goddess slightly. "That just means you can take enough punishment to be useful practice."
"Practice...?" Urd mouthed, watching her adopt a crouching pose. Suddenly, her senses seemed to go haywire as the redhead faded from view, erased from existence from before her very eyes.
Hild and Belldandy blinked as well from their positions on high. The girl simply vanished, leaving a befuddled Urd on the battlefield searching around wildly. Hild was grinning ferally now, watching her daughter's head whip around on a swivel. The little mortal might not survive her encounter today, but it was positively criminal to let potential like that go to waste. Maybe have Mara draw up a contract to--
"White Snake Reliable Venom Fist!"
Ranma Saotome faded into view for the split second it took to initiate the devastating strike, chopping at her back with Amaguriken velocities. Even as the woman spun around with an angry lightning bolt, the redhead was gone, only to reappear seconds later just to her right, repeating the process across the length of her body before finishing with a devastating combo. It was Urd's turn to get knocked across the park, tumbling only a short distance before righting herself in mid flight, little worse for the wear.
Ranma frowned as the tanned woman smoothed out her body wrap as if she were afflicted by nothing more than a light breeze. "Now do you see just what you're up against, girl? If you start begging forgiveness right now, I might just be persuaded to--"
The martial artist promptly faded from view once more, but this time Urd was ready, sweeping at the empty air to her left with a lightning bolt. The crackling blue line seemed to distort before it discharged into space and a hapless redhead, who was not only revealed, but took twenty some decawatts on the chin.
Ranma was plowing earth once more, this time unable to control the fall. She hit hard, and her muscles spasmed with electrical discharge. Urd simply watched from her position, adopting a relaxed pose.
"I have to admit, it's been a while since I've actually seen a mortal invert their own life force like that." She mused, running a hand through her hair. The action seemed to all but eliminated the scorched strands therein. "But face it, it's over. You've lost. Go home."
The struggling girl ceased all movement and began to glow visibly. With some effort, she fought her own scrambled muscular impulses and stood, glaring at the woman before. "There's something you oughta know..."
Urd was mildly surprised the redhead was even on her feet and was all but obligated to ask. "And what's that?"
The nearly imperceptible glow around the redhead intensified, crossing easily into the visible spectrum. Urd's eyes widened. "Ranma Saotome don't lose."
"You've got to be kidding--"
Skuld finally regained her senses twenty meters downrange, watching as the first ki bolt roared out from the diminutive red head, forcing Urd to evade left wildly in sheer surprise. The bright blue sphere blew by her at speeds that rivaled her own lightning bolt, and it took only another second for her brain to kick back in and follow up, sending a lightning bolt back into Ranma. The girl was already gone by the time the elemental blade streaked in, ripping across the earth as the martial artist closed the distance, lighting off another blast of ki. Skuld, Hild and Belldandy watched the spectacle, entranced as ki and mana were exchanged in high intensity combat across what was once one of the better parks in the Chiba prefecture.
"For an old witch, you're pretty fast." Ranma commented as Urd materialized off her right, ducking below an arc of electricity. She took the moment to step in, blast the woman's gut with three high powered before kicks before leaping back and into the Umisen-ken. She honestly didn't expect to fool the white haired women for the remainder of the fight, but throw her off balance? Yes. Sure enough, a glowing fist passed through her after image before she dropped the cloak, unleashing a Mōko Takabisha in her face. The force almost threw the robed women into an involuntary back flip, but she stabilized herself mid air and settled for glaring murderously from a hover. "...But your technique is sloppy as hell."
A low growl emanated from Urd's throat as a large charge of electricity gathered in her left hand. "You've got this one coming mortal..."
"Ya can see I'm positively shaking."
Belldandy watched her sister tense and decide that enough was enough. If nobody intervened, there was little doubt the girl would sustain a life threatening injury at the hands of her sister. She was generally well meaning, but her temper was a fierce one. Even she could see the redhead's power waning and it was time to put a stop to... to whatever this had become. She began to descend onto the pair when a figure blurred in front of her, barring her path.
Next to no clothing.
"Now, now, Bell-chan. Let the girls have their fun." Belldandy inhaled sharply as the Grand Mistress of Hell leaned forward, invading her personal space.
"The girl will get hurt, Hild." She said and tried to cut around the demon, only to be intercepted once more.
"Should have thought of that before you let my daughter blow her top." The Daimakaichō shrugged. "Besides, the little one is quite entertaining."
Belldandy's determined expression was broken as the fireworks below began once more in earnest, Ranma being forced onto the immediate defensive thanks in no small part due to Urd's multi-shot lightning bolt attacks. Ranma frowned as another crackling blue lance arced into her, actually changing course in order to compensate for her movement. Guided now, are they? Ranma noted grimly. Good as she was, even she knew her limits and knew she couldn't keep this up indefinitely. While the white haired witch seemed to have an unlimited amount of power at her disposal, her own resources were limited and draining fast. Mōko Takabishas weren't her most economic technique in terms of ki, and she had been trading them away like water just to keep the woman from dumping a lightning bolt on her ass. At this rate, her opponent would win by default as she would be too tired to carry on.
Time to finish this.
"God, this is PATHETIC!" Ranma balked as her body twisted around the next lightning bolt. Even the near misses were sizzling across her skin like a bad sunburn. "I mean, when did they raise the age limit on magical girls, anyway?"
"YOU…. WILL…. SUFFER." Urds eyes were glowing now and both hands began to manifest bolts of elemental lightning.
"Suffer?" Ranma blinked cluelessly. Like Herb, the woman had her beat when it came to absolute power, but unlike Herb, this one was infinitely easier to goad into recklessness. It was also her only shot at salvaging a victory. "I thought making me stand here listening to you babble was suffering enough!"
BZZzzAP! BZZAAP! ZAP!ZAP!ZAP!
Lightning filled the air around Ranma now as the enraged challenger followed her every movement, desperate to the point of insanity to wipe the redhead's smirk off her face. Her bolts were steadily increasing in amperage as her rage mounted. The best she had managed so far was glancing blow that the martial artist managed to fight through, staving off neural muscular meltdown in favor of the intricate pattern she was weaving.
"Maybe I could teach you a few moves," Ranma mused as another round of glowing fists streaked in, pressing her own speeds to their limit. It was only the fact that she was a girl that gave her parity in that department now. "Then again, I'd make a much better magical girl than you."
Step. Step. Step. Only a few more revolutions…
"Heck, I'd even make a better looking one for that matter!"
"Times up. It's been fun."
Urd was shocked as the redhead suddenly stopped with a knowing smile. What the…? That's when she noticed the girl's ki had dropped to absolutely nothing while the ambient temperature around her had done like likewise. An elemental attack? The girl didn't have enough left in her to--
"HIYRU SHOTEN HA!"
Ranma thrust her remaining reserves into a fist and pushed it skyward, initiating the catalyst that called forth a technique no less than three thousand years old. Under normal circumstances, her opponent's hot ki would have spiraled into critical mass, reacting with the soul of ice at its core and catalyzing into a tornado fueled by pure life force. The stronger the opponent, the stronger the resulting tempest, which was what made it an excellent technique to be used against multiple combatants or a single powerful one.
Urd, Norn Goddess of the Past, Category Two was just such an opponent.
What she wasn't, however, was ordinary. Ranma had yet to identify the heavy power rolling off the woman, but one thing it wasn't was ki. It was, in fact, mana. Very hot, emotionally charged mana, to be exact. For lack of a better definition it was pure magic and it took the place of the Hiryu Shoten Ha's fuel, gusting around the pigtailed girl into the cyclone and taking on a life of its own. Literally. Urd's eyes widened as the mana took shape and gasped, but it was already too late. An ethereal dragon flared to life around the Saotome, sucking the Goddess up as it spiraled skyward in elemental fury. She tried to break free, but it was her own power, shaped and molded by the girl. It pounded at her mercilessly for the next few thousand feet as it tapped her own reserves unbidden of conscious control.
Urd wasn't the only one to pay the price as the tempest raged around Ranma Saotome, taking with it the last of her combat reserves. Her control faltered and the soul of ice slipped moments later, destabilizing the cyclone's core and ultimately the catalyst driving it. Deprived of its life sustaining elements, the phantom dragon unraveled, sending Urd across Chiba in an uncontrolled ballistic arc while Ranma sank to her knees, teetering on the edge of consciousness.
She stared up into the cloudless blue sky and managed a slight smile at the speck that disappeared into it. "Told ya… Ranma Saotome… Don't lose…"
And with that, her world went black.
Belldandy, Skuld and Hild's eyes registered surprise as the dragon formed and consume the pair, one getting blown skyward while the other ran her life force into the redline summoning the entity now clawing its way to the heavens. The two Norns stared in shocked awe at the scene. Hild did as well, but unlike them, had an outrageous smile plastered across her face. That girl was positively priceless! The redhead had fought her own flesh and blood to a draw! A mortal! The demoness was positively giddy now.
Oh sure, there's no way she'd be able to do it again. Urd would learn from her mistakes and wouldn't fall into a senseless rage so easily next time. Even if the mortal had more fancy tricks up her sleeve, she was bound to lose, but… She watched Urd disappear across the horizon. Even that was a temporary victory, at best. She'd get knocked around a bit and sure, the landing would smart, but her daughter would be no worse for the wear really. Round two would most assuredly be hers for the taking. Still…
Her eyes turned back to the redhead, who seemed to crack a slight smile, mumble something, then collapse. Yep, that was it. The girl had expended herself entirely, leaving just enough to sustain her vital functions. Even unconscious, the mortal caused her to smile. An excellent performance nonetheless. And to think she was originally going to be content playing mind games with the Norns today. No, this one was by far more interesting.
"Keiichi's yours." Hild stated suddenly, breaking Belldandy and Skulds state of shock. Both looked at her in disbelief. Such a reversal without strings attached was quite unusual for the first lady of hell. "I've released the spell. Run along now and collect him and your sister."
Belldandy blinked, then watched with trepidation as the Daimakaichō floated to the ground, kneeling at the fallen girls side. "Hild-sama, what are you doing?"
"Getting to know my savior better." The tanned demoness smiled, gently gathering the redhead into her arms.
"Of course I can." She cocked her head, studying the girl's inert features Very interesting, and in more ways than one. With that resolved she turned her purple gaze back skyward and flashed Belldandy a toothy white smile. "Ta-ta for now!"
And then she was gone with a fiery 'poof'.
Let me take this moment to preempt the inevitable Ah My Ranma 1/2 backlash that this posting will undoubtedly receive... Okay, now that that's finished I hope that you're enjoying this one. i really should come up with something more original, but hey, the muse-o-matic comes and goes. Actually, I WASN'T going to release this till a while down the road, so you can blame Nick and Sarah for this travesty of justice. NOT me. I'm PERFECT.
Anyway... I have a few things i wanted to accomplish with this fic from the git-go. No contracts, no instant love affairs, no "ZOMG YOUR A DEMON NOW RANMA!" in the first sentence... That comes later ;) I'll be shooting for an aggressive release schedule, though how that plays out is dependent on my other addiction, World of Warcraft. Oh, for those of you who haven't, check my ffnet page for some spam. Well, good spam.
Nuff talk, more fics.
Special thanks to: TriMatter, DeltaTheta, THEONEWHOSHALLNOTBENAMED, MageOhki and Materia Blade for creative services rendered.