Revision 3, 08MAY2007
I guess that this is a Ranma one half, totally twisted, somewhat perverted spamfic? Any ownership is disclaimed by this lowly person. Theme music from the movie 'Deliverance', being played on a Chinese stringed instrument can be heard in the background. Pardon the dramatic silliness. Don't own anything pertaining to Ranma, Sailor Moon, or the guy who invented bobbles. This is just entertainment. Please be entertained. Thanks to the people at Fukufics. And J. St.C. Patrickfor looking over grammar and spelling.
—Phenol Phthalein's prophecy 227 a.d., Nyanchiczu village.
The old woman sat on a set of cushions across from the cheery light given off by the hearth fire. The smell of stew and bread baking filled the main room of the hut. Another, not so old, woman sat before a low table with brush in hand over a fresh scroll. A young boy and girl moved quietly about preparing the evening meal and tending the fire.
The oldest woman reached into the fire, barehanded, and picked up some glowing red coals. She inspected the burning embers in the manner that one would examine a fruit in a market. Finally satisfied, she set the coals into a very small brazier and added some powder over the coals. The smoke cloud expanded much faster than should have been possible, given the rooms poor circulation. Everyone felt a brief moment of vertigo and double vision as the fumes caught them, except for the eldest. She bent over the brazier and began to chant in an old language, seldom used since the silver times. Suddenly, she shouted "Yes! A true vision!" Getting a goofy grin she began to speak.
"Twins out of different mothers, one a virgin, shall be born. This will be the sign to watch for. The virgin will be a daughter of Khronos. Follow her. Listen to him, he bears Jusenkyo's kiss. Obey her, she bears Jusenkyo's blessing. Protect the avatar as you are protected. The virgin mother will bring enlightenment and safety to the Amazons. He will bring sorrow and confusion to our enemies, who look for us, but will not see. Her and his family will open the wider worlds to Artemis' people. Be prepared to follow Her to a new Silver Age."
The scribe asked, "What does Kronos have to do with us? Doesn't he come from a pantheon that we have eschewed except for Pallas Athena? Why should we pay attention to a foreign devil", while she finished copying the words.
"No, Lo Fat, Kronos has helped the Goddess watch over us for a long time. I don't know why the Greek deity of Saturn would be in my vision. I see what will be and what will impact the future of our tribe. If you don't understand this, get a clue. I'm going to bed...damn kids, think they know everything when they hit 150, four hundred years too young to understand, if you know what I mean." Phenol went to her pile of cushions and blankets in the corner and lay down with a secret smirk.
In a fit of spite, Lo Fat wrote down the conversation following the prophesy and drew stick figures of herself sticking her tongue out at what looked like a raisin. Then, with an evil grin that frightened the children in the shadows, tossed the scroll into the fire. 'Bull excrement', she thought. Xian Pu and Lu Tse snuck out of the hut, their duties complete.
Meanwhile in the pile of blankets, Phenol was smiling as she visited her friend from her childhood, in a mindscape of lush gardens bordered with beautiful marble columns. Here, she was again the lavender haired beauty of her youth and a handsome white bearded man took her hands. "Phenol-chan, your days as my oracle, on this plane, are nearly over and I find that I don't want to lose you to reincarnation. Would you be willing to be my assistant? Do some things on the mortal plane that I don't have time for?"
Phenol Phthalien just wrapped her arms around the god's neck and said, "Wo da airen." He smiled back and they kissed.
In the hut, no one noticed the glow coming from the old woman's bedding—or, the beautiful, translucent woman standing beside the resting place of her mortal shell. She looked up, joyfully and rose through the ceiling. The woman's lifeless body was discovered the next morning.
In a hut, in a modest village, in a valley, in an isolated mountain range, two auburn haired women were in separate beds accompanied by two gray haired women. They were in the final stages of labor and delivery. The gray haired women were the noted twin Amazon healers Soap and Conditioner. The healers said in unison, "She's crowning! Now push one more time." Both of the redheads screamed with their effort as a fat bald headed man cowered in a corner of the room, speaking quietly, fast and incoherently. A voluptuous violet haired girl, armed with a brightly colored spear, kept a close watch on the fat one.
Twin cries of the newborns first breaths shattered the sudden silence as the babes were cleaned, wrapped and had their umbilical cords tied and cut. Each infant, sporting a shock of curly purplish red hair, was handed to her mother to begin nursing. One of the women looked down at the child that was already nursing greedily, with infinite love and said, "Daughter that I had desired for so long, I'll name you Sakura, for the cherry blossoms that fall like snow in the spring." Looking over at the apparent identical twin in the other bed, who was mesmerized by her own baby, "Daughter, what will you name her?"
"I…I think that I'll name her Hotaru. My own little firefly. What do you think?"
"I think that that is a wonderful name, Ranma." spoke an aged voice. The group of Amazons that had entered bowed low to the two mothers.
Ork ork ork! The back story—about eight months before
A martial artist and his son walked down a dusty road followed by a young looking auburn haired woman. The woman was dressed in a dusty silk kimono in spite of the warmth of the day and carried only a silk wrapped bundle in her arms and her own, large pack on her back. Though the overweight man and the young black haired boy maintained a grueling pace, the woman kept up easily, keeping a fresher appearance than the larger of her two gi clad companions.
The younger man shifted his huge pack and looked back at the woman and smiled. "Mom, Pops said that this is the last training ground and then we can go home!"
The woman smiled beatifically at her son. "It will be wonderful to be home again with you, Ranma, my manly son." She passed a cold glance at the man walking beside Ranma. "Kami-sama knows that we have made good progress in the six months since I caught up with you and that…person, but your education needs much fleshing out. MY Art and high school sensei experience can only go so far without a library or proper dojo."
The heavyset man continued to look straight ahead and spoke with some agitation, "Woman! The boy's training would have been finished two months ago without you making him soft with your useless 'education'. I won't have my son turned into a weak girl…"
At that moment a katana flashed, bisecting him from head to groin. But it was only an after image, which faded quickly. The lady looked at the top of Ranma's pack where her husband was perched. The boy continued walking as if his burden had not just tripled. "Genma, you had better mind your mouth. And don't think that I missed you because of your skill! Ranma was much more a man than you even before I found the two of you wandering about this barbarous country. He has done nothing but please me, after he and I smoothed some rough edges off, and I convinced him that women weren't as weak as you taught him."
Ranma remembered his own beating at the hands and katana of his mother. Since then he had been learning the way of the sword and staff from her, as well as some much overdue academics. He began to smirk evily. "Hey Pops, get down, will ya? Mom, Maybe Pops would like to see another spar 'between' you and me?" Genma jumped down and put some extra space between himself and the other two, sweat dropping at the thought of another two on one beat down. He kept the misogynous comments in his mind for the next few hours.
The trio walked down the path and out of the trees to see a small flat plain pockmarked with hundreds of pools of water. Every pool had bamboo poles jutting out of them.
"Well boy, we're here. Nodoka! This is where our son graduates to the mastery of our art!" 'And Soun's kids ought to be old enough for marrying. Oh happy retirement will be soon.' Genma leapt to the nearest pole.
"Whattaya mean, Pops? This don't look so tough!"
"Come on boy! You gotta use all your ki learning ta jump from these springy poles and not get dunked."
Ranma smirked, he had almost irked his father with that last statement. Looking at his mother, he shrugged and jumped to a pole in a pool near his father. Looking down at the pools, he saw that each pool had its own color and some seemed to have faces in the rippling water. Sad faces looking up at him. Ranma shuddered, shaking his head to clear his vision. Narrowing his eyes, he jumped toward his father beginning the aerial combat that was the hallmark of their school.
Meanwhile, Nodoka casually walked between the pools, observing her son's deadly ballet with his less graceful but no less dangerous father. She turned as a heavyset man crying out in mandarin ran up to her. She spoke in the pidgin mandarin that she had picked up. "I sorry no understand much. Can talk Japanese?"
He shifted to a somewhat better Japanese, "Honored lady customer. Must get back from springs. It very dangerous, magic-cursed place. Customers no Know how bad."
Nodoka felt a cold shiver run down her spine and took off running after the men in her life. "Ranma! Genma! Stop immediately and get on solid ground!"
The two combatants jumped apart and looked at her questioningly, while observing each other for any dirty tricks. Nodoka walked to the edge of Ranma's pool. "The water of these pools may have a curse. Come down here! Don't let the water touch you."
Genma hooted snidely, "Feh! Ranma this is what we get for having a weak silly woman along. I'm not finished with you yet!"
Ranma was now the angry one. "Stupid Pops! Mom ain't told me wrong yet and nearly everything I hear out of your hole has been bad, stupid, wrong, illegal, immoral, did I say stupid, or all of those things. I'm getting' down."
Genma's aura began to burn red with his anger. He thought, 'How dare she interfere with my training of the boy! I won't let her turn him into an honorless weak willed girl!' The boy and woman turned their gaze upon him and glared at him. 'Did I say that out loud?' "Kuso." Which 'was' said aloud.
He did a number of flips as he leapt at his son, trying to get the upper hand, quickly. Ranma dodged and the two went pole to pole across the ponds. Nodoka frantically watched, with her heart in her throat, and followed as her son often passed close enough to the water's surface to create ripples in his passage before grabbing the next pole. Genma's obsession would lead to something very bad. She just knew it.
High above the springs, a man and lavender haired woman watched the tableau, unobserved. The woman seemed bemused while the man was amused. A wind blew through the trees that were growing some distance away from the springs, but failed to even ruffle the woman's long hair. She slid down a gossamer beam of light, disappearing into the ground by one particular spring while the golden skinned man continued to watch the unfolding drama.
Ranma had come to a decision. This would not end until he was dunked or his father was beaten. As much as his father would deserve another curse. Ranma laughed in his mind about the time a monk gave Genma a curse of ten thousand crab lice. Becoming bald all over finally convinced the buggers to reside elsewhere. It would only bring him to his father's level to deliberately curse him. So, he began to extend his awareness and engaged the tactical computer that was his mind, planning many moves ahead.
Spotting a large rock in a large dry area by the most central pool in the springs, a strategy formed in his mind. Smirking, he said, "Pops, you gotta have brain damage from the sun baking that bald head of yours. Maybe for lunch we can just cook the food on your head and save the matches." He dodged a mid-air round house and left a friction burn on the older man's head as he removed the bandana from his father's head with his own kick.
"Hey old man. Cover up. Your gonna blind me with that ugly, lumpy, shiny thing!" Genma just growled and stepped up his attacks. Nodoka was falling back, shouting imprecations at her husband.
The aerial battle had gone on for fifteen minutes and neither opponent had been able to get telling blows. Though Ranma had been avoiding such because he refused to send his father into the drink. The man felt pride in how long his son had lasted, but refused to give his son mastery through his own defeat. Genma unlocked a sealed technique and sent a crescent shaped vacuum-ki blade through the pole on which his son stood.
Ranma looked wide eyed at the technique that his 'father' had been holding out on him and infused the pole with his ki. The pole held together, in spite of being severed, just long enough to allow his next leap.
Genma's surprise at his son's unexpected, instant counter to an unbeatable move proved to be his undoing. Ranma allowed the next pole to bend in ki infused springiness until it almost had him in the water and was whipped at near supersonic speed at his father. The fat martial artist looked up to locate his son and saw two feet slamming into his chest. Ranma bounced higher in the same direction as Genma, who flew into a straight line smashing into the granite boulder that was Ranma's target.
Nodoka was running toward where the two combatants seemed to be heading when the seemingly solid ground by a large pool suddenly gave way, dumping her into the water. A ghostly hand released its grip on her ankle when her fall became unavoidable. The hand rose from the ground revealing a shimmering woman who watched the results of her action, then rose up into the air, slowly vanishing.
Hard rock, formed when the earth was young, proved to be no match for the density of Genma's head and became granite dust after stopping his forward motion and secondarily rendered him unconscious. Ranma landed beside his father and crowed, "Hey mom! I did it. Mom?" He looked at the large pool to see bubbles at the surface and pieces of bank still caving in.
The guide huffed to within a few feet of the pool's edge and announced, "So sorry. Miz customer fell into uncursed pool and pool will drown customer. Will have to wait to see what curse is."
'Mom is drowning?!' "Mooommm!" Ranma dove into the pool, uncaring of danger. In the clear water Ranma saw his mother, still and glowing, at the bottom of the pool and swam to her. Grabbing her, then ki-reinforcing the muck, and jumping, mother and child landed a few feet from the edge.
"Mom. Mom!" Feeling no pulse, Ranma immediately began CPR. Getting her lungs cleared, Ranma began the cycle of breathing and chest compressions learned years before at a temple dedicated to the healing arts. He panted frantically, "Please don't die. Please don't die. Please don't die." between each set of rescue breaths. Every breath was infused with a pink tinged glow. Every compression was accompanied by a white spark of Ranma-generated electricity.
The guide watched this in awe. 'She is healing with her touch, practically resurrecting Miz Customer with her touch.'
The third compression cycle was interrupted by his mother's weak coughing. Ranma's mother was gathered into shaking arms. Her child's tears fell sizzling onto the ground as she bent over her mother, whose head lay in her lap.
Nodoka swam up to consciousness and saw…herself…above her, surrounded by a halo of light. She was crying and the tears sizzled as if they were boiling off into the air. Was this some out of body experience? Was she seeing her own mother in the afterlife? "Mother?"
Ranma was shocked when Nodoka looked up, wonderingly, and said "Mother?"
"No, Mom. It's me. Ranma. I thought I had lost you so soon after finding you again!"
"It can't be. You…you look like me!?"
At that moment the guide approached, still panting. "Honored… Honored customers, this what I try warn about. Springs turn customer into what drown in them. Happy that Miz Customer brought back to life, but uncursed spring now cursed. Come with me to home and will explain."
Ranma was dazed and suppressing her emotions, except for joy that her mother was alive. "Alive!" She picked her mother up and carried her, bridal style, back to the guide's hut. Genma was left to fend for himself.
As all this was going on, the pool began to boil, the magic removing all traces of the template that had just been placed on it. After a bit, it had returned to its former pristine state. The lavender haired ghost pulled her hand from the water, smiled and vanished.
Inside the hut Ranma and her mother sat at the table while the guide set a teakettle on to boil. Ranma had found and draped a blanket over Nodoka's shoulders. Meanwhile, Ranma had begun to shake, but not from the coolness of the room. She wanted to swear at her body and declaim herself a weak girl, but that would insult and probably disappoint her mother. The pull in two different directions was seriously messing up her normally fine tuned fight or flight instincts.
Meanwhile the guide was saying, "…was uncursed and guides believed would stay uncursed because was where Jusendo upwelling before feed other spring. Very magical spring, will have to wait for next victim. Then see true curse. Miz and mister customer took much magic into selves but water now hot enough should change young mister customer back, until next cold water."
Ranma picked up on the last statement. "I can be me again. What do I do?"
"Stay still, honored customer." The guide then proceeded to pour the hot water over Ranma, who was smiling in anticipation. A moment passed, then three. Ranma's smile began to look forced. The guide frowned and replaced the kettle on the stove, after refilling. "That strange, customer not change. Not know why." The process was repeated until the water was actually boiling, with the same results.
Ranma's shaking increased and tears began to run down her cheeks again, as she looked at her hands folded in her lap. Nodoka moved to Ranma and wrapped the blanket about them both and held onto her son-err-daughter-err-sister? Giving up, she whispered into Ranma's ear, softly, "It will be okay, you saved my life even though you knew something bad might happen. Son, I love you unconditionally and absolutely. We WILL figure something out. It may be short of what we want, but now that I have you again, I won't lose you. I know that we can face our future, whatever it is."
The two settled back into the chair and, eventually, Ranma dozed off, with an occasional hiccuping sob, as Nodoka crooned assurance to her changed son. 'Ranma isn't very manly right now… Hell with manly. He didn't care what the sacrifice was, all he thought of was to save me. My son must love me. I know that!' Tears slid down her own cheek, now that Ranma couldn't see her own moment of weakness. "I'll be strong for Ranma tomorrow…and until we get this under control." She whispered with conviction.
Out in the springs, Genma came to and staggered blindly through the springs. He bumped into someone but saw only concussion induced spots. He continued on as a splash could be heard behind him. Genma left the pools of sorrow behind him as only those with 'dumb blind luck' were able to do. He came to a stop outside of the hut after being clotheslined by a clothesline and smashing his head again on another rock. Soon, snores were frightening away wildlife and two nearby musk warriors in the early evening twilight.
Ranma was dreaming of being held in his mother's arms. It was a comforting feeling. Nothing bad could happen as long as he was being rocked. Then he looked up into her eyes and basked in her warm gaze for a long moment. After a short eternity her eyes took on a look that felt totally wrong. Wrong. "No-chan." Her face approached his and their lips met. "Mom, what…" His words were cut off as her tongue entered his mouth, tickling his tonsils. Her hands fondling his breasts, and another place. 'Breasts?' The face changed to that of his father as she woke up.
Her own…father! Her father was making out with her!
Her inarticulate scream was enough to blast Genma through the door of the hut. As Ranma's mother jerked awake behind her, Ranma lunged across and out the door, losing what remained of the previous night's meal on the packed earth in front of the domicile. In between heaves she shrieked at her father. "What are you doing oyaji?!!!"
"But No-chan, I thought that maybe we could do some more 'catching up' on what we missed in our years apart. Before the boy wakes up."
'No-chan' was standing in the doorway of the hut and put two and two together. Surprisingly the sum was four.
Genma froze when he heard, "Husband…what were you trying to do to our son?" He looked at 'Nodoka', trying to throw up her toenails. For some reason, she was wearing Ranma's gi. Then he looked at Nodoka standing in the door. 'Why are her eyes glowing?' He looked back at Nodoka and looked back at Nodoka and looked back at Nodoka (Rinse lather repeat).
"Why are there two of you No-chan?" He asked in a small voice.
The Nodoka standing in the door said, "Genma. That woman you were about to have sex with is our son. You refused to listen to me yesterday and now a curse is on our son to have a body identical to mine, all because of your crass stupidity."
Pointing a shaky finger, "That's Ranma?" A cold nod was his answer. Genma stood and opened his mouth, then slowly closed it before toppling over in a dead faint.
Nodoka got a strange look in her eye and then she was heaving beside Ranma.
The guide walked along the path to his hut and shook his head at the retching women and unconscious man. 'These foreign devils are way too weird. I'm glad Plum is visiting her great great grandaunt Cologne for training.'
After a breakfast of toasted bread, the two women's stomachs still hadn't settled completely. The guide convinced them that they should go to the village in the next valley over to see the matriarch of a tribe of Amazons. This would solve several problems. The strangers would be away from his home, he would alert the matriarch to the changes at the springs, Ranma's problem could be explored, and would see his beloved daughter a few weeks earlier than otherwise.
Ranma was searching for firewood in the late afternoon in the woods against the east side of the valley of springs when she thought she heard a woman's cries. It sounded like a woman in pain to her ears and she made a bee line for the source of the noise. Ducking under a tree trunk that had fallen across the path, Ranma froze at the tableau before him. She had suddenly had been exposed to a part of sex education that had been totally absent in her upbringing as a boy. After ten minutes of watching, it suddenly occurred to her that it was her mother riding the mystery horse and that she currently had the same body that was doing 'that' to her father. 'Gotta get outta here. Gotta get OUTTA HERE…' gibbered her mind as she slipped away, silently.
Finding a small stream a safe distance away, Ranma proceeded to throw up again and again, washing off in the stream afterwards. She thought, 'I need to get a cure for this stupid lock on this stupid curse! Oh Kami-sama…my eyes! I ain't NEVER gonna do that with a guy!' That night Ranma awoke screaming twice. One nightmare involved her father repeating his earlier performance…with her…and the other…a naked dark haired boy waving a bokken saying repeatedly, "I will date with you." She didn't 'even' know where the boy had come from and couldn't decide which was worse. After each dream, Nodoka woke and tried to comfort her son…daughter, but Ranma's panic just got worse until she had fully awakened. A restful sleep would not come to Ranma that night.
Mid-afternoon, the following day found four people walking into the Amazon village. The few guards waved them on into the community. The Amazon sentry had watched the four travelers enter their lands, recognizing the Jusenkyo guide through her Russian made binoculars. Using her Motorola transceiver, she passed on their descriptions and was told not to reveal herself or interfere because of the guide. She then resumed eating, with small moans of ecstasy, the small quantity of Pocky that she had purchased from one of the Amazons who had infiltrated the Chinese embassy staff in Japan. The woman had to return to report in person on occasion and carried a pack of stuff to serve her 'sister's' minor vices.
"Honored customers very lucky. Amazon womens have tournament and feast today."
The travelers came into a square that had virtually the entire village gathered in stands to see fights performed on a suspended log in a sandy arena. The two women watched a beautiful, lavender haired girl battling a giantess on the log. Out of the corner of their eyes, Ranma and Nodoka spotted Genma sneaking toward a large table covered with food. As he reached to grab something to shovel down his gullet, he froze when a blade tickled his Adam's apple, his grasping hand was pulled behind his back, in an unbreakable pain hold.
"Husband. You promised to hold to a reasonable diet. And seeing that no one is eating this food, I assume that it would be very impolite to partake when all these people are showing admirable restraint. Will you back away?" Genma slowly nodded. "If you persist, I think that I will remove toes and fingers until you have none to grasp with…or… you learn your lesson."
A gravelly voice spoke from behind them, approvingly, "You do well in restraining your male's gluttony. The penalty for eating the tournament's prize without permission is death for outsiders."
Nodoka and Ranma turned and, with widened eyes, took in the short figure perched on a gnarled staff. "It's a ghoummmph" Nodoka removed her hand from Ranma's mouth with a stern look.
"Honored elder." Nodoka bowed. "We have come here to see if we could speak to your matriarch. To beg assistance regarding an unfortunate encounter with a spring at Jusenkyo" Ranma had, in the meantime, turned to watch the current match between the two final opponents in the tournament with an avid intensity.
"My name is Cologne as you would pronounce it and I am the matriarch you seek. Shall I guess that you fell into the spring of drowned twins?"
Nodoka smiled at their luck finding the object of their search so quickly. Suddenly her unwrapped katana flashed and Genma dropped the loaf of bread in favor of trying to staunch the flow of blood from where his left pinky toe had formerly been attached. Cologne's eyebrow raised appreciatively at the impressive swordswomanship. "No, honored matriarch, the spring is that of my drowned self. I would not be here if my son had not dived in and brought me back from death's door."
"So your twin?, here, is your son? Well, there is no cure and using another spring only mixes the curses."
"Matriarch, that is not why we are asking for help. My son was unable to return to his birth form with hot water."
Cologne slitted her eyes, "Well, I know of only three easy ways of 'fixing' a nyannichuan type curse such as your son has. One is mainly psychological, through a shiatsu pressure point. Another is a magical lock, you weren't splashed with water from a ladle after exiting the spring?" Shaking heads were her answer. "Well, there is one other, will you follow… Oh! It looks as if my great granddaughter has won the tournament."
The lavender haired girl was being carried toward the table on the shoulders of the other participants. Speaking mandarin in a chanting voice, "My sisters. This feast is much too large for me to eat. I would be honored if you would celebrate with me in this repast! Who are you?" Ranma had appeared between the champion and the table.
"I am Ranma of the Saotome Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu and would like to challenge you for a meal from that feast table for me and my family."
Nodoka wiped her hand across her face in frustration. "Ranma, its not necessary to do that."
The girl spoke up, "Grandmother, what are these foreign devils saying?"
"Shampoo, one of them wants to challenge you for the right to eat at our feast. Go ahead if you feel up to it after the tournament, but don't do anything foolish, take her seriously, or it may be him because of Jusenkyo. And, speak Japanese, you will need it for our next training trip."
"Yes great grandmother. Shampoo will do as ask. Thought that was what foreign womans say. Yes Shampoo fight weak outsider womans. Be ready go hungry."
So the two leapt onto the challenge log and took their stances. The feasting table was left unwatched, but Genma was too busy bemoaning the loss of a toe to molest the food.
Shampoo spoke up, "Is true outsider womans fall into Jusenkyo?"
Ranma replied, "Yeah. Day before yesterday. I was a guy. I'd do it again though, to save my momma's life!"
Shampoo's face took on a look of respect. "Is good to sacrifice self for family or tribe." She smiled. "Still, better be womans than weak male."
"No. I'd give almost anything to be able to change back even part of the time, but so far nothing works."
The two had been gauging each other during the brief conversation. Shampoo decided to go on the offensive with a leg sweep and simultaneously swinging a bonbori beside the log to catch Ranma, should she jump over the leg. Ranma wasn't totally used to her mother's body and was grazed on the temple as a result. Her hand caught the arm swinging up even as the weapon hit. Her reflexes transferred the inertia to herself and she spun several feet above the lavender haired girl's head as she recovered from the hit.
The statuesque redhead landed in a low crouch as her opponent's bonbori swung over her head. Ranma decided that it was time to end this sparring session and executed a technique that she had made when her father had taught her to hang onto ceilings with ki. With a shout of "Hook Slide" she appeared to fall off the log. Shampoo thought that Ranma had given up, but was stunned when Ranma swung up from behind and hit the Amazon's butt with her shoulder. The girl was knocked high into the air on a trajectory beyond the soft dirt of the arena. Ranma had literally skated under the log to surprise Shampoo from behind.
Ranma's smirk faded as it appeared that Shampoo was going to have a bad fall in a rocky area. Not even thinking, Ranma did a horizontal leap to catch the young warrior and land beyond the rocks. Cologne and the other spectators walked over to where Ranma was setting a shaken shampoo down. The Amazon was starting to get upset at her loss and had thought of a way to recover from the loss of face at this impudent outsider's hands, she was a he, after all. Smiling, she placed a hand on each side of Ranma's head and laid a blistering kiss on the poor boy in a woman's body. Wo da airen.
Cologne slapped herself and closed her eyes at the antics of her progeny's progeny's progeny. Thinking about it, though, brought a wicked smile to her face. The Amazons surrounding her, even the ones unable to see her face backed away, warily avoiding the ugly rays.
"Shampoo, I want to commend you on your choice of mate, though it is still unknown if she will be able to perform in providing an heir of your blood. I hope that you understand the risks you have taken. Ehh?"
Ranma collapsed into a smiling, boneless heap as Shampoo released her and turned to her ancestor. "What mean risks? Hibachan."
"If this child is truly locked in this form, to provide an heir, your inheritance will be transferred to her and you will have to undergo exposure to the Nannichuan and water from the chisuiton."
"No. Noooo! Great grandmother not do that to Shampoo!"
"In a heartbeat, child." Cologne's face took on a grim aspect. "Saotome-san…Not you, unworthy male! Nodoka-san, my foolish descendant has taken it onto herself to marry your child by the laws of our tribe. This is irrevocable, until a female heir is born to our bloodline. Lets eat and discuss this in more detail afterward."
The women surrounded the table and started to eat after the nervous young champion had taken a bite from a drum stick. The women warriors quickly picked up their share and the men began to line up. Cologne spoke to the four visitors, "Now that the tournament is over and males are allowed to eat feel free to partake. Then we will do some investigation into...'son-in-law's' problem." While Nodoka grinned and the guide bowed, Ranma experienced a hunger induced resurrection, as he and Genma attacked the nearest table like hungry piranhas to a bleeding water buffalo.
Later. "Shampoo! Bring your 'airen' and her mother with you when they finish eating. We are going to investigate the outsider women and you need to be concerned about what your status in the tribe will be.
Ranma, Nodoka and Shampoo followed the Matriarch into a large, thatch roofed building that was built into the side of a hill set in the center of the village. Genma remained at the feasting table, alternating between picking the scraps and nursing his toe stub.
Taking and lighting a carbide lamp, Cologne led her companions into a downsloping passage that seemed to lead away from the village. Ranma felt an alien ki probing her essence and nervously brushed it back with her own aura. There seemed to be a compulsion mixed up with it that she wished to have nothing to do with. She sensed it swirling about her mother and saw that it was failing to find purchase there as well. A sudden smirk flashed across her features, 'Way to go mom. Nobody gonna make us do what we don't want.'
After thirty minutes or so, they entered a large chamber that echoed and re-echoed their footsteps until it sounded like an army marching. Cologne stopped at the edge of a low circular dais and put out her lamp. The ensuing darkness only lasted a few seconds, as a diffuse glow replaced the intense light from the lamp.
Looking about, Ranma and the others saw that there was a shallow basin in the central dais, filled with water that had its source from a stalactite that hung from the distant ceiling like a great sword that had a milky, glowing translucence. Around the perimeter of the huge chamber were marble faced arches containing ancient wooden doors.
Cologne decided to speak, "I brought you in here to investigate your conditions and also to test you. If you had hostile or killing intent, you would have been dead before entering this chamber."
The old woman then said, "Ranma, Nodoka, please stand in the water and let Artemis' mirror reveal what it will."
The two stepped onto the dais after removing slippers and sandals. As the woman and neo-woman stepped into the water, a bright white nimbus appeared around them, especially Ranma. Motes of light, like fireflies rose from the water and moved about as if 'inspecting' them. A concentration happened over each female's lower abdomen before all of the lights began to surround Ranma, moving in an agitated manner. The lights appeared to enter and exit the neo-woman's body until they began to whirl in front of her, compressing finally into a brightly glowing crystal.
Ranma had stood mesmerized by the display, until the crystal formed. "Momma. The voices are telling me to take the heart crystal, that it will activate my birth right." She reached for the crystal, but as her acceptance was shown by reaching, the gem 'fell' into her chest. Suddenly, all light was extinguished in the chamber, except for a faint glow from the dais.
"That was impressive." remarked Cologne. "Let us move to the next..."
She was interrupted by a bright column of light surrounding Ranma and seemingly passing at an angle through the roof of the chamber. Dust particles began to swirl from the floor, circling the light show. Standing next to her, Nodoka saw Ranma's form overlaid with what appeared to be a sailor fuku in a purple and white theme. On her head was a crown and a symbol, looking like a stylized Romanji letter 'h' glowed on her forehead.
Ranma let out a voiceless scream and then the light show snapped out, leaving her to fall, splashing into the basin. Her mother rushed up to her. Picking Ranma up in her arms, she looked about wildly and followed Cologne's beckoning hand signal. The group marched over to one of the doors at the edge of the chamber. As Cologne opened the door, blinding white light spilled out. Nodoka took in the incongruity of what appeared to be a fully modern, white tiled, brightly lit hospital hundreds of feet below some of the most primitive seeming country on earth.
A short elderly woman wearing a lab coat spoke up in perfect Japanese, "Saotome-san. If you would bring your daughter to this exam room, we can see what is going on. Granddaughter, help Saotome-san." Once in the room, Ranma was put onto an examination bed. "My name is Soap. By the way, if you would, please go to that bathroom and pee into this cup and give it to my colleague, Conditioner, there. I'll take care of Ranma for the moment."
The unconscious Ranma was gently stripped, cleaned off and dressed in a loose, white hospital robe by the ancient healer. Next, blood was drawn from her arm into several ampoules that Soap handed off to an assistant to be taken to the lab. Ranma's legs were placed in stirrups for a gynecological exam. Soap had a feeling that her patient would be even less cooperative should she waken. Hence, the sleep shiatsu judiciously applied. Soap's eyes widened as she performed a pelvic exam.
Nodoka went through the same process that Ranma had, though conscious and cooperative.
Nodoka spoke with a bemused air, "Honored Elders, I must admit to being amazed at finding a facility like this, far from what one would call civilization. May I ask…?"
Cologne chuckled, "Oh, dear me. Yes! You may ask. Soap and Conditioner were taking a sabbatical about fifty years ago, checking on the status of the healing arts in the larger world and spent some time at a major American medical university. After learning what western medicine could teach, they convinced the council and my self that a fully equipped and maintained hospital would be a good investment. The power for all of this comes from a small underground hydroelectric generator."
The auburn haired woman then asked, "But why hide it like this?"
"Why hide a thoroughly equipped hospital, a thoroughly equipped 'research' hospital for that matter? The People's Republic of China would get very curious why such a backward and unimportant village had such a thing. Also, some of our research would be extremely dangerous in the hands of the army, especially to the rest of the world."
Nodoka then spoke in reply, "Why are you showing this to Ranma and I? How do you know that we won't betray you. I think that most wouldn't be so trusting in your position."
"Child." Cologne smiled warmly, "First. There is a prophecy that has been passed down in my clan, only in my clan, mother to daughter, for almost eighteen hundred years. What it is, I'm not ready to share without more proof. But, if you and Ranma fail to be the ones, it will be a simple matter to end your lives to protect our tribe. But…don't worry about it. I have a feeling that I'm about to see the prophecy's fulfillment."
Soap came back into the room where Nodoka and Cologne were still chatting by the now sleeping Ranma, the sleep point having worn off a few minutes ago. At the time, Ranma was finally recovering from what had happened in the great chamber. The old healer spoke. "Mother, the young woman is definitely still a virgin, though only technically so, because of the exam that I performed. She still had her hymen."
Ranma groggily awakened. "What's a virgin?"
Nodoka replied, "Ranma. A virgin is someone who has never had sex. Although your father and I try to be discreet, I have sensed your presence nearby at least once and Genma confirmed what I sensed. I hope that it was at least instructional."
Ranma was instantly wide awake and making warding signs. "AHHH! I didn't see nothin! Nothin at all! Nope. Not even when ya were bouncin' on top of Pops. Err…Urk!"
"Now that you are awake, I'll tell the two of you the really good news." Soap said, with an excrement eating grin. "It also explains why young Ranma cannot change at this time. Both of you are pregnant!"
A few minutes later, the two Saotome women and one lavender haired Amazon were waking up from a shock induced nap. Soap grinned at them, but took on a bemused look on seeing her granddaughter waking. Sighing, "Now that you are awake, please promise not to faint again."
Ranma said, "Hey! I didn't faint. Girls do that. Dad taught me that it was a strategic mental retreat and regroup technique to use against honorable opponents."
Soap grinned, as did Cologne and Conditioner, who had just walked in with some printouts. "Ohhhkay. Well. Both of you seem to be about two to four weeks along. In young Ranma's case, pregnancy is the reason for the locked condition. Ranma as soon as you deliver your child, barring other locks, you should be able to change with warm water. If you lose the child, you will remain female until you deliver your first daughter...or son."
Cologne took the chance to speak up. "Soap, my daughter, you realize what your grand daughter has done?"
"Sadly, I do. Shampoo, you are every bit as impulsive as your mother was. By declaring before the whole tribe your intent to marry this 'boy', your inheritance is shifted to her and you must be changed by the Nannichuan and have the curse locked." The elderly woman's eyes misted over a bit.
Shampoo had been expecting this. "Shampoo understand. Shampoo is Joketsuzoku warrior and understand consequences." The girl went to Ranma and wrapped her arms around a frozen in place Ranma and said. "Shampoo will become husband to warrior Ranma and will obey. Shampoo begs that Ranma will treat Shampoo with kindness, even when am lowly male." Saying that, the lavender haired girl slid down to her knees and began to bawl her eyes out while clutching the red head's knees.
Ranma was shocked at the apparent barbarity of what would happen. Her face firmed up, "Cologne, does Shampoo really have to do this?"
Cologne looked at Ranma with a sad expression, "Yes. However, you will have something to say in this. You can petition the council of elders to forego the locking of her curse and use a waterproof soap to keep her male. If she should become pregnant by you after your own child is born, her status as a female can be restored after giving birth to a female child. Because of this, she will be clanless, though her child will be one of my heirs, as are you and your child. I have other things to speak to you about in private as soon as my foolish great-granddaughter's status has been changed. I would like to remove those antiquated rules, but Shampoo will be your husband in the eyes of the tribe before morning."
Ranma stared at Shampoo with a horrified look on her face. She dropped to her knees and gave the other girl a gentle hug. "Hey." Ranma quietly whispered into her ear, "It ain't right that you've got this hangin' over your head. Just when are they goin' to change you."
Ranma jumped into the air when a gravelly voice behind her said, "I'm sorry Ranma, and Shampoo too, but this must be done now. I'll explain later."
Head hanging, Shampoo followed Cologne and Soap to a shower stall in the next room. She removed her clothes and entered the chamber, closing the glass doors behind her. Ranma looked at the silhouette of a voluptuous woman on the frosted glass, wanting to stop it but feeling powerless. She swore that this barbaric tradition would end, somehow.
Ranma looked at Cologne and then looked closer, tears were visible and her expression made her internal agony apparent. 'She don't like this any more than me.' Thought Ranma.
Cologne pulled one of several color-coded levers in the wall and Shampoo was doused with water. The girl let out a masculine sounding sob as more water poured in to rinse away the dangerous liquid. The rinse was warm and the sobbing returned to a higher pitch. As soon as the water stopped, Ranma opened the door to the shower and hugged the weeping Shampoo.
"Why Ranma so nice to Shampoo? Shampoo just lowly male now and am property of Ranma."
"Where I come from, women aren't treated that great, but there aren't any of these stupid laws that treat the other sex as slaves. If I stay here long, things are gonna change."
Nodoka spoke from the door, "Son, the matriarch wants to talk to you in a conference room down the hall. She said it was for you, alone."
Just now realizing that the others had left without her noticing, Ranma replied, "Okay mom. Can ya take care of Shampoo for a bit? I think that she's still a little shook up."
"Of course son, come along with me dear and let's get you dressed and have a little talk." As they left the room, Nodoka and Shampoo headed one way down the hall and Ranma went the other. She went a few doors down to one that was open and showing a well lit room with a table and a few comfortable chairs.
Ranma edged into the room, wondering what the old woman wanted to talk to her in private about. Said woman picked up a bundle and tossed it to the neo girl and turned around.
"You will find one of our battle costumes in there. Please put it on after you shut the door."
After closing the door, Ranma opened the bundle and laid the clothes on the table. She picked up one article and stared at it questioningly. "Those are called panties in your homeland," said Cologne without turning around, "You will find them an improvement over the boxers that you wore into here." Ranma blushed a fire engine red as she reluctantly put them on, finally hiding her naughty bits. "The long silk belt-like item is to bind your breasts. Wrap yourself snugly but not too tightl and tie it in a knot in the front. I think that you will find them much less painful the next time you spar and 'this' silk has some give, so as to allow maximum freedom."
Ranma fumbled with the wrappings for a while, getting nowhere, as Cologne's patience waned. She turned around, "Ranma, let me show you this time, you can practice later." The old woman balanced on top of her staff and expertly wrapped Ranma's bosom, while bouncing on her staff around the woman. "Curious." she said to herself as much as Ranma, "You are identical to your mother and neither of you look to be any older than about twenty. There are also no signs at all of striae gravidae from when she birthed you."
Ranma noticed a mirror hanging on the wall and got her first really good look at herself since falling into the spring. "Whoaaahh." She wobbled, but fought the blackness of a faint, as the first true realization hit.
Cologne looked Ranma's reflection in the eye, conveying a sense of sadness. Ranma couldn't guess if it was for her or the elder's great granddaughter. "The full import does not usually strike those touched by Jusenkyo until they see themselves in a mirror. I like you, child. Others might have spurned Shampoo or ignored her to bemoan themselves. You show great compassion and strength of spirit. That is something missing from too many Amazons, much less outsiders."
Ranma tore her gaze from the mirror, thoughts churning, and finished dressing in the purple pants with draw strings on the waist and ankles. The long sleeve top was a light green with a dragon embroidered onto the back. To her surprise, it looked good…but not girly. "I could get used to this", she thought. She took an experimental bounce and nodded in satisfaction at the lack of pain in her breasts. The clothes were a perfect fit and allowed total freedom of movement. Which she proved by performing a brief kata. Cologne nodded appreciatively to herself at the graceful display of Ranma's Art.
Cologne closed her eyes for a moment and then addressed Ranma. "Please take a seat, child and let me tell you a story."
After Ranma was seated comfortably, Cologne placed a cushion on the table and hopped onto it, sitting with her staff beside her. The matriarch then performed a bow, bringing her head to touch the table's surface, much to Ranma's surprise.
"About eighteen hundred years ago, a prophetess predicted your coming."
"Whaa! That's crazy. How could someone know about me that long ago. I ain't nothing special except for my Art."
"Let me tell my tale and then I'll answer any questions. Please."
"The woman's name was Phenol Phthalein, one of our greatest seers. Another was my younger sister, though her gift left her when she became an adult. She passed on during the birth of her first child. But back to the oldest vision. You were predicted with quite a bit of detail, though there is much left to happen. The woman who was the scribe that was supposed to take down what was in the prophesy became angered at the thought of an outsider taking the position that you are predicted to assume. She destroyed the scroll that she had written the prophesy on to cover up and erase the prophesy."
"She did not realize that there were two witnesses to Phenol's words. One was an ancestor of mine and the other was a male named Lu Tze, or Lucy as some would pronounce it. Our two clans have kept the prophesy alive and have slowly tried to change the tribe's attitudes. My sister foretold a schism within our tribe and I believe that it comes down to those who have a more open mind versus those of a more hidebound view of tradition. I wish to save those of us that I can."
Cologne went on to tell the full story of the prophecies and of the prediction the likely involvement of the gods.
"So your sister said I would be a daughter of Cronos? Well, I can tell you that Pops ain't very god-like. He's more oni-like, if you ask me. For that matter, I ain't very queen like." Was Ranma's comment.
"And so will your and your mother's babies as well. Conditioner ran a thorough dna analysis on you and your mother. She IS your mother, but, you are not completely human, even from your mother's line."
"What'cha mean by that?"
Cologne explained, "The tests showed that that was exactly the case. Soap had gotten a sample to perform an analysis on your father's dna in the form of his missing toe and, also important, from his seed, recovered when your mother was examined. Conditioner's analysis was both thorough and accurate. Genma is NOT your father, and I'm willing to bet that he isn't the father of the child that is being carried in your womb. The same goes for your mother's child.
Ranma was stunned. 'Ohmykamisama! Womb!? I forgot about that! I'm gonna have a baby! But I was a guy! Why don't I feel more upset or mad about it?' "Sob! What's goin' on with me? Why ain't I more worried about being a guy again?" She began to tear up and was wracked by hiccuping sobs. Cologne put her hand on the young woman's shoulder and tried to pass warm feelings through the contact.
"Ranma. Though the magic made your appearance identical to your mother's, your dna, your essence is still your own. It is possible that when you give birth, your looks will begin to change to reflect your true age and appearance. When you feel overwhelmed, just think about the tiny miracle that is growing inside you, the little girl that is totally dependent on you."
Ranma had one last hiccup and replied, "You're right. Right?" Cologne nodded. Ranma's countenance firmed, "I'll protect my family with my life!"
Cologne took a calming breath, "Ranma, 'Son-in-law'," the woman's ears perked up at that. "When Shampoo was being cursed, we were being monitored by the village council. Though I am the Matriarch by right of strength and knowledge, a slim majority of the council is still mired in the traditions of over three thousand years. You have the right to request that her curse be locked only temporarily, but they can also deny that same request. They can also deny egress from the village until you prove your loyalty, or at least willingness to call this place home."
"It is my intention to get your freedom and you can divorce shampoo once the tribe recognizes you as queen. You will then be free to marry anyone you wish. However, and this is very difficult to say, you and Shampoo must consummate the marriage."
"Whhaaa! No way! I know that Shampoo doesn't want to be a guy and I'm still not comfortable being a woman, like mom is."
"Ranma, you only need to do the deed once and believe me that the others will know if you have done it. Since you are already pregnant there should be no chance of being pregnant a second time."
"But shouldn't Shampoo and I love each other?"
"Child." Cologne's smile wasn't frightening at all. Spiritual sight is one of my Gifts, aside from the ki and magic swirling about you, I can see a red strand of light going from you to wherever Shampoo is. I can't say that you love her, but she most definitely loves you. I can speak as one who has known her from birth. She can see the man who dwells within as easily as I. There are at least two other 'strings of fate' leading from you to the east and you will need the freedom to seek them out. Shampoo can tell you who they are, if you have her with you."
Cologne decided not to mention the bright white pipeline of 'something' that led from her to…somewhere.
"Now for something that needs to be kept a secret for a time. The nannichuan that was used on Shampoo did not come from the spring, directly. I had done some research a number of years ago and found a way to make the water temporary, but more permanent than a common 'instant' variety. She will change with varying water temperature for at least one year but no longer than two years. You must NOT tell her this, for my plan to work."
"Once the marriage is consummated and Shampoo is locked with this medallion, which only works while she's wearing it, you will be allowed to leave together on a honeymoon. I am charging you with a 'Quest' to find whatever powers that you have and return. Though the council slavishly follows tradition, they respect a female with great power even more. I don't want to put any pressure on you, but if you haven't found your powers in six months, the tribe and your parents may no longer exist. I fear that our efforts to hold off the Chinese army are about to fail. Though a fair number of our warriors can dodge bullets, many opponents and concentrated fire will kill the greatest warrior."
"Much less the defenseless children and most of our men."
"Yes. My code, my honor requires me to protect the weak and innocent from others who would harm them for whatever reason." Ranma's eyes glazed over.
Again, with more concern, "Ranma!"
The young woman shook herself, "Huh. Yeah. S'just I got the knowledge ta do something that is a clue for you. Here goes." Ranma's voice was slurred and her actions seemed to reflect a trance-like state.
Cologne's eyes bugged out when the shining 'pipe' went from white to a black that absorbed all light. Ranma lazily traced a large circle in the air of the room. Crackling black lightning came from the tip of her finger and hung in the air, coalescing into a sphere of dark. Then small points of light appeared in the background. One of the brighter points of light swelled to a large, ringed planet. Cologne breathed one word, a name, "Cronos", as the planet expanded and the point of view passed through the rings toward a point in the southern hemisphere. Cologne glanced at Ranma, who held her hands outstretched and had her eyes closed, and returned her attention to the sphere as clouds appeared to be going by. In the distance, a string of floating, flattish objects came into view. The view point passed over one, coming in, lower and slower. The matriarch finally realized that she was seeing a continent sized chunk of land just floating in Saturn's atmosphere.
She saw clouds, huge lakes and great rivers. The entire mass had a hundred mile high wall around it. The next thing she knew, the vision was beyond the landmass and heading for one that appeared much larger. The sphere just topped the bounding wall and continued to approach what appeared to be a world of high mountains, intermixed with plains and lakes. The view was now low enough to show beautiful mountains, valleys and green plateaus. The end of the virtual ride now seemed in sight as a beautiful city hove into view, its lights twinkling in the gathering dusk.
The strange thing about the city was a total lack of movement or occupants. It looked like it could accommodate many millions of people which increased the strangeness to an unbearable level. A tremendous castle became visible in the heart of the city and one great tower came closer, with her view passing through an open window, high up on its side. She was seeing an awe inducing throne room. The throne was approached and there seemed to be a seated figure on it. But it soon became apparent that it was an image, like a flickering holograph. The figure looked a lot like Nodoka or Ranma. "Is this all?" she asked herself as much as Ranma. The response was the sphere turning into a mirror, showing only Ranma's reflection before seeming to vanish, allowing Ranma to exit her altered mental state.
Ranma was a bit shaky. "Elder, what was that ? I saw it in my mind's eye and that ball with rings around it looked like something I oughtta know about."
"That was a planet in our solar system. Saturn, to be precise."
"Cool. I always thought it was just a star that didn't twinkle."
"No, Ranma, it's a giant world very unlike ours that would swallow our Earth with little more than a splash in the pond. Those lands we saw were floating high in the atmosphere. The one with the city looked to be larger than Asia and India together."
"Looked like it might be a nice place to live, didn't it?"
Cologne had a shudder of enlightenment. She got off of her walking stick and bowed low. "Your highness."
The fact that this lady was kowtowing before her disturbed Ranma immensely. In fact it bordered on worship. That worried the young woman even more.
"Cologne, please get up. I'm awfully tired right now and would like to think on what you've told me. I think that I need to talk to mom about, about Pops not being my pops and how that might happen. Who might my real father be? Can you tell me all about your laws tomorrow?"
"I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have your highness. I beg permission to call you Ranma before the other villagers until your position is set."
"How about just calling me Ranma all the time. This royalty crap is creeping me out."
"Yes your highness."
"Ranma would you please follow me and I beg you to at least allow my great granddaughter to share your bed. It won't hurt anything and will keep the council from assuming what we don't want them to assume. After all, she 'is' one of your soul mates."
The two walked down a long hall in silence, Cologne's staff was, strangely, not making a sound as its hard end hit the floor. The ancient Amazon noted that the other woman's stride had become a more feminine one compared to the actual male gait displayed when the party had arrived in the village. The girl seemed to be adapting more than she knew or let on. 'Ranma will likely be completely woman in a matter of days. For her sanity, I should explain a few things.'
"You are showing signs of adapting to your condition. I want to explain that this is not uncommon. It is also a healthy response. Try to recognize that your body, hormones and brain activity are fully female. Your mind can trump mere physical reactions, but please realize that it is okay to explore your feelings and desires. Also, Remember this, when you are finally able to recover your male body, all of your male feelings will be restored, though tempered by your memories. You will win your battle by accepting and 'exploring' all of your feelings. Your mother embraced her sexuality and you would do well to follow her example. After all, you are her daughter now as well as her son. Here we are."
The two entered a room where Ranma's mother was seated by a bed that was occupied by her new 'husband' Shampoo. Ranma ran over and clutched her mother, seeking comfort. Nodoka responded by stroking Ranma's unbound hair and making soft noises. "This room is unmonitored, though and someone will be by in a bit to show you to your quarters, my queen."
"Hey! Its Ranma!"
Cologne grinned, "Yes, highness."
Nodoka noticed that Ranma had been brought out of her funk by this exchange and also noted what seemed to be real seriousness on the part of the matriarch. 'Is my child to be royalty? I think she meant a message for me more than to tease Ranma.' Noting that Ranma appeared to be staggering from some kind of exhaustion, she gently pushed her daughter into the bed beside Shampoo and sat beside her continuing to stroke her 'twin's' face and hair. Ranma began to repeat everything that she had learned from Cologne except for the temporariness of Shampoo's curse.
"Momma, they told me that Pops ain't my real dad, that whoever my real dad was, they weren't human."
Ranma stared at the look of total shock on her mother's face followed by denial, followed by realization, followed by something unrecognizable.
"Ranma. Ranma. It all makes sense now. Our wedding night, your father, Genma stepped out to get some sake to set the mood. When he returned, it was empty handed. He…he said that sake was a crutch and that he intended for it to be the best night of my life. He began to make gentle love to me and it took a long time to reach the clouds and rain. In my ecstasy I saw a symbol form on his forehead. It looked like a romanji 'h' with a crosspiece." She signed it in the air. "It felt like I was flooded with energy. I felt so alive! We repeated that first lovemaking many times that night before I passed out."
"In the morning…Genma woke me up, smelling of sake. I playfully asked him if he had needed to wing down after our night of passion and he looked at me in and odd way. He said that he hadn't been back and I told him that we had spent the night pillowing our brains out and that maybe his memory had been lost in the passion. He said that that made sense. And we made love as much as possible the rest of our honeymoon. I've always wondered why he never had that symbol on his forehead again and his manhood was never as large as that first night… OH MY! Except, except for the first night we made love after I had caught up with you two."
"So. Mom. I wonder who my real father is?"
"Son. Ranma, I hope it was a kami and not an oni, but I know that some powerful being is playing with our lives."
"Cologne said that I need to 'make love' to Shampoo when she's a guy because we are married and need to consumptionate or something to pave the way for our adoption in the tribe."
"That's consummate, dear. And if you are to become fully woman while being in a woman's body, I think that you should submit to your husband's desires. Just as Shampoo will likely return your love when you are able to be male again. I. See. Nothing. Perverted about it, despite what your father…Genma might think. Now take a nap until someone is sent to take us to where we will sleep the rest of the night."
Ranma awoke to hear the closing of a door. Climbing the rest of the way out of sleep, she realized a few things. The place was above ground and moonlight was coming through a high window. She was naked and spooned against the muscular back of someone else in the bed, and they were naked too. And male, as her wandering hand told her. 'This must be what Cologne was talking about. The council must really want to see Shampoo set in her place, as well as me.
Removing her hand from Shampoo's privates brought another sensation to the fore as her breasts began to telegraph unsettling sensations to the rest of her body. Ranma set her jaw to allow things to happen and not jump up screaming about pervert Amazons and with a strength of will shakily whispered, "Shampoo. Shampoo!" Gently shaking the broad shouldered male's arm.
A pleasant baritone voice said, "Wo daaa aiiiren. Ranma. Ranma?"
Sad, "Oh. Shampoo is airen. Shampoo is sorry cause trouble for Ranma. Will try be good husband for Ranma."
The redhead heard some sniffling and rolled the young man over to reveal tracks of tears running down his face. Ranma's heart melted. She leaned over from where she was sitting on his stomach and whispered in his ear. "I swear that things will change. You will be a girl again, I promise." They were distracted as a clear, beautiful bell tone rang through their very being. "Anyway I'm willing to consummate this marriage with you, even if I have to be the girl. Something inside me is telling me that your great grandmother and my mom were right and I'll grab what I can."
Ranma bent over to kiss Shampoo, who clumsily returned it, wrapping her arms around the girl, pressing her breasts tightly to his chest. From there, instinct took over.
The first time Ranma breathlessly said, "That didn't feel perverted at all. It felt really good." The next several times she was too busy screaming her joy to the heavens.
In the next room, Nodoka was inspired to test her husband's stamina as well. The neighbors weren't happy. Shampoo was ecstatic. Genma was happy, but worried about a promise made years before for a moment before shrugging to himself. "Meh."
Meanwhile many thousands of soldiers prepared themselves for battle in the largest operation against their fellow citizens since the revolution.
Toward morning, Ranma and shampoo were basking in the glow that only satisfied lovers could share. Though they had been up all night and were spent, they could not sleep. Ranma was finally able to take stock of her physical being and wrinkled her nose. "Euwww! Shampoo! We stink! Let's get cleaned up", as she tried to wipe the mess from her abdomen and thighs with the coarse sheets. Shampoo led her to the small shower in the corner bathroom.
"Shampoo think old biddies on council should be happy, but Shampoo no care. Shampoo happy have Ranma."
The two stepped into the shower and shivered as the cold water restored their energy. They kissed, not stopping when Shampoo became female, just enjoying the sensations leading to a makeout session, when Ranma pushed herself away, looking at Shampoo with misty eyes. "Let's get cleaned up and dressed. Something is giving me a bad feeling. Like my happiness may be destroyed. The danger isn't here yet, but its close."
The two dressed and went to the kitchen area where Cologne and the rest of Ranma's family were sitting down to eat. Cologne and Nodoka were laughing about something and gave the newlyweds knowing glances, only to begin laughing again. The couple turned beet red.
"Shampoo, I am proud of you. Our opponents in the council were livid. They were sure that you would balk and that our new citizens would be done away with to save face. While you were cementing your marriage, I got enough swing votes to void the lock on your curse. You are still Ranma's husband, but your warrior status has been saved. Ranma is now my Great granddaughter and a change is in the air. Ranma' what is troubling you?"
"Elder, I'm happy and all, but I have a feeling of great impending danger. Its like thousands of enemies are looking at me with killing intent."
Cologne replied, "That's curious. If anything were in the valley like that I should sense it myself." She closed her eyes and concentrated. "Artemis preserve us! Your right, something's coming over the eastern pass. They must have overwhelmed the outposts too quickly to raise an alarm. It feels like the Chinese army. We will NOT go the way of Tibet! I have to warn the village!"
With that the old woman blurred out of the yurt, shouting orders. A bell began tolling and people began going about preparation for war. Children and noncombatant men began to stream into the building that Ranma and her mother had gone into just yesterday to shelter far underground. Ranma, Shampoo, Nodoka and Genma observed all of this as they ran to the top of a small hill off the village square. Amazon warriors were running to trenches that zig-zagged through the fields toward the pass.
Ranma was a tactician of no small means. He was versed in Sun Tzu and in American battle tactics. An American officer had taught him the basics when they had stayed on a base in Okinawa, in return for some training in basic anything goes. As a twelve year old, he had gotten the respect of hardened fighters two to four times his age.
Her training allowed her to assess, in a moment, all variables based on what was visible and what she could sense.
"We're screwed!" Shampoo gave a cute grunt of assent.
"You're right, Ranma." Cologne appeared next to them, holding her arm which appeared broken. "The half of the council that opposed us in Shampoo's case are also traitors. They are selling out the tribe in order to get leadership positions and a cut of the looting of secrets. They have either incapacitated or killed the other council members. There they go!"
The group watched as a group of old women marched toward the approaching tanks and infantry waving white flags from their staffs.
Suddenly, the women looked up at the sky. Ranma's group followed suit, as a jet flew in, over the ridge and lobbed a missile. The women never had a chance as the explosion ripped them to shreds and scattered bomblets that took out several warriors in nearby trenches.
Cologne spoke, "Well that was justice, but it just means that they don't want prisoners and think that they can figure out our secrets for themselves. This is the end for us."
Genma spoke up to Ranma for the first time since the feast the day before. "Son, I wasn't planning on doing this until you had your own dojo, but I must break out my two forbidden schools of techniques. I'll give you the keys. I have been teaching you the basics for the last year and a half, building your ki up to it. The first is the most deadly move of the way of the noisy thief, or Yamasenken. Move like so and let neutral ki slide off your fingers to create vacuum ki blades. He repeated the technique and scythe shaped ripples flew toward a tree a hundred yards away."
Ranma spoke, "So you HAVE been holding out, old man, but yeah, I see."
"Well the other school is the Umisenken, potentially the most powerful school. Take a cloth and allow negative ki to flow through and off of it to form a shield against detection around yourself." With that, he pulled out a cloth and waved it around himself in a particular manner. Ranma nodded to herself as the fat martial artist repeated the move and vanished from view.
"I see how it was done, though there might be a few flaws." Ranma reached deeply for his ki, but found something else and drew upon it, calling out a name making the technique her own. Flinging her arms out, she called out, "Silence Blade!"
Immediately, two black scythes flew across the valley, striking one of the few tanks moving in the open, fully exposed. The tank split into four sections from the x-shaped cuts through the body of the tank. Seconds later, a massive explosion obliterated the vehicle, scattering the soldiers who escaped the explosion. The enemy panicked, as the attack was nearly invisible from the front.
The Amazons took heart and charged the enemy. The women would touch the ground with a finger, somehow causing it to explode, creating a dust screen for them to attack through. One warrior ran around a tank, weaving through the soldiers shooting at her, in a spiral pattern. When she was next to the tank, she punched into the air. A powerful tornado sucked up the tank and many men who fell to their deaths. Unfortunately for the woman, stopping to deliver the punch proved fatal, her body riddled with bullets from soldiers outside the circle of destruction.
The tribe's warriors, including several men destroyed a significant portion of the advancing forces, but were mown down by the over whelming forces.
Shampoo screamed "Mousse!!" as a man cleared a field of soldiers with bladed chain weapons, only to do a macabre dance of death as bullets stitched him from toe to head. "Ranma, go to shelter, protect life that is in you tummy. Shampoo always love you." Shampoo laid a blistering kiss on Ranma and charged off, bouncing like a mad ping pong ball.
Ranma stood there like a statue, for a moment, and watched in horror as several things happened. Shampoo had jumped the wall and was mowing soldiers down as she casually reached over to touch a tanks armor. She would have been clear from the debris, but the reactive armor exploded as the magazine blew from the touch. Shampoo saw the wave front and everything went white.
Shampoo's death caused Ranma to snap.
Ranma started calling out "Silence Blade" repeatedly. Blasting tanks and soldiers around the valley. One blade hit the cliff above the pass, causing a landslide, but too many were in the valley already and helicopter gunships were coming over the ridges. The hopelessness of the situation got to Ranma as she saw her mother take a hit to her shoulder and felt a stray bullet take a chunk from a calf.
Suddenly, for Ranma, time slowed as a cry for help came from somewhere deep in her soul. Genma took a hit to his chest in slow motion and everything stopped with the bullet exiting his back by mere inches.
A warm voice coming from everywhere spoke to Ranma, "I hear you call, daughter, who is also my son. I will give you your heritage a little early, and help you keep your promise. There is a price as your humanity will become even less a part of you, but you should not mind it. Are you ready? Ranma sobbed out "Yes, please."
The world was shaking, but it was Ranma who shook as the white pipe that Cologne had noticed previously turned a purple so dark it seemed black as it expanded, an ocean of energy poured into the young woman. Light burst from her, burning away the vestiges of her mortality. Her belly burned even brighter as a black taint burned off like a scrap of paper. From Ranma's head, a kitten burst forth to lie on the ground, mewing piteously. Ranma took no note as pain wracked her very being. The light muted down and Ranma appeared as a spinning silhouette of a void filled with stars. After an infinitely long instant, ribbons of light surrounded her, clothing her in a mid thigh length purple skirt, trimmed in white, white leotard and dark purple bows on her breast and lower back, the symbol of Saturn shone gold on her fore head and she wore a silver crown. In her hand was a polearm, a glaive taller than she was, that pulsed with lambent energy. Her feet were covered by purple slippers with white trim.
She opened her eyes as her surroundings were very slowly speeding up. A shield around the group formed with a thought.
Her shout was heard through the whole battlefield. "ENOUGH!"
Tears running down her cheek, she whispered, "Silence Bobble" everything in view stopped with the exception of the group that had been shielded. They all floated from the ground and moved away from the carnage over the mountains to the east. They popped out of the boundary after traversing a number of miles, high above the ground, but began to descend gently in an eastward direction.
After they landed, Genma and Nodoka both collapsed. She worried about her mother but Genma was in worse shape. Actually, he was dead. "Dead." Ranma said, "But, I have your body." She drove the point of the glaive into the wound and called out, "Resurrection." A white light flowed into Genma's corpse and as she pulled out the glaive the wounds closed and he began to breathe, his skin turning a healthy color.
Nodoka lay on the ground, unconscious, but alive. Ranma merely placed her hands on the wound. Blood crawled back into her body and the wound closed, her breathing took on a relaxed pace. She turned to a broken looking Cologne, whose empty eyes spoke volumes. "Ranma, I guess it was too late. I don't blame you."
"Hey! I'll grieve for Shampoo when we're safe. Sure, you lost a quarter of your warriors and maybe half the men on the field. But do you see that? That is a void of time. A bobble. We have to get away from here soon, before hell breaks loose, literally."
Genma chose that moment to awaken. "Ranma? Was I dead?"
Ranma sighed, resignedly. "Yeah oyaji, as a doornail."
Genma flinched, "Well, I saw Shampoo talking to a big man with a white beard, he had a symbol on his head just like that one on your crown. Crown? Anyway he said something about returning her to you because of a promise Errk!"
Ranma had grabbed his bloody gi and said, "Are you sure?" The fat man nodded. Ranma picked up a now smiling Cologne and placed her on her shoulder. Dismissed the glaive with a flick and picked her mother up in a bridal carry. "Well lets get away from here." The four of them began walking east at a jaunty clip. Ranma's clothes shifted back to what she had been wearing that morning.