As the world began to reform around him, Ranma took a deep breath, enjoying the multitude of new sensations that bombarded his recently enhance senses.
The rapidly fading trace of Kasumi scent filled him with a sense of loss/yearning that he quickly buried before it reached his conscious mind.
The air smelled fresh and clean and full of life. He could hear animals rustling in the underbrush. He could see... a butterfly!
The genie waited patiently while Ranma raced around the clearing, chasing butterflies and generally acting like a kitten, with much amusement only interrupting and bringing Ranma back to himself when he started stalking a group of fairy dragons.
"Ahem. Ranma, I really don't think that's a good idea."
"Huh?" Ranma stopped crouching and blinked, as he straightened up and rubbed the back of his head, mortally embarrassed that someone had seen him acting like a little kid.
The genie nodded at Ranma's look of embarrassed comprehension. "You have a completely new set of instincts to get used to, as well as a new appendage."
The pod of fairy dragons fluttered off unnoticed, as they realized their game of tag with the feline was finished before it began.
"New appendage?" The newly feline martial artist asked, wondering what the genie was talking about.
"Yes, a new appendage. Specifically that one." The genie pointed near Ranma's left leg.
Glancing down and seeing a furry snakelike creature, Ranma pounced barely missing it as it dodged behind him. Continuing to spin, he struggled to keep the lightning fast thing in sight. Hopefully it wasn't poisonous, because its strategy was damn hard to beat! It stayed close to his body so he couldn't hit it without risking hitting himself and it changed directions with a speed that was uncanny. It was like it was reading his mind!
Reversing his spin, he leapt in the air only to find the creature had matched him. Ranma realized he was dealing with a truly cunning foe. It had a two pronged strategy that was nearly unbeatable, stick close to the prey and make a damage itself or failing that, eventually the prey would wear itself out leaving itself open for whatever this sneaky little predator had in mind!
'Well, Ranma Satome doesn't lose!' Ranma thought to himself as he landed, reaching blindly behind him with one hand, trying to scare his foe out from hiding.
It's head and a decent amount of body shot forward between his legs as he'd planned, right to where his other hand was waiting. Grasping the body of the creature he gave a mighty yank and yowled in fury as it tripped him to the ground.
Laying flat on his back he watched it lash the air furiously above him, unable to escape his two fisted grip. He jerked his head to the side and held it an arm's-length as he tried to figure out how it fed. He couldn't see any form of mouth or even eyes for that matter, creepy! It looked like it was defenseless except for its dodging ability. A twist of ki in the air made him rethink that as it blurred and was suddenly wrapped around a mallet.
The last thing Ranma saw before unconsciousness claimed him was a rapidly descending mallet. Strangely enough, he felt it was a comforting sight, as at least this he was used to.
The genie stared at the young man's limp form as Ranma's tail dropped the mallet and collapsed to the ground.
He knew feline types the claimed their tail had a mind of its own (usually after it had knocked something over or rubbed against someone in a sensitive area), but this was the first time he'd seen someone's tail beat them senseless.
He was still staring as Ranma woke up and yelled "I wanna rematch!"
"Ranma," the genie venture gently, noting that restoring 85 percent of someone's sanity still left them 15 percent insane and Ranma had learned to do quite a lot with very little. "Perhaps declaring a vendetta against your tail isn't the most productive or indeed sanest use of your time."
"Tail? I have a tail?"
"Yes, Ranma. You are a cat and cats have tails. Only in human form will you be tailless." He explained patiently, wondering if fast forwarding through the slow bits while watching Ranma's life had been a mistake.
"So I just kicked my own ass?" Ranma kipped to his feet and dusted himself off.
"Yes and then it kicked back... Hard."
Ranma chuckled and rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Sorry about that. I don't know what came over me."
The genie sighed. "It's a combination of things. The potion I gave you has repaired the physical damage to portions of your brain and that will affect your behavior. Being changed into a different species with a whole new set of instincts will affect your behavior. I've also moved us back in time by a small amount and made you a bit younger to help prevent the Amazon contingent from ever being able to track you magically and as you can guess..."
"Being younger is gonna affect my behavior." Ranma finished.
"Exactly! Fortunately one of your best qualities is your ability to adapt to new situations. So really it's just a short-term problem."
"So what's next?"
"Next we have to move you approximately 20 miles that way," the genie announced pointing to a dark patch of woods. "And due to several treaties, we can't use magic to do it. You could, no doubt, make it on foot in a matter of days, but we really need you to arrive in the next five minutes or so."
Ranma stroked his chin thoughtfully as his tail wrapped itself around the dropped mallet and pushed it into his hands. Ranma started for a moment, but then began to grin. "You ever play golf?"
"Sure, my wife and doctor got together and planned several 'stress relieving' activities for me to do on the weekends, of which that is one, to help reduce my high blood pressure. I can't say that it's helped any, it's a frustrating game."
"You any good?" Ranma's grin grew wider.
"Quite good. I took third place in the last tournament against people who have spent centuries honing their skills. Why?"
"Cause I know a quick way to travel that don't require magic at all. All you gotta do is aim carefully."
"You don't mean?" The genie asked uncertainly.
Ranma nodded. "Don't worry about the landing, I've logged more air time than most pilots and I've learned some tricks to soften my fall."
"But I'm supposed to help you, not harm you." The genie protested.
Ranma snorted. "If you watched my life then you know I've been launched into the wild blue about once every three days on average and it's never taken me more then a week or two to develop a counter to any move used on me. Hell, I don't even have to be awake to focus my ki into the right shape, I just gotta hear the words."
'The words?' The genie thought absently as he began seeing things weren't quite as bad as they had appeared to be for Ranma, although they were still quite intolerable. 'I think being freed from all the pressures and responsibilities of his life has driven him a bit mad. I imagine it's rather like being sentenced to the electric chair and instead of throwing the switch they suddenly tell you it's all been a mistake and let you go.'
"On a good day, Akane could send me 17 miles in one blow and with that much time in the air I could land as gently as a feather. It's the short trips where I don't got time to prepare myself for landing that hurt. So what do you say, Wanna go for the record?" Ranma's grin was infectious.
'Maybe 85 percent wasn't enough,' the genie thought to himself as he practiced swinging the mallet a few times 'Or maybe sanity is more like being pregnant, you simply are or you aren't. At any rate I think it's catching. I cant believe I'm letting him talk me into this.'
"Well if you're sure you'll be ok."
The genie wet a finger and stuck it in the air, checking for crosscurrents. 'I can do this. It's not that hard a shot. Just think of it as shooting out of the sand trap with a particularly bad lie and an oddly shaped ball.'
"You know the words." Ranma stated and stuck out his chin invitingly.
The genie nodded and took a deep breath, brought the mallet back like a golf club and swung yelling "Ranma no baka!"
The genie dropped the mallet and began dancing (the lack of legs was made up for by generous use of his arms) in place yelling "Hole-in-one! Eat your heart out Arnold Palmer!"
'That was much more relaxing than yelling fore.'