Genma groaned as he slowly sat up and cradled his head. It felt like a thousand angry hornets were gnawing out the inside of his skull.
Personally, he felt that those monks had just gone a little bit too far. He hadn't intended to steal the statue, he just wanted a better look at it. Honestly. Besides, it was far too unique to trigger his larcenous tendencies. Where would he sell it? He wouldn't be able to. As such, there would be no point.
The monks, however, hadn't given him the chance to explain that to them, instead mobbing him with rakes and garden equipment and knocking him out. He'd woken up just in time to see the swirly portal they were throwing him through, and hitting the ground.
What little he'd heard of the chanting, however, had been quite ominous. The words 'demon', 'portal', and 'hell' had been repeated multiple times. Genma paused for a moment to think, something he rarely did, and broke out in a cold sweat.
"The monks sent me to hell..."
"Close, human, but not quite."
Genma leapt into the air, spinning and coming down on one foot in a position that was a perfect blend of offense and defense.
The blue haired man... no, now that Genma looked close it was obvious that he wasn't human, though what he was eluded him... he stepped from the shadows and grinned at Genma as he withdrew a European rapier and held it in a fencing position.
"You would fight me, Human?"
Genma didn't bother to reply, instead leaping into battle, doing his best to avoid the dangerous slashes and deadly thrusts of his opponent.
"You're good, human."
It wasn't long until Genma made a mistake though... he slipped too far into offense and left a small hole in his guard.
"But not good enough."
Genma slowly looked down to where the rapier had pierced his stomach, and exited through his back. Slowly, it all went dark.
Genma gasped as he sat straight up, eyes wide, and his hand went to this stomach. There was no wound, and the skin was unmarked. Had it been a dream? No... it had been too real, and he didn't recognize where he was.
"So you're finally awake. The healer was worried that you might not... wake that is. You are fortunate indeed that I did not use Longinus. He would have likely chosen to destroy your soul as he pierced your flesh, and then you would have been beyond her reach."
The blue haired demon, for what else could he be, stepped into Genma's field of vision and smiled.
"I am King Krichevskoy, Overlord and absolute ruler of the Netherworld. And you, human?"
"... Genma Saotome." And then, because a spark of pride demanded he match the demon with his full title. "Master of the Saotome section of the Anything Goes school of martial arts."
Krichevskoy arched an eyebrow, not at all impressed.
"Well Genma, now that you've awakened, you have a choice to make. You can leave my castle, and wander around my lands for however long it takes for a demon that is not as kind as I to kill you in battle. You can stay here, and serve me as one of my warriors, and I will be obliged to keep you fed and in reasonably good health. Or, if you can think of something that would make the expenditure of energy worth my while, I can open a portal that would return you to your home."
Genma's eyes widened as he considered it.
"Home... but what could you want from me? I'm not a rich man..."
"I have more money that you could possibly imagine, so it wouldn't matter if you were."
"... What do demons want. Souls?"
"Ew. What would I do with it? They're somewhat useless."
"Hmm... It's a pity. I can't think of anything, and so I'll be trapped in hell while my wife raises our son alone."
Something flashed in Krichevskoy's eyes, and he leaned forward.
"Fatherhood is indeed a blessing... I myself have a son, and a ward that I love like a daughter."
It took several minutes for Genma to connect the dots from that seemingly innocent statement, but after that a contract was swiftly drawn up that engaged the king's ward and Genma's son, and Genma was sent through a portal home, directly to his back yard.
He shook his head, knowing that it would be best to keep this little adventure to himself. He'd been on his way home after he and his buddy Soun had sealed the master into that cave when he'd stopped for the night at that monastery. Perhaps it would be best that he pretended nothing had happened, and head off to go get drunk with his old friend before taking his son on a training trip.
He nodded to himself as he walked in, announcing his presence to his wife as he opened the door. That was exactly what he would do.
He'd been excited when he remembered agreeing to join the schools sometime in the middle of the bar crawl. Then, after the alcohol induced stupor wore off, he remembered the previous agreement... and who it was made with. Then the panic set in.
He was already a week into the training trip with his son when he finally calmed down from his paranoia enough that he thought of taking a better look at the contracts.
The first one, the one with the demon King, was straightforward and clearcut. Etna and Ranma. Matrimony. The second... well it was obvious that both of them had been drunk when they wrote it. It meandered on and on, there were loopholes everywhere, and it never actually came out and said anything about marriage. It just stated that 'the schools would be joined'. That could mean any number of things. Which was probably why the denizens of hell weren't hounding him this very moment for breaking a contract.
He carefully hid away the contracts under the false bottom of his travel pack, and decided to continue the trip. Tendo would understand that it was misunderstanding, that he had in his drunken state he hadn't made it clear that he had meant uniting the schools through means other than marriage... wouldn't he?
Years passed, and Genma swiftly taught his son almost everything he knew, and everything they came across that was deemed useful to their art. The boy was a prodigy, and absorbed anything related to martial arts like a sponge.
And on the course of the trip, Genma had collected a number of other contracts.
It was really rather disgusting. Rather than giving the penniless martial artists a meal for free in exchange for stories of their travels, the way Genma recalled things working in his youth, when he himself had been on a training trip with his own father, everyone demanded that he sign a contract with them in exchange for a single meal, sometimes as skimpy as a small bowl of rice, two slices of pickle, and an anchovy.
Fortunately, he had been able to write easily exploited loopholes into the contracts, or write the terms using very ambiguous phrases. Even after so long, he was terrified of Krichevskoy, who he had come to realize had toyed with him during their battle. He could have ended it at any time. As such, he was extremely wary of making agreements that contradicted the one with the dangerous King.
Of course, there were times that he simply had no other choice. Like when he'd come across an artifact that the Master had mentioned multiple times, usually in a tone of absolute longing. Genma had never understood why, until he touched the thing. Even after so long, he had yet to learn when to keep his fingers to himself.
And so he found himself inside a furo filled with nubile women who were obviously not human. After the obligatory beating, followed by an explanation, they had been ready to send him home... but his wallet had fallen out and dropped a picture of his son to the tile floor. And was picked up by a woman with two sets of wings, on her lower back and head.
Said woman turned out to be very important. Said woman had a younger sister. Said woman decided her younger sister and this boy would make a good match. In her words, 'They'd look cute together'. Things became very complicated, and even more so once he finally came into the knowledge that said woman and sister were succubi, and the only reason that the older woman hadn't decided to share his son with her sister was that she was already promised to another, a powerful vampire.
So after he was returned to the site of the artifact, he was carrying a second contract that he didn't dare break, along with the dozens that had been made with greedy vendors for a quick meal. Ranma was eight at that point, and easily half as powerful as his father without the sealed techniques. It was time to move on from Japan, and begin searching other countries for things to teach his son.
More years passed, until Ranma reached the age of fourteen. He had grown more powerful... but then, his father had been in intense training as well, and had even begun to lose a little of his girth. Although it was difficult to tell, behind the small layer of fat was layer upon layer of iron hard, corded muscle. He could block blades by flexing those muscles at this point. Call him paranoid, but he still had nightmares about looking down to see a sword stuck in his gut. Not fun.
And he had picked up more contracts, eventually forcing him to buy a bigger pack to make room for a larger space beneath a false bottom. Through sheer good fortune, he hadn't picked up any more contracts with people he was too scared of to offend by 'fixing' the contract, but he had come to regret a recent choice he had made regarding which road to follow on a hike through the United States. The two of them had ented up getting caught in a storm, and having to find a place to take shelter from the elements.
That was how they met the Addamses. And a more terrifying family he had never come across. Naturally, Ranma, having grown up on the road with him, had no idea that there was anything wrong with them.
Naturally, the Saotome charm kicked in at exactly the wrong time, and the daughter of the deranged family sprouted a huge crush on Ranma... they discovered this because, every morning, there would be a heart nailed to Ranma's door with a silver dagger. A cow's heart, but a heart all the same. The truly disturbing thing was that he had overheard the parents arguing about it. The husband held that, as the male, it was Ranma's place to nail hearts to their daughter's door. The wife argued that he should accept that as time passed, certain roles were beginning to reverse.
Genma had snatched his son and fled long before they finished their discussion, but still, every so often they would wake to find a heart nailed to their motel door, or in front of the flap to the tent. There was no formal contract, but the girl was persistent, and either a good tracker or had enough money to hire the best.
So, probably safe to say that he wouldn't easily be rid of Wednesday Addams.
He sighed as he rolled over and did his best to sleep while keeping an ear open... trained ninja had tried and failed to sneak into the Saotome camp, but the Addams girl managed it every time. Frankly, it scared the shit out of him in a way that even raw, bloody hearts couldn't anymore.
Etna, the demon king's ward. Lilith Aensland. Wednesday Addams. Idly he wondered what would happen if the three met... then broke out into shivers. Even having only met one of the three, he was sure that even if they didn't bring their elders into things, they were scary enough that under normal conditions he would want no part of them. Wednesday nailed hearts to doors, Lilith was a succubus, and Etna had been raised by the demon king of hell.
The boy was definitely going to hate him when he found out about all this. Still, no need to worry... tomorrow was a big day.
He'd finally tracked down the location of Jusenkyo.
A.N. Actually, I've had this finished for a while, but never got around to posting it for whatever reason. Sorry!
Anyway, this stories inspiration came from reading one of Shade's private bets... cant remember which one just offhand though. Also, considering different curses for Ranma... Genma will still be a panda. Has to be something that wouldn't power him up too much though, or at least something that he would really have to work at learning how to use to its full potential.