DISCLAIMER: I lay no claim to characters from Ranma 1/2;, Tenchi, Sailor Moon, Ah! My Goddess! Or any other character of any other anime that may, inadvertently or not, be within this story. They are the property of their respective authors. Characters and situations from those series are used without their consent. This is a work of fanfiction for which I do not expect nor will accept compensation.
This fiction is based upon Ranma 1/2;, with strong influence from Ah! My Goddess and lesser cameos from the Sailors and possibly Tenchi. Champions of the 'true' fiancée probably won't like my portrayal of Akane or Shampoo. Ukyo gets off a little better, but she doesn't get lucky either. As it is a work of fan fiction, I am not trying to duplicate the canon Manga or Anime characters. Expect some (or a lot) of O.O.C..
A fire raging out of control that destroys all that it touches, and yet, makes way for the growth of new life.
------ Prologue 00 ------
The war could be said to be going badly for both sides. Neither side had won a decisive victory and both were worn down from the decades long border conflict. Another battle was underway near a sacred ground of blessed waters. The defenders valiantly fought to prevent the foe from reaching the most sacred valley in their kingdom.
However, this time, the battle was different. This time, the foe had help. The defending warriors knew they were over matched, but in their entire two hundred-year history, never had they failed in their duty to their country. Their fledgling country would not fail in the defense of the Queen and her Kingdom without exacting a severe price.
The Kingdom in turn had never failed to lend aid when truly needed. The injured called out prayers for the Kingdom to swiftly come to aid the defense of the sacred lands. The uninjured called for the strength to continue the fight, calling upon the guardian of their ancestors.
As the Sol's golden orb slipped beyond the western mountains, the foe finally pulled back. A dark tide against the walls of the valley as a tall figure loomed forth from the darkness, backlit by the remaining light of the sunset. Its eyes appeared to be aglow with a sickly green fire as a challenge was called forth.
The signal fire, lit to warn of the attack, flared even brighter. A small figure strode forth, a blazing sword held casually in hand. Many warriors fell to one knee, bowing their heads in reverence as she walked among them.
In the sky, the blue green crescent of the moon hung like a turquoise scarab amongst the diamonds, rubies and sapphires of the stars. Bright flares of light and a sullen red-orange glow became increasingly visible in the deepening darkness on the night side of the Luna, the moon. The warriors too injured to fight who were praying for help from the Queen cried out in horror. Quickly the despair spread through the ranks as the realization that the Kingdom hadn't come to their aid because it was in need of aid itself.
The green eyed foe sneered derisively at the crimson eyed warrior. Her strength was highest during the day and weakest now, just after sunset. He laughed and gloated over the defeats going on all over the Kingdom. It was to be his pleasure to finally be rid of the her.
The battle roared to life once more, as the two great warriors clashed in the middle. The dark horde descended upon the valiant defenders. Their blood ran like water, mixing with that of the attackers. For every warrior that fell, four of the foe dropped. The blessed water ran red with the life of the fallen.
The battle centered upon the champions. Power exploded forth, as the conflict became increasingly vicious. The despair of the warriors only served to feed the green-eyed foe even as the dying rays of the sunset sapped the fiery maiden's strength. The end was inevitable.
Finally weakened to the point of collapse, the crimson-eyed warrior failed to block a crushing blow to the stomach. She collapsed, eyes wide and mouth gaping, in agony. Hands like bands of iron encircled her throat, lifted her up and held her there as she struggled to draw a breath.
She had been told not to come. Her honor would not allow her to stay away, however, and now she would pay the price of disobedience. Her only regret was that she had failed to defeat her opponent. She had failed to prevent the fall.
A flash of silver drew her eyes to the moon hanging low on the horizon. Contentment mixed with the sorrow as she realized that all was not lost. There would be a future... for some. Her sacrifice was not in vain.
Laughing in a maniacal frenzy, the green eyed foe knelt and thrust her beneath the tainted waters of the central pool and held her there. As the fiery maiden's struggles weakened, the globe of silvery radiance spread forth from the moon. In its wake, nothing but desolation remained. Of Luna, the seat of the Silver Millenium, home to the royal court of Serenity, only ashes remained. Where once was the verdant moon, replete with life, now a dull, gray, lifeless orb covered with glowing craters hung.
The radiance washed over the valley just as the struggles ceased in the pool. The silent wall of power ended the violent conflict in the valley. Those given totally to the darkness were swept away, banished to a dark realm fitting their evil nature. As the wall of silver radiance washed over the pool, it erupted with a wave of fire. The golden inferno swept out over the valley behind the silver radiance flaying those who remained, burning away the remaining seed of evil buried in their souls. Those foe not swept away by the first wave were purified by the second.
The green-eyed foe was not spared either death strike. His spirit was torn asunder. The darkness and evil that had possessed him was stripped away and sealed. Only the buried core of the original warrior remained, purified by the flames of his opponent, seared clean of the remaining taint in his body and soul.
As he lay there, weakened and unable to defend himself, he wept. Tears of relief that the madness was gone. Tears of sorrow over the evil he had been a part of, even though he had no control. He felt his life ebbing away... his greatest regret was his inability to atone for his actions. He barely felt the rough hands that thrust him beneath a pool's surface. A warm, brilliant light illuminated the darkness of his mind, guiding him, at last, to peace.
"What? Done already pop?" quipped the pigtailed young man as he balanced atop the pole.
'Why don't they ever listen?'
"Mister Customer fall in spring of Drowned Panda."
The pool stilled momentarily as the cursed water worked its magic.
"Very tragic tale of giant panda that drowned in spring, two thousand year ago."
The water began to froth as a dark shape swelled within.
"Now, whoever fall in spring..."
With a roar and spray of water, a massive white and black shape leapt from the pool and landed heavily upon the sturdy bamboo pole that only moments before sagged under the bulk of the older martial artist.
"...take body of giant panda" The guide finished.
"Wh.. wha.. what the heck is THAT?" stammered the younger visitor as he stated at the large panda in shock. "Y-you never said anything about this!"
The panda roared and leapt to the attack, nearly catching the young martial artist. Even though young sir was skilled enough to evade the initial blow, the older customer's attacks immediately had the young man on the defensive. 'It is only a matter of time,' the guide thought.
The youth avoid the Spring of Drowned Rat. He caught himself on the bamboo pole above the Spring of Drowned Demon Tiger, and thus avoided the curse of the long tooth. Still trading blows, the pair leapt over the Spring of the Drowned Falcon to land on poles at either end of the Spring of Drowned Wolf.
"Whoa, Pop! Stop it! Ya trying ta curse me, too?" the young sir yelled at the cursed man. The pause in the action was very brief, as the older customer regained his balance and leapt to the attack. The pair exchanged blows and danced across the valley toward the pacing native.
"Oh Sirs! You stop now, yes? You going wrong way!" the guide yelled as the struggle brought his newest customers close to his position once more. He shook his head in awe when the young man avoided the cursed Spring of Drowned Young Girl by bouncing off head of the cursed panda-man. Once more, the fight turned toward the middle of the valley. Running along the edge, the guide finally saw the young man stagger as one of the older bamboo pole splintered when he landed on it. Without enough leverage to leap clear, he was helpless to avoid the panda's final blow.
That blow knocked him into the oldest spring in the valley, the Spring of Destiny. The legends never explained how or why, but that one spring held the power of all the springs of the valley. There was no way to know what curse the Spring of Destiny would place on the young martial artist. Each customer who managed to reach the central pool acquired a unique curse.
The tradition was to explain to the customer that they had fallen into the spring which the curse patterned them after. If the young man was fortunate, the curse would manifest in a human form.
Ranma knew he was in trouble. The pole splintered as he landed, throwing off his balance. He was barely able to recover enough to remain atop the wrecked pole. Hearing another roar from the enraged panda, he tried to leap away. The weakened and splintered pole crumbled beneath him, robbing him of the height needed to avoid the blow.
Time seemed to slow as he found himself plunging through the air. Rage quickly overcame shock as he twisted about and saw the pool's placid waters reflecting the golden sun in a sparkling wave of brilliance. He was quickly able to determine that there was no way for him to avoid the glowing waters beneath him. A strange sense of peace and familiarity mingled with sorrow came over him.
A burning yet at the same time, oddly comforting, sensation like fire raced along the young martial artist's body when he impacted the waters face first. As with his father, the pool stilled.
Genma smirked down at the pool below him. 'Ha! Victory!' he thought. 'That'll show that snot nosed punk I am still the master!'
"Oh! Too, too sad!" the native guide yelled from his position near the edge of the springs. "Young Sir fall in oldest spring. Legends say is Spring of Destiny..."
The waters ripple, scattering light that... must be reflections from the sunset... Genma decided. The waters couldn't be glowing the bright gold of the setting sun... could it?
"Very Tragic Story of first spring of all Jusenkyo," the guide continued. "It have power of all springs in valley."
'Power? What power?' Genma wondered.
A gasp of breath drew his attention back to the pool his son had fallen into as a head broke the surface of the water. Wild crimson locks whipped up like ropes of liquid fire as the figure drew in deep, gasping breath... threw its head back... and screamed.
"Now, if anyone fall in spring, take a form from one or more of Springs."
Genma could plainly see that the person in the spring was not his son. The soaked gi left no doubt in his mind that this person was a girl.
The fiery haired girl hung her head as shaking hands grasped the lapels of her gi. A barely controlled tug opened the top enough to confirm that indeed, those were what they seemed. The petite young body quivered as the air began to ripple and glow around her.
"Ah! Young sir very lucky," the guide continued. "He only have curse of Nyaniichuan, Spring of Drowned Girl!"
A sound began... low at first, but rapidly gaining in volume, "oooOOOYAAAAAAGIIIII!!!" Shrieked the young girl as a golden aura sprang into place about her causing the air nearby to shimmer and a strange hissing sound from the pool.
"Growf, Groweroo?!" sputtered the fat panda. 'Ran.. Ranma?!' Finally, the reality of what he was seeing began to sink in.
The girl's head... his SON's head, snapped up and around and pinned him with a glare full of fire, literally. For the first time Ranma's face was fully and clearly visible. Her eyes were glowing brilliant blue-white and were bracketed by flickering crimson marks. A starburst flickered upon her forehead as did a trio of lines curving away from her eyes on each cheek.
'Perhaps bringing Ranma here wasn't such a good idea,' the panda-cursed man thought.
"GENMA..." She spat at the man-turned-panda. Her aura flared even brighter, and looked like actual flames surrounding her. As it intensified, her eyes changed to a crimson hue. The flickering marks steadied into a solid red-gold.
'Perhaps punishing Ranma by knocking him into a pool wasn't such a good idea either,' Genma's thoughts continued
"Noooo..." her hand shot upward palm to the sky and the sunlight seemed to flare even brighter.
The panda was further shocked by the sight of a ball of brilliant light growing in the palm of that hand. 'A Ki technique?' Genma gaped, amazed at what he was seeing, 'Since when had Ran...'
Far too late, Genma realized his peril. Although he started the Saotome Final Attack, he had run out of time. As he turned to flee his enraged and glowing son-turned-daughter, her hand shot down. With an almost casual flick of the wrist, she released the fiery ball which streaked unerringly to the tail of the fleeing panda-man.
The blast shook the trees in the area and knocked the guide to his knees, but other than that, nothing happened. Correction. Nothing else had happened to him.
As the guide shakily go to his feet he looked toward where Mister Customer had fled and saw a blackened form twitching in a small circle of charred dirt. Smoke drifted up from the unconscious panda-man as he groaned in pain. Amazingly enough, the blast damage had contained itself to the few feet surrounding him.
His view of the young miss was obscured by a heavy cloud of mist or steam. He carefully threaded his way down the only safe path into the depths of the valley. As the cloud cleared, he found the young customer, restored to his male form, lying against the bank of the steaming remains of the Pool of Destiny.
"So strange. That never happen before," murmured the guide. Clouds began obscuring the sun as another shower common to Jusenkyo gathered.
In the darkness, a moan could be heard.
Ranma groaned and opened his eyes, blinking in an attempt to clear them. The sound of rain upon a thatch roof created a pleasant backdrop to the sounds of pots boiling atop a small wood-burning stove. The familiar aroma of cooking rice roused him fully. Looking around, he found himself in a small dirt floored room with a bead curtain separating it from another room. The strong aroma of pipe tobacco permeated the air. He wrinkled his nose at the scent, not being fond of tobacco. At least it smelled better than the cigarettes or cigars some people insisted on polluting their bodies with.
Swinging his feet over the edge of the creaking cot, Ranma stood and stretched. It felt like he had slept for days. What was he doing in a hut, anyway? Who was that in the other room? He certainly didn't move like Pops.
"Ahhh! Young sir is awake. Are you hungry?" a man's voice called, his Japanese almost painfully broken, from the other room.
Ranma stepped to the curtain and focused upon the man tending the steaming pots. His stomach growled the answer for him as he ginned sheepishly up at the older man.
"Uhhh, Yes. Thanks," Ranma said gratefully, accepting a heaping bowl of rice and vegetables. "Where is my father?" Ranma frowned as he heard himself. "That's weird," he muttered to himself. "Since when did I start calling that baka 'father'?" He shrugged it off as the food before him and the guide's explanation grabbed his attention.
"It is an honor, young sir. This one has watched over young sir for Mister Customer while he searches for help at nearby Musk village. He gone for two days, now," the guide added."This one believe he not find Musk welcome as friendly as he hoped. With young sir now awake..."
"Two days?" Ranma interrupted, "He has been gone two days?" After the guide nodded, he continued. "How long was I out?"
"Young sir not out. Young sir stay in hut in bed, mostly." The older man answered helpfully.
"What? NO!" he slapped a palm to his face for a moment before continuing, "How long was I, asleep?"
"Ahh, young sir has slept almost three days."
"Three days!" snorts Ranma, "Figures that fat Baka ran off. Probably ran off to feed his fat stomach while I was, asleep." He muttered to himself as he quickly finished another bowl of steamed rice and vegetables.
"Guess I'd better go after him," the young martial artist said after setting the chopsticks and bowl aside. "No telling what Oyaji will do this time. Probably sell me for bowl of soup and an umbrella. Thanks, for the food and all." He stood and started for the door.
The guide paled and quickly asked, "Young sir, perhaps want to wait until rain stops? Is no good if get wet again."
"What do you mean?" Ranma asked, puzzled, "It's just a little rain. I've been in worse."
"Uhh, young sir, no remember?"
"You... no remember falling in cursed spring?" the guide asked after a momentary hesitation.
"Cursed spring?" Ranma's eyes widened for a moment, then he demanded, "What are you talking about?"
"Three days ago, Mister Customer and young sir came to Jusenkyo, Legendary Training Ground of Accused Springs..."
"Accursed Springs! I don't remember hearing anything about cursed springs from Pops," Ranma said impatiently.
"These are grounds of Accursed Springs of Jusenkyo. That mean Pools of Sorrow. Once, many, many year ago, this land used as training ground for greatest of warriors. Now, training ground used no more because of Pools of Sorrow. There over one hundred spring here, each with own tragic tale. Each with own curse..." The guide rambled on, as he started his usual spiel.
"There you go with the curses again! What do you mean by curses?" Ranma interrupted
The guide flinched from the glare Ranma was giving him. "Whoever fall in spring cursed to take form of whatever drowned there in past. Very tragic. Mister Customer fall in spring of Drowned Panda."
"No," denied Ranma, a look of horror slowly came over his face as he remembered what he had assumed was only a strange dream.
"Mister Customer then chase and knock honored sir into oldest spring in Jusenkyo. Spring of Destiny. It give young sir curse like Nyaniichuan, Spring of drowned..."
"Young girl," Ranma chorused with the guide, who nodded sadly.
"B-but. I'm not a g-girl!" Ranma sputtered as he patted himself down with apparent relief. Nothing was were it shouldn't be.
"Curse reversed with hot water, young sir," the guide explained, "but, cold water turn back into girl again. There is no cure, except maybe Amazons know."
Ranma gazed levelly at the guide without responding. A few minutes went by and the guide started fidgeting nervously under the gaze, then dropped his own and bowed his head, "This one sorry. He not able to stop tragedy. This one try to warn, but customers never listen until it too late."
A few more moments went by again before Ranma shook his head and responded stiffly, "Not your fault. It's just one more thing, one more stupid thing, that I'll never forgive him for. What else are you not telling me?"
The guide started, but his head remained down. "The curse act strange with honored sir. Many, many times, Musk warriors use Nyaniichuan to create brides. They use monkeys, bears, tigers, wolves, sometimes prisoners. Not one before look like honored sir's curse form."
"Go on," Ranma growled out
"Too, Spring of Destiny gone. It dry up. No more Spring. Where pool was, is now empty. Only one way that happen, say ancient scroll, is," The guide paused nervously and slowly lifted his eyes to gaze into Ranma's blue-white eyes.
The young Saotome heir simply waited for the older man to finish.
"Only way is for Honored Sir to take spirit in spring into self," the guide finished.
"What? No way., " whispered Ranma. He stared at the guide for a moment longer, then placed a hand upon his shoulder and frowned as the guide flinched. "Are you tryin ta tell me that I got the spirit of some dead girl in me now?"
"I only say - what scroll say," the guide replied hesitantly. "Too, it say only possible if souls same. Different spirits no can unite. If true, then you was once drowned here long, long ago. Scrolls not tell how old that spring was, but is believed to be first and oldest. Very powerful."
"But, I don't believe in reincarnation," the boy protested, "and, I can't be a girl! I'm a Guy! Girls are weak and stupid."
"Spring not care what you believe, Honored Sir, only what is Destiny." the older man shrugged.
Releasing the guide Ranma sighed and plopped into his seat, "Yah, whatever."
The guide nodded without comment. The pair sat for a time as the guide calmly smoked his pipe.
"By the way, I'm Saotome Ranma," the young man informed the guide, "not 'Honored Sir.' That's just too weird."
"This one is honored to know this, but, this one is not worthy enough to use it. Honored sir saved this worthless one and Plum from Musk warriors."
"What do you mean?"
"Honored miss stood in door and threw glowing ball at the Musk. Like the one she," He flinched at Ranma's sudden glare, "sorry, he, threw at Mr. Customer right after cursed. Big explosion knocked this one down, but Mr. Customer was burned as by great fire. Honored Sir do same to Musk Warriors. Plum is this ones child, she also have curse from normal Nyaniichuan, but is only little girl. Musk see her and chase. They always seek wife, but Plum too, too young. As she run from Musk, young miss... err, sir was miss at time... stand in door and throw ball of fire at Musk. This one and Plum unharmed, but Musk all burnt, but alive. They run away. Honored Sir, very powerful to have control like that."
"Uhhh hum, and I was a girl at the time? Why can't I remember any of that?" Ranma muttered to himself.
"After Musk gone, young miss, or sir, go back in hut," the guide continued, "This one find sir as he is now asleep on bed. Musk no come back."
"How is this possible?" Ranma asked, "I don't remember any of that. I do sorta remember the pool and being mad at Pops, but..." he trailed off in confusion.
"This one not know, Honored Sir. Perhaps Niechezu Elders know," the older man offered. "They have longest history along with Musk and one other tribe in region. If any know, they may. Musk no can be trusted. Niechezu have strict honor, strict laws. If young sir no break any of their law, they may help. They help many customers of Jusenkyo in past."
A sudden, wild gust of wind blew aside the door hanging and slashed rain into the room. Ranma twitched as he felt a burning tingle all over as the change happened. She looked down at herself in shock and growing anger.
"Chikuso!" she spat as she turned to the doorway. "That, that, BAKA! Oyaji kept calling me a girl. Kept calling me unmanly, and weak, and he finally got his wish." Ranma put a foot outside and shouted, "Ya hear that, Oyaji? Ya kept callin me a girl. Well, ya got yer stupid wish, ya fool!" A golden aura similar to flame erupted around her. Smoke started to drift up from where her hand grasped the wooden door frame.
"H-honored s-s-sir?" stammered the guide staring at the glowing girl in shock.
"WHAT?" snapped the red head without turning.
"Do honored sir want this one to make hot water?" he asked, hopefully.
Ranma stood glaring out into the nighttime rain. Slowly, she relaxed and the bright aura vanished. Her hair started to whip about as another strong gust of wind slashed through the valley. Abruptly, she gasped in pain as lightning flared nearby and the walls of the hut shook from the explosion of nearby thunder.
The guide watched with no small amount of worry as light seemed to flare from under the hands she pressed to her face. After the light faded, she staggered over to the vacant chair. Ranma gave a strangled, "Please."
Twenty minutes and four brief transformations later, she sighed in defeat, "Stop, that's enough." Ranma shook her head and stared out the open doorway. "There is not much sense in continuing this with it raining like it is. The curse must really want me to stay this way for now. Tell me about these Niechezu who may have a cure." Ranma asks as she moved her chair closer to the stove.
The guide nods, relieved, and begins to talk as Ranma pondered over her change.
Ranma sat on a cliff overlooking part of the valley of the Pools of Sorrow. Her feet dangled over the edge as she watched the nearly perpetual mists drift by below. Sighing, she lay back and closed her eyes. It had been six days since her old man had run off and left her here. Six days in which she had spent all of an hour in her true form after she awoke in the guide's hut.
Whenever she tried to change back, somehow cold water would find her again in a very short amount of time. Worse, the longest she had stayed male was all of thirty minutes. The last ten of which in agony as her head pounded as if a herd of elephants were using it as a springboard.
When she finally got splashed with water once again, the pain instantly diminished to a dull throb. That lingering pain faded rapidly, and within a few minutes was gone. Since then, she had decided to remain in her cursed form for a few days. Perhaps then it would let her be her true self.
This new body didn't like the chill mists of the lower valley that much. But here on the cliff, where the sun shone brightly, she felt comfortable. She smirked as she thought about her old man. He would certainly call lying about in the sun, soaking up the warmth, a lazy and girlish action, but at the moment, Ranma could hardly care what the panda thought.
A shadow blocked the sun from her face, interrupting her thoughts. She opened her eyes to look at the cloud shading her.
"WHaaaA!" she yelped, startled by the person leaning over her. She hadn't even felt anyone approach. With a tuck and a roll, she was on her feet in an instant facing the stranger. Finally, she was able to see the person fully.
"W-who the he- he- HECK, are you!" Ranma stammered at the barely clad woman hovering a foot off the ground.
With a smile that sent shivers up Ranma's back, the stunningly beautiful woman replied with, "Hiya Kiddo! I'm glad to see ya."
"Uhhh," Ranma replied, "do I know you?"
"In a way." the stranger answered, "I'm afraid you aren't supposed to be awake, yet."
"What d'ya mean?" Ranma glanced up at the sky. It was well past midday.
"Here," the floating woman said, holding out a silver piece of jewelry to the wary girl.
Ranma looked at the woman carefully. Aside from the fact she wasn't even touching the ground, she looked normal enough for a gaijin. Ranma sensed she should be able to trust her. The woman made no move to force her to take whatever she was offering, so she decided to take a chance.
"What's this?" Ranma asked. He looked at the clasp briefly before he stiffened and jumped back. "Hey! I ain't wearin no girly stuff like that! I am a guy!"
"Not at the moment, Kiddo. But, if you keep this on your body, you will be able to be Ranma without the pain," the golden skinned beauty replied.
Ranma's eyes lit up at that. "Y-you mean, that'll cure the curse?" Her tone and posture radiated the hope blossoming from within.
Shaking her head slowly, her silvery hair rippling in the air, the floating woman explained, "No. What it will do is allow you to BE Ranma without the headaches. Water will still change your shape, but you will be able to be Ranma again."
Ranma pondered the offering for a few moments. If this trinket would allow her to change to her uncursed form without the pain, then that would certainly be a great boon. Even if cold water changed her, surely hot water wouldn't be too hard to find as well. Nodding, she stepped over to the woman and accepted the gift. After looking at the small silver amulet for a moment she looked up at the smiling woman.
"So, what now," she asked. "If I wear it, Oyagi will probably steal it. I can't leave it in my pack for the same reason."
The woman's smile turned into a smirk as she gestured for Ranma to turn around. Taking the amulet back from the redhead, she proceeded to braid her hair into a pigtail. At the base of the pigtail, she wove the amulet into the hair, concealing it, before braiding the remainder. Then, before the girl could react, she murmured a quick spell, sending the redhead into a deep sleep.
As the redhead slipped into the enchanted slumber she her the woman's voice, "Don't worry, Kiddo. You won't remember this until its time..."
Flashes of light spark in the darkness followed by distant thunder, a whimper comes from a nearby form.
The morning was split with a cry of shock as Ranma was awakened by a bucket of cold water. The tingling fire of the change accompanied the shock of the water and wiped away any thoughts of sleep. She bolted upright and caught sight of Genma standing over her, frowning.
"What did ya do THAT for, ya old fool!" she snarled at the large figure in a white gi. Her leg blurred as it swept out and knocked the man off his feet before he could respond. An instant later, a well placed kick with both her feet sent the overweight man rolling out of the small shack.
"You run away for a week, leaving me here alone, and ya got the nerve to SPLASH me first thing! DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I HAD TO WAIT TO CHANGE BACK, OYAGI?" Ranma yelled as she struggled out of the lower half of her gi. It no longer fit her smaller frame.
"It's time," Genma gasped, hauling himself back to his feet, "time to resume your training, you lazy boy, so stop whining like a girl!"
Ranma stepped out of the hut and filled the bucket, again, from the rain barrel as Genma muttered "When did the boy get so FAST?"
Ranma's eyes narrowed as her left eyebrow twitched. "Tell me something, FATHER. Do I LOOK like a boy right now, hmm?" She sneered at him as he stood there, "No thanks to you I get to spend half of my life as a girl." She started to glow slightly, but quite noticeably in the pre-dawn gloom.
Genma stared at this display. When did Ranma know how to project a battle aura? He has been holding back! First that, chi blast, now, a battle aura? I'd better distract her - err - HIM, before she - HE - goes any further.
"Fine then. Let's go! There is a village full of women nearby. We can get you some cute little dollies to play with and frilly dresses to flirt with the real men in. A weak little girl like you doesn't need to pretend to be strong..." Genma broke off as he saw Ranma suddenly go pale then he smirked. "What's the matter little girl, can't handle the truth?"
"I... am... a... GUY!" Seconds later a dripping panda bolted for the cover of the woods as a screaming redhead bucket wielding banshee ran after to his furry tail.
The guide looked after the pair and shook his head. "Mister Customer is a fool. It is a bad idea to make Honored Miss angry." He glanced at the pair of blackened footprints where Ranma had stood. Wisps of smoke drifted up from the burnt ground.
On a rocky cliff, a young man or overgrown boy looks over a valley dotted with pools as the morning sun peeks over the surrounding mountains. "A-At last! I have caught up with you, Ranma Saotome! I will chase you to the ends of the Earth for running out on our man to man fight!"
A rustling in the trees and a high pitched shout draws his attention to the trail behind him. Bursting forth from the tree line, a huge black and white shape charged at him. Startled, he was nearly knocked from the cliff by the beast as it backhanded... err backPAWed him.
"A... A Panda?" he stuttered as he regained his footing. At that moment, a bucket wielding figure burst forth from the trees. Her ill fitting gi top hardly covering her... ahem... and NOT covering her... "Gyaaaah!" His hands flew to his nose in a vain attempt to halt the sudden nosebleed.
"Come back here ya old fool!" the redhead screamed, her face and hair color matched in hue. She bounced over the lost boy's head, clearing the distance effortlessly, almost as if gravity had no real meaning to the vixen with the naturally flame colored hair. "It won't hurt, for long!"
Caught totally off balance and unprepared by the visual impact of the girl, the young man collapsed to his knees, vainly attempting to stop his nosebleed. As he lost the battle, he slumped backwards, and slid over the edge of the cliff. Tumbling down the cliff, he bellowed, "RANMA! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" After all, everything was that jerk's fault...
"Come on Pop! Yer scarin em spitless," Ranma yelled into the furry ear of her father after hearing the frightened cries of the Tendo family.
The ear twitched, but he stepped on into the house anyway.
"So father, is this your friend," a sweet sounding voice asked, sending a strange chill of familiarity up Ranma's back.
"Nyuuu - Uhhh - Uhhh!" a man grunted.
"Oh, so this panda just decided to drop in," stated a girl with a sarcastic tone of voice. "Is that it?
Once more, the man grunted negatively.
The panda stopped in front of the family and set Ranma down facing a tall man. She would have bolted right then, but her Pop was holding her firmly by the shoulder. The last thing she wanted was to tear her favorite shirt. Besides, no sense in giving all those perverted boys outside a free peep show. It was bad enough with her soaked silken shirt.
"You wouldn't happen to be," the older man in the dark gray gi began, hope shining in his eyes.
The redhead glanced up before she sullenly replied, "I'm Ranma Saotome." Looking down, she quietly added, "Sorry 'bout this."
A voice whimpers in the darkness, "... make it stop..."
Memories flood faster, blurring together...
A bouquet of roses landed in her hands, "Pigtailed Goddess, I love you! I would date with thee!"
A bandanna clad, umbrella wielding maniac craters the ground. "Ranma! Because of you, I've seen Hell! Prepare to DIE!"
"OH! HO HO HO HO HO! Come to me my darling Ranma!"
"... a cute girl like you..."
"Ranma! You I KILL!"
"Wo an ni Airen!"
"Saotome! Release my Shampoo!"
"Gimmie that pill, ya old Ghoul..."
"Get away from her, ya old lech!"
The flow blurs faster until the final, dreaded moment arrives...
"No," the voice moaned once more. "Please, no. Don't leave me, Akane!" Tears flowed from the tightly shut eyes.
...Saffron's face locked in an expression of shock as the pure white beam of energy engulfed his frozen body and sped on to take the top off Phoenix Mountain.
Once again, the Phoenix flew too near the sun and was burned.
Ranma landed near the small form, cradling it in his hands. "Akane. Please. I - I can't be too late. I just can't!" With care, he slipped the doll into the hot enchanted waters, negating the misused magic. The body of the doll absorbed the waters, transforming it back into the young form of his fiancee.
"Akane, wake up, Akane. I - I l-love you! I can't... NooooOOOOO, AKANE!" Once again the brilliant white light burst forth over the shattered lands of Jusendo, washing everything away with the frigid dampness of cold water...