'Gotta run!' Crimson Sun urged to her self, staggering down the alleyway as fast as she could hobble.
She was in bad condition, her red and black leather uniform hung in tatters from her slight frame and numerous bruises and lacerations were scattered across the exposed skin. Never in her life was she in so much danger as now.
Sun swiped a stray lock of her red hair from her vision as she ran. Normally she didn't have to worry about such a trivial thing; her hair would be wild with the uncontrollable energy that her body leaked. But she had expended all that energy in her panicked flight.
Gasping for breath, Sun paused to rest however briefly against the side of a building. 'How did they find us here in Japan?' she thought. 'We told no one where -'
The whine of a winding chain gun interrupted her as it discharged a stream of bullets. She dove around the corner of the building, the projectiles barely missing her already battered and bleeding form by mere inches to pepper holes on the wall she took cover behind. Sun winced as large chunks of brick and mortar rained down on her. She peeked around the corner and gasped, realizing her pursuers were closer than she thought.
"She's down here!" said pursuer shouted, as he began winding the chain gun again in preparation for another volley of projectiles. The afternoon sun did nothing to lessen his armors hideous appearance as it reflected off the immaculately polished, gun metal grey panels. He glanced up and down the alley, the servos in his power armor buzzing in the near silence as he looked for her.
Sun allowed herself a small smile. 'Just an eliminator,' she thought, standing up against the wall. 'We should have enough energy to take him out.'
Sun whipped from behind the wall, firing a small blast of white energy from her outstretched hands. Her eyes glowed briefly with the same iridescence.
The soldier was completely unprepared for the assault and couldn't dodge out of the way in time, the blast catching him in the chest and blasting through the armor. He staggered back, clutching the spider web cracks the blast made on the breastplate and collapsed to the ground.
Crimson Suns eyes widened as a more significant threat ran up to his fallen comrade. His armor was similar but had red markings on the shoulders and forearms and instead of a chain gun, he had blaster barrels that protruded from his wrists, "You bitch!" he snarled, leveling one arm toward the surprised woman. "We were supposed to take you alive but I don't think they'd mind experimenting on your CORPSE!"
Sun dove to the side but not fast enough as the blast of bluish energy tore into her thigh. She hit the ground hard, clutching the shredded leg. "Argh!" she screamed. "A power tank, here? They must be serious."
The sound of booted feet coming around the corner of the building into the alley spurred her into action. Ignoring the pain, she staggered to her feet and hobbled away as fast as she could. 'We have no energy left…' she mused, a panicked smile on her face. 'I think we're going to die.'
For the first time since their fusion, the peacebringer known as Crimson Sun was afraid for her life.
Ranma sighed heavily, as he tossed another pebble into the canal and watched the ripples as they were carried down stream with the lazy flow. He leaned back in the grass and tried to relax. It had been three weeks since his fateful encounter with the being known as Saffron, and things just weren't the same.
He had killed to save Akane.
It didn't matter that the being he killed was immediately reborn, or that Saffron held no grudge against the martial artist for his actions. Ranma had still taken a life to save the woman he loved and everything seemed somehow different.
Sure, everything was still his fault according to Ryoga.
Sure, Akane still malleted him into the ground whenever she got angry at him.
Sure, he still had three fiancées.
Sure, upon returning, his father and Mr. Tendo had immediately dumped a wedding on them only to have said wedding crashed by everyone else.
It wasn't like he WANTED to get married or anything; his dad had knocked him unconscious and put him in the tux, but still… Akane had looked good in that wedding dress.
No, the difference was, he had all but shouted to the world that he loved Akane, and she said nothing in response. Granted, she had been much nicer to him between Saffron and the wedding incident, but perhaps that was because he was too busy brooding to bother putting his foot in his mouth.
Things were different because he wasn't sure of his feelings anymore. Akane still hadn't reciprocated his declaration that he loved her. Even when he confronted her about the wedding and told her she looked beautiful in that dress, she had only responded saying, "You love me, right?" and with the eventual threat that he'd be sorry if he backed out. When he asked her why, she told him that one of the wedding gifts was a cask of nanniichaun water. She had been keeping that a secret from him despite knowing how much he wanted a cure to his curse, and was going to force him to marry her to get it. 'So much for thinkin' that she's any different from the rest of the girls...' Ranma thought wryly.
She had even blamed him for the failed wedding. He didn't invite every loon in Nerima, Nabiki did. Would someone you thought you loved and loved you back, do something like that?
After things calmed down from the crashed wedding, things took on an air of normalcy again. Shampoo and Ukyo resumed chasing him, and Akane would call him a pervert for not telling them off. Akane would cook and bash Ranma when he refused to poison himself. 'I cant…I cant do this anymore.' Ranma thought. 'Maybe I aught a leave…get things straightened out. I can come back then.'
'Ill tell them tonight and leave in the morning.' Ranma picked up another pebble and tossed it in to the water, and listened to the multiple splashes it made. Wait… multiple splashes? Ranma picked up another rock and threw it, listening intently as hit the water. 'No,' he thought, as the rapid staccato noise was heard again. 'That almost sounds like…gunfire?'
Crimson Sun knew it was futile as she scrabbled across the concrete toward a canal. She had one hand clutched to her midsection over a nasty looking wound that gushed blood. Her other arm hung loose at her side, the victim of a gunshot wound that tore through her shoulder muscle.
Fortunately, the people chasing her were lousy shots, but with as many shots as they were firing at her, they were bound to get lucky with a few of them. And they had, many times now. She knew she was going to die, but the kheldian that was symbiotically bound with her had one last mission to achieve.
Another volley of bullets ricochet around her, one catching her in the foot. She fell haphazardly on her injured shoulder and cried out in pain. Blinking through the tears, she pulled herself forward with her good arm toward the canal and tumbled down the embankment, coming to rest next to where Ranma sat. Unable to continue she lay gasping for breath before giving the boy a pleading look.
Ranma blinked a few times at the bloody woman that had just collapsed next to him. "H-hey? You ok?" he asked dumbly, as he crouched next to her.
Sun winced painfully in response. She shook her head briefly, recognizing the Japanese the boy used. "H-help…" she gasped.
"She went down that way!" a mans voice barked out in english.
Ranma ignored the man and gingerly scooped the injured woman into his arms and ran into a nearby tunnel. When he got half way through, he stopped and tried his best to hide in the shadows. He couldn't keep this girl safe and fight off her attackers at the same time. He was aware of a warm liquid flowing down his forearms to drip off of his elbows. He looked down at the woman in his arms and his eyes widened in alarm as her eyelids drooped. "Hey now. Stay with me."
Suns eyes fluttered open weakly. She knew that this boy was the one that would harbor the kheldian inside her. 'Are you ready, Bright?' she mentally asked the alien entity. 'Ill miss you.'
Her entire body began to glow a warm whitish blue in response. She reached up and cupped Ranmas cheek with her good hand and looked into his eyes, imploring the boy to understand what she was about to do.
Ranma could only stare back in wonderment. "Wha-"
His response was cut off as Sun pulled his head closer and kissed him gently on the lips. He didn't protest. He knew that something was happening but was unable, unwilling even to stop it. The simple action of the kiss was important. Perhaps the most important thing to ever happen in his life.
And his world exploded in blinding light.
When Ranma lowered his arm from in front of his face, the first thing he noticed was that he wasn't in the canal tunnel anymore. In fact, he was sure he wasn't even in Japan. He glanced around him and saw that he was standing in clearing in a bamboo forest, the sky above him was mostly clear. Occasionally a cloud would pass by. "Where am I?" He asked.
"This is your sub conscious," a light twinkling voice responded.
Ranma, not expecting an answer, yelped and spun around dropping into a tight defensive stance. He dropped it though, mostly from the shock of what greeted him. The woman that floated before him was beautiful, her white hair waved gently in the breeze along with the white gown she wore. Her entire body glowed with a soft white light and had an ethereal quality to it. Ranma swore he could see right through her.
"Who are you?" He asked, finally relaxing with the serene aura the woman was exuding
"My name is bright," The woman said. Ranma noted that her lips didn't move when she spoke. "I'm sorry to have startled you, Ranma, but right now, this is the only way you and I can communicate."
"How do ya know my name?" Ranma asked lamely.
"I know many things about you, young Saotome." Bright responded with a smile. "I did summon you here to your own subconscious."
Ranma frowned. Here he was, standing in his own mind with a woman who claimed to know a lot about him. Stranger things had happened to him but it was still unnerving. Judging by her appearance she had to be a ghost.
"No, Ranma, I am not a ghost." Bright said with a slight giggle.
Ranma nearly fell down from shock. "You can read my mind?!" He shouted. "How!?"
Bright sighed, her serene face falling to a slight frown. This is how it went when she fused with Melanie to form Crimson Sun too. Perhaps she should just come straight out and tell him what was going on instead of letting him figure it out like Melanie did.
"Ranma," she started. "I am a kheldian, a being of energy. This form I have taken in your mind is to better put you at ease in dealing with me. Where to start…"
"How bout from the beginning?" Ranma said, with a frown. "Like, why are you in my head?"
Bright nodded. "Very well. When Crimson Sun kissed you," she smirked at Ranmas blush at this, "It was because she was dying and needed to pass me on to another host."
Bright nodded again. "Indeed. Kheldians are parasites of sorts." We cannot survive in earth's atmosphere without the protection of a human host." Ranma looked liked he was about to say something but, guessing what he was going to say, Bright continued. "Don't worry, Ranma. We are benign, and mutually beneficial to our hosts, should they so wish it."
Ranma sat down in the soft grass. This sounded like it was going to be interesting. "How so?"
"Well," Bright began. "In return for protection and a bit of sustenance via your bio electric energy -" She paused when Ranma blanched. "A very small bit, I assure you. In return, I can grant you incredible powers."
"But?" Ranma asked. One didn't live in and around Nerima without wising up to things. "There's a catch."
Bright sighed. "Yes, unfortunately. If we do merge, and we will have to if the host desires the powers, the host's physiology changes and they become no longer human. They become what are called a Peacebringer or a Warshade."
Ranma thought for a second. More power was always a good thing, given his life. But gaining through a symbiotic relationship with a ghost, ('I'm not a ghost, Ranma,' Bright said again.) seemed odd. He was never a big fan of possession. That and he didn't really want to lose himself. "What if I don't wanna merge? What then?"
Bright aura dimmed slightly, evidence that she was disappointed. She had been certain that this boy would be the one to accept her as her next host. His energy seemed so ready and inviting. Oh well… "Then I humbly ask that you allow me to remain in your body till I can find a suitable host." She said softly.
Ranma was taken aback by her tone of voice. "Y-yeah you can stay…I guess. I mean, so long as we don't completely merge, I'm still me right?"
Bright nodded sadly. "It shouldn't take too long to find another. And there are no ill effects from me inhabiting your body unless we completely merge."
"Ok then." Ranma said. "Ill even help you look! I can talk with ya again right?"
Bright's eyes lit up. "You'd help me? Truly?" Ranma nodded. "Oh thank you Ranma. Yes, you can communicate with me any time you desire. All you need to do is direct your thoughts toward me."
Ranma was about to say something, but Bright cut in. "You had best wake up now Ranma. We are in danger."
"She's down here! We got her!" were the first words Ranma heard when he opened his eyes. He crouched down and hid deeper in the shadows while the man in the black suit advanced cautiously into the tunnel. Ranma spared a quick glance at Suns still body and frowned. These people were willing to kill to get what they wanted. He would have to attack quick and decisively.
'Try and keep them from escaping, Ranma' Bright said from Ranmas subconscious. 'And try and keep at least one of them conscious. We need to get some information from them.'
Ranma nodded as he watched the suit step closer to Suns corpse. The man knelt down and felt her neck for a pulse. "Damn," he cursed. He pushed a button on the array he wore on his head. "Target is neutralized. I repeat. She's dead."
Ranma didn't hear any reply but he didn't need to. He glowered as he stepped out of the shadows behind the man. "You're gonna wish you were dead by the time I'M done with you, ass hole." He snarled, grabbing the man in a full nelson hold.
"What the-" the man started, but he was cut off abruptly as Ranma took the man roughly to the concrete deck, his head impacting painfully with the cement and jarring the communications array from his scalp. Lights flashed in the mans eyes and he blacked out.
"Richards, respond." The voice came from the earpiece of the array. Ranma could hear it now that it wasn't in the mans ear. "Richards! Respond!"
Ranma looked at the ceiling of the tunnel, as if he could see the men above him. Ranma didn't notice the unconscious man teleport away, his emergency medical transport device beaming him to a nearby facility. Reaching his senses out, he could feel four auras, and none of them seemed a viable threat beyond one, whom Ranma assumed was their leader. "Feh, easy." He said. "'Cept that one. He might give me a challenge."
He calmly stepped out of the tunnel and vaulted to the street above. One of the people, a woman in a black suit with blond hair and black sunglasses, gasped as the teen landed lightly on the pavement. She turned to shout something to her comrades; another man in a black suit with sunglasses, and two men in bulky silver power armor. One was unarmed and the other carried a nasty looking chain gun. 'Remember Ranma, quick and decisive.' Bright reminded him.
Normally, Ranma wouldn't have hit a woman, but it was obvious at this point that these people didn't think twice about lethality. "Gotcha." He snarled, springing forward to land a heavy fist in the woman's gut. He followed up with a right sweep and another jab to her sternum after she fell, taking her out of action. "Weak."
He sighted his next target, the man in the power armor with the chain gun, amidst the chaos. The other two looked unarmed, and that he could handle. But the chain gun could be problematic, as Ranma didn't have any experience dodging bullets. He quickly took to the air, flipping over to plant both feet firmly on the front of the mans helmet, before the chain gun could finish winding up. Ranma leapt off, at the same time pushing the mans head into the concrete with a sickening crunch.
Ranma landed, and noticed the man lay still on his back. 'Two down.' Ranma thought to him self with a smirk.
'Careful Ranma,' Bright admonished. 'They look like Crey operatives. The one in the power armor is a power tank. He should be taken down next.'
"We have an unexpected super." The other man in the black suit said. "We need back up."
"Bull!" the power tank snarled back. "It's just a scrapper. I can take him."
"Bring it tin man!" Ranma taunted back. "I bet you cant even lay a finger on me."
The power tank growled as he lunged forward with a nasty haymaker, but Ranma simply leaned away, the punch missing him by an inch. He followed up with an upper cut and a kick that Ranma dodged just as easily.
"That all you got?" Ranma taunted.
"BURN!" the man growled as he leveled his energy blasters at Ranma.
Ranma felt the brief energy build up and managed to fall to the ground, but not soon enough to avoid his shoulder being singed by the white hot energy that was blasted his way. He looked over his should and saw the energy impact with the remaining black suited man, throwing him a good thirty feet and into unconsciousness. "Whoa…" Ranma breathed, recovering his stance. "Maybe I ought a take you serious."
Ranma dodged another punch and gaped as the blow took out a section of the street. "Definitely gotta take you serious now." He said falling into an offensive stance. "Time to end this."
The man in the power armor blindly rushed forward with another haymaker again, but this time, Ranma met him in mid charge. He pushed an elbow into the mans sternum, cracking the armor, then whirled around to land a chop to the back of the mans neck. Ranma winced painfully, realizing that the armor was harder than it looked, but smirked anyway. His counter had the desired effect of sending the man sprawling.
Ranma cupped his hands together in front of him as the man in the armor started to get to his feet weakly. "Good night." Ranma said cockily. "Moko Takabisha!" The blue energy ball slammed into the mans back, crushing him to the pavement and leaving him unconscious in a crater in the street.
'Goodness me!' Bright exclaimed. 'Was that really necessary?'
"You said quick and decisive" Ranma reminded her, brushing some dust from his red Chinese style shirt. "Besides. That wasn't even full power."
Bright face faulted in Ranmas mind. 'Do you even need my help?' she said exasperatedly.
Ranma smiled his trademark smirk. "Nah not really. Ranma Saotome don't lose. And I always keep my promises." It was at this point Ranma realized that none of the Crey operatives were present. "Hey! What gives?" he shouted.
Bright gasped, seeing everything through Ranmas eyes. 'I didn't think they're emergency teleports would work here.' She said, worriedly. 'That means that they have a base of operations somewhere in Tokyo.'
Ranma frowned as he thought that over. Then he smiled saying, "Then we just have to track 'em down and take 'em out right?"
'That would have been easier if you had subdued one of them instead of rendering them all unconscious.' Bright chided. Ranma winced. 'But now it cant be helped.'
"Hey" Ranma cut in, remembering Crimson Suns body in the tunnel. "What should we do about the girl in the tunnel?"
'She activated her distress beacon when she realized that her life was in danger,' Bright explained. 'Someone will be along to recover her soon.'
"Ill pay those Crey jerks back for what they did to her," Ranma said, clenching his fists. Bright smiled inwardly. They boy had a good heart. He would make a perfect host, and a good hero.
'At least we know that they have a base here; we just need to find out where.'
"I think I can call in a few favors." Ranma said. Nabiki did owe him for the damage to his mother's house. "Besides." He added as his stomach growled. "Its time for dinner and Kasumi's cooking tonight."
If bright had eyes to roll…
Meanwhile, somewhere in the nearby ward of Shinjuku in an underground facility beneath the Daimyo Tech building, the power tank that Ranma had dispatched woke groggily to a sight he wished he would never have to see again.
The man standing over him was muscular, his fit form covered with a well oiled black leather ensemble that hugged his toned physique. He had his arms crossed and his glowing purple eyes were glowering at the tank from under black bangs. "You have failed me, Grainger. And when you fail me, you fail our countess."
The tank quailed under the nictus fused mans ire. He realized that his armor was gone, most likely being repaired after the damage that unknown scrapper had done to it. "F-forgive me lord Death Shroud. We…we met with some unexpected...er.resistance."
"Your armor is being analyzed as we speak." Death Shroud spat. Truth be told, he was a bit worried. Nothing save the members of the Freedom Phalanx back in Paragon City had the power to do that kind of damage to a fully functional suit of Crey power armor. Either one of the heroes had followed them here, or more than likely, based on the reports from the field agents, it was one of the so called oriental heroes he had heard about on the news. This could be problematic. But at least the meddling peacebringer was killed. "Seeing as the operation wasn't a total failure, Im going to give you a second chance."
"Thank you my lord," the tank groveled.
"When you have fully healed, I want you to report to the implantation lab." Death Shroud said to the man, ignoring the shocked look on his face. "You have been deemed suitable for a nictus bond. But if you fail me again," he continued. "Ill make you wish that hero had killed you."
Death Shroud left the clinic ward, ignoring the stunned gibbering of the man behind him. He knew fully well that the man wasn't suitable for a nictus bond, and implanting him with a nictus fragment would turn him into a mindless monster. But mindless monsters were perfect fodder for unknown heroes. "Now to take a look at the surveillance footage," Death shroud said, settling himself at his desk.
He typed a few keys on his computer and brought up the video from the power tanks armor, and watched the pursuit of the peacebringer, fast forwarding through the non combat intervals. He smirked satisfactorily as the woman sustained her fatal wounds and collapsed down the embankment.
"Shes down here! We got her!" one of the field agent's voices came from the tunnel.
There came a sharp crack over the tanks communications feed then silence. "Richards, respond." The tank had said. "Richards! Respond!"
At this point the unknown hero leapt to the street. Death Shroud paused the video and scrutinized the Japanese man. No, the boy, he realized. This boy couldn't be more than eighteen years old. And the ease that he dispatched a fully trained field op unit. He watched more of the video till the video cut off due to damage to the armor, but he paused it anyway to glance at the energy readings the armors sensors gathered. He seemed to be nothing more than a scrapper type hero, with martial arts and super reflexes, but the tank was taken out by a very powerful energy blast to the back, the likes of which Death Shroud hadn't seen since leaving Paragon City.
"I must have him." He said, wistfully as he began to do research on who the boy was. "Oh yes, I will have the boy…"
Ranma sneezed, and winced in agony as the plasma burn on his shoulder pained him. "I should stop by Doc Tofu's clinic to get this looked at." He said.
'Nonsense,' Bright said. 'Relax for a moment and Ill demonstrate one of our powers.'
Ranma felt a warm energy travel from his core to his shoulder and watched in amazement as the glistening, burned blister faded away, not leaving so much as a scar. He moved his arm experimentally and felt no pain. "Hey! Thanks! That could come in handy!"
'Indeed. I can even heal others.' Bright said proudly.
"Would I be able to do that if we merged?" Ranma asked as he resumed his walk back to the dojo. "Not that I really wanna merge…"
'Of course,' Bright said. 'And I've been thinking about that too. I believe there's a way to allow you to access my powers without a full merge.'
"Oh?" Ranma asked. New powers and techniques were always welcome. Especially when there was no hassle involved in getting them.
'Yes,' Bright continued. 'Normally, when a kheldian and a human merge, the powers a fueled by the new beings stamina. I've noticed that you have an exorbitant amount of stamina and something else as well…spirit energy I'd call it.'
"That'd be my ki," Ranma stated proudly. "But what about it?"
'I was getting to that. It occurred to me that your 'ki' its remarkably similar to my own kheldian energy, and quite tasty I might add. Tastes like blueberries.' Bright said offhandedly. Ranma blushed at that comment but Bright ignored it and continued. 'I think I may be able to convert some of your ki into kheldian energy and teach you how to utilize it for some basic powers.'
'Like the healing power I just showed you for one,' Bright said. 'You can also use it to increase your physical strength and speed a fraction and even project it like you did with that energy attack of yours. You may even be able to fly, though I'm not sure you can unless we fully merge.'
Ranma 'hmm'ed' in thought, while Bright continued rambling, obviously excited about teaching Ranma about her powers. 'I can also teach you how to wrap your hands and feed in the energy to increase the effectiveness of your physical combat capabilities.'
This caught Ranmas attention. Ok!" Ranma decided, pounding his fist into his palm. "Lets do it!"
They walked in silence for a bit, while Bright concentrated on converting Ranmas ki to kheldian energy before Ranma piped up again. "We're home." He said. "I cant wait to tell everyone about this."
'About that Ranma,' Bright said, hesitantly. "It may be best if you kept this all a secret, barring your contact you spoke of earlier."
"Whys that?" Ranma asked.
'Because, there are a lot of people and organizations that would be interested in killing or acquiring you if word were to spread.'
"I think Nabiki could keep it a secret. Kinda like a superhero or somethin'" Ranma noted.
Bright smiled at the analogy. 'Or something.' She said before going back to working on energy conversion.
Ranma walked up to the front door of the Tendo residence, ignoring the small tugs on his ki that told him Bright was working. "I'm home!" he called out.
'I did it!' Bright cheered, and Ranma felt an upsurge of energy in his core. 'I know how to convert the energy!'
At that moment, Kasumi came out of the kitchen to greet him. "Welcome home Ranma….kun?" she trailed off as she noticed Ranma's state. His shirt was torn and he was fairly dirty but most of all…his eyes were leaking white energy. "Are you all right Ranma?" she asked, concern lacing her voice.
'OH NO!' Bright mentally shouted. 'Your eyes! I forgot about the eyes! Quick make an excuse!'
"I…um…uh…new technique." Ranma said lamely, as he felt the energy surge fade. His eyes stopped glowing. "I forgot to turn it off…"
"Oh," Kasumi said with a smile. "Well then, dinner will be ready soon. I think you have enough time to go get cleaned up if you want."
"Thanks Kasumi. Hey where is everyone?" Ranma asked as he made for the stairs.
"Our fathers are outside playing a game and I believe Akane is in the dojo. Nabiki should be in her room." Kasumi answered, returning to the kitchen.
Ranma went briefly to his room to get a change of clothes and paused, considering something. "Hey Bright?" he asked curiously. "When you say you can read my mind, does that mean you know everything about me?"
'Only your surface thoughts Ranma,' Bright answered. 'And then only if you want me to know them.'
Ranma smirked, almost able to picture Bright's face. "You're in for a shock in the shower then."
Ranma undressed and walked into the bathroom. He filled up the bucket with cold water and doused himself, triggering the curse and transforming into a girl.
Ranma sat down at the dinner table in his usual spot and waited patiently for Kasumi to bring out dinner. Since the shower, Bright had been silent. 'Hey, Bright?' Ranma thought. 'You're not mad or nothin', are ya?'
'Hm? No, not at all Ranma,' Bright responded. 'Your…curse as you called it just took me by surprise.'
'So you don't think I'm a freak?' Ranma asked cautiously.
Ranma was so lost in his conversation with Bright he didn't notice everyone else seat themselves at the table, nor dinner being served.
'Not at all!' Bright said. 'Back in Paragon City, there are many people with strange and unique powers.'
'Oh,' Ranma said, relieved. 'I was just worried there for a sec.'
"Hey Ranma baby?" Nabiki finally said, waving her hand in his face. It was one thing for Ranma to be broody. He had been since the wedding, and she felt that it was partially her fault, not that she'd admit that to anyone. But for Ranma to completely ignore dinner… That was akin to the twilight zone.
"Huh?" Ranma said, snapping out of his daze. "What?"
"You ok?" Akane asked. Truth be told, she was worried about Ranma too. She had noticed the change in his attitude after the wedding and felt rather guilty about extorting him in to it. She hadn't needed to smash Ranma nearly as much since then.
"Yeah." Ranma responded. "Fine. Just lost in my thoughts."
Nabiki smirked and assumed a mock surprised look. "Ranma? Thoughts? Treat them kindly, they're in a strange place."
"Har har." Ranma deadpanned as he finally served himself some rice and a piece of fish. Ranma began to eat, slowly and deliberately as he tuned out the family and resumed his conversation with Bright.
Ranma eating slowly and deliberately was akin to the apocalypse and everyone began staring at the boy, with the exception of Genma who took advantage of the moment to try and steal some of Ranma's fish. Ranma casually deflected the incoming chopsticks.
Well, casual is an understatement.
Genma dropped his chopsticks as they burst into white flame, and everyone except for Kasumi backed away from the table. "Your new technique?" She asked curiously.
'Oops…' Bright said, embarrassed. 'Guess I didn't get rid of all the energy.'
Ranma sighed, as everyone stared at him with even more panic. Now was as good a time as any to tell them. He placed his chopsticks on his plate and stood up. "I'm leaving in the morning. Nabiki, I need to talk to ya later." He stated simply, as he turned and left the room.
Only after he left did anyone say anything. "What on earth was that, Saotome?" Soun asked, astounded.
"I have no idea, Tendo." Genma said. "Someone needs to go talk to the boy though."
All eyes turned to Akane. "Me?" she asked incredulously. "Why me?"
"You're his fiancée, daughter." Soun stated simply. "It's your duty as his future wife."
Genma nodded in affirmation.
Akane looked around the table and sighed, seeing no sympathy from anyone. "Fine!" She snarled, standing up from the table. Stomped up the stairs and stopped at the guest room door. It sounded liked Ranma was talking to himself.
"Yeah, I know I shouldn't a been so gruff, but they wouldn't listen to me otherwise." He said. There was a pause and Ranma continued. "Well, it was 'bout time I left anyway. I need to get some stuff straightened out and figure out what I'm gonna do with my life. That and I made that promise."
'Promise?' Akane asked confused. 'What promise? That jerks hiding something from us again.'
"Yeah, the one with the short black hair is Akane. My fiancée." Ranma said. A pause, and he continued. "Feh, it's not like either one of us asked for it. I'm only eighteen for cryin out loud! I don't wanna get married yet!"
Akane nodded from behind the door. She could agree with that.
There was another pause and Ranma continued. "Yeah, she can be uncute, she can't cook and she's violent at times…"
Akane bristled. She had heard enough. Let him leave if he wants to, why should she care? She stomped back down the stairs not hearing Ranma continue.
"But she can be really cute when she smiles, and kind when she wants to be. I think I might love her."
Meanwhile, Akane slumped back down at the table, rage in her eyes. "Let the jerk leave if he wants to. I don't care anymore."
"You didn't find out what was going on?" Nabiki asked.
Akane shrugged with more force than she meant to. "He was probably up there with one of his OTHER fiancées planning a trip or something."
Nabiki sighed, noting the sad glimmer in her younger sister's eyes. "I'll go talk to him, she said, standing up from the table. She made a mental note to ask Ranma about his 'new technique' as she noticed Genma prodding the charred remains of his old chopsticks with a new pair.
Ranma stopped his conversation with Bright when he heard a knock on his door. "Ranma, it's Nabiki. Can I come in?"
Ranma blinked. Nabiki never bothered to knock before. "Uh, sure. Come on in."
Nabiki slid the door closed behind her and knelt next to Ranma as he was packing his back pack. "So, what did you need to talk to me about?"
'Tell her only what she needs to know, Ranma." Bright warned. 'I sense that this one is rather manipulative.'
'You got that right,' Ranma answered Bright before continuing. "Well…what do you know about…er…Crey I think its called?'
Nabiki put a contemplative finger to her lip as she thought. "Crey…Crey. They're a North American company, I know that much. Why do you need to know?"
Ranma stared at Nabiki for a second. "I just do. I made a promise to someone today to find out why they're here in Japan."
Nabiki quirked an eyebrow at Ranma. This was news to her. As business savvy as she was, she would have heard if one of the largest corporations in North America had expanded into Japan. Still, she did have her resources and she could find out. "What's it worth to you Ranma."
'We really don't have time-' Bright started but Ranma interrupted her.
"If you can get me the info before I leave in the morning, I'll forgive everything that happened at the wedding." Ranma stated, staring hard into Nabiki's eyes.
Nabiki knew that Ranma would eventually call her on that. Even she knew that the reason the wedding crashed was her fault. She nodded and sighed. "All right, Ranma." She said. "Ill do what I can. Good luck in what ever you are gonna do."
Ranma was going to comment on what the catch was, but Nabiki leaned over and gave him a friendly hug, leaving him speechless as he watched Nabiki leave his room. "Whoa…" he stated lamely.
Who would have thought Nabiki could be kind?
Ranma opened his eyes to find him self in the bamboo glade that represented his subconscious. He sat up, rubbing his eyes blearily as he looked around, finally catching sight of Bright. She was floating serenely staring at the subconscious sun as it set beyond the horizon of Ranma's mind. Ranma picked himself up out of the grass and walked over next to Bright.
"Wow. Who woulda thought my mind was so pretty…" Ranma stated, putting his hands behind his head.
Bright sighed contentedly. "Indeed." She was comfortable in this boys mind, much more so than she had been in Melanie, or any other of her previous hosts. "Despite such hardships that would break a lesser being, you managed to keep your sanity, even using to better yourself. I'm impressed."
Ranma blushed at the praise. "Thanks."
Bright sighed again, preparing herself to ask a question that she already knew the answer too. "I brought you here tonight because…I was wondering if you had given any more thought to a complete merge."
Ranma looked at the grass beneath his feet, marveling at how it bent supported itself underneath him to cushion his stance. "I'm sorry Bright…I just…I cant. I don't wanna stop being me, ya know?" Bright nodded and Ranma continued. "And I'm pretty sure you don't wanna stop being you."
Bright smiled kindly at Ranma. "You are the first host that ever cared about my well being beyond your own. I appreciate that, thank you."
"Awww, its nothin'" Ranma blushed again and scratched the base of his pigtail, unused to such praise. "'Cides, I kinda like having you up here," he said, pointing at his forehead. "You're some of the best company I've had in a looooong time."
Bright laughed demurely. "I'm glad, Ranma. I like it here; in your mind, and if we were to merge, I wouldn't be able enjoy the serenity any longer."
The two of them enjoyed the sunset for a while longer before Bright continued. "I have figured out how to convert your ki into kheldian energy anyway. Unfortunately, you wont have full access to the powers of a peacebringer." She looked down at Ranma kindly. "But with what you already have, I doubt you'll need much more."
Ranma smiled again at the praise. "Thanks Bright." He paused, realizing that the last thing he remembered was going to sleep. "I should probably get back to resting. We have a long day in front of us."
"Good night," Bright said, then as Ranma faded from his own subconscious, "Dear Ranma.
The power tank formerly known as Jacob Grainger slammed his shoulder yet again against the glowing energy field that contained him, and glared at his captives through glowing purple orbs. His mouth was now filled with sharp fangs and acidic drool dripped from his maw. His long scaled fingers ended in long, shiny, needle sharp claws, which he used to scrape futilely at the solid energy barrier that kept him captive. Only one thought ran through the difference engine that now made up his mind; 'Kill the boy.'
Death Shroud smiled evilly at his handiwork. In the energy cage before him flailed a new nictus mutation, one that till now, hadn't emerged. He looked to his left where a team of scientists were analyzing the changes to the mans DNA and sought out ways to duplicate it. The beast showed enhanced strength, speed and endurance that would rival anything in the 7th generation of Paragon Protectors. Now if he could only get his hands on the boys DNA. His countess would be most pleased with the results.
"Have him prepared by morning," he barked at the engineers and scientists that were manning the computers and machinery that was monitoring the beast.
"He has his first assignment tomorrow."
End Part 1
Here it is, my attempt at a decent fanfic. Below I'm going to include explanations to some of the terms in the story for those of you unfamiliar with City of Heroes/Villains.
Kheldian, Peacebringer, Warshade, Nictus - Kheldians are energy beings that are from outside our galaxy. They include Peacebringers, Warshades, and Nictus. Peacebringers, as the name implies, are peaceful Kheldians who are hunted by the Nictus. They can infuse themselves with a human host in a symbiotic relationship. A Kheldian can become immortal as long as they can move to a new host when necessary.
Warshades are Nictus that have had a change of heart and fight alongside Peacebringers. They also can infuse themselves with a human host.
Nictus are Kheldians that feed off life energy, killing Peacebringers and Warshades. Nictus use Shadow Cysts as a form of life support if no host is available. If the cyst is destroyed, the Nictus will die quickly. They can also take a host, either willing or by force, but consuming all life energy in said host before moving on.
Crey Corporation – www(dot)paragonwiki(dot)com (Too much information to list here.)
Scrapper – Close quarters combat type hero, with a secondary defensive power set.
Martial arts – One power set that scrappers have access to, mainly consisting of power full kicks.
Super Reflexes – One secondary power set that scrappers have access to, boosting their defense in the form of superhuman dodges.