A Midsummer Night's Beauty, Part I
Author's note: This story is a continuation on the Ranma 1/2 anime, including the OVA's and movies. Therefore, keep in mind that anything exclusive to the manga hasn't happened in this story.
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is not my idea, it was created by a very talented manga artist named Rumiko Takahashi. The only characters I'll claim are my own original characters that I've added into this story. Just so you know.
When Ranma opened his eyes, he found himself surrounded by a thick mist. He tried to look around, but found it was impossible to see anything through the mist.
"Where the heck is this?" he asked.
Ranma tensed up as he began to hear the sound of laughter. Along with the laughter, a figure began to take shape in the mist before him. As the mist slowly began to disperse, Ranma found himself staring into the eyes of Li.
"Li! I'll get you this time, you jerk!" Ranma snarled.
He took a swing at Li, but his punch went right through without touching him. "Wh-what the hell?"
Li's laughter became wild as he swiped his scythe, sending a barrage of dark purple crescents at Ranma. "What's the matter, Ranma Saotome?! Can't you hit me?!"
Ranma cried out as the crescents tore into his body and he slammed into the ground. He had a terrified look in his eyes as a pool of blood began to accumulate under him. More and more the blood continued to increase until it seemed to cover everything in his sight.
Ranma could no longer move, and he began to sink in the pool of blood. He could now see three figures resembling Li standing over him.
"You are nothing, Ranma! You can't even scratch me!" they said simultaneously.
Ranma's entire field of vision became a dark red as the figures raised their scythes, laughing maniacally as they readied to cut him down.
"Ranma? Ranma, is time wake up..."
Shampoo was startled as Ranma suddenly shot up from his pillow, eyes wide open and breathing very heavily.
"Ranma, what matter?!" Shampoo asked, looking at the pigtailed boy with concern.
Ranma had a surprised look on his face as he peered over at the Amazon girl. "It was...a dream? Oh, man..."
Shampoo began to gently rub Ranma's forehead to calm him down. "Ranma have bad dream?"
"Yeah, kinda," Ranma said.
"Aiyaa, that no fun. Ranma should dream about Shampoo next time," she said playfully.
"Yeah, whatever," Ranma muttered.
Shampoo removed her hand from his forehead and stuck her tongue out at him. "That no nice. Aroma and Shampoo make too too delicious breakfast, so Ranma get dressed and come eat."
The thought of food made Ranma feel much more inclined to get out of bed. "Alright, alright, just gimme a minute."
Once Shampoo left, Ranma wiped the sweat from his brow and stared down at his fist. It was only a dream, of course, but he knew he needed to be faster if he was going to defeat Li.
Eating breakfast had allowed Ranma to push his nightmare to the back of his mind, at least for the moment. He already knew Shampoo was a stellar cook, but Aroma apparently had a talent for it as well.
"Man, this is good," he said with a mouth full of food. "Hey, Shampoo, why didn't you ever tell me you had a sister?"
Shampoo gave Aroma a nasty look. "Shampoo no like talk about some things..."
"That's so mean!" Aroma pouted. "I can't believe my lil' Shampie doesn't want to talk about me!"
"My name Shampoo, no Shampie!" she yelled, once again aggravated at the mention of her sister's pet name for her. "And you wonder why Shampoo no like talk about you."
After observing Shampoo's outbursts over the last couple of days, Ranma had made a mental note to never, ever call her by the name Shampie.
Aroma had a playful grin on her face as she peered over at her sister. "You know, if you keep treating me like that, I might be inclined to tell Ranma here some embarrassing stories about you..."
Shampoo folded her arms and looked away, completely indifferent about her older sister's threat. "Shampoo no care what you say!"
"Really?" Aroma snickered. "Then maybe I should tell him about that one time. You know, from back when you were ten years old and we had those visitors?"
Shampoo's face went flush with embarrassment as Ranma looked back and forth between the sisters. The priceless look on Shampoo's face had him feeling incredibly curious about this. "So, um, what happened?"
"Oh, you'll just love this," Aroma laughed. "So this group from a male Amazon village came to visit, right? And Shampie here c-"
Shampoo quickly jumped out of her chair and put her sister in a choke hold, desperately trying to keep her from spouting off any more of the story. "You no dare tell Ranma that!"
Aroma frantically tapped on Shampoo's arm once she'd sunk the choke hold in. "Okay! I give up already! Let go!"
"You promise no tell Ranma about that?" Shampoo asked, tightening the choke even more.
Aroma nodded her head without hesitation while clutching at her throat, and Shampoo reluctantly let go. While Aroma was gasping for air, Ranma made another mental note to never, ever tell embarrassing stories about Shampoo in front of her, lest he be choked to death. He really wanted to know more about this story after seeing Shampoo's reaction, but he wasn't about to bring it up again after that.
Once the three of them finished breakfast, Ranma felt it was a good time to start preparing for the upcoming battle. "Hey, this village has an armory or somethin', doesn't it? I could use a few things to help me train."
Shampoo nodded. "Yes, there many buildings for that here. Shampoo need weapons too, now that Ranma mention."
"Good, let's go take a look around then," Ranma said.
The three of them all looked toward the door when they heard someone knocking all of a sudden.
Aroma then got up from her seat and began walking toward the door. "Wonder who that could be. One of my regular patients, maybe..."
When she opened the door, Aroma saw a man with a long, dark blue robe, very much like what male Amazons in the vicinity wore. But this person was wearing an unusual white mask with unfamiliar symbols and had dark hair that flowed down past their shoulders.
"Good morning," the man said in Mandarin. "I'm looking for two people named Ranma Saotome and Shampoo. Have you seen them?"
Aroma gave the man a somewhat suspicious look. "Why, yes, they're staying here. And who might you be?"
"Someone with a message for them," the man replied.
"I see, and this message is...?" Aroma asked.
"I really should tell them myself," he said.
Aroma folded her arms and leaned up against the door frame. "Do you plan on hurting them?"
The man chuckled a little at the question. "I would never be forgiven for doing such a thing."
Aroma didn't like this guy at all, but he did seem earnest in saying he wouldn't harm Ranma and Shampoo. "Fine then, follow me."
Ranma and Shampoo gave the man funny looks as he followed Aroma inside.
"Who's the masked weirdo?" Ranma asked.
"He's apparently somebody with a message for you," Aroma said, keeping a close eye on him.
The man walked up to Ranma and began to look him over. "So, you must be the one Li wishes to fight..."
"What'd he say?" Ranma asked, turning to Shampoo for a translation.
"I suppose you only understand Japanese," the man said, now speaking Japanese. "My name is Jynn. I've brought you a message from Li and Meilin."
Ranma jumped out of his seat and angrily stared Jynn down. "So, you're workin' for those two, huh?! You come here to take us out before we fight 'em?!"
"As I told this woman, they would never forgive me for doing such a thing," Jynn replied calmly. "They want to fight the two of you at your very best, you should have figured that out by now. I mean, that was the reason they brought you two to China, wasn't it?"
Shampoo put her hand on Ranma's shoulder in an attempt to calm him down. "That right. What you want tell us then?"
"I'm here to give you the details about your upcoming battles, of course," Jynn said. "In one month's time, you two are to take place in individual fights. Shampoo will fight with Meilin, and you, Ranma, will fight with Li. Until then, I'm here to ensure that you keep up with your training so that you two will be at your very best come time for the battles."
"Whoa, hold on, did you say a month?! Why so damn long?!" Ranma asked.
Jynn folded his arms as he stared down at Ranma. "My understanding is that your skills were insufficient in your previous fights. Li and Meilin wish to give you both ample time to prepare yourselves. It's not so difficult an idea to understand, is it?"
Ranma was silent for a moment as he started contemplating all of this.
"So we no can leave China for month?" Shampoo asked.
"I wouldn't recommend running back to Japan, if that's what you mean," Jynn said. "I imagine those two would be quite upset about it after going through all the trouble of bringing you here. They might take it out on not only you, but your friends as well."
Ranma stood up and slammed his hands on the table. "I ain't gonna run away, pal."
"Shampoo no leave either. No until get revenge on coward girl," Shampoo added.
Jynn let out a relieved sigh. "That's good to hear. It makes my job so much easier. I'd hate to have them get upset with me."
"Yeah, I bet. You sure are a wuss, ain't ya? Probably just kiss up to 'em and do whatever they tell ya to do..." Ranma said.
Jynn seemed annoyed by the insult, to say the least. "Hey now-"
"Forget it, I don't care," Ranma interrupted. "So where are we fightin' 'em at?"
Jynn was starting to get annoyed with Ranma's attitude, but tried to stay on topic despite it. "You needn't worry about that. Once a month has passed, I'll be taking you there using the Shift technique that Li taught me."
Aroma looked at Jynn curiously, familiar with the technique's name. "Shift? If I remember correctly, that's..."
"A teleportation technique," Jynn finished.
"Then is technique he use to bring Ranma and Shampoo to China?" Shampoo asked.
"Oh, that!" Ranma said. "How the heck's that even possible, Jynn?!"
"Sorry, but it's a secret technique, and one that could be easily abused by someone with a lack of discipline. I can't simply give the secret away to you," Jynn replied.
Aroma, Shampoo, and Ranma all gave Jynn a nasty look at the response.
"What? I'm sorry, but that's the way it is," Jynn said nervously.
"You hang out with people like Li and Meilin, and you're tellin' me you're disciplined?" Ranma muttered.
The robed man simply shrugged in response.
"Fine," Ranma snorted. "So basically we've got a month to do whatever..."
The lavender-haired Amazon had mixed feelings about this as she looked over at Ranma. This wasn't a vacation by any stretch of the imagination, but Shampoo was going to have him to herself for the next month. Still though, this had to be a situation that was much more comfortable for her than it was for him. In her case, all she cared about was having Ranma with her. But Ranma had been taken away from all of his family and friends, and Jynn had told him flat out that they could be targeted if Ranma went back to Japan before he fought Li. All things considered though, Ranma was doing a good job of maintaining his composure. Shampoo expected nothing less from the man she wanted so desperately to marry one day.
"How long would it take to get to Nekonron from here?" Ranma suddenly asked.
"Nekonron?" Shampoo asked, looking over at her sister. "It take maybe ten days, yes?"
"Mmm...that sounds about right," Aroma replied.
"Ten days, huh?" Ranma said.
Shampoo could see that Ranma was trying to formulate a plan. "Ranma want go to Nekonron?"
"Yeah, I was thinkin' we could ask Kirin about Li and Meilin. He might know somethin' useful," Ranma said. "That alright with you, Shampoo?"
Shampoo smiled as she considered the plan. "Is no bad idea. We maybe learn important things about those two. Shampoo think is good way use time."
"Oh, phooey, and here I was looking forward to having company for a while," Aroma pouted. "Oh well, I'll wrangle up some sleeping bags and such for your trip."
"Really? Wow, thanks, Aroma," Ranma said.
"We're going to Nekonron, are we? How interesting," Jynn said.
Shampoo had a disgusted look on her face as she looked up at Jynn. "Shampoo no remember inviting stupid masked boy to come."
Jynn began scratching his head. "Didn't I tell you? I'm supposed to make sure you're training properly. Obviously I'll have to be with you at all times."
"Yeah, so you can tell your buddies everything we're plannin' to fight 'em with, right?" Ranma asked venomously.
"Don't misunderstand them, Ranma," Jynn replied. "They enjoy the element of surprise in battle. If I told them everything about you, it wouldn't be as fun for them. That goes double for Li, by the way."
Ranma just shrugged off the reply. "Yeah, whatever. What are you anyway, some kinda magician? You look like a freak."
"Actually I do know some tricks," Jynn said, seemingly uplifted at the opportunity. "Would you like to see?"
"Sure, go for it," Ranma said, still looking annoyed as he rested his chin on his hand. If nothing else, he could make fun of Jynn for screwing up a trick, he figured.
"Well then, watch carefully," Jynn said, sticking the sleeve of his robe out at Ranma. "Nothing in my sleeve, right? Or so you'd think..."
Shampoo and Aroma backed away as a blast of water shot out from Jynn's sleeve and soaked Ranma.
"How was that? Wasn't it ama...zing...?" Jynn asked. He'd been enjoying himself until he noticed the change in Ranma's form. "You...seem different..."
Shampoo put her hand over her mouth as she looked at the robed man. "Aiyaa, you no should have done that, Jynn..."
A drenched Ranma, now in girl form, was chuckling to herself while she struggled to keep her anger in check. "Y'know, right now I'd really like to take that mask of yours and shove it up your-"
"Oh, I totally forgot that you had a Jusenkyo curse!" Aroma interrupted. She started curiously poking at Ranma's female body.
"You had a Jusenkyo curse?" Jynn asked, looking Ranma over once more. "My, you are an interesting one."
"Yeah, thanks a lot," Ranma snarled. "You got no idea how much of a pain it is havin' this body."
"Is no so bad. At least you no turn into cat," Shampoo smiled.
The very mention of a feline sent a chill up Ranma's spine. "Good point..."
"That really is something though," Jynn said. "If you so wanted, you could run away and live out the rest of your life as a woman."
"That ain't happenin'!" Ranma snapped back at him. "I hit my head on a rock once and everyone said I thought I was really a girl for a while."
Aroma's eyes widened as Ranma continued.
"I can't remember it too well, but I guess I really freaked everyone out. Besides, I like bein' a guy just fine, thanks," Ranma said.
"Ranma think is really girl? Why Shampoo no remember this?" Shampoo asked.
"It was only for like a day. You probably weren't around," Ranma told her.
Everyone was startled when Aroma suddenly slammed her hands on the table in front of Ranma. "Ranma!"
Ranma didn't know what to think as Aroma stared her down. "W-what?!"
"Let me get this straight! You're originally a boy, but you change into a girl due to your Jusenkyo curse, right?!"
"And you hit your head once and thought you really were a girl, but you don't remember it well?!"
"Yeah, so what?"
Aroma placed her hand on Ranma's head. "Multiple Personality Disorder. From the moment you became able to change into a girl, the very personality of a girl began to form in your mind. It obviously lays dormant while your true personality stays in control, with the one exception being the time you hit your head. Two different bodies, and a personality to go with each body..."
Ranma scratched her head as she tried to comprehend all of this. "Umm...okay, if you say so. What's that got to do with anything?"
Aroma was trembling with excitement as she smiled down at the pigtailed girl. "Ranma, let me use you as a test subject!"
"What you talking?! You no do anything to Ranma!" Shampoo yelled.
"Yeah, look, thanks, but no thanks," Ranma said nervously.
Aroma calmed herself down and again looked her in the eyes. "Even if I could get rid of your curse?"
Ranma and Shampoo both looked shocked at the very thought. There was no way this could be true, could it?
"Well, Ranma?" Aroma asked.
"Is...is it true? I really won't have to be a girl anymore?" Ranma asked, almost in disbelief.
"It's possible, yes," Aroma grinned.
Despite the possible benefits to Ranma, Shampoo didn't like the idea of Aroma's experimentations one bit. "But...is no sure thing it work, yes?"
"That's why I'm calling it a test," Aroma said. "Well, want to give it a try, Ranma?"
Ranma immediately jumped out of her chair. "Of course! I'll try anything to not be a girl again!"
Aroma happily wrapped Ranma in a hug. "Perfect! I've always wanted to try this, and here I'm finally getting the chance! Granny's going to freak out if this works!"
Shampoo folded her arms and leered over at her sister. "You no do anything hurt Ranma?"
"I don't think he can be hurt by this. Worse case scenario, it simply doesn't work," Aroma smiled.
After seeing the overjoyed look on Ranma's face, Shampoo couldn't argue with at least letting her sister give it a shot. "Fine, you try then."
"Will do, Shampie!" Aroma said excitedly.
"You stop calling Shampoo that!" Shampoo yelled once again.
Aroma stuck her tongue out at her little sister and began walking toward a staircase. "I'll be right back with a few things, Ranma, so go ahead and change back into a boy if you'd please!"
"Okay!" Ranma said excitedly. She'd tried numerous things to get rid of her curse in the past, all of which ended in failure, but that didn't stop her from getting her hopes up every time she came upon a new possible cure.
"Oh, that's right," Aroma said, stopping and looking over at Jynn. "You've said what you needed to say, right?"
Jynn tilted his head as he looked back at the brown-haired Amazon woman. "I believe so, yes."
"Please get out of my house then," Aroma smiled.
"Err...excuse me?" Jynn said.
"You heard her. Get the heck outta here, ya freak," Ranma said.
Shampoo nodded in agreement. "We no need you here anymore. You go wait outside if you want follow us to Nekonron."
Beneath his mask, Jynn was grimacing at the treatment he was receiving from these people. They were right, though. To wait outside until they were ready to leave, that wouldn't be a problem, he figured.
"Very well then. I'll be waiting out here until you're ready to leave," Jynn said, his frustration in dealing with everyone evident in his voice.
"Yeah, great. Feel free to just go away and stay away," Ranma muttered.
"You have no idea how much I'd like to," Jynn sighed, closing the door behind him.
A short time later, Aroma skipped up the staircase with a box in her hands. Shampoo had already heated up some water and changed Ranma back into his boy form as instructed.
"Okay, let's get started!" Aroma said excitedly, placing a strange looking incense burner on the floor. The burner had two faces carved into it that were looking in opposite directions.
Shampoo blinked several times as she looked at the object. "Shampoo know that thing! It sit in basement for very long time."
"What the heck is it?" Ranma asked curiously.
"This is what might rid you of your curse. Like Shampie said, Granny's had it sitting in our basement for nearly a century," Aroma replied, ignoring the foul look Shampoo gave her for using her pet name again.
"Oh, so it's somethin' the old ghoul had the whole time. That damn hag, I can't believe she had a cure and hid it from me," Ranma said angrily.
"Well, she couldn't have known about the time you hit your head, Ranma," Aroma said. "And like I said, this is not a guaranteed fix, it's strictly experimental. We don't know what's going to happen here."
Aroma handed Shampoo a gas mask and starting putting one on herself. "Okay, Ranma, please have a seat next to the burner."
"Why we need wear this?" Shampoo asked as Ranma sat cross-legged on the floor.
"Well, we don't need to breathe it in, only Ranma does," Aroma said. "And to be honest, I'm not sure what would happen if either of us breathed it in, so it's all for the best."
While Shampoo put her mask on, Aroma sat down in one of the chairs and readied a pen and notebook in front of her. This was such a rare chance that she wanted to write down every little detail of this experiment.
"Now then, Ranma, I need you to please clear your mind and remain calm while this is going on. Can you do that?" Aroma asked.
"Yeah, no problem," Ranma said. Although it wasn't showing, he was feeling incredibly nervous about all this. But if it worked, he could finally be free of the curse. He would never have to turn into a girl again. Even if the chance of success was only one percent, he'd take it.
Once Ranma had calmed himself, Aroma lit a match and tossed it into the burner. Ever so slowly, a stream of smoke began to seep upward.
Aroma began wafting the smoke in Ranma's direction as it came out. He started to feel strange immediately once he began breathing in the smoke. It felt like his entire body was being ripped apart from the inside, but at the same time it was painless.
Aroma studied Ranma with great interest and continued to write in her notebook as the incense started to take effect, seemingly pleased with the results thus far.
"Good, it's working," Aroma said to Shampoo.
Shampoo could see what was happening, but she almost couldn't believe it.
Ranma was feeling more awkward than he'd ever felt in his life. The nerves in his body felt like they were going crazy. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. His nerves stopped tingling, as did that peculiar feeling of being torn apart. Everything was back to normal.
"It's...over," Aroma said in amazement. Placing her pen and notebook on her seat, she stood up and opened a window, allowing the air in the room to clear.
Ranma slowly opened his eyes and looked at his hands, but he soon realized that the incense had depleted him of his energy. Feeling very faint, he fell backward, but something stopped him from hitting the floor. He wasn't sure what it was, but whatever it was it felt soft and warm.
Shampoo was aghast as she looked in Ranma's direction. "Aiyaa! There...two Ranma's!"
"Huh?" Ranma said. When he looked up, he saw his own girl form staring down at him. Before Ranma could express his shock, the girl slammed his face down into the floor.
"Kyaaa! Don't look at me! I don't have any clothes on!" she screamed.
Aroma quickly took the cloth that covered the table and wrapped it around the girl. "There there, it's okay. What's your name?"
The girl blinked as she looked at Aroma. "My name? It's Ranma Saotome."
Aroma nodded and smiled at her. "And do you know everyone else's name?"
The girl looked around the room for a moment. "You're Aroma. That's Shampoo. And this...is..."
"Oww..." Ranma groaned as he sat up. "Aroma, what'd you do?! That's...it's...me, isn't it?!"
"Why you no tell us something like this happen?!" Shampoo scolded her sister. "You always so irresponsible..."
"This was certainly one of the theorized results of using this burner, but to see it happen before my eyes, it's quite a shock. Honestly, I never expected it to work out this way," Aroma replied, still fascinated with what had just happened.
The pigtailed girl continued to stare at Ranma. "That's...me?"
"That's right, you were the girl that lie dormant inside Ranma's mind this whole time," Aroma said, patting the girl's head. "Do you feel alright?"
"Oh, yes, I'm fine," the girl responded, still feeling confused. "Does...this mean I'm free?"
"Yes, you're your own person now," Aroma smiled.
"Wait, hang on a sec," Ranma said. He quickly got up and ran to the bathroom.
The others heard the sound of the bathtub's faucet running, followed by the sound of Ranma soaking his head under it.
"Yes!" Ranma yelled as he ran back into the room. "Look, look! I ain't a girl! I'm cured!"
Shampoo was so happy that she wrapped Ranma in a hug and began jumping up and down. "Aiyaa, it work! Ranma is whole man again! Shampoo so happy!"
The pigtailed girl seemed perplexed as she watched Ranma and Shampoo celebrate.
"Then it really was a success. Amazing," Aroma said, turning her attention to Shampoo. "I think you owe me a compliment, Shampie."
Shampoo shot her big sister an irritated look. "And why Shampoo want to do that?"
"Even now you despise me..." Aroma sulked, turning her attention back to Ranma's girl half. "You know, this is going to be awfully confusing if you're both named Ranma. Since you're your own person now, is there another name you'd like to use?"
"My...own name?" the girl asked, looking up at Aroma.
Aroma nodded. "That's right. Is there any name in particular you like?"
"You wanna give her a name?" Ranma asked. "Why not just call her Ranko? That's the name I used when I pretended to be a girl if Mom ever stopped by."
"Ranko, huh? What do you think of that?" Aroma asked the girl.
"Ranko?" the girl said. "Umm...I...don't really like that name..."
"Oh? Well then, do you have another idea?" Aroma asked.
After thinking about it for a moment, the girl's eyes widened as an idea came to her. "I...really like the name Ringo. Could I be called that?"
"Ringo?" everyone asked simultaneously.
The girl nodded. "It was the name of a singer I really liked. I always thought the name Ringo was cute."
Aroma giggled as she patted the girl's head. "I like the sound of that. Okay, from now on your name will be Ringo Saotome."
Ringo was happy as could be as she smiled at Aroma.
"Man, this all seems unreal," Ranma said, still trying to adjust to the fact that his girl half was sitting right in front of him.
"It is amazing, isn't it? I never expected that old burner to work so well," Aroma said. "Anyway, I'd like to take some time to examine Ringo here a little more. Why don't you two go get whatever weapons you need for your trip?"
"Ah, that right," Shampoo said. "Come, Ranma. Shampoo show you where we need go."
"O-oh, yeah, sure," Ranma said, looking down at Ringo once more. "You gonna be okay?"
"Yes, I'll be fine," Ringo said. "Um, Ranma?"
"What is it?" Ranma asked.
"Does all this mean I won't have to be the heir to the Saotome School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts anymore?" Ringo asked him.
"Huh? Well, that's my responsibility, so, yeah, I guess you're free from all that now," Ranma said. "Besides, you're a girl. You wouldn't be able to carry on the school since Mr. Tendo's children are all girls too. Well, at least not the way Pop and Mr. Tendo would want ya to."
"I suppose that makes sense," Ringo smiled. "I'm so happy! Thank you for setting me free! Now I can learn flower arrangement, and tea ceremony, and I can become a beautiful bride someday!"
"You're very welcome, Ringo," Aroma said happily. "Now you two go on ahead and get ready for your trip."
Ringo had a concerned look on her face as Ranma and Shampoo took their leave. "That's right. They...have to fight those mean people, don't they?"
Aroma patted her head again. "We can talk about that later. For now, let me run some tests to make sure you're healthy. After that we can pick out some clothes for you to wear."
"Okay," Ringo smiled.
When Ranma and Shampoo returned, Aroma, Ringo, and Jynn were waiting for them outside. Jynn didn't seem too confused about Ringo's presence, so Aroma must have explained everything to him, they figured. Shampoo noticed that Ringo was wearing some blue and white colored clothes that she used to wear before she left for Japan.
"Those Shampoo's old clothes?" Shampoo asked, feeling as though she'd some them somewhere before.
"Y-yes," Ringo said nervously. "I hope you don't mind. I thought these looked nice, and your sister said it was alright."
"Shampoo no mind. Ringo look good in those ones," Shampoo smiled.
"You two don't look half bad yourselves," Aroma said. She noticed that Shampoo had a pair of maces and a small pack tied around her waist, and Ranma had a pair of metal bands around his forearms and another pair around his shins.
"Yeah, we're good to go I guess," Ranma said. "Did you get the sleeping bags and stuff ready?"
"Yep, sure did," Aroma replied, pointing to a pile of various things next to her. "I rounded up a tent, three sleeping bags, and some food and cooking supplies that I put into this backpack here along with a couple extra sets of clothes."
"Three sleeping bags?" Ranma asked, shooting a glare in Jynn's direction. "That's pretty low, Jynn. You're with our enemy and you're gonna borrow stuff from us?"
"As if I would do something so shameful," Jynn replied nastily. "The third sleeping bag is not for me."
"Huh? Then who's it for?" Ranma asked curiously.
"It's for me," Ringo said, looking down at the ground bashfully. "I know all about what's going on, Ranma, and even though we're separated now, I feel like there's still a strong bond between the two of us. And Shampoo's hurt right now, so, even though I deplore violence, I want to come with you and help out any way I can."
Aroma placed her hand on Ringo's shoulder, giggling about how cute she was acting. "She should be fine, Ranma. As far as I can tell, she's a perfectly normal human girl."
"Err...well, I guess it's okay. She ain't gonna get dragged into our fights, is she, Jynn?" Ranma asked.
"So long as she doesn't interfere, I can guarantee she'll be fine," Jynn said. "Neither Li nor Meilin should have any desire to fight her."
"Is good, you help Shampoo cook while we away," Shampoo said approvingly.
"Oh, thank you so much," Ringo said happily.
"Well, let's get ready," Ranma said, picking up two of the sleeping bags and hoisting them over his shoulder. "I'll carry your bag for you, Ringo."
"Oh, you don't have to do that," Ringo said, not wanting to be a burden to them.
"Don't worry about it. Even somethin' like this is gonna help me get ready to fight Li," Ranma replied.
Shampoo was going to pick up the other sleeping bag and the backpack, but Ranma stopped her. "Hang on, Shampoo. I think the uninvited guy should help out. Why don't you carry the rest, Jynn?"
Jynn walked over and picked up the backpack and last sleeping bag without argument. "That's fine. I should be assisting you in any way possible, right?"
"Darn right you should," Ranma replied coldly. "Let's see, what else...oh, Aroma, can you do somethin' for us?"
"Just name it," Aroma smiled.
"Could you write a letter to the old ghoul and ask her to tell everyone that we're okay and that we'll be back in a month?" Ranma asked.
Shampoo was a bit surprised by the request. "Shampoo thought Ranma no want everyone to know we here..."
"Yeah, I don't wanna worry 'em too much though. One month's a long time," Ranma said. "But just in case, make sure ya write that if anyone comes here to get involved, they could put us and everyone in Japan in danger too. I dunno what Li and Meilin would do if people started showin' up to help us. Besides, this is me and Shampoo's battle."
"Don't want everybody worrying about you, huh?" Aroma asked. "Alright, no problem. I'll bet Granny is worried sick about Shampie anyway."
Shampoo pulled a small knife out of the pack on her waist and held it out at Aroma. "You call Shampoo that one more time and Shampoo kill you."
She still had that temper of hers, Jynn thought to himself as he watched Shampoo.
"I warned you about treating me like that," Aroma grinned. "Hey, Ranma, you remember that story I was telling you earlier? Let's just say up until that day, Shampie here had a habit of hanging her laundry out to dry in the buff."
Shampoo began trembling with embarrassment as she stared down her older sister. "Now Shampoo really kill you!"
Ranma was desperately trying to hold her back while he pictured what'd happened. "So she had a habit of doin' that, and some male Amazons visited here...ohh, I get it."
Shampoo started pounding on Ranma's chest as he started to laugh. "Nobody tell Shampoo people visit village that day!"
"Hey, c'mon, that's pretty funny," Ranma laughed.
"Is no funny at all!" Shampoo cried, burying her face in Ranma's chest to hide her shame.
Once Shampoo had calmed down, Ranma looked at Aroma again. "Hey, thanks for everything, Aroma."
"Anything for my little sister and her fiancée. You take care of yourselves, alright?" Aroma smiled.
"Yeah, we will. See ya," Ranma said.
"Bye, Miss Aroma!" Ringo yelled.
"Shampoo get you back for telling Ranma that!" Shampoo snarled at her big sister.
Once the rowdy group of Ranma, Shampoo, Ringo, and Jynn made their exit from the village, Aroma went inside and began writing a letter to her great-grandmother.
"I'm sure Granny would be proud of them not wanting to drag anyone else into their fights," Aroma said as she began writing. "Let's see here, Dear Granny..."
End of Chapter 6