A Midsummer Night's Beauty, Part III: Requiem for Youth
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 OC's that I've added into this story. Just so you know.
Chapter 17: Monster
Within a crater in a road lined by businesses on both sides, Shampoo sat upright, her damaged right arm resting in her lap. Most of the material from her pant legs, torn apart by the force of her Speed of Light Fist, was now wrapped around her arm to stop the bleeding.
Shampoo's body leaned to the left, the book sent by Aroma open in front of her. Using her one good hand, she pressed her fingers against a broken slab of pavement in a specific series of motions.
She touched her index finger against the hard surface. A bit lower, she pressed down her index and middle fingers along with her thumb in a triangular pattern. Slightly lower, but more to the right, she used just her index finger and thumb. Then, well to the right of the previous movements, she pressed all five of her fingers down with her hand in the shape of a claw.
Over and over she repeated the motions, so much so that her fingertips left imprints in the concrete. No matter what sounds she heard coming from other parts of Akane's field, she kept her focus. She needed to. There was no room for error.
Elsewhere, outside the Tendo estate, the air was heavy as two great, opposing forces stared each other down. Akane Tendo, heir to the power of Sorceress Jusenkyo, stood at one end of the street. At the other end was the perverted master of martial arts, Happosai.
The tension was suffocating, and Genma Saotome, not wanting any part of it, took his son, Ranma, and ran off down the road.
"No complaints, boy," Genma insisted. "Trust me, the best thing we can do right now is to get out of the Master's way!"
In Genma's arms, Ranma groaned, the pain from his burns impossible to block out. "I…I get it now."
"Hmm?" Genma gave the boy a quizzical look.
"Akane..." Ranma spoke, holding a hand over his wounded eye, "she never thought…I could beat her. Usin' that healing spell…the only…the only one she was worried about…was the old freak."
While the Saotome duo fled the area, Akane's eyes never left Happosai. With a gesture of her hand, a white, vertical magic circle appeared over her shoulder. From its center, a steel handle came forth. Akane grabbed hold of the piece of metal and pulled it out further until, at the other end, the long, curved blade of a scythe showed itself. The weapon, a dark gray color, was as long as its owner was tall.
"I was getting tired of having to conserve my magic," Akane said. She twirled the scythe around her body, showing off her control some before wielding it in front of her with both hands. "Now I can finally go all out."
Further down the road, Happosai growled in her direction. "Akane…you used to be such a sweet girl," he said in a deep voice. "But, you've done something that I can't ever forgive!"
Happosai's battle aura flared around him, enough so that Akane tensed up in response.
"You…" Happosai snarled, pointing to the ruins of the Tendo home, "you destroyed my collection!"
Akane looked upon the old man with disgust. "That's what you're angry about?" Shaking her head, she raised her right hand high above her. "Just like I thought, there really is no need for you in my world."
Across Akane's body, the blue-green streaks spreading outward from the Jewel of Eternity started to glow.
Standing atop the roof of an apartment building with a good view of the area, Genma had to shield his vision as a large, bright light formed at the very top of the repulsion field surrounding the city. Before his eyes, the inner lining of the field took on a reflective quality. Starting at the top, the change spread downward until it covered the entire dome.
"What…is she doing?" Genma wondered aloud.
Ranma, laying nearby and still trying to recuperate from the damage he'd taken, flipped onto his stomach to avoid the discomfort of the light. "Akane…"
Seemingly done for now, Akane brought her hand back to the scythe.
"You think you can stand up to me?" Happosai asked, paying no mind to the new light above.
"I dealt with Cologne, and I'll deal with you, too," Akane replied coldly.
The veins bulged on Happosai's head. "You disrespectful whelp."
Lifting his arms over his head, a mass of hot, orange-colored energy—the Happo Solar Flare—grew within Happosai's palms. It quickly swelled to a massive ball nearly five feet in diameter, much larger than the old man himself. A bead of sweat ran down Akane's face as she looked on, her back foot inching away from him.
"Let me teach you what fear is," Happosai said to her.
Without mercy, Happosai launched the sweltering ball of energy at Akane. It exploded on contact, the immense blast sending a scorching wave of heat throughout the area. A large portion of the neighborhood near the Tendo estate was leveled instantly, the rubble left smoking in the blast's wake. Further out, walls cracked and roof shingles were blown away on countless other homes as far as the eye could see.
Before the dust could even clear, Happosai's body grew. Above the homes, the businesses, and even the tallest buildings in the city, the martial arts master expanded exponentially, growing almost as tall as Akane's field itself.
Away from the site of the battle, even Shampoo's eyes, as focused as she was, were drawn upward as she caught sight of the giant looming over the town. "Happosai…"
Happosai looked down from high, high above. There, at the edge of the greatest damage from his attack, Akane was getting back to her feet. He didn't know how his disciple's daughter had escaped the blast, but her heavy breaths and profuse sweating from the heat showed she didn't come away from it entirely unscathed.
Still gripping her scythe, Akane held out a hand. The glow of her magical energy took form before her palm.
Happosai, rearing back, fired a roaring chi blast from his mouth. Akane had no time to attack as the energy ripped into the earth around her, obliterating another section of the city.
Watching from afar, Genma held his arms up in front of him to protect himself from the debris. "Incredible! The Master…he isn't holding back!"
Once things settled, Happosai eyed the path of destruction closely. All the way outside the residential area, next to the market, there was movement.
Akane, her gi looking ragged, was down on one knee amongst the rubble and showing some difficulty getting back up. She made a quick swoop of her hand in front of her. Suddenly, everything within blocks of the sorceress became shrouded in mist.
Taking in a mouthful of air, Happosai blew it all out at the cloud of mist like a typhoon from above, dispersing the concealing agent with ease. Akane, however, was nowhere to be seen.
"You think you can hide from me?" Happosai's voice boomed.
He stepped over to the marketplace, crushing anything that lay in his path. Arriving at his destination, he raised his foot up and stomped down, flattening one of the buildings along the street. When Akane didn't show herself, he dropped his foot down on another one, and then another.
"Come out and face me!" Happosai bellowed, squashing yet another structure.
From out of the market, a familiar, high-pitched noise reached Happosai's ears. As he looked to his feet, several young women, all of them in their underwear, ran out screaming from the building beside the one that was just destroyed.
With the city as empty as it was, even Genma, though far away, could hear the cries. "There were still people here? This is bad!" he exclaimed. Slowly, though, the expression on his face changed. "Wait…"
His attention now on the girls, Happosai promptly shrunk back down to his normal size and chased after them. "Pretty girls! Wait for me!"
Genma's face went pale. "I was wondering if they were real or not, but they must be if the Master is going for them. It's not like you can fool his inhuman senses," he muttered. "Still, this is terrible! Now isn't the time for your lechery, Master!"
Happosai kept up his pursuit, and with a spring in his step, he leapt up and latched onto one girl's bottom. "Ohh, how sweet!" he said, rubbing his face against the thin material of her panties as she shrieked. "Don't worry, little lady, I'll protect you from all the scary things! Gyahahahahaa!"
Happosai's eyes widened. Just like that, the girls stopped moving, and their screams ceased. As Happosai stared ahead of him, the girl he was holding on to began to fade, gradually vanishing into nothing.
The old man felt himself rising upward. Lowering his head, he noticed the bloody blade of a scythe protruding from his chest.
Off in the distance, Genma could only stare in horror. "Master!"
A cough from Happosai sent droplets of blood spewing from his mouth.
"You are so simple," came Akane's voice from behind.
Akane held her father's master up at the end of her scythe, the blade jammed into his back. All signs of damage done by Happosai to her body and her gi were gone, as if they never happened at all.
"They felt real, didn't they? Even you couldn't tell the difference," Akane said with a cocky smirk, the blue-green streaks visible on her upper body continuing to glow brightly. "This is the power of one of Jusenkyo's greatest spells. Sight, smell, touch—it plays tricks on all of the senses, even ones as sharp as yours."
Leaning the scythe forward, Akane gave it a little shake, coercing Happosai's body to slide off the blade. In the blink of an eye, Happosai whirled around, grabbing the scythe's blade and flinging it and Akane through the air before Akane could even think to let go of her weapon.
Akane, flying uncontrollably over the quiet town, quickly used her wind magic to slow her momentum and steady herself. As she got herself facing Happosai's direction again, she gasped. There was a giant firework drawing closer to her—a Happo Fire Burst as large as Akane herself, sent along for the ride by its creator.
Frantic, Akane caught the dangerous object with her foot and deflected it upward. Not even a second later, it blew up. The blast was tremendous, rocking everything within Akane's field. Even with it going off in the sky, the tops of some structures below were close enough that they cracked and crumbled from the attack's intensity.
Above the city, at the top of the field, the shining light brought about by Akane disappeared. The field itself remained, but its reflective properties ceased to be, returning it to the way it was before.
Down within the heavily damaged marketplace, Happosai bled horribly from the wound through his back and chest. Despite his condition, though, the old lecher was still upright.
Genma, looking on in the distance, was at the brink of tears. "Master…"
Below the point of the explosion, beside a toppled utility pole, Akane Tendo pushed herself up off of her back. Her left side—arms and neck included—was riddled with burns from the blast. Her gi top was littered with dark burn marks and tears, while the entire length of her left pant leg was ripped apart. Across her body, the streaks extending outward from the Jewel of Eternity had lost their glow.
Ranma, peeking over the ledge of the roof he shared with his father, took a long look at the sorceress. "That one's…real…"
Around Happosai's paling skin, his battle aura surfaced, molding itself into the head of a dragon above him.
Akane, snarling from where she lay, held out her right hand. A light forming in her palm, she unleashed a torrent of magical energy that consumed Happosai. The horizontal pillar roared as it kept going beyond its target, incinerating everything in its path.
The light faded, leaving utter destruction in its wake. Akane lowered her hand, glaring down the new trench carved out in the earth. As the dust cleared, her jaw dropped. There was only one thing still standing down the path, and that was Happosai, the pavement beneath and just behind him intact despite the immense damage all around.
Sweat dripping from her chin, Akane grit her teeth and raised her hand up into the air. In the sky above Happosai, a large, white magic circle appeared. Reminiscent of the attack that took Jukai's life, the magic circle rotated in place. Growing brighter and brighter, it fired a massive blast of magical energy down upon the old man, sending tremors throughout the entire town.
Away from the battle, Alysse, as surefooted as her gymnastics background made her, had to keep hold of a chain link fence to maintain her balance as the force of the blast rocked the ground around her.
"What is going on over there?" she cried out.
Back where the market once was, a shallow crater was left in its place, everything flattened by the strength of Akane's attack. Only in the very center of the crater was anything left standing. There was Happosai, still on his feet. His maroon gi was left in tatters, but his battle aura held strong.
"What in the hell are you?" Akane screamed.
The streaks across her body taking on their blue-green glow once more, she held both of her hands out in front of her. Over by Happosai, a pair of giant magic circles appeared on either side of him, each roughly 20 yards from his position. They lit up with a bright white hue and fired, pummeling Happosai from both sides with hellish blasts of energy. The impact of the two attacks colliding sent out a shockwave that cracked foundations, crumbled homes, and blew Genma and Ranma right off of the apartment roof they were perched upon, their cries lost in the resulting chaos.
Even after the assault was over, the sounds of rubble crashing to the pavement echoed throughout the area. Akane waited, watching as the cloud hovering over the ground wafted upward. The crater from before was a bit deeper now, but the one in the middle of it remained.
Happosai was still there, still not down. His body drooped. His aura dwindled. His blood was pooled beneath him. But he was still there.
Akane, a wild look in her eyes, brought her left hand back to the ground behind her to brace herself. "Just DIE ALREADY!"
Before Akane's right palm, three magic circles of varying sizes appeared, layered one in front of the other with the largest at the end. A familiar spark of light firing in her hand, she sent forth another mass of magical energy. The energy grew as it passed through each of the magic circles, its power amplified beyond that of Akane's previous attacks. Blindingly bright as it exited the final circle, the energy tore through the ground, digging an even deeper trench and decimating anything it came in contact with before enveloping its target.
The blast dispersed, leaving behind an eerie quiet and an enormous hole through the city.
A strong gust of wind cleared away the lingering smoke and dust, revealing that only one thing now stuck out from that black, charred path in the ground. No longer was there any battle aura, but Happosai was still there. Still standing.
Akane shook her head. She raised her hand again, her arm quivering in front of her. Then, her eyebrows lifted, and the blue-green glow abruptly faded from her body.
Happosai's body, Akane realized, may have been upright, but there was no movement to it. There was no life left in it.
Happosai was dead.
Slowly, a grin spread across Akane's face. She stared at the old man breathlessly, waiting to see if everything was as she thought it was. There was no mistaking it. Happosai was really gone.
"I…I did it," Akane finally mouthed to herself.
The pain on her left side hitting her, Akane grimaced as she worked her way to her feet, the two spheres of light still hovering over her head.
"I didn't even need my healing orbs," she said, looking down at her palms. "This is incredible. I underestimated Jusenkyo's power. I used up a lot of it there, but...it's fine. I have more than enough left for the others. No one can even touch me anymore."
Hearing something behind her, Akane raised her right hand up, creating a strong gust of wind at her back. Turning around, she found Genma Saotome with his arm outstretched, his fist close but unable to break through the gale. The wind increasing sharply, it brought Genma up into the air and sent him rocketing off into the sky.
"So long as I'm getting rid of useless old fools…" Akane muttered.
Eyeing Genma with bad intentions, Akane pointed her palm in the direction of her father's friend. In front of it, the light of her magical energy grew, ready to destroy again.
Akane was set to unleash her deadly attack when she felt her hand being knocked downward. From up above, the back of a shoe came into her view, and the rest of Ranma's body along with it.
After deflecting the trajectory of Akane's attack, Ranma reached for the pavement to quickly Shift away, only to be knocked upward by a pillar of ice smashing into his upper torso. From out of the earth, a stone formation in the shape of a hand rose up and plucked Ranma from the air, restraining him in its grasp.
Well above the city, the wind carrying Genma kept on going, taking him right out of the upper part of Akane's repulsion field. Removed from the battlefield, all Genma could do was watch his son's plight helplessly as he moved further and further away. "Ranma-!"
Ranma, most of his damage still not recovered, tried in vain to break free of the stone's grip.
"You do realize I can cancel my spells, right?" Akane inquired.
Looking down at her with his one good eye, Ranma smirked. "Worth a shot."
Akane narrowed her gaze at him. "Was it?"
The stone mimicking its master's movements, it tossed Ranma up into the air, formed itself into a fist, and smashed into him, sending him flying. Ranma hit the concrete hard and went bouncing down a business-heavy road with a sharp incline, coming to rest near the bottom where the hill leveled out.
As the stone hand crumbled, Akane picked up her bloody scythe laying close by and sauntered over to the steep road, taking her time advancing downward as she neared her ailing ex-fiancé.
"What now, Ranma?" Akane called out to him.
Groaning, Ranma tried to get up, but his body wasn't cooperating with him.
"The one person who could have beaten me is gone!" Akane shouted. "So what's the plan? Let's hear it!"
Met only with the sounds of the boy's struggling, Akane walked up to Ranma and grabbed hold of his hair with her stinging left hand, using it to bring him up to his knees.
"It's not that you can't answer, is it?" Akane said to him, staring coldly into his weary eye. "It's that you don't have an answer. You know it as well as I do, don't you? This is already ove-"
Ranma drew his breath in, his eye shooting wide open as he stared off behind the girl.
Akane didn't for a moment suspect that it was a trick. This sensation…something felt wrong. She quickly let go of him and spun to her right, where a monstrous battle aura came into view. The brilliant, violet glow of a ribbon followed, along with the ferocious glare in the eyes of Kodachi Kuno.
Kodachi descended from the sky, her ribbon poised to attack. Akane instinctively raised her scythe up to protect herself, but the ribbon, imbued with Kodachi's chi, sliced clean through the scythe's blade and handle before cleaving its way down Akane's body.
The sheer force of the merciless cut threw Akane back as Kodachi touched down onto the road, bathed in a spray of the sorceress's blood.
End of Chapter 17