by Lord Dragon Claw
Disclaimer: If you don't want to deal with regular goblins, don't invite them into your home. If you don't want to deal with a goblinish Ranma, run away.
Chapter Four: Nerima
Ranma felt that the trek back to the Sea of Japan, and the subsequent crossing of it, was fairly boring. Even that Amazonian chick catching up every once in awhile didn't really alleviate the boredom.
Now it was raining. Great. Just great. Everything was fine until Genma had to say that one stinkin' line!
"So now we have those psycho backwater women on our trail, we're cursed, I'm hungry, and we still have to get to Nerima before we can rest! I don't see what else could possibly go wrong!"
They heard a crack of thunder and felt their forms shift as the rain activated their curses.
"You know what, Pops? I'm going to kick you in the balls now."
Ranma's hair in his female form had indeed started out as red, but it had slowly faded until it was pink. Soon, it would be white. Some sort of side-effect of being part-goblin, or so Jareth said.
Now where to go, what to do? Ranma could follow Genma to Nerima, but would it be worth it? Ranma could also visit the Labyrinth again - he/she always had fun there. Maybe she could play with the Fire Gang again? Maybe move to Los Angeles and start a talk show? Maybe she'd kill her father and frame her brother for it? Well, she'd have to find someone who could pass as her brother. Hmmm....
Before she could contemplate further, she had to duck as the panda swung a stop sign at her head. Genma's second kick to the balls that day ended with him dropping his makeshift bludgeon, which Ranma quickly picked up and rested it on her shoulder.
The bystanders were surprised.
"Well, Pops, you had better start running!" said Ranma with a psychotic grin on her face.
See Genma. See Genma run. Genma runs fast, but not fast enough. Run, Genma! Run!
The panda eventually had to resort to running on all fours to avoid any more cuts on his backside as the temporary pinkette swung the traffic sign so that it would slice through the air. Though awkward at first, the method of running on all fours felt natural and he was able to gain a little headway from his son/daughter.
Arriving August third. Bringing Ranma.
PS: Start praying.
Soun was a little confused by the post-script on the postcard from China, but he was elated that his friend was finally returning! And the schools would finally be joined! Oh happy day!
And so he had gathered his daughters together that rainy morning to break to them the good news.
"A little old-fashioned, don't you think?"
"But daddy! He'll be a pervert!"
"Now Akane, you don't even know him!"
"Doesn't matter. He's a boy. Boys are perverts."
"Well, though I have to agree that all boys are perverted to some degree, I have met a number of women who are even more perverted than most men - one of them was your mother."
"Anyway, back to the matter at hand - my good training buddy Genma is bringing his son Ranma, and Ranma has been betrothed to one of you since before he was born."
"Is he younger? Younger men are always so immature."
"Is he cute?"
"Does he do martial arts? I already want to pound his face into the tarmac."
Soun paused for a moment to collect his thoughts, but then felt it best to be blunt. "I don't know, but I'm sure he does practice the art."
"Probably just a dumb jock then..."
"Now Nabiki, you can't judge a book by its cover."
It was at that moment that they heard yelling.
"Oh my! Seems the neighbors are having a martial arts brawl again..."
"Uh," began Nabiki. "No. Seems only one person is yelling. And it seems to be getting louder."
"Come back here, Pops!" They could faintly hear the words that were being yelled. "I'm not going to hurt you! I'm just going to KILL YOU!!"
Akane opened up the side door to potentially ward off whoever it was when a panda literally crashed through the gate. One of the heavy stainless steel doors was still attached to the wall by only one of its hinges, but the other one landed in the koi pond, potentially killing all the fish. The panda seemed dizzy after that, and slowed in its running just before a pink-haired person landed right behind it and slashed the panda's backside with a battered stop sign.
"That was for throwing that trash can in my way!"
The panda collapsed - it seemed it was exhausted, though it might have been from blood loss. As the pinkette brought the sign upwards in an overhead arc, preparing to split the panda's skull, Soun decided to step in (or step out into the rain, as the case was).
"Hey! You trashed my gate and yard!"
The pinkette looked around for a moment, lowering the traffic control device, before turning back to Soun and speaking.
"I'm Saotome Ranma... I suppose I'm sorry about this. I'll fix it later."
"Wait... Ranma!? Oh happy day!"
As Soun moved to hug Ranma, she grabbed Genma by the nape of his neck and some of the fat around his lower back and put the panda between her and Soun, causing the long-haired man to hug the panda.
"Woah! Wait one minute! Who are you!?" demanded Ranma. Soun let the panda go and stepped back a bit.
"I'm Tendo Soun. Welcome to Nerima!"
Ranma moved Genma to the side and set him down. Genma looked over his shoulder at his son/daughter, worried about the suddenly gentle treatment.
"You conniving bastard! It's almost like you planned it this way, but I know you're not smart enough for that. Still, seems like you have some tricks you can teach me, eh Pops?"
Just after the panda sighed in relief, Ranma clocked him with the flat of the stop sign, knocking Genma out (not to mention two meters forward).
"I thought you said he had more to teach you?" asked Akane from the doorway.
"He does. Just not right now."
"Oh my! Can I get you anything?"
"Uh... two cups of boiling water."
Kasumi, the eldest of the three sisters, looked a bit confused, but she still went to the kitchen and put the tea kettle on the stove.
As she left, Ranma turned to Soun.
"Tendo-san. Please help me drag this waste of skin inside."
Dade the goblin was very nervous. He had been sent by Jareth to invite the Fire Gang to Ranma's next birthday party in November. Apparently, it was going to be big this year; therefore, Jareth had to send out the invitations really early. Dade just wished that Jareth had sent someone else or at least had told him how to avoid getting killed by the Fire Gang like most of the other messengers had done.
The truth of it was, Jareth had simply forgotten to tell Dade. No matter - Dade was expendable anyway.
After everyone was sitting down, Nabiki was curious and suspicious as to why Ranma's chest was sticking out so far. Before Ranma could say anything, the brunette with her hair at shoulder-length stood up and grasped the pinkette's chest.
Though Ranma felt a somewhat pleasurable sensation, she felt the need to ignore it and ask a question. "What are you doing?"
Ignoring him, Nabiki turned to her father. "He's a girl."
"Then why do you have breasts?"
"First of all, some men have so much estrogen running in their system that they develop lactation. Some develop boobs. That means you'd have to check for the dangly bits. Second, I was about to say why I am a girl at the moment; I suppose a demonstration is in order."
Ranma picked up the cup of hot water in front of her and dumped it on her head, gasping due to the fact that his scalp was scalded. Now a male again, Ranma took off his shirt to reveal a muscular frame without breasts.
"Proof enough that I'm a guy?" he asked in a definitely-male voice.
"Oh my!" said Kasumi. Did my heart just skip a beat or two?
"What!?" asked Soun. Why is his hair white? And what's with the eyebrows?
"Wow!" exclaimed Nabiki. He's a hunk! I wonder if I can get me some of that action?
"Pervert!" declared Akane. Why am I feeling so flushed?
Ranma poured the other cup on his unconscious father's abused rear, returning him to human form. Due to the sudden pain of scalding-hot water coming in contact with his lacerated bottom, Genma yelped in pain and clung to the ceiling, now fully awake.
"Great of you to join us, Pops."
"Why you ungrateful..."
Genma shut up as soon as Ranma reached into his pocket and retrieved four crystal spheres from it and began spinning them around with his hand. The girls, even Akane, began wondering what else he could do with his hands (though the youngest Tendo quickly squashed those thoughts).
Before anyone spoke up, Kasumi stood and made for the nearby closet while Genma released his grip on the ceiling and landed on his feet. The eldest Tendo daughter returned with three more cushions and set them down in a pile for the bespectacled balding man to sit on. Though he winced in pain, it was more bearable than the single cushion allotted to everyone else.
"Anyway," began Ranma again, looking fiercely bored but still manipulating the orbs. "We change back to our regular forms when in contact with warm or hot water. Cool or cold water changes us into our cursed forms."
"Curse?" clarified Soun.
"Curses and magic are a farce," declared Nabiki.
Ranma's left hand stopped moving the spheres around. Genma suddenly became very nervous and was eyeing his son warily.
Ranma's bored face slowly turned to a grin before he grabbed his father by the back of his shirt and threw him through the open side door and towards the koi pond. Since they hadn't moved the stainless steel door from its position in there, Genma's screaming form hit it face-first. Before he fell into what was left of the pond, his form returned to being a panda.
"Still don't believe in magic?" asked Ranma of Nabiki, grinning evilly. "Or do I have to do an actual demonstration?"
"That won't be necessary," she said very carefully as Genma limped back towards the house. Ranma smirked before relaxing into his bored pose, his spheres returning to their mesmerizing movements in his left hand.
"So, we got cursed in China because Pops decided to drag me to a cursed training ground called Jusenkyou despite not knowing a lick of Mandarin or Cantonese and not knowing how to read the kanji either. He was cursed due to his stupidity; I got cursed on purpose."
"I knew you were a pervert!"
Ranma rolled his eyes at Akane. "It's not like I knew which curse I was going to get, but I wanted one anyway."
"Why?" asked Soun.
"Well... I use some magic. By getting myself cursed I increased the power that I already command by a factor of three."
There was some silence after that.
"Did you hear about the marriage you've got arranged with one of my daughters?"
"Yeah. Wasn't sure I wanted to bother, but since I'm here, I might as well."
"Hey!" exclaimed Akane. "You don't think me or my sisters are worth anything!?"
"I never said that," replied Ranma, still bored. "Do not put words in my mouth. I was saying I didn't know whether any of you would be worth my time. I suppose we should find out, eh?"
"Well, my oldest is Kasumi, age nineteen. She knows how to clean and cook and she's very kind..."
While Soun was talking, Ranma glanced into one of the crystals.
Seems like an elf. Hmmm...
"... The youngest is Akane, age sixteen. She's a martial artist and one of the more popular girls in school..."
Sorta goblinish, but she'd make a much better orc.
"... And finally there's Nabiki, age seventeen. She handles the money in this house but she is very smart."
Hmmm... Not a typical goblin, but not too far off either.
"Oh! I know! How about Akane as you share a similar interest?"
"What!?" asked the youngest Tendo.
Ranma simply replied by firing one of the spheres from his left hand and hitting Soun right between the eyes, knocking him out.
"Pops? I trust that there won't be any more interruptions from the peanut gallery..."
Genma scrambled to drag Soun's unconscious form from the room.
"And don't be listening in either! I'll know!" Ranma called after him.
Once they were gone, Ranma turned back to a glaring Akane (because he hit her father), a smirking Nabiki (because of how well they both seemed to be able to control their respective fathers), and a confused Kasumi.
"What's the matter, Tendo-san?"
"Where did that orb go? It rolled away from Father's head after you hit him with it; I wouldn't want somebody to step or slip on it."
"Not to worry - it disappeared like this."
Ranma tossed the other three into the air which faded out of existence as they reached the peaks of their arcs and began to fall downwards. They were gone before they hit the floor.
"Now to choose one of you three..."
Ranma then made a show of thinking about which of the girls he wanted. Nabiki instantly knew he was acting and had already come to a decision - though her guess was wrong about the one he had chosen. Akane half hoped he wouldn't chose her, but she also wanted him to do so to verify that she was desirable. Kasumi was a bit more hopeful than her youngest sister about getting chosen, but she was also waiting for Doctor Tofu to get the hints she kept trying to drop him so she also hoped that she wouldn't get chosen.
Ranma was going over his decision one more time in his head. Well, though Akane is goblinish, she's much like the idiot brutes that populate most of the masses. Besides, she'd make a much better orc - frontline cannon fodder. Kasumi is the fairest one, and has the largest breasts of the three... probably a screamer in bed... but she's too kind. She reminds me of elven women. I might be able to get her into an advisory role or a maid at the least. Nabiki... very smart, like I had hoped. She's also very perspective and is still very sexy. She might be best for a desk job, but she seems to be one who likes to manipulate her puppets from behind the curtain. She also seems to have an inner commanding strength that would allow her to remain in control, even amongst a brood of goblin children. Nabiki then.
"I have come to a decision!" Ranma declared dramatically. "My choice is... Bah! Forget the melodrama! I want Nabiki as my fiancée."
"WHAT!?" asked Akane.
"Oh my!" said Kasumi.
Nabiki said nothing. She was speechless. Also, her jaw was slack and her eyes were wide.
Soun, with a bandage on his forehead, rushed into the room.
"What happened!? Anyone hurt!?"
"Just my ego," muttered Akane as she stormed outside towards the dojo.
"Oh my! Ranma, I think you broke Nabiki's brain."
Displaying some intelligence that he hadn't shown before, Soun stopped and looked at the three remaining occupants. No physical harm done - Nabiki was simply shocked out of her wits. Soun had an idea of who Ranma picked but he wanted to confirm it.
"Who have you chosen, Ranma?"
"I have chosen Nabiki, Tendo-san."
Soun nodded. "That's what I thought. Kasumi-chan, could you get Genma some hot water? We'll be on the porch playing Go."
After both Kasumi and Soun had left the room, closing the doors for some privacy, Ranma waved his hand in front of Nabiki's face - no reaction. He shrugged and pulled a sphere out of his pocket. With a flick of his wrist, it became a tape measure. He measured the distance between her top and bottom jaws and the sides of her mouth. Ranma nodded and the tape measure disappeared.
Ranma sat back and was thoughtful for a moment about how to get Nabiki out of her daze. Nodding once he came to a decision, he walked around to behind Nabiki, leaving his shirt discarded by where he was sitting, and kneeled down, popping his knuckles. He gently began to massage her shoulders and the back of her neck, using more force whenever he found a knot in her muscles. Eventually, she seemed to come out of her stupor and began to mewl in pleasure. Eventually, she managed to speak again.
"Mmmm... a little lower please."
"So your brain's finally working again, eh?"
She gasped in pleasure as he hit a pressure point on her upper back. "... oh! Mmmm... yeah. Why didn't you pick Akane? Or Kasumi? Oh! Right there!"
"Are you complaining?" Ranma asked innocently.
"No. Mmmm... Just curious. Here, let me lay down on my stomach."
She gathered a couple of cushions from the floor and lay on top of them. To her surprise, and pleasure, Ranma sat on the back of her thighs, his knees arrayed on either side of her hips. Ranma began massaging her back again, but reached under the back of her shirt to do so. Nabiki began to pant, especially as Ranma began to hit pressure points that caused a great deal of pleasure.
"Quite frankly, your younger sister is an orc."
Nabiki giggled at the description. She agreed with the sentiment but thought it was a matter of course that every guy wanted Akane.
"Your older sister may be very beautiful, and I don't doubt her intelligence, but she's far too submissive for me."
"Oh oh! Yes! Keep doing that! Mmmm... I've never really been picked for anything and all the boys at school are either drooling over Akane or are afraid of me."
Ranma slid his hands a little lower down Nabiki's back, slightly disappointing her (because she was secretly hoping he would undo her bra and start massaging her chest) but still causing a lot of pleasure, especially since he began to hit the pleasurable nerve cluster in the small of her back.
"Afraid of you, eh? Why would they be afraid of you?"
"Oooh! Please don't stop!"
"Not going to unless you don't answer my question."
"Oh! OH! Yeah! Well, I tend to blackmail people or threaten them in some way to get money out of them. Yes! Right there! Do that again! Mmmm... I also hold betting rings. I like doing it and it puts food on the table... I'm sorry," she suddenly said, trying to get up. "You probably think I'm the scum of the earth right now..."
"Nonsense," replied Ranma as he forcefully pushed her back to the floor, exciting Nabiki a little. "I've always been attracted to bad girls." Ranma began massaging again, but stopped and frowned playfully. "Oh dear. Seems your paranoia made all those muscles tense again. I'll have to start over from the beginning!"
Blushing, Nabiki smiled at the thought. I've finally gotten myself a man! And he likes me the way I am! And he's so skilled too! I wonder what else he can do... Mother, if you can hear me, thank you for sending me such a hunk!
While seducing Nabiki again, Ranma thought about her magical core. It was powerful, but dormant, repressed. Either she didn't have enough exposure to magic for it to be active, or the trauma of her mother dying when she was little turned it off. Both cases seemed likely, and probably very common - more common than the magical communities knew, anyway.
Jareth sighed. Ranma is one smooth operator. Too bad I was never able to bring Sarah to my will. Perhaps it's for the better, as she lost her goblinish tendencies as she got older. Jareth sighed again. Perhaps it's time I visit Britain again... I'll need to change to my owl form though. Ranma will do fine without me.
Ranma proved his magical prowess when he threw another one of the crystal spheres at the gate door sticking out of the koi pond. Because Ranma had done so much chaos recently, his spells had a period where they would do only what he wanted them to do with no side-effects, and so the door floated into the air, righted itself, and hovered over to where the gate was. Another sphere and the gate was fully repaired.
Soun, though shocked, had been exposed to weird stuff, especially during his training under Happosai and was able to shrug off the strangeness of it all. Kasumi took it as a matter of fact - she seemed to genuinely believe in magic anyway but it was a crying shame her magical core was so low in power that she was non-magical. Akane seemed to be pissed about it - no doubt jealous that some pervert boy could do something that she could not. Nabiki was curious about it, now that she had proof that magic existed.
Nabiki had tried asking several basic questions on the subject.
"So, where does your power come from?"
"From my magical core. Every living thing has one, from the smallest of microorganisms to the largest of planets. Also, places that have been exposed to a lot of magical power or magical objects tend to hold a great deal of magical power as well."
"How is it controlled?"
"With one's mind and intellect, though a lot of spells have some sort of physical aspect to it, such as a ritual, incantation, or a focus of some kind."
"Focus? You mean like those spheres?"
"Can anybody do magic?"
"Not everyone or everything can do magic. If one's magical core is not powerful enough, then they can not do magic."
"Could I learn magic?"
"Potentially. You have a strong magical core, unlike your sisters, but it is somehow dormant, sealed off. I do not yet know of a procedure to reverse the process, but I'll look into it."
Ranma hated to lie to Nabiki like that, but he wasn't sure how freaked-out she might get if he took her to the Labyrinth. Maybe he'd take her there for the birthday party Jareth was planning for him.
"What kind of magic do you use?"
"Every kind. Any kind. It's called chaos magic. Very powerful; very risky."
"Risky?" She sounded worried.
"Hard to predict, such that chaos is. Most, if not all, of my spells tend to have side-effects of one kind or another. But chaos can do anything. Anyway, the reason why my recent spells did only what I wanted them to do was because I have caused a great deal of chaos and confusion recently, so my spells are rather orderly at the moment."
For the rest of the day, Ranma went around without his shirt - partially because he liked showing off, partially because Nabiki liked the way he looked, partially to piss off Akane, and partially because he didn't feel like wearing it at the moment - it was somewhat wet anyway. Sure, he had spare ones that were dry (in fact, that was how he was wearing dry pants), but he cared not.
When it stopped raining later, Akane challenged Ranma to a spar in the dojo where it was dry - Nabiki brought her still camera. Soun and Genma decided to watch as well; Kasumi brought snacks and drinks.
Ranma watched Akane as she stretched while he did some small stretches of his own. She seemed to take him seriously, but he could tell that she was all brawn and no brain, speed, or skill, simply by the way she moved. She then got into a ready stance; he simply relaxed into a non-stance, irritating his opponent.
"Aren't you going to get ready?"
"With someone of such low skill? Nope. This is all you get."
"Don't underestimate me!"
"What makes you think I am?"
With a growl Akane rushed forward, bringing her fist back for a solid right hook. This time, Ranma was irritated - she was telegraphing her moves and she expected him to take her seriously? Not on her life!
As she came close enough to take a swing at him, he moved out of the way fluidly, but left his foot in her path. She tripped over it and fell on her face.
"Hey! I wasn't ready!"
"Really? Then what convinced you to charge at me while you weren't ready? Never attack if you aren't ready to take a hit."
Over on the sidelines, Genma turned to Soun.
"Have you trained her at all? Seems she has been weak a long time."
"I tried to, but after Akiko died I simply lost the will to teach."
"Ah. It shows. Perhaps Ranma or I will be able to fix it then."
Genma suddenly fell backwards. It was probably due to the fact that Ranma threw another sphere at his head.
"Though they have been useful in teaching things to me, you'd probably kill her with your methods."
"You think I couldn't do it!?"
"I know you couldn't. Strength training by climbing up a sheer cliff face while Pops threw boulders the size of minivans at you? How about speed training by means of angering a hornets' nest? Endurance training by stealing the kills of feral wolves and then running from them while carrying Pops and the corpses? No. You'd be dead in a few hours."
Shocked, Soun turned to Genma who had the gall to look embarrassed.
Undaunted, Akane attacked again, lashing out with her foot, but Ranma dodged by somersaulting over her head. When he landed behind her he tapped the back of her skull with a single finger.
"Dead," was all he said.
Frustrated, she swung at him again. He didn't move to block it or dodge it - he simply caught it with his face. Shocked that he didn't fall over, or even move in fact, Akane removed her fist from his face.
"Outclassed," retorted Ranma. "Though I don't blame you. Pops and I have been training almost nonstop for the past decade with methods that would kill most people. Your father probably stopped training you after your mother died, so you are stuck in some bad habits that should have been ironed out when you were little."
Akane looked about ready to cry.
"But I don't think the damage is irreversible. We'll first figure out how to teach you to punch properly... wait, is the wall around the estate made of stone?"
"Yes, it is," replied Soun.
"Well, there's one training method."
"You want me to punch the wall?"
"No. I want you to stand next to the wall and punch without touching it."
"I'll show you later."
"Well, I'm still a little angry that you didn't take me more seriously."
"If I took you seriously, you'd be dead. Out of respect for your sister, Nabiki, I'll have to pull my punches."
"... Okay. Well, I'm going to the furo now, but if you peek on me or use your magic to do so..."
"Akane, that is the last thing on my mind. Now if it was Nabiki-chan in there..."
Ranma turned to Nabiki to see that she was blushing. He smirked.
End Chapter Four.
Next Chapter: schooling the schoolyard.
Long time no see. Well, for this story anyway.
I thank Sean Malloy for the idea with how to meet the Tendos and Lord Shadner for some of the lines therein.
If you noticed, I have raised the rating to M due to how limes are going to worm their way into this story (I blame my muse for this). There will still be no lemons (I have vowed never to write one), but the fic is going to get a little perverted from here on out.
No need to think too hard about why Ranma measured Nabiki's mouth.
Thanks to Vassago-Toxicity for being my beta. Well-wishing to Cylon One.