Furinkan High School… +++
After classes are over… +++
"Ugh," said Jason, "No matter where you are, school is still aggravating…"
"Oh, it wasn't that bad," Billy said, smirking as he dropped his voice to a quieter tone and added, "Just think about how hard it would have been without the universal translators added to your watches."
"I'd rather not, thanks," Jason muttered.
Zack laughed. "Look at it this way, man. We've had a VERY interesting time since we got here."
Jason rolled his eyes as Billy chuckled. Tommy nodded. "And at least Rita…"
"Finish that sentence and you're dead," Kimberly said, keeping an eye out for Happosai, "We don't need this day jinxed more than it is."
At that moment, Kuno came flying over their heads, screaming "DAAATE WITH MEEEEEEE…" before vanishing over the horizon. Everyone blinked in confusion, and turned around, seeing a furious beyond belief Trini standing there with an amused looking Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo.
"Good distance," Ranma said, "I usually end up going for height rather than distance, so I never really knock him that far."
Billy frowned at her. "Was that necessary? You haven't done that since Bulk grabbed your butt back in junior high."
Trini grumbled, rubbing her fist. "Lunatic jumped me… Started hugging me and asking me to go out with him…"
Akane sighed. "Ranma and I have to deal with that on a near daily basis," she said.
Kimberly blinked. "You're kidding me! Can't just, y'know, call the cops on him?"
Ranma grumbled. "The ones who aren't scared of him are in his pocket. He may not look it because of how easy it is for us to kick his ass, but he's actually one of the most powerful fighters in Nerima."
"Wonderful," Kimberly muttered, "Any other perverts in town that we should know about?"
"You've already met the only two guys you have to worry about," Ranma said, "The rest are just crazy females who think I'm their fiancée."
Ukyo smacked him with her giant spatula. "You could at LEAST wait until I'm out of earshot."
Akane shook her head. "Honestly, Ranma. You'd think you'd know better by now," she said.
Jason snickered. "I'm guessing this happens to you a lot as well…"
Ranma rubbed the spot where Ukyo smacked him and grumbled. "You have no idea, brother."
Ukyo snickered and sheathed her battle spatula. "At any rate," she said, "I promised you guys okonomiyaki. And since you're new to the area, only half price this first time."
"Sounds good to me," Tommy said, "I'm starving, and we don't have to be back to the old lady's place for hours yet."
Ukyo grinned. "Follow me, then."
Ukyo and the six Americans wandered through the streets of Nerima to the business district. They eventually came to a small, but well-packed little shop marked 'Ucchan's.'
"Welcome to my humble abode and business! Ucchan's, where you get the best okonomiyaki in Japan!" Ukyo said, gesturing with a flourish.
Almost immediately afterwards, a mailbox flew out of the door, followed by an irritated cry of, "For the last time, get OUT of here Tsubasa! Ukyo doesn't want you here!"
"How dare you! How dare you speak to Ukyo's one true love you… you CROSSDRESSER!!!" said the battered-looking mailbox, standing up and yelling at the doorway.
Ukyo just groaned softly. A figure came out of the restaurant, a slender being clad in a ninja's uniform, with long black hair bound up in a ponytail.
The six Americans stared at the figure who just came out of the restaurant. "…Are you a boy or a girl?" Billy asked after a moment.
"You are one to talk, Tsubasa!" the ninja said, "Now get out of here! You're disrupting business!"
The lid of the mailbox popped open, revealing a feminine figure in an adorable pink dress. Tears were in her eyes as she glared at the ninja.
Tsubasa snarled. "I hate you! Ever since you came into my Ukyo's life you've been stealing her from me! Well I won't let you! Do you hear me?! I WON'T…"
Tsubasa didn't get a chance to finish his threat, as Ukyo, in frustration, had swatted him into the distance with her battle spatula.
"Idiot…" she muttered.
"Um…" Jason said after a moment.
"That thing was Tsubasa Kurenai. He's one of my more… 'persistent' suitors. The others gave up after I settled on Ranma," Ukyo said.
"…That was MALE?" Zack said after a moment, the six Americans staring at her incredulously.
Ukyo grinned despite herself. "And so is Konatsu, believe it or not. He is my friend, my confidant, and my personal servant. Konatsu, this is Jason, Trini, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, and Tommy. They're exchange students from the United States, and I've decided to treat them to my delicious cuisine. At half-price, of course, since they've just moved in."
Konatsu bowed to them, smiling meekly. "It is a pleasure to meet you all."
The six Americans just stared at her. Ukyo laughed. "Trust me. It only gets stranger from here. But maybe I can give you some normalcy before you head back for the day. A snack before you go visit the Tendo Dojo and get spoiled by Kasumi's cooking."
"I'm sure whatever you cook will be just as good," Billy said, ever the diplomat.
"Aww, you're just saying that," Ukyo said, appreciating the thought nevertheless.
They went into the restaurant, which had a small handful of customers in it. The six Americans took a seat at the counter, Konatsu scooping some okonomiyaki off of the griddle and serving it to the other patrons in the restaurant.
"How's business been, Konatsu?" Ukyo asked as she went back into the kitchen to change clothes.
"Most excellent, Mistress Ukyo. There were at least thirty take-out orders that I can remember, and the fight with Tsubasa actually drew customers in. I let him do better than he usually did when I noticed it, so we could get maximum entertainment value out of it," Konatsu said, moving astonishingly quick. Jason and Tommy traded amused looks, wondering how the very effeminate boy would do in a fight.
"Excellent!" Ukyo said, "Well done, Ko-chan, you've come a long way!" She came out, now clad in her usual work outfit, a wrap-around vest like shirt and leggings. Her hair was bound back, and she still wore her battle spatula and bandoleer of throwing spatulas. Konatsu was practically beaming at the attention, but like a good servant, kept working.
"So! What'll it be?" Ukyo said, "I've got all the ingredients you could want. Welcome to Okonomiyaki Ucchan's!"
Tsubasa landed with a thud in the park, denting the pavement with his head. He groaned softly and collapsed, falling backwards.
Tsubasa groaned again, wondering why Ukyo had struck him. Why couldn't she see? Why couldn't she see that his love for her was pure and good? Oh sure, he had tried fixating on other women. But in the end, all he wanted was Ukyo.
He sighed sadly, picking himself up. He wished he was more technically minded, that way he could install wheels in his more elaborate disguises and get around quicker. A quick survey of his surroundings told him that he wasn't anywhere near his home.
He sighed, deciding to just make the long journey back on foot.
"Hello there," said a soft, sensual voice.
Tsubasa looked around, startled by the sound. He eventually spotted a tall, busty figure in a tight-fitting yellow dress standing nearby, accidentally hitting her in the boob with a corner of the mailbox costume.
"Oh! Um… I'm sorry ma'am…" he said.
"Quite all right, dear Tsubasa," said the woman, a wicked smile on her face, "My name is Hinako Ninomiya. I am a teacher at the school where your Ukyo goes."
"That's nice," Tsubasa said. He was about to leave, when he noticed something, "…Wait, how did you know my name?"
Hinako grinned. "I have my ways, dear Tsubasa. And I can help you with your problems, too."
THAT got Tsubasa's attention. "Y-You can help me? You can help me win Ukyo's heart?"
Hinako nodded. "Yes, yes. Anything you want. But you must first help me."
Tsubasa nodded vigorously. "Whatever you want, whatever it takes!"
Hinako smirked. Mistress Rita was right, she thought, it is all too easy sometimes. Aloud, she said, "You will do whatever I ask?"
Tsubasa nodded. "To win Ukyo's love, I'll do anything!"
"Good," Hinako said, grinning viciously, "Then find the Americans and tear them apart! Destroy them in Mistress Rita's name!"
Before Tsubasa could react, Hinako's hand morphed into a mutated, taloned monstrosity. Hinako jammed her talons into his chest. Tsubasa gagged, clutching at Hinako's arm as she cackled. He turned to the side, to call for help from some of the onlookers, only to find that they had all changed, becoming claylike humanoids that danced around the two.
"Now you serve the forces of evil, Tsubasa…" Hinako said, grinning demonically. A long tentacle grew from her back, curling in front of her face into a ring. "HAPPO DARKNESS SATSU!"
The six Americans enjoyed their snacks in relative peace. They were a little startled at Konatsu's history, and Ukyo's insistence that the two of them were the more normal of Nerima's martial artists didn't make them feel any better either.
But they had resolved to at least try and have a good time at the Tendos. No matter how weird it got…
They walked up to the front gate, Jason stepping forward to knock on the doorway. At which point he immediately had to jump back, as a panda promptly crashed down where he was just moments ago.
Ranma leaped up to the roof off the gate and laughed at the panda. "What's the matter, Pops? Getting slow in your old age?"
To everyone's surprise, the panda stood up, producing a sign out of seemingly nowhere, one that read, "Cursed boy! How dare you distract me with such a petty trick!?"
"Please. You always fall for it, Pops. You're almost as much of a money-grubbing fiend as Nabiki! Except she's actually INTELLIGENT about it!" Ranma said, laughing.
Genma pulled out another sign. "HOW DARE YOU MAKE SUCH A COMPARISON!?" He growled menacingly, and pulled out another sign. "You will apologize at once or I will…"
The rest of the sign broke when Ranma threw a rock at it. Genma grumbled as Ranma laughed again.
"Um… Hi?" Jason said. Ranma and Genma blinked, not having realized the Americans were there yet.
"Oh!" Ranma said, blinking. He leaped down from the top of the gate and smiled. "Sorry about that, pops and I were just practicing."
The Americans just stared at the two of them incredulously, not quite sure what to say.
Genma pulled out another sign and slapped Ranma with it. "Why don't you introduce me to your new friends, Ranma?"
Ranma grumbled something incoherent at Genma and sighed. "Sorry. Anyway. Guys, this is my pop, Genma Saotome. Reason he's a panda now is that I knocked him into the koi pond."
The Americans all stared at Ranma.
Ranma snickered despite himself. "Remember? I told you about the Jusenkyo curses earlier?"
"OH!" Tommy said, "Right, yeah…" The others made similar embarrassed remarks.
Ranma chuckled. "Anyway. Dad, these are the new exchange students from the United States. Jason, Trini, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, and Tommy. Akane and I invited them over for dinner, remember?"
Genma pulled out a sign, nodding. "Ah yes, I remember. That would also explain why Kasumi is preparing so much extra."
Zack shook his head, and leaned in to whisper a question to Ranma. "Where in the world he is keeping those signs?"
Ranma shook his head. "I gave up trying to figure it out months ago…"
Genma smiled and held open the door for the six of them, producing a few new signs. "Welcome to the Tendo Dojo. Ranma's told me some good things about you all. We hope you enjoy your stay in Japan."
The others traded looks that were a mixture of amused and confused, heading in the front gate.
They were greeted by a pleasant, smiling woman in a housedress and apron. She smiled a warm, friendly, inviting smile that spoke of nothing but good cheer and kindness. "Hello there," she said, "I'm Kasumi Tendo. You must be Akane and Ranma's new American friends."
Jason nodded. "Yep, that's us."
Kasumi gestured inside. "Well, feel free to make yourself at home. Please remember to leave your shoes at the door. Dinner will be ready soon."
Akane and another young girl, slightly older and with short brown hair, waited in the lounge after the Americans had come in and removed their shoes.
"Hi everyone, I was just telling my sister Nabiki about you all," Akane said, grinning.
Jason and Zack greeted her cordially. Ranma blinked, and sighed, saying, "Word of warning: Be careful around her, as she has a way of making your wallet lighter before you even realize what's happening."
Billy just smiled. "She can't be that bad."
Nabiki just grinned wickedly at him. The elder man sitting at the table with them frowned, idly scratching his mustache as he looked at his middle daughter. "At any rate," he said, "Welcome to our humble abode. I am Soun Tendo, the head of this household."
Jason, Zack, Trini, and Tommy all came up to him and bowed. "It's good to meet you, sir," Trini said.
"With your permission," Jason said, "we'd like to make use of the dojo to train after dinner."
Soun smiled and nodded. "Yes, I heard that you lot had martial arts ability. I'd be very interested to see it in action. Please, sit down."
"Thank you, Tendo-sensei," Jason said, Soun beaming at the respectful term as Jason and the other Amercians sat down at the table. It was rather crowded, especially after Ranma and Genma joined them, Genma having gotten out a hot water bottle that had been stored near the house and turning back into a human.
"So," Genma said, "How long are you all here for?"
"We'll be staying here about one year, possibly longer depending on circumstances. We're actually being given apartments just a few houses down from this place by one of Trini's Japanese relatives," Billy said.
Soun nodded. "And you all study martial arts, you said?"
Jason smiled and nodded. "Yes sir. I study Shotokan Karate and Shoot-fighting, Zack has his own style that's based on Capoeira and various US styles of dancing, Trini's got most of the Shaolin styles mastered, Kimberly works her gymnastic abilities into her art, Billy is studying Tae Kwan Do, and Tommy's mastered Ninjutsu and Muay Thai."
Soun nodded. "Interesting," he said, "Here we teach our own original styles, although students have been somewhat sparse lately. It's called Anything Goes Martial Arts. Genma and I both have our own variations on the art."
Tommy gave him a curious look. "Anything Goes, huh? I've never heard it, but it sounds interesting."
Soun chuckled weakly. "Yes, well, it isn't widely practiced… Mainly because the man who invented it and taught it to us isn't exactly the most popular sort of person… I believe you met him earlier today?"
There was some mild confusion before Zack got the hint. "The old FREAK?!"
Genma sighed. "To our eternal shame," he said, "Yes, Happosai is our master. He may be one of the greatest martial artists alive, but he's also an evil, untrustworthy, scheming, evil, perverse, smelly…"
"HEY! I happened to take a bath today, so I object to the smelly part!" barked Happosai, who suddenly appeared on Genma's head.
The six Americans stared in numb shock as both Genma and Soun yelped, literally leaping out of their seats and getting on their hands and knees in positions of supplication.
"Master! Forgive us! We're not worthy! We'll NEVER be worthy!!" the two of them said in perfect unison. Akane, Nabiki, and Ranma had almost identical looks of disgust on their faces at the actions of their fathers.
"Get up you idiots," Ranma muttered.
Kimberly twitched angrily. "What is he doing here?"
Akane sighed. "He lives here, unfortunately. We haven't been able to get rid of him…"
"And you never will," Happosai said, snickering. He froze, however, when he noticed Kimberly glaring at him. He stared at her for a moment, Kimberly's fury growing as her battle aura flared, pink lightning flowing around her body.
Ranma, Akane, Nabiki, and the fathers all stared at Kimberly in confusion, noticing the unusual color of her battle aura. They became even more baffled when the battle auras of the other five Americans began to flare up, each one a different color than the norm. Then they noticed that Happosai seemed almost afraid of the six of them.
"Well…" Happosai said, stammering, "I… I see you're visiting, yes… Well, I hope you enjoy your stay here… Kasumi is a wonderful cook… I think… Yes, I think I'll take my dinner in my room tonight… I wanted to resort my collection anyway, and you know how long that usually takes… Ehehe…"
Kimberly let out a hissing breath. "I haven't forgotten this morning, you grabby little pervert…" she said, her eyes starting to glow as the pink lightning began to grow more intense around her body, "I haven't forgiven yet either…"
Happosai gulped nervously, preparing to bolt, the battle auras of both Kimberly and Tommy starting to grow much more intense.
Then, showing her perfect timing as usual, Kasumi came in suddenly, offering tea and fresh takoyaki puffs as an appetizer. The six battle auras vanished in a pop, the Americans confused for a moment before accepting Kasumi's gift. Kasumi smiled warmly and went back into the kitchen, Happosai using the moment of confusion to bolt for his room.
What in blazes is that aura? Happosai thought, locking himself in his room, And why is it so familiar?
The perverted martial arts master sighed, leaving a note for Kasumi on the door and locking it behind him, burying himself in a pile of women's panties for comfort…
"These are very good," Billy said, munching on his takoyaki.
Akane smiled. "Kasumi always buys them fresh," she said, trading looks with Ranma, both of them silently agreeing to ask them about their unusual battle auras later.
Dinner came without further incident, although there was a brief skirmish between Ranma and Genma over a pork cutlet that got both of them knocked into the koi pond again, switching over to their cursed forms.
"Meh…" Ranma said, "I think I'll just stay a girl the rest of the night… Getting sick of switching every time I get wet…"
Genma made a grumbling noise. Nabiki giggled, and Soun shook his head, sighing. He looked at Billy for a moment, a thought passing through his head.
"Your last name is Cranston, right?" Soun asked.
Billy nodded, a confused look on his face. "Yes sir, it is."
"Hm… I remember meeting a Cranston one time while on a training journey in America… Hm…" Soun said, a thoughtful expression on his face .
As if on cue, the phone rang. Kasumi got up to answer it. A slightly worried look came to her face as she listened to the caller, and gave it to Soun.
"Father, it's for you. A Mister Daniel Cranston…" Kasumi said.
Everyone traded worried looks, Billy's eyebrows raising over his glasses in surprise. Soun accepted the phone, thanking Kasumi and greeting the caller.
"Ah, Daniel… Yes, I remember now…" Soun said, smiling, "Oh, come now. It was years ago. You and your wife were in danger, and I was in position for the rescue, so… Well, yes, yes… Still, no thanks are needed… Hm… Funny you should mention that. Billy's actually right here in the dojo with his friends. They met my youngest daughter and her fiancée today and became fast friends with them… Oh? Hm… Well, I suppose… Why, that's a wonderful idea! But I thought it was frowned on in the States…"
Ranma twitched, an ill look coming to her face as she suddenly realized where this was going.
"EXCELLENT. You handle everything on that end, and I'll tell them about it at once. Would you like to talk to your son… You can't? Oh, I see. Yes, business is important. You'll call him tonight, then? I'm sure he'll be looking forward to it."
As Soun hung up the phone, everyone else in the room looked at him worried. Soun cleared his throat, smiled, and said, "Well, as you know, that was your father, Billy. When we first met, he and his wife were about to be run over by a car, and I managed to push them out of the way in time."
Billy nodded. "Dad told me about that…"
"Well, as gratitude, he's agreed to help me make sure my own family is taken care of," Soun said, grinning.
Ranma groaned. "Please tell me you didn't…"
Soun motioned for Billy to stand up, and then brought him over to Nabiki, whose eyes were widening in growing horror.
"Nabiki, I'd like you to meet your new fiancée, Billy Cranston. The arrangements are being made as we speak to finalize it…"
"WHAT?!?!" Nabiki and Billy said, almost shrieking the words.
Akane just stared at her father incredulously. "You've got to be kidding me! AGAIN!?"
Genma looked Billy and Nabiki over. "Hm… A fine match, I'd say," he said after a moment, nodding.
Jason was incredulous. "Now wait a minute!"
Nabiki growled angrily. "Daddy DEAR, you do know what I'm capable of, don't you?"
Soun met her gaze and, to the surprise of the Tendo sisters and Ranma, didn't flinch. "The matter is settled, Nabiki. If Ranma and Akane can't make me change my mind, what makes you think you can?"
Nabiki grinned devilishly, those around her backing up in alarm as a demonic battle aura flared up around her. "Ranma and Akane don't have my methods. They don't have my CONTACTS. Can you imagine what would happen if I let slip to certain people information about a certain person we have staying here?"
Soun gulped hard, and looked about to cave, when Kasumi put her hand on Nabiki's shoulder, startling her. "Nabiki, if you do tell the authorities about Happosai, won't you be in just as much trouble? You do have something of a reputation, you know, and the authorities around here do tend to be a bit more intelligent than the people you usually take on dates… They might wonder why you were holding this information back for so long, and wonder what else you knew, and, well…" Kasumi said, smiling sadly.
Nabiki flinched, a dismayed look coming to her face. Blast, she's right… And Happosai was the only thing I actually have on Dad right now… Oh man…
"This isn't over," Nabiki said, scowling and storming off to her room.
"Yes, Nabiki, it is," Soun called out, feeling a bit more confident now.
Ranma sighed wearily. Akane just glared at her father, who went back to sipping tea. Kasumi began to clean up the dishes, Billy just staring dumbfounded at the wall as the other five Americans just stared incredulously at the others.
After a moment, Akane sighed. "Sorry about that," she said, "I honestly didn't expect this to happen."
Jason shook his head. "That's messed up. I mean, just engaging them like that?"
Billy was incredulous. "I just met her TODAY. Granted, she's pretty and all, but…"
"So you do like her! Excellent! All that remains is to set the…" Soun said, stopping when Ranma threw a teapot at him, knocking him out.
Trini blinked in surprise, and chuckled softly. "I'm guessing this household isn't exactly big on the traditions we learned about while preparing for this trip."
Ranma grinned weakly. "Pretty much. Wanna head to the dojo and practice?"
Seeing nothing else they could do here, they agreed. Kasumi started to clean up the dishes, Trini and Tommy offering to help out. Once that was done, the two of them went off to the dojo, where the others were already warming up for practice. Akane had changed into a karate gi, while Ranma retained her usual outfit. Everyone else had opted to stay in their regular attire as well.
After everyone had finished warming up, Ranma said, "Okay… Who wants to go first?"
"Actually, Zack," Akane said, "Would you mind if you and I sparred first? I've only seen Capoeira once and I was wondering what your take on it was like…"
Zack rubbed his chin for a moment and nodded. "Sure thing, pretty lady," Zack said, flashing that charming grin of his, "The Zack-man'll give you a taste of what his Hip-Hop Kido is like."
Akane blushed and the compliment and stepped forward onto the mats, taking a basic aikido stance. Zack did a couple front flips, putting himself in front of her and dropping into a weaving, dance-like stance.
The two circled each other for a moment, Akane trying to follow Zack's erratic movements with her eyes. She came in with a strong kick, but Zack bent backwards, dropping into a sweeping kick that took Akane off of her feet. Before she could flip to recover, Zack spun again, bringing his knee in to strike her in the face and send her rolling back.
Ranma blinked, surprised that Zack actually struck Akane, and started forward reflexively. But Jason put an arm in front of her, holding her back.
"No," he said, "If you have any respect for her as a martial artist, you'll let this match continue."
"Yeah but…" Ranma said, wincing as Zack landed another series of punishing blows to Akane, the smaller girl unable to keep up with his erratic, non-stop movements, "…It just ain't right for a guy to hit a girl."
Kimberly snickered despite herself. "Oh gawd. That stupid old chivalry rule," she said, giggling.
Tommy sighed. "Ranma will learn…"
Ranma was confused. Learn what? she thought, turning her attention to the sparring match once more.
To her credit, Akane was able to defend against some of Zack's attacks, but the dark-skinned teen's fast, non-stop movements and constantly changing rhythm threw her off, Zack raining down kicks and punches onto her from several angles. The difference in the skill of the two, as well as how outmatched Akane was, was obvious even to Billy.
Finally, after being knocked down for the fifteenth time in a row, Akane surrendered.
Zack flipped to his feet and grinned, offering a hand up. "You okay?" he asked, "I didn't wanna mess up that pretty face, so I tried not to tag you too many times there…"
Akane blushed. "I'm fine. And thank you for actually sparring with me. Ranma has this dumb 'don't hit girls' rule so he never agrees to spar with me. Every time I try to force it he just dodges me until I get tired…"
Zack frowned, but let that go for the moment. "Try harder. You got a lot of power, I could feel that in some of your punches I blocked, but you got no real focus behind it. Your Dad runs this dojo, right? Maybe he could train you?"
Akane's smile faltered a little. "Ah… Dad's willingness to train has fallen off a lot since our mother died."
Zack flinched. "Sorry…"
Akane sighed. "No worries, you didn't know. There's a shrine in the main hall he prays to every evening."
"The one with the picture of the pretty lady on it?" Zack said, "Yeah, I noticed that on the way in. You certainly get your looks from her."
"Don't insult the lady like that," Ranma said, almost reflexively.
Akane snarled and pounded Ranma into the mat, storming out of the room.
Zack began laughing despite himself. Jason stared at Ranma incredulously. "…Seriously, man, does your mouth have an off switch?"
"If it did, Pops broke it long ago," Ranma moaned, picking herself up out of the floor.
"I'm guessing you and your father don't have the best relationship," Trini said, frowning.
"I've led an interesting life. And by 'interesting life,' I mean in the sense of the old Chinese curse of 'may you have an interesting life.' I'll give you the full details some other time, though… As for what just happened, I just tend to blame Pop for a lot of the problems I have and call it a day," she said.
"If you say so… You still up for a sparring match?" Jason asked.
"You know it," Ranma said, popping her dislocated shoulder back into place and stepping onto the mat. Jason took a calming breath, and slowly stepped onto the mat, doing a brief tai chi kata to warm up, Ranma doing a few stretches, each one keeping an eye on each other's movements out of the corner of their eyes. She glanced at the others as well, taking in how they held themselves as they watched the two of them, measuring them as best she could.
After a moment, both Jason and Ranma were ready. They slowly moved around the mat for several long moments, each one watching each other's movements with laser-like precision. Finally, Ranma made the first move, dashing forward. Jason feinted a low kick that caused Ranma to jump, launching a palm strike at her chest with a loud "Kiai!"
Ranma winced, the blow thudding hard against her chest and knocking her back. Ranma flipped back, ready to strike again, but Jason was coming in fast, his leg thrusting out for a cyclonic roundhouse kick. Ranma blocked it, wincing from the impact, and gripped Jason's legs, throwing him over her shoulder. Jason threw out his hands to block part of the impact, and then kicked Ranma in the face to make the pigtailed martial artist let him go. Jason rolled to his feet, Ranma rolling away as well.
Both young martial artists smirked. "Not bad," Jason said.
Ranma grinned. "I'm just getting started," she said, "I wanna see what you can do with that weird battle aura you were throwing out earlier."
Jason blinked, realizing that Ranma had sensed the presence of his power. Ranma just smirked, dashing in again. Jason dashed in as well, but instead of doing any normal attacks, Ranma let out a battle cry and launched into the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken. Punches rained down on Jason at lightning speed, Jason crossing his arms in front of his face to block them as best he could.
The short-haired young man winced under the pounding blows, surprised at the attack. Jeez, how strong is Ranma? He hits as hard as a Putty Patroller…
The others watched worriedly, cheering Jason on. They barely noticed that Akane had come back, along with Genma, Kasumi, Nabiki, and Soun, all watching the fight with interest. Even Happosai was there, making sure to stay out of everyone's line of sight. Jason, realizing he was being driven back by the pummeling attack, braced himself, pushing a leg back against the mat and staying rooted to the spot. He watched between his blocking arms, and when he felt a blow coming directly for his face, grabbed one of Ranma's arms, startling the pig-tailed girl for an instant, enough for Jason to launch a punishing blow to her face.
Ranma's head snapped back from the impact, the pig-tailed youngster grunting as blood leaking from her nose. She grinned, and kept up the attack, Jason meeting her attack for attack, each one countering each others kicks and punches. After several attempts Amagurikens, Jason had learned to watch for the move and now never let Ranma get in more than a couple punches before countering.
To the surprise of the gathered Americans, a red, crackling battle aura was forming around Jason as he fought, his blows coming with much more force than before.
"Amazing," Genma said, "They're evenly matched."
It was true. Both young men were clearly enjoying the fight, Ranma's more aerial style matched perfectly by Jason's ground-based techniques. No matter how hard they fought, neither could gain an advantage over the other. Eventually, they stepped back to catch their breath and regroup.
Jason sat near one end of the dojo, grinning, his hands on his knees as he caught his breath, sweat darkening his t-shirt. "Heh. Not bad. Usually only Tommy, Trini, or Zack can give me that much of a workout."
Ranma grinned. "You're not too bad yourself. It's rare that I get a clean fight like this," she admitted.
Jason looked over at the weapons on the wall, an idea coming to him. "…Mind if I add a little spice to this?" he said, picking up a bokken and taking a two-handed stance with it.
Ranma nodded. "Sure. Never hurts to practice against an armed style, see if I can keep ahead of our local swordsman," she said, thinking of Kuno's sword art and placing a rough estimate of Jason's abilities by comparison. Obviously he was more skilled at it than Kuno, but Jason's stance was unlike any kendo stance he had ever seen.
The other Americans looked at Jason in surprise. He gave them a reassuring nod, and then turned his full attention to Ranma. Ranma nodded, and took a stance. Soun moved to take a referee position.
"Hnh… Mind if I officiate this?" he asked.
"If you want, Tendo-sensei," Jason said, nodding.
"Whatever floats your boat, Mr. Tendo," Ranma snorted, keeping her eyes on Jason's bokken.
Soun nodded, and called for the match to begin.
To say that Ranma was unprepared for what happened next would be an understatement. Jason struck with skill and force that Ranma had only seen when Kuno was reacting to the presence of watermelons. The red-clad young martial artist's bokken whirled about, slashing and striking at Ranma, keeping her totally on the defensive.
Holy…! Geez, Kuno's a joke compared to this guy! Ranma thought, barely managing to dodge a series of powerful thrusts, flipping off the wall to get behind Jason, aiming a kick at his head that was blocked with the hilt of the bokken, the wooden blade lashing around to strike Ranma in the side.
Ranma was actually pleased. The only real sparring she got was from Ryoga, who was an unreliable partner due to his chronic inability to know where the Hell he was going, and from Mousse, who usually opted for 'kill' rather than 'spar.' In Jason, however, she had found a skilled sparring partner, one that would be available on a regular basis, a true test of skill.
And this was without seeing what the other five fought like.
Oh, she was quite pleased with the situation.
Jason, for his part, was enjoying himself. Ranma was managing to keep a step ahead of his sword, but was unable to capitalize due to the sheer ferocity and speed of Jason's strikes. It felt good to be able to use his sword skills in a situation that wasn't a fight for his life…
After a few minutes of fighting, Soun, unable to see a definitive winner emerging, called an end to the match, ruling it a draw. Ranma and Jason both dropped their stances, and shook hands, panting as they caught their breath, their muscles aching from the exertion.
Ranma grinned widely. "Not bad," she said, rotating her sore shoulders, "It's gonna be fun having you around."
"Likewise," Jason said, putting the bokken back where he found it and bowing. Ranma returned the bow, and the two went back to the kitchen with the others. Nabiki frowned, looking over Jason. Hnnh…she thought As good as Ranma in a fight, but better than Kuno with a sword… Seems a bit smarter than Ranma, though, and he has a strong relationship with the others… It'll be more difficult than normal to exploit them…
Nabiki scowled again, thinking of her 'fiancée,' and shook her head, heading back into the room, starting to plan.
Happosai frowned. "That weird battle aura… Why do I feel I know it?" He sighed, and scuttled back to his room.
The rest of the day went without incident, and everyone retired to bed. At the place the Americans were staying, Tommy commented dryly. "Rather… interesting place we've found ourselves in, eh?"
Kimberly muttered something incoherent into her pillow. Something vague about her plans for murdering Happosai.
Zack chuckled. "I don't know, it looks like this place is kinda fun. And if nothing else, it might be fun to watch Ranma's verbal diarrhea get him in trouble over and over again."
"That's cruel," Trini said. Although she grinned as she said it, showing that she wasn't entirely averse to the idea.
"I still can't believe it…" Billy muttered, "I can't believe they'd just engage me like that."
Jason sighed. "We'll figure something out, Billy… See if we can talk him out of it…"
"I rather doubt that," Ranma said. The others all immediately sat up, each one going into a fighter's crouch but then relaxing once they saw Ranma in the window, a guy again.
Ranma grinned, impressed with their reaction time.
Jason frowned. "What do you mean you doubt it?" he asked.
Ranma sighed. "Mr. Tendo has the market cornered on stubborn. Akane and I have tried to get out of our engagement several times, but he and Pops have a knack for guilt-trips, tricks, and just refusing to acknowledge your opinion on the matter. Only reason I don't fight it anymore is because Akane's not THAT unpleasant to be around and the others…" Ranma sighed. "Ukyo's okay, but I thought she was a guy for years and I'm still trying to adjust to the fact that she's a sexy girl. Plus, I don't really like some of her ideas for the life she wants to have with me. The other two…" Ranma shook his head. "I'm still worn out from our spar earlier, I'll tell you about them later.
Kimberly blinked. "Wait. Other two? How many people are you engaged to?"
Ranma frowned. "Last count? About 19, including one who only thinks she's engaged to me."
The six Americans stared at Ranma.
Ranma nodded. "Genma took me away from my Mom when I was young, promising to make me a 'man among men' under pain of both of us committing seppuku should we fail. He's used me as a bargaining chip to get food a lot of times. "
"That's… disgusting," Tommy understated.
Ranma sighed. "We managed to meet my Mom again in spite of Pops avoiding her like the plague and making me too afraid to meet her as myself at first. We also managed to get out of that dumb contract, although it was a very close thing, thanks to this stupid curse. In one of her rare moments of pity, Nabiki has agreed to help break the extra engagements, although she's letting the one with her sister, which was made before either Akane or I was born, Ukyo's, and the other two stand."
"Why just the other two?" Trini asked, "Who are they?"
Ranma rubbed his temples. "One is this Chinese amazon girl named Shampoo."
"Wait," Jason said, "Shampoo? Like the hair care product?"
Ranma nodded. "Yeah. I know it's probably Xian Pu or something like that, but I swear the names of everyone in her village, male or female, sound like beauty products. Anyway, Shampoo is from a secluded village of Chinese amazons, where men are second class citizens. I met her shortly after I was cursed and didn't yet know how to turn back. Dad and I wandered into the village where there was some kinda tournament going on. We saw a feast there and pretty much decided to help ourselves. What we didn't know is that it was the prize for the winner. Shampoo had won easily and got pissed at me. I don't speak a word of Chinese, but I got the idea she wanted to fight me, so I did. And beat her easily. One little problem though: The village had a rule about their warriors losing to outsiders."
Jason frowned. "And that rule would be…"
Ranma chuckled weakly, shaking his head. "If a warrior of the village loses to a female outsider, they have to track that outsider down and are forbidden to return until they've killed her. If a warrior of the village loses to a male outsider, she has to track down that outsider and are forbidden to return until they've married the guy and brought him back to the village to help strengthen the line."
"What a primitive custom…" Billy said.
"Okay, so I'm getting she's tracked you down to kill you, but I don't understand where the engagement came in," Trini said.
Ranma scowled. "While fighting me, Akane stood up for me and got attacked by Shampoo in response. I was a guy at the time, so I defended her, breaking one of her weapons so that it landed on her head and knocked her out. That counted as a defeat in her culture, unfortunately, so I got another woman going after me. Shampoo… likes to use dirty tricks. It's by dumb luck that she likes me enough that I was able to convince her not to kill anyone she views as a rival, although I think she just says that so to get on my good side. She's tried brainwashing, magic, fighting, threats, tricks… Pretty much anything you can think of. On top of that, a male warrior from her village named Mousse followed her and tries to kill me every chance he gets. He wanted to win her hand, but he couldn't bring himself to strike her, so Shampoo is pretty much offended by his very existence. She's nice to him at times, though she still prefers me. The guy's blind as a bat without his glasses. He doesn't wear them as much as he should, though. I think it's because he's pretty decent looking without them and wants to impress her. Anyway, that's Shampoo inna nutshell. On the plus side, she's easy on the eyes, though, good in a fight, and a heckuva cook. I can usually scam free meals out of her."
Kimberly rolled her eyes. "Real gentleman, aren't you?"
Ranma pffed, chuckling. "Anyway… The other one is Kodachi Kuno."
Trini gagged. "Another one?"
Ranma nodded. "Tatetwaki's sister, the principal's daughter. She goes to a private all-girl academy. She believes in 'pre-emptive' winning, so Kimberly, if Furinkan ever goes up against the school, be on the lookout for attacks in the night. She's pretty, no doubt, and good with her rigged weapons, but she's just as batshit insane as her brother and father. She's got a laugh that makes demons tremble in their shoes. She keeps a pet alligator named Mister Green Turtle, and puts stun powders or poisons in everything she cooks. It's a shame, because she's a good cook otherwise. Unlike Akane, who tries to do good but makes everything poisonous because she doesn't know how to keep to the damn recipe."
Ranma was promptly knocked out of the window by a thrown frying pan hitting him in the skull. Jason, Tommy, and Zack laughed.
"Akane also has very good hearing," Ranma groaned.
Billy nodded. "Okay then… Kodachi is engaged to you as well?"
Ranma shook his head. "Nah. She thinks she is, though. After an attack on Akane, she slipped on the wet tiles of our roof. I wasn't even after her at the time, I was chasing off this bozo I know named Ryoga. She had hit her head and was knocked out, so she would have hit hard on landing. I got her to safety, and when she woke up and realized I had saved her, it was love at first sight. She's a little more blatant about her murder attempts to Ukyo, Shampoo, and Akane than Shampoo is… Oh, and like her brother, she refuses to acknowledge that male me and female me are the same person. They both think the Ranma they don't want is an evil wizard or a scheming whore, depending on the gender. It's good for a scam at times, mainly because Tatewaki is easier to get along with despite how grabby he is, but REALLY inconvenient in others."
"…" Jason said, "…Makes you wonder what you did in a previous life to get all this on you."
Ranma chuckled weakly. "I think I may have been, like, a torturer under Nobunaga Oda or something… A bad previous life is the only reason I can think of as to why all this keeps happening to me…"
Zack laughed. "Anyway, thanks for the heads up, but we're still gonna try and get Billy out of this. That just ain't right, man."
"Preaching to the choir, Zack," Ranma said, picking up the pan and heading back to the window, "I'll see you all tomorrow."
The Americans all bid Ranma goodnight, Ranma heading back to his home, and continued chatting until they all went to sleep.
The next day… +++
Ranma, Akane, and the six Americans decided to walk to school together. Ranma, surprisingly, didn't get splashed today, so he was male the whole trip there. He and Zack were talking.
"…See, I think you're looking at this whole curse the wrong way," Zack said, "Sure, it's inconvenient, especially if you turn into a guy while in a restroom or a bathhouse, but it could be a lot worse. Not only are you still human, still capable of walking and talking like normal, but you're a hottie as well."
Ranma frowned. "It makes me really uncomfortable to hear people calling me that," he said.
Zack grinned playfully, "Ah, but you're not above using your looks as a girl to scam snacks off of people, hm?"
Ranma shook his head. "That's different," he insisted.
Zack smirked. "No, that's hypocritical. You say you don't like being called sexy, but you're quick to flaunt your looks when you need them. I think you just don't like grabby pervs like Happosai or the Blue Blunder and are usin' that to convince yourself that you don't enjoy being a girl."
Ranma frowned, and looked up at the sky. "Maybe… Sometimes I think about doin' girly stuff on a regular basis, just to annoy Dad… Then I remember Mom still has that katana… And it's REALLY weird havin' guys attracted to me… If I gotta be a girl then I'd rather be a lesbian."
Akane gagged, blushing. Trini and Kimberly managed to talk her out of hammering Ranma into the ground.
Zack chuckled. "Try this then: It could be a HELL of a lot worse. You could turn into a fish. Or a bug. Or a panda."
Ranma had a brief flash of himself as a panda. He then saw himself dressed and acting like his Dad, and shuddered. After a moment, he recovered himself and grinned. "I guess you're right… Could be a lot worse."
Akane, Trini, and Kimberly were chatting idly, talking about various popular things in America and Japan. Jason, Zack, Tommy, Ranma, and Billy turned their conversation to martial arts.
When they got to the street Furinkan High was on, they saw a line of armored warriors waiting for them, several other students waiting as well.
"…What the hell?" Jason said.
Ranma growled. "Damn it," he snarled, "the Principal's at it again. He likes to deliberately make students tardy and trick them into punishments."
"That's nuts!" Tommy said incredulously.
"Welcome to our daily life," Akane muttered.
Kuno came up to him. "Saotome," he said, his voice cold as ice, "The felonious fiend that calls himself my father has struck again. Fair Kuonji and I have tried to pass these wretches, but our power alone is not enough. I am willing to make a temporary truce if you and the foreign barbarians shall help us pass these louts."
"Hnh," Ranma said, "You and Ukyo couldn't get by them? Your Dad must be hiring better mercenaries."
"Let's just get through them," Jason said, looking them over. "Tommy, you take point with me and Ranma. Ukyo, find high ground and then throw your spatula projectiles. Aim for the joints. Akane, follow up with your most powerful hits to the areas she strikes to disable them. Kuno, Trini, Kim, protect the non-fighters and move them past once we get take out enough of the mercenaries. Billy, Zack, guard Akane, enforce the center and watch our backs. Everyone fall back to a phalanx position should they surround us."
Ranma blinked, but nodded, understanding it was a good plan. Ukyo leaped up to a nearby tree. Kuno started to protest, but Kimberly and Trini grabbed him by the ears and dragged him back with the rest of the students. Jason, Tommy, and Ranma launched themselves forward. The closest armored thug took Jason's foot in his face, the faceplate falling away. Tommy shot a palm strike at the man that broke his nose and knocked him out. A guard wielding a metal bat charged them, but a spatula strike the elbow joint, Akane lunging in with a powerful hit that drove the spatula in further. The guard screamed, dropping the bat and clutching his bleeding arm. Ranma took the time to uppercut the man, knocking out. A guard got behind them, swinging a chain, but Zack grabbed the chain out of the air, Billy kicking the man under the chin, the guard's head snapping back. One guard tried to attack the non-combat students, but a series of quick precision strikes from Trini knocked him out. A curry bomb from Ukyo disabled another attacking guard long enough for Kuno to destroy him. (The guard had made the very unfortunate choice of wearing watermelon print garb under his robes. Kuno's conditioned reaction kicked in, destroying a light pole and sending the guard flying over the horizon, his clothes and armor reduced to confetti.)
The guards were good, good enough to give two martial artists trouble. But with ten people fighting, they went down quickly enough.
"A good morning workout," Tommy said, dusting his hands off.
Jason shook his head. "That's just ridiculous. No American principal would act like this."
"Your statements give me hope for your country that I thought had died," Nabiki said, chuckling, coming out from the group of non-combat students to walk with her sister.
Ranma grinned, looking up at the clock to see five minutes left before the tardy bell. "All right, we have time to spare!"
The Principal stood there by the gate, looking stunned that his mercenaries were beaten so easily, sputtered something incoherent, locked the gate and threw a pineapple bomb. Jason nodded to Kimberly, kneeling. Kimberly hopped up onto Jason's back and did a graceful spin kick that send the pineapple back at the Principal, blowing open the gate and sending the Hawaiian lunatic flying back into the school.
"All in all, not a bad way to start the day!" Akane said, smiling.
The students filed into the school. Halfway in, the six Americans froze. Ranma, Akane, Ukyo, Nabiki, and Kuno stopped, noticing that the others weren't moving.
Jason scowled. "Oh hell…"
Trini cursed. "Then I'm not the only one that heard it?"
Billy shook his head. "Why now, though? Why here?"
Kimberly sneered. "Knowing Rita she probably wanted to wait until we were tired out somewhat…"
Zack chuckled weakly. "So much for the good day…"
Tommy frowned. "Get ready… They're getting closer…"
The six Americans turned, heading to the front gate and taking fighting stances. Ranma, Akane, Ukyo, Kuno, and Nabiki traded looks, the former four going up to join the Americans.
"What's goin' on?" Ranma asked.
"Trouble," Jason said, not breaking his gaze from the road.
Akane frowned. "What kind of trouble?"
Then they heard it.
A trilling sound, like a thousand cicadas singing, was approaching, getting louder and louder. After a moment, gray, humanlike creatures with monstrous faces began to appear, their movements jerky and erratic. Some had blades where their claw-like hands should be, others hand large maces.
"Dark sorcery!" Kuno screamed, "Demons!"
"For once you're right," Kimberly said.
Kuno blinked. "I am?"
"He is?!" Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo chorused.
Jason nodded. "They're called Putty Patrollers. Whatever you do, do not hold back. Strike to kill, because these things will not hesitate to kill you."
Ranma blinked. "Wait a minute. A true martial artist doesn't kill."
"Then don't think like a martial artist," Tommy snapped, "These things are constructs, anyway. They have no minds of their own beyond a basic personality, and will not stop until they are destroyed or we're all dead."
Ranma frowned. "Constructs… Not living creatures…"
Ranma frowned. "Okay… I guess it's okay to go all out then…"
Kuno frowned, and called out to his servant. "Sasuke! My sword!"
To the surprise of the Americans, a rat-faced short man in ninja garb appeared out of the tree, giving Kuno a katana and taking his bokken back. He took one look at the Putty Patrollers, squeaked in fright, and vanished.
Kuno drew out the katana, brandishing it and throwing the scabbard aside. Tommy shook his head, dismissing the rat-faced man as just another part of the strangeness of this place, and focused back on the Putties.
The Putties, trilling animalistically, charged. The Americans lunged into the Putties, using techniques that Ranma was certain were clearly meant to kill. A Putty's face shattered from an elbow delivered by Tommy, a chop from Trini hitting with enough force to decapitate the clay creature. Zack whirled about, revealing that his style also had elements of Sambo in it, the young black man grappling Putties and breaking arms and legs off. Billy's kicks struck all about him, chipping away at the clay-like bodies of the Putties, while Kimberly's acrobatics kept her mostly over the crowds' heads as she used her powerful legs to attack. Jason's fists struck with force that reminded Ranma of the Ryoga's.
Feeling less comfortable about it than the Americans, Kuno, Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo charged into the crowd of clay creatures. Kuno attacked full force right off the bat, more than ready to believe in magic and responding in kind. Akane, Ranma, and Ukyo tried to fight with their usual tactics, but when Akane was nearly eviscerated by a Putty Patroller's sword, they began fighting back harder. Ukyo used her spatula like a battle axe, defending the wounded Akane as best she could. Ranma and Kuno found themselves back to back, fighting off Putty after Putty.
"They just won't stop," Ranma said, huffing.
"KEEP FIGHTING!" Billy shouted, "One mistake and its over!"
Then it got worse.
Teleporting into the midst of the crowd of Putties, two figures appeared. Both of them had insane grins on their faces.
"Miss Hinako!?" Ranma said.
"TSUBASA!?" Ukyo shouted, staring in shock at the figure in the tattered dress crouching near Hinako and clinging to her leg. Tsubasa giggled shrilly.
Hinako smirked, staring directly at Tommy. "I should thank you, you know," she said, "The evil I absorbed from you has made my mind free."
"Oh God…" Tommy moaned, paling, "That's why I've been feeling so clear-headed lately… Miss Hinako, you have to fight it…"
Hinako laughed, cutting him off. "I am free, dear Tommy. I serve the Dark Mistress Rita Repulsa now! The Galactic Witch, who's power is second only to Lord Zedd! And now… I have freed Tsubasa's mind as well!"
"Ukyo…" Tsubasa wailed, his head leaning back at an inhuman angle as he stared at the okonomiyaki chef, "…You will be mine…"
"Like hell," Ukyo said, her voice quavering as she brandished her battle spatula.
Hinako laughed, dark energy surging around her. Her body began to mutate, her hands growing into large claws, her skin turning blue as her shoes burst open, her feet turning into Velociraptor talons. A dozen tentacles erupted from her back, whipping about hungrily, her eyes turning blood red, her jaw extending and her teeth mutating into savage fangs. A long, slobbery tongue lashed out for a moment, and she chuckled.
"Foolish humans… You will all die, or be converted as Tsubasa and I have!"
"What's she talking about!?" Ranma shouted to the Americans, visibly frightened. "What's going on!?"
Before any of them could say anything, Hinako turned to Tsubasa and grinned. "SHOW THEM THE MIGHT I HAVE GIVEN YOU, TSUBASA KURENAI!" she thundered.
Tsubasa giggled and stood up, his body contorting oddly.
Ukyo shook her head. "Tsubasa… Please, don't do this…"
"Mine," Tsubasa said, "You are mine…" He giggled madly. "But I am no longer merely Tsubasa!"
Tsubasa's body contorted, and his skin literally ripped off of his body, revealing a massive robot with Tsubasa's face. He looked vaguely like a Transformer, one with six different modes, each one more lethal than the last, his armor a dark camouflage. He transformed into each form once, a helicopter with massive miniguns, a wildcat, a tank, a falcon, and a massive plasma cannon, changing back to his humanoid form and roaring.
"I AM TRANSFORMITOR!!"
"Grandmother, what wrong?!" Shampoo said, visibly worried. "Why we close shop so early?!"
Cologne shook her head. "We need to get to the school, now! Ranma and the others are in danger!"
"Aiyah!" Shampoo shrieked, "Airen in trouble! I go save the day!"
Mousse sneered. "If Ranma is in danger, then let him be in danger. I don't want to help him!"
Cologne slapped him hard enough to send his glasses flying off. "This is bigger than your stupid rivalry with him, feather brain! The entire world may be in danger! Now let's GO!" she snapped, pogoing out of the restaurant. Shampoo gave him a dirty look, and followed.
The teacup Soun had been drinking from cracked. Happosai, Genma, Kasumi, and Soun himself all stared at the cup. Before their eyes, the cup simply fell into pieces.
"…Oh my…" Kasumi said, suddenly nervous.
"A bad omen…" Soun said softly.
"A horrible omen…" Genma said, frowning.
At the same moment, a thought struck all of them. "Ranma and the others are in danger…" they chorused.
Somewhere near Nerima…+++
"Finally," Ryoga muttered, staring at the roadsign, "That didn't take as long as it usually did. I must be getting lucky!" He smiled, slightly cheered by the thought.
Then he saw the energy column from Hinako's transformation go up.
"No…" Ryoga said, shivering at the dark energies, "AKANE!"
He dashed off, praying to every God he could think of that he didn't get lost and would be able to help.
Furinkan High School… +++
Tsubasa… no, Transformitor, bellowed his fury to the Heavens. The six Americans traded worried looks.
"Looks like there's no choice…" Tommy muttered.
"No chance to go do this in secret," Billy said, frowning.
"So much for secret identities," Kimberly muttered.
"Enough," Jason said firmly, "Let's do it."
Ranma frowned. "What in blazes are you doing?!"
The six Americans stood in a line, holding their unusual belt buckles. "You'll see," Jason said, "IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!"
The six Americans thrust out their belt buckles, which literally exploded with energy.
Colorful lightning flowed around the six Americans. In a space of seconds, their clothes dissolved, their muscles visibly swelling as the power filled them. Those with longer hair had their hair bind itself in a tight bun as new clothing formed around them, colorful armored uniforms with helmets themed after the animals they called out.
The transformation took moments. And where the Americans once stood were six superheroes.
"POWER RANGERS!" they chorused, excess power flowing into the ground around them and exploding.
Ranma, Kuno, Ukyo, and Akane were knocked back by the force of it.
It was later agreed that Ranma said it best. "…Holy CRAP…"
TO BE CONTINUED…+++