Part 2: The Waters Above
A Ranma ½ Fanfiction
Author's Notes: Welcome to the next installment of "Saisei". What does "Saisei" mean, pray tell? . I dunno, you'll have to read and find out! Wuahaaha! This fic is supernatural, with hints of romance. Maybe a touch angsty, and definitely in the drama zone. But look for supernatural + drama first!
Recap: In the last part, I sort of took some liberties with the final Ranma tankubon, Volume 38. You know the one with Jusendo, Saffron, and the failed wedding? Well... Akane didn't wake up. There never was a wedding. Ranma is a shell of a person, while Mousse is suddenly cold and callous, Ryoga is angry and rude, and Shampoo is quiet. What's happening here? Can one death affect all these people so much? You bet. And this is just the beginning...
Argh: This is my second time writing a fic in .html format for I checked out the last one I posted "One Headlight" and it didn't look so good… then again, my browser is weird. So, if there's something wrong with the format here, do tell me. I'm learning!
Disclaimer: Like I own Ranma ½. Feh. giggles madly But this plot is mine. -- So no taking, borrowing, copying, chewing, smoking, snarling… etc. ;; If you want to post it on your site, then just let me know! If you want to yell/flame/shout/chew me out in any size, shape, or form, then instant message me! If you want to hug/congratulate/wonder about/dance around/giggle with me, then feel free to instant message me too! Or email me, if you're non-AIM inclined. I borrowed the name of Shampoo and Mousse's village 'Nyuuchiezu Genjudi' from Saotome Ranchan's "China Girl" fic. It's an excellent read!
Edits: February 24th, 2006
And oh yes, the Jusenkyo Guide does have a mansion. If you've ever actually read Volume 38 (it's available in English at the New Ranma 1/2 Project) then you'd know that... P
Jusenkyo Training Grounds and Accursed Springs. Qinghai, China
It was late. The rest of the world, in their big metropolises and cities were still awake, but in this small valley of China, all was quiet. Even the Phoenix people, recently foiled in their plans to age their Lord Saffron to his adult form, were silent.
Closer to the legendary accursed springs, barely a mile from the Guide's luxurious mansion on the cliff side, there was a slight noise. Something akin to a scratching, and, if one neared it, a sort of digging. A scrape-scraping sound on the cool, soft dirt surrounding the springs.
Despite the fact that it had been raining torrents earlier, all was calm now. There was a gentle, cold breeze running through the valley, rippling the once-still ponds. One pond that was tucked away in a corner, rippled more than others. Its waters rippled harshly, even after the breeze had left the valley.
Fresh dirt mounds were packed down right next to this pool of rippling water. Moonlight shone on the soil, causing prisms to reflect on the ground. Droplets of water made their way through the packed soil near the pool. Within a few minutes, the soil was nothing more than mud, and a single arm shot out of that mud, reaching for the starry sky.
Ranma Saotome, Shampoo, Mousse, Ryoga Hibiki, and Genma Saotome were on their way home to Japan. Nerima. Things would probably still be crazy there. Not much changed.
Except for the people. Shampoo had had to put Ranma out again-- for his own sake. He'd practically torn the roof of the Jusenkyo Guide's house when Mousse and Ryoga told him they'd buried Akane. They refused to tell him where. As a matter of fact, it was doubtful that Ryoga or Mousse would have known -let alone remembered- just where they'd buried her, considering almost all the Cursed Springs looked the same.
Had they known just where they'd buried her, they might have thought twice about it.
"Wha...?" Ranma awoke with a throbbing headache, a side-effect of the Amazon sleeping-pressure point technique. He looked around. This was the Jusenkyo Guide's house. It was quiet, so everyone else must still be asleep.
Ranma didn't need to think twice or double-take on the room to know that she was gone. He immediately raised a ruckus, and everyone in the household emerged from the rooms, rubbing their eyes sleepily.
Ryoga and Mousse had shared the guest room, while Ranma had been left outside in the foyer. Plum and Shampoo had stayed in the same room, and the Jusenkyo Guide slept in his normal room. Genma had opted to stay as a panda and sleep in the laundry room, next to a warm dryer. Everyone stared at Ranma as if he'd grown a second head, silently demanding to know why the younger Saotome had awoken them up at this ungodly hour of 5:16 AM.
The skies outside were overcast and dark, and rain was coming down in heavier and heavier torrents each minute. Had anyone looked outside, they would have seen the burial ground of Akane had been flooded over, and an ornamental blanket lay in the mud, wet and getting dirty. It was empty.
"Where is she?" Ranma demanded. His eyes were wild, his voice strained. His head began throbbing again, and he clutched it. He just wanted to go back to sleep, and dream dreams of a living, breathing...
"Saotome..." Mousse started, stepping forward. He was something to be feared now. The one thing he had, for so long, subconsciously lived to protect-- was dead. Trying to save him.
"She's dead, Ranma. We buried her," Ryoga said quietly. He didn't look very happy himself, but for the first time in a day, he seemed more sad than angry. At Ryoga's words, Ranma was filled with an intense anger, and with the way he forcefully shoved both Ryoga and Mousse against the walls of the guide's precariously-positioned house on the cliff, he rocked the very foundation of the place.
"Akane..." Ranma managed as he fell unconscious once more. Shampoo stepped out from behind him, the expression on her face clearly full of regret. She explained that her pressure points, if overused, could cause Ranma severe brain damage. They had to get back to Japan. Now.
"She's been sitting there for the past three hours," the winged boy noted, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
"Have you tried talking to her?" another said, inspecting his clawed fingertips. Her glanced up at his companion.
"Nah... besides," The first boy took on a lecherous expression, "I'm happy just looking at her." The other boy chuckled, but his laughter died a quick death as he began babbling.
"What? What is it, man?" The first boy's companion began babbling insanely and unitelligibly, pointing. When the first Phoenix boy chanced to look around, he gasped.
"Muh-Mistress Kiima!" The two boys bowed before the older, beautiful woman, glancing up periodically with nervous expressions, to ensure they hadn't gained her wrath.
However, the leader of the Phoenix people, while their Lord Saffron was... indisposed... was haggard. Being the nursemaid of a baby Prince could do that to you. Red circles hung like pouches under normally brilliant eyes. The woman ran a hand through her blonde-white hair and sighed as she approached the girl.
"Are you feeling any better?" Kiima asked, kneeling so she was level with the robe-clad girl. The short-haired, pale girl did not respond. She kept staring at her hands as if they were foriegn to her.
Kiima tried a different tactic. She was not blind to the facts of what had happened. She could not explain what was happening now, it was true, but she had to try...
The girl looked up suddenly, startled. She faced Kiima, her hazel-brown eyes shimmering with tears.
"Is that my name?"
The Fa'jyudi East China Sealiner
The group was finally on their way back home. At no expense to Ranma, of course. The boy was still passed out cold, yet murmring Akane's name frequently. Among other things.
"A-Akane... love you..."
Shampoo stared at Ranma with a forlorn, melancholy expression on her face. It hurt to have to put him to sleep every time he got close to remembering what had happened to Akane. Hurt her, hurt him... but that was life, wasn't it? The truth hurt horribly...
'Maybe I should have gone back to Nyuuchiezu Genjudi when I had the chance,' Shampoo thought. She chanced to look Mousse's way. It was so strange. Everything was just so strange and confusing now... her greatest obstacle to Ranma was dead. Literally speaking. Her 'Airen' was also dead, but in a more figurative sense.
To go back home -to her real home- all she had to do was tell the truth: that Ranma had never truly beaten her in his male form. That wasn't to say he couldn't- rather, he wouldn't. His stupid male chauvanistic ideals were the exact opposite of '3000 years of Amazon history'. He was too wild to be chained down. He was the perfect specimen of everything an Amazon champion was born, bred, and lived for... but he was out of reach. Only one person was ever capable of totally taming him... one so blind to her own affections for him... and definitely worthy of being an Amazon, in light of her recent... her recent death...
Not knowing why, Shampoo felt choked up. She buried her head in her hands and knees, silently sobbing in the darker corner of the ship.
They were en route to several ports on the Huang River, and from the major city of Xianing in the Qinghai province, they could exchange goods for passage, and use what little money the Jusenkyo Guide had spared for them. Sure, the Guide was well-paid in terms of food and shelter, what with his living in such close proximity to the Musk people, the Phoenix people, and the Amazon tribes... but the need for actual tender was rare in the Jusenkyo Valley.
They would be passing the capital of Beijing within 40 kilometers, and continuing on to the port of Jinan, not far from the peninsula that connected Eastern China with the Yellow Sea. From there, the group would take a larger, hopefully passenger ship through the East China Sea, and up through the Sea of Japan. They'd have to backpack their way from Kanzawa, on Japan's western coast, home to Tokyo-- a long and tiring trip. Ranma would have to accept Akane's death by then...
Ryoga was, for once, not in a deep depression. Rather, he was burning with a fierce anger than surprised even him.
'I've never faced death... not like this before...'
So why did it make him so angry? It wasn't as if he could have saved Akane... She'd appeared out of nowhere, and sealed her own fate, by touching the burning hot Kinjakan. Her body had lost most, if not all of its water, and she'd become a doll reliant on Ranma's skill to save her.
But in the end, time, luck, and whatever spirits that had aided Ranma in times of desperation before were not with him. Akane's doll-eyes closed. She smiled, one last smile... and she died. Despite the Dragon tap's healing, cooling water, she did not breathe anymore. Her form, restored to its original size, was cold, pale, and lifeless.
Part of him was wishing he could have done something to help though. But he was as clueless as Ranma when it came to resuscitating someone who wasn't breathing. Maybe then, he was angry at the fact that Ranma was so attached to Akane now after... after she...
What was worse? Ranma's erratic behavior, or having had to bury the one girl he'd fallen in love with, for the first time in his life? If love had been a battle, then both Ranma and Ryoga lost. Horribly...
'What made me refer to Akane-san like that?'
Mousse was staring off into the expanse of his white robes, letting himself sway naturally with the rhythm of the boat. It was something he'd picked up from his duck form. Perhaps Akane's death had shocked him too. It wasn't as if he'd cared for her, certainly not the way Ryoga and Ranma did... but...
'She- she was a friend. She may have been cruel to Ranma sometimes, and blind to Ryoga's curse, but she was forgiving. She didn't deserve to die. She was brave.'
She'd sacrificed her life to save all of them-- stopping the drain of the Jusenkyo springs, and, while Ranma was fighting Saffron, creating a portal of vision using her body. Sacrificed her own life... to save them... people that had caused her so much misery.
'A true warrior at heart.'
Mousse moved his glasses to the top of his head as he turned to the side, falling into a sort of restless sleep. The others were all in some semblance of rest as well-- though Ranma still seemed to be plagued with horrible dreams...
'How is this possible? I saw that fool Saotome try to save her, but it was too late. They must have buried her, and the flooded spring water...'
It was a longshot, but there was a lot about the Accursed Springs that not even the Phoenix people knew. Kiima muddled through these thoughts, glancing back at the girl.
Once dead, covered in burns, scratches, and dried blood. She'd used herself as a damned shield for that fool Saotome. A few minutes in 'that fool Saotome's' presence in the guise of the girl now sitting before her-- it was more than enough to alert Kiima to his ways.
A chauvanistic, brainless fool. Perhaps this girl had foiled over a century of planning, but the Phoenix people would survive. They had before, and they would continue to. But her...
"Yes. Your name is Akane." Kiima stated it gently, but with a tone indicating she was sincere- truthful.
"Why- why can't I remember anything?" Akane finally murmured, still staring at her hands. It was as if she knew something were supposed to be there... but it wasn't. What? A marking? A scar?
The faded remnants of memories played across Akane's mind. The name suited her, she knew. But there was more to it... more that she didn't know...
'This is going to take some doing. I'll either have to keep it a complete secret from Lord Saffron... or get his help. Even as a baby, his mind is not quelled. But I shall need more assistance from... outside forces.'
Kiima's thoughts entered a serious territory, and she gestured quickly to the two young boys guarding the newfound, newborn Akane.
Valus, I want you to bring me Master Scrollsman here. Eptis, go down to the Jusenkyo Guide's home -in your human form- and ask him to come here. Give him..." Kimma scrawled out a note using one of her own feathers dipped in a nearby inkwell, "this. Do you understand?"
Both boys nodded and took off from the room, a flap of wings and and floating of feathers signalling their exit. A feather landed in Akane's palm, where she stared at it for a long period of time, glassy-eyed.
"Please! Please, I'll do anything!" The woman was begging on her hands and knees, tears streaming down her face and disappearing into the floor below. She rose up on her knees once more, to show her face to her Lord, to beg...
"You need not beg so, Kimiko." The gentle voice was strikingly familiar to the angel prostrated before her Lord's shrine, and she turned, her eyes still watering from tears.
"Michelle?" The blonde angel smiled, her blonde-red hair shifting to one side, brushing the side of the tall girl's chin.
"Kimiko, He has granted you your wish. But there isn't much time. Something of this magnitude has never happened before, and..." Michelle trailed off, staring down into the clouds. The whole sky seemed to be dark this night, even in Heaven.
"If I had your chance, I would use it to the fullest. Part of me is glad I don't. But no one should come to Heaven and then leave again. Forces of magic are tampering with our Rule, and we have to fix that," Michelle said, a serious expression adorning her face.
Kimiko nodded in agreement, and lifted a pinky to her lip and chewed on her fingertip. A bad habit from her past life, one she would no doubt keep despite her likelihood of rebirth.
"I do not want to incur His wrath. I am to merely... help her in her quest for truth, yes?" Kimiko looked to the younger angel for guidance. It was always the younger ones, those who had died so young, that seemed to have the most wisdom. It was true that Michelle had not left any children of her own behind in the World, but she had left a mother and half-sister whom she'd loved very much.
"Yes. It may have pained you to have her here for a time, but you know as well as I do that she didn't belong. She was confused and lost, and no one who enters Here ever has those feelings. They are meant to be happy, and at peace with themselves." Michelle took on a reproachful expression, "That means you too, Kimiko."
"I know, I know. Part of me wants to hold her again, but keeping watch on my girls all these years has shown me that guidance is what I was destined for. Not selfish desires. She will remain in the World, until she finds her own destiny again."
"You're a very brave woman, Kimiko," Michelle murmured.
"Takes one to know one." Kimiko chuckled, and disappeared through the clouds at Michelle's feet in a hail of feathers.
End of Part 2: The Waters Above
Well, that was... interesting. . This is getting longer than I thought! Email me and tell me what you think: Ranma is unable to accept Akane's death-- what does that say for the rest of the Tendo family, and everyone in Nerima's future? What's more, what will Team Fiancée do... or not do? And is Akane really alive again? If so, why can't she remember anything...?
Stay tuned for more drama, supernatural thrills, and of course, romance, as "Saisei" continues!
P.S. If you don't know what Saisei means by now, then why don't you email me? (Or look it up in a Japanese dictionary and take a wild guess.)