Author's Warning -- This story is primarily a 'romp'. That means the purpose of this story is for the main character(s) to run around, fight random opponents, gain powers, with no clear agenda, purpose or overall objective. This story is not likely to have an advanced or complex plotline.
Befitting this style of story, a higher end interpretation of Ranma's powers/skills/talents will be taken (inversely, Eldritch Asylum uses a conservative Ranma). Finally, I will make no promises this story will ever be completed, continued, or have something resembling a satisfactory ending. It will stop when I'm tired of writing it, be it after one chapter, or after one-hundred.
For those who are curious, yes, I am still writing Eldritch Asylum with obsidian_fox, and have no intention of ever stopping (even if it takes a decade or more to complete that story.)
You have been warned.
Bright blue finally breaks through the haze which had shrouded the sky for the past week, and Ranma takes a moment to bask in the brief sunlight filtering through the trees above. Drinking in the warmth his eyes drift to the scattered mountains in the east. Already they are growing distant, the tall craggy peaks from before shifting into rolling hills filled with lush green life. Here and there a face of rock still breaks free from the thickening vegetation, the brown orange and crumbly earth exposed to the elements.
Ranma doesn't recognize any of it.
Ranma's returns his gaze to the dirty gi, and broad shouldered back of his father. It has been a week now, since Ranma felt as though he could pick out a landmark here and a landmark there. That, in and of itself was not so worrisome. Traveling through Chinese wilderness as they were, it was even slightly expected. No, bigger questions arose from the surprising fact that he'd yet to see signs of civilization, and, more importantly, his father had a rather 'lost' look about him.
"Pop, you sure you know where we are?"
"Of course I do, boy," the older man growls back, a large strong arm smashing aside a small tree.
"You've been saying that all week, old man."
"Of course I have. You've been asking all week."
Ranma's eyes flash, and all at once the boy stops. "That's 'cause you don't look like you know where we are going. We left those mountains half a day ago, and you still haven't explained why. So, yeah I'm asking, and unless you give me a real answer I'm going to assume you got us lost."
"Lost?" Several paces ahead Genma Saotome comes to a halt. Slowly, he turns to face his son, fierce dark blue eyes piercing through worn spectacles. "You think we're lost, boy? Seems to me that when I drag your sorry carcass back to Japan, I'm going to have to give the state a couple of extra months to straighten out that head of yours. We aren't lost, boy. If you'd been studying that geography of yours, you'd know that. I know exactly where we are, and exactly where we are going."
Ranma rolls his eyes. "That's bullshit, Pop, and you know it."
Genma glares at his child a moment longer, then his features fill with emotion. Raising his gaze to the heavens, thick tears rolling down both cheeks, and his voice wavering with sorrow the man cries out his lament. "Why? Why did you curse me with such a stupid son? Is it too much for a parent to ask? that a child would read his books? respect his father? do his homework?"
Ranma grinds his teeth, but resists the urge to plant a foot in the old man's face. Not that the old man doesn't have it coming. Rather, after years of his father's company Ranma has realized that a rough and tumble fight, while satisfying, does little but delay Genma's stubborn refusal to accept reality. Personally, Ranma would prefer the `I'm not lost` ends sooner rather than latter. Otherwise, Genma might stop only after they'd hit the Atlantic.
Abruptly, Genma's fake tears stop. The large man's body shifts, and a finger is suddenly thrust toward Ranma's chest.
"Tell me boy, where were we when you got lost."
Ranma's eye twitches, and his left hand clenches in a fist. It'd be so easy... but Ranma resists the urge. "North-western Qinghai province China, somewhere in the mountains."
"And tell me, boy, what is west of the Qinghai province?"
Ranma sighs, and reluctantly sets his heavy pack on the ground. He digs past his real supplies and begins to brush aside the heavy weights at the bottom: a flail, metal cooking gear, several ratty old text books covering a spattering of subjects from Japanese history to basic calculus, to finally pull out a regional atlas/encyclopedia, or, as Genma had put it: 'it's your new geography book, boy. I expect you'll have it read before this trip is over.'
Ranma didn't really know what was more absurd, the idea he'd actually read the thing, or his father's insistence that it was 'just as good as any old text book'. Still, Ranma is willing to admit that an atlas is at least marginally useful. What self respecting martial artist needs to know algebra anyway? Quadratics, the thought alone is enough to make Ranma shudder.
"Aha!" Genma shouts. "I knew you weren't studying, boy."
"Shut it, Pop," Ranma grumbles, shooting his father a feeble glare while thumbing through the pages. "Let's see, Xinjiang is bit to the northwest, and Tibet to the southwest. Guess we must be in Xinjian province then, Pop, 'cause it's too warm, and the air isn't thin enough to be in Tibet."
"You see, boy. We aren't lost, we're in Xinjian province," Genma explains, nodding wisely to himself.
"Please, you didn't know that until I told you. Besides, I know you said Jusenkyo is in Qinghai province."
"It is," Genma grumbles quietly.
"Exactly!" Ranma smirks insufferably. "Just like I was saying, we're lost."
Genma grunts. "Don't be stupid, boy. Who ever heard of someone whose lost, yet knows were they are?" With that the larger man pushes up his glasses, and resumes his trek to the west.
"Hey!" Ranma shouts, taking rapidly quickening steps to catch up with his father. "Hey! Where are you going, old man? I thought we agreed Jusenkyo is the other direction."
"We aren't going to the Jusenkyo, boy. I thought that'd be rather obvious." Genma growls, his movement rising from a rapid walk until he is flashing from tree branch to tree branch.
Ranma shifts into an all out sprint, flashing through the forest, trees and branches bending back like springs at his every step. Even with that effort it takes some time and quick maneuvering for the boy to place himself in front of his father. A few quick sidesteps from there forces the annoyed man to a halt.
Ranma meets Genma's glare with one of his own. "If we aren't going to Jusenkyo, then exactly where are we going? Huh? Yeah, that's what I thought. I'll be damned if you drag us a thousand miles in the wrong direction just because you're not willing to admit you're lost."
Genma glowers, and leaps to a tree branch high above. From there he manages a few seconds of breakneck pace before Ranma positions himself in the front again.
"Out of the way, boy."
"Tell me where we are going then," Ranma retorts.
"West," Genma growls the word. "For supplies. Now get out of my way, or I'll move you myself."
Ranma's muscles tense in anticipation, but after a second of thought he moves to the side, allowing his father to stomp forward.
"So when did you decide that. A week ago when we overshot our destination?" Ranma needles. A moment later he stops, face adopting an expression of horror. "No... that was three hundred miles ago. Pop, please tell me we haven't been heading the wrong way since we hit that mountain monastery near Golmud."
"Don't be stupid, boy," Genma grumbles under his breath. "I told you already, this is just a small detour for supplies. We'll be back in the mountains before you know it."
"A small detour, eh? We've been out of the mountains for at least a whole day now. How many more do you think it'll be before we run... into... a..."
Ranma and his father crest a tall hill, and the boy's mouth hangs open in mid-word. Now, with the land falling away him Ranma can see the the forest shatter into a dozen open fields. A thin dirt road carves through the woods reaching into the distance where it meets a walled city.
"Ha ha ha," Genma laughs loudly, slapping his son on the back. "What did your old man tell you, boy? And to think, you were accusing me of being lost."
Ranma flashes Genma a scowl, but offer no retort. Instead he squints into the distance, scrutinizing the mountain backing the city. "Is that..., Mount Rushmore?"
"Hmph! Keep going on like this boy, and you'll be failing all your classes back in Japan. I'll have you know that Mount Rushmore is found in Washington, DC the capital of the United States, not in Xinji-i-i-... China."
"North Dakota, Pop." Ranma murmurs leaning further forward. The face like carvings however, refuse to resolve into clear portraits. "Mount Rushmore is in North Dakota. Also, Washington was their first president, not a city."
Genma glowers. "Why did you mention Mount Rushmore then, boy? And if Washington, DC isn't the capital of the United States, what is?"
"Because the mountain has faces on it," Ranma explains. "At least it kind of looks like it does."
Genma frowns and joins Ranma in squinting. After a long moment the older man takes off his glasses and rubs them against his dirty gi, and then looks again. Eventually, Genma says, "I think you're right there boy. That mountain does look to have faces on it. Probably just a knock off to try to get some tourists. Pay it no mind." His eyes jerk to his son. "Now, answer my question."
Ranma winces, he'd been hopping his father would forget about that. Desperately the boy glances about for some new distraction, when he finds none, he pulls the first name that feels 'right'. "New York...?"
Genma cocks his head to the side for a minute. "You might be right about that one." The older man says after a while. "But don't think you won't be looking that up at dinner, boy."
It took them two hours to reach the walled city, mostly because both Genma and Ranma felt like walking. In the intervening time the cloudy haze was vanquished completely, giving way to brilliant blue sky, and scattered fluffy, white clouds. The sun hangs high, leaning only slightly to the west. By Ranma's judgment an hour or two past noon.
Ahead of the pair, is the stone wall surrounding the city's core. Ranma eyes the fortifications appreciatively, not high enough to stop him of course, being only ten meters in height, but it would certainly give an ancient army more than a pause. As they approach the wall, the dirt road begins to curve, following in parallel until it meets a wider city street, which passes under the city gates. There, Ranma can make out a security squad, watching in boredom as random civilians move to and fro.
"Please identify yourself and state your business," a teenage boy drones when they reach the entrance. The boy doesn't even bother to stand, and still holds an open book in his left hand. Like the other guards, this boy wears an olive-green flack jacket, and a metal plate banded to his forehead.
Ranma starts, and frowns. Japanese? In China?
"We're wandering martial artists," Genma announces. "It is our intention to seek traveling supplies, and, if there should be any, the wisdom of fellow practitioners of the art."
The book in the teenager's hand droops to the left, and further back, a second child, not much older than thirteen, snickers quietly. For a moment there is no answer, until a young man steps forward and smoothly resumes the questioning.
"From where are you traveling?"
"From the east," Ranma interjects, before glaring at his father. "Waaaaayyyy east."
"What?" the snickering kid asks suddenly. "Across the ocean?" The boy chuckles even louder, earning a glare from the older man.
Ranma snorts, and retorts, "Yeah, how did you figure it?"
"Quiet boy!" Genma hisses.
"Ahem!" the man interrupts. "It seems you've traveled far...," the man stops, and bops the young boy on the head, stifling the muffled laughter. "But fortunately, we have no reason to refuse anyone entrance at this time. For your information, there are many grocers, hotels, and numerous other stores along or near the main street. The wisdom of expert combatants is, alas, beyond the reach of outsiders." The man pauses and offers a friendly smile. "There is, however, a public library. There you'll find a surprising number of basic techniques and training methods. Not the same as the academy to be sure, but I think a civilian enthusiast, such as yourself, will be more than satisfied with the offerings. Now, if there is nothing more, welcome and have a nice day."
"Uh..., thanks?" Ranma replies.
However, before anything else can be said, Genma is dragging Ranma away from the wall. A few seconds later the older man is hissing into his ear.
"What did you think you were doing, boy? Did you forget we don't have passports? Last thing we need is the PLA breathing down our necks."
"Oh, just shut it, Pop," Ranma says, rolling his eyes. "Or didn't you notice we were speaking Japanese back there? It was pretty obvious they had us figured out."
Genma snorts. "I'll have you know, boy, that wasn't Japanese."
"Uh, Pop. Unless both of us magically learned Chinese, they were most definitely speaking Japanese."
"You got in one, my boy!" Genma declares, slapping Ranma heavily on the back. "It seems those pills we bought are finally paying off!"
"We bought?" Ranma growls at the reminder. "You're the one who blew off the cash we raised for the boat ride on that ridiculous scam. Thanks to those pills I had to swim across the damn ocean."
"Quit your whining. You are starting sound like a little girl," Genma grunts. "And, in case you've forgotten, I was right there swimming with you. Besides, what's a little water if gets you a new language in exchange, eh?"
Ranma glowers at his father. 'A little water,' he says. "Hmph. Doesn't change the fact you got conned. I know for a fact that those pills were fakes."
"Fake, hmm?" Genma turns his eyes to the sky. "Why? Why is that my boy seems to grow more foolish by the minute?"
"Stop that," Ranma growls, glancing around to see several pedestrians staring at the pair and whispering to one another. "Or I'll beat some sense into you, old man."
"The day you stop being a fool is the day I'll stop lambasting you about it, boy," Genma retorts. "First this nonsense about being lost, and then my foolish son doesn't even open his ears. Yes, that's right boy, listen! You hear that?"
Grumbling to himself Ranma does stop, and he does listen. All around children, men and women hustle and bustle through the busy city streets. Shop owners call out for attention, advertising low prices on knives, souvenir head bands, any and everything imaginable... in Japanese.
"Ooookaaaay. That is pretty creepy. I'll give you that much, Pop," Ranma says glancing up and down the streets with new eyes.
Now that he is paying attention, Ranma begins to notice other oddities. Like the fact that all the roads are built for human traffic, and lack any provisions for cars or other motor vehicles. Indeed, the whole city seems spotted with anachronisms, which combine with a slight, but distinctive Japanese feel to create an oddity born both of the future and the past.
Well, maybe... Ranma is willing to admit to himself that his interest in other people's cultures ranks just behind his burning desire to study organic chemistry.
Frowning to himself, Ranma decides now wouldn't be a good time to bring up that he threw his pill away. "Say, Pop. Is it just me, or does this town seem a bit strange?"
"Hmmm," Genma cocks his head to the side for a moment. "Now that you mention it, walled cities are rather unusual."
"I was thinking that too, but looking around I can't remember seeing any train tracks or any kind of major roads leading to this place either. This city is more than a little on the big side for that."
"Between the hills, forests, and mountains I wouldn't be so sure there isn't a major road, boy." Genma replies. The old man pushes up his glasses and once again begins to walk. "Enough of this. Odd or not, a city is a city and we best be taking advantage of that fact. Find us something to eat, boy. I'll take a look at this library."
Whooosh! Whoosh, Whoosh. Ranma watches as three dark shapes flash overhead. The trio leap across the rooftops, before bounding up and over a tall building and out of sight. It is the second time today Ranma has witnessed roof-hoppers fly by, and it only serves to instill in the pigtailed boy how strange a sight he and his father must be when it is they who pass above the ground bound men and women around him.
Ranma continues to gaze for a moment longer. Then, the smell of cooking food and the rumble of his stomach draws Ranma attention away from the rooftops. He watches in envy as three boys, all wearing metal headbands, and an older man laugh over a bowl of ramen. The delicious smell and companionship remind Ranma of a horrible truth that became apparent shortly after the old man sent him on his way. He has no money.
Well, he has some money. A quick search of his pockets had turned up some 2000 Japanese yen, and about 70 Chinese yuan. Not that it matters with shop keepers asking for ryo. Ryo! Did they think he had walked out of the edo period? Seriously, who carries gold coins?
Ranma shakes his head, strolling absently through the streets. His eyes linger on rooftops as his feet carry him toward a distant city park. A third and forth set of dark shapes zip across the tops of buildings, their figures a blur. As they pass by, Ranma finds his curiosity stirring. Having nothing better to do he gathers his strength to leap to the rooftops-
"... boy! Boy!"
The tension in Ranma's legs release, and the boy turns a lazy eye toward the big bald man pressing through the crowd.
"Hey, Pop. I don't have anything, and before you give me any crap that's because I don't have any money."
Genma strolls the last few steps to his son wearing a silly grin. "Yeah, I'm sorry about that, boy. Doesn't matter anyway. Looks like they use a local currency," The large man affectionately pats his son on the shoulder. "But don't you worry, your old man has it all figured out!"
As he speaks the old man whips two neatly pressed suits from under his gi. Ranma winces at the sight, and immediately starts nursing a headache.
"No. Just no."
"Do not think such dark thoughts, boy. Today is a great day! A day of happiness. A day of joy. A day where two lucky souls will be joined in blissful matrimony!" Genma declares loudly, swinging his arms high, and the suits higher.
"And a day where people put lots of food on big long tables," Ranma adds.
Genma nods wisely. "Of course, that's the entire point!"
Ranma's stomach gives another grumble, and the boy lets out a sigh. "A wedding isn't so bad I suppose, but we aren't ever crashing another funeral."
Genma chuckles. "I suppose that did get a bit out of hand. Here, boy."
The older man thrusts the suit into Ranma's hands. Then, in a disturbing show of martial arts prowess, Genma tosses his own suit into the air, a fraction of a second later it is joined by a sweat stained, martial-arts gi, and a ragged pair of pants. A pinkish blur intercepts the aerial suit, and in the blink of an eye, a smartly dressed Genma is touching down, left hand casually nabbing the clothes he'd discarded a second ago.
Genma shoves his clothes into his pocket, where the giant mass disappears without showing a bulge. It is only then that the man removes his ever present bandanna, revealing shining baldness. As his father pats his own head pathetically, Ranma cannot help but notice that in the crisp, clean suit the large, bespectacled man takes on the appearance of a fat and corrupt, corporate CEO. Ranma finds the clash of respectability and snake oil salesman more than a little disconcerting.
"Well? What are you waiting for?" Genma snaps, after nearly a minute of forlornly picking at the last few hairs on his head.
"What? You think I'm going to change right here? In the middle of the street?" Ranma asks. "I've got better things to do than flash a bunch of pedestrians."
"Don't be a girl, boy!" Genma growls. "You've got nothing to be ashamed of. Now, get in that suit!"
The large man yells the last leaping toward his son, arms spread wide. Choosing the better part of valor, Ranma backpedals into a nearby ally, while knocking his father's hands to the side.
Once safely guarded from sight, Ranma shoves his father back one last time and relents. "I'll do it myself, Pop. I'm not four."
Once Genma backs off, an irritated Ranma begins to peel off his own clothes. Doing his best to ignore the the rare glances from the street, the boy pulls on a pair of black trousers, slips into a white dress shirt, and finally dons the jacket.
Mostly clothed, and fumbling with his bow, Ranma exits the alley. Glancing over at his father, he asks, "So who's the lucky girl?"
"Hyo..., Hyu..., Hiraga? No, that isn't right." Genma fiddles with his glasses for a moment, and then slaps Ranma on the back. "Don't worry, boy. We'll figure it out when we get there."
Ranma snorts. "Yeah, well, I'd like to know the family names before someone tries to talk to us."
"Ha! Tell you what, boy. If someone asks you a question, just make sure your mouth is full. That way you can just mumble: Hiuunnngaaa. It'll be close enough, and they ought to leave you alone after that."
A small blond haired child quickly glances to the left, right, and back again... then scans the ground for good measure. Nothing, nobody... but not for long. Never for long. Not for the first time today, he curses himself for playing a prank on the ANBU. Really, he should have known better. He does know better. Never prank group which has assassination in their name. A nice good and simple rule.
But the chance had been too much to pass up. Today had been, no is the perfect opportunity to get back at the stuffy animal masked guys, and to prove to all of Konoha that he, Uzumaki Naruto, is the man destined to become the next Hokage. Only today does he have a chance of escaping the, admittedly vastly more skilled ninja.
And everything had been going to plan. This morning he'd woken up, and carefully filled the beer bottles three-fourths full of brackish water, and pressed back on the lids. He'd removed the coffee grains left to 'weather' in the outside storm drain, and fitted them into their can, but not before topping it off with a camouflaging cover of the real thing. Then, there was the grand finale, eight bags of dog dung, each with an expensive explosive note tucked inside.
The result had been glorious, but victory requires that he escape the ANBU. Naruto stares longingly at the festivities not far away. Cheerful voices, the smell of food, and the clamor of the crowd. His destination, safety. He wishes for it to be more than that, but knows it will not happen. They will not smile at him, the will not share with him their food. To them, the Hyuuga, he is less than dirt.
It almost makes him wish that'd he'd targeted them instead. But, in its own way, the plan has a vengeance upon them as well. For the Hyuuga who despise him so much, would now protect him from the most fearsome ninja in all of Konoha. After all, nobody is stupid enough to crash a Hyuuga wedding. Nobody.
But, first he has to make it there, and do it unseen. The Hyuuga will throw him out if they catch a glimpse of him, and that'll be the end of that. So, cautiously, Naruto creeps out of the alley dumpster and begins to sneak toward wedding. Once there is only open ground between him and the celebrating families, he presses his back against a building, and begins to nervously time the final dash. Waiting, waiting... there one of the Hyuuga guards is approaching a some fat merchant, and his pigtailed son. Taking his chance, Naruto makes a mad dash finishing with a slide under the table.
With the table cloth fluttering behind him, Naruto grins. Take that animal masked bastards! Even the best Konoha has to offer is no match for the epic genius of Uzumaki Naruto.
Every muscle in Naruto's body goes rigid. Slowly his head twists around until it feels like it is going to snap off his neck. Victorious grin frozen on his face Naruto stares into eyes of milky-lavender. Paralyzed, it takes several seconds for Naruto to recognize the girl's face. Hyuuga... uh..., the shy girl that sits in the back of the class.
"Ha, ha, ha," Naruto laughs stiffly, shifting his body to match the direction of his face. "This isn't what it looks like."
The girl crawls the rest of the way under the table. "Why are you hiding?" she asks. Then after seeing seeing the blond's face go pale she stares at the ground and softly adds, "D-don't worry. I won't tell anyone."
"Eh?" Naruto says a bit too loudly, then after an uneasy silence he continues in a whisper. "Thanks... uh..."
Naruto's vain attempt to recall the girl's name is interrupted by a heavy thud, the clash of metal, and a sinking table. Naruto's head jerks up.
"Wha-" is all the boy manages before the world turns inside out.
Ranma chews on a particular savory chicken leg. He has to hand it to the cooks, they certainly know how to prepare a meal. Gulping down the last bite, and flushing it down with water, Ranma spares a glance to his father, who is doing his best to engulf an entire ham at once. Rolling his eyes at Genma's disgusting antics, Ranma shovels mashed potatoes straight from the serving bowl and into his mouth.
Seeing as though his father is otherwise occupied, Ranma decides to tackle the sushi. The first bite is pure heaven, so the boy shoves three more morsels into his mouth all at once to extend the experience. His bliss is interrupted when a man grabs his shoulder and spins him around.
Ranma take a moment to view the rude fellow who grabbed his shoulder, while popping another eel based roll into his still mostly full mouth. The fellow has rather weird eyes, is wearing monk like robes, and looking peeved. After a brief consideration, Ranma decides to attempt the diplomatic route. "Mo!" Ranma manages, raising a hand in greeting. "Moo oud ry uh ickenn, ii rearry ood."
The pigtailed boy nods toward the mostly decimated chicken after delivering his recommendation.
The weird eyed man however, only looks irritated. "Who are you with?"
Ranma's eyes widen, and he lifts a finger. What was that name again? "Hiuunnngaaa," Ranma declares, chucks of rice falling from his lips.
The man's eyes narrow, and Ranma can see his muscles tensing with a desire to strike. Clearly, Hiuunngaaa didn't work as expected. "I don't know what they two of you are up to, but be very glad that I don't wish to mar a day of celebration with violence," the man growls.
Ranma cocks his head to the side thoughtfully, and then gazes back at his father. The large man gives his son an intense gaze from behind his glasses. After so many years, Ranma can practically hear the command echoing in his head: Take care of him, boy. I'll get the food.
Ranma gulps down the remaining bite, and pats the guy on the shoulder. "Sorry about this," he says, flashing a friendly smile.
"Don't get friendly wi-" SMACK.
Lowering his foot, Ranma admires the parabolic arc of his opponent, as the unquestionably unconscious man falls toward the table. There the man, partially spun around by the sharp blow to the chin lands on his shoulders, bounces off the table and finally falls flat on his face. However, Ranma's joy turns sour quickly.
The bastard landed on the chicken dammit! Ranma curses himself, and quickly nabs another eel roll. Popping the food in his mouth, he watches the table cloth writhe like a living snake. A second later, the entire table is rolling up into an overly large ball, all food stuffs included. No closer to gleaning the secret to his father's technique than ever before, Ranma returns his eyes to his fellow 'guests'.
"I just want to say before we leave: best wishes to the bride and groom!"
Ranma flashes a cheeky grin, but, alas, his audience lacks an appreciation for the artistry of the situation. Two more guys, this time with the veins popping out all around their milky-eyes, are dashing toward him from either side. Mentally laughing at their amateurishness, Ranma sprints forward to meet the first.
Once in range, the man lashes out with an open palmed hand, but Ranma has already slipped through the man's guard. Arm reaching up for the guy's wrist, and hips sliding underneath his opponents center of mass, Ranma executes a perfect judo throw.
"Double Ippon!" Ranma shouts, as his thrown opponent sends the second sprawling across the grass. He shakes his right hand to get rid of the pins and needles that are crawling all over it. The guy must have brushed a shiatsu point by accident.
Ranma shoots a glance back toward his father. "You ready over there, Pop?" He asks. The crowd is starting to get rather rowdy, and Ranma can see lots more milky-eyed guys and girls gaining their own throbbing veins of anger.
Genma hefts a white bag, as big around as the man is tall, over a shoulder. His eyes flash to either side, stopping briefly on the more experienced warriors who are subtly moving to cut off escape. He turns his gaze to Ranma and makes a sharp nod. The bald man then steps forward.
"Prepare yourself, you pathetic disgraces to the art." The old man bellows. "For you're about to face the most powerful technique the world has ever seen. Saotome final attack! -"
Both Ranma and Genma sink to their knees leg muscles coiled like springs, their auras gaining strength until the air wavers visibly around their forms.
In an instant, both turn their backs to the bulk of the crowd and explode into the air. A single leap carries them sailing in a high arc to land on the roof of a low-lying building near the open park. Four more steps brings the pair to full sprinting speed, and the second before running out of roof, both leap again. Flying even higher and even further Ranma clears the small park completely. His father tags slightly behind, having used the top of a tree as a foot hold to reach the distance his unencumbered son achieved.
"Told you this was a bad idea, Pop," Ranma says conversationally as the older man joins him on the roof.
"Don't stop running, boy!" Genma growls, before a third jump carries him two buildings further.
"Wha- Oh, crap!"
At least a dozen men and women crest the height of the building Ranma is on, all of their pupilless eyes pulsing with what he presumes to be unimaginable rage. The pigtailed boy stares for a frozen moment, but frees himself from the panic quickly. Increasing his own speed, Ranma fights to catch back up with his father.
"Damnit, pop! You just had to crash a wedding full of expert martial artists!" Ranma screams.
On instinct, his body sashay's to the left allowing three sharp knives to flash past. Quick spinning steps prevent Ranma from losing any speed, while flinging a series of roof tiles behind him. The concave ceramic rectangles boomerang though the air and zero in on the leading pursuers with eerie precision. The first is quick to react blurring into a spin which sends the broken stone fragments flying in every direction. His partner, a young teenage girl, is not so lucky. A roof tile blindsides her in mid air, and sends her spiraling through a window below.
Flipping one last roof tile with his foot, Ranma flies back into the air, making a dizzing leap to a building two stories taller than the last. He cringes however, when he sees his father stopped on the top, and more importantly the storm of flying black objects coming to meet him.
"Dammit!" Ranma curses, rolling, twisting, and snaking through the air to dodge what must be an entire roof's worth of orange, ceramic tiles. He winces when one manages to clip his shin, but still manages to land right next to his father, who immediately resumes running.
"What's the big idea, Pop!" The pigtailed boy snaps, as the pair descend to a lower building and then flash high into the sky.
"Whining right after your father stopped to help. You sound like a girl, boy!" Genma retorts, shoving his glasses back up.
Ranma takes a moment to glare at his father. "Well you didn't have to throw them at me too!"
"Hmph," Genma grunts as he easily lands and runs across the roof a two-story building. "If you couldn't dodge that after ten years of training, then you'd be no son of-"
Genma eyes suddenly narrow, and Ranma follows his gaze. Speeding across the rooftops are two quartets of dark shadows. Both approach from their right, and slightly ahead.
"They can't be part of the other group," Genma mumbles thoughtfully.
"Yeah, well, whoever they are, Pop, they are coming straight for us, and somehow I don't think they're going to stop for tea."
Ranma's eyes immediately start scanning the roofs for more attackers, and potential escape routes. He's about to suggest they start moving north when Genma shoves the large white bag into his hands.
"Hold this, boy. You're old man's got an idea."
"Hey, you're the one who wanted to steal the whole table," Ranma complains.
"Shut it, boy and listen to what I've got to say," Genma growls. "Good. Now, about about two miles north of here is bathhouse. When you see it you're going to have to go through it. I'll be a bit behind..., but this part is really important. We've got to get all of them to follow us in there. So we're going to need to slow down."
Ranma opens his mouth to make a snide reply, but then shuts it. His father has that look. The one that means he's taking things seriously. "I got you, Pop. But if we slow down, we're going have the angry-eyed freaks all over us."
Ranma glances back at the swarm of humans running and leaping across the roofs not far behind.
"Well boy. What do you say we entertain them with some good old Entotsusoujifu Wasa."
Ranma grins, and his eyes flit to a tall building with plenty of stone shingles. "Looks like we've got a place to make a stand, Pop."
"Good thinking, boy," Genma shouts.
A second later, the two land on top of the tall building. Both scan the terrain with sharp eyes. There is a chimney, thousands of nasty slate tiles, and plenty of bricks to top it all off.
"Looks lik- ow!" Ranma clutches the back of his head, and glares at the white bag his father handed him. Did the bag just punch him? Ranma shakes his head of the silly notion, but smacks the bag back nonetheless.
"What are you doing, boy? They're almost here!"
Ranma hoists the white tablecloth bag back over a shoulder. "Sorry, about that, Pop."
"Never mind that," Genma barks, as he watches their milky-eyed pursuers land on the roof they were on last. "Get ready!"
"Ready, Pop!" Ranma shouts back, setting down the bag to pick up an arm full of roof tiles. Immediately he picks out his target, his lips curling into a vicious smirk. "Take this, Ishisaji Ame!"
As one, Ranma and his father begin to hurl an enormous wave of spinning slate tiles. The first hit, are the unlucky few strange-eyed warriors that are already jumping up toward them. Unable to dodge, and lacking the skill to even try, they are blasted back by dozens of ceramic shingles. One leaping up toward Ranma attempts the strange spinning technique the pigtailed-boy saw earlier, but in the air the attempt was worse than useless. Instead, by relaxing his guard, Ranma manages to land at tile right between the eyes, sending the man plummeting to the alley below in blissful unconsciousness.
Those still on the lower building are more fortunate. A pair of the pursuers steps forward immediately, and blur into glowing balls of ki. Tiles shatter, and break sending shards flying everywhere. The less skilled cower in the back, guarding their faces with their arms. The defense is impressive, but, ultimately useless... because neither Genma nor Ranma are actually attacking the warriors themselves.
Instead, one out of three tiles shoot to the side, slicing through the roof, or boomeranging in from an angle. There, these tile charged with ki, ripped through wood and stone like water, tearing apart the roof, and severing the supports.
The smart ones abandon the defense, leaping to safety at the first unstable rumble. For those left behind, it is already too late. The defensive wall gone, the next wave of tiles obliterate the structure even faster. Soon voices cry out as they desperately attempt to escape the building caving in all around them.
The elation of victory, however, is quickly crushed. Two of the white-eyed warriors join Ranma and Genma on the roof. As one, their heads immediately shift to the huge bag. The narrowing of their eyes, and the tightening of their faces tells Ranma that their attackers are angrier than before. With the protruding veins around their eyes, their gaze holds a deadly intensity. But, Ranma cocky as ever, meets it none the less while flashing a what you going to do about it smile.
The pair answer by blurring forward with shocking speed. Ranma finds himself stumbling, body bridged backward so far that his back is pressed against the white bag behind him, as a hand glowing with aura lances through the position his head occupied a second ago.
Ranma flips over the bag, his foot slicing millimeters from his opponents chin. The white-eyed man takes a step back to regain his balance, which gives Ranma enough time to shield his body with the stolen goods. Surprisingly this causes his attacker, to hesitate.
Ranma spares a glance, and sees the dark shadows only seconds away. "Pop!"
"I know, get out of here now, boy!"
Ranma doesn't waste a moment. With his attacker unwilling to strike past the bag, Ranma simply turns tail and runs. With a light jump, Ranma is off the roof and surrounded by two more white-eyed warriors. They hesitate. Ranma doesn't.
In a flash, Ranma's knee slams into the chin of the first, while the bag makes a long swipe into the second, sending him flying into, and through a nearby wall. Several more steps returns Ranma to a full sprint.
But it is too late. One of the distant shadows has caught up. A tall, large dark haired individual wearing a bear-faced mask stands in the way. With a flick of his wrist, the new opponent sends eight knives streaking toward Ranma. The pigtailed boy easily slips to the side, and dashes forward to slide by, but his attacker moves quickly, and forces Ranma to stop with a well aimed sword thrust.
Ranma steps back and to the right. When bear masked man moves with him, Ranma smirks.
"You lose." Ranma says cheekily, making an upward motion.
The bear masked man's head shift up slightly, just in time for his face to become Genma's landing platform.
The large bald man glares at his son, ignoring the poor fool who served as his stepping stone. "What are you waiting for, boy? Didn't I tell you to run?"
Ranma grins, and sprints forward, father at his side. "Just waiting for you to show up, Pop."
Both turn a corner and flit through a thick crowd as though it were open air. Almost twenty soldiers, now both the masked guys and the white-eyed guys shadow them from the roofs above. Ranma cringes at the thought of having to fight them all at once. Fortunately, however, their attackers seem reluctant to throw knives into a crowd.
Somersaulting over a frightened old lady, Ranma shoots a look over at his father, who is momentarily running along a building wall to avoid pedestrian traffic.
"This had better work, Pop."
"It'll work, boy," Genma replies. "Now, in that building there, and take the left side. Left side!" Genma shouts.
Genma slows a bit, allowing the pursuers behind to catch up. Ranma though, doesn't slow. Running full tilt he bursts through the bathhouse doors and immediately shifts to the left side of the divide. Instantly, Ranma finds his eyes wavering, when he encounters surprised naked women everywhere. He half stumbles, and barely musters the concentration not to stop altogether. Mentally cursing his father, Ranma does his best to ignore his male hormones and the what little chivalry he possesses and keep running. A few moments later, and he is free.
Well, mostly. Two more of the animal masked guys are almost ahead of him, and Ranma finds himself rolling under a hail of knives to avoid being skewered. For some reason though, the attack isn't followed up.
"Keep running, boy!" Genma roars.
"I'm tr-" Ranma's eyes widen as he glances back. His father is carrying an enormous pile of colorful clothes, and not far behind is a raging mass of naked women. More shocking is the bath house itself, which seems to have erupted into chaos.
Ranma only stops gaping when his father's hand grabs his collar and forcefully resumes his movement. The animal masked attackers are less fortunate, as Genma drapes all manner of unmentionables over their stunned bodies.
It takes a few seconds for Ranma's feet to resume their running, and even then the boy keeps glancing back at the bathhouse, which is now quite literally in flames. Of their score of pursuers, the number has dropped to a ragged band of four.
"Wha- wha- wha-," Ranma articulates.
"That, my boy, is the most terrible force in the world. The rage of women." Genma shudders, but doesn't break pace. "Something I learned well at the hands of my master, may he forever rest in many pieces."
"But...." Ranma glances back again as both he and his father leap over the city walls with a single bound.
"Don't try to make sense of it, boy. Only a girl can understand a girl, and you aren't a girl, are you boy?"
Ranma glares at his father. "I'm no girl."
"Exactly, my boy. Exactly." Genma lets out a laugh. "Now, lets see how long these guys can run. I'm betting they can't swim the Chinese-Japanese channel like you and me, eh?"
Ranma snorts, "I'll give you that much, Pop." He glances back at small squad. "I'll give them an hour or two. With they way they're breathing, they'll be half dead by then, maybe before."
Genma gazes back for a moment as well, "Nonsense. They have a decent warrior spirit about them, they'll make it at least four."
"Yeah right, Pop." Ranma rolls his eyes. "They might be good enough to pull it off, but for all that we pissed them off, we only crashed a wedding. Bet you the wedding cake they'll give up by two... and probably a lot earlier than that."
Genma adjusts his glasses. "Did I hear you right, boy? Are you doubting your old man after everything that happened today? Well, then prepare yourself to watch your old man eat an entire cake, slowly, while you are watching."
Ranma snorts. "We'll see about that old man. We'll see."
Faint pinkish light brushes the horizon, burning away the darkness. Ranma watches the rising sun, while slowly stretching every muscle in his body. Look up at his father, the pigtailed boy stifles a yawn.
"You think this is far enough, Pop?"
Genma drops from a tree branch, lazily discarding his damaged and sweat soaked suit. Shifting his glasses, the old man begins to pull on his older, and even dirtier gi. Only when Genma finishes tying his bandanna back on his head does he bother to answer.
"Hmm, I believe so. Given that they stopped a little after nightfall, that puts us a good ten hours of running ahead of them."
"Don't forget we lost an hour hiding our tracks. Yeesh. Who'd of thought someone could get that upset over a little thing like a wedding? And I even wished good luck on the bride too."
"Never underestimate the resolve of a true martial artist, boy," the older man declares, shaking a finger at his son. "Now, if I remember right, I have a cake to enjoy."
"Hmph," Ranma snorts. "You're welcome to it, Pop. After running all night, the last thing I need is pure sugar."
Genma lets out a low chuckle and shifts his glasses, the rising sunlight reflecting off the lenses in shimmering gold. "Just keep telling yourself that, boy. Your true colors will shine through soon enough."
"Oh, just shut up, Pop," Ranma grumbles. The pigtailed boy meanders over to the rolled up, tablecloth ball left beside the tree. Lazily he begins to pick at the knot trussing everything together.
"What do you think you're doing, boy?" Genma growls, stomping up to his son, and knocking his hands aside. "How many time do I have to tell you that there's a trick to it?"
Ranma grunts and steps aside. "Yeah, yeah, magic cloth techniques and all that. Don't want the food everywhere," Ranma dismisses, rolling his eyes. "Gods forbid that some of the cake gets mashed into the table. That'd be tragic."
Genma sniffs twice loudly, and brushes heavy tears from his eyes. "My son, dismissing the art so casually. Why? Why! Wherever did I go wrong raising him?" Genma's sharp gaze shifts to his son, who has found something more interesting to look at. "Watch your old man work his magic boy."
With a flourish, Genma tosses the wrapped huge ball high into the sky, then with a swift grab he whips the cloth to the left. Instantly, a table, still covered in undisturbed dishes, stacked plates, utensils and even wine glasses still filled to the brim, explodes out.
"Ha boy, do you now see the miracle of your father's secret techniques!"
Ranma doesn't bother meeting his father's eyes, instead raising a brow while pointing at a pair of dazed children who have spilled out from under the table. "So, Pop, got something you need to tell me, eh?"
Genma stares down at the young blond boy, and the dark haired girl, adjusting his glasses one, twice, and three times. Finally, the older man cocks his head to the side. "Hmmm. It seems boy, we might have a bit of a problem."
Triva: Mount Rushmore is actually in South Dakota, there was a president named Washington, and Washington, DC is the capital of the United States. (yes, us Americans ought to know most of that, but children of other nationalities read fanfiction too!)
Getting reliable currency rates for Japanese Yen, and especially Chinese Yuan in the 1980s is difficult. But, Ranma is carrying the equivalent of about $20 (modern) in Yen, and about $30 in Yuan.
Ryo is the stated currency of the Naruto territories. Historically it is also the name of a Japanese gold coin massing 16.5 grams -- worth $10 to $40 (modern) depending on purity. However, given that Chiriku has a 30 million ryou bounty on his head we can safely presume that the Naruto ryo is NOT a gold coin, and has a substantially lower value. I'd estimate there is about 100 ryo to an American dollar, putting the value at roughly the same as a yen.
Naruto vs Ranma 1/2 pt I -- Ki vs Chakra
The difference between Ki and Chakra is that there isn't one. Indeed, Naruto stamina and Ranma 1/2 ki are the same thing. Likewise, Chakra, the result of combining stamina with 'mental fortitude and force of will', is also ki. Note, Ranma 1/2 martial arts make no distinction between these two energies.
Therefore, the question is begged: If chakra and ki are the same thing, then why so different combat styles and capabilities? The difference arises from the philosophy of training. Ranma and Genma have trained from childhood to unite 'mind, body, and spirit'. Literally, they have trained so that their ki reinforces every action they take from walking, to sleeping, to breathing, to eating. Naruto ninja, on the other hand, have spent their childhood and lives training to move their chakra separately from their body, that is the expulsion and molding of chakra, especially through the hands.
From this arises two different styles. Naruto ninja focus on 'energy' attacks, and fancy techniques. Even their taijutsu styles center around using momentary focus of chakra energy in the legs, or arms to increase strength or speed. The result is instantaneous strength, speed many times greater than seen in Ranma 1/2. Alternatively, Genma and Ranma provide much higher average physical ability, something even high level ninja would often shudder at maintaining (and if unskilled must concentrate to accomplish).
There is, of course, some cross over. Techniques like Bakusai Tenketsu, and Hiryo Shoten Ha bear similarities to the chakra techniques of ninja. Likewise, heavy taijutsu masters like Guy, and Rock Lee do some training to unite mind, body, and spirit.
I make no promises any of these translations are accurate. They were obtained by cursory examination and evaluation of words (and occasional Kanji) in a Japanese dictionary. I do not speak or read Japanese, and will not pretend that I can.
Entotsusoujifu Wasa [lit. Chimney Sweep Technique] -- Combat style created for brutal rooftop fighting. Presumably made by martial arts chimney sweepers. How Genma and Ranma learned it is subject to your imagination.
Ishisaji Ame [lit. Stone Knife Rain] -- Rapid-fire throwing technique for roof tiles. Uses ki to create cutting ability capabilities ala Ryouga's bandannas, or Kuno's sword. Primarily involves throwing lots of tiles fast and accurately, though, and taking advantage of their irregular flight. Part of Entotsusoujifu Wasa.