" " are speaking ' ' are quotes ( ) are thoughts -
Chapter 3 Killed by water, Reborn by fire.
Ranko knew she was approaching the cursed springs, she could already see some of the bamboo poles. Then she noticed something sounding like a fight... right over the springs ?
She started to run faster, and faster, pushing her limits to prevent anybody to suffer the same fast as Ranma and her father, or even Ryoga.
It shocked her to see that one of the fighters was none other than Shampoo, and she seemed to be losing, and losing bad. Her opponent, a shriveled old woman, was using a walking cane twice as longer than her and used it skillfully to pogo from pole to pole.
(Why are they fighter over the springs. The Amazons are living near Jusenkyo, they can't ignore the curses. Except if the goal of that practice is not to lose to not get cursed ? Nah, that would be something stupid Pop would come with.) tought Ranko, putting some more strength in her legs and letting go of her pack to gain even more speed.
Seeing Shampoo weakening some more, Ranko focused her last strength into a final burst, hoping to reach them in time.
(I knew Shampoo should have to face a punishment like their laws ask for after a failure, but surely they wouldn't dare...)
Shampoo failed to block an attack that sent her flying, straight into a spring. Jumping to meet her in the air, Ranko stroke Shampoo with a violent mid-air kick, augmenting her momentum and sending her to crash on safe dry land.
(Success! She won't fall in water!) Ranko shouted mentally, just before realizing all her own momentum was wasted in the kick and she was about to know the fate that was supposed to be Shampoo's.
"Ohhh craaaap!" she just had time for one last scream before hitting the water with a big splash.
Shampoo felt a strong pain in the back as well as a brief acceleration before she crashed on the grass near the spring she was about to fell into.
(That voice ? was it Ranko? But what would she be doing there, if she's the once that pushed me?) Shampoo mind was wondering the identity of her savior while slowly getting on her feet. She noted her Grandmother standing on the other side of the pool, watching the swirl of water proving that indeed someone had just fell into the pool.
"Grandmother, what happened?" Shampoo asked her elder, slightly puzzled.
"Someone pushed you out of the way as you were about to fell into that pool. She fell in your place and looked like the girl you didn't want to kill." Explained the elder.
Cologne noted that the air bubbles that were breaking the surface of the water weren't simple air bubbles anymore, it was more like the water itself was coming close to boiling point.
"Move away Shampoo, there is something strange going on. It could be dangerous." Cologne ordered her charge, herself getting some distance between her and the bubbling water.
The boiling seamed to reach a peak then a figure emerged, radiating a shining red aura. It really was Ranko, looking like she was in great pain.
"Aaargh... this pain again... just like the separation... I fell like I'm on fire!" explained Ranko, getting out of the water before dropping on her knees. She noticed Shampoo standing near her the elder.
"H... help... me..." the redhead implored the two Amazons, then she lost her grip on her balance and fell on her face, all the while her reddish aura shining and burning more and more.
"Ranko!" screamed Shampoo, wanting to help the small japanese warrior, but stopped herself because of all the heat radiating from the redhead. "Grandmother, we must help her!"
"But isn't she the one you were to kill?" Cologne asked her, a calculating look on her face.
"Shampoo don't care! Ranko don't deserve to die like this. Kiss of Death was a mistake since Ranma was boy anyway." Shampoo shouted.
"Very well. But she'll have to settle things right as long as your honor isn't washed with marriage or blood." Cologne explained to the lavender haired Amazon. She walked as near Ranko as she could, using her own blueish aura to keep the heat from harming her.
"Ranko! I'll help you since Shampoo asked me, but for this I need you to get back on your feet!" Shouted Cologne so the words could be heard over the pain filling the redhead's mind.
"Huu... no... no prob... problem!" Ranko answered proudly, starting to brave the pain and slowly getting on all four then back on her knees.
"Catch this! It's a pill that will stop the pain! It'll buy us some more time to find a solution to this heat problem of yours." Cologne thrown a small scarlet pill to Ranko who gulped it immediately, before the heat had any chance to damage it.
"Grandmother! Wasn't it the phoenix pill?" asked Shampoo, astonished.
"That it was, but with all that heat, it was the only way to get us more time."
For a while, Ranko's aura seemed to diminish and her pain disappeared. Then the heat started to rise yet again, faster, and the scarlet aura was shining anew.
"What?" Cologne screamed. "Her pain should have stopped! What the...?" but she was interrupted in her wondering when Ranko's clothes started to burst into flames under the enormous heat generated by the redhead's body and aura. Her skin was also forming dark spots.
"Grandmother, you promised, but instead of helping her, the pill is finishing to kill her!" shouted Shampoo, her eyes watering with small tears.
"Silence! This could not have happened. The heat was not to disappear but the pill should have prevented Ranko to feel any pain from it. Sadly there is nothing more I can do for her now."
"YAaaaaAAAARGH!" Ranko screamed in pain at the flames eating her flesh. Even her great resilience had long reached it's limit and Ranko fell to the ground again, luckily for her she had lost consciousness.
The flames, having finished to burn the clothes, were burning the petite body all over, and the fire gained in amplitude, being fed by the scarlet aura still as bright.
"Shampoo, let's leave this cursed place. Your honor is safe now and you need not be punished anymore." Cologne declared to her charge, walking with heavy feet.
"Yes, Grandmother." Sadly acknowledged Shampoo, following the elder after giving a last look to the corpse finishing to be burnt to cinders, heartbroken that she couldn't help the one that prevented her to be cursed by this doomed place.
The flames finished their dark task, and as the reddish aura had winked out with the last traces of Ranko's life, the fire never lost in intensity, getting even bigger and reaching higher than the bamboo pointing out of the pools all around.
Suddenly, the charred corpse exploded literally, sending embers everywhere, as the flames grew again, their form changing in an instant to take the form of... a giant bird of fire, like the phoenix itself.
"By the ancestors." Whispered Cologne with fright while watching this.
In the flames, a shadow was drawn, taking a human figure. And as the flames were being focused around this shadow, it seemed to be hovering gently, getting closed to the ground before settling on the same spot Ranko has been.
The fire finally toning down as a simple aura encircling the body of this newcomer, letting the face appear... The one of Ranma! Save for the hair being brown and the eyes the color of blood, this man was the perfect copy of Ranma.
Taking a long breath, then letting all the air out, he talked.
"The pain is gone at last. I feel much better now... But what happened exactly?" he asked the two Amazon, puzzled.
"be calm, my boy. Tell me, do you know who you are? Are you the young girl named Ranko?" asked Cologne to the brown haired boy.
"Hu? Are you going senile, old ghoul? You just gave me your magic pill!" exclaimed the young boy, proving that he was indeed Ranko.
"Then get a look at your body, sonny boy, because you didn't noticed it yet but you're a boy again." Cologne noted for him.
"Hey! That's true! Wow... I wonder the face Ranma will do when I'll tell him, hehehe!" He cried out.
"On the other hand, you should do something for those flames that you're generating, don't you think?"
"I was beginning to wonder if I was dreaming or something. I don't feel heat... hmm let's see... hmmm..." focusing, Ranko-kun relaxed and the flames weakened until they winked out.
"Coool... but my clothes were burned good... Where the hell did I put my bag?" he wondered aloud, walking away from the Amazons, who kept him within sight.
"You are being silent, Shampoo, the sight of your husband made that much of an impression on you?" asked the smiling elder.
"Mmm... what? Husband? What is you talking about, Grandmother?" cried out Shampoo, back to reality.
"It's obvious. The girl that beat you is clearly a man in truth. So the Kiss of Death is null and void, but you should give this one the right kiss now." Cologne explained to the purple haired young girl. Shampoo's face showing understanding of this new situation... and it's consequence. A stupid grin formed on her lips while still watching the boy that was Ranko.
A few moments later, 'Ranko' walked to them, clothed again and his bag on his shoulders.
"I've been thinking some, while getting clothed, and the named I had up to now doesn't suit me anymore. Ranko is a girl name after all and I'm back to being a man, so I thought about all this. My spirit, which is the shadow of Ranma's, found it's own body, born by those flames. My name will now be Reika, the spirit of flames... Cool, ain't it ?"
"A name fitting a warrior... son-in-law." Cologne answered him, a playful smile on her lips.
"What do you mean by 'son-in-l..'" but Reika couldn't talk anymore when a pair of lips came against his own, compelling him to silence. His sight was then limited to the gentle face of Shampoo, glued to him in a passionate kiss.
When she let go of his lips, both teenagers needed some time to catch their breath back.
"Wo ai ni, Airen!" Shampoo declared without freeing him from her hug.
"Oh, I see... Kiss of Marriage, right?" Reika asked Cologne, strangely not that surprised by Shampoo's actions.
"You're right, son-in-law. And if what Shampoo told me about you and your brother is true, I'm glad to have you as my son-on-law."
"Hmmm... In a way, it's true that it was girl-Ranma, meaning ME, that beat Shampoo on your tournament . But then, Ranma and me were still one being. And I'm nothing more than the shadow of the real Ranma, I'm not a true being, if you think I am good enough for you..." Reika explained.
"You don't realize what happened to you, do you? Your old girl body
died cindered, son-in-law. The one you have now is born from the magic
of Jusenkyo that absorbed the power of the pill I gave you. That pill
was made with the blood of a phoenix. And seeing the flames you were
generating before you put them out, you gained the powers of that
pill, augmented by the magic of Jusenkyo.
If that two forces fused together to give birth to this body, then you have an unique potential, if you can learn to master it. It's the burning blood of the phoenix that is now flowing into your veins." Cologne gave him an explanation as detailed as she could.
Reika, still in the arms of his Amazon wife, had saucer-big eyes at this point, covering half his face.
(Phoenix blood? Unique potential? Girl body cindered???)
The walk to get to the Amazon village was silent as a tomb. Reika was trying to assimilate with little success what happened to him, Shampoo was already day dreaming about her coming marriage, and Cologne was thinking about the many opportunities her son-in-law had opened to him.
When they got to the entrance of the village, Cologne was bombarded with questions by the guards. All the village has been able to see the big flames that gave birth to the new Reika. The elder satisfied them with half-answer with just enough truth in it to satisfy the curiosity of the guards.
"Children, I must leave you a moment. Shampoo, look after your soon-
to-be-husband, will you?" asked cologne to her grand-daughter.
"Yes, Grandmother!"Shampoo was glad to oblige the elder, grabbing strongly Reika's arm in her owns.
Not losing more time, Cologne walked to the matriarch council, she just HAD to tell them the news.
(I'll have some trouble not to laugh when I'll see their face when I'll tell them. I have waited so long an occasion to take them completely by surprise like this! Hihihi!) cologne was nearly giggling on the way, so bad where her mental images.
Luckily for us we can only see her back while she pogo to her destination and we won't have to watch the horror of a giggling old ghoul.
(I'll have to thank my son-on-law, I'm feeling so fulfilled.) Cologne was delighted to see the effect of her little bomb.
Reactions were mixed, going from incredulity : "Impossible!", to amazement : "Incredible!", passing by sheer stupidity : "A mere male?"
"Too bad this 'mere male', as you say, is already taken, my little niece Parfum is of age too." A matriarch commented.
"Well, he still didn't react to his marriage, maybe because of his brutal transformation. I suggest we get the ceremony done right now to guaranty his belonging to the village. I have no doubt his children will inherit at least some of the gifts of the father." Cologne declared.
"It's clear that it's an opportunity we cannot let pass. Even more so, we will have several phoenix among us, unlike the phoenix people that are just plain winged bird-people." Added another matriarch.
"Let us not start to plan too far. Saffron is and remain our biggest problem. Having our own phoenix might balance the forces. But Saffron is several millennia old and really powerful in his final adult form. Reika is just a fledgling, just born of the fusion of the magic of Jusenkyo and the phoenix blood stolen from Saffron long ago, used to create phoenix pills to resist his powers some. We are not yet ready to face the phoenix." Explained Cologne.
"Then we train our fledgling, we'll prepare him so we can win in our next war against Judendo." And so it was decided.
"But all of this will be as planned, for now, we have a couple to marry!"
At the same time, Shampoo was showing off Reika to her fellow villagers, boasting his martial arts skills and made some allusions about his powers.
For the poor Reika, all was happening so fast he didn't have time to think clearly about his situation, but he couldn't find in himself the will to whine.
He was a man again, his body a personalized copy of Ranma's, the only difference being his hair and eyes colors that would easily tell them apart.
In addition, he got cool powers and a unique potential, that wouldn't keep him from training twice as hard. This gift would need to be used only as a last resort he decided, or it would be slowing down his overall progression if he used it too much.
Add to this he was about to marry the girl he had in his heart and he was nearly sure he was already falling hard for her. This feeling was too strong for it to be anything but Love anyway, with a capital L.
Therefore, his mood could hardly get anymore up when Cologne announced the preparation for the marriage, the ceremony being held the same day at dusk. Shampoo could not keep her joy contained and hugged him with all her might, but her beloved surprised her when he returned the embrace with as much enthusiasm than her.
"Wo ai ni, Aiden!" Shampoo declared to her love in a sugary voice.
"Shampoo, I'm not yet quite sure but I think... I love you too." He answered to her declaration in a whisper.
Surprised by his own declaration, Shampoo moved to be able to see Reika's face, and the raw emotions she could read in his eyes told her all she had to know. She went for a hot kiss and was pleased when Reika was returning it fully.
The couple was paying little attention to the acclamations of their audience... until they started to seriously need some fresh air. When they saw they were the main attraction of the village, they blushed so much they'd have melted if you could.
Amazons have humble lives and focus their strength in martial arts. So, events like a tournament... or a marriage, were greatly appreciated and celebrated all night long.
Reika having little need of preparations for the marriage, he was mostly left alone while Shampoo was finalizing the small details.
Not knowing what else to do, left alone in Shampoo's room, he focused in discovering the 'how' of his flame powers. But no matter the degree of focusing, no flame nor rise of heat grated his efforts.
Far from being downcast, he continued to try to get his powers to work, with not a single sign of breakthrough. At the end of the day, Reika had at least learned how to work his usual battle aura, and could call it up at will without having to be under combat stress.
He noted with satisfaction that this aura at it's peak was indeed generating some heat, it only was a few degree yet but it still was something done today, he would soon improve over it.
On the other hand, his rebirth didn't have only good points for his body. Even if he didn't really feel the difference despite his obvious change of gender, he had lost the boost in speed that his girl body had, but without gaining back the greater strength he used to have as Ranma. When compared to Ranma, he'd be a little bit weaker but would have his flame powers when he'd have mastered them.
Suddenly realizing the day was nearly over and the ceremony was starting soon, his state of nerves went from calm to red alert, but it really reached it's peak when he heard someone knock on the door.
"Good evening, son-in-law, I hope you didn't change your mind because the ceremony is about to start, we only miss the groom." Cologne told him, clothed in a robe that seemed more fitting for 'official' Amazon business, but on someone that short, you could never tell.
'Different' would be a good term to qualify an Amazon marriage. The situation was from the start somewhat reversed, Amazons have a matriarchal society after all, so it was Shampoo that was waiting at the altar and Reika that would be walking up to her. Shampoo was dressed up in her best combat armor, a mix of pink and purple with some figures engraved in gold representing dragons and tigers fighting. She was also armed with her favorites weapons, the bomboris.
Reika was able to conserve his usual clothes, giving him a warrior look that was greatly appreciated by the Amazons, and was armed with Shampoo's sword. Even if he was a girl and still a part of Ranma, the Amazons remembered well the petite redhead that had defeated their champion in the last tournament and his casual clothes helped them connect the redhead to the groom. It was Cologne that walked him up to the bride, since he had no family anywhere near Amazon lands.
The vows where mainly the same he had heard about, with some addition of belonging to the Amazons and a more pronounced promise of mutual protection. Instead of rings, the couple had to exchange their weapons as a proof of trust, but the closure was the same ritual 'kiss the bride'.
The celebration lasted far in the night, following a rather long meal with all the village attending. The young couple had to excuse themselves when Shampoo left the party, dragging her husband to her home to consummate the marriage, no longer willing to wait anymore, making smile a large part of the guests, Cologne being one of them.
(Ah to be young again) she chuckled mentally
A lone shadow found it's way to the village, illuminated by a new day's dawn. Being himself an Amazon, he was not disturbed by the guards, too tired from the celebration to talk to a mere male.
And so he wasn't enlightened about the previous day's events. He could see that there must have been some hell of a party, a marriage even if the decorations were right, but nothing could tip him about the couple that had been married. He only got that piece of information when he got home. His reaction to the news would be heard in all the village.
When Cologne heard the scream, she knew whose voice it was so she didn't lose any time and went to wake up the newlyweds.
(Why had this fool to come back from his training so soon? A few more day would have been enough for us not to be here at his return.) Cologne lamented while hitting on Shampoo's bedroom door.
"Shampoo! Reika! Wake up, we are going to have some visit in little time!" she shouted to force them to wake up.
"Hmmm... what's happening?" wondered a sleepy Shampoo.
"Mousse just came back from his trip!" Cologne informed her grand-
"WHAT! Already?" Shampoo's voice didn't have any ounce of sleep in it anymore. Cologne heard the couple putting on some clothes in a hurry. The door opened to reveal Shampoo clad only in Reika's red shirt not even half buttoned up.
"He just learned about your marriage and all the village must have heard his reaction to it. Wake up your husband for he'll have to fight for his life in the minutes to come." Cologne explained,
"No need, I'm already up". Reika announced, he was wearing only his black kung-fu pants. "Who's this Mousse?" he asked with a dark glare.
"A poor fool that had been pursuing Shampoo since they were two years old. No matter of much she refuse him, he never give up.
"He's going to try and kill me because I stole "his" place I suppose? I'm not scared!" Reika announced , focusing his rage in his aura in hope to wake up his latent power.
"WHERE IS HE?" they heard the shout from just outside the house's door.
"I am here!" Reika said loud to catch the aggressor's attention while opening the door, "and for what Cologne said to me, you're not welcome here".
"YOU DARE? AFTER STEALING MY LOVE WHILE I WASN'T EVEN HERE? YOU HAVE NO HONOR! PREPARE TO DIE!" Mousse howled just before launching several chain attacks.
Seeing that Shampoo might be hit if he dodged the incoming chains, Reika didn't move and used his aura to block most of the damages. Some chains encircled both his arms, another caught him around the waist and a last captured his left thigh. The pressure from the chains was hurting him some but it was bearable, the small cut he got on his right hand while deviating a blade was more annoying.
"You think Shampoo would have married me if she loved you ? You look like a moron I met in Japan, you're dreaming while waked up!" said Reika, diverting his opponent's attention while Shampoo moved away?
"Shampoo is mine! I'll never leave her with ANYONE ELSE! I'll kill you and then she'll be mine!" Mousse shouted, his whole body trembling with rage and hate.
"You call that love? I call that obsession! And she'll never be yours even if I were to die today. You are already too late!" Reika taunted, even knowing Mousse emotional state, himself hating this sort of reasoning.
"WHAT? YOU TAINTED HER? DIIIIEEEEE!" Mousse just went over the top and rained down on Reika chain after chain, all attached to blades and others nasty pointy weapons.
It was what the young phoenix was waiting for, he jumped over the attack then on the roof of the house where he'd have all the mobility needed to evade his enemy projectiles,
"YOU FLEE? COWARD!"
"Pfff... there is nothing cowardly to put yourself in a better position. I'm not the sort to let myself be nailed to the wall without fighting back!" Reika retorted, his aura starting to burn around him.
"No matter, today is the last day or your life!"
"I died yesterday already, gimme a break!" (Damn, It'll be difficult to get in close to land some hits, I need to find something.)
"Then I'll just have to send you back in hell!"
The fight started anew but Reika didn't have the mobility he needed, still attached to his attacker with the chains wrapped around him. But even restricted like he was, Reika was impossible to hit for the blind martial artist. Mousse seeing this, he attached his side of the chains here and there to block Reika, the spots were easy to find even with his lack of sight, he had grown in this village, a chimney here, the well there and Reika lost most of his freedom.
Reika knew he'd have no pain no free himself, provided he could focus a few seconds on breaking lose. Pity he didn't have them since it was just what Mousse needed.
Reika didn't even had time to feel pain when a sword went through his body, no missing piercing his heart. His head dropped like a puppet with it's string cut. Blood was running down his torso and his back.
"NOOOOOO!" shouted Shampoo, exiting the house and running toward her husband, herself surprised by the grief she was feeling. She turned her emotions over the culprit, never ever before had she felt so much hatred in her life.
"YOU MONSTER!" she screamed, ready to pounce on Mousse and have him suffer the same fate but she was stopped by Cologne's shout.
"Wait! Look at Reika! His aura didn't disappeared, it's getting stronger even, like yesterday." Cologne noticed the way the aura seemed to grow hotter by the shimmering glow. (Will this boy always surprise me like so?)
"Im... Impossible! I pierced his heart, he should be dead already!" Mousse moaned, not understanding the present situation.
"Sorry to disappoint you. You should have done your homework before rushing head down." Reika's said, slowly raising his head back up. With a swift move, he broke the chains pinning him, their resistance diminished by the strong heat he was radiating.
Afraid by the way things were turning down on him, Mousse moved back a little. The sword, still in his hand, worsened Reika's wound on it's way out, increasing much the blood flow.
"you're afraid? Good. You really shouldn't have tried to kill me. But people like you are always too sure of themselves. You don't even think about failure. But it's Game Over." Reika declared, his aura burning more and more until his blood itself ignited.
The flames grew until they absorbed his aura and burned all around Reika, giving him an even more menacing look.
"I can't really let you go unscathed, we wouldn't be there if it wasn't for your obsession to attack your betters!"
Raising his wounded right hand, he focused all his aura and fed it his anger toward his aggressor. The flames on his hand increased in intensity before taking a new form easily recognizable as a bird.
"It appears that I may have as much potential as one of you Amazons worst enemy. And I seems to be starting to catch how my abilities work. Taste my power! Fly, bird of fire, FLY!" Reika shouted those last words, projecting his flames on Mousse who didn't even know how to react and was caught in the attack dead on.
Mousse was projected over fifty feet, his clothes were incinerated and most of his skin was heavily burned. He survived the attack nonetheless but his near future was more than uncertain.
Reika, having made proof of his powers in front of all the villagers that were waked up by the fight, calmed down some now that his opponent was down for good. The flames dancing around him disappeared when his aura died down.
His wounds, still bleeding some, had started to cauterize with all the heat. In spite of his still pierced heart, he didn't seem to hurt all that much.
"Son-in-Law!" Cologne called him, approaching him. "How are you feeling? With a would like this you should already be dead!"
"I know. I thought it was the end when the blade went through my body." Reika acknowledged.
"You're alive, I'm so happy!" shouted Shampoo while jumping in his arms, locking hers around his neck, forgetting his still bleeding wounds.
"Gently, Shampoo, I'd better take a look at those nasty cuts I have there." Reika told her, holding her by the shoulders and slowly getting her to back off. He turned toward Cologne, his balance starting to fail him.
"At this rhythm, I'll soon be out of blood. You know something that could be of any help?" he asked his now Grandmother-in-law.
"Of course, son-in-law. Follow me inside, I think we lost too much time already!" She hurried in her home, followed by the newlyweds, Shampoo helping her husband to walk straight,
End Chapter 3
ok, sorry for the long waiting guys, having a job + playing great MMORPG can sure drain someone of all his time lol
I'm still unsure on how much time I'll be able to put into writing but I sure hope to not have to wait 6 months this time...
If anyone want to help me proof my writing on grammar, she/he would be more than welcome since my word processor can only correct spelling, and since I'm French, english grammar is out of my league hihihi
good news for those that loved my other story Cursed Gift (Xmen/ranma
cross), I might have some idea on how to continue it some but only
time and writing will tell us how long it can be, now the problem will
be : where do I make chapter 1 start lol 1/ ranma training in the
danger room, 2/ ranma arriving at xavier's school and meeting
everybody, 3/ xavier coming at the Tendo's place to explain why he
want ranma to his school .
plenty possibilities and "there can be only one" that'll be written, sad ain't it :p
don't hesitate to mail me your thought or contact me on msn, I'll be glad to take some time to chat ;)