By Tangent

No prereaders

DISCLAIMER: 'Ranma ? and all characters therein belong to Rumiko Takahashi,
Shogagukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. This fanfict has been produced for my own enjoyment and to pass on without profit. Other characters that come into play in this fanfict may or may not be pulled from other sources (including other fanficts, RPGs, manga, anime, literature, or possibly even GASP American comic books!).

Authors Note: I recently found this on one of my back-up CDs. I doubt I'll continue it, as I've pretty much moved out of my angst phase (and could never maintain it for very long even then). If I ever do continue it, I imagine that it would go along similar lines to Misshapen Destiny, only without the Sailor Moon elements or the Genma bashing.


I suppose that Ranma... could have... gone on, had he been willing to live with just turning into a girl upon contact with cold water. But who could blame him, really? After all, he had been raised since early childhood to be a "man among men", whatever the hell that meant. If you were suddenly cursed to become the physical opposite of what your only parental guidance has raised you to be, wouldn't you jump at a chance at a cure offered the very same day?

Wouldn't you?

It had seemed innocent enough to him at the time.

Instructions hidden in one of the books in the guide's hut were straight foreword and easy to follow. Simply gather some of the grasses growing in and around the spring which cursed you in the first place, as well as some of the actual water. Use these to prepare tea, of which a cup or two will be ingested, while the rest is poured over you before it becomes cool. Be sure to do so while in your true form so as to avoid locking yourself in your cursed form. The inherent contradiction involved with becoming exposed to the heated cursed water is supposed to strain the curse to the point that there would be a one in six chance of it breaking.

Well, something broke all right... For a moment, nothing appeared to have happened, and Ranma allowed himself to hope that the cure had taken effect. Then the pain set in. Do you know what it feels like to have your skeleton slowly contract and reconfigure itself while your muscles and tendons shift this way and that? Or how about the all consuming agony of literally knowing where each and every nerve ending in your body is, inside and out, as they too undergo the same dramatic change?. A change that seems to last forever, although I'm told that it was still relatively quick, actually lasting only moments longer that what would have been usual for the curse.

Ranma Saotome died right then, whether he... I... knew it at the time or not. I am... was... Ranma Saotome, heir to the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, Saotome Ryu.
This is my story...

Excerpted from the journals of Ranko Saotome.



Genma Saotome ran as fast as possible, following the trail pointed out to him by the Guide of Jusenkyo.
Cradled in his arms was the convulsing body of what had been his son, Ranma, who only moments before had attempted to cure himself of the Nyanniichuan using the method described in the book the Guide had found. A book that the Guide had tucked into Genma's gi as he was giving directions to the distraught parent, so that the Elders of Joketsuzoku, the closest of the neighboring villages, could look at it, to see what had gone wrong...

Of course the Guide had no reasonable expectation of keeping up with Genma, even as burdened as the man was. As bulky as the man was, a lot of it was merely the muscle acquired from a lifetime of hard training, as opposed to fat. And what fat Genma did have helped to sustain his muscles on this grueling test of his endurance,
as he raced against time to get Ranma to someone who could treat her effectively.

What minor obstacles that cropped up in Genma's mad dash for his child's salvation were simply bypassed with a leap, or bowled over as the desperate man ran past...


Ryoga got up from the vaguely Ryoga-shaped impression in the path, turning to glare at the running man who had boweled him over and trampled him in passing. The dusty mark of the man's foot could clearly be seen on the front of Ryoga's black muscle-shirt. As the eternally lost boy shook his head to clear it, he remembered where he had seen the man before.

"That was Ranma's father..." Ryoga murmured. "That means that the person he was carrying had to have been Ranma!" Ryoga quickly snatched up his pack from where it had fallen, and casually carried its bulky weight as he took off after the man while he was still within sight.

"Damn you, Ranma!" Ryoga shouted after the retreating figures. "How dare you get hurt before we settle our duel!?"


Genma looked up from where he sat waiting for news of Ranma's recovery. Cologne could see the desperation and worry on the man's face quite clearly, just as she knew that he had no idea that he had interrupted the annual tournament that determined the ranking of the unmarried women of the village. Not that he wouldn't be forgiven for it as a matter of form, due to the reason for it. A parent could be forgiven of much when their child's life was in danger. And it wasn't as if the tournament couldn't be started over again in another week or so.

"My boy..." Genma started shakily. "Is he... is he going to be all right?"

"The girl will live, if that is what you mean," Cologne responded. "Our best healers have pretty much stabilized the flow of her ki, and are now treating the other signs of trauma from her ordeal. It is believed that she will regain full physical health by tomorrow evening."

"Full physical health," Genma mumbled as he stared at the floor. "Will he... will he be able to change back into my son?" he asked, looking back up at the small elderly woman.

Cologne shook her head. "I will not lie to you. It is doubtful that the girl will ever be able to safely change forms again, if she is even still able to. This is the worst case of transformation shock that I have personally ever seen in my long life, although I have read about worse cases. If she can still assume her birth form, it will most likely be with the use of water hotter than that used in that so called cure from the book the Guide had given you. Even then, it is likely that your son will slowly change back into a woman."

"My son..." Genma stared at the ground bleakly.

"The cure in the book could have worked," Cologne assured the man in order to assuage his guilt. "There was, indeed a one in six chance of that particular remedy would have broken the curse. Unfortunately, the book was an older copy, made before the other risks of that cure were discovered. For, while one in six are indeed cured of the curse of Jusenkyo, one in twenty are bonded to the curse at a potency of tenfold or greater, and may never take their birth forms again in their lives. Perhaps even beyond, for that matter. That is where the transformation shock comes from - the spirit recognizes the loss of the body's birth form, and tries to reject the change. Unfortunately, the stronger the spirit, the worse the transformation shock is, for a strong spirit will fight to near death in its attempt to throw off the curse."

Genma continued to stare blankly at the ground, the fact that the book had been out of date hardly comforting him in the least.

Cologne took pity on the hopelessness exhibited in the man's voice and posture.

"There may be a way to unlock the curse, and permit the girl to safely return to her birth form, but it will not be easily acquired.
And it might not have any effect at all, for that matter."

"Anything," Genma replied with some force, as he grasped at even this qualified ember of hope. "Any chance for my son to be restored, no matter how small! I must know!"

"Long ago," Cologne explained, "there had been a fierce people in this region known as the Musk Dynasty. While they were indeed great warriors, forsaking all comfort while growing up, just so that they may train from the very beginning to be the best, they tried too hard to emulate the animals upon which their fighting styles were based. For they had come into the practice of fighting those very animals, and then using the cursed springs of Jusenkyo to turn the defeated animals into their wives, so that the fierce traits that they admired would be passed on to the following generations. In some instances,
even particularly powerful foes who were allready human were treated to the Nyanniichuan, although such cases were very rare."

Genma felt somewhat queasy about the notion being described to him. "That's... That's..."

"Ancient history," Cologne interrupted. "The Musk Dynasty is no more, as far as anyone can tell these days, and good riddance to them I say. They were a bloody nuisance to everyone in the whole region, especially once there warriors got far enough along in their training that they were permitted to think of women at long last. In three thousand years of Nichieju history, most of our vaunted fighting techniques were invented in order to fend off abductions by the Musk Dynasty!" Cologne stopped for a moment to calm herself. As much pride as she rightfully took in her peoples warrior heritage, she disliked remembering how they came to such dauntless and skilled fighters.

"Umm..." Genma hesitated. "You were the one to bring them up..."

"So I did," the elderly matriarch acknowledged. "So I did. In any event, they eventually made two mystic artifacts to aid them in their use of Jusenkyo. One, really a set of objects, was comprised of a bucket and ladle that could lock any Jusenkyo-cursed being ladled with water from the bucket in their cursed forms. The other was made after the fact, when it became apparent to even them that they needed something to unlock a curse again should an accident occur. It is the Open Water Kettle, or Kaisuifuu."

"This kettle will cure my son?" Genma asked.

"There is a small chance that it may unlock your son's curse,
even though the circumstances of this lock are different." Cologne equivocated. "In any event, using the Kaisuifuu, should you be able to find it, won't further harm the child as the failed 'cure' from the book had."

"Where might I find this kettle?"

"Somewhere in Japan, on a mountain with a natural formation that resembles a tea kettle. That's all I know. It has changed hands over the years, and many of the details of it's journey have grown obscure. It may have even been moved since the last account I knew about."

"I see..." Genma mumbled, contemplating the problem...


Shampoo brushed scarlet bangs back from the forehead of the village's ill guest. Part of her wanted to be angry with the girl for interrupting the tournament when it looked as if she had a serious chance of making it all the way to village champion. With another week or two to train, some of those who had made a poor showing before were going to be harder to defeat in the rescheduled event.

Even so, the strange girl had been deathly ill from what the village elders called transformation shock. Apparently, she had been a boy before, and something had happened at Jusenkyo which changed her into what she was now, with no way for the new girl to regain her old gender. Shampoo could not bring herself to hate the target of such cruel misfortune.

There was talk, of course, of how to help the girl adjust to her new form. Much of it having to do with carefully easing her transition into her new life. Shampoo favored more blunt tactics though, and was all for immersing the girl into her new life so fast that she didn't have time to think of what she had lost. Warrior training would be just the thing of course. Nothing quite drove out other conserns like hard training. That tactic worked well enough for Shampoo when she didn't want to be bothered by Mousse, which was damn near all the time.

Wait just a moment! This might just be the opportunity that Shampoo had been waiting for! She could get Mousse to occupy himself with befriending the girl, thus getting him out of her hair for a while. Better yet would be if she could somehow arrange things so that Mousse and the girl hit it off and got married, taking Mousse out of her life for good! Now how to do it...

Ranma shivered in her fevered sleep. Perhaps in premonition of times to come...


To be continued?