Twists

A Ranma ½ Fanfiction

By Prospero Hibiki

The Grandmaster Mongoose

God of Misdirection, Caffeine, and Those Socks You Lost Last Tuesday

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Disclaimer:

This is fanfiction. That being said I am just a guy that is trying to have some fun writing during some of my very limited time off. I mean no disrespect to the characters or to their owners and creators. As it is I'm not making any money off of these characters and any character that you don't recognize from Takahashi Rumiko's Ranma ½ series is mine. And the truly sad thing is I'm not even making money off of them.

o.o

It wasn't an ordinary day. But then again that had been true for so very long that Ranma would have had a hard time saying what an ordinary day really was. He did know though that this one definitely wasn't. If asked, those that considered themselves closest to Ranma would have had a very hard time identifying the one thing that truly made the day unusual. Instead they'd probably mention a few really small signs that indicated it was strange. Sadly not one of those things would be the underlying cause. Because none of the people present in Nerima knew quite as much about the martial artist as they thought they did.

With that said the main reason these others would think that things were unusual was indeed connected to the real reason. Everyone else thought that it was strange that no one could find Ranma at any of his usual haunts. There were also a rather large number of visitors practicing esoteric martial arts in the area so none really thought it that far from the norm. Ranma would undoubtedly show up in a few hours with another few tricks in his arsenal that he would never really use again because they were embarrassing or just that impractical. After all, how often would someone really use things like Martial Arts Computer Programming, Martial Arts Archaeology, or Martial Arts Yachting? So, while people thought it strange he couldn't be found, none were worried or indeed looking all that hard. Nerima was a rather large ward in and of itself and there was no guarantee that he'd not strayed into some other part of Tokyo.

As things stood, Ranma was indeed not inside Nerima. He'd noticed right away the proliferation of marital artists in the area and had actually talked to several of them about their specialties. It was after talking to the first one that he knew what was up. Not only did they happily display their various schools' techniques they also provided copies of their teaching scrolls. It was an almost unprecedented act. Almost. After spending an hour collecting scrolls, because new techniques were still a good investment of time, Ranma slipped into the backdoor of a small sushi bar that was tucked away down a side street and practically invisible from the main road. Just as he'd known it would be there was a person waiting for him who showed him into a private room. Inside already laid out was a rather sumptuous banquet containing all of his favorite dishes. Sitting down on the provided pillow he picked up the set of jade chopsticks and proceeded to eat ignoring the men gathered on the other side of the table.

After nearly ten minutes of silence, during which Ranma continued to eat at a rather slow pace, he finally set down the chopsticks and spoke. "You've all been warned away from contacting me at times not of my choosing." The five men in business suits flinched as one. "I shall assume that because all five of you know this fact that the reason for this meeting is something that you feel is important." One of the men started to speak but Ranma cut him off with a sharp chop of his hand. The man looked like he was about to have a heart attack when the motion was concluded. "At this point in time it is important that you listen and not speak except to answer my direct questions. Do you understand me?"

The men all looked at each other and the man who had attempted to speak earlier nodded. "We understand and shall obey, Ranma-sama."

"Good." Turning his attention back to the food he resumed eating. "Now I wish for you to tell me the reason that you feel you are allowed to bother me in this manner. And be brief and to the point."

The spokesman of the group visibly collected himself before he started to speak. "It has come to our attention that someone of great wealth has placed a rather large bounty on the heads of those known as the Sailor Senshi. As this is something that goes directly against your policy of forced noninterference with certain groups we thought it was prudent to bring it to your attention. Our own people have already begun to investigate this matter and I have their results to date with me."

Ranma was no longer eating and had set down his chopsticks. Instead he had picked up a small cup filled with tea. His feelings would have been impossible to read from his face, but that was not necessary. All anyone required to determine his thoughts on the matter would have needed was to see the cup shatter in his hands and a perfectly shaped block of frozen tea hit the table. His voice when he spoke was filled with the bitter biting cold of an Arctic winter night. "Who?"

"We do not yet know. They have gone to great lengths to conceal their identity. The bounty was announced via a webpage whose address was mass e-mailed to the addresses of every known criminal organization as well as a list of the foremost assassins in the world. Whoever chose to do so was quite thorough and even sent several copies to several people that are currently dead. The webpage listed the terms of the bounty and directed any queries to an escrow company located inside a small country in the Caribbean. They have indeed confirmed the bounty amount has been placed inside an account there."

Ranma shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "How much was this bounty?"

"Ten million pounds for each of the senshi with an additional five million each for Tuxedo Kamen and Chibi-Moon. All told one hundred million pounds."

Quirking an eyebrow Ranma asked the question that immediately came to mind. "Why pounds? I'd think that yen would be a better choice."

"The British pound is the money of choice for the escrow company in question."

"I take it that my wishes in this matter have been explained to those organizations that we have contact with." Seeing their nods he continued. "And the response?"

"Ranma-sama, as you know the other oyabuns have never liked your ultimatum that certain people are to remain untouched or even avoided. They only agreed because of your threat to hunt down every member of their organizations, bring their buildings crashing to the ground, and sow the ground with salt. Were this a lesser amount they would perhaps obey our direction. As it stands in this they see an opportunity to look the other way while some member of their organization 'acts independently' and collects this bounty."

"I see." With a deep breath he asked the question he'd been afraid to ask since first hearing of the situation. "What of our own organization? Where do they stand?"

"They stand with you, Ranma-sama. We have devoted all of our information gathering abilities to determining the source of the bounty and have suspended all normal operations in Juuban. We have so informed the police force in the Minato ward as well as apprising them of the threat. The local police commissioner was doubtful of our intentions but was personally visited by our highest ranking man in the area and assured of our truthfulness. As such we now have at least one man stationed at every police koban at all times to better help us detect attempts to collect."

Ranma could only stare in shock. "What? I can't believe it. It's even more than I would have ordered. Who ordered these actions taken? And why?"

"Our man in Juuban ordered these actions taken within minutes of being informed of the bounty. As for the reason, he claims that he owes the senshi for saving the life of his daughter when she was caught in a monster attack. We've since investigated this claim and have determined that he is telling the truth. Apparently his daughter was trapped under some rubble when a monster smashed through the local mall. The senshi lured the monster away and destroyed it before going back and clearing away the debris. His daughter emerged and credited the senshi with pulling her out."

There was a long pause while Ranma thought over the information he'd so far received. "Is it your belief that the man can be trusted?" It was a much more complex question than one might actually think. As with any organization there were varied levels of trust. But in criminal organizations it was almost a given that the answer was no. Everyone kept things to themselves. Everyone skimmed a little off the top. It was expected, even accepted as part of doing business.

"Without a single doubt." The answer was so prompt that Ranma had to arch an eyebrow. "Our man loves his daughter more than anything on this planet. He would literally do anything for her. Someone once took a picture of her and tried to use threats against her as a means of leverage over him. Five days later pieces of the photographer were delivered in shoeboxes to each of the lieutenants of his blackmailer. They never found the blackmailer. So, when we say that this man can be trusted to look out for the best interests of the girls who saved his daughter's life we are sure."

There would have been a time in the past when hearing of someone's grizzly murder would have shocked him, even disgusted him. Those days were long past. He had had to accept, that when dealing with these people, that the rules were different. And to some extent he understood. If someone had attacked someone he loved he would have felt the same way. In fact that was what had instigated this whole situation in the first place.

The old bitter pain rose in his mind and he desperately pushed it down again with the Soul of Ice technique. He couldn't afford to show weakness before these men. They were scared of him now, but that might someday change. When that time came he couldn't afford to have given them any more information to be used against him.

Turning back to them he spoke. "I see no reason at this time to change the things we are reacting to this situation. Should our people discover information about those responsible for this...bounty," Ranma practically spit out the word, "I wish to be informed by having that information placed in my usual dead drop." I faced the man who had been the spokesman so far. "I am quite pleased that you have all risked my wrath to bring this matter to my attention. Should you become aware of a situation that one of the senshi is in danger and I am unable to be informed of it in time, I expect the utmost effort by those under my command in protecting her. This is my command." There was a brief pause. "I shall go to Juuban myself as soon as I can. I should be able to do the most good there in person."

"Yes, oyabun. We shall have a place set aside for you there."

Ranma nodded and stood up. The meeting was over and staying much longer would put things at risk. There were just too many ways for this to explode in his face. Some of which were too literal for his comfort. As he was about to step through the door though he had a thought.

"What is the name of our man in Juuban? I'd like to be able to meet him on my own without his preparing for such."

"His name is Mizuno, Ranma-sama."