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: The characters aren't mine but the plot is. Read the disclaimer in part one for more info.
This is only a partial chapter to tell people that YES I am still alive and occasionally writing. More to come soon.
Despite what he'd decided to not do the previous day, Ranma found himself outside his fourth Shinto shrine that day. Nakamura had gone above and beyond his expectations. The list he'd provided had actually contained quite a few shrines that weren't in the ward but had actually bordered it quite closely. Some had actually been closer to the center of the ward than this shrine was. So when making his way through the list he'd hit several of those first in the hopes of finding something. Sadly though nothing had come from it and most of the day had been wasted in trying to make sure that no one could follow him around town exposing a possible route in discovering the Sailor Mars' identity.
He was almost beginning to think that this whole idea was doomed to failure. His encounter with Sailor Pluto the day prior had given him a very good indication that even if the people were right in front of him he might not realize it. There had been so many factors in him figuring out that she had been one of the senshi and the lack of any one of them might hide their identity. It was his hope at any rate. The only one he really had until he figured a way to warn the rest of them himself. Pluto might warn her fellows but everything he'd seen when the first assassination attempt occurred pointed towards... Hell, Ranma didn't have any idea what it pointed towards. Sailor Pluto was the ultimate wild card. She was mysterious as hell and all that the people he'd assigned to dig up information on the senshi had been able to find out for sure was that she had to be powerful as all hell but seemed unable or unwilling to use it. Which completely went against what he himself had seen previously. Just thinking about it was guaranteed to give him a headache.
Twitching his wrist he popped a pack of cigarettes out of his personal stuffspace. He leaned against outer wall of the shrine and flicked the bottom of the pack with his thumb sending one of the Sakura longs into the air and into his mouth. There wasn't any other movement on his part except putting the pack back where he'd gotten it from, the cigarette seeming to light itself. It was probably a little disrespectful to be smoking there, but with the day he'd already had it was all he could do to keep from screaming in frustration. Most of the people at the shrines weren't all that willing to talk to him because of how he was dressed. As part of his camouflage he was wearing very cheap black suit and the standard pair of sunglasses that seemed to be part of the public's image of a yakuza thug. Still he'd at least not gotten hassled for smoking by the cops in the various kobans throughout the neighborhoods. None of the yakuza in any of the kobans he'd passed had given any indication that they'd recognized him as anything other than a low level errand runner like themselves. At least Mizuno's compromise was still holding.
"Just what do you think you're doing smoking here?" Of course that didn't stop him from getting yelled at by the various shrine maidens at the shrines he'd been visiting. It looked like this one wasn't going to be any different than the others in that respect at least.
"Did you hear me? Get a move on." The black haired shrine maiden was carrying a broom and shaking it threateningly at him. Looking at her he could tell she was fairly average for a shrine maiden except for maybe a higher level of chi ability than most. She was probably one of the more traditional maidens then.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm moving along." Ranma stood from his position against the wall and stretched his body out. The cigarette was mostly out anyway. Which reminded him that he needed to have someone in Kagoshima send a few more cartons his way. He was almost out and it looked like he'd be going though the ones he still had at a much faster rate than normal. Maybe he could have someone pick up some pewter ware for his mother. She'd probably like it. He flicked his cigarette butt away ignoring the girl's protest because it'd vaporized practically the second it'd left his hand.
He pulled out his phone. "Get me Mizuno. I don't care what he's doing right now. I need to know what the hell he's found out while I've been chasing my fucking tail out here!" Ranma knew he was letting his frustration at the situation poor onto the guy who'd made the mistake of answering the phone, but he really didn't care anymore. He was sick and tired of trying to play by the rules. He'd told the yakuza of Japan what would happen if certain people were harmed. They'd only obeyed after the old oyabun in charge of his group had decided to hang himself. From the latticework above the Tokyo Tower's upper observation area. Of course it'd taken them a full day to figure out how to get him down.
A voice coming over the phone got his attention. "Mizuno, send a car to pick me up at the koban closest to the," he looked down at his sheet of paper, "Hikawa Shrine. I need a better suit too. Make sure that whoever is in the car knows everything we know about what's going on with respect to our investigation into who put the bounties on the senshi." Ranma paused. "On second thought, I need some work clothes. A grey turtleneck and black jeans with some designer sunglasses. I also want all the information about anyone who's in town that might want to collect on the bounties. It's time I start reinforcing the object lesson I started after..." Ranma's mind flashed to the night that ended up changing his life.
It was really all so stupid. Yumika hadn't even been targeting the yakuza. In fact she'd only roughed up two punks who'd gone beyond what they were allowed to do by trying to increase their protection fees without the oyabun's permission or knowledge. That's not what they'd told him though. So when next Yumika had been in the area and defeated the latest monster to grace the neighborhood, a well dressed businessman had bowed to her in thanks and then shoved his knife into her stomach. She'd fled but was still somewhat disoriented from a blow to the head she'd taken earlier. And so it was that she had ended up in the alley behind the cafe she was supposed to meet her boyfriend at a few hours later. He found her there lying in the slowly growing pool of blood just in time to cradle her in his arms as she closed her eyes for the last time, with his name and words of love on her lips as she died.
All of the people who knew were quite frankly terrified of Ranma about then. He'd told those in Nerima that he was going on a long training trip. He'd expected a fight. He'd wanted a fight. Wanted it so badly that nothing else would satisfy the hunger he had to drive his fists into the flesh of opponents trying to kill him. But he'd not gotten what he'd wanted in Nerima. An unlikely person had stepped in between him and those who'd intended to stop him or follow him. Happosai had drawn himself up to his full height and flat out told everyone that they'd have to go through him first before they approached Ranma. He didn't say a word beyond that but the look he gave all of those assembled chilled the very blood in their veins. It was rare, but it was looks like those that reminded people that Happosai was the Grandmaster of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts in deed as well as in name. As Ranma left that day he'd felt a piece of paper being slipped into his pocket. When he checked it hours later in the heart of Tokyo it had only the name of a bar written on it next to the lineage path of one Ono Yumika. A lineage that included a surprising name about seven generations previous in the form of Happo Sai.