Insert standard disclaimer here. You know how it goes. We do not own the characters involved, they belong to the creators we so lovingly stole them from.
Here it is again, now revised to remove and change several things we felt were terrible the first time around. This time, it should be a lot better, and more in character.
However, I do feel the need to make an announcement to the readers who are the type that despise 'Ranma goes all girl' fics. Go get a sandwich and find something else to read, cause this fic is not for you. Ranma doesn't go all girl here, but he does become equally comfortable in either form, and spends an awful lot of his time in girl form. If you don't like the sound of that, you won't enjoy this fic, so you might as well save yourself some time.
So, without further ado,
Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru Ranma...Hajimarimasu.
"Damn you Saotome!" Yelled a large man as he sprinted after a quickly rolling yatai. "How could you betray me like this!"
"Sorry Kuonji, but I can't take some sickly girl on this kind of journey, she'd only get in the way." The bald man pulling the cart stated, trying his best to accelerate him and the cart away from his pursuer. "By the way, thanks for the yatai. It'll really come in handy!"
"Damn it Saotome! Get back here!" The chasing okonomiyaki chef demanded. On top of the cart a six year old boy waved at the man chasing, an innocent smile adorning his face.
"Bye Mr. Kuonji! It was fun!" The boy exclaimed, sticking out his tongue at the chef. The man only growled and continued his running, but soon realized the distance between him and his target was growing greater. Damn, that Saotome was really good at running.
"I'm gonna kill you! When I get my hands on you, Saotome, I'm gonna carve your eyes out with my rusty spatulas! Do you hear me? I'm gonna shove a burner up your ass and raw batter down your throat and use your stomach as my new grill!" He yelled, before he slowed down to a stop. He couldn't chase after the man forever, after all, he had a sick daughter that needed his support. That was far more important. Though he did make a mental note to write those threats down when he got back. Didn't want to forget his promises, unlike some people.
Speaking of some people, Genma Saotome grinned when he realized he was no longer being chased. Always a good sign when someone gave up after they had lost. Now all that was left was to escape to someplace where he couldn't easily be found...just in case.
"Why did Mr. Kuonji sound so angry?" Ranma asked from the top of the cart, looking over the side at his father. Genma just laughed nervously, still running with the cart.
"No reason, boy! He was just playing around!" He replied. At least, Genma hoped he was playing around. A mental image of the Kuonji man standing over his torn open corpse, cooking okonomiyaki on his innards suddenly popped into his head, though he quickly shook that thought off.
"Say, boy, how does the beach sound to you? We can get lots of training by swimming!" Genma said, leaving out the 'all the way to china' part. He doubted Kuonji was that determined. He probably wouldn't get very far with that sickly daughter of his anyway.
"Sure thing, pop!" Ranma replied, before turning his head back the way they came. He briefly wondered what his new friend Ucchan was doing, just before his house disappeared behind a hill.
JSB & Ryo-Wolf
It had been almost 3 months since they left behind the Kuonji cart and Japan itself, crossing the ocean to China. Genma had effectively skipped a multitude of steps in his already established training plan. China was supposed to be the last stop, but a little fudging of the schedule never hurt anybody. Not nearly as much as certain chefs who would remain unnamed might if he stuck around Japan long enough to be found.
Thus, he and Ranma continued their journey, training across the empty stretches of china, moving from established dojos, to ancient monasteries, to completely random training grounds in the middle of nowhere.
"Here, sir, is Legendary 'Training Ground of Accursed Springs.' This place very dangerous. Nobody use now." He heard the guide say, looking out at the completely unimpressive valley of springs that stretched as far as he could see. Maybe the completely random grounds in the middle of nowhere weren't such a good idea. It hardly looked worth the effort it took to get here.
"Pops...this place looks scary," Ranma said, shivering slightly as he looked out at the many springs, the only sign of life being the bamboo shoots sticking out of the water.
"Nonsense boy, this place is fine. You're not scared of a little water, are you?" Genma said, leaping to one of the bamboo shoots. It was a good setup for balance practice, at least. They should be able to get a good work out.
"Ah, sir, what are you doing? Very bad you fall in spring!" The guide shouted, panicking as Genma moved across a few poles.
"What are you waiting for, boy? An invitation?" Genma shouted to his young son, totally ignoring the guide.
"Ah...right..." Ranma replied, still feeling nervous about the place they were training. Without any more hesitation, he leaped onto one of the many bamboo shoots. He almost fell over, but quickly regained his balance, finding victory in balancing on such a small amount of space.
"Now prepare yourself boy!" Genma yelled out, jumping from shoot to shoot working his way closer to his son. Both leaped off their respective poles at each other once Genma was close enough, and began to trade blows. Genma smirked as Ranma was doing just as he had taught him, using his smaller body to his advantage to avoid his attacks. Of course, he was going easy on his son, to let the boy get some experience. They broke off from each other, landing on different bamboo shoots on opposite sides of a spring.
"Not bad boy, but you still have a long way to go before that becomes effective!" The man said, grinning. A ripple made its way across the spring as both leaped at each other once again.
"That's not gonna work this time!" Genma said, before leaping off of Ranma's head, pushing his son into the spring while he made it safely to the bamboo shoot Ranma had previously occupied.
"Hmm...maybe that was unnecessary." Genma commented as he watched for his son to come back up. He could see bubbles coming up, but his son had yet to appear.
"Ah! That Spring of Drowned Girl! Tragic story, very tragic, of young girl who drown in spring one thousand five hundred year ago!" The guide shouted, rushing towards the spring Genma had just knocked his son into, "Now whoever fall in spring take body of young girl!"
"What!" The older martial artist shouted in surprie, turning towards the guide. A splash from the spring was his only warning before he felt a foot on his back pushing him off the pole he was on, into the spring next to him.
The small, redheaded girl that was now Ranma couldn't help but grin to herself when she caused her own father to belly flop into the spring. What an embarrassing way to fall in, especially for the graceful martial artist.
"Ah! Sir! That Spring of Drowned Panda! There is tragic legend, very tragic, of panda who drown there two thousand year ago! Now whoever fall in that spring take body of Panda!" The guide shouted again, as if he were reciting a memorized line he had repeated many times before.
"Panda?" Ranma asked, turning back to the spring as bubbles rushed to the surface just before a massive figure exploded out, landing on a bamboo shoot. Ranma watched this wide eyed and quickly fled, dodging the springs as she made a beeline for the Guide.
The large, dripping figure followed right behind the young girl, bounding from shoot to shoot on all fours with surprising agility, reaching the edge of the springs just behind his target. Ranma was running as fast as she could, not turning around as she heard the heavy thump of the panda landing on the ground, followed by the repeated thuds as it charged after her on all fours.
Genma was furious, both at himself for falling for such a cheap shot and at the boy for dooming him to a life as a panda. Within moments he had caught up to the newly female 6-year-old, his claw digging into the girl's gi, yanking her off her feet and holding her up to his face. Ranma squeezed her eyes shut as the panda growled into her face, before trying to take a small peek at what held her.
"A panda!" She yelled, pointing at the newly transformed Genma. "Pops is a panda!"
As Genma opened his mouth to yell at Ranma, completely failing to realize that he couldn't speak, a wave of scalding hot liquid crashed into his side, surprising him enough to drop the boy.
"What was that for?" He bellowed at the guide, who was now holding an empty pot that still had steam rising from it. It took him a moment to realize he was once again human.
"Hot water reverse effect of spring, Honored sir." The guide explained, placing the pot that once held hot water on the ground. "But will only last until hit with cold water again."
Ranma returned to his feet from where Genma dropped him, wringing some of the water out of his gi. For a moment, the two just stood there, letting this knowledge sink in.
"Pops?" Ranma began, looking up at his father, "I don't like China anymore."
"That makes two of us, Boy." Genma replied. It was probably time they made their way back home. Maybe he could even afford to sneak them onto a boat to get back. Swimming across the ocean as a panda would be hell. Impossible even, since the wet fur would only slow him down.
"Come on, Boy. Let's go home." Genma said, patting Ranma on the head as he picked up his pack and slung it over his shoulder, Ranma doing the same with his own smaller pack, following right behind him. They barely managed to make it a mile away before the sound of thunder rumbled across the sky, signaling the beginning of rain.
Ranma dropped his head slightly as the rain began, not even noticing the change as the water soaked into her gi and hair. The change was far more apparent in her father, who spontaneously grew several feet in height and girth, his gi bursting at the seams and his glasses hanging off one ear as he suddenly fell to all fours with a heavy thump. He grumbled, making an odd noise deep in his throat that sounded fairly annoyed, before continuing onward.
"Maybe we should find some shelter, until the rain ends?" Ranma suggested, earning an odd grunt from her father as the two sought out somewhere to protect themselves from the rain.
Eventually they stumbled upon a cave, and figuring that it was the best shelter they would find, they wandered inside. Ranma quickly set about changing out of her wet clothes and replacing them with the dry clothes from her pack. As she switched out her pants, she finally noticed what it was that the spring had changed, her eyes widening in horror.
"Pops, it fell off!" Ranma complained, pulling on a new pair of pants as Genma sighed. Great, now he had to explain the differences between boys and girls. He had been hoping he wouldn't have to talk about that until Ranma was 14...if ever. It was a good thing he couldn't talk at the moment, which gave him some time to prepare.
Genma struggled briefly to take off his bag, looking down at it for a moment before examining himself. He didn't have hands, but his paws did seem to have some degree of coordination. It was a good thing it was spring of drowned Panda, and not grizzly, or he would have little choice but to chew his pack open. With some effort, the clasps came open and he was able to extract a small metal stove, along with a can of propane gas. Next came the truly hard part, attaching the hose between the two.
"Need some help with that?" Ranma asked, only to be growled at angrily in response as her father continued to struggle with the stove. Finally, he seemed to succeed. Looking rather proud of himself, he returned to the pack, taking a pot out between his teeth and carrying it to the mouth of the cave. He placed it on a sturdy rock where it could catch the rain, then simply sat back and waited. As the pot filled, he found himself wondering just how much water it actually took to trigger the change, or how hot the water needed to be. They had neglected to ask the guide, and he had used an entire pot full of water that felt damn near boiling.
After awhile of waiting, and the storm worsening, he felt that the pot had been filled enough, catching the handle in his teeth and dragging it back towards the stove, trying not to spill it. He managed, once again growling at Ranma when she tried to help, before picking it up placing it on top of the burner, sloshing the water around in the process but luckily, spilling very little.
The matchbox came out next, and with some degree of resignation, Genma passed it off to Ranma. She struck a match, filling the cave with a brief flash of light as he turned on the gas and she lit the stove, adjusting the nob on the hose until he got the right type of heating flame. Now all he needed to do was wait for it to boil.
When the water had come to a rolling boil, Genma turned off the stove, and looked over to Ranma, pointing to the hot water. "I'm fine, you can go ahead and use it. I can't really tell the difference anyway," she said, pulling her legs to her chest. The panda shrugged, before taking the pot in his paws as best he could and dumping it on himself, yelling in pain from the hot water. He really needed to figure out the heat necessary to trigger that change. Boiling water hurts, dammit.
As Genma put on some dry clothes that he had fished out of his pack, glad his ordeal as a panda was over, he noticed that Ranma was currently looking down the front of her pants, clearly searching for something. Looks like it was time to explain a few things.
"Ranma, girls don't...that is, boys have..." he started, stopped, and cleared his throat, trying to figure out the best way to explain. As a plan started to form in his head, he placed his hand on her shoulder. "You see, it's like this..."
It had been two years. Two years of wandering across mainland Asia, getting as far from China as they could. 2 years of training on the road in regions Genma had never researched, seeking out havens for the martial arts. Two years before finally setting foot in their homeland again, in Japan. Two years of the curse. Two years of hellish torture he would never have thought possible.
"Uminari, huh?" Ranma asked as they walked through the streets, heading towards their destination. It had been 2 years since his son had become his daughter, a fact that had become all the more blatantly obvious as time passed. At 8 years old, Ranma was becoming more and more girlish by the day. Her voice was undeniably female now, and her hair had grown enough to fall across her back, which certainly didn't help identifying his true gender at a casual glance. It wasn't like finding a barber on the side of the road was particularly easy, and damn it all, the boy actually seemed to like having long hair.
Worst of all, the boy so rarely bothered to change back these days. Hot water was simply too hard to come by, and whenever the opportunity arose, Genma ended up needing it more than the boy did, since his curse wasn't human. It was beginning to become a bit concerning that Ranma didn't seem to care that he was a girl. That, among other things, was why Genma had decided on settling down in one spot for awhile, having found an ad for a spot cheap enough that even he could afford to live there. Maybe with a roof over their heads and running water on tap, he could see to his son staying male more often. That was the plan, anyhow.
"That's right, boy. We'll be staying here awhile. You've been out of school for far too long." Genma looked down at the ad he had found, then up at the apartment complex, noting that the place looked a lot worse than it did in the ad. Many of the glass windows were cracked, the paint on the shutters was all chipped off...Hell, many of the windows were missing shutters, and what little of the brick wall that wasn't covered by the growth of ivy had been spray painted with graffiti. Genma could only assume the inside wasn't any better. Well, if it was this run down, it usually meant it was cheap, and the listed prices in the ad were still pretty low, so he could probably lower the rent he'd need to pay. Time for some Saotome bargaining talent!
"This might take a while, boy, so I need you to go run an errand for me," Genma told his son, sticking a hand inside his pocket for his wallet. He pulled out a small slip of paper, a bill and some change, and handed it to Ranma. "Go pick that stuff up for me, and come right back. I should be finished by then." She smiled and nodded, putting the money inside her pocket, along with the slip of paper.
"Sure thing, Pop," she said, before running off to find the nearest grocery store. Genma shook his bald head as he watched the girl run off, wondering how he would go about making sure Ranma was male while at school. He shrugged, figuring that it would be simple enough, what was more important right now was to get an apartment. With that goal in mind, he walked up the rest of the steps to the complex, and found his way to the office.
Officer Kenshiro Yamada sighed as he flipped through the morning paper for the third time since he began his shift. His partner was currently helping an old lady find her son's address somewhere around here, leaving him the sole occupant of the small police box on this particular street. As he read the results of the last baseball game again, he wondered how he ended up with this position, sitting in a building no larger than his bathroom at home, watching traffic go by and giving directions to the nearest noodle shop to tourists.
"It'd be nice to get a little action around here," He muttered wistfully, reaching for the thermos of coffee he had been trying to make last all morning. It was nearly noon now, and it was starting to become cold and unpleasant to drink, but he took another measured sip anyway before returning the cap and reaching for the paper again.
"Eh?" He muttered, stopping briefly as he noticed something unusual out the window, just over where he'd placed his paper. A young girl, looking no older than 7 or 8 years old, was wandering the streets, apparently searching for something. She suddenly seemed to notice the police box and hurried over, clutching a piece of paper in one hand.
"Excuse me, officer, where's the grocery store?" Ranma asked as politely as she could, knowing that she was supposed to show respect to policemen.
"There's a small grocery two blocks down this road, on the right side," Yamada began, so used to giving directions that he did it as a force of habit before he stopped long enough to actually examine the girl. She was wearing a pair of cloth pants, like from a dogi, and a faded T-shirt featuring some cartoon character he was unfamiliar with. She looked like she just got done rolling around in the park, and hadn't bothered to change or bathe before going on this errand of hers.
"Hold on a minute, how old are you? Why aren't you in school?" Yamada finally asked. She was clearly too young to be a high school student, so there was some school she wasn't attending.
"I'm 8," Ranma replied, before continuing with, "I don't go to school."
Yamada shook his head in disgust. He had half a mind to track down this girl's parents and give them a firm talking to for letting their daughter run around in the middle of the afternoon, skipping school and going to the grocery store unsupervised. Some people just had no control over their kids.
"Now it's not polite to lie, little girl. All children your age go to school. Come on, I'll take you there now." Yamada replied, rising to his feet and holding out his hand to the young girl.
"No, really. I don't go to school. I'm a martial artist." Ranma replied, earning an amused look from the officer.
"You are, are you? Well I happen to be a martial artist, too, and I went to school just the same as everyone else. It's against the law for a young girl like yourself to skip school, martial artist or not." The officer stated, once again holding out his hand for Ranma to take. She looked reluctant, but slowly put her hand in his, not wanting to defy the officer.
"Where is it you go to school?" Yamada asked as he led her away, but answered his own question before the girl could reply, "Seishou is the only grade school in the area. That must be it, right?"
Ranma just frowned as the cop dragged her away, knowing she wasn't supposed to give the police any trouble, but also knowing she didn't attend whatever school she was being led towards.
She got the feeling this misunderstanding wasn't going to be resolved anytime soon.
Keiji Yashamaru leaned back in his desk chair, eying the bottle of alcohol in his bottom drawer as he considered getting an early start towards drowning his sorrows. He was the owner of the dump that was this apartment building, much to his displeasure. He had been suckered into buying the property years ago, unaware at the time that the entire area was being reestablished as low income housing. He bought what used to be a high quality building and watched as the neighborhood went to shit, rapidly overrun by the poorest people, who always seemed to bring crime with them. It wasn't long after that when the vandalism began, and then his tenants started leaving one by one. Now he was caught in a catch-22, unable to afford repairs from a lack of tenants, and unable to get tenants from a lack of repairs. If things continued to decline like this, he'd have no choice but to get a loan, but the only place that would give him any money were the local Yakuza, and that was the point of no return.
He sighed, pulling a cigarette from the carton on the desk, flipped open his lighter and lit the smoking death stick. He took a long breath before blowing the smoke he inhaled back out, hearing the ring of the bell attached to the front door. Somebody was here? All his current tenants worked all day. It was either a new renter, or some punk trying to kill him for his money. He briefly noted how sad it was that he would have been fine with either one.
The door opened, revealing a large man in a doji, head covered by a white bandanna and a pair of glasses over his eyes. Hardly looked like the petty robbery type. Maybe he had actually lucked out for once. Keiji took his feet off his desk so he could stand up to greet his new guest, showing him his best welcoming smile.
"Hello sir, and welcome to my fine establishment. Can I get you anything? Coffee? A snack perhaps?" He asked, laying on the kind host act as best as he possibly could. He didn't care about pride at the moment, he needed more tenants so he could actually afford to repair the run down building.
Genma Saotome looked the apartment complex owner up and down, his nose twitching slightly from the smell of cigarette smoke. Obviously the man knew that his place was in complete disarray, and obviously wanted some customers. This would do just fine.
"I'm here to rent an apartment," the martial artist stated, all business. The desperation on this man's face was clear, which meant a bargain was at hand. He probably wouldn't even need his patented Saotome bargaining skills. This would be simple.
"Are the prices listed in this ad correct?" Genma asked, holding out the paper to Keiji, who rubbed his stubbled chin as he looked it over. The ad was incredibly old, from back when the place hadn't been half demolished by the rowdy gangs in the area. He'd slashed his prices at least twice since then. Was this guy really willing to pay such a price? He hoped the bald man was really that stupid.
"Why yes sir, they are correct." He smiled innocently at Genma, wondering just how much he could get out of him for a room.
"I see." Was all Genma replied. He locked eyes on Keiji, giving him a harsh glare. Keiji just continued to smile back at him unflinchingly.
"You're sure its correct?" Genma reiterated, still giving Keiji a harsh look.
"Yes sir. No mistake." Keiji replied, still giving him an innocent smile. Genma frowned as the landlord failed to budge. He had underestimated this man. Apparently, he'd have to pull out all the stops. In an instant Genma was on the ground, bowing and scraping before he began to beg Keiji with all his being.
"I beg you, please allow me to stay for less! I am but a poor martial artist with a young child to support! I need the money to keep us fed, surely you wouldn't allow a man and his 8 year old to starve in the street?" Genma begged, crouching on the floor and crying crocodile tears.
"Uh..." The cigarette fell from Keiji's mouth as he stared down at the man in complete surprise, unable to form a coherent response to this.
"Did I mention I'm a skilled laborer? Put me to work! I'll fix anything you need!" Genma added, still on his knees as he grabbed Keiji by the front of his shirt.
Keiji was utterly baffled by this. He had expected the man to turn him down and demand a lower price, or at least try to haggle a bit, but instead he broke down and started to cry. He watched on has Genma continued to beg and plead for less rent, the words coming out his mouth not registering for several moments as Keiji continued trying to wrap his head around what was happening. He came to his senses as he realized the man had offered up his services for free labor, a wicked smile coming to his face.
"Alright, alright, I'll lower the price...but! If I do this, you will help me in improving the apartments for free, okay?" Keiji insisted with conviction.
"Oh bless you, sir! You are indeed a saint!" Genma replied as he sat up, tears rolling down his face. Keiji had to hold back his urge to laugh. This guy was a sap, pure and simple. It would have been a shame not to have taken advantage of him.
"Alright, I'll go get the paper work ready. You can take a seat, if you would like." The landlord stated, sitting back at his desk. He opened a filing cabinet, and pulled out a folder filled with papers, and pulled out a packet as Genma eagerly began to sign.
"Okay, looks like we're in agreement. I'll just be getting your key now. Oh, and before I forget, the boiler has been broken for a while now. Until I get enough money to replace it, all you'll have is cold water." Keiji commented. Genma's mouth simply dropped open in horror.
Ranma frowned as she looked at the police officer now standing between her and the school gates. It was clearly lunch or recess, as children her age were all around the yard, doing what kids did, and the policeman was quite insistent that she join them.
"Come on, I have to return to my post. Be a good girl and stay in class." Yamada insisted, for what had to be the fourth time. Whenever he started to leave, the girl made a break for it, and he really didn't feel like bringing her all the way to a teacher, knowing that getting any further involved would just make this outing longer. If the girl would just play along and stay put, he wouldn't have to worry, but she was being a nightmare. This is why he didn't want kids, no matter what his wife said.
Ranma frowned some more, wondering if it was worth it to dart past the cop and just run as fast as she could. She was pretty fast, but the cop seemed to be faster. She hadn't been expecting him to catch her the last three times, and wasn't sure if she could actually out run him.
'I'll just go around the school and jump over the wall on the other side. I'd like to see him catch me then.' Ranma thought to herself, smiling mischievously at the officer before darting away into the school yard. Yamada stood his ground, waiting a few minutes to ensure the girl wasn't coming back. Confident she was gone, he turned and walked away, back to the tedium of the police box.
Ranma smirked in victory as she jumped to the top of the barrier wall, looking down on the sidewalk on the other side as she prepared to make her break towards freedom. This whole mess with the police officer already wasted at least 20 minutes of her time. If she hurried, she might be able to get to the grocery store and back before her pops got mad.
She was distracted by the sound of two high pitched screams, however, her hair standing on end as she turned and looked around for danger. She was disappointed to find nothing, only a pair of girls on the second story of the school building, trying to pull the other's hair out. Dang, just a couple of kids wrestling. There wasn't any fun in that.
"Let go!" One of them screamed, pushing the other as they stumbled towards the window. Ranma perked up again as she noticed the window was hanging open, a bad feeling settling in her stomach as she saw the two off balance girls continue to move without pause. She sprinted towards the building as fast as her legs would take her, moving on instinct. There was another scream as the girls hit the window sill and kept going, though this time it was more out of fear than anger as they tumbled out the window. Ranma's feet left the ground as she went skyward, kicking off from the wall to give herself an extra boost as she met the girls in midair and did her best to catch them. They shrieked again, startled by the sudden rescue and latched onto Ranma for dear life, pinning her arms in the process.
"Hey, leggo! I can't move if you do that!" Ranma yelled at them, but they were too hysterical to respond. The redhead seemed to stop in midair for a moment as the impact of the two girls slowed her ascension before all three of them continued back to the ground. She was much too small to hold two other girls and land properly. This was probably gonna hurt a lot.
Her feet hit the ground first, and she bent her knees as she landed, just as she was taught. However, with the extra weight of two girls, it wasn't enough to stop the stinging pain from shooting up her legs. She fell over onto her back, hoping that lessening the pressure she put on her legs would end the pain. No such luck.
The two other girls were much better off, not touching the ground until Ranma had fallen back. They both stared in shock at their savior.
"That was amazing!" the brown haired one exclaimed, "How'd you do that?"
"I jumped." Ranma replied, happy that the girls had released her as she got back to her feet. She winced upon doing so, feeling the stabbing pain run up her legs again.
"You're hurt!" The one in the ponytail gasped, getting to her feet and moving to Ranma's side. "This is our fault. We'll take you to the nurse!"
"What? But I'm late enough as it is!" Ranma protested, pushing the other girl away and taking a step towards the barrier wall, only to feel another stab of pain in her legs. Crap, she probably wouldn't be able to make the jump in her current condition.
"No buts!" the other agreed, taking Ranma's arm to support her weight on one side while the ponytailed girl did the same on the other. The redhead began to protest again, but her complaints quickly turned into quiet grumbles. Stupid girls and their stupid desire to help. She'd never make it back on time at this rate.
Genma flipped the room key over and over again in his hand while he sat on the steps in front of the apartment complex. It was strange, Ranma was supposed to have come back hours ago. Where had that boy gone? Surely he couldn't have gotten lost while searching for the grocery store. The martial artist was quite confident he had taught him better than that.
He gazed over as two figures walked in front of the steps, Ranma being one of them, followed by a strange man with a briefcase in one hand and an odd box under the other. his brow furrowing as he noticed his 'daughter' had finally decided to show up. He didn't care much who the other guy was. Heck, it could have been just another tenant for all he knew...
"Where have you been boy? And where are the groceries I told you to buy?" Genma demanded, standing up on the steps, glaring angrily at his son. First he decides to show up hours later, but now he comes back without the items they needed. That boy needed to be taught a lesson.
"That's him." Ranma suddenly said, addressing the man who was walking with her. Genma raised an eyebrow in surprise, not sure what to make of this.
"Mr. Saotome?" the man asked, seeing a slight nod from Genma, "I am Hayate Kobayashi, a teacher at Seishou Auxiliary Elementary School."
The teacher bowed in greeting, which Genma quickly returned, though he didn't go as low as the teacher did.
"Genma Saotome. Seishou Elementary? What do you want?" Genma asked, glancing at Ranma. He had intended to get the boy enrolled first thing in the morning, after they had settled in. He was curious about what had happened while the boy had been out.
"Your daughter was found wandering the streets by a police officer and brought to our school. She is at the age where schooling is mandatory, you know." The teacher explained, noting curiously that Genma flinched when he said 'daughter.'
"We only arrived in town this morning. I haven't had the opportunity to enroll...her...yet." Genma muttered with a grimace. This was just what he needed...
"Yes, your daughter explained your recent arrival to us. We had intended to call you down to the school to fill out the proper paper work, but Ranma here says you don't have a phone?" Mr. Kobayashi seemed to be probing with the question, something Genma didn't much care for.
"We just moved in today. Do you expect me to have a phone set up in that time? Or for an eight year old to memorize the number?" Genma questioned, feeling irritated. Really, some people just didn't pay attention to details.
"So you will have a phone line available to you in the future, in case of emergencies, yes? If something were to happen, the school would be happier if they had a means of contacting you." The teacher replied, hiding his intent rather poorly with this line of questioning. Genma resisted the urge to scoff at him.
"I should have no problem with that. What are you trying to say, Mr. Kobayashi?" Genma looked at the man coldly, immediately taking a dislike to him. He always hated the self righteous types. Just because he raised Ranma without certain luxuries, people assumed he was unfit to be a father. Last thing he needed was over zealous social workers sniffing around.
"I mean nothing by it, Mr. Saotome, I was just making sure we could contact you in an emergency." Kobayashi explained, lifting his briefcase up and showing it to Genma.
"I did bring the necessary paperwork to enroll your daughter in school, for your convenience. Shall we go inside?" The man asked, tapping his fingers a few times on the leather bound case. Genma glanced at Ranma again, seeing the girl standing passively to the side while this conversation took place. The fates were clearly against him. It seemed he had no choice but to enroll Ranma as a girl, now. Just his luck.
Hayate Kobayashi pushed up his glasses as he looked around the small, pathetic excuse of an apartment that the Saotomes were apparently living in. It seemed his initial assumption based on the way the young girl was dressed had been correct, she was clearly living well below the poverty line.
The first word that came to mind to describe it was undoubtedly, 'Small,' with 'Shoddy' being a close second. The room he was currently sitting in was fairly plain, with a square table at its center, and a small nook containing the staples of a kitchen to his right. There was no clear defining line where living room ended and kitchen began, as there was no form of arch or doorway to signify it was a separate room. In fact, there were only two clearly defined separate rooms, and from his position, he could clearly tell one was a bathroom that looked like it had seen many better days, and the other seemed to be a bedroom. The walls were cracked and unpainted, the sole window was broken, and he could see clear signs of water damage and other forms of wear and tear no matter where he looked.
From the looks of it though, it seemed like the two had been living in much worse, seeing the excited smile that had formed on the young girl's face as she looked around the room. As he straightened out the pile of papers he had pulled from his brief case, Ranma had been zipping around the room, examining all the things that she found interesting. Eventually her father had to tell her to come sit down to stop her from picking apart the cracked sheet rock walls anymore then they already were.
"Now all I need you to do is fill out all the information on these sheets, minus the phone number of course, and your daughter can start school first thing tomorrow morning," Hayate stated, pushing the papers across the small table towards Genma. He then took the pen out of his shirt pocket and placed it on top of the pile for the man to use.
Genma grabbed the pen and started to read through the papers, filling out the necessary information as he went. That was until he got to the part asking for Ranma's gender. He paused, debating whether or not he could get away with registering Ranma as a boy.
"Is there a problem?" Mr. Kobayashi asked, breaking through Genma's thoughts. He sighed and filled in 'female' on the paper, officially making his son...his daughter.
"No...no problems," the martial artist said, taking off his glasses, rubbing the lenses on his dogi before putting them back. Finally getting through all the papers, he placed the pen on top of the pile and pushed it back towards his guest. The man took the forms and placed them back in his briefcase, before picking up the box that was on the floor next him.
"Thank you very much sir. Here is the school's uniform. Ranma will be expected to wear it when she attends from here on out. If she needs a spare, there's a card in the box with the names of a few stores nearby that carry them." He said, handing the box over to Genma, before standing up to leave.
"Also, when you get that phone, please call the school to let them know your number. I'll be taking my leave now." Finally the teacher left, and Genma felt his irritation leaving his body. He turned to look at Ranma, only to see the girl was now wearing the school uniform in question, apparently trying it out.
"It fits." Ranma announced, before she performed a few practice punches and kicks to test her range of motion. She went into a spinning kick, causing the long skirt to billow out and clearly revealing to Genma the bandages around her legs. Were that not enough, there was a clear wince on her face as she landed and the uniform settled around her.
"It's a little weird, but I can move easy in it." Ranma said, trying to ignore the stab of pain that had run up her legs. She had hoped she'd have recovered by now, but her legs still hurt from that fall.
"What happened to your legs, boy?" Genma questioned, his face solemn. Ranma just chuckled nervously, turning to face her father.
"Ah, it's nothing, pops. I just landed bad earlier." Ranma explained, seeing a displeased look cross her father's face before continuing, "I saw some girl's falling out a window, so I leapt up to catch'em, but they were heavier than I thought they'd be. I landed wrong and they took me to the school nurse, and she called the principal, who called that guy, and it all kinda went down hill from there..."
"I see..." Genma said, closing his eyes with a simple nod. What horrible luck. He couldn't fault Ranma for saving the girls. Hell, he couldn't be prouder of the boy for so quickly reacting in that situation. But he couldn't help but be annoyed and displeased at the turn of events, and the way he was left with little choice but to register him as a girl.
Genma opened his eyes again, releasing a deep, remorseful sigh as he watched Ranma continue to move around and test the uniform, any last shred of deniability now gone. All he could see when he looked at her now was a little girl with long red hair, wearing a cute school uniform. It was remarkably depressing. He was definitely going to have to go buy some alcohol tonight. He really needed a drink.
The morning sun shined down on the roof of the apartment complex, which was noticeably better kept than the rest of the building. Two figures stood in the middle of the flat, gravel covered surface that made up the roof, one larger than the other, both going through an identical series of motions at the exact same speed. A casual observer might see the motions as harmless, a simple exercise, but to the trained eye, the purpose behind them was clear. Each fluid motion was a strike on an unseen opponent, and each attack flowed into the next, like an intricate dance.
The 'dance' soon came to a stop, and the two figures bowed towards their respective unseen opponents, before turning to each other. Beads of sweat covered the older man's face from his workout that day, and he dabbed at it with the towel that was wrapped around his neck. "I think it's about time you got ready for school, Ranma," the man said, patting the redheaded girl on the head.
"Alright," responded Ranma, heading towards the stairwell at a decent clip.
"And don't forget to wash up, first. Don't want them to think you're uncivilized." Genma added as she ran off. He idly wondered how he would explain this to his wife if he ever saw her again. He hadn't seen nor heard from her since he had left with Ranma on this training trip, so it was very unlikely that she would pop up any time soon. In the mean time, when he wasn't working, he could try and research a cure.
"Speaking of working, I need to go job hunting," he muttered to himself. With that in mind, he too left the roof to get ready for the rest of the day. He had a feeling it was going to be a tough one.
"Students, from today on a new student will be joining us. I expect you to treat her as you would anyone else." The teacher said from her desk, before turning her head to face the new addition to her class. "Please introduce yourself to class, if you would."
"Hi, my name is Ranma Saotome. Please take good care of me," the cute redheaded girl stated as she bowed to the class. Despite all her effort, she couldn't help but feel a little ridiculous, having never attended a public school. She wasn't exactly used to any of this. Standing straight again, she looked through the class, looking at the faces of her classmates.
"Thank you, Ranma, you may now take the open seat in front of Jinta," the teacher said, waiting for Ranma to sit down before beginning her lesson. Ranma quickly sat down in the indicated seat, not exactly sure what to expect once class started.
It wasn't long before there was a break in the classes and the students quickly started gathering in groups, chatting happily. Ranma looked around the class, seeing the two girls she had saved the day before sitting next to each other, both obviously trying to ignore the other. Apparently they still haven't learned.
Having nothing better to do, Ranma got up from her desk and briskly walked over to the two. Neither seemed to notice her approach, being too busy looking away from one another.
"Hey." Ranma said simply, causing both girl's to jump and look towards her. "What's with you two?"
Both girls started talking at once but immediately stopped and glared at one another for the interruption. Ranma frowned at the obvious anger between them, seeing that they were getting ready for another fight and decided it was best to nip this in the bud, slamming a hand on one of the desks for emphasis. "If you two want to take another trip out a window, you're headin' in the right direction. And this time, I won't be there to catch your sorry butts."
The girls jumped again at the noise before Ranma's words registered. They had the good sense to look embarrassed.
"Sorry. We didn't mean to involve you in our fight last time." The ponytailed one said, glancing angrily at the brown haired girl next to her briefly, who returned the angry look.
"What're you fighting over anyway?" Ranma asked. The reminder of what had triggered their fight apparently only got them angrier.
"She called Mr. Fuzzy an ugly furball." The ponytailed one said accusingly, glaring at the other girl.
"Well, he is! Not my fault your cat is dumb and ugly!" The brown haired girl shot back.
"Mr. Fuzzy is not dumb and ugly! He's much nicer than your gross dog!" The ponytailed girl retorted, her voice raising.
"None of my dogs are gross!" The brown hair girl replied, as if struck.
"He looks like a dirty mop!" came the vicious insult.
"You take that back!" The brown haired girl all but screamed, her hands lashing out towards the other girl.
"Shut up!" Ranma shouted, slamming both hands down on the desks and snapping both girls out of it quickly. "Are you both dumb or something? What kind of argument is this? I almost want to throw you out the window myself!"
All three were silent for a moment, the two girls looking shocked while Ranma just stood there with her arms crossed. Finally, after half a minute, Ranma saw fit to continue.
"Besides," She began, turning slightly away from the two and putting her nose up, "Everybody knows that pandas are way cooler pets than dogs and cats combined."
There was another brief moment of dumbstruck silence as the two girls looked at Ranma in disbelief. However, the silence was disturbed by a snicker out of the ponytailed girl, which only seemed to set the both of them off as they began to laugh in earnest, suddenly feeling very silly about the whole thing.
"You're funny," The one with the ponytail remarked as her laughter subsided, continuing with, "I'm Sayuri."
"Yuka." The other added, her own laughter trailing off as she smiled at Ranma.
"Nice to meet ya." Ranma replied, grinning at the both of them as she sat down in the nearest empty seat. These two seemed alright enough. School may have been weird, but at least she had found some other kids to talk to.
(-)(-)One Year Later(-)(-)
Blood. He was bleeding...bleeding far too much to be able to fight effectively. That wasn't going to stop him from trying though. He looked up briefly at the blood red sky before focusing on his surroundings. The crackling of leaves in the bushes nearby caught his ear and he turned to face his enemy once again. He breathed heavily as he reached his hand out towards the monster that had no defined shape, then closed it. The demonic red eyes of the shapeless monster stared at the boy, waiting for him to make the next move.
He growled angrily and charged towards the formless being, his fists clenched tightly. Despite the loss of blood, the boy still miraculously pulled off a quick and yet powerful combo of punches and kicks, pushing the monster back a few feet. Like every time before, his attacks had no effect against the formless demon, only serving to leave him open for a counter attack. The force of the monster's charge sent him flying backward, his back hitting the ground hard, leaving a streak of blood on the ground as he slid further. Grunting, he forced himself to stand once more, knowing this was his last chance. He raised his right hand once again, opening it wide towards the monster.
The red spherical jewel that floated in front of the boy's hand glowed brightly as a circle of light formed between him and the monster. Unknown characters formed inside the circle, and started to spin around the inside of the edge. He groaned slightly as he watched the circle get smaller, due to his lack of energy. He forced himself to center the barrier before he began his chanting.
"Ethereal echo, become light!" He started, focusing intently on the monster before him.
"Forbidden monster, enter this sealing circle! Jewel Seed Seal!" He yelled out as the monster launched itself into the air, fully intent on crushing the small boy with its full size and weight. It crashed straight into the sealing circle with all the force of a freight train, sending off shock waves that shook the trees in the area violently. The red tinted leaves were pushed from the trees and blown away in the great gust created. For a few seconds they stayed motionless as the beast pressed against the circle before being repelled suddenly. Pieces of its body flew off of it, landing on the ground in a sickening splat as the creature was pushed back.
"No!" the boy cursed, his sealing circle disappearing. He fell to his knees, trying his best to watch through his weary eyes as the monster ran off.
"I've...got to...follow it!" He groaned, falling onto his stomach. He couldn't do anymore, he had hit his limit. It was unfortunate, but hopefully someone would be able to hear him.
"Damnit!" he cursed, his body beginning to glow brightly. "I refuse to let this end here..." The light engulfed his body, it's size shrinking smaller and smaller until the glow disappeared completely, leaving a small black piglet laying on the ground unconscious. A second later the gem fell to the ground with a slight bounce, landing close to the small piglet.
Ranma's eyes snapped open as she sat up, looking around the dark room from her position on her futon. Darkness still prevailed in the room, as dawn was still a few minutes away, and yet a glance to her side showed that her father was already absent, his futon empty.
"What a weird dream." Ranma muttered, quickly getting up before walking towards the closet she shared with her father. Most of its contents were hers, however. Over the year since they had come to Uminari, her school had organized a few donation drives to help the less privileged students. She now had a decent collection of second hand clothes because of it.
Ranma quickly pulled on her gi and pulled her hair out of the back before tying it off in a simple ponytail to keep it out of the way. It was about time for her morning workout, which happened to be one of her more favorite parts of the day.
"Oi, pops!" Ranma announced as she left the bedroom, looking around for her father. He was nowhere to be found in the living room, nor the kitchen, and a quick glance in the bathroom failed to produce the man either.
"There's not many places he could hide..." Ranma muttered, looking around. She didn't notice the ceiling panel slowly sliding open, nor did she see the figure that crawled down from the new hole like a spider.
"An opening!" Genma shouted, leaping from the wall and nailing Ranma with a jump kick she just barely managed to block. The blow threw them both out the window, which had long since been reduced to little more than a framed hole in the wall because of how often one of them ended up being knocked out of it.
Ranma twisted around in midair as she and her father plummeted to the ground, getting one good kick off towards his mid section before they touched down on the sidewalk below and her father immediately broke off into a run, which left her no choice but to follow. She pushed herself forward into a spinning kick, which her father blocked and countered without much problem as the two of them made their way down the road.
"You have to do better than that, Ranma!" Genma shouted, backing up and deflecting the barrage of blows his daughter was sending at him. Ranma lashed out with a flurry of punches that were all casually knocked away before feinting with a jab towards her father's face, smirking as he moved to block it before twisting around into a swift kick to his gut which sent the man reeling back.
...directly into the support bar of an old overhang, which immediately collapsed, dumping collected rain from the night before over her father's head. In an instant, the man was gone and a Panda had taken his place, collapsing forward to all fours with a groan. Genma quickly shook the water out of his fur and glared at Ranma. She simply chuckled, taking a nervous step back as the massive bear approached her.
"Heh, I guess I win the first round, then?" Ranma asked weakly, immediately dodging her father's response as he swiped at her. She leapt back from the follow up swipes before bounding completely over the panda's body as he struck low, landing on the building behind him and quickly breaking into a run before leaping to the building behind it.
She didn't need to turn around to know her father was right behind her. There simply wasn't a sound quite like the one made by a charging bear hot on your tail. Ranma felt the roof beneath her feet rumbling as her father gained on her, running on all fours. She leapt across an alley way, tucking into a roll and scraping a few shingles off of a roof before getting back to her feet and continuing her sprint. Once again not needing to look behind her, as the sound of shingles shattering under the weight of her father's panda form was more than enough of a signal to gauge his progress from.
"Cut it out, pop! Using your panda form's cheating!" Ranma shouted, leaping into a twisting flip as she flung the shingles at her father. He leapt after her, his large front paws lashing out in swift swipes that shattered the incoming projectiles before he twisted around to deliver a kick with his back legs. She rose both arms to block, having no choice but to be flung down towards another roof from the blow as she landed in a roll and heading off once again.
She was lucky that Pandas weren't really built for kicking, otherwise that landing probably wouldn't have been as smooth. She didn't have time to dwell on it, though, instead darting off at top speed around a roof access before bounding towards another building.
Ranma picked up speed as her father crashed into the roof behind her, charging after her again. She looked up, noticing that the sky was quickly becoming brighter as dawn approached, smirking as an idea entered her head.
"What's wrong, pop? I thought you were faster than this!" Ranma taunted, skidding harshly before she changed direction again, now heading straight east. She leapt over yet another alleyway, looking towards the horizon as the sun began to rise.
'Aaaaand...now!' Ranma thought, intentionally under powering her jump as she leapt off the building and sailed across the alleyway. Genma watched his daughter leap, following the arc of her jump as he reached the edge and prepared to leap himself.
However, just as he got there, the sun rose over the horizon and cleared the buildings in the way, shining directly into the Panda's eyes, blinding him as he reached the edge and jumped wrong.
Ranma landed in the fire escape of the next building over, watching as her father soared across the alleyway and smashed into the edge of the roof with a heavy thump. She winced at the impact, then winced again as he fell, smacking into the fire escape on his way down before finally landing on a dumpster, which had been closed.
As Genma rolled off the dumpster and landed roughly in the alleyway, he groaned as well as a panda could, looking up to see Ranma looking down at him from the top of the fire escape.
"Does this mean I win round two?" She shouted down at him, earning another Panda groan in response. Ranma watched as her Panda father got back on his feet, then stood tall on his back legs and seemed to stretch for a moment before glaring up at her.
Genma didn't like standing on two legs as a Panda. They weren't really designed to do it much at all, let alone walk, run, or fight while standing. One thing he had discovered, though, was that his physical strength was significantly higher as a panda, and by standing on two legs, he opened himself up to some effective combat strategies.
Ranma looked down from the fire escape, paling as she saw her father awkwardly grip the dumpster with his forepaws and lift it clean off the ground with a disturbing degree of ease, holding it above his head. He then hurled it right at her.
"Eep." Ranma dove off the fire escape without caring where she landed, hearing the fire escape torn apart as the dumpster smashed against the building behind her. She tucked into a roll as she landed in the street, getting back up and glaring back at her father as the dumpster got dislodged from the wall and hit the ground in between them.
"Geez, pop, we're just sparring!" Ranma shouted, only to watch her father ram the dumpster with enough force to send it skipping across the street right at her. She leapt, avoiding the dumpster, but meeting her father in mid air.
Ranma was sent flying clear over a fence by Genma's blow, landing with a roll in the park behind them. The panda landed right in front of her a moment later, but she didn't give him a chance to ready himself before she struck, leaping at him with a kick. Genma snapped back as her foot struck, swatting aside the follow up blows before retaliating in full, pressing forward with several swipes that Ranma had no choice but to avoid, backing up repeatedly as she did so.
"Holy crap, what the hell is that?" A random passerby muttered, seeing a little girl who was probably around 9 or 10 locked in combat with a freakin' Panda. As he pulled out his cell phone to call animal control, another man placed his hand on his shoulder, stopping him before he began.
"Don't worry about it, they come through here every morning. I think the Panda's her pet or something." The other guy explained, earning a look of complete disbelief in response. They both turned back towards the fight, only to see the two figures disappearing into the distance as their battle took them away from the park.
Ranma was breathing heavily now, really feeling the burn from the exercise as she flipped over another attack from her father, landing on the roof of a parked car before bounding off it to a nearby rooftop. The sun had fully risen by now and was shining brightly down on them as Ranma avoided a few more swipes, trying to kick her father in response only to be grappled in a bear hug and hurled across the street onto the opposite building, landing roughly on her back.
She didn't let that slow her down, though, quickly hopping back to her feet as her father came after her, leaping off the building onto the fire escape of the much taller building next to it, running up all the way to the roof before jumping to the next one, her father right on her trail.
With one last jump, Ranma cleared another alleyway and tucked into a roll as she landed on their apartment building, rolling all the way to the stairwell before she returned to her feet and pushing through the door without slowing down. She nearly fell down the stairs as a result, but quickly caught herself as she made her descent.
"Gah!" Ranma muttered, jumping slightly at the sound of her father smashing into the door above her. She quickened her pace as the entire stairwell seemed to rumble, the sound of her father charging down the stairs echoing off the walls and making the entire ordeal all the more frightening as she finally reached their floor, damn near breaking the door off its hinges to get out of the stairwell.
She was in the home stretch, glancing behind her for the first time to see the menacing figure of the panda galloping down the hall right behind her, seemingly clawing at the floor in front of it and throwing itself forward with every bounding step. She skid to a stop, her foot finding purchase on the opposite wall before she leapt through their open door, landing on their dining table roughly as her father reached the doorway.
"Safe!" She shouted, wiping some of the sweat off her brow as she looked up at her father. He grumbled, but stopped his assault, moving towards the kitchen on all fours before raising up on two legs to work the sink.
As she sat up, she noted with a grimace just how much of a sweat she had worked up and stood, heading towards the bathroom while undoing the belt of her gi. She had school in another hour or so, after all.
His eyes opened up suddenly, and he quickly got to his feet to look around. What he was hoping to find wasn't in sight, and he sighed deeply. He had fought with all of his ability, and still the beast had gotten away. There was nothing else he could do except search for it.
As soon as he moved one small hoof forward, he winced in pain, realizing just how much damage he had taken. While shifting had lowered his magical usage, resulting in his regenerative magic healing him at a quicker pace, he was still in terrible shape. He was stubborn though, and was not going to give up easily.
The small black pig began to walk off the path he was on, towards the street, ignoring the pain in his muscles, which didn't possess the energy they needed to move. He needed to find that beast before it could cause any more damage...or at least someone who could help him fight it.
He turned in a circle, looking at the ground for any sign of the gem he needed. Luckily for him, it was close by. He let out a sigh of relief as he made his way over to the spherical gem, kneeling down, waiting for it to attach to the necklace underneath the yellow and black bandanna tied around his neck. It rolled toward the pig, and almost as if it where magnetic, it was pulled off the ground, disappearing underneath the bandanna. He trudged forward, towards the street at the end of the path, walking slowly, trying not to irritate his wounds.
He continued walking around the city looking around at large buildings, not feeling too impressed with their size. He had seen much larger where he was from. It was odd though, after what he could tell was an hour of walking, he felt that he was seeing the same thing. He occasionally had come upon dirt paths behind a few houses where the sides of the paths were lined with trees. It was much like that path that he had fought that beast in too. Seemed like there were a lot of those in these cities. The buildings he passed also began to seem the same too, having the same layout and store names as the other places he had passed. He soon found himself looking at another dirt path, lined with trees, looking just like the past five he walked through. This city sure was repetitive.
He shook his head, and looked at the ground, noticing hoof prints that matched his own ahead of him. His eyes widened in realization, and he squealed in outrage, angered by the fact that he had been walking around in circles for the past hour or so. How did he not notice the blood stain on the ground from the previous night. Made from his own blood!
He sighed and continued walking, knowing that if he didn't continue walking, even if he just ended up walking in a circle again, he still wouldn't get anywhere. He hoped this time he would find some food. It could have been anywhere from a few minutes to an hour before he finally made some headway. He couldn't tell, as he had lost track of time. However, food was definitely in the area. He could smell it in the air, and his stomach grumbled painfully as he got closer.
He finally found it, noticing that the air was filled with the smell of sweet, baked goods. His stomach only grumbled more when he inhaled the rich smelling air, causing him to follow the smell to its source. What he found was a small store with a few tables and chairs outside for those who would like to eat in the fresh air. It was unlikely he was going to be able to get inside, but luckily for him, there was a young girl outside, eating what looked to be a delicious cake. There was only one way he was sure he could get himself something to eat, and while he was usually against such a method, he didn't have any choice.
He walked over to the girl and looked up at her with his eyes wide. He did his best to make his eyes tear up, before he whined loud enough for the girl to hear. The girl turned to looks at the source of the noise, a bright smile forming on her face as she saw the cute little black piglet staring up at her.
"Aww, what a cute piglet!" She exclaimed. His stomach growled conveniently to let the girl know he was starving.
"Aw..you must be hungry, Mr. Piggy. I'll go get some food for you, okay?" She said, then stood up from her seat and headed inside the building. Finally, he would get some food, which would help his recovery even more. A few seconds later, the girl came back out, holding a small plate with a slice of cake on it. She placed it on the ground in front of him, smiling as she watched the piglet dig into it, eating it as quickly as he could so as to get something in his stomach.
The piglet finished the cake quickly, feeling content now that he had finally eaten something. He squealed happily, trying to let the girl know he was thankful. His eyes widened as he had a strange feeling, like something was near. He quickly looked around, not spotting the monster that would be searching for him, but he knew it was close. With that, he began to run off, ignoring the girl as she called after him. He needed to get as far away from her as he could, so he wouldn't get anyone involved.
Ranma sighed a bit as she walked down the sidewalk at a leisurely pace, book bag in one hand and a drink in the other. She finished it off in one last gulp, before spotting a trashcan nearby, throwing it almost casually into the bin.
School had ended awhile ago, and Yuka and Sayuri had to go to cram school, like they always did, forcing them to go their separate ways. She always wondered why they would want to attend a cram school. Really, you just got out of school. What do you want to do? More school?
"I'll never understand that." Ranma muttered to herself, turning a corner and heading down a new street towards her home. She briefly wondered if her father actually had anything ready to eat today, or if they would end up trying to find cheap take out again at the last minute.
'Can anyone hear me?' Ranma stopped in her tracks, turning to examine her surroundings as the strange voice reached her ears. She recognized it, but she couldn't remember from where. 'If you hear me, then help me out!'
"That voice...From the dream?" She muttered to herself, looking around for the source. The wind suddenly changed, blowing harshly down the street, forcing her to hold her skirt down and lift her hand to keep her hair out of her eyes. The world around her seemed to take on an odd hue as a sound rang in her ears. It almost felt like the space around her was being enveloped in some strange energy.
"What is this?" She muttered, looking up as a small shape leapt over a wall ahead of her. Immediately after it passed, the wall exploded in a cloud of concrete dust as a massive figure barreled through it. It barely looked like anything at all, just a mass of dark energy with eyes that seemed to writhe in place. It didn't stop for long though, immediately following after the smaller shape as they both seemed to charge straight towards her.
Her eyes locked on the small shape in surprise, seeing that it was in fact a small, black piglet, with a yellow and black bandana wrapped around its neck. It seemed to notice her and instantly changed direction, coming right for her. She almost unconsciously opened her arms as it leapt at her, catching the piglet tightly in her arms just as the monster behind it came down on her position.
In an instant she was airborne, twisting through the sky as the black mass collided with a street lamp behind her, breaking it in half. She landed on the street with barely a sound other than the fluttering of her skirt before she adopted a ready stance, waiting for the creature to get back up.
"What the heck is that thing?" Ranma muttered, watching as it lashed around under the top half of the pole, two tentacle like appendages waving about above it.
"That's a Jewel Beast." The piglet announced in a gruff voice that seemed completely inappropriate for it. Ranma just looked down at the animal in her arms for a moment, her mouth falling open in shock.
"You can talk?" She asked, but immediately turned away from the piglet and leapt to the side again as the dark shape charged down the road where she had previously been standing.
"Of course I can talk. Didn't you hear me calling you?" The piglet exclaimed with a hint of venom, watching the beast warily as it skidded to a stop and turned around again. "You're the only one around with the right nature for my magic."
"Magic?" Ranma asked in surprise. The beast was on the move again, turning around and charging right back at her. Ranma quickly turned and ran, skidding to a near stop as she sharply changed direction to run down an alleyway that was two thin for the beast to fit through.
"The only reason I'm in this world is to capture beasts like that, but as much as I hate to admit it, I can't take this one on my own." The piglet continued, jumping out of Ranma's hands and standing before her, looking at the jewel beast as it slammed into the mouth of the alleyway, trying to reach them with its tentacles.
"I've got no problem fighting this thing. It's a martial artist's duty to protect the weak from stuff like that." Ranma announced, looking firmly at the monster. The pig seemed to get angry, turning around to glare at her.
"Hey, who're you calling weak?" It demanded. Ranma just blinked, sparing a look away from the horrible monster trying to kill them to glance at the irate piglet.
"Ah, quit your whining. I wasn't talking about you." She explained, looking up at the beast again. It was starting to change shape, squeezing down the alleyway after them as both she and the piglet took a step back. "That thing doesn't look like it has a body. What am I supposed to do?"
The piglet seemed to be chewing on its bandana for a moment before it flicked its head back at her. She noticed a streak of movement and lifted her hand, catching the small red jewel he had thrown to her.
"Take that, close your eyes, focus your mind, and repeat after me." The piglet commanded as the beast inched closer. Ranma examined the red jewel in her hand in confusion, looking at the pig again.
"Eh? What's this supposed to do?" Ranma questioned. She was pretty sure she heard the pig groan in frustration.
"There's no time to explain right now! It's magic. Magic kills monsters. What more do you need to know? Now repeat after me and don't screw it up!" The pig insisted. Ranma just shrugged, figuring listening to the pig was better than getting eaten by a weird monster. She released a breath as she closed her eyes, clutching the jewel tightly as she focused on it.
"I, the one who accepted this mission..." The piglet began, as the jewel beast roared at them, its tentacles waving in the air menacingly.
"I, the one who accepted this mission..." Ranma repeated, ignoring the way the ground seemed to shake as the beast inched closer.
"...by the ancient contract, order you to release your power!" The jewel beast was getting closer now as the piglet took another step back, just as Ranma repeated the words.
"by the ancient contract, order you to release your power!" Ranma continued, the jewel in her hand suddenly shining brightly.
"The wind is in the sky, and the stars are in the heavens." They were speaking in unison now, the words coming on their own as a pulse seemed to pass through her body. The jewel beast roared again, but Ranma continued unhindered, not even noticing it anymore.
"And a resolute heart beats within my chest." They continued. The jewel beast suddenly stopped its advance, seemingly surprised as beams of light were erupting between Ranma's clenched fingers. "This magic in my hand..."
Unconsciously, Ranma raised her hand, jewel still tightly clenched as she held it above her head. The piglet had stopped now, turning around and staring at her wide eyed at the sheer volume of power coming from her body.
"Raising Heart, Set Up!" The only way to describe what followed was as an explosion. immense light poured out from her body as she released the jewel, now holding it over her head between two fingers as power flowed from her body with enough intensity to hurl the Jewel Beast from the alley and blow the surrounding trash around like a hurricane force wind. The piglet clutched the ground with his hooves as well as he could, marveling at this result. He never expected to find a mage with this much potential.
"What the..." He muttered, looking up as the light seemed to be fading slightly. He could see the jewel changing as words seemed to appear within it, accompanied by a robotic voice that seemed to reach his ears despite the intense wind in the alleyway.
To Be Continued:
The Authors' Notes:
JSB: Okay, after looking over this chapter, we had decided that some things definitely needed to be changed in order to take the path we want to. And one of the original scenes really needed to be fixed, as we must have been insane to actually think it was adequate. Anyways...please, for all that is good an holy, do not spout how Nanoha/Fate is the only pairing allowed within the Nanoha franchise. Whenever that I see the remark about "Natural Order", or anything close to that, I vomit a little inside.
Ryo: Well, here it is, new and improved. We received a lot of complaints about some of the characterization we had here, and after looking back, we agreed. It was shitty. So we changed it. Also, as we began working on Chapter 3, we realized that the way we want future chapters to play out really clashed with the atmosphere we had established in the first two chapters, hence the revision. Hopefully now, the seeming genre shift that's gonna hit won't be so jarring.
Brought to you by the combined efforts of:
Ryo-Wolf & JSB.