A/N:

Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru Ranma...Hajimarimasu.

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The pig's eyes were wide open as he continued to stare at the large beam of light that was still shooting out of the girl's hand. While it was pretty impressive for someone just introduced to magic, he was pretty sure he could do better. It was odd that Raising Heart hadn't initiated its set up mode yet. It was as if it was still waiting for something it needed.

Realization hit the pig instantly, and he cursed slightly at himself for losing focus when they had so little time to spare.

"Are you done showing off? Quit wasting so much energy and concentrate!" The pig shouted behind him, earning a frown and a glare from the girl.

"Hey, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, so shut it!" Ranma shouted back, trying to reel in the power overflowing from her body and control it more. The Jewel Beast roared, seeing the power had faded and advanced down the alley way again.

"You're supposed to be focusing on your barrier jacket and wand!" The pig replied, before noticing the girl was staring at him blankly, "Just think of some clothes and a weapon, already!"

"Clothes and a weapon?" Ranma muttered. The first thing that came to mind was the clothing she was already wearing, namely her school uniform, and a spear, for reasons she didn't quite know. However, before she could focus any further, the jewel in her hand shone brighter as characters once again appeared on its surface.

"Set Up." The feminine, robotic voice of the jewel announced as the light it shone now began to collect and envelop Ranma, lifting the girl off the ground.

"Good, it's started!" The pig said, looking back towards the Jewel Beast that was getting closer and seemed ready to strike. It was far too close, and the transformation would not be done in time to block it. Gathering what little energy he was able to recover during the day, he prepared to protect the girl while she couldn't react.

Ranma's clothes vanished in an instant, breaking apart into particles of light as she floated briefly in the nude. She lost hold of the jewel in her hand as it floated above her, growing significantly in size as metal the color of gold seemed to manifest around it, taking the form of a long blade, curving around the jewel before straightening out into a vicious and sharp point. As the blade took shape, two short cylinders attached themselves to the back of the curve before a thin, blue handle appeared, firmly attaching itself to the end of the blade before becoming significantly longer, forming a sturdy polearm.

Ranma reached out to the newly formed spear, clothing appearing on her body as she gripped it firmly. her under garments appeared first, followed by a simple long black shirt. Light cascaded down her body, taking the shape of a long white and red dress before a short white jacket with red trim formed over her upper body, ending in red and gold cuffs and the end of her sleeves. The whole outfit was incredibly similar to her school uniform, down to the sailor collar that hung down her back to the bow that tied the jacket shut. A pair of black socks and white and red shoes appeared on her feet and a metal protector appeared around her waist, just as a white strand of cloth tied her hair back in a loose ponytail to finish the ensemble, the light dying down in the process.

Slowly she floated down, her feet touching the ground lightly. She opened her eyes, staring forward at the scene in front of her, only not exactly paying attention.

"...Wha?" She asked, confused. She still couldn't quite believe what had happened. This was just a little more unbelievable than magically cursed springs.

"Mind giving me a hand?" It was the pig's voice, but the pig was nowhere to be found. Instead a black haired boy stood in front of her, wearing the same bandana around his head that the pig had been wearing around his neck. The boy currently seemed to be holding off the Jewel Beast with his bare hands, blood leaking from an open wound on his face as he looked back at her.

"Any day now!" He shouted, wincing as the Jewel Beast forced him back several inches, its tentacles slamming into his body. He was still injured from the last time he fought it, but he wasn't about to let the girl fight the monster on her own.

A white and red blur shot past him as the Jewel Beast seemed to practically disappear, shooting out of the alley at high speed and crashing into a wall on the other side of the street. Ranma touched down right in front of the black haired boy, spinning her spear around a few times after the blow she had just delivered to the monster.

"Who the heck are you, anyway? Where'd the talking pig go?" Ranma asked, looking at the newcomer before turning back to face the recovering monster.

"I'll explain later; we've got to handle this first." The boy said, clenching his bloody hands, forcing himself to ignore the pain. Just great, more injuries to add to the list.

"Okay, fine. How do you plan to stop this thing?" Ranma asked, noticing that the Jewel Beast was ready to attack again.

"Its body is just a mass of power, you can hit it all day and it won't stop. Believe me, I tried that already." The boy explained as the Jewel Beast roared once again. In an instant it charged at them as they both leapt away, the beast smashing into the mouth of the alley and breaking the walls on either side.

"You have to seal it!" He shouted, landing on the other side of the street and buckling slightly in pain as Ranma came down in the middle of the street.

"Seal?" Ranma muttered, turning towards the boy in confusion. She didn't notice the Jewel Beast getting up much faster than it did before, nor the way it was charging right at her.

"Look out!" The boy shouted, but unfortunately he was too late. Ranma barely had enough time to raise her guard against the bull rushing creature.

"Protection." The Jewel beast crashed into a light barrier that suddenly appeared in front of Ranma, much to her surprise. The barrier crackled with energy for a few moments before the Beast was forcefully repelled, its body exploding and peppering the street with shards that tore through the reinforced concrete without issue. A telephone pole was severed cleanly in half in the process, while the walls and street became cracked and broken, full of holes the size of baseballs.

"What the..." Ranma muttered in surprise, confused by this turn of events as tendrils of energy extended from the creature's body towards the various holes, looking to extract the shards that came off it and reform.

"It's weakened! Quickly, say the incantation and turn it back into a Jewel Seed!" The boy shouted, dropping the chunk of concrete he had torn out of the wall to use as a shield. He didn't have the strength to erect a barrier anymore.

"What Incantation!" Ranma demanded, not knowing at all what the boy was talking about. It's not like she had done this before. She didn't even know how she had pulled off that barrier.

"Just think about it. It will come to you if you focus." The boy replied as the jewel beast writhed around and reformed, looking like it wouldn't stay down long. Not knowing what else to do, Ranma just said the first words that came to mind.

"Jewel Seed Seal!" Ranma shouted, leveling the spear on the beast before her.

"Sealing Mode. Set up." The spear suddenly extended slightly just below the head, revealing three slots which promptly folded out before three wings of energy erupted from the weapon. Ribbons of light seemed to shine from the jewel, extending towards the still recovering Jewel Beast before wrapping around it tightly.

A number appeared above the beast's eyes, a red glow outlining the roman numerals XXI.

"Stand by, Ready."

"Jewel Seed Serial Twenty-One, Seal!" Ranma finished, pointing the spear at the Jewel Beast as it roared in protest.

"Sealing." The jewel in the blade of the spear shined as multiple beams of energy shot out of it, lancing straight through the Jewel Beast's immobilized body. It roared out one final time before it was enveloped in a blinding light, vanishing in an instant. All that was left was a small jewel, which fell harmlessly to the street. Ranma took a few steps forward to look at the discarded jewel, only for it to suddenly float towards her spear, disappearing into the jewel in the blade.

"Receipt No. XXI" the spear announced. Ranma blinked a few times before looking around, seeing no other disturbances or anything out of the ordinary.

"That's it?" She asked, before grinning and swinging the spear over one shoulder, "Heh, that was easy!"

"Yeah...easy..." The boy muttered, trying not to grumble. He had fought that Jewel Beast for hours, nearly died, and when he tried to seal it, the damn thing broke out and got away. This girl had totally just shown him up, and she had done it casually.

"Am I awesome or what?" She said, laughing cockily as the boy winced and growled a little. He could already feel the adrenaline rush wearing off, as every knick, cut and bruise made itself known. With the Jewel Beast gone, he suddenly felt like he didn't have the strength to stand.

"Eh?" Ranma muttered as she started glowing. Her barrier jacket disappeared, leaving her clothed in her school uniform once more as the spear collapsed down into the small red jewel it had started as.

"Oh, that's it, huh?" Ranma muttered, flicking the jewel into the sky before snatching it out of midair. She turned towards the odd boy now, finally looking at him for a few moments. the yellow and black bandana on his head, the faded yellow tunic that looked like it had been dragged down a mountain since the last time it had been washed, and a black pair of pants tied off at his shins in gold cord. It was an odd choice in clothing, to say the least.

"So who are you, anyway?" Ranma asked, turning towards the boy as he approached with a limp. He was also clearly injured, something that hadn't gone unnoticed by the girl. He looked like he was about to die.

"Ryoga Hibiki." He replied, looking like he was about to say more when all his energy seemed to leave him at once. With a final sigh, he fell flat on the ground without any resistance or attempt to break his fall. Before Ranma could say anything, his body shimmered with green light before shrinking significantly, taking on the shape of a small black pig once more.

"...Jusenkyo?" Ranma muttered in shock, before shaking her head. There hadn't been any water around. That couldn't be it.

"Jeez, you're a mess. Can't do anything without my help." Ranma said, scooping up the small pig and looking around. What was she going to do with him? He would need to be treated, and soon. She was pretty sure there had been a vet around here somewhere...

"Shoulda come to me sooner, if you're just gonna get your butt kicked all by yourself." Ranma said simply, heading off in the direction of the veterinary clinic as Ryoga seemed to groan in her arms.

"I mean really, I kicked the crap out of that thing without even breaking a sweat, and you look half dead. You should work out more. Build some muscle." Ranma continued before wincing painfully.

"Ow!" She cried out, looking down to see the pig digging his teeth into her forearm. "What was that for?"

Ryoga was far too busy chewing on her radius to reply.

"Leggo!" Ranma shouted, shaking her arm violently as she continued on her way towards the vet.

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Ririkaru Ranma

by

JSB & Ryo-Wolf

Chapter 2

Set Up

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He sighed deeply, watching his breath float on the frigid morning air as he did so. It was 5:35 AM. He knew this, because when his phone rang that morning he had gone out of his way to verify the time before yelling at whoever called him at this ungodly hour. That had been half an hour ago, and were it not for the fact that the one calling him had been the police chief, he'd still be in bed with his wife. Needless to say, Kenshiro Yamada was not happy, though that wasn't the only reason. He considered himself a master at fighting crime, His father was a police officer, his father's father was a police officer, his father's father's father, so on and so forth. Policing ran in his blood. He had been gifted with an analytical mind, and prided himself on his ability to always find the people responsible for a crime, usually soon after it happened. It was what he was good at.

"This makes no sense at all!" Officer Yamada shouted, much too cold and irritable to be more professional. He and his newbie partner, Kazuki Kichiro, now stood staring at a very damaged street; walls were broken on both sides, the road itself had quite a few dents in it from heavy impacts, and almost all of the street lights had been knocked down. There was no clue for a suspect anywhere, and it pissed him off to no end.

"What the hell happened to this street?" He yelled, looking at the devastation. It looked like someone had taken to it with a wrecking ball, aiming to break through the street. That wasn't likely, of course, as getting a wrecking ball in and out of such a street without anybody noticing would have taken a miracle all on its own, and it didn't explain the baseball sized holes peppering the entire area.

"Isn't that up to the detectives to find out, sir?" his partner asked, pulling the caution tape out of his supply bag. They were only cops after all, and weren't supposed to touch the crime scene until the investigation team showed up. Even then, they'd probably be dismissed or asked to handle crowd control.

"Tch, I'd be a detective by now if the department had any sense." Yamada replied, causing his partner to roll his eyes. Kichiro could tell the man was about to go into the same speech he heard every time the subject of investigation came up, and quickly interrupted.

"I heard an alley a few blocks from here got messed up yesterday morning. Witnesses said a runaway panda did it. Maybe there's a connection?" Kichiro offered, trying to be helpful.

"A panda? I don't think a panda could do this kind of damage." Yamada scoffed, finding the idea too bizarre to be true.

"Apparently it was a really strong panda. Picked up a dumpster and threw it several stories up the building. Tore up the fire escape real bad." Kichiro continued, walking around the large craters in the ground while rolling out the tape.

"That's absurd," Yamada said with a shake of his head, "No way a Panda could do anything...like..."

Yamada stopped mid sentence at the sound of a loud crash, turning to look down the street towards the source. The first thing he noticed was the car, hanging slightly in mid air as if it had been swatted aside. The next thing he noticed was the panda that had clearly done the swatting, charging down the street on all fours in their direction. Finally, he saw the young boy in the karate gi, looking no older than 10, running for his life from the animal in question.

Both officers were frozen in surprise, unresponsive as the boy vaulted their tape and kept going without pause. Even when the panda barreled through the tape seconds later, neither reacted. It wasn't until a lost tire from the car rolled by that either managed to break out of their stupor.

"Was that-"

"A panda, sir. And it was chasing some child like it was going to eat the poor kid alive." Kichiro replied.

"And did it-"

"Flip a sedan? Yes, sir, I believe it did." Kichiro interrupted again. He then noticed the way Yamada was grinning and sighed, knowing exactly what was coming next.

"Stop, in the name of the law!" Yamada shouted, breaking off into a full sprint at surprising speed as he chased after the retreating Panda.

"See, this is probably why they won't promote him." Kichiro muttered to no one in particular. Not wanting to deal with the issue of the flipped car, and knowing Yamada would probably go overboard on his own, he decided to chase after his partner.

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"Dang it, pops! You gotta calm down! Why do you get so angry as a panda?" Ranma yelled as he ducked under a swipe from the large panda chasing after him. They could get in enough trouble already for the damage they caused to the streets during morning training, so why did his father always make it worse?

Ranma leaped easily over the caution tape that was in his way, while Genma only plowed straight through it, completely ignoring it in favor of taking another swipe at his son. Stupid boy had activated his curse again during practice. It always made his day much harder, since getting back into the apartment was such a chore.

"Stop, in the name of the law!" A nearby cop yelled, causing Ranma to look towards the man, briefly taking his attention off of the panda. Genma took the opening, charging forward with a roar and leaping towards his son, front paws at the ready. Unfortunately for him, his attack wouldn't hit, and as soon as he got airborne for his pounce he got kicked out of the air by some person who had the gall to interfere in his vengeance.

Both Genma and his assaulter flew over Ranma, and the panda landed with a roll, getting up quickly to face the person who had interfered. His small beady eyes widened upon seeing a man in a police uniform, and began to make his escape, panicking.

"Kichiro, watch the kid so we can question him later," the policeman called to his partner before he began his chase after the panda, taking his two nightsticks out from their holsters. He spun them around in his hands once, as if he were wielding a pair of tonfa, and increased his running speed to catch up with the runaway panda.

"I thought we weren't supposed to run from the police, pop?" Ranma said as he got up slowly, watching as the policeman chased after his father. With the adrenaline rush of having an angry panda chasing you wearing off, Ranma's mind cleared enough to take a look at the sun rising into the sky.

"Ah, man. School's gonna start soon." Ranma muttered. He still needed to get ready, and so he turned to walk home, only to find another policeman standing in his way.

"Sorry kid, I can't let you leave." The officer said between labored breaths, clearly not accustomed to running after people. "We'll need to ask you some questions about the panda once officer Yamada gets back."

The officer brought out a pair of handcuffs as he caught his breath. He quickly cuffed one of Ranma's arms, and one of his own, securing them tightly. Ranma frowned, looking down at the chain now attaching them together, then to his fleeing father again. Running from the police, huh? Worth a shot.

"What were you doing out here so early in the morning, getting chased by a panda?" Kichiro asked, looking over his shoulder towards the devastation a distance behind them. He briefly wondered when the inspectors would show up to survey the site, so that he could go back to his usual duties.

"Kid?" Noticing the boy hadn't responded, he turned back around, jumping in surprise as he suddenly found himself handcuffed to a statue of a Tanuki. He quickly looked around, not seeing the kid anywhere.

"But...what...how did..." He rambled, searching his belt for the handcuff's key only to find it missing. Something metallic on the ground caught his attention, noticing that the kid had apparently used the key and had discarded it nearby.

Kichiro sighed in relief and took a step towards the key, only to jerk backwards as he completely failed to move the statue. A few more test pulls didn't fare any better.

"Oh, come on!" He shouted, pulling on the statue with all his might while trying to reach the key, failing miserably on both counts. What terrible luck. Life really did like to play cruel jokes on him.

"Kichiro," a detective that had just arrived started, looking at the scene before him, "This is definitely one for the records."

Kichiro sighed as the man grinned widely at his bad luck. He was never going to live this one down.

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Genma twisted violently to the side as a nightstick cut through the air where his head had previously occupied, vaulting away as the second one followed, intent to finish the job of the first. He twisted expertly in mid air, landing swiftly and cracking the tiles under his weight as he eyed the police officer warily. He found it odd that he couldn't outrun the man, especially on all fours. He must have been very well trained.

"This is the end of the line, Mr. Panda. Come quietly." Yamada said, slowly circling as he held his nightsticks defensively. The panda circled in the other direction, moving its four legs in expert side steps in a way that gave the officer pause. The idea that one could train a panda to fight seemed silly, but he couldn't deny what he was seeing.

The panda suddenly lunged forward, looking ready to bite before jumping slightly off the ground with its front legs and taking a powerful swipe towards the officer's face. Yamada jumped back with wide eyes, surprised by the subtlety of the attack. For an instant, he had thought the panda was going low, but that quick jump...Was that a feint?

The attacks did not stop as the panda closed the distance in seconds, moving oddly on only three of its legs. Purely on instinct, Yamada moved away from the one limb the panda seemed to be favoring, not knowing what to make of it. As soon as it was close enough, the panda struck with its free forepaw, taking a swipe towards his mid section that Yamada quickly moved to avoid. The panda just flowed from one movement to another, his free paw coming down, crossing over its other forepaw as it put all its weight on its front. The panda's entire body lurched into the air as it spun, lashing out with its legs towards the flat-footed cop.

'A handstand?' Yamada couldn't believe it, unable to dodge the sudden motion and instead lifting his nightsticks for a block. The full weight of the animal slammed into him with force he was barely able to comprehend as his feet suddenly lost contact with the ground, sent flying by the blow. He hit the roof back first and skid a few meters, stunned briefly by the impact. He didn't so much hear his opponent coming in for the finisher as he felt it, the roof under him shuddering with each heavy step as the panda charged. He quickly rolled back to his feet and jumped away, just as the panda reached his former position and smashed down on it with both front legs.

Yamada was only moderately surprised when the panda's paws went straight through the roof, sinking up to the shoulder into the building they were fighting on. This wasn't some street punk, this was a freakin' bear, and the strength behind its attacks did a fantastic job of reminding him just what the hell he was fighting.

"Hya!" Yamada cried out, charging forward with his nightsticks ready, hoping to take advantage of this opening in his opponent's defenses. The panda was stuck in the roof up to its shoulders, and thus was defenseless. One quick blow to the back of the neck should knock it out without any more hassle.

It almost looked like the panda grinned at him, something that Yamada would have ignored as his own imagination were it not for the other seemingly impossible things this panda had already done. The panda's upper body shuddered with effort as the cop realized his mistake. With a roar, it swung its arms straight up through the roof, tearing lose the support beams that held the roof tiles they were standing on in place.

As his footing disappeared from under him and gravity took hold, Yamada noticed the Panda leaping forward towards him and knew this was the point of no return. They were both plummeting through the ceiling into the building below, and if he didn't have the advantage by the time they hit the ground, he was a dead man.

"Hya!" Yamada shouted, twisting his entire body into a blow from his nightstick just as the Panda closed. He nailed it directly in the chest, halting its forward motion and disrupting its attempted pounce. He spun his other night stick around, holding the long end out and jabbing the beast in the neck with a follow up, pushing it back a bit. They were now even in the air, the Panda no longer on top of him, just as they hit the ground.

With a crash, they hit the floorboards in a rain of plaster and shattered wood, the distinct sound of another crack reaching Yamada's ears as the floor cratered and broke. The cop had mostly absorbed the landing, however the panda had hit harder, being much heavier and having shorter limbs to brace the fall with. It was briefly stunned from the impact, and that was all Yamada needed to press his advantage.

"Junsakyaku!" He shouted, taking the panda full in the face with a twisting kick that launched the both of them back towards the sky. The panda was moving in midair, putting up a guard with all four limbs, but Yamada refused to allow it. He lashed out with several more kicks as they went up, breaking the panda's guard as Yamada finished his spin with both nightsticks at the ready.

"Junsaseme!" Genma's vision swam as he suddenly lost track of the officer's weapons. He was fairly certain that they were somewhere in the blur of motion assaulting him from all angles, if the horrible pain throughout his body was any indication. The barrage ended abruptly as Yamada pulled both arms back, nightsticks held tightly with the long end sticking straight out in striking position. With a final shout, he delivered the final blow, thrusting both weapons into Genma's abdomen and hurling the panda away. Genma passed straight through the wall of the building, smacking into the next one over with enough force to pass clean through the outer wall, crossing the room within and leaving a crater in the next wall over. He very nearly passed straight through that one as well, but the wall held longer than Genma's momentum did as the panda slumped to the floor.

Yamada landed with a grunt, his leg passing through the floor beneath him painfully. He dropped his two weapons in the process, the tips red hot and smoking.

"Tch, what a shoddy landing." He muttered, slowly pulling his leg out of the hole and rising to his feet. His weapons rapidly cooled as he grabbed them and returned them to his belt, moving painfully towards the hole he had put in the wall and jumping to the next building.

"Alright, Mr. Panda. You're under arrest." Yamada said as he reached his downed suspect, pulling a pair of handcuffs off his belt and lifting one of the animal's large paws. It took a moment for the absurdity of the situation to finally catch up to him as he tried and failed to get his handcuffs to fit. He just defeated a panda in combat. He was, even now, attempting to cuff said panda, so that it could be booked and processed at the station. He, Kenshiro Yamada, proud officer of the law, was trying to arrest a panda.

"What the hell am I doing?" He found himself asking. The panda offered no comment.

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Finally classes were over. Ranma breathed in contentedly as she strolled briskly to the lockers, hoping to leave as soon as she could. She had things she wanted to do, a pig to check up on, and probably more training. She opened up her shoe locker and noticed a white letter fall out and float to the ground. She eyed it curiously and picked it up, examining both sides of it to see her name written on the back of it.

"A challenge letter!" She muttered, examining the envelope as she wondered who had the gall to challenge her in this school. None of the other students were anything special that she had seen. Maybe Jinta? He seemed pretty angry after Ranma beat him in that 100 meter dash. She smirked at the thought of having an excuse to kick the crap out of him.

"Hey Ranma, what'cha got there?" The light-haired girl who suddenly appeared on her left asked. Ranma jumped a bit, surprised that she had been snuck up on. When did she get there?

"Oh, a love letter!" A voice from the other side stated, causing Ranma to jerk to look over her other shoulder, spotting her other friend, Yuka looking at the letter. "You going to read it?"

"A...love letter?" Ranma asked, feeling somewhat unsure about it. She could handle a challenge, heck, it would be a lot of fun for her. She didn't want anything to do with some love letter though.

"Of course! There's even a heart sticker on the back of the envelope," Yuka grinned as she pointed to the envelope, which did indeed have a heart sticker. Well, a ripped heart sticker. "So are you going to read what it says?"

"You should totally read it, and then go meet him!" Sayuri exclaimed, jumping from excitement at how their friend finally got her first love letter. "It's not every day that someone takes an interest in our Ranma!"

The poor girl in question deadpanned at her friends' enthusiasm and began to wonder why she even was friends with them. Without even taking a look inside of it, the redhead crumpled up the letter and tossed it away, never wanting to look at it again.

"I have more important things to do then meet some guy just so I can turn him down." Ranma huffed, crossing her arms across her chest.

"Oh, that's no fun!" Yuka said with a pout, drawing Ranma's attention as Sayuri bent down and picked up the crumpled letter.

"You have to read it, Ranma!" Sayuri announced, opening the letter and smoothing out the paper, "Ah, it's from Jinta!"

"What?" Ranma shouted, turning on her heel and snatching the letter before Sayuri could blink. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she quickly looked over the letter. Note to self; kill Jinta.

"What's it say?" Yuka asked, trying to peak over Ranma's shoulder as the redhead pulled away to keep her from reading it.

"Absolutely nothing! It's blank! This never happened!" Ranma insisted, running from her two friends as both tried to snatch the letter.

"Come on, Ranma! Let us see!" Yuka yelled, making a dive for it, only to find that Ranma had slipped once again from her grasp. She should really know better than to try and catch that girl.

"Save the letter!" Sayuri cried, swiping at Ranma as the girl backflipped and landed on top of the lockers. In a flash, the letter became confetti in her hands before she tossed it in her mouth and swallowed.

"What letter? I don't remember any letter." Ranma announced in victory, jumping off the locker before swapping out her shoes in record time.

"I got stuff to do, see ya!" Ranma said, heading out the door with her two friends in hot pursuit.

"You cheater!" Sayuri shouted, quickly catching up to the redhead.

"Come on, what'd it say?" Yuka asked, only for Ranma to turn her head away and whistle nonchalantly.

"I bet Jinta confessed his love. He probably wants to be boyfriend and girlfriend." Yuka decided.

"Ah, how romantic," Sayuri sighed wistfully. Ranma resisted the urge to shudder.

"Eww! That's gross!" Ranma made her distaste known, shaking her head violently while Yuka and Sayuri shared a look behind her.

"Poor Ranma, she's still just a little kid, I guess." Sayuri suddenly said, causing Ranma to wince.

"Such a childish reaction. She just isn't as mature as the two of us." Yuka nodded solemnly as Ranma winced again.

"That...That..." Ranma began, clenching her fist in front of her face. Yuka and Sayuri each turned to one another and started laughing to themselves as a vein started to bulge on Ranma's temple. Mock her, would they?

"Fine! I was going to invite you to come see the hurt piglet I left at the vet, but now I don't feel like it." She said, storming towards the gate as fast as her legs would take her. It was probably best that she didn't take them anyway. Would be harder to hold a conversation with a talking pig with people watching.

"Eeeeeeh?" Yuka and Sayuri said in unison, chasing quickly after the angry girl, completely forgetting about the love letter. "You found a piglet? Is it cute?" Yuka asked, only to be treated with the cold shoulder.

"Aww, don't be like that. We were only kidding." Sayuri placed a hand on the angry girl's shoulder, hoping to calm her down a bit. It didn't work too well, and she found herself being treated the same as Yuka. Both could only watch as Ranma started to sprint away down the street. They knew they had no hope of catching up.

"She did say the piglet was at the vet's right?" Sayuri asked, smirking.

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Ranma opened the door of the Veterinarian's office, expecting to only find the vet there. However, she was surprised to see her two friends sitting at the table playing with the piglet she had brought in yesterday. The same two friends she thought she had ditched right outside of school.

"What...How...When?" Ranma babbled, pointing at the two girls, then at the door, and then at the pig, trying to understand what had transpired to cause this situation. How did they get here before she did?

"What? You said you were going to the vet's. This is the only vet in the area." Sayuri stated, holding up the flailing piglet, who was trying his best to get out of her grasp.

"Knowing you, you probably went out of your way to make sure we got lost on the way here," Yuka theorized, holding her index finger up for effect. Ranma opened her mouth to counter, but closed it immediately, as that was exactly what she did. Damn! They knew her too well.

The black piglet that was currently held in the lighter-haired girl's hands struggled defiantly until the girl released him. Bounding across the table, he leaped off the edge towards Ranma, who instinctively opened up her arms to catch the flying piglet.

'Get me the hell out of here!' The voice of the boy she had met yesterday demanded in her mind, much to her surprise.

"I see you've found your little friend, Ranma." The veterinarian, Dr. Yamada, said as she approached the three girls with a bright smile. As Ranma turned to face the woman, she did a double take, seeing the cage that the woman had been standing in front of currently held a large, disgruntled panda. The cage was chained closed, with a signboard tucked between the bars which read, 'please do not release the panda.'

'Oh...you have got to be kidding me,' Ranma thought, dropping her head in shame at the sight. Dr. Yamada noticed this and tilted her head slightly in curiosity.

"Is something wrong?" She asked, concerned.

"Ah, no! Nothing's wrong. Uh...Thanks for taking care of Ryoga, by the way." Ranma said, gesturing to the pig in her arms.

"It was my pleasure. Little Ryoga here was no trouble at all." The doctor replied as Ranma glanced at her caged father quickly. He had apparently noticed her presence now, and was gesturing at her in some vain attempt to communicate. It was probably his demand that she should release him. Like she was going to do that.

"Ryoga, huh?" Sayuri muttered, walking over to Ranma and looking at the small piglet in the redhead's hands, "That's a weird name for a pig."

The piglet, whose name was indeed Ryoga, growled angrily, his pointed fangs easily noticeable, and glared at the girl for her comment. If he wasn't being held so tightly by Ranma, he would have jumped up to bite the girl. It was plain rude to insult his name like that. He thought it was a good name.

"You think?" Ranma asked, ignoring the obvious distaste Ryoga had in the way this conversation was going.

"Yeah, it's not cute enough," Yuka agreed, putting her hand to her chin in thought, "How about P-chan?"

'P-chan? I refused to be called P-chan!' Ryoga's voice sounded in her head in disgust. She was kinda curious how he was doing that. A mischievous smirk found its way on her face, however, as she thought about it.

"P-chan sounds like a great name." Ranma said, only to have the small pig in question bury its teeth into her arm. "Ow!"

"I don't think he likes that name." Sayuri observed, giggling as Ranma waved her arm around, trying to dislodge the pig.

"Sayuri's right. You should probably just stick with Ryoga." Yuka agreed, just as Ranma managed to shake the pig loose, sending him flying straight into the hands of the light haired girl.

"Now, now, Ryoga. There's no need for you to be angry anymore." Yuka claimed, scratching the piglet behind his floppy ears. The pig seemed to calm down a bit, but was still glaring at the other two girls. Seeing that Ryoga was busy once again, Ranma turned to face the veterinarian.

"Soo...what's with the panda?" Ranma asked, acting curious despite how she probably knew the answer. There was just no other explanation really. The vet wore an amused smile as she remembered the story her husband told her when he brought in the panda.

"Oh, him? He's a fugitive." Dr. Yamada said simply, still smiling, "A real hardcore criminal."

Ranma blinked, looking back at the cage to see the panda was glaring at her, gesturing more angrily now. She briefly wondered if that cage could even hold her father when he was in panda mode, considering how strong he was.

Apparently unable to contain herself any longer, Dr. Yamada started laughing hard enough to bring a few tears to her eyes.

"Sometimes I worry about my husband. He means well, but really, arresting a panda?" She muttered, looking back at the Panda in question.

"At least he had the good sense not to bring it to the station." She said, turning back towards the three girls.

'Or the zoo' Ranma thought thankfully. If Genma had been sent to the zoo, she might never see her father again. Well, she was pretty sure he would have broken out, but how long that would take was another question.

"Anyway, thanks again." Ranma said, heading towards the door of the office, her friends following behind her. She turned briefly, giving one last look at her father as she neared the exit. He was now chewing on the chain, glaring at her while doing so.

Ranma just grinned, sticking out her tongue at Genma before heading out the door, her father giving her the evil eye the whole way.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

"Thanks for the ride, Yuka," Ranma said as she jumped out of the car, holding the black piglet by its bandanna as she headed off. She didn't want to get bitten again anytime soon.

She heard her friends saying goodbye behind her as she headed towards her apartment building, dropping Ryoga inside the door as he twisted and bit at her wrist.

"Hey, cut it out! Bad Ryoga! Bad!" Ranma scolded, moving towards the stairs with Ryoga close behind.

'I'm not your pet!' Ryoga announced in her head, a green flash filling the stairwell briefly as he took on human form, still angry about Ranma's earlier antics. In short order they arrived at her apartment, Ranma opening the door and heading in while Ryoga stopped just outside.

"I need Raising Heart back." He said, holding out his hand once again. He was grateful for her help, but he needed to do this himself. It was his fault in the first place anyway.

"Why?" Ranma pretty much ignored Ryoga, pulling the tie out of her hair and letting it out of its ponytail before starting to undo her uniform. Ryoga's train of thought was promptly derailed.

"Wh...what the hell are you doing?" Ryoga blurted out, his face turning red as he quickly stepped into the room and slammed the door shut. Who knew if somebody might walk by.

"I'm changing out of my uniform. What's your problem?" Ranma replied nonchalantly as she stepped out of the dress. Ryoga immediately spun away, shutting his eyes just in case.

"You can't do that in front of other people!" He practically shouted. Ranma just shrugged, not understanding what the big deal was. She changed clothes in front of other people all the time. She even had to every day at school for gym.

For a few moments, everything was quiet as Ryoga stood in the room with his eyes closed. He was starting to grow impatient, however.

"Are you dressed yet?" He asked, hearing Ranma moving behind him.

"Yup," She replied. Ryoga breathed out a sigh of relief as he opened his eyes and turned around.

"Good, now I-Gah!" Turning, Ryoga found Ranma dressed only in her underwear, holding a new set of clothes in her hands. A jet of blood shot from his nose as he promptly collapsed.

"Passing out again? Geez..." Ranma complained, before shrugging and stepping into her skirt. Ryoga clutched his nose to stop the bleeding, blushing furiously as he got back up. What the hell was wrong with this girl? She had no shame at all!

"Just...give me Raising Heart back..." He muttered as she pulled on a t-shirt, glad to see she was wearing clothes again.

"No, she likes me better," Ranma said simply, smirking. She crossed her arms over her chest, looking amused as the boy growled angrily.

"Okay fine, I'll make you a deal," she started, fishing Raising Heart from underneath her t-shirt. "We'll fight for it. If you win, you can having Raising Heart. If I win, I get to keep Raising Heart and help you with this Jewel Beast problem."

Ryoga just looked at her for a few moments, halfway between confused and angry.

"Why do you even want to help me? This is my problem. I should fix my own mistakes." Ryoga insisted.

"It's a martial artist's duty to protect the weak, and you're the weak one here."

"Hey!"

"What? You were half dead after the last night, obviously you can't fight them by yourself."

"I can too handle them by myself!" Ryoga shouted, angered by Ranma's baseless claims.

"Can not!"

"Can too!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah!"

"Prove it!"

"Fine then!"

"Okay! We'll fight on the roof. Follow me!" Ranma said, marching towards the door with a purpose. Ryoga stopped for a moment, however, suddenly realizing he'd been tricked.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

"The rules are simple, anything goes...except for magic." Ranma stated, standing a good distance away from Ryoga, grinning. She had already won this fight.

"That's fine with me," Ryoga replied, taking on an odd stance that Ranma had never seen before. Despite his serious face, Ryoga was at something of an impasse. On the one hand, Ranma was a girl. He didn't like the idea of beating up a girl. On the other hand, Ranma was probably the most annoying girl he had ever met, and she seriously needed her ego knocked down a peg or three.

"Ready to lose, P-chan?" Ranma boasted as Ryoga heard a sound reminiscent of a cord snapping in the back of his mind.

"That's it!" He shouted, charging at the girl with a fist cocked back. He didn't get very far in his charge, as he soon had a strange feeling ran through him, stumbling to a halt. He turned, staring in the direction the strange feeling was coming from.

He wasn't the only one who felt it, because Ranma also was staring in the same direction.

"Give me Raising Heart. Now!" Ryoga demanded, holding out his hand once more. He had far more important things to do than argue with this painfully annoying girl about ownership of Raising Heart.

"No way, you haven't beaten me yet." Ranma said, turning her attention back to Ryoga. This probably meant the feeling she had gotten was a sign of another Jewel Beast.

"There's no time for that!" Ryoga protested, turning towards the girl as well.

"Alright, how about a new contest? First one to seal the beast wins!" Ranma yelled, before running and jumping off the roof, and onto the roof of the next building closer to where the feeling was coming from.

"Hey! That's no fair! You have Raising Heart!" The boy yelled after her, before following suit.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

He was angry. He was very angry. He shook with rage just from glancing at the grotesque pictures people drew of him. Those did not portray how he looked. Not in the slightest. If this is what they thought of him, their prayers would never be answered, so why would they bother? He was beautiful, how could they not notice?

Obviously it was because they didn't respect him. They drew those pictures just to mock him, make him look like an ugly beast. He would show them. Breaking the pictures wasn't good enough. He needed something more, something that would make those disrespectful people change their ways.

And if they only way was to incite fear into their hearts, then so be it.

The perfectly smooth gem in his mouth glowed brightly, and all seemed to become red.

The beast Shussemaru would have his vengeance.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

Ranma bounded up the steps towards what was probably a temple, if the wooden gateways above the steps said anything. Ryoga was close behind her, but she still had the advantage anyways. She had Raising Heart.

She finally made it to the top, and stared wide-eyed at the scene before her. A very large demonic looking horse was on a rampage, destroying every single part of the temple. Not only did it have evil looking red eyes, but it had the ugliest face Ranma had ever seen on a horse. Ever.

"What are you waiting for?" Ryoga questioned as he ran past, stopping closer to the angry monster. A rune circle soon appeared below him, circling slowly as he focused his magic. His hands moved, forming distinct gestures before he threw his hand out towards the monster. Glowing chains burst from the ground, wrapping around the monster at many points of its body before connecting back to the ground, forcing the monster flat.

As Ryoga charged towards the monster, his hands glowing with some kind of magic power, Ranma found herself staring in disbelief. Jeez, he was kicking ass this time. If she didn't hurry up, he'd win!

"Alright, here we go!" Ranma announced, pulling out Raising Heart and holding it above her head as she prepared to recite the speech.

...only she couldn't remember it at all.

"Hey, what was the activation thing again?" Ranma asked, only to hear Ryoga scoff. The horse broke free of the chains and took a swipe at him, earning a charged punch across the face for its troubles.

"Like I'd tell you!" Ryoga replied, turning his attention back to the horse as it attacked again, a barrier appearing between them and stopping the attack cold.

"No fair! You can use magic without this thing! How am I supposed to seal that monster without transforming?" Ranma asked, ducking as the horse was hurled over her head and started tumbling down the stairs.

"Not my problem! I'll be taking Raising Heart back when I'm done!" Ryoga said in passing, heading down the stairs after the beast.

"Uh...um...something about waves...and the sky...I think...What was it?" Ranma muttered, wracking her brain for that overly complicated chant from the day before.

"Er...Blah blah blah, Raising Heart, Set up!" Ranma cried out, holding the jewel over her head.

"Standby Ready. Set up." Ryoga stopped his assault briefly and turned, watching as Ranma's body flashed and the barrier jacket replaced her clothes, followed by Raising Heart transforming into the spear she had wielded the day before.

"What? That actually worked?" He muttered in disbelief. Distracted by this turn of events, he wasn't able to put up a barrier in time as the Jewel Beast charged him, blocking to the best of his ability as it threw him from the stairway.

"Tough luck, Ryoga! It's wide open now!" Ranma smirked, spinning her spear around as she charged down the stairs. The horse bellowed in anger, charging up at her at ramming speed.

Ranma jumped into the air towards the approaching beast, spinning as she slashed the spear across its face. The kick that was going to follow completely missed however, her dress billowing in the wind from her maneuver throwing off her aim. The jewel beast roared in pain, opening its jaws wide and sinking them into the fabric of Ranma's skirt, wrenching its head side to side in the process.

"Eh?" Ranma muttered eloquently as she was violently shaken, the skirt surprisingly not tearing from the poor treatment, "Let go!"

Ryoga collected himself and quickly made it back to the scene, stopping in his tracks as he saw the horse flinging Ranma about like a hyperactive dog playing with a chew toy.

He could barely contain his laughter, and was soon on the ground with tears in his eyes.

"Shut up! I'll kill you!" Ranma screamed, red in the face as she repeatedly smacked the Jewel beast with her spear in some attempt to get it to let go. Finally it roared once again, opening its mouth in the process and sending Ranma careening towards a tree.

"Oh...oh man...ha ha..." Ryoga slowly got to his feet, wiping the tears from his eyes as the horse turned around to face him. It reared up on its back legs and roared once more before charging forward, only to smash into Ryoga's barrier.

"Ready to give me Raising Heart back now?" He yelled, holding out one hand towards his barrier to keep the horse at bay. His other hand went through a few intricate gestures, before chains appeared once again out of the ground to tie up the monster.

"Guh...dumb skirt..." Ranma groaned, using Raising Heart to return to her feet. It was more of a hindrance than she had originally thought to fight in a skirt. If only she had her dogi, this would be cake.

"Barrier Jacket; Skirmish Mode."

The uniform she was wearing was engulfed in a bright light, shining brightly as her skirt shifted down her legs and her coat changed shape. The light dispersed suddenly, revealing Ranma to be wearing a different outfit altogether. Though it was similar in coloration, white with red trim, and identical designs, it was completely unlike her uniform, instead taking the shape of a dogi.

"Eh?" Ranma muttered, looking down at her new outfit. The most notable difference was that her skirt had been replaced by a pair of loose pants, the triangular designs that used to adorn the hem now climbing up each pant leg. She grinned as she clenched her fists, experimenting with a few punches with her free hand and multiple spinning kicks, happy with the way the outfit allowed her to move.

Odd, she felt a little faster than before.

"Let's go, My Master." Raising Heart intoned, to which Ranma responded with a grin. It didn't seem to take more than a single step to reach the chained beast, the world blurring around her as she smashed into the thing with a vicious kick. Ryoga's chains strained to keep it in place and snapped from the impact, letting the horse lift from the stairs and fly over the opposite side.

"What the..." Ryoga muttered, watching as Ranma seemed to float in mid air as she landed from the kick, her new Barrier Jacket rustling from the self induced wind.

'She can even change her Barrier Jacket?' Ryoga thought, both marveling and envious of Ranma's natural talent. She had only had the device for a day, at she was already far better using it than he was.

"What's wrong, Ryoga? If you just stand there, I'm gonna win!" Ranma remarked with a grin, Ryoga just grinned back, clenching his fists a bit.

"Not a chance." As if signaled, they both flew from the stairs in tandem, charging at the recovering Jewel Beast with determination. They leapt into the air, rising above the monster's head before gravity pulled them down, each aiming for one its eyes. The monster horse let a loud whinny of pain as both of its large, ugly eyes were drop kicked and shook his head with rage.

How could two children manage to keep him, the great beast Shussemaru, on the ropes? He was the one who was supposed to be getting his vengeance on those who wronged him. Unfortunately for the horse, they didn't let up. The two struck with all the force of a hurricane, blow after blow from the both of them raining down. It barely had time to react.

It lashed out with its large hooves at the one who was trying to attack its legs, only to find its attack stopped dead by some sort of wall. Putting so much energy into the strike set it off balance and it fell onto its side, still trying to destroy that barrier that had blocked him.

It growled maddeningly as it felt itself once again constrained by chains wrapping around its fallen body, and it no longer had the leverage to break them. It gnashed and roared in anger, watching as the one with the red hair suddenly leapt through the air, twirling that infernal spear as the other one mirrored her jump exactly. The chains wouldn't budge as he struggled, roaring out again as the girl descended.

"Ha!" Ranma shouted, thrusting her spear down into the exposed back of the beast. Sparks flew from its metallic skin, but she failed to penetrate, her blow not quite strong enough.

"Take this!" However, it didn't matter, as seconds later Ryoga completed his jump by landing on the back of her spear, driving its length into the creature with his feet as the tip finally broke through, earning a roar of pain as her weapon pierced.

"Now, Ranma!" Ryoga cried out, jumping off the spear as he concentrated on his magic.

"Right!" Ranma shouted out, thrusting the spear into the beast's back some more.

"Sealing Mode, Set Up." Raising Heart's said, the haft extending to reveal the three slots again, from which the glowing wings extended. The beast roared again, the Roman Numerals 'XVI' appearing on its head.

"Ethereal echo, become light!" Ryoga chanted, thrusting his hand out towards the beast as his chains glowed brighter, a magic circle coming into existence under the beast. At the same time, ribbons of light extended from Raising Heart's core, wrapping around the Jewel beast tightly.

"Standby, Ready."

"Jewel Seed Serial Sixteen!" Ranma added, as her ribbons and Ryoga's chains both began glowing brightly.

"SEAL!" They both cried out in unison, the light becoming even brighter.

"Sealing." Raising Heart stated. For its part, the horse managed to whimper as the final blow came. Ranma leapt off the beast's back as its body shone before the monstrous appearance faded away, leaving behind a single jewel and a horse, which slowly limped away in defeat.

"Wow, that horse didn't get any prettier," Ranma muttered, letting the small jewel enter Raising Heart's core, just like the one before.

"Receipt No. XVI." Raising Heart's core blinked before Ranma's transformation once again faded away, leaving her standing in her normal clothes once more, holding the small Jewel between two fingers.

"Well, I guess that means I win!" Ranma said with a grin, tossing Raising Heart into the air and catching it before returning it to her necklace. Ryoga's eye twitched in response.

"What? How do you figure that? We both sealed it." Ryoga complained.

"The jewel was absorbed into my Raising Heart, so that means I win!" Ranma said simply, still grinning her cocky grin, "Tough luck, pork butt."

Ryoga growled at the girl for a moment before reigning in his anger. He didn't murder girls, no matter how much they deserved it. He was taught better than that.

"We make a pretty good team, though." Ranma suddenly said, interrupting Ryoga's murderous thoughts.

"As much as I hate to admit it, you're right," Ryoga said with a sigh, crossing his arms, "Things went a lot smoother with your help."

"See, you need my help," Ranma said, looking at Ryoga's grim expression closely and grinning as he seemed to relent to her point, though he didn't say it out loud.

"Now admit that I won," She added, her grin becoming a wide smile.

"What? No!" He snapped.

"Admit it! I won! Say that I won!" Ranma demanded, getting in Ryoga's face as he took a few steps back.

"I won't!" He insisted just as vehemently.

"Say it!" She said, smiling like a crazy person as Ryoga suddenly took off.

"Never!" He shot back at her, looking over his shoulder to see the girl in hot pursuit. Despite how annoying she was, he couldn't help but smile a bit at her antics.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

School was as dull as it always was, and Ranma couldn't help but stare out the window and think about the events of the past week. She had managed to help Ryoga gather six jewel seeds over the past few days and was beginning to feel worse for wear. Trying to balance training with Pops, school, jewel seed hunting, and magical training with Ryoga was taking a lot out of her. It was all getting very tiring. Her training with her father was getting especially tedious now that he acted like he was an escaped convict, even though he had only escaped from a veterinarian's office. Sheesh, he could be a big wuss sometimes.

'Hey, Ryoga, how did the jewel seeds get here in the first place?' Ranma asked over their telepathic link. He still hadn't explained anything about the jewels besides saying that he needed to find them to make up for his mistake.

'This city is a maze! How do you find anything around here?' Ryoga complained, and Ranma had to resist the urge to groan.

'Why is your directional sense so terrible Ryoga?' Ranma changed subjects. Ryoga didn't tend to stick around her home when they were done for the day, instead opting to wandering around town aimlessly for some reason. 'Aimlessly' being the key word there, as he would get lost before he even reached the door.

'I...I don't want to talk about it.' Came Ryoga's hesitant reply, 'This town has too many taco stands. They're everywhere.'

'Oh come on, I've got nothing better to do. Out with it!' Ranma replied, ignoring his attempt to change the subject.

'Aren't you in school?' He asked, evading the question again.

'Exactly, nothing better to do.' Ranma responded, as if it were obvious.

'No. Pay attention to your class.' Ryoga stated, completely ending any further discussion. It wasn't the first time that happened either.

"Hey Ranma!" A voice yelled, shocking her out of her thoughts. Ranma turned her head nervously, seeing both Yuka and Sayuri looking at her oddly. Apparently it was break, and she hadn't realized it.

"Were you zoning out or something? We called you a few times and you just continued staring into space." Yuka said curiously.

"Um...Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking about stuff. That's all." Ranma laughed nervously, hoping they wouldn't pry anymore. The two girls shared a glance with each other, both looking unsure, before shrugging.

"Well, anyway, I'm having a tea party after school, if you want to come. We haven't been able to hang out since you picked up Ryoga from the vet's, so I thought we could catch up." The darker haired girl said, smiling.

"Uh, Yeah, sure. I think I can come." Ranma responded, thinking if she had anything else to do that day. Well, nothing besides what was becoming normal.

"Okay! Bring Ryoga too, I want to see how he's doing." Sayuri smiled wider, before she and Yuka both went back to their seats for the next class to start.

'Hey pork butt, we have somewhere we need to go today, you better be someplace where I can find you!' She grinned mischievously when she heard the growl of anger from the other end. He was just too easy to mess with.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

Ranma marveled a bit as she walked through Sayuri's house, taking it all in. It wasn't exactly a mansion, but it was so much larger than her apartment, and it made her a little jealous. She sighed dejectedly, feeling slightly out of place, until a voice in her head shook her out of it.

"Ranma!" Yuka and Sayuri called out, getting up from their seats. A sudden gust of wind blew into Ranma's face, and she covered her eyes reflexively. She immediately realized that the weight on her shoulder was gone, and looked over to see Yuka hugging the poor pig tightly.

'Save me!' Ryoga's voice called out, only causing Ranma to grin wider as she watched the pig struggle against the light-haired girl's unbreakable hug.

Ranma walked over to one of the chairs at the table and sat down in it, relaxing. It was something she hadn't done in a while, and school didn't count. Soon enough, Sayuri's mother walked onto the porch, carrying a tray with tea and cookies, and placed it down on the table.

"Sayuri, it's the kittens' dinner time, would you mind helping me get it ready?" She asked kindly, smiling all the while. The girl in question nodded and followed the older woman into another part of the house.

"So Ranma," Yuka began, sitting back down in her seat, still hugging Ryoga to her, "Is there anything going on you want to tell us about?" Ranma grinned nervously, and Ryoga paused in his struggling slightly, before continuing to try and break free.

"Nope, nothing. Why do you ask?" Ranma questioned back. She didn't like at all where this conversation was going.

"Well, you've been out of it lately. You seem to be getting more tired every day we see you and-" Any further conversation was ended by the ringing of a bell. Ranma blinked slightly, as everything became silent for a few seconds, and then came the meows. A stampede of kittens burst onto the porch, mewing in hunger. Yuka seemed so caught off guard that her grip on the pig lessened enough so he could escape, and he took full advantage of the opening. He jumped out of the girl's grasp, bounding across the table before leaping up onto Ranma's head.

Ranma laughed at her friend's look of confusion, and stopped abruptly when a familiar yet strange feeling suddenly appeared.

'You feel that?' she asked Ryoga over their telepathic link.

'Yeah, and it's close too. We can't get anyone else involved, so follow my lead.' he replied, jumping off Ranma's head and sprinting outside towards the source of the strange feeling.

"Ryoga!" Ranma called after him, getting up from her seat, trying to avoid stepping on any of the kittens. Sayuri wouldn't be happy if she hurt any of them.

"I'll get him, don't worry about it," she told Yuka, in hopes that she wouldn't follow. As she ran towards the source of the magical burst, she pulled Raising Heart out from under her shirt, preparing for the transformation. She wasn't prepared for what greeted her, however.

"Meow." The beast boomed, causing Ranma to falter and nearly drop Raising Heart.

"Eh?" She blurted upon seeing the next Jewel Beast, barely believing her eyes. "It's...It's a giant kitten!"

"...ah..." Ryoga agreed, staring up at the thing in surprise. He shook his head however, standing up on his back legs and holding out his front hooves in concentration. He glowed briefly before a dark sphere seemed to spread out from his body, quickly enveloping the entire area and giving the surroundings a strange tint.

"What was that?" Ranma asked, watching the Kitten stomp around without a care in the world. It didn't seem to be as angry as the last six Jewel Beasts, which was a plus.

"A barrier. It'll keep anyone from interfering. Hurry up and seal it while it's not paying attention." Ryoga replied, falling back to all fours. Finally, a Jewel that would actually be easy to take. It was about time.

"Right, Raising Heart-" Ranma began, holding the jewel in the air.

"Photon Lancer." Ranma blinked at the robotic male voice, wondering briefly if Raising Heart could change gender when a massive bolt of magical energy sailed past her head, smashing into the giant kitten. It cried out in pain as electrical energy crawled across its body, being knocked onto its side by the blow.

"What?" Ryoga muttered, turning to look for the source, "Another mage?"

"I thought you said nobody could interfere!" Ranma muttered, turning as well. It didn't take long to find the source of the attack, as her eyes locked onto the figure of a young girl standing on a nearby tree branch, wearing strange clothes and holding a weapon that looked like a bizarre axe. It reminded her of Raising Heart.

"I didn't think another mage would show up!" Ryoga defended, backing up a few steps as the new girl's eyes turned to them.

"You're the other one, aren't you? The mage going after the Lost Logia," she said, leaping down from the tree branch and approaching with a determined look on her face.

'Lost Logia? She's from my world...' Ryoga thought, taking another step back. He didn't think any other mages from Mid-Childa would be after the Jewel Seeds. Damn, if only he'd been faster in collecting them.

"I don't know what you're talking about, I never heard of no logera or whatever." Ranma replied, instinctively falling into a stance as the girl approached.

"Bardiche," The girl said, pointing her weapon at Ranma with a cruel smirk on her face.

"Yes sir." the weapon replied, electricity crackling along its edge as an orb of magic began to form in front of it.

"This is your only warning: Hand them over or die painfully." She warned, a serious look in her eyes as her magic continued to grow.

'Ranma, Transform!' Ryoga commanded.

'Like I need you to tell me that!' Ranma replied, holding out the small jewel.

"Raising Heart, Set up!" Ranma cried out as the other girl grimaced.

"You had your chance! Bardiche, Photon Lancer!" She shouted, bracing her weapon.

"Standby Ready. Set up." Raising Heart stated.

"Photon Lancer, Full Auto Fire." Bardiche added.

(-)(-)(-)(-)

Genma grumbled a bit to himself as he walked through town, eyes darting back and forth to make sure he wasn't being followed. You could never be sure in this town. The police were crazy, the vets were crazy, maybe everybody was crazy? That man buying a newspaper could be a grandmaster of a lost art of martial arts revolving around the wielding of spoons as deadly weapons. Who could tell anymore?

As Genma approached his target, moving swiftly from cover to cover despite the odd looks this earned him from passersby, he noticed an odd shop next to the one he was moving towards that caught his eye. It seemed to be selling martial arts equipment, which wasn't the kind of thing he usually came across.

Curious, he changed direction, rolling through the door until he came to a stop next to a stand filled with random books, his impact displacing several of them and knocking them on the floor. The cashier looked at him strangely, but Genma paid him no mind, instead quickly scoping out what the store had to offer.

Seemed like a sports store that catered to gyms and such, selling simple weights and accessories. Not as interesting as he hoped. Damn, what a waste of time.

"I better head next door before the cops show up..." Genma muttered, getting to his feet. He paused momentarily, however, his eye catching on one of the books that now laid on the floor around him, the words 'Unstoppable Secret Technique' emblazoned across the front, followed by a '12 easy steps to becoming unbeatable' and another blurb declaring that it was 'guaranteed.'

"Hmm..." Genma hmmed, picking up the book and opening to the inner cover, "Neko-Ken, eh?"

(-)(-)(-)(-)(-)(-)(-)(-)

To Be Continued

The Authors' Notes:

Ryo: And that's revised chapter 2. We toned down the comedy a little and continued with some of the changes made in the first chapter, but for the most part, this chapter was fine. Only a few scenes have been majorly changed. From here on out, things start taking a downward turn, but I doubt we'll remove the comedy entirely.

JSB: Nothing much new here. Fate replacement in next chapter. Prepare to be surprised. And yeah, we will have some points of comedy, since I don't think we can write this whole story without some humour to keep us going. It's just going to be primarily...dark.

Brought to you by the combined efforts of:

Ryo-Wolf & JSB.