Disclaimer: See parts 1 - 2.
Summery: Thanks to Genma's laziness, Ryouga is stuck as Girl when hit with hot water and as a pig with cold water. Now she lives with the Tendo's and Saotome's hoping to find a cure for both her curses or at least to be rid of the pig. The Chinese Amazon Mousse has show up, and declared that he and Ryouga are engaged, and Shampoo has finally made it to Japan, hunting for the one who humiliated her.
Ranma and Ryouga-chan?
Back to Normal, Invasion of the Amazon's
Setting down the last few empty bowls on the table and arranging the chop sticks correctly, she stood back up and cast a critical look over the table, the food was ready, the table was ready, and the hot water would be done in a few moments, all in all, everything was just as it should be for tonight's dinner. Kasumi smiled to herself at another good job done and sat about finding the family so they could eat.
Waiting patiently for her father to sit down at the head of the table before she began to eat anything, she cast a quick glance over the table, checking to see if she had missed anything. Looking up and smiling at her father as he entered, she failed to notice the slightly strange look in his eyes as he looked over the people around the table. "Kasumi Dear, where's the young Ryouga at?"
Blinking in surprise, Kasumi turned to stare at the spot next to Ranma that Ryouga usually sat in whenever they used the table finding it empty, casting a strange glance over at Ranma, she tried to see if he knew where the black haired girl were, but his eyes held the same puzzlement, and a small frown of concern hidden behind it. Returning her attention to her father, she shook her head and replied. "I don't know Father, I haven't seen her since she came back from school."
Looking up from her place, Nabiki slowly lowered her manga book and closed it, her eyes glinting with a small twinkle, as the nervous feel to her father hadn't gone completely unnoticed by her. It would be fun to try and find out what had upset her father so much, and why he was looking for one of their freeloading houseguests. But still, she had promised the black haired girl not to tell anyone where she had been going earlier that day; still with the amount of yen she had gotten out of it. She had only agreed to keep silent for a few hours. "She went out for a while, took her backpack and some food with her."
Dropping his chopsticks, Ranma, Soun and Kasumi stared at the middle Tendo sister with disbelief on their faces at the news. Reacting with the usual tact his upbringing had taught him, Ranma cast a dark look on Nabiki and leaned a bit closer. "What do ya mean she left?" Voice full of his skeptic as to how much asking it would cost him, this was the same girl who would demand money just to call for help to an injured person.
Chewing down a piece of Octopi as she calmly ignored the insulting tone Ranma had just used against her, Nabiki was busy going over how much she would be able to charge for her information and help. Holding out her hand, she smiled at Ranma and ignored the shocked look on Kasumi's face, she may have backed down on the Ryouga photo issue, but this was a different matter. "3000 yen, Saotome."
Soun's stern look of disapproval didn't reach Nabiki as her fingers twitched to show that she waiting for the money to be handed over to her. Across from her, Ranma look could have burned a hole through that small hand if he had been superman, instead, he was just Ranma Saotome, and all he could do, was hand over the money he had. "Here, all I have is 2300 yen."
Snapping up the bills and quickly counting them in her mind, Nabiki smiled and pocketed them as she took in the angry glare sent at her from most of the people around the table, the only one who didn't shoot a stern look at her was Mr. Saotome, and that was only because he was to busy stealing all of Ranma's food while the boy wasn't looking. Having secured the money, Nabiki picked up her chopsticks and looked at the pigtailed boy with a curious glance. "Ryouga left four hours ago, she didn't really tell me where she was going, but I did managed to see her map, she's somewhere in the Mount Terror region."
Standing up and grabbing the back of his father's neck, Ranma began to march out of the room, a backpack already slung around his shoulders. "Let's go pops." Shooting a look back at the shocked people staring at him, he snorted loudly. "You think I'm going to let Ryouga run off an training trip like that, no way."
"You're right boy." Genma cried as he jumped up and pushed himself free of his son's rather painful grip on his neck. "It's a martial artist duty to make sure he's strong." Grabbing his son pigtail, he began to walk back to the table, ignoring the cry of pain it earned him from his son. "But before we leave, we should show our respect to Kasumi, and enjoy the wonderful meal she has prepared for us."
Ryouga sighed in content as she once again felt the opened wind on her face after the weeks of nothing but city air. It was rather funny to her, how something as mundane as a fresh breeze could cheer her up like this. Settling down on the ground, her eyes wandered over the wide spread landscape before her, the sight of the rive sneaking through the farmland below her, and past the rather large farm over there. It was great to once again be wandering around, even if he had promised to be back sometime with in the next two days, right now after the whole deal with mousse and the memory of what had happened in China, she just needed some time alone, and what better way to do that then to go on a little training trip. "When I get back Ranma, I'll grind your face in the dirt, just you wait." A yellow aura formed as her face it up with a friendly grin; she would finally gain the upper hand in their sparing matches for once.
The response to her battle cry came in the form of a sudden downpour, water hitting her in the face rather harshly, and seconds before a black piglet stood in her place. "BWWEEEE!!" Of course, this would make climbing Mount Terror so much more challenging, but she would make it, she could do it, she would beat Ranma and this stupid mountain, if she didn't get lost along the way.
Struggling up the mountain side, Ryouga-pig pulled the large backpack after him, his ears and eyes open to spot any movement around him, the feeling of fear growing, in this form, he was sure to become a quick meal to the first thing with sharp teeth that crossed him if he wasn't ready to defend him at all time.
Sighing as he leaned back against the wall, Mousse looked around the small room he was currently in, it didn't look like much, but at least it was his. Now all he had to do was find a place to earn the needed money to pay for it, but first, he had to get something to eat. Staring out of his window, he looked down at the street, and at the two small restaurants lying side by side. "Hmm, what should it be tonight, sushi or sushi?" The words dripped with sarcasm as he turned away. "They could at least have different menu."
"True, those two lack wisdom to have placed their shops so close to one another."
Jumping back as soon as he heard the voice talk, Mousse looked at whoever it was, his eyes growing a bit wide when he spotted someone he hadn't expected to see again, well not until he had returned to the village with his beloved. "It's you... Old Crone." The last was stated as Cologne jumped out from the shadows, her staff moving trough the air and smacking him on the head.
Looking down at Mousse as he pulled himself up from the floor, Cologne looked around the small place, her eyes going over the lack of... well basically everything in the place, seemed the only thing there, was the half blind boy's backpack leaning on the wall. "Seems you just keep sinking to new lows everyday Mousse." She stated as she poked him in the chest. "Still, I expect you to have found your bride since you have settled in."
Mousse grumbled a low answer as he shook of the dust from his robe, turning to stare at the blurred outline of the old women as he pulled out a new pair of glasses from his wide sleeves. "Yes, she lives at a place here in Nerima." Smiling at the thought of Ryouga, Mousse pulled out a rose from his right sleeve. "As does that boy she and Panda she's traveling with."
Cologne nodded as she listened to him, her mind already working on several things that might be useful to the half blind boy in his quest for the outsider girl. "Yes, what about Shampoo, have you seen her?" Carefully masking her concern, Cologne stared at Mousse as she pulled out her pipe, that Great Granddaughters of her would need to hear the rest of the story. "Something has come up that concerns the Kiss of Death she gave."
Mousse nodded as he sat down on the floor as well, using his sleeping back as a seat. "Yes, I saw it a few days ago, seems the red haired girl is a boy." Mousse added in a strained voice as he pulled off his glasses to clean them a bit. "I assume you're here to tell her, or to see what her reaction will be."
Shrugging as she settled down on the floor across from him, Cologne inhaled on her pipe and blew out a small cloud of smoke into the air, her eyes seeming to just stare right through. "Maybe, for now, I am here on the councils behalf, not as it matriarch." Her eyes narrowing, she gave a small smile at Mousse. "The marriage between you and young Ryouga has been reviewed by them, and it has been decided that since the wedding was interrupted before its completion, you are to claim her as a bride before a year has passed."
Dropping his glasses, Mousse stared down at Cologne, his eyes going wide with shock at the news. "What do you mean, I thought I had already married her." Voice rising with his anger, Mousse stood up and began to mumble loudly under his breath. "There could be a problem with that, Ranma and Ryouga seems closer now then they were in China, he might have some feelings for her, and I knew he doesn't like me after what happened at the wedding."
Nodding while listing to his speech, Cologne continued to smoke her pipe while going over several plans in her head. "Well, you can challenge him to a duel for her hand." Watching Mousse for his reaction, she gave a small grin when she saw his reaction to her words; it looked like she would be getting some entertainment on this journey. "By the way, I took some time out to see how your bride is doing at her home, and I learned that she has left on a training trip."
Turning around, mousse stared down at the older woman with a big smile on his face, the thought of being alone with Ryouga and training the art with her did sound a lot better then spending time in a place like this. "Where did she go, did Ranma go with her, how far is it?"
"Relax." Cologne replied as she pulled her staff back after knocking him on the head with it. "I will show you were he is, if you agree to help me in finding an answer to something that has been puzzling me."
The words came from Ranma's mouth as he felt himself nearly stumbling over another root sticking out of the ground, behind him, Genma where still going strong despite having gotten a beating for suggesting that he sleep in the same tent as Akane, who for some reason had gotten convinced to join in on the trip as well.
Speaking of the girl, she was also having trouble finding her way in the darkness; well until she had brought out a flashlight and turned in on to better see. Something, which had Ranma snort in annoyance, how did she hope to train her ability to sense things without looking for them if she refused to take the chances nature gave her to train it. "Hey, old man, when will we be there anyway?"
A fist impacting his head was the first response from Genma as she walked past them, his eyes trained on the mountaintop up ahead of them while searching for a good place to make camp for the night. "Well, if we keep up this pace, it will only be an hour or so before we are half way up to the top." Looking back as he heard grumbling from his student and the girl about beating him up as hard as they could, he gave a small grin. "But I think we'll make camp in short while, so relax a bit okay."
Higher up on the mountain, Ryouga looked down at the light moving around a good deal off the base of the mountain. "Hmm, didn't think anyone else would ever think of coming here." Shrugging to herself, she turned back around to her instant noodles and her weights, taking the time to practice a bit while waiting for the food to cool down enough for her to eat it. "345...346..." Dropping the weights and grumbling, she turned and stared down at the umbrella she had brought along, that thing had more weight in it then those metal things, but for some reason, she had been compelled to take the weights along, why she would never know.
Dropping down and feeling the cup of noodles, she grinned as she tore the lid off and began to eat it, it was nice to be able to relax like this again, just her, the stars and the annoying boar staring at her from the edge of the clearing. Stopping and going back over the words, Ryouga turned her head and found herself looking right into the eyes of a boar grunting as it looked at her. "What?"
Several sounds of struggle later, Ryouga looked down at the massively bruised boar with a slight tick in her left eye, the damn thing had been more persistent then the others she had met, but it was still a big pain in the... Trailing off, she settled for kicking the boar off into the night sky, taking a great satisfaction in watching it fade away. "Good riddance." Sitting down and resuming her meal, she grunted as she began to think of a good place to start with her training.
Ranma stared straight ahead in puzzlement for a split second as he pushed the low hanging branch out of the way, the sight of a badly bruised Boar lying on it's back in a shallow mud hole was more then enough for him to wonder as too why it was doing that, until the few times in the past where Ryouga had somehow gotten attacked by the local boars or pigs for no reason came to mind. "Must be because of the curse." He muttered and stopped. The thought passing through him that if Ryouga attracted all those pigs and boars thanks to the spring of drowned pig, would that mean he would also attract just as many girls.
Behind him, Genma shook his head and began to walked around the boar looking at it with a critical eye, the sudden urge for bacon raining up in him again, despite the trouble he always got whenever he had tried to eat, cook or buy it in the last couple of months since that day at Jusenkyo, but thankfully to him, there was one thing that saved both him and the boar this time.
"Will you two get a move on, I'm tired and I want to sleep."
Stepping back in fear of the towering angry girl yelling at them, Both Ranma and Genma began to move up the mountain again. Both of them shooting a dark look at one another, blaming the other one for bringing along the girl when it had, almost been a silent agreement to bring her along, if only to cook up a decent meal for both of them, surely, someone with a excellent cook like Kasumi in the family had to be better then them in the kitchen and over a camping stove or bonfire.
Further down the mountain, Mousse wheezed as he looked up at Cologne sitting calmly on the back of the extra large backpack he was carrying, a puff of smoke coming from her pipe. "Well Mousse, I must say you have shown a great restrain lately." Feeling his question before he even spoke she gave a small smile. "Before this, you would have attacked that Ranma boy outright to prove that Ryouga belonged with you and not him."
"Yes Elder, but really, why do I have to carry all of this?" Mousse asked as he shot her a very cold glare, some of the old resent he had felt for her when he was chasing Shampoo still going strong even now, and it didn't look like it was going to go away any time soon.
Cologne, ignoring the complaint, simply settled back to enjoy the nature around her, wondering if her current idea was the right one, and if her suspicion about things were right. "Mousse boy, you said Ryouga was still showing interest in you right?" Something, which shouldn't be right, the powder should have worn off by now, given how little she received from Shampoo's account of the incident.
"Yes, she loves me, and nothing will ever change that." Mousse declare as he finally reached the place Cologne had pointed out for him to set up camp for the night, the task of raising the tent, making the fire, preparing some food and finding water still ahead of him, but for now, he could relax.
"Get to work boy, I'll be back shortly." Cologne ordered as she used her staff to carry her away form the camp, and towards the upper parts of the mountain in a far more rapid pace then the one Mousse had used. "I'll be looking into something's for a little while."
Not listing to her, mousse slowly rolled over onto his back and stared up into the star lit sky, wondering if teaming up with the old crone had been a good idea in this matter, and just what her business on the mountain was anyway. But for now, he would rest, and then, he would set the tent, make the fire, cook the food and find some water, and he had to do it, before the old bat returned to complain about it.
Ryouga sighed to herself as she sat down inside her tent, a tired look on her face as she rolled out her sleeping bag on the ground, the softness of it not standing up to the bed she had back at the Tendo's, but more then enough to make her relax. Settling back, Ryouga gave a loud scream as she spotted a small and really wrinkled person looking at her.
"Hush Child." Cologne demanded as her staff lashed out and bonked the black haired girl on the head, driving her into the ground with a loud oomph, hands held up in the double Spiderman web-shooting stance as she recovered. Cologne, in the meantime settled down on the sleeping bag and settled for scanning the inside of the tent, waiting for the girl to get over the shock.
Pulling herself up form the ground, Ryouga glared around the tent before spotting Cologne sitting across from her, an unlit pipe twirling in one hand while her eyes were glinting with amusement. "Elder Cologne, what are you doing here?" She stammered out as she backed off, getting the feeling that maybe they had showed up to drag her off to complete the marriage.
Still twirling the pipe, Cologne stared briefly at Ryouga, taking time to note the different emotions that played across it in a rapid fashion, ranging from shock, to fear to outright terror. "Relax child, I've spoken with Mousse and I am glad to hear that you two are getting along so well, and after all this time no less."
Ryouga glared a bit at the words, feeling the anger over the incident in the Amazon village resurfacing again, along with the desire to show the purple haired Amazon girl just how much she had trained since that day. "Elder, you wouldn't happen to know where Shampoo is, I still have a small matter to settle with her." The last was added as Ryouga clenched her hand hard enough to draw blood.
"Careful Girl." Cologne advised as she turned her full attention onto Ryouga, her pipe no longer twirling in her hand. "Shampoo has been punished for her little trick, but what is done is done, and no one can change that." Looking away as she talked, Cologne ignored the angry glare form Ryouga, not really up to teaching the girl the proper way to act around an elder Amazon. "But I did come here to talk about something that has to do with the incident."
Ryouga, still showing a lot of anger as a blue aura danced around her, slowly sat down and settled for glaring at the old women before her, still not trusting her any bit, not after what had happened back in China, and the outcome of it. "Incident, I call it drugging and forcing someone against their will." The words were spat out, as the blue aura grew a bit bigger.
"Silence child!" Cologne spat back as her eyes turned to glare at the black haired girl before her with her best impression of the evil eyes, one hand holding up her staff in an attack position. "That was an incident, I merely followed the Amazon laws dealing with an outside female having close contact with a male of the village."
Eyes smoldering with Rage over the calm, and very degrading manner Cologne spoke about the love powder stunt, had Ryouga screaming out mentally for something to break, something to crush with all of her strength. "Bah, The powder no longer affects me, Ranma helped me find a cure for it."
"Really." Came the calm and slightly amused reply from Cologne as she lowered her staff, one hand rubbing her chin, as she looked closer at Ryouga, mumbling a bit to herself as she narrowed her eyes. "You shouldn't have needed a cure for it, the stuff only works for a single day to two weeks at most, after that, the effect slowly wears off, and by that time, the victim is generally either married to the Amazon who used it or dead." The last was added with a grin as she stepped a bit back, enjoying the shocked look on Ryouga's face. "If the powder failed, the only other cause left was to show that the Amazon warrior was stronger then the male by killing him in battle."
"But... But the powder, my feelings for Mu Tsu?" Ryouga spat out in panic, not even noticing that she was still using the correct pronouncing of Mousse's name when she spoke. The only feeling running through her not that she a where of it, was a cold fear, fueled by the sudden shattering of her last stronghold to deny her feelings. "Whenever I see him, I go gaga in the head, and forget why I'm mad at you people."
Cologne, politely ignoring the small insult towards her tribe and herself, looked at Ryouga with a bit of a dark grin on her face as she twirled the staff around in one hand. "Well, I'm guess that you and the young Ranma boy went searching for a cure as soon as the powder started to lose it's more powerful effect, right?"
Ryouga, stopping in her depression, looked at Cologne one more time, slowly moving her hands away from the make shift robe she had making out of her spare clothes. "Yes, I wanted it out of me, I wanted to forget what had nearly happened, I was desperate to get rid of the feelings your damn powder caused me to feel."
"And that is where things went wrong." Cologne said as she began to grin, her eyes narrowed in laughter as she stood up from where she sat on the ground. "I'm guessing this help you got, was from a simple big town merchant." Seeing Ryouga look away rather fast, Cologne grinned even wider as she moved towards the tent opening. "Seems you are partly to blame for it yourself, you should have never tried to counter the powder with another one, especially if you don't know how the powder was made to begin with."
"What?!" Ryouga yelled out as she stumbled over to the tent opening, looking out into the dark night, the only light coming from her small campfire. Looking around the place, Ryouga sighed when she failed to see any sign of the old Amazon woman anywhere, not even a single track on the ground to help her see where she went. "Dammit, I swear, I will be free of this stupid powder's influence, no matter what."
"That, Girl, will be hard to do." Cologne muttered to herself as she looked down at Ryouga sitting down by the campfire, turning around in the tree that had shield her from sight, the old Amazon shook her head as she began to move away. Things were really going to get strange around here, and she didn't want to think of the mess Shampoo's arrival would cause. "Yes, things are really going to be fun to watch."
Sneezing suddenly as she stepping off the boat, Shampoo grinned as she found herself of the shore of the red haired girls homeland, behind her, the couple who had given her a lift to this country was shaking as they awaited her orders. (You two can leave now, and I advise you to forget all that you saw here.) Shampoo spoke without looking at them as she began to walk away, ignoring the stares the few people around gave her.
On the boat, the man had nodded as he backed away, already reached for the line that secured the boat to the side of the harbor, ready to get away from the violent and rather countryside child, their respect for the people republic of China having taken a nose dive in the last few weeks with her.
Ignoring the boat and people on the pier, Shampoo defiantly began to walk towards the shore, her eyes narrowing as she prepared for the hardest part of her quest so far, finding her way to her target, through a foreign nation without any clue as too where she should look in the first place. But such things didn't matter to her, as an Amazon, she was expected to overcome such trials and return to the village in honor and glory, parading the red haired girls ponytail of her spear when she entered the gates as a sign of her victory.
Lifting up the lid of the trunk, Soun peered down into the inside of it, a smile moving across his face as memories of a long time past came back to him, slowly, almost scared of what he would see, his hand moved down into the box and pulled out an old picture frame. Turning it around, he stared at the photo behind the glass, watching how every single person on it looked like.
In one corner he and Genma were standing, big smiles on their faces as they waved to the one taking the photo. Both of them were dressed in a simple training outfit since they had just returned from a training session with the master when it had been taken. Next to them in the picture, two older girls were standing, a hand on their shoulders and smiling as well. "Kimiko!" breathing in harshly at the sight of his wife happy face, Soun looked up and took a moment to remember his sweet wife, how gentle she had been.
Looking back down at the photo again, his eyes went to the black haired women behind his wife, her arm wrapped around his Kimiko's in a friendly manner, the other one holding onto the simple wooden stick. Completely opposite, yet they had been so good friends, just like him and Genma, one was calm and delicate, the other rough and easy to anger. Despite it, they had gotten along all four when they had met, then, after he and Kimiko had gotten Kasumi and Nabiki, it had just happened, how he had regretted the day when. "Kimiko, Nanami, I'm so sorry..."
Tbc: Confrontations, Ranma VS Mousse.
AN: Sorry for the long delay with this story, truth be told I suffered form a rather bad writers block right after I had begun to work on this chapter, after it passed, I didn't have anytime as I was far to busy with Unlikely Couple and four other stories to focus on this one, this was followed by to much in my life to write again and finally my computer died on me. But now, the chapter is done at last, and I should be ready to pick up the pace again.