Author's note: This story is a double crossover between Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon, and Shadow Hearts: Covenant. There is a third series that will be added in, but that will not come until the final arc of the story. For those of you who have read my previous stories, particularly my Naruto stories, you'll be pleased to know that I've already written down the entire plotline so that my muse cannot get away. Without further talk, Heir of the Lost Dynasty begins!
Nodoka Saotome was calmly sitting in her living room sipping tea when the doorbell rang. She calmly got up from the table and walked to the front door. Once there, Nodoka politely called out, "Who is it?"
A reserved voice behind the door replied, "My peaceful rose. Would you please be so kind as to open up the door for your father?"
Instantly, Nodoka's face broke out in a smile as she heard her father's voice behind the door. The Saotome matriarch hurriedly opened the door to see her father standing in the doorway. Nodoka calmly noticed the changes in her father Nicholas Inugami since she had last seen him. His full red beard that cover his mouth and jaw now had a few specks of grey in it. Nodoka knew that her father looked remarkably like his namesake and grandfather. Those looks had cause some of the more spiteful older generation to look down on Nickolas, but Nodoka always thought it gave her father an aura of respect.
Very quickly Nodoka rushed forward to hug her father and kiss both of his cheeks. She then smiled and said, "It's so good to see you father. I've missed you so much."
Nicholas smiled and replied, "I've missed you too Nodoka. It's been too long since we've see each other. Last time was when little Ranma was born. Speaking of the boy, where is my grandson?"
For a split second, Nodoka's smile faded before she quickly replied, "Oh, Ranma is out at the moment. Genma wanted to make sure that Ranma could get in some training."
A small frown crossed Nicholas's face when Nodoka mentioned his son-in-law. It was no secret that Nicholas thought that Genma was completely unworthy to be married to Nodoka. This wasn't just typical fatherly concern over a daughter; Nicholas didn't trust or respect Genma at all. The fat fool couldn't own up to personal responsibility and had a lot of connections to unsavory characters. Those unsavory characters weren't the misunderstood weirdoes and half-decent monsters that Nicholas was acquainted with. No, Genma associated with several shady people that most honest people would have the common sense to avoid like the plague. Genma's 'master' Happosai was a good example of Genma's poor taste in picking associates. It was only the fact that Nodoka refused to accept any other man as her husband that made Nicholas tolerate Genma.
Nodoka quickly decided to try and get her father's mind off of her husband and as she lead him into the house said, "And what about you father? I haven't heard from you in six, almost seven years. Surly you could have at least stopped and visited while you're on business."
Spotting a seat, Nicholas sat down and replied, "It would have been hard to visit you my dear peaceful rose. That would have put an unnecessary risk on both yourself and Ranma. I would not risk the chance of the KGB finding you again after some of my associates managed to remove their files on you. I've only now risked seeing you again because the Chairman of the KGB and I have reached an understanding. He will stop hunting what remains of the Clan and in return, I will not kill his family like I did his slain predecessor."
Unconsciously, Nodoka started to shutter as she saw glimpses of the demon that her father kept locked away inside of him. She then got some tea and softly said, "I wish this stupid feud had ended years ago. Why did they have to keep coming after us all these years? Why did you and my uncles have to continue to aggravate the KGB? Our clan could have hidden itself during WWII." Her eyes drooped as she continued on, "I know that the clan made the honorable decision, but it cost us everyone else in the family. You taught me to stay true to honor and to keep my word; still, I wish honor wasn't as hard to bear as it is."
Nodoka felt her father put his hand on her shoulder and she looked up to see Nicholas reaching across with his arm. The Inugami patriarch then softly said, "If things were a perfect world, we would be sitting in a large house filled with aunts, uncles, and a dozen or so cousins. Sadly, this is not a perfect world and we must deal with what is and the consequences of our actions. The threatening of the chairman's wife and children, even to protect your life, makes me pray to God every day for forgiveness. Our clan's special ability is not the only burden that we must bare."
For hours, mother and father talked about all sorts of things as they tried to catch up with each other. As the time passed, Nicholas slowly became more and more concerned about things in the Saotome household. Where were that good for nothing loser Genma and his grandson? Surely the two would be back by now. Last time Nicholas had been here, Genma always arrived right as Nodoka would start preparing dinner. For a second Nicholas thought that Genma and Ranma might be on some sort of father-son bonding trip. However, Nicholas didn't think that Genma would ever do something like that. Moreover, why did his daughter only have pictures of a very young Ranma up on display? Nodoka had his mother's love of photography and this sudden cutoff on the photos of Ranma didn't make any sense. Finally, Nicholas couldn't stand it any longer and he said, "Nodoka, where is Ranma?"
For a second Nodoka faltered before replying, "He's out training with Genma father. I told you this earlier."
Nicholas gave his daughter a mildly disappointed look and then continued. "Nodoka, where are Ranma and Genma? Your husband was never this late for dinner even though you haven't started making it yet. Moreover, why is it that you don't have any photos of Ranma pass a certain age? Don't say that you lost interest in photography; you've been linked with a camera since you were two years old!"
In a much more nervous manner Nodoka exclaimed, "But Father! Genma and Ranma really are on a training trip." She then very quietly added, "It's just a multi-year long trip."
Unfortunately for Nodoka, her father heard that last bit and was not amused. Nicholas let out a deep growl and shouted out, "WHAT! You let that fat lob of flesh out of your sight for years in order to 'train' Ranma?! Are you out of your god-given mind Nodoka? Might I remind you that this is the same Genma that I had to go drag out of a bar with his training buddy Soun in order for them both to be at the church in time for your wedding? Why haven't you tracked him down? I know that you can since your demon morph Grano is useful for tracking."
Nodoka started to break down under her father's continued verbal offense. Through her sobs, Nodoka said, "I hate my demon morph father! I wish that I didn't have these damn harmonixer abilities! How can I be normal woman if I can change into a demon? How can anyone in our family have a normal life with these powers?"
Nicholas frowned and coldly replied, "That power that you so loathed is the only thing that allowed us to survive. If the Soviets had it their way, we'd all be dead like they claimed back in '18. Our entire family owes its life because your grandfather possessed and passed down the harmonixer power. Remember back to 73 where the ability to fuse with Grano allowed you to escape. Do you think that your mother's death at the KGB's hands would have bought you enough time to escape on foot?"
A sharp hiss came from Nodoka as she practically shouted out, "Don't you dare bring mother's death into this! The KGB would have never have found us if it wasn't for those maniacs chasing us for the demon god bound in your soul graveyard."
Nicholas felt his hands clench into fists at his daughter's accusation. How dare she blame him with his beloved Koyuki's death! He had no control over the whims of others. Hell, the only reason he had Astaroth's soul was because of another group trying to make a soul-pact with the demon. Reigning in his temper just a bit, the older harmonixer said in a low voice, "It's obvious that I've overstayed my welcome. Good day daughter and I hope you wake up to the reality of the world!" With that said, Nicholas stormed out of the house leaving Nodoka to wonder how such a pleasant visit could sour so quickly.
Three weeks after the incident in the Saotome house, Nicholas Inugami strolled into a small town in the Kansai with an ominous aura surrounding him. The old harmonixer had been hot on Genma's trail, unknown to Genma, ever since that confrontation with Nodoka. In every town that Nicholas had been to he heard tales of Genma running out on a bar tab here or a restaurant there. Per town, Genma would only rack up two or three petty crimes like that. But, when added all together the petty crimes created a mountain of evidence that Genma was just unsuited to raise a child. Nicholas already knew that of course, but the evidence would help his late wife's nephew in the Japanese Diet pull a few strings to get Nicholas custody of Ranma once he found the boy.
Nicholas was walking down the town's main street towards the police office when he heard two old women talking. The first old woman said, "Oh dear, where did my sweet little Tora go? I haven't seen my sweet Tora for the past three days."
The second old woman replied, "I understand Migemi. My dear little C-Chan is missing as well. In fact, all the cats in the neighborhood are missing. I wonder where everyone's cat could have gone to."
Hearing these words caused Nicholas to freeze in his tracks as his face whitened in horror. All the cats in the neighborhood missing for several days, plus Genma and the man's usual stupidity added up to a very horrify possibility. For a second, Nicholas tried to convince himself that not even Genma would be so stupid as to do what he was thinking. Nicholas then smacked himself and remembered that this was Genma he was thinking about. That dumb tub of lard would only need to hear 'ultimate technique' and would then proceed to disregard any warnings or common sense. Not that the fool had any after throwing his lot in with the oldest living embarrassment to Japan.
Nicholas quickly decided that time was short supply and pulled out a town map. He hurriedly scanned through the map trying to locate a secluded out-of-the-way spot. Genma would have to set up camp in such a spot if he was going to 'train' Ranma in the Neko-ken. A small forest preserve near a local temple seemed to be the best location near the town. Nicholas just dropped his map and rushed towards the forest like the proverbial hounds of hell were after him. It didn't matter to him that he was causing a scene by his sudden mad dash. All that mattered to Nicholas was making sure that his grandson was safe.
Ten minutes later, Nicholas was rushing through the undergrowth of the forest preserve when he heard a little boy's voice call out, "Pops! Get me out of here! The cats are hurting me."
Hearing Ranma, for whom else could it be, wail like that caused Nicholas to loose all restraint. A field of glowing mystical energy formed around Nicholas as he activated his harmonixer powers. There was a blinding flash of light as he completed his demon morphing that caused all the woodland creatures to start to flee. When the light subsided, Death Emperor stood in the forest. The lesser spirit of darkness quickly extended his wings and took to the sky.
Now air born, Death Emperor soared through the skies just above the tree line frantically searching for his grandson. The fused demon's search quickly became successful as Death Emperor spotted a clearing with Genma and what looked like wood over a pit with a rock on top. Death Emperor threw his head back letting out a demonic roar and then shot out of the sky towards pit. The spirit of darkness flipped in a cartwheel action as he neared the pit. In this cartwheel, Death Emperor fluidly kicked the rock away, ripped the boards away from the pit with one hand, and then grabbed Ranma out of the pit with his other hand.
Ranma had a completely bewildered look on his face as Death Emperor proceeded to gently place him on the ground. The young boy remembered being attacked by the cats in the pit and then being suddenly pulled out of the pit. At first, Ranma had thought that Pops had rescued him. Then he saw the monstrous form of his rescuer and his eyes widened in amazement. Ranma didn't feel afraid of his rescuer and he started asking in admiration, "Who are you mister?"
There was a blinding flash of light as Nicholas resumed his human form. Nicholas gave Ranma a smile and replied, "Family Ranma. I'm family." The middle age harmonixer then whipped his head towards Genma and practically growled out, "Genma Saotome. I warned you never to harm my family when you married my daughter, but you've seemed to have forgotten that. You abandoned your wife so you can live the life of a drifter. You've created a mountain of petty crimes ever since you left my daughter. You endanger Ranma, your son and my grandson's, health and sanity with a technique that any half-witted man would realize is insane."
Nicholas's hand moved for his saber as he continued in a subzero tone. "I have not forgotten my warning Genma and it still stands. I am the judge and the jury of this trial you tub of lard for which you have been found guilty Genma. You have three options Genma: beg for forgiveness, flee leaving Ranma with me, or prepare yourself for combat. Which do you choose?"
There were only a few things in this world that could make Genma truly afraid and his father-in-law was one of them. Nicholas was one of those rare men who had both the power and the will to make the world bend to his wishes. Even before Genma had met Nodoka, he had heard of Nicholas Inugami's name spoken of in a hushed, if respective, manner. The fact that the man seemed to have it out for him always made Genma nervous. Hell, he had actually been praying that the KGB would get lucky and take down his titan of an in-law. That offer of fleeing the area sounded mighty tempting to Happosai's pupil.
However, there was one thing stopping Genma from getting out of doge. Nicholas wanted Ranma with him and that was something that Genma couldn't allow. How could the honorable school of Anything Goes be passed down if Ranma wasn't taught it by him? The school's future rested on Ranma staying with him; Nicholas would never allow Ranma to learn a School that he held in contempt. As for the pledge with Soun, well, Genma knew that his old training buddy was held only slightly higher then him in Nicholas's eyes. Genma's eyes narrowed and he got into an offensive stance. For the future of the schools, the pudgy martial artist would face the one being scarier than then The Master: his father-in-law.
Seeing Genma's resolve, Nicholas let out a small smirk as he said, "So you choose to fight? It's futile you fool, but at least you are finally starting to act like a man." With that, the Inugami sword master then drew his saber from its scabbard and got into a defensive stance. The gleam on the saber's razor sharp edge shouted the blade's desire for Genma's blood.
From the sidelines, Ranma silently watched as his newly discovered grandfather and his pops square off to fight. The young boy couldn't understand why his gramps and pops were fighting each other. It was one thing if they were sparing, but Ranma just knew that this wasn't a spar. He could just feel that this battle was more than a mere spar.
Genma started off by unsealing the sen kens, he knew that they would be needed in order to win, and sending a Kijin Rashu Dan at Nicholas. Expecting this, Nicholas ignited his saber and cut the void blade in two destroying the attack. Nicholas pointed his blazing saber at Genma and then said, "Did you really expect that to work against me Genma? I was killing demons that packed more punch than that since I was 15. Watch how the professionals use a ranged attack, Bullenfogel!" Nicholas slashed with his sword and sent a column of fire racing towards Genma.
The overweight martial artist barely avoided getting singed from Nicholas's attack. Genma then proceeded to unleash a barrage of Kijin Rashu Dans at Nicholas hoping to slowly bleed him to death. Unfortunately for Genma, Nicholas had long ago learned how to read incoming attacks and also mastered dogging with minimal movement. Not only this skill annoyed an enemy, it also allowed Nicholas to conserve his energy for when it really mattered. Ranma watched in amazement as the battle kicked into high gear with Genma trying to get in close to attack Nicholas. Every time Genma approached Nicholas, the elder man would make a single shallow cut in Genma's flesh. The saber's flames would cauterize the wounds, but leave Genma even weaker then if he had just been cut.
Genma found out very quickly the folly of challenging his in-law. The match just was not in Genma favor and that was becoming rapidly more apparent. Anything Goes was based around beating and defeating someone in a martial arts match or a freestyle event. The Inugami sword style was based around maiming or killing your opponent in battle. Genma started to realize that he was completely unsuited for this battle mentally as he started to develop a burnt bacon scent. Eventually, the battle damage became too much for Genma and he lost consciousness. The last thing that Genma saw was Nicholas walking towards Ranma.
Two days later, Nicholas and Ranma were sitting at a restaurant's outside table. Ranma, like any seven year-old, was fidgeting in his seat, while Nicholas calmly sat at the table drinking tea. The past two days had been confusing for Ranma. After Grandfather, Nicholas insisted that he not be called Gramps, had beaten up his father everything in Ranma's world was turned on its head. Nicholas had lead Ranma to a police station and told him to wait while he sorted out some things. Ranma couldn't understand what the big commotion was, but half a dozen policemen quickly rushed out of the station. Those officers returned a half hour later dragging Genma into the station. The last that Ranma saw of his father was Genma being thrown into a holding cell.
Once Genma was locked away, Ranma remembered being told by a police officer to stick with his grandfather until some paperwork was sorted. This made absolutely no sense to the little boy. What did stacks of paper have to do with him?
Just as Ranma was about to jump out of his seat, Nicholas placed his tea cup down on the table and calmly spoke. "Ranma, I know that it is difficult for you, but please sit still. Our companion will be here soon to bring word on what will happen to you. Sitting still like a grown up will impress our visitor on how much of a big boy you are." Instantly, Ranma stopped fidgeting and sat with a strait back. Nicholas shook his head slightly when he saw Ranma's reaction. It would take some time to get Ranma to act like a gentleman thanks to Genma's teachings. Luckily, that tub of lard hadn't permanently damaged Ranma's social graces. Getting Ranma to not act like a ruffian was second on Nicholas's list of things to do after making sure that he was sole guardian of his grandson.
Soon enough, a small black car pulled up along the side of the road near the restaurant. The rear door near the restaurant opened up and a man in his mid-thirties wearing an expensive suit stepped out of the car. Nicholas gracefully stood up and motioned for Ranma to do the same. Naturally, Ranma stood up as well even if it was more like he jumped out of his seat. As the man approached the table, Nicholas politely bowed his head and said, "Good day Takashi Hino. It is a pleasure to meet with you again."
Mr. Hino bowed a little lower than Nicholas did and respectfully replied, "Uncle Nicholas. It is an honor to see you again in good health." Takashi turned to look at Ranma who was obviously struggling to stand still. The governmental representative gave the boy a quick look over and then said, "So this is the young man that is generating so much trouble for the Imperial government. He looks like a fine boy who will undoubtedly grow up into a fine example of a man; especially when one considers who will be taking care of him."
One of Nicholas's eyebrows rose up at that comment. Nicholas then inquired, "Does that mean what I think it might mean?"
Takashi put the briefcase that he had been carrying on the table and said, "It does indeed uncle. It is the ruling of the Imperial government that both Genma Saotome and Nodoka Saotome are unable to handle the responsibilities inherent with rising children. Mr. Saotome has been disqualified because of his criminal record and child abuse. Mrs. Saotome has been disqualified because of child abandonment and potential premeditated murder." Mr. Hino quickly started to explain when he saw the shocked and horrified look on Nicholas face. "The police found a document in Mr. Saotome's belongings stating that either he would make Ranma a 'man among men' or both he and the boy would commit seppuku. The document states that Mrs. Saotome is to be the judge of the pledge and has her signature as witness to the pledge. Criminal charges are being pressed against her by the Imperial government. Given the circumstances, it was decided that you, being both the nearest blood relative and a person held in high esteem, would be the perfect guardian for young Ranma here."
Mr. Hino then paused to pull out several documents from his briefcase and a pen. He set them down on the table and turned to face Nicholas as he resumed speaking. "These are the documents that you will need to sign Uncle in order to make you the full legal guardian of Ranma. I've also included the necessary documents to have Ranma transferred from the Saotome to the Inugami clan register if you so decide to do so."
Nicholas sat down and proceeded to fill out the paperwork to make his guardianship of Ranma official. After a few minutes, he got to clan register transfer form. Nicholas set the pen down and turned to look at Ranma. In a grandfatherly tone he asked, "Well Ranma? I have the option of giving you my clan name. Would you like to have your grandfather's clan name, or do you want to stay a Saotome?" The old harmonixer truly wanted Ranma to become an Inugami. However, he figured that such a break with the past had to be by Ranma's choice or the boy would resent him.
Ranma gave his grandfather a bewildered look when he was told to pick his last name. Genma had always simply told Ranma what the two of them were to be doing. The little boy was happy for the most part to be told what to do since it involved training. However, that stunt with the cats made Ranma grateful to be offered a choice. The actual decision was easy for Ranma to make; his father was apparently doing some bad things, while his grandfather had gotten him out of that pit. Ranma looked up at his grandfather and cheerfully said, "I'll be an Inugami Grandfather!"
Several hours later, Nicholas and Ranma returned to their hotel room after having dinner. Ranma quickly jumped onto one of the beds and Nicholas pretended not to have seen his grandson leap like that. The older Inugami figured that he had more urgent issues to work with Ranma at the moment. Nicholas put his coat on a hanger and then sat down on the other bed looking at Ranma. He then said in a grandfatherly tone, "Ranma, I need to talk with you."
Instantly, Ranma focused his attention on Nicholas and he replied, "Sure Gram- er, Grandfather. What's this about?"
Nicholas gave his grandson a small smile and then answered, "Now that your guardianship situation is straitened out, I need to explain some things about the Inugami Clan. Ranma, do you remember how I rescued you? Do you remember that other form I was in when I pulled you out of the pit?"
The little boy's eyes widened and he gasped out, "That, that was real?!" Given everything that had happened to him at the time, Ranma had started to believe that he had dreamed the whole descending demon figure up. The flaming sword, on the other hand, had stuck in Ranma's mind.
Nicholas nodded his head and replied, "Yes Ranma. That was real. Our family is special; we are Harmonixers. Don't worry if you have trouble remembering the name. Even I had a bit of trouble when I was your age Ranma. Harmonixer is a way of saying that we can transform into demons and use their powers. This is a very rare and special gift found only in our family. As such, it needs to stay our little secret; sort of like those sentai show heroes have to keep who they are secret."
Ranma nodded his head and replied, "Gotcha. We turn into demons and no one can know." The little boy then put his fingers to his lips like he was telling Nicholas to keep quiet. It was a charming sight that caused a small smile to form on Nicholas's face.
After letting out a small chuckle Nicholas said, "That's right Ranma. No one can know about our abilities unless I say they can know." The elder Inugami's face then hardened as he continued on, "Ranma, you're still young, but you must understand this: our power is both a blessing and a curse. We're really strong in our demon forms, but it costs us skills in other areas. I couldn't learn how to use that fire sword I used against Genma until I was 47. Most slow learners can do it when they're in their early 30's."
The boy gave Nicholas a confused look and asked, "Why'd it take you so long? You're not dumb."
Simple and direct, children had a way of cutting through things to the heart of the matter without even realizing it. Nicholas inquired, "Ranma, do you know what Chi is?" Instantly, the little boy nodded his head. Ranma knew a good deal on fighting and martial arts techniques even though, or more like because, Genma hadn't put much emphasis on traditional learning. Now on the same page with his grandson, Nicholas continued his explanation. "Unlike other people Ranma, our chi is mostly focused inward as an effect of our gift. This gives us great strength and endurance, but it hampers our ability to project chi. When we transform, our Chi reserves transform into Mana reserves and we can use it offensively." Seeing the look on Ranma's face, Nicholas quickly dumb down what he was saying. "You won't be able to use attacks like my flaming sword without transforming until you're really, really skilled Ranma."
Nodding his head, Ranma then asked, "Grandfather? How do you change? When will I be able to do that as well?"
Nicholas quickly replied, "You won't be able to change for a few more years Ranma. We usually develop the ability when we're around 12-13 years old. A rare few have developed the ability as early as 10 or as late as 16. I'll explain things to you more thoroughly as you start to show your harmonixer powers. Now, it's late and you young man need to get some sleep. Tomorrow, we're heading off to the old Inugami family lands."