(Low Speak – Draconic way of communicating that is spoken at levels too low for most creatures to hear)
Ranma is obviously at the beginning of the manga.
Gold Digger is after issue 100, but I haven't decided how close to the beginning or end of the three year time skip before 101.
X x x x x x
Twelve years ago, Jade Realm, Undisclosed Location
"Nothing like wabbit stew." Arkis sat on a large rock, stirring a pot slowly simmering over a fire. "Too bad I'll be stuck in the Earth realm for a while. Damn lizards." (1)
Standing up, he went to his tent, and started to dig through his supplies. He would have to head into town one last time before switching realms. This was the second time he had to run from the authorities, so he at least knew what it would take to survive in a world run by technology. Pausing, he heard a strange slurping noise. Slowly he reached into his weapons harness, and drew out a long dwarven steel broadsword.
Spinning, he brought the sword up in front of his body, creating a guard for attacks, and immediately let his arm drop. "What are you doing?" He demanded angrily at the young dragon that was currently lapping up his stew.
"Oh, was this yours?" The dragon picked his head up and looked at him quizzically.
"Of course it's mine!" He snapped, noticing several things at once. For one it wasn't just a young dragon, it was positively a hatchling, barely five summers old. A dragon that young wouldn't be left alone, so why was it here? 'A platinum dragon's hide would get me a nice amount of cash, I bet he was abandoned for being a runt or something.'
"Come here." Arkis used his free hand to beckon the dragon towards him. Setting down his blade, within reaching distance, he got down to one knee. 'Lucky me, this young and they can't use magic that well.'
"Why?" The dragon asked, slowly walking around the fire on all fours.
"Just come here." Looking down at the beasts front legs, he waited till he was within three paces, and struck. Grabbing his sword, he was up to his feet, and thrust forward at the joint where the neck met the shoulder. Slashing would only damage the hide, he needed a single quick stab to minimize the loss.
His attack missed, the tiny dragon sidestepping the thrust, before jumping forward, and kicking him in the chest with it's hind legs. Falling backwards into his tent, he was briefly tangled in the ropes tying it to the ground. Regaining his feet, he looked around wildly for the dragon.
"Damn it." He slammed his sword down to the ground, noticing that the animal had gotten away.
X x x x x x
Saotome Genma sat alone at his campsite, waiting for his son to return. He was always worried when Ranma decided to run off on his own. It wasn't that he thought the boy couldn't take care of himself, no he could do that far better than Genma could at that age. Nodoka had warned him that there would be times where Ranma would feel the need to get away from him, that he should just keep an eye on him, and soon enough Ranma would return.
'Like I can keep an eye on him, stupid boy can fly.' He grumbled mentally.
When he had been training with his friend Tendo Soun, and thinking of married life, being married to a dragon was not what he had been thinking of. Currently being on another world was also something of a shock. Jade was a warriors paradise, there were untold numbers of strong creatures that dwelt in the forests, and even the citizens of the planet itself were often stronger and faster than any normal human could ever be.
Hearing a rustling in the bushes, he turned his head to watch his son trot through the bushes in his dragon form. Genma had gotten used to his only child's looks, he had little choice in the matter, since up until very recently, Ranma couldn't assume a human form.
Ranma as a dragon, a platinum dragon, he corrected himself, since there was apparently reason for distinction, stood on four legs or two, with a tail the length of his body. Pale blue almost white scales covered the majority of his body, save for a dark blue triangular crest covering the top of his head, wings, and a short horizontal line near the base of his tail.
"You missed dinner boy." He said gruffly, knowing that Ranma hated to miss meals, his small form, barely a meter and a half long, seeming to vacuum up food.
"Nuh uh." Ranma shook his head side to side. "I got food while I was out." The boy smiled and came to sit next to him. "Where we go next Poppa?"
"Where?" He asked rhetorically. "We're going to go to Earth."
"Earth?" Ranma asked, turning to stare into the fire. "That's where you're from isn't it." He exclaimed excitedly.
"That's right." He nodded.
"Are there dragons there too?"
"Oh." Ranma bowed his head, before laying down on his stomach.
Genma frowned, as literally magical as the dragon world was, there was one thing that reminded him of home, they didn't like differences. A half breed like Ranma, once word got out over who his father was, quickly was excluded by all those in his age group. Firming his jaw, even if it would build character, he still didn't like to see his only child depressed. "Don't worry boy, you'll like Japan."
X x x x x x
Twelve years later, Nerima Ward, Tokyo Japan
"You know old man, you've been really quiet about why we're going to this old friend of yours." Ranma asked, brushing an errant strand of dark blue hair from her eyes.
#Panda's can't talk# Her father, who was currently in the form of a giant panda, informed her with a sign.
"Usually I like it." She joked, pausing midstep seeing that Genma had stopped outside of a large gate, a tall wooden sign next to it reading 'Tendo Martial Arts School of Indiscriminate Grappling'. "This the place?" She asked, already knowing the answer.
#Let me do the talking# Genma signed to her.
"How exactly are you going to do the talking?" She crossed her arms, glaring at the panda.
#I'll get hot water, then talk#
"Sometimes I really wonder what Mom ever saw in you."
"You don't think that humans are going to be just a little freaked out when a two and a half meter tall panda shows up at their door?"
#That's why I'll ask for hot water#
"You're an idiot old man." Shaking her head, Ranma went through the open gate.
Crossing a short path to another door, Ranma knocked on it heavily enough for the sound to echo through the house. Two sets of footsteps rapidly approached the door from inside, and it slid open to reveal a girl slightly taller than herself with a bobbed haircut. She had a nice figure, made obvious by a tight black tank top, and very short red cut off shorts. Standing behind the girl was a tall man with a mustache, he was wearing a black gi, and long slicked back hair.
"This sounds stupid, but I can get a couple glasses of hot water?" Ranma asked.
"Is－ is that a panda?" The girl asked, pointing with a finger.
"You－ wouldn't be." The man started, staring intently at her.
"Saotome Ranma." Ranma didn't have time to react before she was pulled inside the home.
"Come in, come in, you must be tired from your trip." The man said happily, gripping her by her shoulders.
"Daddy that's a panda." The girl insisted.
"Yes, yes, they're very rare Nabiki." The man waved the girl off.
"I can walk just fine." Ranma knocked the man away from her, and straightened out her green Chinese shirt. "Can we get some hot water?"
"Why do you have a panda?" The girl turned to ask Ranma.
"Give me hot water and I'll tell you why." She answered, rolling her blue eyes, she just wanted some hot water, was that so hard?
"I can get you some hot water." A girl slightly older than the one that had opened the door said helpfully. She was wearing a demure blue dress, with her brown hair tied with a bow over her right shoulder. Standing behind this girl was another who was Ranma's height in a white gi, her long hair tied back at her neck with a large red bow.
"Dad." The girl in the gi frowned. "Is that supposed to be a boy?"
"That's silly Akane, this is Ranma, of course he's a boy." The tall man answered happily, grinning like an idiot.
"That doesn't look like a boy." Akane looked Ranma up and down.
"Nonsense." Soun turned to look at her, his eyes suddenly widening. Sighing, Ranma really wished that girl would get that hot water faster.
"I have the hot water." The helpful girl returned with a kettle. "But, if you would like some tea, maybe the living room would be better?"
"Nah, don't need it for tea." Walking past the still stunned old man, Ranma grabbed the kettle by putting her hand directly under the bottom.
"Oh my, isn't that hot?" The tall girl asked, holding a hand nervously over her mouth.
"Just right." She answered, dumping it over her head, and returning to her true form. Taking a moment to blink his eyes, and get used to the extra sensory information, he finally dumped the rest over Genma's head, causing the panda to shrink down into human form.
"Too hot boy!" Genma attempted to wipe the scalding liquid from his bald head.
"Feels fine to me." Ranma smiled slightly sadistically.
"Gurk." The mustache man suddenly gurgled and fell backwards in a dead feint.
"What's up with him?" Ranma asked the three sisters. 'That looked kind of painful.' He thought, thinking of how the man's head had bounced off the floor. Of course he had made no attempt to stop the man's painful fall.
X x x x x x
"Alright old man panda, what are we doing here?" Ranma glared at Genma, the man having helped drag the mustached man into the living room, and on to a futon.
"Why don't you tell us what's going on." The bowl haircut girl demanded, kneeling across from him and Genma with her younger sister. The third sister was kneeling at the mustached man's head, gently patting at his forehead with a damp towel.
Ranma's stare seemed to be making Genma nervous, his father fidgeting, and looking in any direction but towards him. This evasive act usually meant that Genma had done something that Ranma was not going to like. The youngest sister was glaring at him for some reason, the middle one looked disappointed, and the eldest looked rather neutral.
"Saotome, you were a panda, and Ranma was a girl." The formerly comatose man said while staring straight up at the ceiling.
"Oh Tendo! It's so horrible to be cursed so!" Genma cried dramatically, tears running down his cheeks. "It all started two weeks ago, at the legendary training grounds of Jusenkyo."
"Silence Sphere." Ranma commanded, forming an invisible bubble around Genma's mouth. It took Genma several seconds to realize that no sound was coming out when he was speaking. "This will be easier. Replay Mirror." Drawing a circle in the air with his hand, a flat bubble of ether appeared at the foot of the mustache man.
"What? How are you doing that?" The middle sister demanded.
"Magic." He answered with a shrug. "Anyways, this is how it happened." Focusing on the events of Jusenkyo, he started when they had first jumped up on to the bamboo poles.
"Forgetting that I'm looking at a magic ball. What's up with the light show?" The middle asked.
"Oops." Ranma looked sheepish for a moment. 'Damn, how did I forget that humans can't see magical and ethereal energies?' Scrunching up his face in concentration, the image on the screen slowly faded into a normal human range of visual perception.
Two weeks prior...
"No magic boy, we're here for martial arts." Genma called over to him.
"Like I need magic to beat you." He taunted back, the bamboo pole under his feet swaying side to side.
Taking a moment to look away from Genma down to the pools, he could see the intricate network of magic spells surrounded the area. He couldn't tell what their purpose was, but if it was anything worth noting, then the Guide would have told them. 'When I send the old man for a swim I'll have to look at this more closely.' There was a large spell that covered the entire area in the form of a ring, with two smaller rings representing each pool.
"You're distracted boy!" Genma interrupted his musings, and Ranma jumped straight up to avoid his father, who landed on the pole.
"Crap!" He hung in mid air longer than should be possible, trying to find a way out of this without using magic. Seeing Genma's smug face, Ranma changed tactics, instead of going on the defensive, he went on the attack. Coming within range of Genma's hands, the man attempting to grab his legs. Evading the hands, he got a kick through to the man's chest, and used him as a push off point to backflip to another pole.
"That it?" He laughed.
"It's time someone put you in your place." Genma leapt in a high arc towards him, an invitation for some mid air combat. Joining his father, they exchanged blows, and disengaged to land on another set of poles.
"Not by a human." Ranma stuck out his tongue at Genma.
"Ungrateful boy! After everything I've done for you." Genma was the aggressor again, and Ranma made him pay for it by knocking him down into a big spring. Returning to his own pole, he crossed his arms triumphantly.
"What the?" Rubbing at his eyes, he watched something attach itself to Genma's aura. "Hey!" He called to the Guide. "What do these springs do?"
"Oh young sir, please come down." The portly Guide was interrupted by having to dodge a wave of water as Genma exited the pool.
"Oh crap, shape change magic." Ranma waved his hands in warding, the panda not spending a second on a pole, before leaping towards him. "Pop don't!"
"Very tragic story, fall in spring, take the form of whatever drowned there." Ranma was preparing to dispel the mirror when Genma smacked him over the head with a sign. "What was that for?" He demanded.
#Show the rest!#
"No way!" He canceled the replay mirror spell, as well as the sphere of silence he had placed on Genma's mouth. There was no way he was going to tell them about how he had ran around like a chicken with its head cut off thinking that he had been blinded. How was he supposed to know humans had such limited vision? (2)
"The legendary training ground, its true horror has been shrouded in mystery until now." The mustached man said solemnly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ranma asked angrily, feeling that he wasn't going to like the answer. "You've heard of it before?"
"Er, it's just a legendary training ground." The man said nervously.
"Boy." Genma got up and pushed his round glasses up on his nose.
"What?" Ranma asked, and had the front of his shirt grabbed, before he was thrown over Genma's shoulder and out a large door. Windmilling his arms, he found himself heading directly for a moderately sized koi pond.
Having no desire to get wet again so soon after the rain that had changed him earlier, he shifted into his real form, and with his juvenile wings, he glided gently to the other side of the pool. Turning back to the house, he stood up on his hind legs and stuck his pointed tongue out at a fuming Genma. "Nice try." He sneered.
"What is that thing?" Akane asked.
"Looks like some kind of silver iguana thing." The middle sister added.
"Buh, bwa, what?" Ranma sputtered, shaking his triangular head side to side. "I'm a dragon." Crossing his arms, he hadn't been insulted like that in over a year.
"Uh, uh, ignore the boy, nothing to see here!" Genma suddenly jumped in front of him. "This is just another Jusenkyo curse he picked up yea!"
"How did I ever come from you?" Ranma yelled, jumping upwards and knocking Genma over the back of his head, sending his father into the koi pond.
"These are your friends daddy?" The middle sister asked her father.
Trotting over to the Tendo family, he was about to resume his human form to explain things rationally, when he was suddenly gathered up into someone's arms and hugged tightly. "Ack!" He exclaimed, peddling his feet ineffectually in midair. "Lemme go!"
"You're so cute!" The eldest sister gushed, swinging him side to side.
"I'm not cute! I'm regal! Majestic! Impressive!" He protested. So what if he was only two meters long, his adolescent wings weren't even fully formed, and his body was still slightly pudgy before he developed a sleek streamlined shape. There wasn't anything he could do about it short of starving himself.
"Would the cute little dragon like some food?" The girl asked, her voice turning into sickeningly cute baby talk.
"No, I want you to－ did you say food?" Ranma ceased his struggles. "What kind of food?"
"Kasumi!" Akane looked aghast at the girl holding him. "How can you－ you－ hold that thing?"
"Quiet you." Ranma hissed, the two lines of small ether vents that dotted the sides of his neck flared briefly in emphasis. "Now you were saying something about food?" He shifted his conical head up to look at Kasumi.
X x x x x x
Genma quickly tracked down hot water to return himself to human form. 'Ungrateful boy.' Ever since getting the curse, it had been Ranma's go to attack on him, and since his half dragon son could summon water out of thin air, he had been spending a considerable amount of time as a panda. Letting the eldest daughter Kasumi carry his son off in her arms, with the two other sisters in tow, he got into a kneeling position next to Soun, knowing that there would be questions he would need to answer.
"Saotome, you're son is a." Soun started. "Is he really your son?"
"He is." Genma nodded.
"If you want to call his mother a curse, yes." He joked.
Nodoka was, well she wore the pants in the relationship, if you could call what they had a relationship. His wife seemed to treat him more like a pet at times, just some help to keep her son occupied. Though there were times where she had shown a tender side, and even listened to what he had to say.
During his time on Jade, he had gotten some helpful advice from a half dragon who ran a bar. He said that his fiancée, another platinum dragon, while she didn't seem to remember his birthday, or anniversary, or think to help in a crisis. That didn't mean that she didn't care, that was just the way dragons were to non dragons. They had been like that before humans even existed, that Nodoka had even chosen to take him as a husband, was the highest show of respect she could give.
Since Genma was stuck as the father of Nodoka's child, the honorable thing was to take responsibility. While Genma knew he wasn't the most honorable all the time, unless Nodoka was lying to him, Ranma was his son, and that's the kind of duty you don't skip out on. 'It also doesn't hurt that Nodoka is going to stay young and beautiful forever, and wow is she a looker in human form.' He thought, having to drag his mind from images of his wife.
"So he's－ half dragon?" Soun's face lit up. "That's not so bad. That means he's still half human."
"Quite right Tendo." Giving a loud laugh, he hoped that Ranma wouldn't leave without him to watch. 'Nah, the boy loves me, he wouldn't just run off.'
X x x x x x
"A dragon huh?" The middle sister asked, appraising him.
"Platinum dragon." He added, better that he start educating these humans if they were going to be staying for a while.
"Great, now we have a lizard in our house." Akane said rudely.
"No, we're not lizards." He corrected, his eyes never leaving Kasumi, the towering girl hurrying to put finishing touches on dinner. 'I hate being small.' He glowered before rationalizing that playing the cute dragon part would get him food, and food was always an important consideration.
"So a dragon fiance, definitely－ different." Nabiki mused, making him snap his head directly at the girl.
"What do you mean fiance?" He demanded
"You don't know?" Akane asked incredulously.
"Know what?" He asked angrily.
"You're supposed to be engaged to one of us. Fat chance of that, like I'd marry some big iguana." Akane scoffed.
Growling, he shifted to balancing on his back legs, and crossed his arms, cradling his chin in his right hand. While not as dexterous as his human hands, he did have hands while in this form, though they were built to support his weight, and had a wicked set of claws. "That explains why he didn't tell me why we made the trip." Snorting, he headed off through the door. "Well time to kill my old man."
X x x x x x
Nabiki resisted the urge to laugh madly, now was simply not the time. There was a real live dragon in her house! Sure he wasn't very impressive looking in terms of size, but he was a real dragon. The money making potential was endless. He was completely unacceptable as a fiance though, not only did he have that curse that turned him into a girl, but he was a different species. That didn't mean she couldn't foist him off on Akane or Kasumi though, likely Akane.
Following Ranma out into the hallway after Akane, she wondered what else he could do. With the casual way he threw around magic earlier, he could likely do far more. Nabiki could be the woman behind the scenes, managing appearances, public image, maybe even a few off the record deals. Losing sight of Ranma as he rounded the corner into the living room she couldn't see but she heard well enough.
"Ah, Ranma." Genma started happily. "We have to talk."
"We sure do." Ranma replied before there was a heavy bang.
"AIIEE!" Genma's scream followed shortly after.
Grimacing, Nabiki rounded the corner and found their older house guest laid out on the floor, his body covered in black soot, his arms and legs twitching every so often. Laid out next to Genma was her father, though with far less black covering his body.
'Note to self, Ranma can be volatile.'
X x x x x x
Ranma, having returned to human form, allowed Genma to come around and get himself cleaned up without further attacks. That Kasumi girl has served dinner, and he had forgotten how good a home cooked meal could be. While he hadn't made any move to further voice his displeasure at this arrangement, he did have plans.
Instead, he resolved to use his father as a guinea pig to experiment with the curse on. Actually playing around with the complicated spells that made up the curse on himself wasn't something he wanted to do. While he could see the knot of spells forming it, this was his first encounter with a shape changing curse. Of course he would be careful not to cause any permanent damage, but if he did, oh well. The old man had it coming.
"And this is the guest room." Kasumi slid open the door to the room at the top of the steps, and stepped aside for him and Genma to enter.
'Not too bad.' He thought. 'For a human home.' He amended, it was smaller but he wouldn't be cramped. Even after spending most of his life on Earth, he still remembered the vast halls, and opulent luxuries of his mother's lair on Jade.
"Would you like to use the bath? The water should still be hot." Kasumi asked.
"Sure." But he would have to raised the temperature a fair bit in their bath for it to be considered hot. Giving Genma one last dirty look, his father setting up a futon in the center of the room, he followed Kasumi down stairs, and through to the other end of the house.
"Oh dear, you didn't bring any clothes." The eldest Tendo sister noticed his lack of supplies.
"I form the clothes I want." He explained, and the eldest looked confused for a moment.
"You mean－ you're naked right now?" The girl's face turned crimson and she looked away. (3)
"What? No, these are clothes, I just conjure them as I please."
"Oh, that sounds very useful. Well, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask." Kasumi left him to enter into the changing room.
Sliding the door closed behind him, he dismissed his clothes, and reached for the inner door, realizing in time that there was someone in the bath. Before he could turn around and exit, the door opened, and a naked Akane took a single step forward before noticing him. The youngest Tendo froze up at the sight of him, clutching a towel to her chest with one hand.
"Ah, you're done." Passing by the human girl, he shut the door without sparing her a glance. "Good timing."
Wasting no time, he cast a small spell to increase the temperature of the water, causing the air to become cloudy with the steam, and was just about to sit down and physically wash himself off instead of using magic, when the door burst open. Lazily turning, he saw Akane, now wrapped up in a towel, glaring bloody murder at him. She stomped forward, and proceeded to slip on the wet tile, sending her directly into the bath. Wincing at the girl's cry of pain, he watched her scramble out of the bath, and over to the washing area to start dunking herself with cold water.
"Hey, you're supposed to knock first." He complained.
X x x x x x
"Saotome, what are we going to do about your son?" Soun asked his long time friend, having decided to play a game of shogi. 'Just like old times.' Like before his old friend showed up with a son who was half dragon.
"Don't worry, once Ranma gets settled in, everything should be fine." Genma tried to placate him.
"Who will he be engaged to?"
"Good question." Genma's voice dropped low, and he motioned for him to shh. "The boy has really good hearing. Your youngest, Akane, seems like a good fit."
"Seems like he would like Nabiki more." He mused.
"Well, dragons only really respect strength. Akane's your heir right?"
"Of course, neither Kasumi or Nabiki have ever been interested in the art."
"Then it has to be Akane. Otherwise the boy will just view them as servants."
"It's decided, Akane will marry Ranma." He said with finality.
"I'll let you tell him. He'll like hearing it from his new father in law." Genma made a move, a big smile on his face.
X x x x x x
After a nice relaxing soak, Ranma retired to the living room where Nabiki was watching a small television. Akane was there as well, immediately she started to glare at him, she was still flushed from her dip in the bath.
"Why was that water so hot?" Akane demanded.
"Cause I like hot baths." He answered, frowning at the television. Technology was not a dragons strong point. It was like trying to understand how magic worked, rather than just doing it, and that was just absurd.
"Ranma." Soun made his presence known, smiling at him. "It's been decided, you'll marry Akane."
"What?" He asked, Akane demanding the same thing, only far more loudly. 'I thought they had given up on that?'
"It is a solemn oath that we unite the two schools. Decided before either of you were born." Soun continued, not having caught on to either of their displeasure.
"Me? Marry that lizard?" Akane growled.
"Hey! I'm not a lizard, and I can't get married to anyone, I'm not old enough." He protested.
"Well it doesn't have to be right now. It can wait a couple years until you're both eighteen, and then you can get married." Soun explained happily.
"Eighteen?" Ranma laughed lightly. "I'm not going to be old enough till I'm over a hundred. Pop, what's the deal?" He asked his father, who he could see was hiding behind the wall.
"It's a matter of honor boy." Genma informed him, peeking his head around the wall. "Family honor."
"It's not going to happen." He informed his parent, trying to think up some kind of spell to properly voice his displeasure.
"Yea, I'm not going to marry him." Akane agreed, giving her father a similar look. "I'm not marrying a lizard."
"I told you I'm not a lizard!" Ranma turned to glare at Akane. What was so difficult about remember that he was a dragon?
"If the shoe fits." Akane sneered, getting into his face.
"See! They're already the perfect couple!" Soun voice his opinion.
"I'm not marrying some lowly human just cause you made a promise." Ranma ignored Akane, in favor of grabbing his father by the front of his gi.
"Hey!" Akane yelled in outrage.
"Whining?" Genma asked, suddenly shifting to throw Ranma over his shoulder, so that his back was facing the ground, and heading towards the koi pond. "You sound like a girl!"
"ACK! You jerk!" Ranma wanted to shift forms again to prevent a dip into the water, but being upside down, his wings would be worthless. So he crashed into the water, and instantly felt the disturbing shift into a human female. Sputtering, and feeling a chill from the cool water, Ranma struggled to cast some kind of spell, any spell to turn her old man into a pile of ashes.
"Well Akane, you hate men." Nabiki commented quickly.
"So you're in luck, Ranma's half girl." Kasumi added a moment later.
"I am not half girl." Ranma snarled, storming out of the pool to head for the bath and get some still hot water. 'How dare they treat me like this.' Returning to her true body, he quickly cast a spell to dry himself off, and rushed back towards the living room. Sliding to a stop at the corner before the room, he found his father and Soun laughing to each other. When Genma noticed him standing at the corner, his father immediately positioned himself behind Soun. Snorting, Ranma changed his pace, taking slow, deliberate steps towards the two fathers.
"Now- now- now boy, don't be angry, this is a matter of honor." Genma stuttered, Soun was heedless of the fact that Ranma was going to hurt them both, and remained smiling stupidly.
"Honor? Human honor." Ranma growled, continuing his slow pace.
"It was decided before you were even born." Genma continued.
"Your mother knows." Genma said just as he was upon the man, making him stop.
"Mom knows?" He asked, losing a large amount of his anger. "And she hasn't killed you yet?" Genma nodded quickly at his question. "Damn it." He cursed, if she knew about it, and hadn't done anything to stop it, then that was as good as her endorsing it. "I'm still not going through with it!" Simmering, he headed to the guest room upstairs.
"Oh, and you have to go to school tomorrow morning, so don't think about sleeping in." Genma said as an afterthought.
'The old man will pay.' Ranma continued without looking back.
Sliding the door closed behind him, he quickly sat down in the middle of the floor, and dug into his personal rift pocket. Pulling out his palantir, a black sphere the size of his head, he released it from his hand to float in front of him. Directing his instructions for the object into it with a small burst of ether, the palantir quickly turned transparent.
"Ra'ma!" Nodoka's loving voice carried to him, speaking in draconic, and the palantir's view changed to his mother's face. "How's my little boy doing?" She cooed.
"Mom, how could you agree to this?" He asked angrily.
"Agree to what?" She asked, confused over the question.
"Me, marrying some human."
"Well if you want to, who am I to judge? But I don't see how that's a concern right now, you're far too young to be even considering marriage."
"Pop is expecting me to marry some Tendo girl in a couple years."
"He is, is he?" Nodoka's eyes narrowed.
"So you didn't know about this? No deal before I was born about uniting some schools?"
"Nope, now let's forget your father's human foolishness, and let me see my special little boy." Nodoka's voice dissolved into baby talk.
"Aww Mom." He shifted uncomfortably, looking around to be sure no one as watching. 'Why are mothers so embarrassing?'
"Don't 'aww Mom' me, this is the first time I've seen you in a year. And when did you become shy about your true form?" Nodoka leaned in close to her palantir.
"I'm not." He puffed up in indignation before changing shape, even knowing that she would make humiliating comments about him. "Happy?"
"Oh my little boy is growing up so fast." Nodoka wiped at an imaginary tear. "Soon you'll lose your adolescent wings, and all the girls will be after you. No, I bet they'll be after you the first time you come home. I'll have to send out the guardian to shoo them all away!"
The door burst open before Nodoka could say anything more, revealing Genma standing behind it. "Boy! I'll not have you go running to your－ mother." His father paused, seeing the face in the palantir. "Nodoka!" He cried happily, running over and kneeling next to the sphere. "You're looking lovely as ever."
"Of course I am." Nodoka switched to Japanese and took the flattery in stride. "Now what's this about engaging my little boy to some human girl?"
"You heard about that?" Genma asked.
"Should I not have?" She asked suggestively.
"I would have told you, but I know how busy you are." Genma started to sweat.
"Genma dear, I know how impatient humans are, and I forgive you for it. But my son is far too young to get married. Now, I think it would be best if Ra'ma returns to Jade, he needs to spend time with dragons his own age."
"But he's already enrolled in school here." Genma protested. "It cost me a lot of money to do it as well."
"I see." Nodoka looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Yea right, probably some poor place that takes everyone." Ranma sniped, leveling a bored gaze at his father, who was nearly as stingy as a dragon when it came to spending money.
"I suppose he can spend another year on Earth." Nodoka conceded.
"As long as I don't have to marry anyone." Ranma pressed Genma.
"Ra'ma dear, what is that magic clinging to you and your father?" Nodoka changed the subject. "It's hard to make out through the palantir, but they look like curses."
"Uh, uh!" Ranma started to panic. "You're breaking up, skssshhh, uh oh, must be some magical thing." He reached forward and grabbed the palantir with his hands, and started to shake it. "Gotta go, bye!" Cutting off the magic to his communication device, it returned to being a black sphere.
"Good thinking boy!" Genma patted him on the head. "I'm sure Nodoka would have done something horrible to me if she found out you were cursed."
This was true, Nodoka would be less than thrilled to know that Genma had turned him into a full human. The whole female thing didn't even factor into it. That hadn't been the reason he had cut off communication. No that was because he didn't want to admit to being unable to cure himself. He couldn't admit to that, he couldn't say he liked turning into a human, and if any other dragon saw him. Ranma left that thought unfinished.
"I didn't do it for you." Ranma grumbled, putting his palantir back in his rift pocket. "Oh, and mana spike." His magical spike of ether knocked Genma back out through the door to slam into the hallway wall. "Lie to me about Mom." He scoffed, closing the door, and using some of his last ether to seal it with a minor spell.
X x x x x x
"Ranma, breakfast." Kasumi's voice roused him from slumber.
"Huh?" Opening up an eye, he raised his head off the plush platinum dragon twice his size that he always slept with. It had been a gift from his mother before leaving with Genma. "You opened the door." He gaped, seeing the eldest Tendo sister standing in the doorway. (4)
"Oh yes, it was sticking for some reason." The girl answered.
'She canceled my spell?' Returning his plush dragon bed to his rift, he followed the girl down the steps. There was nothing he could see that indicated the girl knew aura magic. In fact the only one he had noticed with any kind of magical ability was Nabiki, and that was so unfocused and weak, that she would never be able to cast a spell. So how was it then, that this unassuming servant like girl, could break a dragon's spell?
Instead of heading for the living room, where the food would no doubt be served, Ranma followed Kasumi into the kitchen. He sat down just inside the door and watched the girl's every move, even casting a spell to enhance his sight even further. But there was nothing, nothing at all that indicated this human could cast a spell to cancel his own. Her aura was as bland and uninteresting as any other humans.
Avoiding Kasumi as she started to bring food into the living room, he was no closer to solving the riddle, when Akane hit him on the wings as she passed by. Dressed in a white blouse with a blue jumper style dress down to just below her knees, she took a seat at the table.
"Can't you at least act human?" The youngest quipped. "Following Kasumi around like a pet looking for a treat."
"Act human?" He asked, taking a position across from the girl at the table, which was conveniently dragon height. "Should I sit down and pick bugs from your hair? I saw monkeys do that on tv one day."
"That's not acting human!" Akane's face turned a nice shade of red. "You stupid amphibian."
"Would you keep it down Akane?" Nabiki came in and sat down while wearing the same clothes as Akane. Deciding that Akane must not be smart enough to realize that he was glaring at her, Ranma shifted into a human, and formed red pajamas with yellow fishcakes all over it around him.
"Better dress a little different if you're going to go to school." Nabiki suggested.
Rolling his eyes, he changed his clothes into simple black pants, with a white Chinese shirt like he had been wearing yesterday, and he also changed his hair from a ponytail into an intricately braided pigtail down to mid back. "I don't wear uniforms."
"I hate you." Nabiki poured herself some tea.
"Why?" He asked, the middle sister having seemed the most neutral of the trio.
"Insta-change clothes and hair?" She asked like he was stupid. "There isn't a girl alive who wouldn't want that ability. Well except my tomboy sister." Akane gave off an indignant snort in response.
"Boy." Genma said tentatively, sitting down, and obviously expecting some kind of attack.
"Old man." Ranma smiled pleasantly.
"I take it you're going to school today?" His father asked.
"Who knows? Might be fun." He shrugged.
"Akane, you'll show your fiance to school won't you?" Soun sat down at the next, a folded newspaper dropping on to the table next to his plate.
"Me? Why should I have to do it?" Said girl demanded.
"Well he is your fiance." Soun continued.
"Ah, no no no." Genma interrupted.
"What are you talking about?" Soun asked. "It was decided last night."
"Don't you remember? I told you that Nodoka didn't really like the idea." Genma said nervously.
"But, it's for the honor of the schools, family honor." Soun protested.
"She didn't say she wouldn't allow it, but we can't rush things." Genma tried to placate Soun.
"Oh, why didn't you say so? I'm sure in time love will blossom and soon my little girl will be getting married!" Soun cried happily, starting to literally cry with his pronouncement.
Ranma scooted himself away from the crying man, and around the table so that he was close to Akane. "Tell me again why I would ever want to be part of your family?"
"Tell me again why we would want you." She replied.
"Do you want me to actually tell you, or should I write it down so you won't forget?" He shot back, reaching across the table to grab his plate, and starting to eat. Pausing, he pointed the chopsticks at Akane. "Though it would probably take most of your lifetime to read."
"Well, see you at school." Nabiki suddenly stood up from the table.
"Wait Nabiki, I'll go with you." Akane started to stand up before her sister silenced her.
"Nuh uh, little sister, remember, you have to show our guest the way." Nabiki shook a finger, and grabbed her book bag, before rushing off.
Akane sighed heavily, before turning to address him. "Well come on, we don't want to be late."
X x x x x x
'School, bleh, what do I need school for?' Padding along on top of a metal fence bordering a canal, he allowed Akane to lead him. Of course he was plotting how to pay her back for the lizard comments. She carried herself like a martial artist, not a very graceful or coordinated one, but she was not an average human.
"Hey." He drew her attention. "How good of a fighter are you?"
"Me?" She seemed a bit shocked by the question. "I'm pretty good, why?"
"No reason." He turned his head away, and continued walking casually.
"Listen, don't hang around me at school." Akane told him.
"Don't worry, humans don't really interest me." Truthfully all but a few were boring, and after he found himself cursed to turn into one, they had become even more boring. All the mystery of what it was like to exist as some broken creature, unable to do magic was gone. Losing his sight and magic, he shivered at the thought of entire races who have to live their entire lives like that.
"You're not going to turn into a lizard at school are you?"
"I can't answer that."
"Cause I'm not a lizard." He pointed out.
"Dragon, lizard, what's the difference, just don't do anything weird."
"Ugh, why did Mom think it was a good idea for me to stay here?" He bemoaned his fate, trapped amongst humans, uppity humans who thought they could dictate terms to a dragon. Hopping off the fence when it ended at a crossing, he changed to walking on the concrete, rather than the next fence that came up.
"And we are NOT getting married." Akane snarled.
"Why do you keep bringing that up? It's not going to happen." Ranma paused. "You don't want it to happen do you?"
"No way!" Akane yelled at him.
"Then shut up about it, Grandfather Exthilion you're annoying." Oh what he wouldn't give for the Great Serpent's patience now.
X x x x x x
Nabiki leaned out the second story window of her classroom at Furinkan high school. Her eyes scanned the assembled group of thirty boys who were going to fight her dear little sister for the right to date her. The whole thing was just incredibly pathetic. 'Just a case of them wanting something they can't have.' She snorted, changing her gaze to Akane running up, and engaging the boys in combat.
That wasn't what interested her, no, that was Ranma following the girl calmly, and proceeding to walk around the entire affair like it wasn't happening. As Ranma passed Akane's position in the mob, Nabiki's sister suddenly gave out a shriek, and was tackled to the ground. 'Wait a minute.' Nabiki replayed something in her mind, she had seen Ranma wave his hand just before Akane went down.
'Did he use magic?' She wondered, watching Ranma continue calmly into the building.
"I beat Akane!" One of the boys fighting Akane suddenly yelled, followed by several others who claimed to have done the same thing.
Checking the clock, Nabiki rushed off to meet Ranma before he was able to get to the office. In her rush she missed the original instigator of the morning fights, Kuno Tatewaki, start yelling about how foul trickery had been used to defeat Akane. Skipping down the steps, she navigated her way through students filing into classes, or discussing the sudden defeat of Akane.
She found Ranma, who was busy looking for the office, and slowed her pace. "Hello Ranma." She said, her voice filled with the knowledge that she knew something that she shouldn't.
"Hi." He replied, not giving her much mind, until she pulled him aside.
"Akane would be－ very angry if she knew what you did." She whispered.
"So, my little buzz saw of a sister can be very aggressive when she wants to be."
"I think I can handle a human." He replied, taking her warning as an insult. "And I don't think she would know I did anything." Ranma changed his tone, accusing her.
"Maybe someone noticed, someone who might be inclined to tell Akane what happened."
"So you want something from me then?" Ranma asked bluntly.
"Ranma, Ranma, Ranma, I'm an enterprising young woman, and I learned a long time ago that knowledge is power. You, seem to know a great many things that I don't. Perhaps you would share some of that with me?"
Ranma's blue eyes bore into her, a small smile spreading across his face. "Ya know, if I didn't know better I would think you had some dragon in you."
"Is that a yes?"
"No, I don't really care what you tell your sister." Ranma chuckled to himself, before leaving her stewing over his refusal.
X x x x x x
"Class, this is our new student Saotome Ranma." The teacher of his home room announced to the assembled students, Ranma accepted that the man was in a position of human superiority, so the least he could do was humor him until he did something stupid. "Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?"
"Like what?" Ranma asked.
"Where you're from, what you like to do, just something." The teacher answered.
"I'm from Jade, but I've lived on Earth most of my life. Um, I'm a dragon, I like to fly, use my magic."
"Ha ha, very funny Saotome-kun, now please take the empty seat in the middle row." The teacher interrupted him before he could list more things, most of the class erupting into laughter at introduction.
"You asked." He shrugged, and took his seat. It didn't take him long to notice a rather large amount of attention was being directed his way, to which he ignored. 'All these goofy humans thought I was joking.' He grumbled.
A half hour into listening to the man drone on about English, which sounded suspiciously like the Basic used on Jade, Akane burst into the classroom, nearly breaking the door in the process. The teacher ground to a halt, and all eyes turned to the youngest Tendo. Her uniform was ripped and torn in several places, and she was breathing heavily like she had just run a marathon.
"So nice of you to join us, but you're interrupting my class, so stand in the hall until the hour is over." The teacher told Akane, the girl developing a rather violent tick to her right eye. Drooping her shoulders in defeat, Akane closed the door.
X x x x x x
'Just as boring as I remember.' Ranma in dragon form mused, laying on a thick tree branch in the school yard, his legs folded underneath him, with his tail dangling down to one side. View of him was blocked on all sides but below by the leaves, but he could look out through some of the gaps.
During breaks he had ignored the questions sent his way, which unfortunately only increased the amount. But now that it was lunch break, he was relaxing and debating on just leaving. He was bored out of his mind. It was so hard to pay attention and take a human teacher seriously, and he was something close to abysmal at most subjects. Platinum dragons were not known for their technological expertise, which extended to most subjects involving science and math. Ranma didn't even want to think of the humiliation he had when in computer classes.
"I'M NOT GOING OUT WITH YOU!" Akane's voice caught his sensitive ears, and he focused in on a large group of students crowded around Akane and a boy.
"But Akane, I beat you, that means you have to go out with me." The boy, who looked rather unimpressive pleaded.
"I NEVER AGREED TO THAT STUPID THING!" Akane quickly smashed the boy in the face, knocking him out.
"What a strange mating ritual." Ranma noted, laying his head back down on the branch. 'Well I suppose there's only physical education, Japanese, and then some class meeting.'
"I Kuno Tatewaki will not allow this farce to go any further!" Another voice carried to his position, this time a male one. "Akane was unfairly beaten by trickery most foul!" Shaking his head, Ranma tuned out the crowd as more shouting started to come from Akane.
"So what's the new guy like?" A girl asked another, the pair taking a seat near the base of the tree. "I heard he made some joke to introduce himself."
"Yea, he said he was a dragon from some place called Jade. It was hilarious." The second answered, picking at her food with chopsticks. "But then he was all quiet for everything else, it was kind of weird. You would think somebody funny like that would say more."
"Who said it was a joke?" Ranma asked, slipping off the tree branch and landing in front of the two girls gracefully. Immediately they gave off a brief shriek of surprise, recoiling up against the tree. "What? Never seen a dragon before?" He asked, taking a seat.
"A-a-a dragon?" The one on the right asked, and he nodded.
"But you're so little?" The other added.
"I'll have you know I'm big for my age." He scoffed, sitting back on his hind legs, and crossing his arms. 'Humans who have never seen a dragon before seem to know a hell of a lot about us.'
"Aren't dragons supposed to be long and skinny?" The one on the right asked. "Ya know, like in Spirited Away."
"Well I'm not." He informed the girl.
"He's certainly cute though." The other said, shifting her position into a kneeling one, and leaning forward. She had short black hair, and a pair of rectangular glasses. The other was brown haired, with it tied in a long ponytail on the left side of her head.
"I'm not cute!" He barked, dropping his hands back to the ground. "I'm handsome."
"Are you really him? Saotome-san?" The one who must have been in his class asked.
Sighing, he rolled his eyes. "Yes I am Saotome Ranma."
"Would you like some food?" The black haired on asked.
"What you got?" He asked, eying her bento.
"Whatever you want, I'm not really hungry." She slid the box towards him.
'Your offering is accepted.' Ranma started to rethink swallowing his pride if he got free food. Though he really had to revise his view of things, when more people started to notice him.
"Hey, what's this thing?" A boy with light brown hair asked.
"He's a dragon." One of the girls he had been talking to supplied the answer.
Things seemed to escalate from there, and soon Ranma found himself the center of attention for a great number of students. 'Maybe I shouldn't have drew attention.' He considered the option that he was receiving too much. 'But it sure beats class.' He laughed to himself.
"Ranma, what are you doing?" Akane's voice and person interrupted someone who was about to give him a piece of chocolate cake, and he couldn't remember the last time he had some.
"What?" He snapped angrily.
"You－ you're a dragon you idiot." She pointed out the obvious.
"Akane, do you know Ranma?" The girl, who had just been about to give him cake, asked. "Isn't he just the cutest?"
"Don't bother with her." Ranma proceeded to ignore Akane. "I'm just staying at her house. Now about that cake." He pouted when he noticed that Akane had become the center of the cake girl's attention.
"Why didn't you say you had a dragon living at your house?" She asked.
"Cause I don't want him living at my house Sayuri." Akane answered. "And why are you feeding that leech food?"
"Cause he's cute." The girl said as if it was the stupidest thing in the world, finally giving Ranma his chocolate cake. Watching Akane from the corner of his eye, Ranma noticed that the girl looked ready to physically attack him.
"In that case, would you like something to wash it down." Akane suggested with a sinister grin. "Some cool water perhaps?"
"You wouldn't dare." He growled.
"Try me." Akane's grin spread fully across her face.
"And what is this?" The voice which had proclaimed himself Kuno Tatewaki earlier, broke in before Ranma could put Akane in her proper place. "A foul beast has invaded this place of learning."
"Foul－ beast?" Ranma asked dangerously.
"It appears that the monster has seen fit to enslave the female populace." The tall boy continued to ramble. "As the Captain of the Kendo Club, it is my duty to vanquish this monster, and free those who have been enslaved!" With a flourish of motion, the boy brought out a boken, and pointed it in his direction. "Prepare yourself fiend."
"Shatter. " Ranma commanded and the wooden sword broke apart like a piece of glass. "Wind Hammer." The ether vents on his neck lit up, a purple circle of swirling wind appearing in front of his nose, and sending a small mental command, the solid block of wind slammed into Kuno. Knocked backwards, the boy crashed through several students before skidding to a stop on the grass.
"Maybe you're not so bad." Akane commented, verbally applauding his attack.
Staring at the downed form, Ranma felt a small pang of something in his chest. For a moment, he remembered being back on Jade, and some of the comments he used to get from other dragons, all of which were far more hurtful than the words of some human. Something else must have been causing this, he must have been around humans too much, or maybe it might be because he had been turning into one.
Growing agitated over not pinpointing the source of the feeling, he gave a powerful leap straight up into the air, and after several strong flaps of his wings, he was on his way to the Tendo home. Not having had the opportunity to stretch his wings for months now, he took his time, making large circles in the sky. It wasn't till after he arrived, did he realize how close he had come to some storm clouds, which would have turned him into a human, and that would have meant falling to his death. (5)
'I have to get rid of that human body.' He resolved, turning into a girl wouldn't be half as bad if he was still a dragon.
"School out already?" Genma asked, the panda cursed man sitting cross legged in the doorway outside from the living room.
"School's too boring." He answered, hopping up to sit next to Genma, and looked out into the yard to try and see what Genma was seeing. "Just like it was before, how'd you get me in there anyways?"
"Your grades were good enough." Genma lied.
Ranma knew that his grades would not have let him get into a high school. When he had been younger, he could put aside his arrogance to actually listen to teachers, but as he got older that had quickly changed. It didn't help that anything dealing with technology caused him to freeze up. 'Oh do I hate computers.'
"Well, if you're not going to school, we should get some training in." Genma clapped him on the back of his shoulders.
"Not in the mood." Which didn't really mean he didn't want to take his mind off things, just that he might go too far accidentally. As easy as magic was for him to do, it was equally easy to go too far.
"Use your cursed form." The bald martial artist suggested.
"I don't want to be human right now." In truth he didn't want to even be in human form right now, let alone be a full human.
"In that case, bring out your ball, and call your mom. I have some things I want to tell her about."
"Oh yes, I'm going to tell her all about you getting depressed because something happened at school. How her little bwaby Wanma is having a tough time in the human world. Well, come on, bust out the ball."
"What are you getting at old man?" Ranma growled.
"You－ can't－ take－ it." Genma poked him on the end of his snout.
"Take what?" He demanded.
"The big bwad dragon can't handle human life."
"How dare you!" Ranma pounced at Genma, hitting the man's chest, and driving him to the ground. "Take it back!" He yelled, just as he noticed Genma's fingers hitting the ticklish spot just behind his shoulders, and along his flank.
"Never." Genma's fingers dug in, and Ranma started to laugh before wriggling his way free.
"That was low old man." Ranma crouched down, and moved away as Genma came towards him. "And now you're going to get it!"
X x x x x x
Draconic language – described as a "weird French" by Gina Diggers. Ranma knows this, Basic(English), and Japanese. Owing to his human heritage, he appears to be Japanese, other than eye/hair color.
(1) – Arkis hunts dragons and sells their hides on a black market. He's lucky in that most dragons can't remember human faces that well, so if he disappears for a while, they don't recognize him. Fortunately for Ranma, as a young dragon he has an inborn wind form enchantment that makes him really fast, in exchange for mass. As Ranma grows this enchantment lessens and lessens.
(2) – Dragons see magic and ethereal energies normally, there is so much information that they literally feel blind without it.
(3) – Dirty mind Kasumi, bad bad.
(4) – All dragons have an impossible to resist hording instinct. Ranma has fixated on plush animals of all kinds, though he still enjoys shiny expensive objects.
(5) - Ranma has a bit of a complex about being seen as 'less than he is', Kuno struck a nerve, and just like Akane he'll come to regret it. Kuno's comments stuck easier because Ranma was in a relaxed mood, he didn't have his mental defenses up so to speak.
"How to Placate a Plush Collecting Dragon Omake" - Tornado Ninja fan
Ranma was pissed. This couldn't continue. "GGRRRAH! My vengeance is nigh, Nabiki!"
"Indeed, Saotome. Meet little Vengeance-chan, Ranma-kun." Nabiki said and got a plushie out of her seemingly bottomless bag. "Ranma-kun, this is Vengeance-chan. It's yours, if you could just forgive me... one last time." She continued and fluttered her eyelids.
"So... cute. Must. Resist. Ak!" He grabbed it and left. "One last time, Nabiki." He threatened from outside the room.
"Of course, Saotome. Just like the other last times." Nabiki then frowned and thought. "But he didn't try to resist the first couple of times."
"You Horde What?" - Innortal
"Ah, my manly son. What are you hording today?"
"... I have no son."
"That's it!" - Innortal
"My son, what are you doing?"
"Gotta catch'em all! Gotta catch'em all! Gotta catch'em all!"
"That is it. From now on, I will inform you of what you are collecting and hording."
"I'll Take the Moon!" - Innortal
"Son, no; you cannot collect magic girls."
"But why, Mom?"
"Because they do nothing but attract magic boys who are always engaged to them through some long drawn-out backstory, show up, and cause untold amounts of damage. Now send them back to where you got them from. Besides, that blond one doesn't look too bright."
"Hey! Captured magical princesses are to be respected, not insulted! In the name of the Moon, I shall punish you!"
"Does It Really?" - TerraBull
"Ranma? Why are you sleeping on a Giant Pile of Leaves?"
"Well? You always said I should sleep on some valuable stuff, they use 'money' here instead of gold, made from Tree's, an I have heard the phrase 'You think Money grows on Trees?' a lot, so? Here I am sleeping on something softer than gold."
Ranma's mother had to shake her head.
"NO MOAR!" - Belgarion213
"My son, what are you collecting now?"
"The battered corpses of people who kept having me collect stupid and pointless objects hat ended up making me look like an utter moron instead of just somebody with slightly unusual taste for my horde"
"A Very Zen Omake" - Kenko
"Ah... Ranma, I do not see your hoard here... or anywhere."
"I'm hoarding... nothing."
"That seems rather improper－"
"No. See, Mother, by not hoarding material wealth or items, and in fact giving almost everything I have of material value away, I gain vast amounts of nothing! IN fact, if I'm right, I have more nothing than any other dragon alive－ I probably have the largest hoard existing!"
Nodoka blinked, and slowly turned to Genma.
"Well... Dear, from a certain Zen perspective that makes perfect sense..."