AGSS

ch 3

Shampoo touched down, not ten paces from the crime scene tech. she was dressed in dark shaded leathers, better to blend with the shadow then true black or even her normal silks. besides tonight she hunted real prey, prey that had a habit of hunting back.

Looking over the scene, the bloody body removed, but after it was marked in a outline. "They no do this."

The tech jumped at the sound of her voice, then the wormy male turned and looked her over, before leering behind his mask. "Why do you say that?"

"The lay out. The body was broken, alive before shot. Broken means one did this by hand, other would have left him alone." looking down at the dust, 'money-bitch right, mucked up trail.' Shampoo drifted deeper into the building zone. "Here is where the action that killed the man went down. " she pointed. "Four men stood there, two nervous, one smoking." she pointed the way she came, "One run that way carrying case, small, light female return with case."

"How can you tell?" the tech asked.

Shampoo flashed her 'bimbo grin' at him. "Foot prints in plaster dust." she pointed out the small smudges that he would have missed. "Third best in village at tracking." she boasted. "Heavier female come from that way, also carry case. no fighting here, Two female go that way." She pointed away from the scene. "Last two males follow the way we came. You check that way?" she pointed the way the heavy female arrived from.

The Tech nodded, "Blood in the next room, bodies on the floors above. heavy handgun rounds, but the bodies were all triad, only the body back there was yakuza." the thin man gulped, "Word has it that this was a double cross."

"Triple cross. " Shampoo looked around again, "Yakuza bargain fairly, Triad plan ambush, 'Dirty Pair' clean up."

"What did Nabiki tell you?"

Shampoo's reaction was faster then the little man was aware was possible. The knife in her hand, pointed at his crotch, was bigger then she could have hidden in her tight leathers. "Who said anything about Her?" her hiss just in the audible range for the human ear.

"Just asking. " it was a blessing from the Kami that he did not wet himself. "Four of the dead were Triad posing as Yakuza, only found out after reporting to Nabiki. One survived, a gun shot to the lower spine, and pistol whipped. If he dies, odds are that it will not be his wounds that get him."

Shampoo snorts, and follows the trail of the two females into the night...

121

The sun had set, causing the evening sky to burn.

They sipped their tea in silence.

Nodoka ran her fingers along the hilt of the sword, lost in the swirl that were her thoughts. "Why?"

"Nani?"

"Why did you tell me this?" she whispered, "Why tell me all of this?"

"Because come the dawn, We are locked into our roles here at the shrine." Kasumi answered. "With the rising of the sun, we are bound to the Temple by our oaths. Ranma has offered to serve as both male and female. We need to burn any and all barriers. Ranma is still bound by his code of ethics to you, in ways that would prevent him from serving this temple to the best of his abilities. We will have your blessing on his services here, or we cut him loose."

Turning to look at her son, "How do you feel about serving the temple?"

His eyes looked about, touching on the blushing Akane, the koi in the pond, the cityscape beyond...

Locking his gaze on his mother. "Feeling has nothing to do with it. Come the dawn I take the Oath to put the Temple first. This is something I have to do. the only difference is; am I a Soatome or a Ronin. Pops is going to be angry either way, seeing as his free ride ends with the dawn. But I would enjoy the peace and harmony of having your blessing."

"And my grandchildren?" Nodoka asked.

"That is going to wait. No matter what I do." Ranma said stiffly. "In service to the temple, I can have lovers, and even a wife. As a 'sealed' compound, the girls with a recognized claim to me, or rather those who had a claim to me when I take my vows, can work out a rotation. When I take my vows, all commitments, promises, and bindings are cut off and washed away. Infact, if the Fathers tried another surprise wedding, I was going to enroll in the priesthood."

"And your Honor?" His Mother was unsure of this move. "What of those girls you were going to leave behind?"

"My Honor would be scared," his voice was soft. "as would theirs, but everyone would be clean, no dishonor to anyone, as the Priesthood is a service similar to the army.

12321

The trail led to the subway.

Shampoo frowned. Two females, dressed as the 'Dirty Pair' were known to dress, could not just walk into the sub station. They had to be wearing some kind of cover. Looking around, She spotted a Camera. She smiled to her self.

Time to report to the boss.

She checked the Map, and noticed that the next train would take her a few blocks from where Nabiki had set up shop. Hopping the turnstile, she moved quickly to the loading area. As the train pulled to a stop, she jumped to the roof of the train. Looking down at the collective group, she was reminded of a showing of a movie about a talking pig, who liked to herd sheep. She grinned, "Baa!"

121

As the train pulled into the stop she wanted, she hoped down, and bounced out of the station. the two blocks and one hundred steps were nothing for a warrior of her caliber, but she was breathing heavy as she stepped into the Temple grounds

Two steps in, then she went still. She was not alone, Infact she was surrounded.

"Hello, Xian Pu." his voice was soft, and yet cold.

'Granny say not to pursue Ranma for now, but to wait for him to be delivered.' Xian Pu grinned. "Ran Ma, you stalk wild Xian Pu? Say word, you catch!"

her grin turned to a smile at his flinch and the snort from the shadows.

"Here for Money-Grubber." the smile turned to sneer, "Have issue that need her style, worm too slimy for warrior interest."

"YO! Nabiki! Its for you!" Ranma called out, then turning to the warrior. "I invite you and your Elder to join us tomorrow morning. two hours before noon." then stepping close, he kissed her on the brow. "Good night child."

Then he and Akane were gone.

Xian Pu continued towards the well in the center of the yard. Shortly she was joined by Nabiki.

Nabiki looked about, then stepped really close, claiming the warrior's lips in a kiss that had no place coming from a maidian, shrine or otherwise. the kiss was returned. as they broke apart, Nabiki grabbed the single braid down the warrior's back. In a husky whisper, "Something tells me that you have lost the trail."

"Xian Pu trailed them to subway, but as it was a peak time, the trail goes cold. But they should be on camera." the busty beauty breathed.

Nabiki released her hold, and turning, led the way back to her office.

Xian Pu trotted along behind, grinning.

it was going to be a long night.

12321

tonk!

tonk!

tonk!

The water stream the fed into the bamboo half pipe, that caused the 'tonk!' about every minute, had sounded fifteen times while Nodoka thought about what was asked of her. Ranma was not running from his obligations, but was embracing the mantle of a higher calling.

Some would call it running away, Others would call it sidestepping. Either way he was not facing the issue up front, but to face that issue would cause trouble across the board.

tonk!

tonk!

Suddenly Ranma stiffened. a hand sign to Akane and both shimmered, and vanished.

Nodoka looked at Kasumi, who just smirked.

"YO! Nabiki! Its for you!" Ranma's voice carried across the night. Nodoka shared a smile with mild mannered girl across from her, at her son's unpriestly ways. Shortly the two returned.

'My Son. As the Head of your Clan, I must condemn you for taking the easy way out, for not honoring the commitments made in the Name of the House." she was shocked at Ranma's reaction to her words. Pulling him into a hug, She murmured into his hair, "As your mother, I am proud that you found a path that leads you to a place of happiness. You have my blessing, and I see where this can be of help to the Clan in due time. As a compromise, you will give me a grandbaby in two years, or I will have to take steps."