"During this special extra session, we'll be gathering evidence about Ranma Saotome's abilities and trying to piece together exactly what he is!"
Shizuka put a finger to her lips warningly. "But it's important that he doesn't know about it! After all, he's one of the few students who actually follows the rule about not revealing his true form!"
The cat-like teacher gestured to the side, where Kurumu was seated next to her. "Today we're talking to Miss Kurono! What can you tell us about this mysterious student?"
Kurumu frowned as she crossed her arms under her breasts. "Well, I had him pegged as a vampire at first, but after seeing his and Moka's reaction to that guess, it's probably wrong..."
The succubus' brow creased as she closed her eyes, deep in thought. "Well... I'm gonna have to say..."
Her eyes snapped open. "Illithid."
Shizuka blinked. "A what, now?"
"He's a mind flayer. Or some kind of psychic creature, but my first guess is mind flayer," she said firmly. "That sphere of force he hit me with... it wasn't magic. I think it was pure willpower manifest. Which means psionics," Kurumu reasoned, wagging her finger. "That trick where he seems to move so fast that he's almost invisible has to be a mental trick too. So I'm definitely betting illithid."
"So you think Saotome is a squid-faced, brain-eating creature from another dimension?" Shizuka asked.
"Yup!" Kurumu said confidently, smiling as she nodded. Then she looked worried. "I hope he isn't protecting Tsukune just as a food supply..."
"Well, there you have it!" Shizuka said, turning away from the bluette. "Is Ranma a gray matter muncher? Stay tuned to find out!"
After saying that, a vein popped up on her head, and she turned back toward Kurumu. "Now, as for you..."
Kurumu blinked in surprise, wondering why the teacher looked annoyed (although the woman was still smiling). "What? What's wrong?"
"You didn't even last two days before you announced your true form to the entire school!" The cat-woman said, looming over the schoolgirl as a tail emerged from beneath her skirt and swayed irritably.
"Erk! B-But I... I needed to..." Kurumu started to sweat as she tried to think of a good reason for her blatant disregard for Youkai's number one rule. "I was declaring a challenge, and-"
"No excuses!" Shizuka said, yowling as she loomed over the younger girl. "Bathroom duty for a month! And not just the girl's either! You'll also clean the boy's and the 'others' bathrooms!"
"NOOOOOOO! Not the 'others'! Have mercy!"
Black Dragon Productions proudly presents
a Ranma and Rosario Plus Vampire crossover
Disclaimer: Well, it's only chapter 2 and I've already created a new character. I didn't think I'd last that long!
Key: Writing/Emphasis, Sounds, 'Thoughts', "Speech", (Comments that you can freely ignore)
Big Human on Campus
Sounds Like Love
"Who the hell is it that keeps howling at night, anyway? Who even does that?" Ranma grumbled as he fought off a yawn.
Tsukune chuckled nervously as he walked with Ranma and Moka to their homeroom class. "Maybe it's a werewolf or something? Or a hellhound?" He didn't look nearly as exhausted, as he had stayed behind and drifted off to sleep while Ranma had been out trying to find the source of the noise. "I'm surprised it bothered you, though. You seem like a heavy sleeper to me."
"Usually I am, but howling wolves bug me," the martial artist said, scratching the back of his head. "When I was on a training trip with my pop, we'd stop in wolf territory all the time, and sometimes they'd attack us at night or try to steal our food."
"What? Why wouldn't you just avoid them?" Moka asked, alarmed at the thought of being constantly attacked by wild animals.
"It was pretty good survival training," Ranma admitted. "Lemme tell ya: after the third time you get ambushed in your sleep by a wolf trying to bite your throat open, you learn to hit them first."
Tsukune and Moka blinked, failing to see the logic in that approach.
"They're a lot less dangerous on the defensive," Ranma continued. "Take out the big male, and the rest'll scatter." Then he groaned. "I couldn't find the jerk that was keeping me up last night, though. Took me longer to look for 'im than it did for him to get bored of howling and leave."
"If it is a werewolf, he should calm down in a few days at most," Moka said. "The bigger the moon is, the more it excites them, and there was a full moon last night, wasn't there?"
"I'd really prefer a solution that involves finding the creep and breaking his jaw," Ranma grumbled, causing Moka to roll her eyes and Tsukune to sweatdrop.
"Would you stop acting like a brute?" Moka huffed. "Why can't you be more sensitive, like Tsukune?"
"Bein' sensitive didn't keep you guys from being diced up into snack cubes yesterday," Ranma countered testily. "Hurting people did."
Moka seemed unmoved by his reminder that he had saved their lives. "Nobody likes a thug, you know."
"Hey, you're Saotome, right?"
The trio turned around as three other students from their class walked by, waving happily at the pigtailed boy. "Heard you downed one of them monstrels the other day, and then put down the succubus, too! Good job!"
"Bet that seductress put up a fight, too! She looked like a feisty one!"
Ranma shrugged. "Eh, not really. Then again, I kinda caught her by surprise."
"Keep it up, man! A monster like you could go far in a place like this!" The biggest one of the group said, giving him a thumbs-up.
Moka groaned at the barbarity of it all, while Ranma growled at being called a monster.
"I'm a human, dammit!" He protested.
"Yeah, sure, and I'm a fairy!" the larger man chuckled, jabbing a thumb at himself.
His companions went silent, staring up at him.
"Dude... you're a fairy?" the shortest of the group asked suspiciously.
"Well, it does explain his fashion sense," mumbled the other.
"It's called SARCASM, idjit! Let's go, already!"
As the trio moved on, Tsukune noted that Ranma was visibly restraining himself from attacking them, holding his wrist tightly as his hand clenched and unclenched into a fist.
"You know, I've meaning to ask... I can understand that you don't like being called a monster, but why would it make you so angry? This is a school for monsters, so it's only reasonable to assume that you're one too."
"It 'aint reasonable when I take every opportunity to tell 'em otherwise!" Ranma growled. "Besides, there's more to this than that."
"What do you mean?" Moka asked.
Ranma sighed irritably. "It's not so much that they think I'm a monster, it's that they WON'T BELIEVE I'M HUMAN! Every time I do anything impressive, they just snort and brush my protest off like a joke!"
"Well, your abilities ARE kind of inhuman," Tsukune said carefully.
"That's just it!" the pigtailed boy snapped, "do you know what I went through to GET these 'abilities'? I suffered for ten years trudging through the wilderness and pushing myself to the brink of death to get this good! I'm the best martial artist there is because I gave up my whole damn life for it! Countless hours of brutal training! Hundreds of agonizing fights! Rivals coming out of the woodwork trying to take me down!"
He grit his teeth angrily as he continued, causing his companions to wince at the wrathful energy. "But these idiots can't even COMPREHEND that! No, I can't be human, I'm too awesome to have actually SUFFERED for my art! If I'm this strong, it must be because I was born a vampire or something! What the hell? It pisses me off to have someone dismiss all my effort and training like that! Martial arts is my life!"
Tsukune winced slightly. He couldn't really sympathize with Ranma's feelings, as Tsukune didn't have anything to take particular pride in, but at least he now understood why the pigtailed boy took the accusations of monsterhood so personally.
Of course, Tsukune still thought Ranma was much better off with the monsters thinking he couldn't possibly be human, but he wasn't about to tell the older boy that.
Moka, surprisingly, was rather moved by the admission. "Oh. I... I had no idea it was so important to you."
"Damn straight," Ranma mumbled, finally starting forward again. "Beating Saizo's no big deal; I'm pretty sure at least half the people at this school could do it. That doesn't prove nothin'. Being human is the proof of my strength. It means I didn't have my power handed to me on a platter, I earned it with blood and sweat. Can Saizo or Kurumu say that?"
The conviction with which he spoke left his companions fairly stunned, unable to come up with anything to say that could impress after such a meaningful monologue.
"Hey, Saotome! Heard you're not a vampire!" Shouted a girl who had already reached the classroom. "You just cost me five thousand yen in the pool, you know!"
Tsukune sweatdropped as the older boy bristled. "Whether or not it's justified, you're going to have a real hard time if you fly into a rage every time someone calls you a monster."
"Can't... process... logic... Must... contain... fury..." Ranma growled out through clenched teeth.
"Let's hurry up before we're late," Moka said, sighing as she grabbed the boys' hands and pulled them along.
Such were the events that led up to Ranma's homeroom class, which naturally saw him lying on his desk unconscious within the first half-hour.
"Ranma? Ranma, wake up!" Tsukune whispered, poking the boy next to him with his pen to try and get his attention. He hadn't been that tired when they arrived, had he?
Seeing that his actions and the muffled mumbling from Ranma had attracted the attention of Miss Nekonome, Tsukune promptly sat up straight and resigned his friend to his deserved fate.
Shizuka frowned as she walked up to the obviously unconscious student, wondering if Ranma might be some sort of delinquent. Granted there were a lot of those in Youkai, given that the student body was composed of monsters, but she had fairly high hopes for the boy when he actually took his human disguise seriously. She estimated that at least three-fourths of the class had already revealed their true forms to their fellow students thus far just to show off their abilities, and it was nice to see that at least one student not only followed the rules, but actually took initiative by fully pretending he was a human.
However, that didn't change the fact that this same student was getting into fights, refused to wear a uniform, and was now even falling asleep in her class! Shizuka felt that if she didn't nip this in the bud right away, she'd lose a student that had real potential for furthering the cause of coexistence between the human and monster races.
"Alright, Mister Saotome. Time to get up!" she said sharply, tapping the boy's head with the wooden pointer she used for her lectures.
Ranma shifted his head to the other side and mumbled something about pandas getting kicked out of windows.
Her eyebrow twitched at the response, and then Shizuka raised the pointer into the air to "tap" him harder.
Crack! Ranma's hand swung upward on instinct, snapping the tool in half before it could make contact, and startling his homeroom teacher badly enough that a distinctly feline tail suddenly sprouted from underneath her skirt, its fur standing on end.
Ranma's eyes bugged out of their sockets as he promptly collapsed backward into a heap, conscious but paralyzed with fear at the sudden, terrifying sound.
His heart still hammering in his chest, the pigtailed boy slowly turned his head to look up into the rather annoyed glare of Miss Nekonome.
"Having pleasant dreams, Mister Saotome? Maybe you find them more interesting than my lecture?" The cat-like instructor asked, her smiling twitching.
Ranma promptly twisted his body around so that he was crouching behind his chair, using it as a shield as he trembled in fear. "No! No, I'm sorry! I'll pay attention! Just, please, don't hurt me!"
Much of the class, including the teacher herself, looked quite surprised by the sudden and profound display of cowardice, and Tsukune and Moka gaped openly.
"Er... of course. Please pay attention from now on," Shizuka said slowly, turning away from the terrified teenager.
'What the heck was that about?' Tsukune thought, watching the older boy slip back into his seat. 'I always got the feeling Ranma didn't like Miss Nekonome, but to get a reaction like that out of him?'
Then his eyes widened. 'Wait! Ranma's an expert martial artist! Maybe he has some sort of special sense that tells him that Miss Nekonome is actually super-strong? Is she that dangerous?'
The mundane boy gulped nervously as his homeroom teacher began talking again, suddenly seeing the spritely and seemingly harmless woman in a new light.
Ranma's thoughts, of course, were not so coherent. 'CatcatcatCATcatcatsoundslikeacatcatCaTcat-dammit-catcatcatcatcat-knew she was one of them-catcatcatccccaaaaatttttcatcat-where the hell are those stupid spiders when you need them-catcatcatcat...'
The lecture of the day was interrupted again when the entrance to the classroom suddenly opened without warning or fanfare.
"Gah! It's Professor Richard!" One student screamed, immediately ducking under his desk as the robed figure stepped into the classroom.
Richard's eyes glanced over to the source of the shout, and he snorted. "What's with him? You'd think I'd frozen his girlfriend solid, smashed her into little pieces, and then used her to cool my ice chest."
Richard nodded and turned toward the teacher. "Well now, since that mystery's solved, down to business. Do you have a moment, Miss Nekonome?"
Shizuka sweatdropped, and the hair on her head that looked suspiciously like ears flattened. "What do you want?"
"I have need of Saotome's services," the warlock said bluntly, pointing a clawed finger at the teenager in question. "There's a body in need of disposal. Well, not so much a 'body' as a... uh... well..."
Richard was silent for a few seconds as he rubbed his chin through his mask. "Let's just say you'll be needing a mop."
Ranma grunted, his casually fearless attitude resurfacing now that he was faced with someone who was merely homicidal and immensely powerful rather than feline. "Why should I have to help you during a different period? Get a different aide for your other classes!"
"I did," Richard explained patiently. "Unfortunately, that aide comprises a significant fraction of the total mass that I need removed. I'm not sure on exactly what fraction... that spell had a rather irregular blast, and I think some of the students managed to escape the room before the dimensional breach sealed itself."
Ranma looked only more annoyed by the explanation. "Nah. You didn't say the magic word."
"Evocatio frigus?" Richard guessed.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Several students yelped in surprise as Ranma suddenly kicked his desk up in the air, barely blocking the three foot-long blades of gleaming, hardened ice that had been sailing toward his face.
Ranma slammed his desk back down into place, and then glared at the undead magus. "That wasn't what I meant," he growled.
"Well, can I have a hint?" Richard asked, looking annoyed. "Because my next guess is 'abracadabra,' and you do NOT want to see what that does."
Mumbling curses and threats under his breath, the pigtailed boy got up out of his desk and followed the warlock out of the room.
"Is everyone okay?" Shizuka asked as she looked around the room, taking stock of her students to make sure the casually destructive science teacher hadn't immolated somebody on his way out.
Everybody seemed fine physically, though that boy that had panicked at the sight of the warlock was still hiding under his desk, shaking.
Oddly enough, Tsukune Aono also seemed to be unreasonably nervous when she looked him over.
"Tsukune!" Moka whispered over to him, "What's wrong? You look terrified!"
Tsukune gulped. 'If a man like that teacher just annoys Ranma, what kind of terrible creature is Miss Nekonome to inspire such fear?'
The woman in question glanced at him curiously, and his face paled slightly as he suppressed a shudder. 'I'm going to have to be very careful around her from now on...'
"That was terrible," Ranma mumbled as he slumped into his seat, his face pale from keeping down the bile in his throat for so long. "I swear, the teachers here are worse than the students. And they're the ones that are supposed to teach us how to get by in the human world? Hmph."
Ranma was in his next class now, the cleanup having taken up the rest of his homeroom period. He didn't recall exactly what class it was, as he had never been here before and was too tired and disturbed to bother looking around and taking in the details of the room he was already in, never mind look over the details of his schedule.
"Maybe they have all the monsters who couldn't make it in the human world come back here where they don't have to hide themselves. The entire faculty is probably the rejects of this whole 'human-monster coexistence' thing." He muttered, staring up at the ceiling.
"Well! How rude!" an annoyed, feminine voice said from in front of him. "I'll have you know that I'm a MASTER of human disguise!"
Suppressing a groan, Ranma slowly tilted his head forward to take a look at who had spoken to him.
He was silent for a few moments as he took in the form standing proudly in front of his desk.
"Bullshit," he deadpanned.
The woman standing in front him was definitely an... impressive example of a human disguise. She had a gorgeous, voluptuous form with smooth, silky skin, plump, firm breasts, and an elegant face framed by long, wavy, dirty blond hair. She wore a perfectly complementary assortment of jewelry, expertly applied makeup that could only barely enhance her looks, and a bright red halter top dress that clung to her form.
But despite all that, she still had a pair of horns and a third eye in her forehead, so frankly, Ranma wasn't buying it.
"Ha! You have a lot of guts, giving me that attitude," the woman said, sliding closer to sit on Ranma's desk before crossing her legs.
The pigtailed boy looked supremely annoyed by this, although the woman, who Ranma supposed was his teacher, had firmly captured the attention of every other boy sitting in the room.
"Your human form is good, but so tacky!" she complained, dragging a well-manicured nail down the front of Ranma's shirt. "Not only do you come to class out of uniform, but you don't even have the decency to break school rules fashionably! Silks are SO last month! You could really stand some cologne too; you smell like blood and raw meat. And WHAT is with that pigtail?"
"HEY! You leave my hair out of this!" Ranma shouted, so annoyed by the onslaught of criticism that he forgot to insist that his humanity wasn't a disguise.
"Fine, have it your way," the teacher said, slipping away and sauntering up to the front of the classroom without further comment.
Ranma fumed for a few seconds before he calmed himself enough to seriously take stock of his surroundings. Not that there was much in the room to draw attention other than the teacher, but he found himself checking each of his classmates to place guesses as to their threat level.
Soon enough he turned around to check behind him, and the student behind him elicited a brief gasp as they made eye contact.
Ranma couldn't imagine why, as he'd never seen the girl sitting behind him before, but put it aside. She was pretty cute if not a bit gloomy-looking, with long, shining dark purple hair that was tucked behind her ear and shoulder on the right side, but spilled over her face on the left side, hiding her left eye. He couldn't get a good look at her exposed eye, as she was now facing straight down at her desk and trembling slightly, but he promptly pegged her as "not a threat" and moved on.
Within another minute, the woman at the front of the classroom cleared her throat, instantly seizing the attention of the few students that weren't already staring at her intently.
"Hello my lovely students, and welcome to your first day in government class!" she said, her sultry voice projecting perfectly from years of hard practice. "I'm your instructor, the Dark Liege!"
There was much blinking across the classroom.
"Wait, is that your actual name?" Somebody near the back asked, raising their hand.
"Uh, uh, uh!" the Dark Liege said, wagging her finger. "A girl's got to have some secrets, now!"
"But... your name?" A girl at the front asked, looking annoyed. "What are we supposed to call you?"
"Either 'my Liege' or 'Sensei' will be just fine!" she chirped. "Now, I know you boys want to know my measurements too, but class is now in session! So let's get right to it, shall we?"
Ten minutes later, Ranma was honestly wondering whether he was happy or frustrated with this new teacher.
'She's the most obviously demonic out of all my teachers, and even has that stupid name, and yet she teaches a completely ordinary topic in a completely ordinary way. No rants, no magic, no murder, nothing. What the hell? Is that third eye just for show?' Even when he'd picked a fight with the woman before class she just argued with him like any girl would and then backed off when he got upset.
That wasn't all, either; Ranma could feel an insane level of power coming from this woman, probably more sheer energy than everyone else in the classroom combined, including himself. The only individual he'd ever met with this level of power was Saffron, though he couldn't say for certain whose aura was bigger. How could someone so obviously demonic be so... normal?
Well, actually, the Dark Liege DID have a slightly unusual teaching style, in that she'd keep turning, bending, and leaning over to show off her rear and her cleavage while occasionally winking at the class, but Ranma found that more annoying than anything else, and it didn't change the issue of why he was being lectured on the general types of governmental authority by what may well have been a dark god.
"Now then, many dictators would set up their children to replace them once they died or retired, ensuring that all governmental power stayed within the royal family," the Dark Liege said, turning around to face the class. "Now, who can tell me what this is called?"
After a few seconds, nobody raised their hand, so the buxom teacher scanned the room before pointing in Ranma's direction. "You."
Ranma started to open his mouth, but was interrupted as the Dark Liege added to her statement.
"The girl behind the pigtailed brat. What's your name?"
A vein popped up on Ranma's head, but he fought down any retaliatory urges as he waited for the girl to speak.
"........." the girl stared straight down at her desk, her hands clenched tightly within her lap.
The Dark Liege blinked. She could've sworn she'd heard something very faint, but she couldn't make it out. "What was that? Speak up, please."
"........." the girl shuddered slightly as a soft noise came from her once again.
"I can't hear you," the Dark Liege said, sighing as she planted her fists on her hips. "Don't worry if you don't know the answer, just tell me your name."
The girl's shoulders slumped further. "........."
"She said her name's Kanade Kana," Ranma said suddenly.
Kana's head jerked up in surprise, and she stared in shock as she realized that Ranma was leaning way back on his chair, balancing it upon its back legs with his head mere inches away.
The Dark Liege frowned. "Well Miss Kanade, do you know what you call a dictatorship in which the dictator installs his children as the heirs to power?"
Kana promptly turned her head down again, swallowing nervously. "........."
Ranma slowly teetered forward, his chair falling back into its normal position. "She said it's called a dynasty."
"That's correct! Thank you!" the Dark Liege said brightly, jumping slightly and causing her breasts to jiggle. "But next time you should endeavor to answer for yourself. It can't be good to have to rely on the pigtailed brat to communicate."
Bam! Ranma slammed a fist on his desk as he grit his teeth. "Stop calling me that!"
"Oh! What a brute!" the Dark Liege exclaimed in false hurt, holding her cheeks as she turned away. "To raise his voice at a lady like that! How COULD you?"
Ranma groaned as he felt several angry glares from other male students in the room. 'Man, I'm almost starting to miss Furinkan.'
"Ugh. What a pain," Ranma grumbled as he trudged out of the classroom, heading toward his locker. "Although honestly, she's probably the sanest out of all my teachers so far."
Of course, there weren't many who would say the Dark Liege was more stable and sane than Shizuka Nekonome, but in Ranma's book acting or looking like a cat was the height of madness.
Reaching his locker, he pulled it open and put away his government books. 'The Dark Moron did have a point, though; I don't smell too fresh right now. Better go hit the shower before my next class.'
"Oh, Ranma, there you are."
The pigtailed boy closed his locker to see Moka standing behind it, looking somewhat annoyed.
She wasn't looking at him, though, so it would seem that she was annoyed by something or someone else this time.
"What's up? Where's Tsukune?" Ranma asked. As far as he could tell, his roommate and the vampiress had become damn near inseparable in the short time since they'd met.
"Tsukune... has a bit of a problem right now," Moka mumbled uncomfortably.
Ranma straightened instantly. "Like a 'help a monster is trying to tear me limb from limb' kind of problem?"
"No, not quite..."
"Oh." Ranma frowned. "So then it's a 'help a monster is trying to tear off my clothes' kind of problem."
Moka blinked in surprise, and the both of them paused briefly as a panicked shout came from down the hall.
"Kurumu, knock it off!" Tsukune shouted, dashing away as the succubus chased after him.
"Come on! We're meant to be together! What are you running for?" Kurumu shouted after him brightly, holding a basket of cookies in her hands.
Moka sighed. "She was really impressed when Tsukune stopped you yesterday, I guess. She decided that Tsukune's her 'mate of fate' and won't leave him alone."
"Good," Ranma said.
Moka seemed surprised by this statement, so Ranma shrugged.
"I was afraid that the succubae would have some sort of stupid laws about mating with the one who beat them, or something. If she's after Tsukune, and not in the deadly way, then she's not my problem."
"But what about Tsukune?" Moka asked.
"What about him? He seems to be doin' fine to me." Ranma nudged his chin over in the direction of the other human, and Moka glanced over to see that Kurumu had finally cornered Tsukune under a stairwell and was now hand-feeding him her baked goods.
Ranma noted the vampiress frowning at the sight, and he rolled his eyes. "So you're just jealous, after all."
"I-I'm not jealous!" Moka stuttered, her face flushing as she whipped her head around to face the pigtailed boy. "I'm... just... just not sure that Kurumu isn't still trying to get revenge on me, is all!"
"Ugh," Ranma made a disgusted noise at the thought of him being dragged into the girls' catfight. "Look, whaddya want ME to do about it? I can't-eh?"
He stopped talking as he felt something tug on his shirt from behind, and then turned to see Kana Kanade standing behind him while looking away so as to avoid any eye contact. "Eh? Did you want something?"
"........." Moka raised an eyebrow as she heard a very soft, gentle sound come from the girl's mouth. Even though her hearing was generally better than a human's due to her vampire heritage, she still wasn't able to make out what the stranger had said.
Apparently, Ranma managed to understand it, though. "It's fine. I don't know why you're so quiet, but I sit close enough to cover for ya. My name's Saotome Ranma, by the way."
"And I'm Akashiya Moka," Moka said, moving closer to the girl.
"I am Kanade Kana," the girl said softly, Moka's ears just barely able to make out the words. The girl's voice was hesitant and scratchy, as if she was trying to speak with the very minimal amount of disturbance to her throat and tongue.
"Do you two know each other?" Moka asked Ranma.
"She sits behind me in government class. Seems she can't talk loud enough for the teacher to hear her," Ranma explained, shrugging.
Moka raised an eyebrow at that, wondering what kind of monster the girl was such that she was almost, but not quite, mute.
Kana glanced over to Ranma, quickly turning her head down the instant their eyes met. "I was... wondering... Saotome..."
"Call me Ranma," the pigtailed boy said, wondering why the girl seemed to shudder at the request.
"R-Right... Ranma... I was... wondering..." her voice seemed to get even smaller, if it was possible, and both Ranma and Moka leaned in to hear her. "... What kind... of... monster are you?"
Moka winced at the question as Ranma started to look annoyed. 'I should head this off right away, before Ranma has a chance to create a mess.' "It's against school rules to reveal your identity, isn't it?"
"Don't care," Ranma said instantly, causing Moka to groan. "I am a human. Pay attention. Hyoo-man. Homo sapien and all that scientific jazz. Okay?"
Before Kana had time to visibly react to the revelation another student passed by them, idly raising a fist to his mouth. "Cough!BullshitCough!"
Ranma glared at the boy's back, and then balled his hands into fists. "Oh yeah? Answer me this, then! If I'm not a human, what am I?"
"Vampire!" Shouted a girl behind Moka, much to the vampire's annoyance.
"Ghoul!" Shouted a boy behind the previous spectator.
"I vote troll!"
"No way, gotta be a devil!"
"He's a witch! Burn him!"
"Can guys even BE witches?"
"I second vampire!"
"Incubus? He's sexy enough."
"Guys, guys, you're all TOTALLY wrong!" Said Kurumu, suddenly pushing through the ring of enthusiastic students with her arm hooked around Tsukune's.
Grinning, she pointed haughtily at Ranma. "You gotta think outside the box, people! He's no ordinary monster! This guy has to be a mind flayer!"
A hushed silence descended upon the crowd, and then, almost at once, the students that had been enthusiastically guessing at Ranma's species grimaced in disgust.
"EEEEUUUGH..." wincing in fear and revulsion, the crowd started to disperse, leaving Ranma alone with Moka, Kana, Kurumu, and Tsukune.
Ranma had his head down as his body trembled in barely-contained fury. "It is only the fact that I don't know what a 'mind flayer' is that keeps me from harming you, Kurumu," he said darkly.
"Heh heh heh," the succubus chuckled nervously, holding Tsukune more closely.
Then Kana leaned closer to the pigtailed boy. "........." She frowned. "........." Nodding slightly, she concluded "........."
Kurumu threw her pride to the wind and stood fully behind Tsukune as Ranma turned a deadly cold glare on her. "S-So I was wrong? Well, it was a good guess, right?"
Tsukune sighed as he saw that Ranma had started glowing again. "Ranma, please, don't. I'm just going to get in your way again, anyhow."
Ranma's aura faded, and he eventually turned around. "I'm gonna go wash." He deadpanned, stalking off toward the building exit.
Moka, Kurumu, and Tsukune watched him go, each one feeling a great deal of relief that the situation had been resolved without any casualites.
Unless one counted Ranma's dignity, anyway.
"Tsukune! You saved me again!" Kurumu purred, rubbing her head into the crook of his neck. "You're so brave and noble!"
Tsukune sweatdropped, well aware that he only stood up to Ranma so easily because he was almost certain the pigtailed boy would never hurt him. "Okay, fine. Can we go eat lunch now?"
Moka brightened immediately. "Ooh! Can I have some of your blood, Tsukune? Please?"
"Moka, wait! No, don't-OW!"
Kurumu was about to complain loudly about Moka's behavior when she suddenly glanced around, looking surprised. "Hey, where'd that other girl go?"
After lunch, Tsukune was heading off to his math class, carefully scanning his schedule and campus map to find the right room.
"Okay, I think it's right down here..." the freshman mumbled, starting to turn the corner.
"Mister Tsukune? Could you come here, please? Under the stairs?"
Tsukune jerked to a stop, almost paralyzed as the sudden request penetrated his ears. The voice was soft and lilting, with a musical quality to them that defied description, and he found himself momentarily stunned by the sound.
Turning around once he recovered, Tsukune found that there was nobody nearby, and the closest students were ignoring him, walking by to get to their own classes.
'Weird, it seemed like that sound was whispered right into my ear, but there's nobody around,' he thought, puzzled. 'What did it say? Under the stairs?'
Looking over to the nearest stairwell, he could see a bit of shadow from a figure standing underneath them, and he felt a chill crawl down his back. 'Should I go? It could be some monster trying to ambush me out of sight!'
"Who... Who is it?" Tsukune called out nervously, taking a few steps closer to the stairs.
No further sound came to him, and eventually he gulped and creeped over toward the shadows. He figured that if this was a trap, the monsters setting it almost certainly had the means to kill him anyway without an ambush. Considering that he was already on guard, and that Ranma should arrive for class at any moment to effect a rescue if necessary, these were probably the safest conditions he could reasonably ask for.
As he slowly walked toward the stairs, the figure shifted slightly so that it wasn't totally obscured in shadow, and Tsukune blinked. It was that girl that Ranma and Moka had been talking to, Kana something-or-other. What did she want with him?
Stopping a few feet away, Tsukune rubbed the back of his head nervously, noting that the girl had her head tilted to the side so that she was avoiding eye contact with him. "Yes? What is it?"
Kana gestured for him to come closer, and he did so reluctantly, creeping forward until she put her hand down.
"How do... you know... Ranma?"
Tsukune blinked. "Ranma? We met when the semester started. We're roommates too, actually. Why? Are you a friend of his?"
She seemed to start at the mention that they shared a dorm room, and ignored Tsukune's counter-question. "What is... your room number?"
Maybe it was because Kana seemed perfectly harmless. Perhaps he was feeling a bit too much relief that he hadn't walked into an ambush. Either that, or Tsukune's naive, trusting nature simply seized the reigns of his frontal lobe.
But for whatever reason, Tsukune didn't even hesitate before he rattled off his room and building number to the subdued-looking girl, even going so far as to describe its location in the building. "-near the end of the hall; there's only one other other room between our dorm and the east wall. All on the first floor."
Kana nodded, a small smile spreading on her lips. "Thank you..." she whispered.
"No problem, no problem," the human said slowly, rubbing the back of his head. "So... why did you need to know that, again?"
The boy jumped slightly as Ranma's voice came from behind him, and he quickly turned to face his friend and roommate. "Oh, hi Ranma! You made it in time!"
"Yup. Not that I'm in any kind of hurry to learn math," Ranma put and impressive amount of disgust into the word as he passed by Tsukune. "Come on, let's get this over with. Hopefully our teacher isn't some sort of whackjob or slutty demon goddess."
"Whackjob or... what?" Tsukune asked, forgetting about Kana completely as he followed the older boy.
"You'd have to see it to believe it, man... though she's better than the others, I guess." He shuddered at the memory of Miss Nekonome glaring down at him.
The two continued talking as they entered the classroom, neither one noticing as a figure stepped out from under the stairs and then scurried away.
Tsukune took a sip of water and then placed the half-empty glass on his nightstand before he climbed into bed, smiling as he pulled up the covers. 'My third day at Youkai Academy, and I'm still alive and well. I didn't think I'd be doing this well at all.' He sighed pleasantly. 'Between Moka and Ranma... and I guess Kurumu isn't so bad either... this could actually shape up to be a great semester for me!'
"Good night, Ranma," he mumbled, snuggling deeper into his pillow.
Ranma completed his two hundredth push-up before he finally got off the floor and slipped into his bed. 'My third day at Youkai Academy, and I STILL haven't been able to convince anybody here that I'm human. And then there's my classes.' He groaned weakly. 'Between Richard and Jadeite... and Miss Nekonome most of all... this is shaping up to be a really lousy semester for me.'
"G'night Tsukune," he mumbled, rolling over.
It was only minutes until the pair were fully asleep, the moonlight shining through the fog into their bedroom window.
"Hee hee hee hee! Won't he be surprised tomorrow morning?" Kurumu said to herself as she snuck out of her dorm room, a rather large, pink envelope in her hand that smelled strongly of perfume and was sealed with a large heart-shaped sticker.
"Or maybe I won't even have to wait that long," Kurumu mumbled, her eyes shining as she crept down the halls. "Maybe he's still up! Just think..."
"Oh, Kurumu, hello! What brings you by this late in the evening?" Dream Tsukune asked, his teeth shining brightly as he smiled down at the young succubus.
"Oh Tsukune, I wanted to give you this!" Dream Kurumu said bashfully, holding out the envelope while blushing demurely. "Every time I see you my heart beats so fast; it's hard to explain my feelings to you when you're staring into my eyes! This letter should explain the full depths of my love!"
Dream Tsukune took the envelope, opened it carefully and then unfolded the letter, looking it over quickly, but carefully.
"Kurumu, I... I had no idea you felt so strongly about me," Dream Tsukune said, his voice rich and manly as he gazed into Dream Kurumu's eyes. "But remind me: you said your race is endangered, is it not?"
Dream Kurumu nodded, a melodramatic tear sliding down her cheek. "It's true! I still haven't figured out why, but I assure you, it's true!"
Dream Tsukune's expression was grim and serious as he gently took the succubus into his arms. "Then I have no choice but to aid you in propagating immediately for as long as my surprisingly muscular and powerful body can endure."
"Oh, Tsukune!" Dream Kurumu gasped, flushing deeply as her chosen mate carried her into the room.
There was a pause of several seconds, and then Dream Ranma suddenly came flying out the door to slam painfully against the wall opposite his dorm room. The door to said room promptly closed behind him.
Dream Ranma quickly scrambled to his feet, and then pointed to the door. "Just for the record, only in your dreams could TSUKUNE Judo-throw ME across a room! Got it?"
Kurumu giggled. "Ha! I only wish that fantasy had gone on long enough for me to see Dream Moka's face!"
"Dream me? What are you talking about?" Moka asked.
Kurumu froze in place, and her head slowly and rigidly turned to look behind her, where Moka was standing in a set of pajamas patterned with tiny bats.
"M-M-Moka! What are you doing up at this hour?" the succubus asked nervously, turning as she held the envelope behind her.
"I was going to bed when I heard evil laughter, so I came out to check," Moka explained, her eyes narrowing. "What are YOU doing up? And what's that envelope for?"
"It's... nothing. Nothing at all," Kurumu said slowly, backing away toward the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Moka asked suspiciously. "Isn't your room the other way?"
"I'm just going... to the kitchens. To... make cookies," Kurumu explained, still walking backwards away from her rival.
Moka watched closely as the succubus continued backing away toward the door to the room in question, and her eyes narrowed as Kurumu then passed right by it.
Kurumu, guessing that jig had been up for some time, quickly turned and dashed toward the stairs at full speed, sticking her tongue out at Moka on the way. "Bidaaah!"
"Hey! No! Get back here!" Moka shouted, taking off after the other girl.
"Zzzzzz... uh..." Tsukune shifted uncomfortably in his sleep, his face contorting as a soft, gentle hum started to fill the room.
"Zzzzhhhrgh..." Ranma rolled over, twitching as the hum slowly rose in pitch, and then started moving into words as a song began.
A special world... for you and me.
A special bond... one cannot see.
Moving sluggishly and clumsily, Tsukune stumbled out of bed and onto his feet, his eyelids only half open.
Ranma followed a moment later, moving just as awkwardly, and ended up catching his foot on Tsukune's nightstand.
Ranma got back to her feet, her dazed state seemingly unaffected by the cool water dripping down her face and chest.
It wraps us up... in its cocoon.
And holds us fiercely... in its womb.
The voice was soft, yet penetrating, with a ringing, bell-like quality that felt pleasurable even through the haze of unconsciousness that currently affected the pair of roommates.
Lurching forward like a zombie, Tsukune reached the door and grappled with the knob uncertainly until he fumbled it open, and then stumbled out into the hall.
"It's none of your business, Moka! Butt out!" Kurumu shouted as she dashed down the stairs, her letter pressed tightly into her chest. While she knew that Moka probably would leave her alone if she'd revealed that her intent was a simple love letter, she didn't want to reveal her actions to the vampiress so that Moka could prepare some act of affection to counter hers.
"What are you going to do to Tsukune, Kurumu?" Moka demanded as she raced up after her rival, barely managing to keep the blue-haired girl in sight.
Although their dorms were co-ed, they were segregated by floor so that boys and girls didn't have to share living space and were at least nominally separated from each other, so Tsukune and Ranma lived on the first floor, while both Moka and Kurumu's rooms were on the fourth.
"Ah! There he is!" Kurumu shouted in surprise, her expression brightening considerably as she saw the object of her affection shuffle out of his dorm room. "Oh, and there's Ranwha?"
Kurumu promptly fell over forward in shock upon seeing that the figure she had mistaken for Ranma was in fact much shorter, possessed bright red hair, and was quite obviously FEMALE. She was only wearing a tank-top and boxer shorts, so there could be very little confusion about that.
"What... How... Who..." the succubus stuttered uselessly as both Tsukune and the stranger turned toward the main entrance, apparently ignoring her.
"Tsukune! Are you..." Moka blinked in surprise at the scene, seeing Kurumu twitching on the floor while Tsukune and some girl she had never seen before were exiting the building. "What? What's going on here?"
"Th-That girl!" Kurumu cried, scrambling to her feet as her face contorted in rage. "She came out of Tsukune's room!"
"What? But... where are they going? And where's Ranma?" she asked, watching helplessly as Tsukune and the redhead pushed through the door leading outside.
"Who cares about Ranma?" Kurumu demanded angrily. "Who's that redheaded slut?"
"I don't know... I've never seen her before," Moka said hesitantly, obviously confused. She had stuck pretty closely to Tsukune ever since he had arrived, so it seemed strange that she had never met someone who was close enough to Tsukune to be invited into his room.
Of course... there were other ways to get into Tsukune's room that didn't involve close bonds of friendship, and Moka frowned as she considered some of them. "Let's follow them!"
"Way ahead of you!" Kurumu growled as she dashed out the exit.
"Kurumu! Wait for me!"
Once the girls were outside, they saw that Tsukune and the redhead had separated, and were slowly stumbling about blindly among the trees and gravestones, seemingly without direction.
"What's wrong with them?" Moka asked nervously. "Tsukune should have noticed us in the hall. Is he in some sort of trance?"
"How should I know?" Kurumu snapped, trying to decide which target to go after: her beloved or his (presumed) defiler.
"Well, you are kind of the expert on hypnosis out of the two of us," Moka said.
Kurumu winced. "Touche. Anyway, this doesn't SEEM like any charm spell I've seen; my allure and most tricks like it only affect the conscious mind, so that people act like they normally do, but follow a command. The way they're acting... it almost seems as if they're still asleep."
Moka digested this for a moment, and then gasped as she noticed that the girl was lurching away again into the trees. "I think something's happening! Look, the girl is leaving!"
"And good riddance," Kurumu said icily, noting that Tsukune was standing in place, wobbling from side to side. "As long as Tsukune isn't going anywhere."
Although Moka could sympathize with the succubus, she considered that whatever had Tsukune and the stranger in a trance was probably separate from whatever situation had arisen to bring the redhead into the boys' room, and could potentially be very dangerous. While she had no reason to trust this girl or risk anything for her, Moka wasn't willing to simply leave her to a mysterious fate over a twinge of jealousy.
Thus as Kurumu dove for Tsukune, Moka decided to go see if she could wake up the stranger.
Such coherent thoughts, unfortunately, were obliterated as she got closer to the girl.
At first, the sound that reached her as she approached the redhead was just on the edge of her ability to perceive, and hardly took much of her attention.
As she got closer to her objective, however, the noise became louder and more persistent, and she found herself more and more distracted by the gentle, musical hum as it eventually turned into words that completely stole away her attention.
It's fingers spread... like fine spun gold.
Gently nestling us... to the fold.
The sound was beautiful, easily the single most beautiful and majestic thing she had ever heard, and Moka turned away from the redhead as curiosity urged her to find the source of the wonderful melody.
Like silken thread... it holds us fast.
Bonds like this... are meant to last.
Before she even knew what she was doing, Moka had walked into the darkness beyond the trees, out of sight of Kurumu, following the stumbling redhead.
Kurumu didn't notice, because she was busy shaking Tsukune to try and snap the boy out of it.
"Tsukune! Wake up! What's wrong with you?" the succubus demanded, watching the boy's head loll about senselessly. "All right then, I didn't want to have to do this..." She reared a hand back, keeping her palm flat.
"Sorry!" Squeaking out an apology ahead of time, Kurumu slapped Tsukune in the cheek hard, throwing the boy's face to the side and leaving a stinging red handprint.
"Ack! Wh-What? Where am I?" Tsukune asked groggily, shaking his head as he tried to clear it.
A few details came down the line as vitally important once he noticed them.
For one thing, he was outside in his pajamas.
For another, Kurumu was holding him by his shoulders, and looked rather anxious.
Finally, his cheek stung like crazy.
"What did I just do?" he asked weakly.
"That's what I want to know!" Kurumu said, her relief at Tsukune's recovery washed away by fresh anger at the redheaded girl. "Who is she!"
Tsukune blinked. "Who is who?" He asked, honestly puzzled. Looking around, he couldn't see anybody around but the two of them.
"You know who I mean! That redhead with the bust that's ALMOST as magnificent as mine!" Kurumu clarified, her eyes glowing slightly. "She came out of YOUR ROOM with you, Tsukune!"
Tsukune winced as the pieces fell into place. "Oh. Her. That's... uh... complicated."
Kurumu did not look appeased. "Complicated? What's that supposed to mean?"
Instead of elaborating, Tsukune glanced around again. "Wait... if she came out with me... however that happened... where is she now?"
Kurumu looked supremely annoyed as she turned to look behind her. "She should be over... huh? She's gone?" the succubus frowned. "I thought Moka was trying to stop her. Wait, then where's Moka?"
It didn't help Kurumu's mood any when Tsukune's eyes bugged out at the mention of the vampiress. "What? Moka's out here too? Where?"
Kurumu growled slightly that they seemed to be moving away from the topic of the redhead, but relented and let go of Tsukune. "I think they were heading in this direction..."
"Then let's find them! They could be in trouble!" Tsukune exclaimed, racing off into the night with Kurumu following reluctantly behind.
"And though at times... a thread may break.
A new one forms... in its wake.
To bind us closer... and keep us strong.
In a special world... where we belong."
(And that was "A Special World" by Sheelagh Lennon. What? You didn't really think I wrote love poems, did you?)
Moka peeked out from behind a tree, staring at the source of the wonderful song in surprise and awe. 'Is that... Is that really Kana?'
Of course, it looked exactly like Kana Kanade, save the large, white, feathery wings on the girl's back, but Moka simply had an impossible time of connecting the hauntingly beautiful singing voice with the incredibly timid girl who could barely speak.
She was seated on a stone pillar that had been set up in a clearing, wearing a lovely yet conservative soft blue gown that fluttered elegantly in the cool breeze.
There were several other pillars set up in the clearing of irregular height, each one composed of several separate rock cylinders stacked awkwardly on top of each other. It gave the entire space the look of some sort of arena, actually, and Moka idly wondered who took the time to construct such pointless arrangements.
"Oh! There you are!" Kana's voice rang out like an orchestra of bells, and Moka shifted her attention over to see that the redheaded girl had finally caught up, having stopped at the edge of the clearing where she was still hidden from the moonlight by the shadows of the trees.
The purple-haired girl spread her wings before she hopped off of the column, slowly gliding to the ground in the middle of the clearing before she walked over toward the mystery girl, a blush on her face.
"I didn't really want us to meet like this, but I really couldn't think of what else to do," Kana admitted as she slowly walked across the ground, her wings folding up tightly behind her. "I'm sorry... I can't even talk to people normally because I get so nervous... but... if you're unconscious, then I thought that maybe I could overcome my shyness."
Moka listened intently as the winged girl spoke, her heart going out to the young monster. 'So that's why she can't speak normally? Chronic shyness? I see... although that doesn't explain anything about what's going on here.'
Kana stopped a few feet from the redhead, clasping her hands in front of her chest. "You're just so... different from me. So strong, so confident... and then you helped me... becoming my voice to the world without asking anything in return."
She stepped forward again, gently taking hold of the pigtailed girl's shoulders and staring deeply into her eyes.
"When I came to this school, I had already decided that I wanted a boyfriend... someone to experience love with, who I could tell all my secrets to. I wish... I hope that someday, maybe, we can be like that... but for now, I think... just a kiss?"
Moka gasped lightly, mesmerized by the scene as Kana slowly brought her face closer to the other girl's.
And then Kana halted, the one eye that wasn't covered by her hair blinking. "Who the hell are you?"
Crash! Moka promptly facefaulted, kicking up a cloud of dust as she hit the ground.
Kana whirled around at the noise, and her visible eye widened as she saw Moka picking herself up. "Bu... Yo... Wh..." her ability to speak coherently seemed to crumble as she stared at the other girl, her face flushing deeper and deeper.
"Kana? What's going on here?" Moka asked cautiously, unsure what to make of the situation. Judging by her earlier confession, she had mistaken the redheaded girl for Ranma in the dark, which effectively meant that she had been trying to draw the pigtailed boy out into the night in order to make out with him.
Moka wouldn't have normally interfered with something like that, even if she didn't think it was right for Kana to be doing such things while Ranma was unconscious and hypnotized. However, the girl had dragged Tsukune out of bed as well with her mischief, so the vampiress decided that a stern lecture was in order.
"........" Kana's mouth moved to protest, but her voice had evidently diminished to its usual nearly unintelligible mumble, and Moka wasn't nearly close enough to hear.
"I don't think I completely understand what you were doing, but you have to stop!" Moka said firmly. "Drawing people out in the middle of the night to seduce them is just-"
"She was doing WHAT?"
Kana and Moka both jumped in surprise as Kurumu's voice came from the edge of the clearing, and they turned to see the enraged succubus sprouting her wings and tail as Tsukune looked on, confused.
"........." Kana said desperately, obviously to no avail.
"It was her song that drew them out like this," Moka explained, only slightly concerned that Kurumu seemed so upset. She didn't consider what the situation looked like to her rival, or what conclusion she might reach with only partial information.
A vein popped up Kurumu's head as her nails lengthened. "You... You... How dare you?" she cried, taking to the air with a mighty flap of her wings. "I go to all the trouble to pursue Tsukune without using my allure to trick him, and you think you can swoop in and steal him with your own powers?"
Tsukune blinked. "What? Really?" The explanation was certainly news to him. He had spent all of two minutes around the timid girl, and she was already trying to seduce him?
"........." Kana explained uselessly.
Moka, for her part, facepalmed as she realized what was happening. "No, wait, Kuru-"
"Forget it, hussy!" Kurumu shouted as she began her dive, ignoring Moka. "There's no way I'm going to lose to a siren!"
"Hello everybody! Today we're going to learn all about sirens!" Shizuka Nekonome said brightly, a sketch of Kana's winged form on the blackboard.
"Hailing from Greece, the siren is a creature featured in their ancient lore as seductresses and troublemakers. They are most famous for their voice, which could sing with such potent beauty that sailors would shipwreck themselves trying to get to them."
Shizuka turned to another picture on the blackboard, this one showing a diagram of a larynx, though it differed substantially from a human's. "The siren's voice box contains more than eight times as many muscles and folds as a human's, and is far more sensitive! This gives a siren unbelievably fine control over their voice. Things that would take a human long practice to master, such as throwing one's voice, imitating voices, and ventriloquism, a siren can do instinctively! Coupled with their naturally wonderful voices, this makes them excellent stage performers!"
Shizuka's tail twitched. "In battle, their abilities are more ambiguous. Rumor has it that some sirens have learned to release sonic bursts that vibrate at perfect frequencies to funnel the air into powerful kinetic projectiles. Other stories mention special songs that can seriously damage a person's brain, or even tear bodies apart with sonic vibrations!"
She shook her head. "Really though, these are just silly rumors, and shouldn't be taken too seriously. By and large sirens are harmless and fun-loving creatures, and you shouldn't expect too much of them in combat."
"EEEEEYAAAAAAAAAH!" Kana screamed, her eye clenched shut as a visible distortion rippled through the air around her mouth.
Whoomph! Kurumu's eyes widened as something slammed into her in the air, and she found herself reeling through the air a second later. 'What the hell was that?' she thought, her ears ringing as she managed to stabilize herself before she crashed. 'That hurt almost as badly as Ranma's energy blast... but I couldn't see a thing!'
"Kurumu, are you all right?" Tsukune asked from where he was standing next to the pigtailed girl to check her for injuries. The girl herself was apparently still in a dazed state, her eyes flickering sporadically as she swayed back and forth on her feet.
"I'm fine! This is nothing!" the succubus growled, flying in an arc around her opponent to get around her.
Moka was about to try once again to correct the misunderstanding when she noticed that Kana was trembling in anger, her delicate hands clenched into fists as she grit her teeth. "K... Kana?"
"You... YOU..." The siren's voice could be heard all too clearly now, although it had changed completely from melodic and pleasant to a hellish growl that boomed across the clearing.
Kurumu, having never heard the girl actually speak, stopped short, hovering in the air in surprise.
"I wasn't trying to hurt anybody," Kana snarled, her words causing the loose dirt around her to ripple ominously as she spoke, "I know it was selfish of me, but none of you had any business getting in my way..."
"None of my business? What's that supposed to-" Kurumu started to speak, only to be noisily interrupted.
"Shut it!" Kana boomed, the branches of the trees nearby shaking unsteadily from the shock wave. Then the young siren spread her wings wide, shooting straight up into the air. "I've had enough of this! Just GO AWAY!"
Kurumu flapped her wings hard to match her target's altitude. "YOU go away! And don't ev... wait, what are you doing?"
Kurumu's sense of dread was matched by Moka and Tsukune as they watched Kana take an especially deep breath of air.
'Attack or find cover, attack or find cover... screw this! Hiding!' Kurumu thought, zipping around and diving for some trees.
And then, sticking her index and middle fingers between her lips, Kana whistled.
Tsukune was pleasantly surprised when nothing happened immediately, such as the ground shaking or an intense pain in his head, and turned back to the redheaded girl standing next to him.
"Ranma, wake up already! Ugh... damn. All right, I didn't want to have to do this..." the boy mumbled, rearing his hand back to slap his roommate across the face.
Whack! Tsukune fell backward as the unconscious redhead lazily belted him across the jaw, apparently out of reflex. "Owww..."
It was about at this point that Kana's whistle spontaneously changed pitch, and Tsukune's eyes widened.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Tsukune, Moka, and Kurumu all gaped as the ground beneath Kana blew upwards like the detonation of a small bomb before a ring of similar explosions burst out around it, and then another larger ring around that, the explosions showing no signs of stopping as the shock wave continued to expand.
Tsukune quickly got up and grabbed Ranma's arm, pulling the both of them behind one of the stone pillars that decorated the area. "Damn it, why am I the one saving you?" He shouted as the wave of detonations came closer, causing the rock pillar to shudder ominously.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! KABOOM!! The final ring of explosions were deafening in their sheer volume, and would have knocked Moka and Kurumu to their knees if they weren't already on the ground trying to protect themselves from the trees that had become uprooted and were toppling over from the shock wave.
"Augh... uhn..." Moka cracked her eyes open to find herself pinned under the branches of a collapsed trees, and she grunted as she tried to wriggle her way free and check on the others.
Kurumu was in better shape, having braced herself better and having razor-sharp nails to slice through the branches around her. Within seconds she was free to take to the air again, largely unscathed by Kana's latest attack.
She promptly did so, and the succubus grimaced at the state of the ground as she gained altitude. The earth had been rent apart, scarred by irregular divots, craters, and unearthed rocks that had split apart at the surface. Much of the dead forest that had surrounded the clearing had been uprooted, the trees toppled and shattered. The large stone pillars hadn't fared any better, and every one of them was now merely a pile of cracked boulders.
Kana herself was huffing wearily as she hovered over the destruction, taking out a bottle of water.
Glug! Glug! After gulping down a few mouthfuls, she tilted her head back and gargled for a few seconds before spitting the water out onto the ground.
"Ahhh... now, I-" Bwock! The siren was violently interrupted as Kurumu brought her fists down on Kana's head from behind, sending the other temptress into a nosedive.
Kana spread out her wings desperately, managing to catch enough air to turn right-side up and transform a crash landing into a rough landing.
"Gah!" Hitting the ground hard on one leg, the siren stumbled and twisted it badly, causing pain to shoot up her body.
"That was an impressive trick, if not a bit useless!" Kurumu taunted from high above. "Now give it up before I really have to hurt you!"
Kana clenched her hands into fists again as she flapped her wings, trying to take pressure off of her injured leg. "YOU give up!" she shouted, punctuating the command with a short sonic burst that slammed into Kurumu and had the other girl floundering in the air for a few seconds. "You won't get away with this! I don't like being pushed around!"
Kurumu managed to stabilize herself before she lost altitude, gritting her teeth. 'Okay, I can't see her attacks coming, so I'm just going to have to move whenever she starts shouting. Geez, for such a harmless-looking brat, she sure puts up a fight when she gets mad.'
"Tsukune! Oh no!"
Kurumu and Kana both looked down toward Moka, wondering what the vampiress was so upset about.
"What's wrong? Where's Tsukune?" Kurumu asked, a definite edge to her voice.
"I think he was behind that pillar!" Moka shouted, pushing away another tree that was in her way.
Kurumu looked over to where Moka was pointing, and she paled when she saw the motionless pile of boulders.
"You idiot!" Kurumu snapped at Kana. "You're the one who brought Tsukune here in the first place! What if you seriously hurt him?"
"Don't lecture me!" Kana boomed. "You started this fight, not me! Besides, most monsters could shrug off that much weight without a problem!"
"Well, what if he can't?" Kurumu demanded. "I don't even know what kind of monster he is!"
Kurumu, Kana, and Moka all snapped their heads about toward the rock pile as they heard a voice emerge in a loud, clipped tone.
Crack! Crunch! The rocks began to shift as the pile of rubble start to rise, with one of the larger boulders sliding up above the others.
"A MONSTER!" Ranma shouted, the rocks around her falling away as she hefted a boulder into the air nearly as big as she was. Although she seemed healthy enough to lift improbably large objects, she was also obviously injured, and had blood running down the side of her head.
Tsukune, for his part, looked much better as he slowly peeked his head up from the rock pile. 'Thank God he woke up when that boulder hit him... I thought we were goners...'
"I don't know what's going on here, but I am REALLY pissed off right now!" Ranma growled, her body trembling with rage and exertion. 'I wasn't in a great mood when I went to sleep, and suddenly I wake up in the middle of half-wasted battlefield, as a girl, wet, in my underwear, and buried in rocks. Somebody is going to pay for this, and the currency will be BROKEN BONES.' In her anger, combined with the relative darkness and the fact that girl currently had wings, she didn't even recognize Kana as someone she knew.
Kurumu could see that the new girl obviously wasn't at her most stable at the moment, but decided that her most pressing questions of the night couldn't wait for an explanation of what Kana had been doing and why. "Hey, Red!"
Ranma shifted slightly to glare at the succubus. "WHAT?"
"Who the hell are you, and why did you come out Tsukune's room?" Kurumu demanded. "You'd better not have been up to anything funny with him!"
"Whoever you are, you'd better not be trying to get in my way too!" Kana growled, her voice causing the occasional ripple among the dirt below. "Tell me where Ranma is or you'll regret it!"
Ranma was silent for several seconds as the two flying girls glared down at her. "Tsukune, I need help."
The other human blinked. "With the boulder?"
"Yes. I can't decide which of them to throw it at," the redhead said.
Kurumu suddenly turned toward Kana as she finally considered the siren's demand. "Wait a minute... Ranma? You're not after Tsukune?"
"Of course not!" Kana snapped, getting even more enraged at the thought of her being harassed and injured due to a misunderstanding. "What would I want with that cowardly, scrawny loser?"
A vein popped up on Kurumu's head. "Cowardly? How dare you call him that? You think I'll let you get away with that?"
"You're not going to have a choice after I bury you, you top-heavy, bat-winged skank!"
"WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!"
Back on the ground, Tsukune's eye twitched as the two winged girls yelled back and forth at each other. "Well... I wouldn't want you to hurt Kurumu..."
Ranma turned slightly as a blue aura encompassed her. "White wings it is, then. Heave!"
Kana glanced over as the considerable chunk of rock careened toward her through the air, and then she rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!"
The air in front of the siren's mouth rippled outward as Kana's screech slowly rose in pitch, and the boulder suddenly cracked in mid-air as a wall of force slammed into it before crumbling apart and losing momentum rapidly.
As easy to counter as the rock had been, however, Kana found herself utterly unprepared for the small orb of bright blue energy that had apparently followed it on the exact same trajectory, spearing straight through the loose debris of the boulder and then smashing into the surprised siren's abdomen.
Kana gasped as she was blasted back through the sky, the air having been knocked completely out of her.
The force of the attack was not enough to completely destabilize her flight, but before she could gather her wits she felt something seize her from behind, wrapping one arm tightly around her waist as the other was clamped firmly over her mouth.
"Yeah, I feel your pain, sister. Those little blue things sting, don't they?" Kurumu asked as she flapped her wings hard, bringing the two of them up higher. "I thought that was Ranma's trick, but whatever. Maybe they're the same type of monster."
"Mmmph! Hrrm!" Kana struggled as best she could within the other girl's grasp, but found that the succubus was quite a bit stronger than she was.
"Hm, not much to you once we shut you up, huh?" Kurumu said conversationally as she leveled off into a glide. "Now, where to let you off... ooh! A pond!"
"Oh, stop your whining," Kurumu demanded, adusting the tilt of her wings and also shifting her arm to better prevent Kana's wings from catching the air, "you're lucky, you know; since you weren't after Tsukune, I'm going to let you off with a warning and a swim! Now don't let me catch you using your songs on him again!"
With that, Kurumu suddenly released the other girl about ten feet over the pond before kicking off the siren's back, sending herself back into the air and her opponent down into the water.
"GYAAA-" SPLOOSH! Kana's final attempt to use her sonics was silenced by the impact with the water, and Kurumu quickly circled around in the air to go back to her friends, ignoring the booming shouts and wild thrashing of white wings as she flew out of earshot.
"Geez, what's all this about, anyway? What am I doing out here?" Ranma asked wearily, having just seen Kurumu fly off with the siren to finish her.
"I'm not completely sure myself..." Tsukune admitted, climbing up out of the rubble that surrounded the two roommates.
"Tsukune! Are you okay?" Moka asked, rushing up to them.
Tsukune smiled wearily. "Yeah, I'm all right. Kana's attack didn't get me directly, and Ranma took the brunt of the rocks." He looked over at the shocked-looking redhead. "Thanks for that, by the way."
"Wait... that was KANA?" Ranma demanded.
"Wait... this is RANMA?" Moka said at nearly the same time.
Tsukune looked from Ranma to Moka, each one of them looking confused and a bit scared. Seeing how Ranma's query was the simplest to answer, he turned toward the pigtailed girl. "Uh, yeah. That was Kana. Turns out she's a siren, I guess. I don't know any of the details, but apparently she drew us out her with her song and then Kurumu tried to stop her."
That wasn't TOTALLY accurate, but Tsukune was doing his best to be diplomatic. Ranma didn't need to know that Kurumu picked a fight in a moment of jealous fury when it had all just been an inconvenient misunderstanding.
"Aw, crud. I didn't even recognize her," Ranma mumbled, rubbing the back of her head irritably as Moka stared incredulously at her. A distant splashing noise caused her to grimace. "I better go and make sure she's all right."
"But... wait... Ranma? How..." Moka stuttered in confusion, trying to reconcile the fact that the redheaded girl and the brash martial artist were the same person. 'A boy crossdressing as a girl? No, that's ridiculous, where did his extra height go? But how could she have made herself look so much like a boy? Her chest is at least as big as Kurumu's!'
Before Ranma could leave, Kurumu crested the trees that surrounded the (now larger) clearing, slowing herself such that she was hovering over the others.
"Well, now that the songbird's gone, would SOMEBODY like to introduce me to our new friend?" the succubus asked, only slightly mollified by the fact that the pigtailed girl had helped her put down Kana quickly.
Tsukune blinked as Ranma clapped a hand on his shoulder.
"Tsukune, buddy, this is all you. Bye!" Before the other human could manage a protest, the redhead vanished in cloud of dust, having dashed off into the trees.
Moka and Kurumu glanced after Ranma for a few seconds, and then turned their heads back toward Tsukune expectantly.
Tsukune groaned. "Okay, well... how to start... Either of you ever heard of Jusenkyou?"
Kana coughed miserably as she leaned against a tree, her body shaking with cold.
'Well, this was a perfect disaster,' the siren thought gloomily, glancing over her shoulder at her drenched, muddy wings. 'It's so cold out here... my body feels numb... well, except for my leg.'
She wanted to be angrier about the turn of events, but her rage had been quenched the moment the succubus was out of earshot.
'Why did things have to end up like this? I wasn't trying to cause any harm. I just wanted to have my first kiss! I would've sent them right back afterward! I... I just wanted to...'
She sniffled a bit as she conjured the fantasy from her mind that had brought her out here in the first place; her, elegant and pristine upon the stone pillars gazing down at Ranma, his muscular, perfectly chiseled, and conveniently shirtless form almost glowing in the moonlight as their lips met tenderly, fireworks popping magnificently in the background.
Okay, so maybe her expectations had been a little dramatic, but the situation had spiraled too far out of control too fast, and she hardly felt that the crime of drawing Tsukune outside in his sleep warranted her being beaten, humiliated, soaked, and then left all alone to limp back to her room.
She let her body slump down into a sitting position, her wings sweeping forward to cover her. "What a crummy place this school is... maybe big brother was right."
"He was? Did he go here too?"
Kana barely restrained a squeak of surprise as a feminine voice came from behind her, and she snapped her head around to narrow her one visible eye at the redheaded girl from before.
"Hey," Ranma said, looking embarrassed as she walked closer to the siren. "I'm sorry about what happened back there. None of us really knew what was going on, and things got a little out of hand."
Kana turned away, ducking her head deeper underneath her wings before she spoke. "........."
"Yeah, I know. Kurumu's a pain, but she's not all bad," Ranma replied, standing right over the winged girl as she spoke.
Kana bristled from the sudden proximity, staring anxiously at the redhead.
"What? You know I can't hear you unless I'm right next to you," Ranma said, leaning against the tree with her elbow as she looked down on the siren. "Anyway, you don't look like you're in very good shape right now, so why don't I help you back to your room?"
Kana looked up at the redhead strangely, noting the dried blood that was flaking on the side of her head and on parts of her arms. "Who... are you? You almost talk... like we know each other."
Ranma tilted her head to one side as she considered this, and then shrugged as she held out her hand. "Let's make a trade, then."
Kana raised her visible eyebrow as she took the redhead's hand and allowed herself to be pulled up. "A trade?"
"Yeah. A secret for a secret," Ranma said. "I'll even throw in a piggy-back ride back to your room. Whaddya say?"
Kana frowned, wondering what secret she had that the other girl would want to know. She had a few of them, to be sure, and some of them were rather dangerous. "If you agree to go first, it's a deal."
"'Kay," Ranma said casually, backing away and planting her hands on her hips. "Then lemme introduce myself: I'm Ranma Saotome, heir of the Anything-Goes school of martial arts and freshman here at Youkai Academy, as annoying as that is. Oh, and I'm actually a guy."
Kana's eye widened at the admission, and her voice spontaneously returned to her. "Then you... you ARE a rakshasa after all? I was right!"
A vein popped up on Ranma's head. "I don't know what that is, but NO, I'm not. It's a shapeshifting curse I picked up in China, okay? I'm actually a human."
Kana's face twisted into an unreadable expression. "You threw a boulder at me." She deadpanned.
"Yeah, I'm really sorry about that," the redhead apologized again, turning around and crouching. "C'mon, we need to keep you off that leg."
"I could just fly back, you know," Kana mumbled as she approached the other girl.
"If it were that easy, you'd be gone already," Ranma surmised. "Not that I know much about flyin', but I'm guessing it's a lot harder if your wings are muddy and waterlogged, right? Let's get going."
Kana flushed slightly as she climbed up on the pigtailed girl's back, and Ranma looped her arms under Kana's legs. "I'm sorry about my wings; I know they're rather heavy, but if I don't clean them before I take human form, I could seriously damage them."
"What, are you kiddin me? You hardly weigh anything!" Ranma said honestly, surprised by how light the siren was. "Now, where are we going?"
Kana pointed off toward the main campus. "My room is in a smaller dorm attached to the school on the east side. It's a bit of walk for-"
"No problem. Let's go!" Ranma said, quickly dashing off in the indicated direction at a speed that startled her passenger.
Kana promptly wrapped her arms around the redhead's neck for extra stability as the trees rushed by around her at a speed that most people considered an all-out sprint. She knew she shouldn't have been amazed by Ranma's strength after seeing the girl heft a rock as big as she was, but it was still startling to see such feats from someone who still appeared human. While most monsters were stronger than humans, even when taking human form, most human forms severely restricted a monster's powers, with the case of very near-human monsters like herself being the exception. What kind of monster was Ranma after all to be able to access so much power without transforming? She found herself wishing she could trade another secret with the boy-turned-girl.
'Speaking of which...' "So, didn't you want to know a secret or something? Or are you still thinking about what to ask me?"
"Naw, I know what to ask you," Ranma said as she hopped over some thorny bushes. "What's with your voice?"
Kana blinked. "Huh?"
"You're talking normally now, and you actually have a really pretty voice," Ranma explained, "so why do you usually talk like you've got laryngitis or something?"
Kana brushed off the compliment about her voice; to a siren, such a comment was about as flattering as telling a human he had very opposable thumbs. "That's all you want to know?"
"Yeah. I don't mind telling people what you're saying, but it'd be easier on you if you didn't have to rely on your friends just to talk," Ranma said.
There were several seconds of dead silence, and Ranma began to worry that she had said something to upset the other girl.
Finally, Kana spoke. "You... think of me as a friend?" She asked timidly.
"Well, five minutes ago we were ready to rip each other apart, which is pretty typical of MY friendships. Don't know about yours," Ranma explained wryly. "Anyway, if you don't wanna tell me, it's fine. I was just curious."
"No, it's... that's not it," Kana mumbled. "I have a lot of trouble with... strangers, you see. I'm... well, most people say I'm just really shy... and I guess I am, but really, being around people I don't know very well just makes me nervous. When I'm nervous I lose my voice... I guess because my voice usually attracts a lot of attention otherwise. I think it's subconscious..."
"Really? You're that scared of strangers?" Ranma asked.
Kana frowned. "Kind of... I didn't meet a lot of people growing up outside of my family, and my older brother practically raised me himself. He's the one who taught me to use my voice in combat."
"Oh, cool!" Ranma said, not seeing the grimace from the girl on her back. "Was your brother really good?"
"Big Brother was... very strong. And made a lot of strong enemies, too. Most of the people I met outside of my family were after him, and usually tried to hurt me. I guess that's why I learned to avoid attention."
"And why you learned to scream at things so that they explode?" Ranma asked, remembering the boulder.
"Ah... yes. That too, I suppose," Kana mumbled, feeling a bit depressed about her earlier burst of temper. Not only had she escalated a mostly harmless misunderstanding and attacked someone who apparently considered her a friend, but hadn't even made an impressive showing after unleashing her powers.
"Honestly, I don't really like hurting people at all," the siren explained, hugging herself tighter to Ranma as they approached the main building. "But I tend to get angry easily, and keep getting drawn into fights. I'm hopeless..."
"Seriously? You think that's a problem?" Ranma asked, chuckling slightly as she slowed down. "Kana, I've only recently started meeting people who AREN'T like that. It's fine. I mean, at least you make an effort to avoid trouble, right?"
"Well... yes, I suppose," Kana said uncertainly.
"Then don't worry about it. You're doin' the best you can," Ranma said as she finally stopped in front of Kana's dorm complex. "Although there is one thing that worries me..."
Kana blinked as she was gently lowered to the ground. "What's that?"
"If I hadn't interfered..." Ranma began hesitantly, "what would've happened to Kurumu?"
"I would have blasted her into the ground and then used a sonic shock wave to put her to sleep for the night," Kana responded immediately, not really thinking about how her response might be received. "That bimbo's no match for me in a fair fight."
Ranma nodded grimly, and then gave the other girl a thumbs-up. "Cool. Next time I'll wait."
Kana blinked in surprise, and then the siren giggled at the response.
Ranma found herself struck dumb by the noise, which sounded like a chorus of bells and sent a pleasant tingle throughout her entire body.
After a few seconds Kana finished laughing, and she smiled softly at the redhead. "Thank you for helping me home, Ranma. Hopefully next time we won't be interrupted like that."
Ranma blinked in confusion. "Interrupted? Whaddya mean? Nobody interrupted us," she said. As far as Ranma could recall, nobody had bothered them for the entire trip from the pond to the dorms.
Kana didn't answer however, smiling mysteriously as she stepped into the dorm building.
"Well maybe now I can finally get some sleep," Ranma mumbled to herself as she trudged back to the room she shared with Tsukune. "Seriously, tonight the wolf decides to take a break, and something else just steps right in to make sure I'm troubled enough to feel right at home. Sheesh."
The pigtailed boy-turned-girl reached his door and twisted the knob. "At least it's all over now."
Ranma stared blankly at Kurumu and Moka as hot water dripped from his shirt.
The two girls seemed slightly shocked at the sight in front of them, even though they obviously knew what to expect.
"It's... It's true..." Moka mumbled, holding the now-empty thermos close to her chest. "Wow... I've never seen an actual curse before."
"How do we know he's actually a boy now, though? It could be a glamour, or a partial transformation," Kurumu said skeptically.
Ranma's eyebrow twitched.
"Well, how do we make sure?" Moka asked. Personally she was already convinced, if only because she trusted Tsukune fully and Tsukune fully trusted Ranma, but was curious to see if the succubus could actually confirm the curse's effects beyond doubt.
"Simple!" Kurumu declared boldly.
Then she grabbed Ranma's boxers and pulled them down.
A vein popped up on Ranma's head as his eyebrow twitched again.
Moka's face was almost a solid red as she and Kurumu stared at the evidence of Ranma's gender. "That's... uh... wow... I'm pretty sure he's a man," the vampiress squeaked.
"Yeah, well..." Kurumu's face was flushed as well, although her expression was far more determined than scandalized, "we'll need to observe much more closely to-"
"GET OUT OF MY ROOM!" Ranma roared, and the girls almost stumbled over themselves in their rush to get through the doorway and out of the martial artist's path.
Without so much as a glance behind him, Ranma pulled up his underwear, stepped into his dorm room, and then slammed the door shut hard enough to force Moka and Kurumu to wince.
"I don't know WHAT his problem is. You'd think he'd be proud to show off something like that," Kurumu mumbled.
Moka sweatdropped. "Let's just go to bed."
The next day saw Ranma pushing a large block of ice through the halls of Youkai Academy while wearing rubber gloves to prevent the water runoff from activating his curse.
While everyone who saw him couldn't help but gape at the scene at first, those students that were curious enough to observe more closely could see that there was a boy trapped within the miniature glacier.
Those students promptly sighed, mumbled, "Richard," and then walked off.
"Now I know that old maniac is just making work for me," Ranma grumbled. "Entombing someone in ice instead of killing them? And then he wants me to defrost him? Feh."
It wasn't long before the pigtailed boy spotted a familiar curtain of purple hair, and he smiled as an idea occurred to him.
"Hey! Kana! Over here!" Ranma called out.
Kana, who had been walking the other way and hadn't even seen him, jumped in surprise at the sudden call. ""
'Oi. She even whispers when she shouts in surprise. That's some hardcore shyness,' Ranma thought. "Hey Kana, could you help me out with this?"
The siren looked at him in confusion before walking over to the pigtailed boy, idly glancing around her at the other students the whole time. "What is it?" She asked once Ranma was close enough to hear.
"I need to bust this sap out of the ice. Preferably before Professor Richard has time to light the rest of the class on fire," the martial artist explained. "I figure one good shout and you can break him out, right?"
Kana flushed. "But my voice there are so many people around"
Ranma frowned, and then scratched his head. "Well, I'd like to just break the ice myself, but I'm afraid I might split him in half along with the block if I try. You're sure you can't do it?"
Kana sighed despondently, mentally cursing her weakness at something so meager as being around strangers. It was nothing but a little ice, hardly an effort for her voice to shatter, but the suffocating nervousness prevented-
"I'd owe you one if you could help," Ranma offered, only slightly alarmed when the abnormally timid girl suddenly snapped her head up.
"Owe me one what?" Kana asked carefully. Ranma noted that she was still whispering, but she sounded like she was using her normal voice on a very low volume, rather than the usual hoarse, scratchy whisper when others were around.
"Uh well, whatever you want, I guess. Some kinda favor, you know?" the pigtailed boy said, feeling a slight chill that he assumed was from the ice block next to him.
"DEAL," Kana boomed, startling Ranma and several other students that were passing by.
Crack! Crack! The ice block started to vibrate rapidly as thin cracks started running up and down the formation.
Kana smiled at Ranma as she spoke again. "Don't forget, now." With each musical syllable the ice trembled again, and when she ended the sentence the ice block finally shattered completely, showering the floor with toothpick-sized crystals.
'Weird. She sure got over her nervousness in a hurry,' Ranma thought, turning toward the defrosted and confused young man below him. "Hey, you all right? If so, you'd better get back to class."
"Wh-What? Are you crazy? I'm not going back there!" the boy proclaimed as he staggered to his feet. "He'll kill me!"
"If the teacher wanted to kill you, he'd have done it the first time," Ranma explained. "Come on, now. If you don't come back, then I'm the one who gets in trouble."
"Not my problem, man! This is my life on the line, here!" the young man protested.
Ranma frowned, and then shrugged. "Well, all right though you know, he automatically gives passing lab grades to students that survive a direct hit from one of his spells."
Richard's most recent victim was silent for several seconds. "Physical Science is a required course, isn't it?" "Yeap."
"I hate general ed," the boy growled, hunching his back in defeat as he trudged toward the classroom.
Kana raised her eyebrow. ""
"Of course I was lying," Ranma said, shrugging. "Although Professor Richard DOES tend to favor people that survive his attacks, I think. That's how I ended up as his aide, anyway."
The pigtailed boy turned a grin toward Kana. "Anyhow, it's too bad you have a hard time using that voice of yours. You can really do some amazing stuff with it."
Kana felt her heart swell slightly at the thought that someone like Ranma, a monster who could evidently throw boulders with no trouble and emit energy blasts at will, thought that her own powers were impressive.
"Obviously you can shoot sonic blasts and sing and stuff, but can you do anything else with it?" Ranma asked.
Kana hesitated for a moment, and then turned sharply to the side as two familiar figures emerged from the hall behind her.
"Tsukune, come on! I baked these cookies for us to eat together!" Kurumu said, pouting adorably as she tugged on her would-be lover's arm.
Tsukune winced slightly as he tried his best to reject the succubus gently. "I really have to get to class, Kurumu. Can't I eat them later?"
"Oh, come on! You can be a LITTLE late, can't you?" Kurumu begged, tugging harder on his arm. "They won't kill you for it."
Of course, the level of strength that Kurumu considered "just less than gentle" was significantly more than Tsukune was used to, and he quickly found himself being dragged away by the succubus. "B-But, Kurumu, what if they DO? I've heard stories!"
Kurumu opened her mouth to protest. "Fine, then. Go on and leave, you vampire-loving masochist."
Tsukune and Kurumu's eyes went wide at the unexpected comment.
"Wait what?" Tsukune asked.
"I I didn't er" Kurumu fumbled about for a moment before her voice came to her again - and again without conscious effort on her part, strangely enough. "Why is it that you'd rather have the blood sucked out of you by that vampire tramp than spend time with me, huh? Do you enjoy having holes punched in your neck? Is that what I have to do to get you to like me?"
Kurumu was bigsweating and gaping like a fish as Tsukune slipped his arm from her grasp. "I I have to get to class," he said quickly, scurrying away before the succubus could gather her wits.
"But I didn't say how did" Kurumu twitched as she slowly turned around, wondering how some of her darker thoughts on Tsukune and Moka's relationship had escaped from her mouth without permission or any effort on her part.
Ranma stared expressionlessly at the scene as Kana smirked.
"That is TERRIFYING," the pigtailed boy said with complete honesty. Just thinking about the sort of havoc someone could cause in his life if they could imitate his voice and then throw it so easily sent a chill down his spine. He had enough trouble saying the wrong thing at the wrong time as it was.
"Just a little prank to pay her back for last night," the siren whispered. "I still can't believe she thought I was trying to seduce that boy."
Ranma scratched his head. "Yeah, about that you know, you never did tell me what you were doing last night in the first place. I mean, how did me and Tsukune get-"
"Shouldn't you get back to class?" Kana interrupted quickly.
"Oh! Shoot! You're right! Thanks!" Ranma said quickly, turning around and dashing away to get back to his science class.
Kana sighed in relief and then turned around, her smile returning as she walked off to her own class. 'Any favor I want, hmm? I'm going to have to put that promise to good use!'
End Chapter 2
Note: The Dark Liege is a character from Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom. As a manga series, I like it a lot. Mostly because Kazuma is my favorite kind of protagonist: an entirely human level of power and fighting ability who kicks ass by staying calm and outsmarting his opponent (at least at first, anyway).
"So you can even charm people with your song?" Kurumu asked as she, Moka, and Ranma all clustered around the siren girl.
Kana frowned slightly. "It's not really a charm it doesn't use magic or anything like that."
"Really? How can you do things like make people come to you, then?" Moka asked curiously.
"Certain variations and patterns of sound waves can actually activate and influence certain parts of the brain," Kana explained hesitantly. "With instruction and a lot of practice, you can put people to sleep, temporarily paralyze them, get them to move while unconscious, or just bombard them with pleasure."
She paused. "There's even a certain song that causes the brain to shut down completely, killing the victim. Although I don't know it," she added quickly.
"That pleasure one sounds kind of cool. What's that like?" Ranma asked.
Kana looked like she was about to explain it, when she hesitated and then shrugged. "Well, since it's you"
"Since it's me? What do you" Ranma trailed off as the siren girl emitted a dull, barely perceptible hum, and immediately felt a strange, tingly sensation envelop his body.
Moka and Kurumu observed with rapt attention as Kana hummed a series of low notes in Ranma's direction, causing the pigtailed boy to shudder slightly and start to breathe rapidly.
"Uhn! H-Hey, wait" Ranma mumbled weakly as Kana's voice started to rise, and then he quickly covered his crotch with his hands, eliciting raised eyebrows from the two spectators.
"Hhnnnnnnnnnnuuuuuuhnnnnnuuuuu" Kana's voice dipped lower again, and then built even faster, causing Ranma to flinch.
"Hold it! I c-can't-gyuh!" the martial artist's body convulsed, and he promptly whipped his head back and forth. "Gotta go! Bathroom! Now!" He shouted, immediately dashing toward the nearest facilities with his hands still over his nether regions.
Moka and Kurumu stared after Ranma with wide eyes and reddened cheeks as Kana took a deep breath, a smug smile on her face.
"Did Did you just give him a soundjob?" Kurumu asked in reluctant awe.
Kana snorted. "Sirens were seducing skilled sailors into shipwrecking themselves long before your kind even learned to force yourselves on men in their dreams," she taunted. "Be thankful we're not after the same boy, succubus."