Okay, here's the next part. Don't think this will update this fast all the time, because it won't, but I felt really driven to write this one. I know it's shorter than 01, but that's because about a third of 01 was setup that's not needed anymore.
Anyhow, I'll shut up for the time being. Enjoy the show!
OVA 02, Clash of the Titanically Stubborn.
B-ko was actually impressed, as the audio sensors in the helmet of her armor picked up the mumbled insults of her newest employee. She hadn't been aware that one person could hold that much annoyance, but Ranma was doing an admirable job. "You know I can hear you, right?" She asked, casually, as her eyes scanned the street in front of the school for A-ko's presence.
Ranma immediately stopped muttering, contenting herself with glaring at her new tormentor and playing with the small ties that dangled from the collar of her school uniform. Even with her orders to protect B-ko, the confrontation needed to make the redhead agree to go to Graviton high school for girls had been quite tense, especially since B-ko's father hadn't managed to swing a uniform exception along with the one that made them ignore that most of Ranma's school records stated that she was male.
As she heard the sound that had come the day before during A-ko's arrival, the redhead turned her irritated stare from B-ko, tracking an incoming dot. "Here she comes." She muttered, narrowing her eyes, and blinking at the path of stone chunks that was left in the other's wake. When A-ko stopped, she surveyed B-ko, in her full battle gear, and sighed.
"I'm not going to fall for the same trick this morning." She said, falling into a sloppy stance. "Now, get out of my way before I move you."
B-ko chuckled, falling into a stance of her own. "Prepare to lose, Magami!" She called, and then charged. Ranma again didn't move from her spot, though this time she narrowed her eyes, watching as the redhead and her employer clashed. As the fight continued, the redhead on the sidelines flicked her vision from side to side, following the combatants. This was kind of a change of pace for her, since she was usually analyzing an enemy's technique as they were already trying to kill her, but it was definitely a welcome change.
As A-ko smashed into a wall, which promptly fell onto her head, the martial artist couldn't help but be surprised at her quick recovery rate, and the fact that she lifted the chunk of wall that had buried her and flung it at B-ko with great force. "There… was no buildup." She mumbled, confused.
"What'd you say?" Ranma stopped herself from having a heart attack, changing her focus for a few moments to see the blonde haired girl who was leaning against the wall next to her. "Hello." She waved, and Ranma sighed.
"Hey, C-ko." She said, with some trepidation. "I said A-ko didn't show any buildup when she threw that piece of wall. No Chi manifesting, not even much muscle tensing."
C-ko blinked, completely uncomprehending, but Ranma couldn't see it as she continued to watch. "Um, okay." She finally said, as A-ko feinted to one side, then dashed past B-ko and towards the school building.
"Miss Ayumi's going to kill me if I'm late two days in a row!" The taller redhead called back, jumping high over the volley of missiles an enraged B-ko fired, before dashing through the school's front doors.
"Hmm, well I guess that means I should go in too." C-ko said, looking thoughtful. "I'll see you later, um…"
"It's Ranma." The pigtailed martial artist said, shrugging, and C-ko nodded, dashing past her and into the building. "Hey, you all right?" She asked, walking up to B-ko, who was standing in the middle of the schoolyard, still in her armor and shaking with rage.
"I can't believe her!" The blue haired girl bellowed, and then slumped. Regaining her composure, she nodded towards her newest employee, then made a gesture that caused Ume to run from wherever she'd been hiding nearby, carrying a school uniform.
Ranma nodded, after surveying her employer for any injuries, and checking her stance to ensure that there weren't any in places she couldn't scrutinize without being malletted, and the three started towards the school. "So, did you get a clear enough look at A-ko's fighting style, like you wanted?" B-ko asked.
Ranma nodded, but then frowned. B-ko seemed to notice, and at an impatient sniff, the redhead spoke up. "I've never seen any technique like it." She replied. "Aside from minimal muscle tension, I can't feel any Chi buildup when she fights."
"Chi?" B-ko asked, though she sounded irritated that there was something Ranma knew more of than her.
"Yeah." The martial artist replied. "It's the life force martial artists use to increase our strength and speed." She shrugged. "With what she was doin out there, I shoulda been able to feel A-ko's from half a block away, but she read as any other average school girl." When Ranma's face split into a wide grin, it caused B-ko to be rather unnerved. The pigtailed girl had just basically told her that she had no idea how A-ko fought, and seemed happy about it.
She snorted, pulling the top of the school uniform on over her armor. "Now, remember, do not embarrass me while we are in class." She ordered.
Ranma resisted the urge to glare at the blue haired girl, being unpleasantly reminded of her first day at Furinkan by that statement, but finally nodded as the two entered the building.
Miss Ayumi stood in front of her class, a new girl standing next to her, her hands held casually behind her back. "Good morning, class." The teacher said, somewhat nervously. "Today we have another new student. Would you please introduce yourself?" Left unsaid was the fact that the last time she'd gotten a new student, a lot of things had started blowing up, but the teacher really didn't want to think about that.
"Hey," The redhead said, bringing one hand up to tug at her pigtail. "I'm Ranma Saotome of the Saotome School of Martial Arts. I'm here on a mission from my school, but if I don't get an education while I'm here, Mom told me she's gunna cut my head off. …then again, she might just cut it off just for being here." She shrugged, as if that was all that needed to be said, and several snickers were heard around the room at the girl's obvious joke.
That was, of course, until C-ko started crying. "Ahhh! That's horrible! How could she do that?" The blonde wailed, causing the students near her, including A-ko and B-ko, to wince in pain from the volume of her yelling.
"Now now C-ko," Miss Ayumi said, quickly. "I'm sure Ranma-san was kidding, weren't you Ranma?" The pigtailed martial artist shrugged non-committally, and Miss Ayumi smiled. "See? You don't have to worry, now stop crying all right?"
C-ko sniffed for a moment, but then nodded shakily, causing the teacher to sigh in relief. "All right then Miss Saotome, would you sit in the seat next to Miss Hayas please?"
Ranma nodded, only wincing for a moment about being called 'miss,' before walking casually across the classroom, noting that a few of the girls were studying her intently, including A-ko Magami. Reaching the seat that had been indicated, she noticed that it was directly behind the other redhead, who was sandwiched between B-ko and C-ko.
Shrugging this off and hoping she hadn't made another Ryoga-style rival, the martial artist turned her head to the class and did her best to pay attention as the teacher started to speak. She passed out a couple of times, but was woken by a poke in the back of the head from Asa each time, which she wasn't sure if she should be grateful or irritated about.
"Hmm, All your base… your targeting computer… warp core breach… bug hunt?" She mumbled to herself, as she wrote down notes on what Miss Ayumi was saying. Granted, the lesson was a lot more coherent than Miss Hinako's, but something about it seemed wrong.
The rest of the morning passed relatively quickly, aside from the time when A-ko and B-ko started arguing during geography class about the location of the Bayankala mountain range. Fortunately, since she'd been there, Ranma had been able to correct both of them on their geographical errors; though the murderous look B-ko had given her afterwards made her a bit nervous. It figured of course, that the only time she knew more than the genius roboticist, it would get her into trouble. Also, her comment had seemed to remind A-ko that she was there, at which point she got another funny look from the taller redhead.
As the lunch bell rang, the pigtailed martial artist sighed in relief, slipping her books into her book bag and actually thinking that she'd learned something for the first time since grade nine or so. As she started to the door, in order to buy some food from the school store with the meager portion of her pay that she was allowed to keep, someone tapped her on the shoulder. "Hmm?" The redhead asked, turning her head to the side and meeting a set of golden eyes.
"Hey, I want to talk to you." A-ko said, sounding mildly irritated.
"Ya wanna let me grab lunch first?" Ranma offered, hopefully.
As A-ko shook her head, Ranma decided that she'd rather not start a fight in the middle of class, especially with an opponent whose grasp she hadn't quite gotten yet. Reluctantly, the pigtailed martial artist shrugged. "Fine, let's at least go outside." 'It'll keep the property damage to a minimum,' She didn't say, but really wanted to.
As the two were heading for the door, C-ko skipped up to them. "Hey, A-ko, are we eating lunch with Ranma today?" She asked, happily.
"Yeah, I hope you don't mind." A-ko said, trying to avoid one of her best friend's trademark crying fits. To her surprise, C-ko smiled brightly.
"Yeah, she's nice!" She said, happily. "Did I tell you about what we did yesterday?"
A-ko hurriedly raised a hand in a warding gesture. "I remember, don't worry." She said, before turning to the pigtailed martial artist. "Which brings me to what I wanted to ask. Why were you impersonating me and running off with C-ko yesterday?"
Ranma shrugged, as the three reached the outer doors of the school, and took the time to locate a place by the door to sit. Unknown to her, B-ko was watching them, mildly curious. "Look, it's no hard feelings on my part." She explained. "I had orders, so I carried 'em out."
"Wait, so you only hung out with me because you were ordered to?" C-ko asked, sniffling.
Ranma, who could see the warning signs of a crying girl a mile away due to much practice, immediately started frantically waving her hands. "Hey, it ain't like that!" She yelped. "I had fun, really, but I only disguised myself as A-ko 'n stuff because I was ordered to."
This seemed to appease C-ko, but A-ko's eyes just narrowed. "Who ordered you to impersonate me?" She asked.
"B-ko." Ranma replied, figuring that her employer hadn't told her not to tell A-ko anything, and it was some form of payback for having to go to school in this damned hard to fight in girls' uniform. "Wanted me ta bring C-ko ta her place after she finished fighting you." She snickered. "That was a pretty impressive fight, by the way."
A-ko smiled at the compliment. Even though she really wanted to be normal and to not have to fight more than anything, a compliment to her skills was still nice. "Hey, wait a minute." She said, as the three sat down, both she and C-ko opening bentos. "I thought you said you were a martial artist, not a hired goon or something."
Ranma's eyebrow twitched violently, and her teeth clicked together so hard that the sound could be heard even across the grounds, where B-ko was watching. "Let's just say the dojo where I live got blown up recently, all right?" She growled, and A-ko winced. That had been, in retrospect, a really stupid thing to say.
The three descended into an uncomfortable silence for a few moments, while A-ko and C-ko ate, until Ranma's stomach made itself known by emitting a loud growl. A-ko didn't notice, too busy enjoying her mother's home cooking, but C-ko looked up and finally realized that their new friend didn't have any food.
"Hey, didn't you bring a lunch?" She asked, worriedly.
Ranma shrugged. "Was gunna get one, but didn't have the chance." She explained.
"Oh, then maybe you should have this!" C-ko said, then produced something from behind her back. It looked like another bento, but it had a frilly cloth over the top. "I made it for A-ko, but she's already got a lunch, and if you're hungry…"
"Hey, ya sure?" Ranma asked, though her instincts as a Saotome were pretty well screaming that she should swipe the offered food. A-ko looked up and opened her mouth to say something, but then shook her head and went back to eating.
"Yeah!" C-ko exclaimed. "I can just make another one for A-ko tomorrow, so don't worry about it!"
Ranma nodded, and eagerly took the Bento from C-ko's hands, taking the cover off. She looked down into what looked, vaguely, like a dish of chicken and rice in that there was some meaty looking stuff and some grains of white stuff. Strangely, there was also half a cheese sandwich sticking out of the rice, but Ranma shrugged this off, concluding that it wasn't moving like some of Akane's worst efforts
Unwrapping the set of chopsticks that had been packed in the bento, she grabbed a small bit of chicken, and put it in her mouth. Almost immediately, her face turned blue and she fell backwards, hitting the ground with a thud. She twitched sporadically for several seconds, then went still.
"Oh no!" C-ko yelled, bending over Ranma and looking into her glassy eyes. Next to her, A-ko winced, and wondered if perhaps letting the martial artist take the bullet of C-ko's cooking for her in retaliation for pretending to be her the day before had been a bad idea.
"J… just like the tomboy's…" Ranma croaked, her eyes flickering half open. "I… didn't think it was possible."
Just as C-ko was going to respond to that, the three noticed that a shadow had fallen across them. Looking up, A-ko saw B-ko, her face overtaken with irritation. "Now you're practicing germ warfare against my employees, A-ko?" She sniffed. "How under-handed… you may be learning something."
The loose haired redhead facefaulted, hard, causing the blue haired girl to laugh. "What are you talking about?!" She yelled, recovering.
The rich girl sniffed. "Unfortunately, since you did do that to one of my employees, I'm afraid I'll have to kill you now." She said, sounding as if she was reporting the weather, before ripping off her second school uniform of the day to reveal her battle armor.
"Oh, yes, I bet you really needed the excuse." A-ko drawled, as she vaulted up on one hand, wincing as B-ko's first attack obliterated her half-full bento. "Hey, I was eating that!"
"Be quiet and concentrate on me instead of your stomach!" B-ko roared, kicking in the boosters on her back, and slamming A-ko away from a semi-comatose Ranma and a very confused C-ko.
"What just happened?" C-ko asked, blinking slowly.
Ranma shrugged, recovering very slightly from C-ko's bad cooking, but knowing she'd feel it later. "Don't try and understand it. The lack of logic'll probably make your head explode."
"Hmm." C-ko said, then nodded. "So, do you want some more lunch?"
"No way in hell." Ranma stood, leaning against the wall next to the gym locker room, glaring at a short, heavy-set woman with a whistle around her neck.
The woman's eyebrows twitched, and she leaned in towards the disobedient redhead. "And precisely why not?" She demanded.
"Because if I do, I'm gunna get pounded." Ranma answered. "I can change in a few seconds once the place is empty, but I'm not goin in until then." The woman was about to comment about that, and judging by the way her face had turned red it wasn't going to be a particularly nice comment, when an explosion reverberated through the door to the change room, and several half-dressed girls scurried through, followed by a billow of smoke.
Ranma immediately averted her eyes, waiting until she could hear the last of them stampeding by, and then ran into the room to find out what was wrong. This, she decided on later reflection, was an extremely stupid idea. After rounding the L-bend that shielded the lockers from the rest of the gym, she saw something that made her blink rapidly.
A-ko was in a combat stance, wearing the top to the school uniform and her panties, while B-ko was slumped against the wall across the room, still clutching the gauntlet from her Akagiyama 23 battlesuit in one hand, and much more exposed.
The pigtailed martial artist knew she was going to be pounded for this later, but quickly moved over to the fallen blue haired girl, checking her pulse and rolling her head to the side. "Pretty stars…" B-ko mumbled, lucidly.
"Where the hell are those other four?" The smaller redhead muttered, looking around to see Mari's giant head peaking out from where all four were apparently hiding, in a locker. "Hey, you guys wanna get her dressed so I can take her ta the nurse's office?" She demanded.
As the others nodded, scurrying out of their hidin… I mean tactically advantageous position, A-ko walked up and frowned. "Is she going to be all right?" She asked, actually sounding somewhat worried. "I didn't realize she wasn't wearing her helmet when I hit her."
Ranma shook her head, looking between B-ko's slumped form and the dent in the lockers where she'd hit. "I've seen people get hit harder and recover, plus her head's definately thick enough." She muttered, and got kicked in the face by one of B-ko's feet as she was being dressed. "Hmm, probably deserved that." She noted, proceeding out of the room before her employer woke up and started yelling.
Oddly, as she entered the main gym, she saw that the teacher and all the other students had vanished. Given that this was last class, she shrugged at her good fortune and waited for the others to be ready to leave.
"So?" B-ko demanded, as Ranma stood next to her, watching as images of A-ko's many fights played on the TV in front of them. He had watched intently, not turning his eyes away, but now faced her.
"I think it's kinda creepy ya managed to tape all this." He started, getting an annoyed glare. Sighing and rubbing his forehead, he continued, "Ain't it possible to resolve whatever ya got against her without high explosives?"
If anyone from Nerima had heard Ranma suggest something like what he'd just said, they'd probably have fainted. Since B-ko wasn't from there, she just looked annoyed. "Are you saying that you're afraid of her?"
Ranma's ego took a bruising at that, but he shook his head. "No, I'm tellin ya that you almost cracked yer skull this afternoon, 'n I'd be a pretty lousy bodyguard if I let that happen." He shot back. "Besides, I'm a martial artist, not a thug. I don't really like attackin someone who hasn't provoked it, and from what I've seen A-ko ain't done nothing."
B-ko's eyebrow twitched. "What are you saying?" She growled, dangerously.
Ranma shrugged. "Usually, I'm on the side that's bein attacked by psychos who can't listen." He continued, getting an annoyed glare as he put his foot in it once again. "Look. I dunno if I could beat her. If she's a martial artist, she's scarily good, especially if she's beatin you 'n your robots without using any forms. Could take a while ta work up the strength to beat her outright, but I could probably stall her."
"I'm listening, but not for long." B-ko said, growling in irritation.
"I could probably stall her for a few hours, maybe give ya time to hang out with C-ko without her around for a while." He explained. "But, until I get the hang of how she's pulling off that strength and toughness, I won't beat her, and the fight's probably gunna be really tough."
"Are you demanding more money?" B-ko asked, her eyes narrowing.
Ranma shook his head, but grinned. He thanked Nabiki for having lead him into similar traps so much. "Nah, not really. I'll fight A-ko tomorrow, 'n give you all day with C-ko." He said, not mentioning that he wanted to try his hand against the Magami girl at least once, bodyguard job or not. "In exchange, ya don't put yourself in danger for the next week."
"Hmm?" B-ko asked, intrigued.
"I'm your bodyguard, right? I don't want you slammed into lockers. So, ya don't fight A-ko for a week, 'n I give ya a day with C-ko. Unless ya think you don't have enough self-control to last that long." The pigtailed martial artist said, with a smirk that would have made Kasumi a little peeved.
B-ko's eyebrow twitched violently, and Ranma was afraid that she was going to blow a blood vessel, or just flat out fire him, for a few seconds. "Fine!" She proclaimed, jumping to her feet. "I've been wanting to try psychological warfare anyway!"
The next morning, the sight in front of Graviton High School for Girls was quite different from the usual. B-ko Daitokuji was still there, though this time she was standing off to the side, a man about her same height with black hair in a pigtail and a set of Chinese clothes standing where she usually did with his arms crossed.
As they passed, several of the girls in the school couldn't help but stair at the new addition to the schoolyard, and Ranma shivered as he got several appraising looks similar to the ones Shampoo usually gave him. Normally, this sort of thing would have inflated his already rather large ego, but it felt more like standing naked in the middle of the Furinkan boys' locker room in cursed form at the moment.
As he waited, he ran through the images he'd seen of A-ko fighting the night before. It was very rare indeed for him to have such a clear look at his opponent before a battle, but this hadn't helped him figure out how she was doing what she was one bit. This, of course, meant that he'd have to do it the hard way… which he didn't particularly mind, as it would be fun, and keep B-ko from getting her neck broken for a week.
As he thought this, and thanked the Kami that, since he wasn't going to class, he didn't have to wear the school's uniform or be female today, the martial artist heard the far off beginnings of A-ko's usual arrival technique. Falling into the Saotome School's signature stance, he waited.
Moments later, the redhead and blonde streaked into view, and A-ko sighed when she saw the figure that was waiting for her. "B-ko!" She growled, before her eyes caught up completely with her mind. "Guh?"
"That's right, A-ko, this is another strategy of mine." B-ko said, smiling. "Meet my newest employee. I hope the two of you will play nice!"
A-ko blinked. "You're trying to set me up on a date?" She asked, then looked Ranma over. Much to her surprise, both of the others sweat dropped.
"No!" B-ko boomed. "Ranma, get her, will you?"
Ranma shrugged, nodded and stepped forward. "Sorry 'bout this." He said, cracking his knuckles. A-ko blinked, the boy's name jogging a recent memory, but before she had time to think about it, he was moving. His first punch was surprisingly fast for a normal person, but A-ko easily blocked it. Strangely, this didn't scare or disappoint him, as he started to smile.
"Good." The boy said, and then started to attack at an even higher speed.
As the martial artist and the schoolgirl were fighting, B-ko strolled over to C-ko, who was standing nearby, and put an arm over her shoulders. "Come on C-ko, we don't want to be late for class!" She said, cheerfully, guiding the other girl towards the school.
"But what about A-ko?" The little blonde replied, worriedly.
"Oh, she'll be fine!" B-ko said, placatingly. Seeing this out of the corner of her eye, A-ko winced. She really didn't want to have to hurt the guy she was fighting, since he was kind of cute and had even been polite when he'd attacked her, but she couldn't let B-ko get away with C-ko.
Lashing out with a punch, she was surprised when the boy dodged her effortlessly. Gritting her teeth and knowing she had to end this fight quickly, especially if she wanted to get to class on time, she redoubled her efforts to hit him. This, of course, was when things started to get annoying. Every time she tried to catch him with a punch, he would glide out of the way, and then retaliate with a blow of his own. In addition, his attacks seemed to be getting stronger each time he landed one, though they were still nowhere near strong enough to hurt her.
As she charged forward, following her rapidly somersaulting opponent, and brought down an axe kick that caused the ground where it landed to crater, the super-powered redhead screamed in exasperation. "What, ya done yet?" The boy asked, smirking at her. "Walk away from the school and I won't stop ya."
A-ko growled. "I'm staying right here!" She proclaimed, gesturing around herself, and the boy shrugged.
"Suit yourself." He said, and as she looked around, A-ko realized that she'd let herself be drawn half a block away from Graviton High. Grunting in irritation, she started moving towards the school when the boy moved and landed a swift kick to her abdomen that sent her flying backwards into a wall.
Shaking her head, she got to her feet, and tried again. Of course, the same thing happened, and she cursed to herself as she jumped immediately to her feet again, though this time the wall behind her had cracks in it. In front of her, the boy was looking between his fist and her landing point in shock. "Just how tough are you?" He wondered. She didn't answer, merely re-entering the fight.
"Okay, this is officially impossible." Ranma Saotome muttered, as he squared off against A-ko Magami for what seemed to be the hundredth time today. He'd had just over three hours to study her technique, and he still had absolutely no idea how it worked. There was no chi redirection, no special tricks with positioning or muscle tension, it just seemed that an effort of will that he'd use to lift a cup of tea, she could use to lift a car. Plus, though he'd been reluctant to do it, he'd slowly been escalating his strength to the point where even Ryoga would be wincing a bit, and the only thing sore seemed to be his knuckles.
"Would you just give up already?!" He and the girl asked in unison, evoking annoyed glares, before Ranma sighed. This was getting stupid, and he wanted to be finished soon. Closing his eyes for a moment, as the girl was far enough away that he should be able to open them before she got to him, he tried to scan her aura more deeply. He'd done so the day before, as well, while they were sitting in class, but the aura is a lot different when you're in combat.
Hearing a cracking noise, Ranma's eyes flew open, and he noticed that A-ko had somehow launched herself at him much more quickly than he thought was possible for her, leaving a path of destroyed road in her wake. Before he could think, the martial artist had brought up his right arm to block, his natural reflexes briefly overriding common sense. In the split second between when he realized that he couldn't dodge and A-ko's impact, Ranma channeled all of the chi he could into his arm, and the girl impacted with a tremendous blue flash.
As she blinked her eyes clear of the spots that danced in them, A-ko looked around for the boy who had given her as much trouble as B-ko, without the benefit of missiles, and noticed that he was laying in a crater in one of the thick pillars that held up the highway. Nervously, she approached the unmoving form, wondering if she'd just killed him. She'd honestly not considered being able to hit him, even with her eyes closed, as he was fast enough to dodge everything she'd thrown before, but it appeared she had.
"Ow." He groaned, flatly, falling forward and catching himself on his arms before he could hit the ground. This turned out to be a mistake, as his arm almost immediately collapsed, telling him by means of mind-numbing pain that what he'd just tried to do wasn't a good idea.
Blinking the tears of pain out of his eyes, the martial artist grunted. "Okay, that was stupid." He muttered, hauling himself to his feet. As A-ko watched, he raised his injured arm, studying it. It was then that she first noticed the bracer he wore around the wrist. It looked a lot like the ones her mother had made her to keep her strength restrained, and she could see another one on his other hand. "Oh no…" She whispered, as the one on the arm she punched cracked down the middle, falling to the ground with a soft clack.
The boy immediately straightened up, though A-ko could see that he was moving his bare arm carefully, and returned to a stance. "Okay," He said. "Let's try this again."
A-ko nodded, and knew that she had to end this quickly. If the boy's bracers did what hers did, the area was likely going to get a lot more property damage soon, and she could get hurt. Charging in, she started furiously attacking, faster and harder than she had before.
Ranma winced as yet another punch sailed past his ear, leaving a hole in the wall behind him. He wasn't sure what he'd done to piss her off, but A-ko had suddenly started attacking him in earnest, almost like Ryoga on a bad day. Worse than that, the gap between them in speed, which had been pretty well the only thing keeping them close to on a level before, was now much narrower since Ranma couldn't move overly quickly without great pain. He was relatively sure that he hadn't broken anything in his arm, but moving it still hurt like hell.
'Okay, guess it's time for the desperation move.' He thought, blinking once. When his eyes reopened, a dim glow seemed to overlay everything, the start of a technique he'd figured out recently but found very little use for. Abruptly, A-ko exploded into a glowing collection of dots, the intersecting points for chi all over her body. Briefly, he thought this was probably how Ryoga saw the entire world, but stopped to concentrate for a moment, verifying the placement of certain dots.
A-ko, meanwhile, had apparently decided to hang back for a moment, wary of what Ranma was about to do. This was a good thing, as it gave the pigtailed martial artist time. As he started to move, she began to prepare a counter. Unfortunately, she couldn't predict being caught up in a bone-crushing Amazon special glomp.
Just as the redhead was about to exclaim in surprise, call him a pervert or start hugging back, Ranma moved his left hand up behind her head, extended his index finger, and jabbed it inward… hard… several hundred times. For a moment, he thought his desperation move hadn't worked, until A-ko slumped forward into his arms, out cold.
When A-ko next woke up, slowly cracking her eyes open, she was extremely confused. She had very rarely ever lost consciousness anywhere other than her bedroom, and now she was looking up at a canopy of trees. Moving her head a little to one side, she winced as she felt it stop in place, not allowing her to get a view of anything else but more leaves. Grumbling in annoyance, she tried to sit up, but found that she couldn't, as something was holding her down. In fact, she could feel dozens of bindings criss-crossing her skin, from the tips of her feet to her neck. "What's going on here?!" She called out, surprised.
"Oh, yer awake." Came a familiar voice, as the pigtailed boy she'd been fighting earlier appeared in her vision. He looked apologetic, and was scratching the back of his neck nervously.
"What happened? Why can't I move?" She asked, trying to thrash around. Unfortunately, it seemed that the cables were just barely tight enough to keep her from gaining almost any leverage.
Ranma shrugged. "I tied you up with steel cable." He replied. "Look, I'm real sorry about that, but I wasn't sure I could keep up fighting like that 'n not take another hit."
"Then…" A-ko asked nervously, "What are you going to do with me now?"
"I'm gunna keep ya here 'till about five o'clock, then let ya go." He explained. "That was my deal with B-ko."
A-ko thrashed around again for a moment, remembering that B-ko was alone with C-ko, then gave up with a sigh. The two sat in silence for a moment, Ranma hunkering on his knees next to where A-ko was suspended, horizontally, from three strong looking metal bars that had been hammered into the ground, before one of them broke the silence. "So, um, what type of martial arts style do ya use?" Ranma finally asked, sounding frustrated.
A-ko blinked. "Martial arts?" She asked. "I don't. Why?"
Ranma sighed. "Yeah, sorta figured that after fightin ya." He muttered, sourly. "Was kinda hopin ya weren't one of those metahuman people, 'n I could learn it."
"Wait, you've tied me up, and are holding me prisoner, and you think I'd help you by teaching you a martial arts technique?" A-ko asked, incredulously, as she gaped at the martial artist. She'd also had a small question about what a metahuman was, but the more unbelievable one got past first.
"Why not?" Ranma returned, casually.
A-ko would have facefaulted if she could, but as it was she just shook her head slightly from side to side. Ranma shrugged, slumping down against one of the poles, and staring up at the sky. "If it helps, I really am sorry about this, and B-ko shouldn't be bugging ya for the next week or so."
"Really?" A-ko asked, surprised.
"Yeah. I basically promised her that I could get rid of ya for one day if she promised not to put herself in danger for the next week." Ranma replied.
"Yeah," A-ko said. "She told me you were one of her new employees." She thought for a moment. "With that girl yesterday, and now you, it's like she's trying to replace the group she's already got, or something." Unseen to Ranma or A-ko, in the bushes, Ine twitched violently and almost dropped her handy-cam.
"Oh, yeah, the girl." Ranma said, laughing nervously.
"Hmm, do you like her or something?" A-ko asked, mostly to assuage her boredom.
Ranma was about to answer, when the sky, which had been cloudy all day, decided to let loose its payload of rain. The black haired boy turned his head to the sky for a moment, as if asking what he'd done to piss the Kami off, and then walked over to A-ko to ensure that she wouldn't drown, given that she was facing upwards. As he finished adjusting her bindings to let her turn her head, the red haired girl was in perfect position to see the rain start falling, making the black haired boy in front of her shimmer in the light, resolving into the redhead she'd seen the day before.
"It's a curse." The other girl started, before A-ko could ask. "Based on water temperature. Hot water guy, cold water girl. Before you ask, I'm male."
"Had a lot of practice explaining that one?" the super-powered girl asked, wryly.
The pigtailed redhead nodded. "Oh, and before ya start yelling about perverts, I didn't go into the locker room 'till stuff started exploding, and goin to your school is sort of part of my job."
"I wasn't really going to say anything about that, actually." A-ko said, then narrowed her eyes. "Why, should I be worried?"
"No! I mean, I wouldn't… it's just… A lot of the time, people've called me a perv just 'cuz of the curse, or because they made assumptions about me from it." Ranma looked down, uncomfortably, then whispered, "like my fiancée." Unfortunately, she hadn't said it quietly enough, as A-ko's eyes widened.
"You're engaged?" She asked, her attempt to sit up and look at the redhead in excitement actually causing the metal cable that bound her to groan loudly.
Ranma shrugged. "Yeah, it was mostly our parents'…" She started, before something nearby exploded. "Damn." She muttered, turning around. Immediately afterwards, she jumped upwards, dodging something A-ko couldn't see. Even so, she felt the results as her left side dropped down, her shoulder hitting the ground.
"Ryoga? What're you doin here?" Ranma demanded, squaring off against her long-time rival.
"I got lost while… It doesn't matter why I'm here!" Ryoga Hibiki thundered, holding onto his bandanna with one hand while keeping the rain off with his umbrella in the other. "What in the world are you doing with this other girl, practicing Kinbaku-bi on her?"
"Practicing… what?" Ranma asked, blinking stupidly.
"You've got her in bondage, and you're ready to have your way with her when you've got Akane-san! I will not let you cheat on her like that!" The lost boy screamed, charging at Ranma, his first strike making a crater in the ground similar to A-ko's.
Meanwhile, Ranma was wincing. Normally, Ryoga was pretty easy to take out, but she'd already been in a pretty long fight, and her one arm was still excruciatingly hard to move. About the only way she could see to win now was to use the rain to exploit the pig's curse, and it was misting lightly enough that that would still take a few seconds after she got the umbrella away from him. Rolling to her feet, the pigtailed martial artist prepared for a fight, unknowing of what was happening behind her.
"Hey Ranma, jump!" A-ko bellowed, and the other redhead complied without thinking, as a mass of steel and poles swung through the air under her, slamming into Ryoga, who was thrown far into the distance.
When Ranma landed, she turned and boggled to see that A-ko had somehow freed herself from the position she'd spent a good hour putting her in, two of the pipes hanging from long lengths of cable smacking into A-ko's side as she watched.
"H... how?" The pigtailed martial artist stuttered, amazed.
A-ko shrugged. "That guy somehow cut one of the cables when he attacked." She explained.
"Then why'd you help me?" The shorter redhead asked, blinking.
"The jerk just accused me of being into this sorta thing, what was I supposed to do?" The taller girl asked, indignantly glaring at where she'd sent the lost boy.
"Riiight." Ranma said, slowly, then began sizing A-ko up. She'd promised B-ko that she'd keep the other girl off of her until about five, which wouldn't be for another hour or so yet, but she was even less certain about a fight with the schoolgirl than she was about Ryoga, as pathetic as that was. Then, an idea hit her. "Hey, A-ko?"
"Hmm?" The other girl asked, as she unwrapped herself from the cabling.
"Like I said, I'm really sorry 'bout having to do this to ya, and you just helped me out with Ryoga. Wanna go get some ice cream or something?"
A-ko stopped in thought for a moment, and then smiled. "You're buying?" She asked. At Ranma's nod, her smile got wider. C-ko had already been with B-ko all day, and another hour really wouldn't hurt her. "Come on, I missed lunch!" She called, and the two redheads ran off into the distance.
Notes: The power level distinctions between Ranma and others aren't particularly negotiable. I did things this way because I felt it was good for the plot, and fit the way Ranma worked as a fighter. Namely, he thrives and grows better when the enemies are stupidly hard to beat. If you think I did well in laying them out, Yay. If you think I didn't, sorry, but it's sort of a plot necessity. Sort of what would happen if Ranma were on the lower end of the curve, but still a viable fighter.
Also, this fic does have some elements from DC. I don't see anything big creeping into the plot from that quarter any time soon, and I know the basic plots for the next four OVAs. Even if it does come into play, it's likely going to be a half-crazed, rather warped version of the universe. Why? It's definitely not because I don't want to do the research, really! But seriously, it's because I think it'd be more fun that way.
Sorry for the rants, I just want to head off, to some degree, what may be the biggest flame bait starter on this one. I want C&C, even negative, definitely, but certain topics I KNOW people are going to disagree on, and don't want to hear it.
Now that that's out of the way, I hope you enjoyed OVA 02. Please leave a review and tell me what you think.