Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story. I'm not
making any profit from doing this either. My entire net worth is just
a little more than three cents. You decide if you want to sue or not.

Warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.

Warning: Altaverse (Keichi ain't here, and the senshi timeline is
all messed up.)

"words"

'thoughts'

A Time for Wild Horses prologue
by Jose Argao



"Shi Shi Hokodan!!!"

Ranma heard the cry and dodged left just in time to avoid the
huge ball of ki aimed at him. He had barely landed when a bokken
whizzed by the side of his head, his martial artist's instinct the only
thing saving him from a concussion. He grabbed the weapon before it
could be retracted and used the leverage to hurl the swordsman over his
shoulder.

'That's Kuno down and two more to go,' Ranma thought.

"Die!"

With skills honed through much training, Ranma carefully
avoided each of the assorted blades headed his way and jumped high into
the air, preparing to kick Mousse on the head. He never noticed the
bandanna hurtling through the air aimed right at him. At least, not
until he felt the burning pain in his right leg.

"Forgot about Ryoga..." Ranma twisted his body in mid air and
landed behind Mousse. Willing himself to ignore the pain in his foot,
he grabbed Mousse before the chains connecting him to his projectiles
could retract and pulled him between his body and Ryoga's umbrella,
which was now headed directly for him.

"Wha?" the optically challenged martial artist barely had time
to summon a blade from the depths of his robes and bring it up in an
attempt to deflect the spinning projectile. He was partially successful
in that the umbrella hit cold steel with a loud clang and continued
its flight in a different direction.

However, the force of the umbrella was sufficient to cause the
blade to rebound in the opposite direction, hitting Mousse on the head
and promptly knocking him unconscious.

'Two down,' Ranma thought to himself. 'Now for the hard part.'

Although he would never admit it to anyone, Ranma regarded
Ryoga with a great deal of respect as far as martial arts ability was
concerned. He may have had a brain the size of a peanut, and he may
have been able to get lost looking for the bathroom of his own house,
but he was one hell of a fighter. With his leg constantly reminding
him of his injury, he wasn't so sure he'd be able to get out of this
in one piece. Ranma took a moment to reflect on how unfair life was to
him.

"How dare you use one of my own attacks to defeat my allies!
You shall pay dearly for this!"

Ranma's train of thought was derailed as he realized that Ryoga
was now headed towards him at great speed. The battle had already taken
it's toll on him, and he was just about exhausted. With his right leg
bleeding profusely and refusing to move as he wanted it, he figured his
chances of winning as slim to none. Ignoring the pain, he started
dodging rapidly as Ryoga started his assault.

"You may have defeated Kuno and Mousse, but you won't defeat
me!" Ryoga lunged with an open-palmed strike to Ranma's neck that he
narrowly avoided. He was losing and he knew it. Ryoga knew it. The
fight had become a battle of endurance and if there was one thing Ryoga
knew how to do, it was to endure.

Ranma ducked a punch, his leg sending his brain signals of
searing pain. His body was about to give out, and he was running out of
energy. He had to buy time. Gritting his teeth at the pain, he vaulted
fifteen feet behind him and shouted at the top of his lungs.

"Since when have you been friends with Kuno anyway, P-Chan?
What's the matter? Have you finally realized that you can't beat me
by yourself?" Ranma smirked at Ryoga, trying to hide the fact that he
felt like he weighed a thousand tons.

"Shut up, Ranma! I only agreed to help Kuno because you're
always cheating at our matches! It's only fair that I have help since
you're always using underhanded tactics to win!" Ryoga closed the gap
between them and renewed his attack.

Ranma smiled inwardly. His taunt had its desired effect on
Ryoga, making him too angry to be careful. Ranma recognized all the
symptoms. Ryoga was now in a rage, striking with little or no thought
in coordinating his attacks. He knew Ranma was tired, and figured that
sooner or later one of his attacks would hit. Given his current state,
Ranma wouldn't be able to mount an offensive anyway. Suddenly, Ranma
was absolutely sure that he would come out of this fight the victor.

"Mouko Takabisha!" Ryoga stared unbelieving as Ranma released
a huge ball of ki aimed straight at him. It was impossible, Ranma was
already too tired to fight and his injuries had weakened him even
further. He shouldn't be able to muster any confidence to fuel his
attack at all, much less enough to generate the blast now headed
towards him.

Ryoga tried dodging Ranma's attack, but his momentum made it
impossible to avoid. It was the last thing he saw before the world
went dark around him.

Ranma stood and surveyed the damage around him. Limping
slightly, he went over to his fallen opponents and checked them for
major injuries. It looked like they would all recover, but none of
them would be fighting anytime soon. Finally, he allowed himself to
fall limply to his knees. Once again, he emerged from a battle the
victor. A little worse for wear maybe, but victorious nonetheless.

And he hadn't even gotten to school yet.

Ranma sighed, remembering that Akane and Nabiki had gone ahead
to school when the fight started. It looked like he would have to wait
for Ukyo to get him to school. Knowing his luck, Shampoo would
probably get to him first and drag him off on some 'date'. He sighed
again.

"I swear," Ranma said to no one in particular, "It's like
there's some kami out to get me or something."

*****

Urd giggled.

Not only was Ranma shaping up to be a great fighter, he was
also proving himself to be very creative, intelligent, and perceptive.
He was truly the epitome of the perfect man.

Not to mention he was gorgeous.

Urd smiled as she watched Ranma through the computer screen in
front of her. She saw him get up and start walking to school in spite
of his injuries. Closer inspection revealed that the injuries were
already healing at a rate fifty times faster than a normal human.

Tearing her gaze from the screen, Urd thought of how far Ranma
had come since she had saved him from a pit of cats all those years
ago. At the time, she was merely doing him a favor. She saw great
potential in him, however, and quickly set about getting permission to
personally oversee his development and ensure that he would turn out
to be nothing less than a man among men.

Kami-sama had been quick to agree, elated that something would
distract her from meddling in the love affairs of every other god or
goddess who was unfortunate enough to cross paths with her.

Now, more than a decade later, Ranma was becoming more than
she could ever have hoped for. He was perfect.

That was the problem.

Part of her self-appointed duties to Ranma had been to ensure
that a proper wife was selected for him. It simply wouldn't do for her
masterpiece to just go out and marry the first girl he laid eyes on.
Through the years she had tried many times to find the right match. She
could no longer count how many women she had 'arranged' for him to be
engaged to. Each girl had been a good choice. They had all been very
beautiful, and loving. Alas, as time wore on, she realized that they
were simply not good _enough_.

Oh well, there were plenty of women she had yet to try. She was
sure that in the end, Ranma would be thankful that she went through all
this trouble just to make sure he had a good life.

She lifted a finger to her chin and thought about who the next
fiance would be.

"Hmmm, Ukyo and Shampoo were nice, but just not right for him.
Akane showed promise, but all the abuse Ranma was taking from her
would have left him scarred and ugly," she thought aloud. She frowned
as she thought of Ranma's face with an ugly scar on his cheek. If it
wasn't for her intervention, Ranma would probably look that way
already. Ranma owed her big time.

She started thinking of other girls who might be able to fit
the bill. Picking up her checklist, she examined all of the names that
didn't have a mark on the box next to them.

"That Kurumi girl was cute, and so was her sister Natsume.
Yuka and Sayuri have had crushes on him for months, and Kasumi has
taken a liking to him ever since that bathroom incident." Urd stopped
momentarily to pat herself on the back for coming up with that idea.

"Hey Urd, are you messing around with that mortal's life
again?" Urd groaned at the sound of her sister's voice. Placing the
list back down, she swiveled her chair to face the frowning goddess
of the future.

"I'm not messing around with his life, I'm just making sure he
reaches his full potential that's all!" Urd narrowed her eyes at the
mere suggestion that Ranma would've been better off without her.

"His full potential as what? All you've been doing is making
a bunch of girls fall in love with him!" Skuld pointed an accusing
finger at her older sister. "I don't see what's so special about him
anyway."

"I've never made a girl fall in love with Ranma. I just created
the circumstances that allowed them to do so!" Urd chuckled at her
words before she continued. "I had absolutely nothing to do with any
of those girls falling in love with Ranma. They all fell for his
charms completely on their own. Why wouldn't they? Ranma is a perfect
man! It's my job to find the perfect woman for him!"

Skuld rolled her eyes. "Perfect man? He's a _woman_ half the
time."

"That just makes him more adaptable to the varied tastes of all
the females out there!" Urd laughed in a Nahga-esque manner.

"What about his immortality? What'll you do when this 'perfect'
girl grows old and Ranma's still young?" Skuld beamed in triumph,
confident that Urd would never be able to come up with a retort to
that one.

Urd stopped chuckling when Skuld's words finally reached her.
Much as she was loath to admit it, Skuld had a point. She was just
about to wring her hands in despair when a _brilliant_ idea came to
her.

"Don't worry, Skuld. I think I've found _just_ the girl for
him." Urd grinned at her sister as she turned her chair and began
typing rapidly on the keyboard in front of her.

"Hey, what're you doing?" Skuld asked, a worried tone to her
voice. She'd seen Urd with that grin before, when she remarked that
not _all_ women would like Ranma because some were lesbians. She still
felt a little guilty about Ranma's curse. She couldn't do anything,
however, because Ranma was _Urd's_ responsibility.

"You'll see, little sister, you'll see." Urd's eyes gleamed as
she continued typing.

*****

Setsuna sneezed.

Haruka twirled some more of the pasta on her plate into her
fork and popped it into her mouth. She continued chewing as Setsuna
wiped her nose with a white handkerchief.

"I hope you're not getting sick or anything." Haruka smiled to
herself as she imagined the normally cool and aloof senshi of Pluto
sniffling and sneezing uncontrollably.

"I must leave."

Haruka turned her head to the green haired woman sitting
across from her at the table. She wasn't all that surprised. She had
long ago gotten used to the senshi of time's unusual ways.

"Why so suddenly? Is it anything we should know about?"

"You and Michiru should not concern yourselves. It is nothing
important." Setsuna walked out of the room and disappeared as the door
clicked shut behind her. She walked the short distance to her room and
entered. Closing the door behind her, she rapidly opened a portal to
the gates of time.

Exiting at the other end of the portal, Setsuna quickly made
her way to the gates and checked the future for signs of the change
she felt. Crystal Tokyo was still there, and she breathed a sigh of
relief. It wasn't completely the same though, and she delved deeper
looking for any evidence of change.

A few seconds later, she fainted.

*****

Author's notes:

This is the first part of a series I'm starting. This _could_
get fairly epic. I would like to thank Chester, Ash, and Vex for all
of their help and suggestions.

Many thanks to Ash for typing those scene separators.

Please send C&C to ukyo_rulz@edsamail.com.ph

Visit my homepage (www.geocities.com/ex_fuk) for new chapters.