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Ranma 1/2: New Challenges
Minor Disturbances

Chapter 12

Kenji was feeling pretty low.

He realized now he had made a minor mistake. he amended. His desire for revenge and to `one-up'
Nabiki had caused him to split her and Kuno Tatewaki up, shamelessly
using a cheerleader in the process. Now both his sister and Ukyo weren't
speaking to him. Neither was Akane, and even Ranma seemed to showing him
some mild displeasure.

Selah was a different matter. She kinda understood what he did,
but she still treated him more or less the same. Still, even she was
somewhat disappointed in him.

He absently kicked a loose rock down the street he was walking.
The costume dance was going on right now, but with Ukyo giving him the
cold shoulder, he didn't feel like going. He suspected his reception
wouldn't be exactly favorable, since by now the word had spread of what
he had done.

The young ninja boy sighed. I didn't think it would turn out
this bad! I didn't really want to hurt anyone; I was just having some
fun... He scoffed to himself. Fun. That's all he was concerned with and
now neither Tatewaki nor Nabiki were having much fun. He got what he
wanted, right? So why did he feel so bad?

Because it wasn't right.

Of course, he realized he would have to rectify the situation;
put it back right. "Yes, that's it!" he exclaimed to himself, stopping
and smacking his palm with his fist. "I just have to apologize to them,
and then get them back together!"

A surge of hope flooded him with the prospect of doing the
right thing and getting the two back together. He reached into his
pocket and drew out the sum of money he owed Nabiki. Then he drew out
four times as much, figuring that was what it would take to placate the
middle Tendo sister.

He looked up and smiled when he realized where he was; the
front gate of the Tendo dojo. By pure chance, his aimless wanderings had
brought him to this place.

He shook his head and took this as a sign of what he should do
first. After all, rumor had it Nabiki wasn't going to be attending the
costume dance. This would be the perfect time to start the make-up
process with her!

He took a step inside the gate and looked around. The lights
were out and no movement could be seen. he
thought to himself. He sighed and turned around.

He began to walk away, mourning the lost opportunity, when he
heard the scream.

Nabiki lounged back on the pile of pillows as she absentmindly
flipped through channels on the remote. Everyone else had gone to the
costume dance at the school, but she had declined, deciding instead to
spend the night with the house to herself. Since her relationship to
Tatewaki had gone back to purely business, she had concluded that boys
were just too much trouble. For that reason, she didn't want to go to
the dance and see all the happy couples; that would just remind her of
things she would now like buried.

Maybe she should thank Kenji. He may have actually done her a
favor by finding out exactly what Kuno was like. Oh sure, she should
have realized he was a playboy; his dual pursuit of Akane and `the pig-
tailed girl' was proof of that. She should have known it was a matter of
time before he went for more than one girl. It just happened to be that
bimbo, air-headed cheerleader.

Not that she cared, of course. Kuno was mildy entertaining and
charming now that Galfgar's influence was gone, and he was also turning
out to have a somewhat of a keen mind. She might have been intrigued by
the possibility of where the relationship could go, but that was over

As the channels cycled back around again, Nabiki discovered
that there was really nothing on she wanted to watch. she thought to herself.

Having set upon a course of action, she stood up and stretched,
flicking off the TV via remote in the process. As soon as she did so,
the lights went out as well.

She froze. A quick glance across the street
showed other lights on in the neighboring houses, causing Nabiki to
became even more confused.

"Hello?" she called out tentatively. She distinctly heard some
movement a ways off. "Who's there?" No answer. "Well, whoever you are,
you are obviously aren't very bright, or you just moved into the
neighborhood. I will find out who you are and make your life a living
hell unless you cut this nonsense out." A pause, and she thought she
heard some light... laughter? "In any case, Ranma won't take too kindly
to someone messing with his future sister-in-law.

Still, nodody rose to her queries and Nabiki suddenly became
ever so slightly nervous. Not afraid, just nervous, since the mighty Ice
Queen didn't know fear. A small patter of feet sounded near her and
bumped the table, but in the dark, she couldn't see anything. She then
became slightly more nervous, and decided vacating the premises was a
wiser course of action than staying.

However, as soon as she took a step, something small latched
onto her chest and she screamed.

When she recovered her wits enough to bat it away, she yelled,
"Happosai!" then froze. While it was small and had attached itself to
her chest, the appendages that grabbed her were not hands. They felt
more like... claws.

Now Nabiki would almost admit to feeling a little fear. At the
very least, she decided it was time to go. Fast.

Sprinting out of the room, she headed for the front door. While
she could barely see, she knew her way around since she lived in the
house all of her life. Reaching the door, she flung it open and ran
outside. Or tried to.

Something crashed into her that was on it's way in and sent her
backwards onto her butt. She looked up and immediatly recognized the

"Kenji!" "Nabiki!" they said in unison.

Nabiki got to her feet. "So, this is your doing is it!?" she
pointed an accusing finger at him.

"What's my fault? I just heard a scream and came to

She snorted and crossed her arms. "Oh sure, just like when you
rigged my room with all that ghost stuff. Well I'm not finding it very
amusing, so knock it off!"

"Hey!" Kenji yelled. "I just came here to apologize! I haven't
done anything else!"

Nabiki was angry, but she was also perceptive when someone was
lying and, as much as she wished it was otherwise, Kenji was telling the
truth. "Then who's in there?"

Kenji became confused and let it show. "Who? Where?" He
suddenly sensed movement and dove to the ground, taking Nabiki with him.
A series of *thunks* sounded above them.

"What's the big idea?" Nabiki yelled. "I..." she stopped and her
eyes went wide. Kenji looked up and saw what she saw. Several sharp
knives imbedded in the wood frame of the door. "They're trying to kill

"Who, Nabiki?" Kenji asked. "Who's here?"

She pushed him off her and caustiously stood up. "I don't know!
But I don't think it's human!"

"Well let's not wait around to find out," he offered. He grabbed
her arm and started out the door, but suddenly pushed her out of the
way, diving with her as several more knives came flying in from
somewhere outside. Kenji stood up quickly and shut the door."Well, I
guess we can't leave just yet. Whoever's out there can cut us down
before we get two steps out the door. Now who throws knives and wants
you dead?"

"Mousse?" Nabiki said suddenly, then dismissed it immediately.
"No, he has no reason to attack me. Unless someone is controlling him

"He's the hidden weapons master, correct?" Kenji asked.

Nabiki stood up slowly, shivering somewhat, and nodded. "So now

Kenji snapped his fingers. "Weapons. I need some weapons and I
might be able to fight whatever is or whoever is in here. If it is
Mousse, I will need weapons of my own to match him." He might've been
able to defeat their unknown foe without them, being used to fighting in
darkness. But he had to consider Nabiki's welfare first.

"All the weapons we have are in the dojo," Nabiki said slowly.
"And that means crossing the small open space between the house and
there. There is some cover, but not much."

He nodded. "Let's go."

Kenji followed Nabiki, their personal quarrel momentarily
forgotten by the mutual attack they found themselves under. A few light
switches were flicked, but nothing happened, so Nabiki grabbed a
flashlight on the way, but left it off as their eyes were slowly
becoming adjusted to the dark and using the flashlight would give their
location away.

More sounds of laughter could be heard, but not from any
direction. Kenji was especially puzzled because his extended ki senses
couldn't pin down anything specific, just `shadow' images that he
couldn't trace.

They reached the doors leading to the dojo and caustiously
glanced outside. Nabiki looked to her unlikely comrade-in-arms and he
nodded to her.

"Looks clear, but I know he's out there," Kenji whispered,
looking out.

"So, got any bright ideas, ninja boy?" Nabiki asked, her
confidence and sense of mind coming back to her.

Kenji inhaled slowly, then exhaled just as slowly and turned
to her. "Just one. Hang on."

Nabiki only had a second to look confused before Kenji grabbed
her and shot horizontally out the door on a low-to-the-ground flight.
She fought back a scream, but made a mental note to kill him later as he
held her head to his chest and ducked his own head.

Another second later and they were slamming headfirst through
the opposite doors and crash rolling into the dojo. They seperated as
they rolled, coming to a stop a few feet apart.

For a few moments, they didn't move. Then, Kenji slowly stirred
and sat up, Nabiki following afterward.

She shot him a venomous glare, somewhat lessened by the dark.
"Next time, warn me before doing something like that!"

"Uh, sorry?" he offered.

Her glare abated a bit. "Well, we got out of the house and away
from that... thing." She stood up and walked over to a side door that
lead to the equipment closet. "Now come on, Mr. martial artist and get
your weapons." She opened the door as Kenji walked over and began
sifting through the equipment. She couldn't help chuckling quietly. "You
know, Ranma-kun never did need any weapons, and he never used them much.
If he were here, he could deal with this easily."

Kenji looked up while holding a wooded bo staff. "Well,
excuuuuse me. Maybe if you practiced martial arts at all, you wouldn't
need me and could take care of this yourself." He grinned. "Maybe I
should leave and let you fend for yourself?"

"You wouldn't dare!" she hissed. "You have a duty as a martial
artist to defend people like me!"

He sighed, knowing she was correct and Nabiki grinned in
triumph. "But that doesn't mean I have to like it," he countered weakly.
He turned his back on her and went back to his weapon collecting,
eventually selecting both the staff and a sheathed katana mounted on the
back wall. Not much else was useful to him, being either practice
equipment like a shinai, or weapons he wasn't trained well in in, like a

"Hurry up!" she whispered fiercely. "I think those things are
right outside!"

"I'm done," he whispered back, strapping the katana to his back
and readying the staff. Cautiously, he stepped out of the closet and
froze, with Nabiki right behind him. The sound of small padded feet
echoed in the almost pitch black dojo. "Stay here. I'll draw them off
and you make a run for it."

Nabiki only nodded, while Kenji stalked foreward in a low,
almost crouching postion. Again he concentrated his ki-enhanced senses
outward, and again he could make out only vague readings that said a
couple somethings were there, but unknown as to what and where they

That's about when one of those somethings dropped onto his

A small clawed hand grabbed his ear and Kenji yelled in pain,
but managed to knock it off with the staff. It landed and went
scampering away, only to be replaced by another something biting on his
ankle. He grunted, louder this time, but brought his leg up and smashed
whatever was attached there into the ground under his calf. It let go
and disappeared.

Kenji dabbed the side of his face with the sleeve of his shirt
as he sat there, and winced. It didn't feel that bad and there wasn't
much blood, but it still stung. His right ankle was in slightly more
pain from the razor sharp teeth that bit into it.

Nabiki wanted to call out and ask him how he was, but didn't
for fear of attracting whatever was in with them. Still, her heart was
softened a bit by the fact that he was taking that punishment that could
have been hers if he hadn't shown up. All she could do, however, is sit
very still and pray.

Both human occupants of the dojo froze at the sound of a
chainsaw being started up.

Kenji only had a spilt second before that chainsaw was upon
him, instinctively bringing the staff up in front of his face to block.
For the first time he could see what they were upgainst as a two foot
gremlin forced him to his back and began to cut through the hardened

It indeed did have sharp teeth and pointed ears. No hair, but
it was scaly green from head to toe. The two small arms held the
chainsaw as it grinned and laughed above him.

From the corner, Nabiki heard the chainsaw going and Kenji's
grunting and yelling and could only imagaine the horror that was
happening. Her hand swept
sideways and grasped the flashlight

On the ground a few feet away, Kenji watched in despair and
horror as the last of his staff was cut through. And a part of him
realized he was about to die, done in by a two foot tall gremlin.

That's when the beam of light hit them.

The gremlin squealed in a growly voice as it fell away, taking
the chainsaw with it as the staff broke. It dropped the chainsaw, which
promptly shut off, and scampered away.

When Nabiki switched the light on, she wasn't prepared for what
she saw. There was a vicous little... thing.. atop Kenji, attempting to
cut him open with a chainsaw. There was a little blood on the ninja
boy's face and, from her angle, the chainsaw almost looked like it was
cutting into him. She promptly dropped the light in horror, sinking back
onto the floor as her suddenly weak legs gave out. The flashlight went
out as it hit the ground.

"Kuso, now we know why the lights don't work," Kenji said.
"They don't like bright lights. Nabiki-san, turn that flashlight back
on!" He tossed away the broken halves of the staff and stood up. He then
pulled the katana free of the it's sheath and steadied himself.

That's when he noticed it was still dark.

"Turn on the light, Tendo!" he commanded. Still nothing.
"Alright you horny
toads, you want me, you come get me!"

For almost a minute, nothing happened and Kenji thought they
might've left. Then the wind direction changed and Kenji whirled and
struck on instinct. He could swear he connected with something, but the
other gremlin latched onto his swordarm and began to bite and claw.
Kenji yelled in pain as the katana was forced away, but rapidly brought
his other fist down on the offending gremlin, connecting solidly on it's
head and knocking it to the floor.

Something latched onto his back immediately afterward, pushing
him forward and onto his knees. Another something joined it on his
shoulder and forced him to the floor in pain. This time, he knew he was
dead unless he could get these leeches off him.

Kenji's pained yells shocked Nabiki enough for her to return to
the present. The katana bumping her foot also helped. Reaching down
hesitantly, she felt the cool metal of the blade and followed it until
she found the handle.

Now, she knew may not be a major martial artist like the rest
of the Nerima wrecking crew, but she did have a couple years martial
arts training in the years before her mother died. She had practiced a
bit with a bokken, but this was the first time she had ever wielded a
real katana.

But as she grabbed the handle and hefted the blade, a cool
feeling came over her and she stood confidently, raising the sword high.
"Let him go!"

The three combatants locked in a savage struggle, stopped. And
it wasn't because of Nabiki's commanding voice, nor was it because the
temperature in the room lowered by several degrees. No, it was because
the sword Nabiki was holding was glowing white in color and lighting the
room softly.

The expressions on the gremlins faces went from gleeful
savagery, to snarling; almost as if they recognized what was going on.
Kenji had no time to ponder this as one of the gremlins lept from his
back towards Nabiki. He was helpless to watch at the vicious creature
descended, claw first, towards the Tendo woman.

However, Nabiki had other ideas. With speed and skill she
didn't know she possesed, she swung the katana around and impaled the
gremlin on the blade. Immediately, the gremlin began squealing as the
white glowing intensified. Kenji watched in fascination as the gremlin
slowly ceased struggling and, quite literally, froze.

When it became a solid block of ice, Nabiki tweaked the blade
and the gremlin shattered, falling in pieces to the floor. The other
gremlin screamed at the loss of it's companion and tried a hasty retreat
out the dojo, but he wasn't fast enough.

Nabiki pointed the blade at the retreating figure and spoke
again. "Begone!"

What looked like a small horizontal snowstorm blew forth from
the blade and engulfed the escapee. It only managed a few more steps
before it too froze solid and crumbled like it's companion.

The sword immediately stopped glowing and Nabiki dropped it,
before she too collapsed. Groaning, Kenji hauled his aching body to it's
feet and located the flashlight in the dark. Flicking it on, he found
the girl laying down next to the sword.

After checking her out to make sure she was okay, Kenji glanced
at the katana. I don't get it? Why didn't the sword do anything for me?
Does Nabiki have some special ability no one knows about? And come to
think of it, didn't Kuno have a magical sword, too? Only his fired
lightning bolts... He shook his head as he sat down against the wall
next to the fallen girl.

He suddenly felt very weary and decided a short nap was in

Nabiki slowly awakened and moaned. For some reason, she felt as
if she had just run a marathon and collapsed at the finish line. She
rubbed her eyes and blinked them open, then realized she was in the dojo
and not her room. Why was she here?

She blinked as the full impact of that statement settled in.
She quickly backed against the wall, before realizing
the gremlins were gone.

She blinked again, then pinched herself. "Ouch! Okay, it's not
a dream."

She noticed the sword nearby and reached out for it. A few
inches from contact however, she stopped, scared of what might happen
should she touched it. She swallowed once, then marshalled her courage
to reach out and pick up the weapon.

Nothing happened. She carefully swung it around and willed it
to do something, but nothing did. It just seemed like a normal sword,
except it was quite cold to the touch. "What's going on? It was doing
some funky freezing stuff when I saved Soyokaze from the... Oh no,

She looked around frantically for him, and found him lying
against the wall nearby and unconcious. Setting the katana down, Nabiki
rushed over to him, checking him over. She was horrified to find his
face and clothes spotted with blood. Shaking him provoked no response.
She forced herself to remain calm, then checked his
pulse. Good, he had one. And he was breathing. She sighed in relief as
she realized he WAS still alive.

"Soyokaze! Wake up!" She shook him again. "Come on you baka!"

The baka in question groaned and rolled onto his back. "Come
on... Ukyo-chan... `nother five minutes..."

Nabiki grinned. She got an idea and leaned close to his face,
whispering, "Come now, Kenji-chan. It's time for you to open the
restaurant, my love."

Kenji smiled goofily, then his arms went up and wrapped
themselves around Nabiki, pulling the flailing girl on top of him.
"Mmmm... love ya Ukyo-chan." He nuzzled her face. Nabiki blinked herself
out of her shock and whapped him. "Ow!"

That woke him up, and he took stock of his position. He quickly let her go and
crawled away. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

"Oh spare me the crouch of the wild tiger," she commanded,
naming Genma's infamous technique for dealing with the master.

Kenji quite apologizing. "Hey, wait a minute, what do I got to
be apologizing for? I saved your butt!"

Nabiki tsked. "More like I saved your butt." She hefted the
katana and pointed it at him. "Remember this?"

He did, and instinctively backed away. Clearing his throat, he
commented, "So, you didn't tell me you had a magic sword. What gives and
how do you get it to work?"

Nabiki shrugged, then sat down against the wall next to him,
too exhausted to argue much. She layed the weapon on her lap where they
could both examine it. "Don't know. I didn't know we had a magic
freezing katana either. All I know is a funny feeling came over me when
I picked it up before. It was like I instinctively knew how to use it."
She shook her head. "But nothing happens now when I touch it."

She was struck with a sense of deja vu, and tried to figure out
why. That's when the words came back to her.
She looked over to the man sitting next to her to ask him something, but
stopped, and instead became worried.

It looked like he was asleep again, but she also noticed
something else in the glow of the flashlight. He was also somewhat pale.
That's when the state of his clothes hit her. "Idiot. You dumb
martial artists are gonna get yourselves killed over your stupid pride.
Looks like it's up to me again."

She set the sword down and dashed back into the house, looking
for the first-aid kit. She grabbed it from the kitchen and ran back out
to the dojo where Kenji was still in the same position. Laying him down
on his back, Nabiki suddenly realized she would have to strip him to get
to his wounds. A faint smile crossed her face as she dove into her task.

Nabiki started by pulling off his grey shirt slowly and gently,
as some of the dried blood caused the shirt to stick to the wounds. Once
that was done, she took a deep breath, then slowly pulled down his
pants, after removing his shoes. she mused,
leaving that article of clothing on.

She then got a look at the rest of him and winced. She would
have admired the view more if it wasn't for the addition of several
long, bloody cuts and bite marks. Sighing, she went to work at her task,
cleaning and bandaging all the wounds.

When she finished, she realized she would have to dress him
again, but she didn't want to put his own bloody clothes back on him.
Thinking quickly, she ran up to Ranma's room and grabbed a red Chinese
shirt and black drawstring pant combo.

Back in the dojo, she dressed him carefully. "Kenji, m'boy,
you're gonna owe me big time for this," she said as she finished with
the shirt.

"So you mean I'm still not forgiven?"

Nabiki blinked. "How long have you been awake?"

Kenji yawned. "Just woke up now. So, about how much I owe

She chuckled. "I forgive you for the Mariko incident. I should
have known what kind of man Kuno was, I was bound to be reminded sooner
or later. No, you just owe me the originial money amount, and several
huge favors that only a jusenkyo-cursed martial artist can provide."

Kenji chuckled bitterly. "I should've known. But I don't turn
into a busty redhead, so I doubt you could sell my cursed form pics."

"No, but there are some girls who would pay handsomely for some
pics of male-you, and since you're currently un-attached, I could even
set up some dates for a nominal fee."

"It's always money with you, isn't it?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Money doesn't let you down."

"It can't buy happiness, either," he countered.

She smiled weakly. "Who says I'm not happy?"

But her face proved otherwise, and Kenji saw it. I guess I do
owe you, Nabiki. And I will help you, whether you want it or not. He
reached into his pants pocket and withdrew some bills, slapping them
into her hand.

She accepted them and stood up, indicating the current
conversation was over. "Well, let's get going."

Kenji blinked, then slowly got up as well. "Where are we
going?" he asked cautiously.

"You're gonna be my escort to the costume dance," she said,
walking out of the dojo. Kenji followed. "There's still an hour-and-a
half left before the dance ends at midnight."

"But what about costumes?" he asked, incredously.

She stopped and turned around, giving him along look up and
down. "I think you're fine... Ranma-kun." She grinned. "We just need to
fix your hair, and I've got a perfect idea for my costume."

Her tone told him he had no choice in the matter, so he decided
to just go along with it. Besides, he felt guilty enough as it is for
what he'd done.

A half hour later saw the `couple' almost to the school gym.
After cleaning up the dojo, Nabiki tied his shoulder length hair into a
pigtail, then she left and and came back in white practice gi, similiar
to what Akane wore, complete with the headband.

After that, `Ranma and Akane' left for the dance.

Their entrance into the gymnasium instantly started several
rumors, and someone had already mistaken them for Nerima's most well-
known couple. With the exception of his trademark white streak down the
middle of his hair, Kenji looked like Ranma from a distance. And with
the exception of her brown hair, Nabiki almost looked like Akane. Only a
few people noticed them at first, but whispers traveled quickly around
the gym and soon everyone knew they were there.

The real Ranma and Akane soon found them and Nabiki couldn't
hold back the laughter. For that matter, neither could Kenji.

"Stop laughin'!" Ranma demanded. "It ain't funny!"

"I believe getting you to wear that is better than any revenge I
could do to you, Saotome," Kenji chuckled.

"Gomen, Ranma-kun," Nabiki said, finally getting her laughter
under control. "But you do look kawaii. And it helps that you match."

You see, Mrs. Tendo's father had once gone to America and, upon
his return, had presented each of his three granddaughters with a
present. Akane's gift was a pair of dolls that she used to sleep with,
and in fact, still had.

"Thank you, Nabiki," Akane said. "I was going through my closet
when I found my old Raggedy-Ann and Raggedy-Andy dolls."

And that's how they were dressed. Red raggedy hair and raggedy
patchwork clothes. They were a matching pair of life-size dolls.

"I still don't know how you got me into this," Ranma grumbled.

"Oh, I don't know, something about a secret you kept from me?"
Akane reminded him. "Now, how about another dance? There's a nice fast
song coming up."

Ranma sighed and took her hand.

"Alright ninja boy," Nabik said, turning to her escort. "The
first dance is mine, and then we start hiring you out." The abacus in
her head began to total up the money she would make. She knew there were
several girls who would pay to dance with a pretty good-looking martial

Kenji hung his head. "Yes, Nabiki-san."

The night went smoothly after that. Ranma threatened anyone who
made jokes about his costume, but inside he secretly began to like it.
Akane enjoyed the chance for a normal night, after the events of the
previous night.

Konatsu and Yuri were the other surprise pair of the evening,
dressed as the Dirty Pai-Ah, Lovely Angels. It seemed Yuri didn't mind
Konatsu crossdressing, once in awhile anyway.

Hinako, who looked quite attractive in her `60s Star Trek
uniform skirt (who knew she was a closet trekkie?), managed to get a
couple of dances with Soun. Which made sense, considering he was
currently an alien, complete with green tentacles and antennae.

Kasumi and Tofu were a pair of clowns. Literally.

And yes, Nabiki did manage to make quite a bit of money off
selling dances with Kenji. For the most part, the former-amnesiac was
starting to enjoy himself, especially near the end of the dance, when he
found the next girl who paid for him to be a certain okonomiyaki chef,
who currently looked like batgirl.

He was expecting her to punish him in some way, but actually
she told him she wasn't mad at him anymore. Oh sure, he had manipulated
people to achieve his own goals, but Ukyo had to admit she had done the
same thing. She also figured the way Nabiki was exploiting him to be
enough punishment.

And during the walk home that night, he was pleasantly
surprised when she slipped her hand into his.

"Is all this really necessary?" the short, old man asked his
companion while he gazed into the reflecting pool, pulling his white
robe tighter around his frail body.

The tall, beautiful woman, who appeared to be in her early 30's
nodded. "Yes. It all must come to pass. It has been forseen." She
adjusted the folds of her all-blue kimono.

"But they are all so young!" he protested. "How can we do this
to them? They have been through so much already..."

She sighed. "I, too, wish there was another way old friend. But
they must be ready to face what is ahead. You know the consequences
should they fail."

There was silence again as they both turned their attention to
the pool, and the image reflected therein. In it, a half-cat, half-human
girl slept on the forest floor as white duck kept a vigil nearby.

"But there has to be another way," the caretaker said at last.
"If we go this route, it means that you..."

She nodded in understanding. "I will die, yes. I have known
this for far longer than you have been alive. My death was foretold as
well. I would wish that I would remain alive, for it would stave off the
darkness. But if he can be stopped for good..." She trailed off, then
chuckled bitterly. "I am almost glad for this. Immortality gets boring
after the first 200 years or so."

He shook his head. "I can only imagine what you must've been
through. I'm just approaching 65, and I feel as if I've seen enough for
two lifetimes."

She smiled tenderly. "They will have until the new year, then
we can wait no more. We shall take a more active role."

"And what of the dreams you send to the fortune-teller? Shall
they continue?"

"Yes, the tale must be told and passed on," the lady replied.
"Though, the spells to create them are long and complicated, especially
that last one, they must be done. I feel we have enough time for a few
more. The Lila plant will bloom but twice more. Three if we are lucky.
That's the best we can hope for." She sighed. "Now come, we have much
work to do."

"Yes, milady."


Author's notes:
Hello again! This arc was written mainly as a `breather' for the Ranma
cast, but kinda spiralled out of control with the Shampoo thing. I was
planning nothing major until the next arc by throwing a bunch of small
stuff together. I also think I'm starting to get too many things going
at once. What do you think?

Coming in the next story arc, Trials:
The woman in blue and her caretaker, revealed!
Ukyo reunites with her father!
The return of Kodachi!
Another favorite character will make his entrance! (hopefully)
Miyo makes a startling discovery!
Even more secrets revealed as the plot thickens!

Now I just hope I can manage all that.

Now on to the Thanking section.

I thank everybody. There, that about covers it. :)

Especially, Takahashi-sama, Alex Lindeke-sama, the readers who actually
sent me comments, and the many fabulous Ranma fanfiction writers out

Rememder to send C&C to:

And find my other stuff at my site: