Ranma 1/2, Slayers, Harry Potter, and any other series used in this fanfic are owned by their respective creators/publishers/whatever
Thanks to the people of Fukufics and Lawra for helping with the rewrites.
I apologize to everyone who have been waiting and waiting for me to update. The reason for my lack of doing so is because I have been working on rewriting Wild Magic, and I originally only intended to rewrite the first five chapters to be better, but then I realized that doing only those would cause more problems than needed in future chapters. I thank the people who have been waiting for me, and I'm sorry for making people wait.
Situated at the edge of a dense forest was a rather large wooden house. On the outside, it had the appearance of a building that was way past its prime and was due for demolition. Its windows were boarded up, parts of the roof and sides were hanging loose, and the grass around it had grown to an alarming size. It would have been an obvious thought to anybody looking on that the house would be abandoned.
However, if one were to step inside, they would find that the interior completely betrayed the old and dilapidated appearance on the outside in favor of one that was clean and livable. Tables and chairs were neatly placed, a fireplace was roaring and providing ample lighting, and it seemed relatively well kept. Magic was also cast to allow one to see out of the boarded up windows.
Within one of the chairs near the roaring fire sat a man in a long cloak. The lighting from the fireplace caused shadows to obscure most of his features except for a pair of piercing eyes that held within them a cruel light. As he sat within the chair, he clasped both of his hands together in front of the lower half of his face and stared forward in deep contemplation.
He was Voldemort, a dark wizard of incredible power who could instill panic and terror into just about anyone with just the mere mention of his name. He was a being who was feared by many in the wizarding world of Europe, and even those far outside of the region and in other continents had heard of him and his cruelty. The Dark Lord Voldemort, a wizard who had power unmatched by anyone other than another wizard who went by the name of Albus Dumbledore. As such, there was not many people that Voldemort found reason to truly worry about, because to him, they were just annoying gnats.
But that didn't mean that the Dark Lord was free of worries, for he found himself having an odd and reoccurring vision every time he slept, and it was the same exact thing every night for the past week. He honestly did not know what to think of it, but he knew that it couldn't mean anything good.
The vision always contained the same young dark-haired male with braided hair whose facial features defined him as being Asian… most likely Japanese. Perhaps the oddest thing was that the person seemed to change between male and female, with the latter form being shorter with red hair. If anything, Voldemort would have guessed that the person was a metamorphmagus.
That in itself wasn't weird. Strange in that he kept having that particular vision, yes, but nothing of true concern. What really caused alarms within the Dark Lord's brain was the rest of the vision. The being within his visions had an odd projection floating around his or her form, and that projection always took the form of a woman with long golden blonde hair that reached down passed her waist and didn't seemed confined by gravity. Her eyes, however, could never be seen as they were hidden by shadows. There seemed to almost be an aura of power linking both her and the other person.
What was even creepier about it all was that the possible metamorphmagi possessed the eeriest set of eyes that he had ever seen. They seemed to almost be able to look straight into one's own soul; seemingly able to read every little secret and leave one with a feeling of inferiority. What's worse was that those orbs held absolutely no emotion or light in them at all and just seemed 'dead'. He hated those eyes with every fiber of his being.
Then came the moment within the vision that always caused him to wake. The male or female being would simply glance in his dream self's direction, raise a hand, and send out an invisible force that would crash into him and send him flying into a wall. The dead-eyed demon would then start making steps for him all the while causing pain to his body. Once just a foot away and baring down on him, the unknown assailant would pull out a shovel with a bladed edge from seemingly nowhere and hold it up high. Emotionless lips would then curve upward into an evil smile before bringing the shovel down and ending the vision.
A shiver ran down Voldemort's spine as he remembered. Those eyes; it almost seemed as if they were accusing him of being weak. As if they looked at him as if he was nothing but a mere muggle. It filled him with unbridled fury… and yet also caused the odd sensation of fear to well up within him. Could his vision actually be trying to tell him that there would soon be someone out there who would be able to oppose him with power far greater than his own? Was that person lurking out there in the shadows just waiting for a chance to strike? No, he would not allow that to happen.
"I must strike first before he or she gets the chance to." Voldemort said to himself with resolve. It was a good thing that he had given descriptions of the possible metamorphmagus to his Death Eaters.
"My, my, so raring to go I see." An unknown and almost playful voice said from behind. This caused the dark wizard to instantly leap out of his seat, turn around, and fire off a flash of green light from his wand… only to watch it fly right on by the intruder. "Jumpy too. You should really be careful; you almost hit the informant."
Not lowering his wand, Voldemort took in the appearance of the person who had somehow managed to sneak up on him without any kind of sound. The intruder was dressed in the normal guise of his Death Eaters, and so he 'almost' lowered his wand. What caught his eye was the short, purple shade of hair that he could just make out, and there was also the matter of the strange staff held at the man's side. It was a long wooden staff with a red gem resting on the top. It wasn't something that the Dark Lord had seen in the possession of his underlings before.
"Before I do anything," The dark wizard drawled while still pointing his wand at the unknown entity, "I demand to know who you are and how you snuck up on me. The severity of your punishment depends upon how you answer."
Giving a small chuckle, the 'Death Eater' raised his hands in an effort to try and show that he meant no harm. "I'm just a loyal supporter of the great and all powerful Dark Lord Voldemort. I even made my outfit myself, and so I hope it looks just like the real thing." In reality, he just simply formed the 'outfit' around himself. "I also learned of your plight, and I may have found out just who it is that you are having visions of."
The Dark Lord's eyes momentarily flashed with interest before narrowing. "Is that a fact? Come, tell Lord Voldemort the identity of the worm so that I may squash it like the pest it is."
"A pleasure to do so, my lord." Behind his mask, the man found that he couldn't stop smirking. The so-called 'Dark Lord' was such an amusing human.
'Sure is a dark day today.' Ranma Saotome thought as he stared up at the clouded sky. An arc of lightning flashes brightly, and it was soon followed by an immense clap of thunder. As the raven-haired boy stood crouching upon the top of a fence, he couldn't help but wish that he had an umbrella with him. Turning into a girl wasn't really something that he wanted to put up with again that day, and so he hoped that his luck would hold out enough so that he could stay dry and get back to the Tendo Dojo.
'Damn tomboy was really ticked over such a small accident.' Thinking about the event caused Ranma to wince as he leapt to his feet and started running along the top of the fence. Akane had obviously been furious with him… if her angry scream of 'die Ranma' and brandishing of a shinai weren't enough of a sign already. Since he hadn't had the desire to be a smear upon the floor, the young Saotome had opted to dodge out of the way of her attacks before running off in hopes that the girl would calm down later.
A droplet of water against his nose brought Ranma out of his thoughts and caused him to look up at the sky. 'Be nice rain clouds and let me get back before ya start!' Another droplet landed upon his nose. 'Oh c'mon, I just wanna remain dry. Why-- huh?'
Out of the corner of his eye, the teenaged martial artist thought he saw a flash of light bearing right for him. His reflexes were what saved him from, for just a second before the attack hit, Ranma bent backwards and watched as the beam flew harmlessly by. "What was that?" He asked himself as he straightened up and glanced around warily to see if he could spot his attacker.
"Impressive." A cold voice said. It almost sounded as if it was coming from all around the martial artist. "Lord Voldemort isn't one to normally give praise to a muggle, so you should feel accomplished."
Ranma couldn't help but bring a pinky to his ear in an effort to see if there was something wrong with his hearing. The voice sounded as if it was speaking in English, but he could have sworn that it was instantly changing into Japanese only a moment later. It also didn't help that it almost seemed like surround sound. "I dunno why ya just attacked me, or who ya are, but could this wait until another time? I wanna try and get inside before-- whoa!" He had to jump away from the section of fence he was standing on due to another attack causing it to explode. 'What kind of techniques is this guy using?' Ranma thought as he dodged another attack, but this time he caught sight of where they were coming from.
Using his foot to kick up a small pebble, Ranma watched for the signs of another attack. He didn't have to wait long, and as he dodged the next one, he let the pebble fly with a fast and powerful throw. He watched as his aim hit dead on, and revealed his attacker to have previously been -- to his immense curiosity and shock -- invisible. 'What kinda technique was that?'
Voldemort let out a silent curse when the projectile slammed into his hand and knocked his wand a few feet away. It had the added effect of canceling out his disillusionment charm that kept him invisible view. He knew about the muggle's abilities, but assumed that he could easily take the upstart out by being hidden and firing his spell when the teen was least expecting. 'This is an insult to someone of my stature.'
Looking around for his wand, Voldemort was distressed to find out that it was nowhere to be seen. "My wand! Where is it?" The Dark Lord growled in annoyance.
"Looking for this?" A voice asked from above. He then found his vision blocked by the upside down face of his intended victim who was dangling his wand in his hand. Anger rose up within Voldemort's being when he saw his wand being held by a lowly muggle, and it only festered when he found that the upstart was actually crouching upon his noble head as if he were nothing. "Seems kinda silly."
Silly? He dare call Lord Voldemort, the most powerful wizard in the world silly? "Muggle," the Dark Lord snarled, "You have just forfeited what would have been a painless death." Voldemort proceeded to quickly snap his hand out and snatch back his wand. "The injustice that you have just served to I, Lord Voldemort, shall be repaid by the anguished screams that will come from your tortured body!" He tried to attack the boy once again, but found that his prey was too quick to move out of the way.
Ranma couldn't help but sweat a little. "Ya know, I get the feeling that you really want to kill me." An explosion from the ground sent him flying backwards and onto his ass. 'Yep, I think he means it.' He thought as he jumped back to his feet. "Listen, Moldywart--"
"THAT'S VOLDEMORT YOU IGNORANT VERMIN!" The wizard shouted in anger and hatred as he extended his hand and sent out a powerful magic pulse that sent Ranma flying into the side of a wall.
Shaking his head to clear out the birdies swarming within his vision, the young Saotome glanced up to see gusts of wind encircling his opponent as he held his wand up high. 'Maybe I went just a little too far.' The rain that had held up until then began to fall, and Ranma soon found himself shifting into his other form. 'I probably would've made it if it weren't for this guy…'
"So you do change into a female, and not under your own power." Voldemort observed with a cold indifference. Deciding that it'd be best to finish it before what happened in his visions actually happens, Voldemort pointed his wand at his downed opponent and fired off an Avada Kedavra. The blinding green jet of light flew towards its target, but only missed as the boy-turned-girl jumped up and pushed herself off the wall via her feet. "Why won't you stay down, filthy muggle?!"
"Ya keep calling me that," Ranma began as she landed in front of the man and performed a leg sweep, "But I have no idea what that is." Looking behind, she couldn't help but let out a low whistle at the green fire that was caused by the explosion to the wall where she had previously been. "Those are some neat abilities you got, Voldypart."
"Muggle, you are the most infuriating piece of vermin…"
"Ranma!" Akane's angered voice rang over the pouring of the rain.
"Huh?" Ranma let out intelligently as she turned her head into the direction that the shout had come from.
Her momentary lapse of attention proved to be just the opening that Voldemort had waited for. Without any hint of hesitation, he pointed his wand at the distracted teen and softly uttered the words 'Avada Kedavra'.
Ranma soon only saw blackness.
The next time Ranma opened her eyes, she quickly glanced around for any sign of the jackass that had blindsided her because of the tomboy's shout. It didn't take long before she found the object of her ire staring down right at her with cold, evil eyes. "That was a cheap shot!" Ranma shouted in anger as she hopped to her feet. "I outta--" She blinked when she noticed that her opponent wasn't staring at her and only continued to look downward. "Hey, yoo-hoo, anybody home?" The redhead asked as she waved a hand in front of his face. Still getting no response, she decided to give the man a tentative poke, but froze when she found that her hand just went through his body.
"W-- What the hell?" Ranma shouted and jumped back. 'Why did my hand go through him? That's never--' Her thoughts ended abruptly once she noticed a body lying on the ground just a few feet away. It only took a moment to figure out just who was laying there. "I-- is that…?" Moving closer to the downed form, Ranma was able to see that the body was indeed her own. "I'm… dead?" She finally asked herself before proceeding to do the one thing she could think of; trying to shake and slap her body awake.
"Hey, c'mon, wake up!" The red-head shouted as her hands passed on through her former physical shell. "Damn it, I can't die like this! This isn't fair at all!" Turning her attention back onto the man who killed her, Ranma watched as he began to move away. "Hey," she shouted as she sped over to the retreating wizard and attempted to punch him, "Don't walk away! Come back here and fix this you jerk!" Her fist moved right through his head, and she tumbled forward. When she came to a stop, Ranma noted that she was hovering upside down. 'Great, now I'm stuck floating in the air.'
Struggling to right herself and get the hang of at least one of her problems, Ranma watched as Voldemort seemed to just vanish into thin air. "I don't wanna be a ghost!" The redhead whined out.
"Actually," a cheerful voice spoke, "You are not truly a ghost yet. You are just a minor spirit. If you WERE a true ghost, then that wizard -- as well as others -- would have likely seen you."
Spinning around, the now deceased teenager couldn't help but gawk at the sight of a blue-haired woman. She was dressed up in a bright pink kimono and riding on top of an oar as if it was a witch's broom. Within the woman's hand was a small booklet that she was flipping through.
"Err," Ranma began as soon as she found her voice, "Who are you?"
"Botan." The mystery woman answered with a smile. "I'm here to serve as a guide on your journey to Reikai."
"So you're kinda like a shinigami?"
"Bingo!" She chimed happily as she closed the thin booklet and put it away. "So if you are ready, we can leave quickly and get there in no time at all."
"Hey," Ranma began as she remembered something the woman before her said a few moments ago, "You mean the guy I just fought was a wizard?"
Botan's smile faltered at the question. "That man you faced was an incredibly powerful dark wizard who refers to himself as Lord Voldemort. He's probably the most powerful one in the entire world at this time, and both he and his followers have given us quite a lot of work by killing a multitude of people without remorse. He also has the view that non-magical people are undeserving of life and should all be destroyed to pave the way for the magic-capable."
Crossing her arms and legs as she floated, Ranma couldn't help but wish that she had actually taken that fight seriously instead of messing around. She felt completely and utterly robbed, and she wished it was possible to have another chance against this Voldemort guy. 'Just how many more people are gonna die?'
"R-- Ranma?" The familiar voice caused the spirit to quickly spin around. There, right next to her former body, was Akane. The youngest Tendo daughter was attempting to shake the body awake. "C'mon you idiot, this isn't funny." The umbrella that she was carrying was lying on the ground just a few feet away, and so she had no protection against the pouring rain. "I-- I didn't really mean it earlier when I told you 'die Ranma'. Don't do this to me." It was hard to tell if her cheeks were wet from the rain or from her own tears.
"Aw jeez, don't tell me that she's going to think that she was responsible for my death." Ranma complained as she crouched down next to her body and stared into the distraught eyes of her -- now no longer -- fiancée. It was the only thing she could even think of being able to do at the moment. As she watched, she saw a few people start to gather around, while Yuka and Sayuri-- who had apparently witnessed the event from a safe distance -- handed Akane back her umbrella and gave her an explanation of what happened.
Needless-to-say, the youngest Tendo daughter seemed to fully break down once she learned that it was her shout from earlier that distracted Ranma enough for the mystery attacker to land a killing blow.
"I can't watch this anymore." Ranma finally said as she watched an ambulance pull up. Floating over to Botan, the late redhead landed and crouched down on the tip of the floating oar. "I'm sure she'll get over it soon. After all, she's no longer trapped in an engagement she doesn't want; won't have to deal with the 'perverted idiot' anymore."
"You're taking this all rather well." Botan said as she stared at the perched spirit.
There was a moment of silence before Ranma spoke up. "S'not like anything I could do right now matters anyway. I'm dead, and that's all there is to it." Sighing, she placed her arms behind her head. "Ready to leave whenever you are, shinigami."
Botan flashed him a happy smile. "Very well!" The oar promptly started to soar into the air. "By the way, the name is Botan, not shinigami."
Ranma couldn't help but blink as she watched countless oni sit at behind desks filing and signing papers. Many of them even had computers with which they were typing furiously away on. There were even some who were taking breaks at a water cooler to the far left of the room. "Are you trying to tell me that Reikai is no more than some kind of business?" She asked as she watched a few oni run on by with stacks of papers. One wouldn't realize it from the rather ominous hallway that they had to walk through before getting there.
"Well, it does get things done." A voice answered in a matter-of-fact manner. After Ranma glanced around for a moment, the same voice spoke up. "Look down. Why don't people ever look this way?"
Complying, the redhead lowered her gaze to see what looked like a young child dressed in a blue coat and hat. Around his small waist was a red sash, and his pants were a yellow color. Upon his head was a large hat with the kanji symbol for 'king', and just below it on the red boarder was the word 'Jr.'. One of his most defining features was the large pacifier held within his mouth. "Hello"
"Err-- Hi" Ranma greeted back. Of all the things she expected, running into a child was not one of them. Then again, she wasn't expecting an office environment for the otherworld either. She watched in curiosity as Botan gave a bow to the kid.
"Greetings, Koenma-sama, is your father currently available?" Upon noticing the perplexed look upon their guest's face, the spirit guide placed a hand to her mouth. "Oh, I'm sorry about that, Ranma. The one you see standing before you is Koenma, the son of Enma Daioh-sama."
"Ah," Ranma answered with a nod of understanding. Her eyes then proceeded to snap wide in shock. "Wait, you mean THE Enma?!"
"Of course, do you know any other Enma?" Koenma asked in amusement. "You better be on your best behavior, or he may rip out your tongue."
The late Saotome couldn't help but take a small step back. "H-- He really does do that kinda thing?" Her answer was obtained when Botan almost fell over laughing. "Oh, real funny." Ranma grumbled to herself. Before she could do anything else, however, an oni tapped her on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, but are you one Saotome Ranma?" He asked as he adjusted his thick glasses. Within his hand was a thick notebook, and in his other was a pen. At the redhead's confirmation, the oni cleared his throat. "Enma Daiou-sama will see you now. Please follow me and mind your manners."
Nodding numbly, Ranma followed right behind the creature and towards a large set of double doors. Botan followed close behind, but Ranma didn't make any acknowledgement of the fact and instead kept wondering what King Enma was really like. Hopefully he didn't hate her guts and decided to send her to hell for some reason.
"A Saotome is here to see Enma Daiou-sama." The oni guide stated through an intercom next to the double doors. There wasn't much of a wait before said doors slowly swung open. The oni proceeded to step out of the way to allow her to pass. "After you."
"Yeah, thanks." The deceased martial artist gathered her breath before stepping on through the entry way. Upon reaching the other side, she couldn't help but notice that the place looked more like a giant, spacious office than anything else. 'This whole business thing is still weird…'
"Greetings, Saotome Ranma." The deep voice caused the redhead to snap her head forward. There, before her, was a large desk with an equally larger man sitting on the other side of it. His sheer size literally made her feel like an ant in comparison. The giant's outfit was regal in appearance, and on top of his head was an ornate hat to match. Upon his prominent nose was a set of thin glasses, and he possessed a thick beard that covered just about the lower half of his face.
"Uh-- Yo" Ranma answered as she raised a hand. She was promptly smacked upside the back of the head by Botan who told her to be 'more respectful'.
Deciding to let it slide, King Enma continued on. "First, let me say that I am deeply sorry for your untimely death at the hands of the dreaded killing curse. I can't begin to tell you just how many people have been killed by it over the last several years thanks to that man who calls himself Lord Voldemort. It usually doesn't matter if people die, since that is what happens to everybody eventually. However, many of these people -- like yourself -- weren't originally supposed to die until much later."
Ranma's eyes gained a hopeful light. "Does that mean I can go back?"
"I'm afraid not." The giant answered. "While it is possible to revive a person, and it has happened -- albeit rarely -- in the past, the cause of your death prevents you from going back even if you went about the correct method."
Her hope deflated, but her curiosity peaked. "What do you mean by that? I saw my body, and it didn't seem damaged at all."
"The Avada Kedavra is a magic spell that kills a person by working on both a spiritual and magical level. It magically stops every single function within the body all at once, and then it goes to work completely severing the spiritual lines that connect the soul to the body, forcefully ejecting it, and basically sealing off the body from any 'living' soul. It is beyond our understanding here as to just how to solve the issue." King Enma answered as he read from a sheet of paper that contained the findings and research on the subject.
"That's not fair." Ranma pouted. Why did some jerk with magical powers have to go around tossing a one-hit perma-kill attack at people? 'I really hate magic…'
A loud cough from King Enma grabbed her attention. "Well, your situation isn't really all that bad. Based upon your abilities and a few other factors, you have some options available to you." The giant man flipped a few pages in a booklet until he came to the right one. "You could always take up a position as a Spirit Detective. As one, you would be able to use your abilities to capture spiritual beings causing trouble on Earth. There are also positions available for a new spirit guide. Hmm… it looks like there's also--"
"Enma Daiou-sama," interrupted a voice from the intercom, "You have a special visitor waiting to see you. She says that it is an urgent matter that can't wait."
The ruler of Reikai gave an undignified snort. "And just who is this woman to think that her business is more urgent than anything else?"
"I believe she says her name is Skuld."
Ranma watched as King Enma's eyes widen in shock before quickly ordering the oni on the other side to let this Skuld person in. Ranma figured that whoever this person was, she must have been powerful and intimidating enough to cause such a reaction from the lord of the underworld. Hearing the door open from behind, the redhead turned around and watched in trepidation as the woman in question set foot through the doorway.
She promptly fell flat on her face when the newcomer, who caused the great King Enma to sweat, appeared to be nothing more than a 10-year-old girl. After picking herself up, she managed to get a better look at her. She did appear to be nothing more than a 10-year-old with long raven black hair and brown eyes. Her outfit seemed kind of odd and consisted of what seemed like a light pink dress and gloves with dark red trim. There was also a gold belt around her waist. The most defining features, however, were her triangle facial tattoos -- one on her forehead and two below her eyes -- and the strange looking mallet strapped to her back.
"Hey," Ranma asked as she leaned towards Botan, "Who's that kid?"
"Skuld" Botan whispered back. There was some awe evident within the blue-haired reaper's voice. "She's the goddess of the future."
The late Saotome gave her an incredulous look. 'That squirt, a goddess?' She was starting to wonder if she were merely suffering a weird dream brought on by ingesting Akane's cooking.
"Sorry to intrude, Enma Daiou-sama, but I was given an urgent assignment from Kami-sama." She wasn't sure why the almighty had picked her for the assignment, but she felt a sense of duty to try and see it through. "I was told that there'd be someone by the name of…" Skuld trailed off when she caught Ranma. "Hey," she started as she ran over to the redhead, "Are you Saotome Ranma?"
"Y-- Yeah, what about it?" She didn't know what else to say. It wasn't every day that you died and met a goddess while standing around in the underworld inside the office of King Enma.
Skuld pumped the air in excitement. "Alright! This assignment is going to be easier than I thought it would be!" Offering a bright and childish smile to the redhead, she continued on. "Okay, listen, I'm Skuld; goddess of the future and second class, first category, limited license, and I'm here with an important message to you from Kami-sama. He says that you are to be returned back to life immediately."
"Really?!" Ranma asked as she clasped her hands around the young goddess's. Her eyes were shining with hope. Upon receiving a short nod from the momentarily shocked Skuld, she began to dance around in joy while still latched onto the youngest Norn. "Gonna return to my body, gonna live again!"
"Err," Skuld let out softly, "You won't be able to return to your body." That got the redhead to stop.
"But you said--"
"That you are to be returned back to life." Skuld clarified. "That doesn't mean that it'll be your previous body. You'll live again, but it'll be through being reborn into a different body."
Ranma crossed her arms. "I'll pass then. If I can't return to my own body, then I don't care."
"B-- But why?" Skuld asked in shock. "You'll be able to live again almost instantly! By going about this rebirthing method, you'll even keep your memories. This is a chance that hasn't been offered to anyone else in thousands of years." Her important assignment was starting to look like it'd be a difficult one.
"Ranma," the teen in question turned her attention to Botan. "You know, if you go through with this, you just might get the chance to have a rematch against Voldemort. Also, think of how many more people could possibly die because of him. Do you really want something like that to happen when you could do something to eventually stop him? He doesn't even discriminate when it comes to killing, and his victims are Men, Women, AND even Children."
A grimace appeared on Ranma's lips as she thought it over. She really did want to get back at the jerk for what he did, and if she refused this chance, she didn't know if she could ever put up with the fact of knowing that she allowed countless others die due to inaction. Besides, maybe having another life wouldn't be all that bad.
"…alright, I'll do it."
With a happy cheer, Skuld jumped forward and gave the redhead a quick hug over the fact that she WASN'T going to mess up such an important assignment. After a moment, the goddess broke off the hug and stepped back. Reaching into the pouch held at her side, Skuld began to rummage for the item needed to finish the assignment. "Where is it, I know I put it in here. It should be-- Ah!" She promptly pulled out what she was looking for and held it up high.
"Well, it's actually a Rebirth Seal. It usually takes forever to obtain the permission to have and use one, because it's required to go through a large amount of paper work. Even then the request for one could be denied unless there's a good reason for needing it." Skuld said as she took a moment to observe the object. It was only now, after it was mentioned, when she noticed that it did indeed look like a normal sticker. "I was lucky that I was granted instant access to one because of the importance of this assignment." The young goddess once more felt a sense of pride at being able to do a special assignment. "Could you lean forward a little so I can make sure I put it on right?"
Slightly wary, but nodding in compliance, Ranma leaned forward just enough so that the other girl could attach the seal. Once the task was finished, Ranma stood back up and brought her hand to her forehead. "So what now?"
"Next is the activation incantation." Skuld answered as she raised her hands in front of her and closed her eyes. Though the young goddess wasn't able to use magic very well, she could still get the task done due to the seal having its own magic that just requires chants. "O seal of instantaneous rebirth, I beseech you to allow this young woman the gift to live once again -- along with memories intact -- within the realm of Midgard."
As the seal began to glow and spread throughout her body, Ranma -- feeling a sense of dread with the 'young woman' part of the spell. "H-- Hey, Skuld, I'm a--" She had to stop and try to hold back a shout of pain as the seals started to give off a powerful burning sensation. "I-- I'm a g-- guy…"
Her statement was lost on deaf ears as the goddess was lost within the incantation. "…may she safely traverse the path of rebirth and return to the mortal plane, in the form seen, before this immortal host." Once Skuld finished, the seal markings that spread throughout Ranma's body began to glow brightly and form a sealing circle upon the floor. "Whew, I was able to finiEEP!" She was shocked to find herself being grabbed by the collar and pulled towards an oddly irate -- and sweaty -- redhead. "Um… too painful?"
Ranma wanted to shout out 'yes' and hit the goddess upside the head, but there were more pressing matters to deal with. "Did you just send me down to be reborn as a girl?"
Skuld could only nod as she stared into a pair of furious eyes. The slight gasp that came from Botan also reached her ears. She was confused as to why the girl would be angry with what she did, because the one before her WAS a girl, right?
"Why? I'm a guy, damn it!"
"What? But…" The young goddess trailed off as she glanced over the taller girl's body, but couldn't see how the girl could be male when she was obviously female. "But you look female."
"I AM a boy. I'm only a girl because of Jusenkyou. If you get me some hot water--"
"That won't work." Botan interrupted with a cough. "You died while in female form, and so your spirit ended up female. If you had died as a male, then it would have been the opposite." She couldn't believe that the issue totally slipped her mind.
Ranma's body froze at hearing those words. "NO!" She shouted as she tried to peal off the sticker, but to no avail. "Nonononononono! This can't be happening!"
"W-- Well," Skuld began in a small voice, "I could stop the rebirthing process, and then I could re-cast it to have it send you down as a male instead of female, but--"
"BUT WHAT?!" The redhead shouted as she shook the goddess. The seals were getting brighter and brighter by the moment.
"I-- I forgot the incantation to stop it." It was said in a low voice, but it still managed to reach the ears of the distraught former martial artist. "I spent a longer time learning how to activate it, and so I can't remember the full deactivation chant." She never imagined that it would turn out like this, and if she had, she would have prepared more.
A desperate look appeared within Ranma's eyes. "Th-- there has to be something you can do! I don't want to be a girl permanently!"
Looking into the older girl-- boy-- whatever's eyes, she couldn't help but see the shock, anger, and despair all mixing together as the seal covered her entire body and a dome sprang up from the circle on the floor and around Ranma. "I-- I'm sorry, b-- but there's nothing I can do. It can't be stopped at this point." She watched the redhead instantly vanish, and the last thing she heard from her was the phrase 'This is all your fault!'
Her disappearance caused Skuld to fall back onto her ass, and the girl couldn't help but feel slightly embarrassed over the whole ordeal. She felt sorry for messing up like that while helping the mortal, but rationalized that it wouldn't be too hard for the redhead to get used to it. Besides, it could have been just the emotional aspect of being dead that caused her to get overly worked up about it.
'Still, that could have gone a lot better…'
With a long sigh, Kami-sama rested his hands upon His desk and contemplated the event that had just occurred. The only reason He could give for giving Ranma Saotome the chance of instant rebirth was that something within the back of His mind was telling Him that it must be done, and the Almighty could only assume that it was an act of fate itself. It's not like it was the only time it had ever happened, and He had learned countless millennia ago that when that feeling told Him something that must be done, it usually turned out for the better. After-all, fate and destiny did work in mysterious ways… even to the Great One.
'Too bright.' Ranma thought as her vision was assaulted by light. All she knew after having vanished from the office of Enma was total darkness for what almost seemed like hours, and the inability to move properly was an even bigger issue entirely. In fact, it seemed as if she lacked all physical and ki ability that she used to have. She literally had no power, and so she had to wonder just how she was supposed to get back at Voldemort.
"Congratulations, Mrs. Malfoy." A voice spoke in what Ranma was able to identify as English. "You have given birth to a healthy set of twins; a boy and a girl." Ranma may not have been fluent in the language, but she still knew enough to understand what the speaker was saying. As such, the former Saotome was interested in learning that she -- if what was said earlier, to her horror, about being reborn as a girl was correct -- had a brother. She just wished that her eyes could focus a little better in the bright light so that she could see what was going on. All she knew was that she was being wrapped up in a blanket and handed off to someone else.
"They're so beautiful." Narcissa Malfoy breathed as she held the two babies close and closely observed their features. Her son had small tufts of blond hair similar to her own and her husbands. Whenever he managed to open his eyes, Narcissa could faintly see a pair of blue-gray eyes.
Her daughter's hair, on the other hand, was a vivid red that wasn't all that common amongst her own family, the Blacks. Of course, her blonde hair was almost unheard of within the Black family, but at least red hair was found in the family hundreds of years ago before it seemed to almost vanish without a trace once the Black name became more pronounced. 'Lina would probably be happy to see red hair again.' Narcissa thought as her mind drifted to the magical portrait of her ancestor.
When her daughter opened her eyes slightly, the Malfoy matriarch couldn't help but stare at the strange combination of eye color. The infant's eyes were split between blue and red with the upper half consisting of the former while the bottom half contained the latter. The colors mixed seamlessly in the middle and seemed almost unnatural. Narcissa was only able to break contact when the girl's eyes closed.
The blonde raised her head when she heard the door open, and she watched as her husband marched over and stood by her side. "Aren't they adorable, Lucius?" Narcissa asked as she gave the man a bright smile.
"That they are, dear." Lucius answered as he softly ran his fingers across his wife's cheek. He was overjoyed that he finally had a son, but it had also surprised him greatly to know that he also ended up with a daughter as well. "And I am certain that they will do us proud."
"Have you thought about any names that we could give our son?" Narcissa asked with a small tilt to her head. "Because I think I may have thought up the perfect name for our little girl."
Lucius gave an affirmative nod. "I was thinking that Draco would be a fine name for the son of the Malfoy family. Draco Malfoy, a name that everyone will come to respect." He promptly turned his attention towards their daughter. "And what name have you considered to be perfect for her?"
"Lina Inversia Malfoy, in honor of my ancestor, Lina Inverse." Looking back down at her sleeping daughter, Narcissa couldn't help but let a loving smile spring into existence. "I just can't help but feel that it'll be a name that will become well known and powerful."
"It's about time some red hair appeared along the family line again." A woman within a large portrait commented as she watched Narcissa sit next to a crib that held a pair of peacefully sleeping infants. The person of the portrait had the appearance of a girl of about 17 or 18 with vibrant red hair and large crimson eyes. Her outfit seemed old and flashy, as if it were out of a classic tale of swords and sorcery. "And you even named her after me."
"Maybe she'll even be able to take after you in magical ability?" Narcissa asked with a hint of hope. She could just imagine the thought of her being the mother of possibly the greatest witch the entire world would ever see. The very thought caused her eyes to shine in wonder.
"That would be nice." Lina answered as she stared off into the distance. "Sorcery has practically died since my time, and so to see it happen again would make me happy. All this wand waving stuff that replaced it stinks, and while there is the rare person who can do magic wandless, it is still way weaker than the stuff people of old could do." She just couldn't believe that the magic ability could diminish so much to a point where people needed to use wands to get the most out of their magic.
Narcissa nodded as she stood up from her chair. "From all the stories that you have told me, it definitely sounds like sorcery was an amazing art form." Turning towards her sleeping children, she gave both a warm smile. 'They're so precious.' She glanced back at the portrait of her ancestor. "Lina, could you watch over them for a moment. I need to check on something, but I'll be right back. If they end up waking up, please tell me."
"Alright" Lina answered with a nod and watched as the Malfoy matriarch left the room. "Hopefully her personality and behavior don't get taken over by the less desirable 'pure blood' beliefs."
"My, my, there really is a bit of a resemblance between the child and yourself, Lina." The portrait in question snapped her head to look in the direction of the window where the voice had come from.
"X-- Xellos? What the hell are you doing here?" She asked in shock as she observed the man leaning lazily against the window sill. His outfit consisted of a wrinkled beige tunic covered by a blackish-blue mantle that reached down to his knees. His black pants had bandages taped around the ankles so as to make sure that nothing got inside, and his footwear consisted of simple brown boots. A pair of purple-blue gloves covered his hands, and held in his right was a long wooden staff with a red gem resting on the end. His dark purple hair was cut in a shoulder-length bob style. Finally, his eyes were half closed and belayed a look of one that was happy beyond anything else.
The man known as Xellos took a step away from the window. "I'm touched that you remember me so fondly, Lina." Making his way over to the crib, he stared down at the tiny redhead. "I wonder if she could indeed be capable of learning sorcery. It'd be an interesting outcome to say the least."
"Don't you dare touch her, Xellos." Lina growled as she clenched her fist. "Just what are you doing here, and why are you interested in her?"
Xellos turned to her and raised a finger. "Now that, my dear Lina, is a secret." Before the woman of the portrait could yell a few choice words, he continued. "Even to me."
That caused her to halt. "Huh?" She asked intelligently. "What do you mean by that?"
"It's simple," the Mazouku answered as he walked over and sat on the window sill. "Lord Beastmaster has been getting strange information as of late, and it involves that child over there. I'm merely doing the things that she tells me to do, but who am I to complain? It allows me a chance to get out in the world and stretch my legs."
"Okay, but what's all this have to do with that infant?"
Xellos shrugged deeply. "I just know that when she turns two-years-old, I'm to collect her to better help her abilities."
"You can't do that! If you do, I'll--"
"Tell her parents?" Xellos asked as he opened his eyes and gave the portrait a deep look. "If you do that, I'll just take her on the here and now instead of the then and there. Nobody will be able to stop me, and it'd be so easy to do." His eyes closed again and he regained his happy façade. "Well," he said as he jumped to his feet and stepped up onto the ledge of the window, "I must be going, but I will come for her when she hits two-years-old." Without another word, the mazouku hopped out of the window and vanished.
"This can't be happening." Lina groaned as she slapped herself in the head. "Not even a week old and already has my knack for attracting Mazouku." Just how much did the infant take after her?
Speaking of the baby, Lina noticed that she was starting to stir, and it was only a moment later before her eyes opened to reveal a pair of interesting looking eyes.
I apologize for being so late in making updates and all. There's really no excuse for it other than me being so slow in doing so.