I disclaim that I don't own anything in this fic except the story. Ranma 1/2 and El-Hazard are copyrighted in North America by Viz Entertainment.
Hazards of War
A Ranma / El-Hazard fusion
By Dr. Suekeiichi Kaiton
"Mistress Shayla! Mistress Shayla come quick!" A disrobed acolyte came running through the doors leading to the High Priestess's main audience chamber where Shayla-Shayla, Afura Mann and Miz Mishtal were lounging after their return from Roshtaria. The acolyte was holding a wet bath sheet in an attempt to cover her nudity and rushed to Shayla's side. "A man is in the baths!"
"A man is _in_ the baths?" Afura gaze a perplexed look to her follow priestesses, no male was allowed past the great reception hall unless they were a dignitary or physician and since there were no elemental priests the appearance of a man in the baths was disturbing, in more ways than one. "That's ridiculous! There are no men on Mt. Muldoon, no one came through this chamber for hours." The only passage to the rear of the shrine from the entrance was through that chamber, and they had been talking for a few hours.
"No, I swear! A half naked man walked out of the steam in the baths!" The acolyte was one of Shayla's students and as such she clung to the Priestess's rather short skirt.
"Maybe you'd better start from the beginning." Shayla pried the girl off her clothes and settled her down on a couch, wrapping her in a blanket.
"Yes, then maybe we can figure out what happened." Miz looked rather bored, compared to the excitement of Masamichi Fujisawa's proposal and the vaporization of the Trigger of Destruction, the trivial hallucinations of shrine maidens were particularly dull. It was bound to happen sooner or later, eventually all shrine maidens suffer a breakdown from the utter lack of male contact. Daydreams about men and the hormonal urges simmering inside led to all sorts of troubles, especially hallucinations brought on by the heat of the baths.
"I was washing up from today's lessons when I heard the man smash into a pile of pails lining the wall on the other side, I hadn't seen him yet mind you, and so I toweled off and walked over to see what had happened. He came out of the steam, stumbling, I am sure he was a man for even though he was half-clothed he had the broad shoulders and chest of a male." She was patted on the shoulder by Afura and Miz then allowed to go upstairs to her dorm and dress.
Shayla's eyebrow was twitching, Afura seemed puzzled and Miz didn't really care, it seemed to her fair time they were all screwed.
---Two days later---
Ranma awoke nestled into an overstuffed comforter with unbelievably puffy pillows supporting her neck. Finding herself in female form, she decided to enjoy the comfort with the dangers of looking weak behind her. Needless to say, she was quite surprised when a beautiful redhead appeared at her bedside. Sitting up, she eyed the girl with a certain degree of trepidation, it was obvious the girl had some combat training and she could sense a fiery aura surrounding the stranger.
"Awake I see" The girl had bright red hair and was garbed in only an extremely tight, white tanktop and a pair of black bikini-style panties. "So who the hell are you?"
Ranma leapt out of the bed, twirled in mid-air and fell into an Anything-Goes stance. Her eyes immediately fell to the odd, mechanical contraption hanging from the girl's left flank, a gun of some sort-Ranma prepared for the worst. The girl's hands twitched to the gun, her face growing more and more feral, and her fingers withdrew a pullcord and a bracelet with an odd, luminescent red jewel embedded into it. Not giving her opponent a chance to use the aforementioned weapon, Ranma flipped over the redhead and executed a neck chop which crumpled the girl at her feet. Giving the fallen girl a once over, Ranma drew up her clothes, dressed, and ran out in search of an exit.
The place looked like a palace, or an image from an Arabic myth, Ranma thought as she paced the hallways leading to the entrance. Originally planning to leap out a window and make a clean getaway, she reconsidered when she saw the apocalyptic drop off of the Muldoon mountain. Even a world-class martial artist wouldn't survive a fall like that.
The women walking around were eyeing her strangely, not even commenting on her clothing, which was a great departure from their own, but simply bowing to her and addressing her as Shayla-Shayla or some such garbage. After peeking in several rooms, most notably the storage vault where all kinds of discarded wedding gifts were stored, Ranma arrived at the baths cloaked in steam. The desire to be male once more outweighed the danger sense blaring in his head and he took a headlong dive into the hot fountain.
Afura and Miz were sitting at the far end of the baths, away from the pools where lower maidens bathed, in the pool sectioned off for the private use of the High Priestesses. After the eventful day each needed a long soak to wash away the pressures of the day and the rantings of Shayla. Afura saw on the periphery of her vision a red-haired woman enter the baths, mistaking her for Shayla, she began walking forward to admonish her for her treatment of the stranger and was shocked when the girl stripped off her clothes and leapt at her.
Before she could utter a scream or call for Miz, the girl was upon her, and there was no mistaking it was a girl as her breasts squished into Afura's hands. Ranma was shocked to fall on a woman and tried to extricate herself before the change occurred but the woman had an almost vise-like grip on her breasts. The change began to occur and Afura screamed at the sensation of the female's breasts deflating like balloons in her hands. With a scream, a splash and a gurgle, Ranma and Afura fell into the hot water.
Realizing that the woman had fainted, Ranma supported her back and lifted her head above water as he walked the upward incline of the bath to the edge. Miz, who had watched the events unfold as if in slow motion, gratefully took the fallen priestess from the stranger who she could easily see was no woman any longer. If anything he was a most virile man. Given time to process the data, her mind eventually stopped taking in the view and informed her he was a man, and she was naked. Swiftly taking up a towel and activating the lamp of water, she took a defensive stance.
"Who are you?" She called forth a waterspout to envelop the man in a swirl of liquid. "Answer me! Who are you and how did you come to be here?"
"Listen lady, I don't know how I got here but there's some crazy chick after me with a gun! I don't have time for this!" His battle aura sprang up around him, evaporating the water and awaking Afura with the bright strobe of crimson which exploded behind her eyelids. The man was floating off the ground, swirling magenta and red flames erupting around him, he was using a sealed technique, Eastern Capitol.
During the times of the Ancient El Hazardians there existed four major empires, North, South, East, and West. The Elemental Priestesses of Mt. Muldoon inherited their fighting styles from one of each powerful country; Wind learned Southern, Water learned Western, and Fire learned Northern. The techniques of the Eastern capitol where forever sealed away as being too dangerous for the safety of the entire world, the techniques were later lost as they required a male to perform them. The Elemental Priests had died out long ago, and nothing remained of their Shine save the pillars of a great garden. "GET OUTTA MY WAY!!!"
Ranma stared down the stupefied gaze of Miz as his aura blazed around him, the normally icy blue mingling with veins of black and red. Ranma felt a different surge of power when he embraced his ki, something almost living and writhing in his body, eager to be released. The water around him evaporated into mist swirling around his floating form before resolving itself as a halo. Afura called forth a wind to push him out, but he was unmovable, his face hard with anger. Shayla Shayla had slumped in after him, gazing at the pulses and bursts of light twirling in the air.
"Hey there buddy! Wanna try that again?" Shayla pulled her Lamp of Fire from the leather pouch hanging at her knee and, after pulling the rip-cord and taking her trademark pose, willed the flames into a fiery dragon around her body.
"Don't Shayla! You don't know what you're fighting! You can't win!" Afura pulled herself out of the green-lined bath, empty now that the scented water was swirling around their mystery guest.
"Shut up, Afura! I can take on this guy — no problem!" She leapt up into the air and focused the flame around her right foot, planning to pulverize the intruder with a red-hot kick, before Ranma moved she had struck. She slid slowly off the barrier of blue, black and red. "Dammit you bastard! Just play nice and die why dontcha?" She pummeled the shield until her hand bled.
"That was real nice! Why don't you see what I can do!" Ranma let the reins go on the power, the surging life-force wrapped around his ki, and projected it off his body. Tendrils of power lashed out and grasped the polished columns around the room, lifting their chosen host two feet off the ground as dragon wings of flame erupted from his back. Ranma was in heaven, no power before had ever felt that that, a rushing torrent of burning mercury in his veins, scorching all the weakness out of his body as the light blinded him and yet brought new sight to his eyes. To the eyes of the priestesses, he was the demon incarnate, an Elemental Priest revived from hallowed antiquity.
The raging dragon that enveloped Ranma began to break against the stone pillars of the baths, a screeching roar arose from everywhere and knocked the three women out onto the terrace. The overgrown garden which greeted his eyes seemed vaguely familiar, as if through a cloud of dense fog deep within the inner recesses of his memory the image curled into focus. He looked at the high spires and broad columns, the polished marble of the new temple and the pitted stone of the decrepit courtyard, and clutched his head in pain as knowledge was inserted into his head with a burning needle. The history of the land was pushed into his brain, squeezing out the meaningless memories and replacing them with images, thoughts, faces, and words, all of time immemorial.
Shayla and Afura stood off to the side near the jagged precipice of the mountain, Miz across the courtyard from them, swirling razor sharp blades of water around her frame. All three watched in amazement as the stranger clutched his head in obvious pain and swooned slightly before crumpling to the ground in a heap. The aura of power, that iridescent dragon of the Eastern Capitol, dispersed from the plane of existence leaving its hollow avatar on the cold stone of the ruins.
"So what the hell are we going to do with him?" Shayla jerked a finger back at the unconscious but tightly bound body of Ranma.
"I contacted Princess Rune and Makoto, they want him taken to Roshtaria. Apparently he has something to do with Makoto's home dimension." Afura floated down from the second floor balcony, gently coming to rest before her short-tempered partner. "Miz wanted to return anyway to finish the plans for her nuptials."
"Thanks right!" Miz appeared from her room, carrying a short bundle of clothes clasped with a blue crystal. She was wearing her blue uniform with sea-green tights and the translucent chemise she was so fond of wearing. "Why for all I know Mr. Fujisawa is off gallivanting around the town, enjoying his last few weeks of bachelorhood, we have to go so I can keep an eye on him."
"You mean keep him on a short leash." Shayla smirked and saw Afura crack a slight smile before Miz stomped down and got right in her face.
"And what do you mean by that, Shayla-Shayla!? It's important that a man understand his limitations!" A vein budged grotesquely from her forehead and tell-tale wrinkles appeared around her mouth and eyes. "I just want my Masamichi to be properly 'trained' before the wedding night! Is that such a bad thing!?"
"Uh nonot when you put it that way" Shayla backed away from the enraged priestess and checked their 'guest', the man who hadn't so much as moved for the past five days, the man who could summon powers of frightening proportions. "Anyway, so how are we going to get him there, the transport's worth shit and unless-"
"Princess Rune is sending a yacht for us, after all we are heroes. Why shouldn't we go in style?"
Afura placed a placating hand on her comrade's shoulder. "Calm down Miz, there's no reason to get upset, just because Shayla's missing a few brain cells doesn't mean she's a complete moron."
"Thanks Afura." Shayla went back to check the prisoner's restraints, walking back into the darkened room. Miz settled herself and sat back on a couch, splaying her arms and legs all about.
"I wonder when she'll realize what I just said." Afura sat next to her, crossing her legs demurely and ticking off the seconds before Shayla stormed back in, steam pouring from her ears.
Miz took a sip of juice from the cup and pitcher next to her and looked back at the fire priestess. "Oh, I give her thirty seconds. The way you worded it and all."
"See?" Miz set the cup down and moved her clothes away from Afura, if Shayla was going to have another distasteful display she didn't want any of her good uniforms to be ruined. "You made her this angry, you deal with it!" Afura simply sweatdropped and began edging away towards the garden when Shayla appeared through the threshold, pulsing crimson with power and looking wicked pissed off.
"HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!" Shayla blasted the tiles under Afura's feet and stalked across the lobby, her aura shaking the crystal chandeliers overhead.
"Miss Miz, Miss Afura, Miss Shayla, come quickly!" A maid's voice called from the kitchen, breaking Shayla's concentration.
"What is it!? I was in the middle of something!" The fiery priestess called back into the shrine.
"Come, come, now Shayla-dear, if they called us then that means something's wrong. I just hope this doesn't end up like the last surprise." Miz looked back at the comatose Ranma and shuddered at the remembrance of his power as he called the Serpent of Plasma from the earth. "If you two are quite finished, let's go see what the cook's screaming about."
Afura walked back inside from the pillared garden and brushed soot from her leggings, striding past Shayla with nary a glance in her direction. "Next time Shayla try not to destroy the floor, you know how much it costs to have it repaired." The younger woman seethed in anger as her enemy joined Miz in the passage to the kitchens. Afura would get hers one day
As the three priestesses finally reached the open room that served as a kitchen, with wide counters and stone ovens, smelling of freshly baked bread; the head cook motioned them over to a corner of the room. The head cook was in her middle age, plump and jovial, but was a stern taskmaster - otherwise she wouldn't have been head chief since before Miz became a priestess. All three noticed that all of the other maids were huddled in the corner, as if blocking something between the stone walls.
"What is the problem?" Afura pushed her way past the standing crowd and witnessed one of the strangest scene she would ever see.
"Hey stop pushing!" Shayla was temped to power up just to scatter the girls but thought better of it when she met the gaze of the mistress of the maids.
The cook just folded her arms across her chest and gestured towards the corner with a wooden spoon. "I think we've got a Phantom Tribe member here."
The image was one that shocked the maids to no end, those that had never seen a Phantom Tribe member, but to the priestesses it brought back memories of Ifurita's Isle and Galus. There was a loaf of bread floating in thin air. Miz and Shayla power up, prepared to mash the loathsome spy into jelly if he dared try to escape. Afura merely observed with interest as the loaf was lifted with invisible hands to (presumably) the mouth of the creature and a chunk more disappeared. The maids around them gasped and screamed, scattering further back and away from the freak in the corner. Miz began gathering water from the basins around her, the pearly droplets coalesing into a pulsing blue softball between her hands.
"No don't!" Afura threw her hand out, halting Miz's attack in mid-swing.
"Why, Afura? It's a member of the Phantom Tribe, they all deserve to be destroyed for what they tried to do!" Shayla screamed at her friend, still rather peeved about her sarcastic comment before. She too had a ball of energy in her hands and she too was barred from using it by Afura's arm.
"I don't think that this is a member of the Phantom Tribe." The other two priestesses powered down their attacks but kept their talismans active, just in case Afura was wrong.
"The damn worm is invisible! What more evidence do you need!?" Shayla was losing her patience rapidly, if she didn't get a chance to destroy something she was going to explode.
Afura looked back and addressed Miz, it was apparent that talking to Shayla was useless. "Think about it, if he was a Phantom Tribe member don't you think he'd just create an illusion of the kitchen and not risk being found?"
"You do have a point there, when Nahato attacked us at the Royal palace we couldn't see him or the knife he held." Miz powered down completely and regarded the floating loaf. "I think you're right, Afura."
"I think this could just be some kinda trick meant to make us vunrable!" Shayla really needed to vent her frustrations bad or else the whole kitchen was likely to explode into flames.
"If you're just going to jump to conclusions and destroy something why not go back and watch the prisoner, okay?"
"Aw shut up Afura, I can handle this." The fire priestess powered down. Abruptly the bread began to move, sliding across the wall towards the door. "Oh no you don't!" She fired a small blast at the area where the body would be and was rewarded with a thin scream as the figure was thrown against the wall. The bread fell off to the side. "See? I told ya I could handle this!"
"Yes, and you might have almost killed him." Afura replied dryly. She crouched by the impact site and ran her hand along the cracked wall, moving in concentric circles until her hand encountered something hard. "If this was a true Phantom Tribe member then he would have either diappated or become visible when unconscious or dead." She grasped one of the invisible arms and hoisted him off the floor. "Would someone please help me get this thing into a room?" Shayla and Miz took hold of the figure and helped Afura drag him into the bedroom where Ranma was calmly sleeping.
"For an invisible man he sure is heavy!" Shayla threw him roughly onto the bed. "Should I bind him?"
"Yes, we don't want him escaping before we know who and what he is." Afura and Miz wrapped the figure to the bed, tieing the ropes securely so he couldn't escape. Shayla just stared at the unconscious Ranma and sniffed distainfully. "If you're finished staring at the handsome man, we could use a little help!"
"Sure." Shayla blushed deep crimson at Afura's comment. She hadn't meant to stare, really she hadn't. What business was it of Afura's to yell at her for appreciating the finely sculpted muscles of the stranger, or the way the thin white sheet became transparent when the light streamed through it - giving her a clear view of what lay below his waist? She wasn't being dirty, she just wanted to know more about her attacker, was that so bad?
Afura rapped her hard over the head. "If you're finished daydreaming, Miz and I are finished tieing the prisoner. Make sure the other is secured and meet us back in the kitchen, I have a few questions." The teal-dressed wind priestess strode out and left the red-head to tuck Ranma back into the bed.
"Alright! I'll get to bed after I check on the prisoners." Shayla called up at Afura who had just finished reminding the fire priestes that they were leaving the next morning for Roshtaria. She wasn't going in to do anything perverted, really she wasn't! She was just going to check on the invisible assailent and make sure he was still there, if the other prisoner's sheet was thrown off his nude body when she walked in, what did it matter to Afura?
Needless to say, Shayla was very surprised when she opened the door and saw Ranma practicing katas in the moonlight while a pale-looking boy with short brown hair sat on the edge of the other bed. Of course it took a few moments for her mind to register the fact that he was naked as he did those aireal flips, when she did; however, it only took a moment for her to strap on her talisman and power up.
Ranma looked at the newcomer and ripped the sheet off his bed, covering his nudity as best he could under the circumstances. The other boy just sighed in defeat and began strapping himself back onto the bed. Shayla was just a little put off by that, where had the invisible man gone?
"Great, just great I get the crazy chick with the gun again!" Ranma tucked the corner of the sheet under his arm and took a defensive stance in front of the other. "Before you try to kill me could I get my clothes back?"
"I guess not." Ranma dodged her clumsy rush and retaliated with a neat chop to the back of her neck, sending her sprawling onto the stone floor.
"What's all this noise!? Shayla-Shayla, are you doing something perverted to the prisoners!?" Miz and Afura appeared in the doorway to the darkened room, Ranma couldn't make out their features as the light was coming in from behind them.
"Who the hell're you?" Ranma, ever the elloquent gentleman, asked before his sheet fell off. He hastily reclaimed his covering and grinned at them sheepishly. "Uh, sorry about that, the name's Ranma Saotome, nice to meet you." Shayla was picking herself up off the floor. "You aren't gonna kill me or nothin' are ya?"
"Kill you? Of course not!" Miz and Afura helped Shayla to her feet. When all three of them were standing and ready, they simultainiously powered up and fired varied blasts at the rogue man. Ranma took one look at the blasts of power barreling towards him and cursed as he dodged desperately. The vacuum blades narrowly missed, the spiral of flame was easy to dodge but it was the flood of water that finally struck him. "But we never promised not to hurt you!" Afura sent thousands of wind blades into the storm of water.
"I think I've had just about enough of you girls!" A distinctly feminine voice called from the waterspout before a red blur shot out and tackled Miz to the ground. "Why don't ya stop hiding behind those fancy guns of yours and fight me man to man?" Afura and Shayla looked down at the fiery bush of pubic hair and looked back to the red-framed face. "Figuratively speaking."
"I'm gonna fry your sorry ass to kingdom come!" Ever the eloquent speaker, Shayla let loose a burst of power and leapt towards him.
Ranma watched the red-head close in on her with interest. "I recognize the techniqueSouthern Capitol? Heh! Amateur!" Like a flashback from their first meeting with Ifurita, Ranma forced his arua out and took to the air, meeting Shayla in mid-flight. "You're two hundred years too early to beat me girl!"
"Shut up and fight, bastard!" She winced as her opponent smashed through her defenses with a powerful blow and sent her rocketing back down to the floor. "D-damnitt! J-just like Ifurita!"
Afura stepped back and circled the glowing prisoner, memorizing any blemish on her body until she came to her back, where twin circular indentations stood out on her pale skin. "It's a Demon God! Everyone get back!" She fired her 'Super Big Gab Slash' at the girl's back and withdrew to the relative safety of the pillars.
"Give me some warning why don't ya?" Ranma dodged the blast easily, the beam of wind blowing through the temple wall and scattering debris down the jagged peaks of Mt. Muldoon. "Mokou Takabashi!" A massive ball of energy formed in her hands before she launched it at Afura, demolishing the library in an instant. "Get out here so I can kick your ass!" Afura simply groaned from underneath the chunks of stone pinning her to the floor.
"Water Spout!" Miz thrust her open palm at the destructive God and a wave of water appeared from the mortar of the stones themselves, hurdling towards him in a wall of death. Ranma spun on her heel and fired a ball of heated ki into the wave before letting the attack overwhelm her, emerging as a man once again.
"STOP THIS AT ONCE!!!!!" Eveyone froze at the authoritative tone as Princess Rune Venus of Roshtaria stepped in from the landing pad with two flanks of guards. "I GAVE SPECIFIC ORDERS FOR THE PRISONERS NOT TO BE HURT! WHY THEN ARE YOU ALL FIGHTING!?" Her 'cat', Dura, was wrapped around her midsection. From the white craft outside came Makoto, Nanami, Fujisawa, Fatora and Allielle. No sooner had Makoto entered the room than he rushed to Ranma's side, shaking his hand and elated that his plan worked. Nanami looked away blushing at Ranma's nudity while Allielle openly drooled, her mistress Fatora looking away in disgust. "Do you know this man, Makoto?"
The boy in question stopped examining Ranma's markings when Rune called his name, jarring him back to the situation at hand. "Yes I do, Princess Rune, he is the one I called."
"Than why has he desicrated the Temple of Mt. Muldoon?" Rune watched as Londs and two other guards helped pull Afura from the rubble and helped Miz and Shayla to their feet.
"These crazy women are trying to kill me! First this red-haired one," he pointed to Shayla, "starts running after me with a gun and then the other two started attacking me when I came to earlier." Ranma pulled a pair of his pants from the demolished room and tied the drawstring tight.
"D-don't listen to him, princess, he's a Demon God!" Afura leapt up from the stretcher and stood in front of the Queen protectively. "He used the sealed techniques of Eastern Capitol!" Miz and Shayla dragged themselves in front of the Queen as well, even though they were on their last legs they would protect Rune with their dying breath.
"No wait! I can explain!" Makoto leapt in front of Ranma. "All this is my fault!" The priesteses relaxedjust a little bit. Princess Rune was finally the one to break the awkward silence.
"Explain yourself, Makoto."