The Jade Rose's Thorn
By Bree R.
"But I only have two hundred yen mister I'm sorry." Ranma pouted cutely while facing a middle aged man behind the counter of an ice cream store. Ranma was in her cursed form wearing normal clothing for her a black pair of pants with a tan Chinese top with a small red ribbon on its top.
"Aw...that's enough for you to buy it sweetie! You can pay me back the difference next time OK?" the man asked kindly.
"Yay! Thank you sir!" Ranma exclaimed paying the man her discounted rate and walking back outside her ice cream happily in her hand.
Smiling and walking out the door of the shop she was exasperated to see Tatewaki Kuno annoyance, wannabe playboy and pervert approaching her. What really put her on edge though was the item he was holding which was not a bokken but a Jade rose of some kind which was gently pulsating red every few seconds.
"Ah my lovely Pig-tailed girl! I have procured an item that I have been told will make you free to love me and break all hold the evil sorcerer has over you! I was told if I gave it to you..."
An expression of dread crossed Ranma's face. While she knew that often Kuno was usually only all bluster he had a nasty habit of locating powerful magical artifacts and the chance that he had found another one that would likely have extremely negative and nightmarish consequences for her. Quickly she considered her options. Running or simply knocking the idiot out were good options but knowing how badly her luck was he would simply come back later and would likely use the thing at the worst possible moment while she was distracted with some other event. Taking that into consideration she analyzed the best possible method for relieving him of the damned thing. A quick blow to the back of his head while he was delivering his idiotic speech before running off with the item in question would likely be a good idea.
Nodding her head slightly her course of action set clearly in her mind Ranma dropped her ice cream a slight frown crossing her features and with a burst of speed managed to dance around Kuno and with a moderate amount of force hit him near the base of his skull. With Kuno now extremely off balance she grabbed the item from his hands. Instead of a look of disappointment she was expecting to see on his face however he instead began to smile widely.
"Ah my goddess I knew you loved me touching the item while I thought of my love for you...Now, we will always be together." Kuno stated lustily.
"What?" Ranma questioned with horror. The rose's glow began to steadily grow. Desperately she tried to release or throw away the object but she simply couldn't make her muscles release the rose. The roses luminescence continued to spread until her entire body was covered in a light red aura. Within the field she could feel her mind being slowly warped and then the pain started and with that she began to scream while the red aura spread further and further. Kuno meanwhile was standing haughtily nearby quickly recovering from the blow Ranma had delivered a expression of pure happiness on his face. Once the glow subsided Ranma turned to face him with a questioning look on her face.
"Oh Tatewaki-kun what is going on?" Ranma asked quietly in a shy tone.
"I have freed you from your curse and association with that vile sorcerer Saotome! We are now free to be together my love!" Kuno exclaimed proudly.
"Truly? You have freed me from that awful curse?" Ranma questioned hopeful tears in her eyes. A kettle magically materialized over her splashing her with near boiling water but she remained in her female form. Slightly steaming she exclaimed "My curse is gone! We can finally be together my love!" With that Ranma threw herself at the kendoist effortlessly flowing into a firm kiss. She began to drag him steadily back towards his estate and bed where they could...
"NOO!" Ranma screamed jumping up from his futon into a ready position. "That damned rose was in my dream again...a dream just a..." Ranma commented beginning to relax until a furry hand grabbed him and turned him around. Ranma briefly saw a sign that stated 'Little Panda's need their sleep!' before finding himself airborne heading toward the Tendo koi pond which he promptly entered with a splash.
Puling herself out of the pond Ranma grumbled to herself "Damn furry ol' bastard. Never could do this kinda crap on the road." Ranma continued to grumble slowly stepping out of the pond wringing her clothing and hair out before walking into of the Tendo household.
While walking to the furo two doors opened. She blearily recognized the forms of his fiancée Akane and her sister Kasumi. "What was all that noise Ranma?" Akane asked irritation mixed with a undercurrent of concern registering in her voice.
"Nothing tom...Akane just a nightmare is all before my ol' man slammed me inta that damned pond." Ranma replied testily.
"Ranma honestly if you want to talk about it..." Akane began.
"Leave it alone tomboy! I'm fine it's fine it'll be fine." Ranma expressed irritatedly.
"Hmphh fine! In that case just leave me out of your perverted dreams!" she stated before retreating into her room and slamming her door shut.
"You alright Ranma-kun? This is the fourth time in as many nights you've woken up like this." Kasumi asked with her typical motherly concern.
"I'm fine Kasumi. Nothin' I ain't used ta. You go on back to sleep." Ranma replied softly.
"Alright good night Ranma-kun." With that Kasumi softly closed her door while Ranma made his way into the furo to regain his masculinity and to clean off the pond scum. Thinking about sleeping or being in her female form after dreams like that made her shudder.
In the darkness somewhere in or near the Tendo house a indistinguishable figure began to shake with light laughter and softly muttered one phrase repeatedly with manic glee. "Tomorrow, it will all begin tomorrow."
The next morning the members of the household went about their usual movements. Until finally breakfast began. Between eating her sisters culinary creations and watching the Saotome family food floor show Nabiki couldn't help herself but to make a sarcastic comment or two.
"So Saotome...I heard you woke up last night screaming from another dream? Who was the lucky girl?" Nabiki asked innocently. Akane visibly angered at the reminder of the incident the previous night while Soun perked his head up from his ever present newspaper.
"There wasn't a girl in the damn dream Nabiki. Just leave it alone." Ranma stated between inhaling his food and attempting to block his father's chop sticks.
"Oh? Who was the lucky boy then?" Nabiki asked sarcastically. Ranma instantly stopped his fight with his father and began sweating and shivering. "Oh ho...so I was right who was after your petite lithe body 'little sis'?" Nabiki saccharinely questioned.
"A BOY?" Akane exclaimed outraged.
"Oh my deviant son/son-in law!" Genma and Soun lamented.
"NO! NO! It was nothing about a boy! It was just the damn pit again is all! OK?" Ranma exclaimed panicked. With that outburst out of the way and a few more scattered insults the family grudgingly went back to eating and conversation drifted to other topics.
A few minutes later Nabiki stood up stretched and said, "Well I'm off to school. We'll pick you out a dress and some cute shoes to please your man later okay Ranma-chan!" to which Ranma only grumbled angrily. A couple minutes later Ranma and Akane stood up from the table as well and picked up their school bags and bentos.
"Oh just a second Akane-chan I need to talk to you if you don't mind?" Kasumi asked calmly.
Akane looked over to Ranma sighed then turned back to Kasumi and nodded. "Sure sis what is it?"
"Why don't you go on to school Ranma-kun this'll take a little while I'm sure Akane can catch up later." Ranma simply shrugged and headed out the door. "Akane-chan I'm sure you know Ranma was quite scared last night and from Nabiki's questions this morning I think we both know why." Kasumi said calmly.
"Yeah sis so what? The pervert is thinking about..." Akane began only for Kasumi to cut her off. "Now Akane I'm sure you of all people know what it's like to be afraid of some boy taking advantage of you in a moment of weakness. Just because he's having a nightmare about something like that doesn't mean he wants it to happen." Akane visibly paled at this her thoughts going back to her own sets of nightmares and nodded shamefacedly. "I want you to be supportive of him in this ok? Don't make fun of him for it alright?" Kasumi asked sternly in a tone that indicated she would not stand for a response in the negative.
"I'm sorry Kasumi you're right I won't make fun and I'll try to be less angry at him." Akane said chastened. Kasumi nodded and awarded Akane with a smile.
"Ok then sister have a good day at Sch..." Kasumi began only for a loud somewhat distant female scream to interrupt her.
"NOOO! It was only a dr..." A loud panicked and terrified female voice yelled before being abruptly cut off.
"Oh my, I think that was Ranma's voice!" Kasumi exclaimed while Akane was already running outside followed by Ranma's father. Both estimated where the voice had come from and less than a block away from the Dojo they discovered Ranma in his female form unconscious a jade softly glowing rose at her feet.
Genma bent down and carefully checked his son over. Opening her eyes briefly and looking within them checking for signs of a concussion. Both surveyed the scene looking for anyone in the surrounding area. They saw no one suspicious but for a few of their neighbors looking on to see if there was another one of the many fights that the Tendo's and their guests drew to the area.
"The boys just unconscious." Genma stated calmly to a panicked looking Akane. "He's gotten himself involved in something odd again." Genma said blandly picking up the female form of his son stealing a glance at the rose at his sons feet. "Akane take that glass rose thing that's on the ground over there. That's probably what did this to the boy...also it does look sort of valuab...I mean obviously we should keep track of it." Akane nodded and took a handkerchief out of her school bag and carefully picked up the rose used to dealing with magical objects and knowing to take some precautions. With that she followed Genma with Ranma tossed over his shoulder back to the dojo.
"I couldn't find Grandfather Happosai in his room but I did call Cologne-san and she said she'd be over shortly." Kasumi informed the gathered crowd of Genma, Akane, Soun, and Nabiki.
"Good if anything the old woman should be able to figure out what exactly knocked my boy out so easily." Genma stated hovering over the female form of his son.
"Indeed Saotome." Soun nodded.
"What do you think did this to him Mr. Saotome?" Akane asked fearfully. She was the closest to Ranma still checking her over for non-existent injuries.
"I don't know. The boy is unconscious but I can't see any injury that he would've gotten in a fight or ambush. Even if he had been sloppy enough to be surprised he would've shown some injury." Genma commented.
"Ranma-baby just had to go and lose a fight today to someone didn't he? Guess we're going to have to wait till he wakes up to know who did it...hopefully some new moron so I don't have to..." Nabiki groused mostly to herself.
"Oh my! Ranma's friends certainly are playing rougher than usual with him aren't they and what are you doing home sister I thought you would've been to school already?"
"Yes...Ranma-baby has quite a few 'friends' sis." Nabiki replied sarcastically. "And I wasn't that far away, heard 'little-sis' here scream and came back to see who managed to get the drop on little miss Macho."
Ignoring the sarcasm in her sisters tone and nodding at her answer Kasumi looked back over those assembled her eyes catching on the jade rose Akane still had her in hand. "Oh my that's a very pretty rose you have their Akane may I see it?" Kasumi inquired reaching out for the object.
Akane idly nodded beginning to hand Kasumi the rose when a voice suddenly rang out screaming "WAIT!" with that Cologne knocked the rose out of Akane's hand and onto the ground. The surrounding crowd all took a step back from the rose at Colognes uncharacteristic bellow. Akane began to idly rub her hand a small bruise beginning to form.
"How dare you hurt my little girl?" Soun screamed.
"Enough Mr. Tendo we have more important matters to discuss." Cologne commented after knocking Soun to the ground idly.
Looking down at his friend so easily dealt with and briefly sighing Genma redirected his attention to Cologne "So I take it the rose is what did this to the boy?"
Carefully picking up the rose from where it had fallen Cologne turned it over and studied it for a few moments. "The Jade Rose of P'an Chin-lien..Impossible! I thought this lost years ago." Shaking her head to clear her discomfort she redirected her attention back to the individuals in the room. She leapt over to Ranma and dismounted from her staff checking her over. "So I suspect you found Son-in-law unconscious with this rose at his feet?" Cologned asked.
"Yes...What matter of nonsense has the boy gotten himself involved in this time?" Genma said exasperated.
"I was afraid of that. This Rose," she said lifting it so it was in view of all assembled "is the Rose of P'an Chin-lien an ancient artifact we Nychiezu captured long ago after it was used on one of our tribes leaders. It alone was almost responsible for my tribes destruction and enslavement." With that Cologne shivered slightly before with visible effort calming herself. "It was later stolen and assumed destroyed some time ago." Cologne said dejectedly hunching over. "It is named for one of the Chinese goddesses of love and...other less tasteful things. In any event this Rose can only be used once every hundred years..."
"As interesting as this is can we skip to the point of exactly what mess Ranma-baby has gotten himself into this time and what silly but utterly charming adventure he'll need to go on to fix his problems yet again?"
"I was just getting to that Miss Tendo." Cologne said favoring Nabiki with a disquieting and angry stare to which the middle Tendo recoiled. "This Rose it...warps a person. It makes the person very open to the advances of the holder of the artifact. After a period of days with the user directing the rose to attune itself to the targets aura the individual of the artifact approaches the victim and the rose generates a field that shapes the victims will their very soul to the shape the wielder wishes." Cologne stated.
"Shapes their soul? So what exactly will this do to Ranma?" Akane asked concerned.
"This artifact it is a forbidden and evil thing with the means to enslave a person to another. It will make son-in-law exactly what whoever the user of the spell wants in their the perfect spouse, lover, whore, anything whatever the bastard who used it wants." Cologne stated disgusted. "It is the rape of one's very soul. It can destroy you. Make you think you've always wanted to be whatever its wielder wants you to be. Once it has completed its work there is no cure."
"Wait! So Ranma is going to want to be the perfect husband or wife to whoever did this to him? The Schools will never be joined!" Soun cried out before bursting into tears.
Favoring his friend and former training partner with a disgusted look Genma turned back to Cologne. "Is there a way to reverse this old woman?" Genma asked a hint of desperation entering his voice.
"There is." Cologne replied. "We must...eliminate the one who cast the spell before they can 'consummate' the spell with son-in-law." Cologne replied disgustedly. "How it is even possible that this happened I do not know. The artifact takes quite some time to bond to a person's will has son-in-law been having disturbing dreams lately?"
"Yes he's woken up screaming a few times over the last few days and this morning he was afraid when Nabiki asked him about...Wait are you saying that he wasn't having perverted dreams and this was this Rose thing taking him over?" Akane inquired.
"Indeed it was. This is grave news indeed. Most of the other magical artifacts used in this area have been of a destructive but ultimately harmless type. This...this thing is disgusting." Cologne stated shaking the rose and exerting a significant amount of pressure on it so that it began to crack where she was holding it. "It should have been destroyed long ago...I must gather Shampoo and Mousse and inform the Nychiezu council of this. Events have certainly gotten out of hand."
"If that thing is as bad as you say why haven't you destroyed it already?" Akane screamed angrily.
Cologne favored her with an incensed look. "You have no idea how much I wanted to little girl...no idea at all." Cologne said some tears briefly visible in her eyes. "But I was not always in a position whereby I could choose what artifacts our nation kept or destroyed. If it was up to me I would have destroyed it ages ago. In any event I will return shortly. I expect all of you to remain here to protect son-in-law and I WILL be questioning you all." Jumping onto the estates wall she was quickly off in the direction of her cafe.
With that the all present fell into silence. They each individually looked over to Ranma but she was still unconscious and but for the steady rise and fall of her chest unmoving.
"Who...who could have done this to him?" Akane asked tears entering her eyes.
"The boy has a lot of enemies it could be anyone of them...With what the elder says of its effects it could also be anyone of those who seek his hand as well." Soun said contemplatively. "Wait...the woman said it was stolen so..."
"THE MASTER!" Genma roared in anger. "Indeed Saotome we must locate him and get him to reverse the effects so that my Akane can marry the boy!" With that the two masters of Anything Goes ran off.
Rapidly watching the two vanish into the distance Kasumi shook her head and returned to studying Ranma's unconscious form. "Oh my but if grandfather had such a pretty thing wouldn't he have used it before?"
Nabiki sighed. "For all we know it could have easily been the old women herself she wants Ranma into her little tribe bad enough. We need someone else to tell us more about that thing...But we can't trust anyone."
"So...we really have no idea who did this...do WE?" Akane exclaimed angrily.
Nabiki looked over to her sister Kasumi before returning her gaze to Ranma and nodding. "I'm going to call Dr. Tofu he's been off on a...sabbatical" With that she looked over at Kasumi to study her reaction at the good doctors name. Kasumi to her surprise didn't even twitch at the mention of the doctors name. Shrugging she continued, "But he's the only one I know of who knows anything about these sorts of things." With that Nabiki walked into the house heading for the phone.
Author's Notes: Well this is the beginning of the first multi-part fic I've written in years and if you couldn't tell its going to be a mystery. If you don't like Ranma-chan stories don't worry even though it may appear to be I assure you it won't be one. So any ideas on who the mastermind behind the events are yet? I've thrown in a few clues in this chapter and I've also thrown in quite a few red herrings...Not many of them yet as I had to establish an odd situation and break from a lot of the 'innocent' magic of the Ranma-verse but the mystery elements will be here especially in the forthcoming chapters.
And most importantly thanks to the Fukufics forum and its members Sunshine Temple, Tornado Ninja Fan, Ellen Kuhfeld, and LawOhki/Lawra for their comments and corrections. Special thanks to Lawra for her discussion with me other AIM. She's the one responsible for the next chapter of this fic taking slightly longer then it would've otherwise as I'm going to be changing the ending a bit so I need to change things around in my outline to make the ending make sense. Thanks again guys. I hope all of you reading this enjoyed it! Please leave me a review! I'm working on altering my outline and once I'm done with that I should start working on the next chapter. Hope to see you all again soon.