Author's Note: I noticed a lot of visitors but not so many reviews the last time. I think part of the problem was the beginning of the story was a "-Chan" dream sequence to start things off. Let me assure folks once again that this isn't a Ranma-chan fic. I'm not going to say it won't end up one, as it is a mystery story involving a magical object that could make this happen. If Ranma does begin to act more girlish because of it that will not be his will and he will be actively fighting against it.
The Jade Rose's Thorn
By Bree R.
Groaning Ranma slowly began to stir and awaken. She looked up and saw a fluorescent light bulb above her head. Sniffing the air she smelt a strong antiseptic and sterile smell and instantly placed the smell as a standard hospital odor. Groaning she tried to remember what exactly put her into the hospital but the memory was just out of reach. Mentally shrugging she opened her eyes. She noticed Ryoga, Mousse and Nabiki sitting off to the side of the room. Something seemed off about them they looked older somehow. More disconcerting was that her body seemed quite lethargic and she couldn't move very much.
Slowly sitting up she managed to softly squeak out, "What happened to me? Where's Akane?" Out of the corner of her eyes she saw a rapid amount which overloaded her weakened vision and gave her a brief fit of nausea. Once this cleared she saw the concerned visages of Ryoga and Mousse standing over her.
Vaguely she felt Ryoga softly grab her hand and then he started speaking in a very affectionate tone that instantly made her hackles rise. "Are you ok my wild mare you fell unconscious the second you...well... "
"I well what? What's going on where is everybody? What's going on? Why are you acting like this?" Ranma inquired desperately confusion and panic growing within her as her body still failed to respond to her desperate pleas for it to move and flee.
"It's ok honey Akane's outside. The hospital just doesn't allow sister-in-laws in the room with family for these kinds of situation. We were lucky the doctors even allowed all three of us in. Amazon joint marriages aren't exactly too recognized in Japan." Nabiki stated affectionately.
Snapping her head over to Nabiki her vision started to spin once again. A moment later her vision cleared and she noticed that Nabiki was a bit rounder in the middle than normal. Quickly running through what could have possibly caused that while trying to think through a haze of insistent pain Ranma gasped, "Nabiki you're pregnant!"
Nabiki to Ranma's surprise didn't seem shocked by this instead sharing a look of amusement with the two men present before turning back to face Ranma. "Of course I am my cute little co-wife. Still not sure which of our two guys here knocked me up but that doesn't matter. Anyway, I'm so jealous that you'll get to be the one to deliver your little rug rat first."
In response to that Ranma directed her attention slowly away from Nabiki and the two men that were each holding a hand on either side of her. Panic rising she slowly directed her head to look down at her body. Her breasts looked a little bit larger then she remembered but it wasn't till her eyes were drawn to her stomach when she really began to panic. She noted that it was far rounder then Nabiki's and started whaling, "No...no this can't be...I'm...I'm pregna..."
Groaning Ranma slowly blinked awake. Panicked at the memory of what she sincerely hoped was a dream she opened her eyes as fast as she could. When the world came into focus she calmed down slightly seeing the familiar ceiling of the Tendo families guest room. Slowly fearing what she would find she directed her hands to pat her stomach it was blessedly flat and lacking any sort of bulge. Sighing in relief and shaking herself awake she muttered "Man, whatever that was it was strong. And can I get a good night's sleep for once like I'd ever get myself knocked up." In response to her grumblings she heard a small giggle and turned to look in the corner of the room seeing a slightly bemused Kasumi's face.
"Now now, Ranma imagining landing yourself a nice husband to give you a child is all well and good but I don't think it's very proper." Kasumi said between giggles.
She opened a mouth to make an angry retort before shrugging. It was just a stupid dream no need to yell at Kasumi of all people. With that a sly smile spread across her face and she replied, "Yeah right Kasumi. Like that would ever happen. I'm a man among men dontcha know." proudly thrusting her 'manly' chest out for emphasis before she too joined Kasumi in light laughter.
A second later Kasumi recovered and in a mock stern tone replied "Well you leave some men for the rest of us ok 'little sister'? You've already got plenty of girls and I for one certainly don't need any competition from you too."
"Heh...I promise ya that Kasumi." she returned evenly. "Ya wouldn't happen to have some hot water around wouldja?" she asked hopefully.
"Of course I was expecting you would want some." with that she handed Ranma a teakettle and Ranma poured it over her head regaining his male form. Ranma's expression and body language changed mirth and the slight relief he always felt at regaining his male form being replaced with concern and some trepidation before asking "What happened anyway? Where is Na...Akane and everyone else?"
"You were unconscious for quite awhile. Mr. Saotome and Father ran off to find grandfather Happosai and Cologne-san asked us to keep an eye on you. Nabiki was calling Dr. Tofu..." she frowned briefly at the mention of the Doctor's name before continuing, "and Akane-chan helped me carry you upstairs to rest until everyone arrived."
"Dr. Tofu is going to be coming?" Ranma asked slightly nervous.
"Nabiki seems to think so and knowing her can probably force him to come." Kasumi replied testily.
Frowning Ranma remarked softly, "If I can do anything Kasumi-chan..." before Kasumi abruptly cut him off saying sharply "You helped me a lot already Ranma-kun I can handle it. Now come on let's get downstairs everyone should be back soon." she said reverting near the end of her statement to her normal cheerful tone.
"Ok Kasumi if you're sure." Ranma said.
Smiling Kasumi nodded, "Thank you Ranma-kun." Kasumi replied before exiting the guest room Ranma following her down the stairs into the dining area.
A few minutes later the household was assembled minus Genma and Soun Tendo. Akane was carrying a certain black piglet in her arms which Ranma instantly zeroed in on and shuddered at slightly. Before Ranma could make his usual P-Chan insult his attention was redirected to the sound of someone jumping over the wall. Cologne led the Amazon contingent flanked by Mousse and Shampoo.
Seeing Mousse Ranma again cringed almost imperceptibly a fact Cologne noticed and turned back to see a smirking Mousse staring at Ranma he too picking up on the fearful action. Raising her eyebrow in displeasure she knocked him to the ground. "We will talk shortly about son-in-laws reaction to your presence." Cologne whispered to Mousse in Mandarin.
"I don't know what you're talking about ghoul. Just because I'm not horrified that he's a victim of the Ros..." Mousse began before Cologne splashed him with a handy glass of water changing him into a duck before tapping a pressure point making him fall unconscious.
Shampoo in the meantime ran up to Ranma embracing him. Managing to latch on to him she began to wail "Oh Airen! Too too terrible thing happen! As duty as wife I make sure to take revenge for you on evil person who do this and bring Ranma back to self."
"Shampoo nothin' happened. Get off me already!" Ranma exclaimed fearing the reaction of his other fiancée who he knew was probably looking on with mounting anger.
"Get off of him you cheap hussy! We've got other things to be worried about right now without letting the pervert molest you." Akane stated her angry aura beginning to form.
Shampoo smiled and cuddled in closer to Ranma before putting on her best arrogant smile and replying back, "Heh! Kitchen destroyer simply no give comfort to Ranma in this bad time. Shampoo too too happy to do so." To which Akane got visibly angrier.
Cologne smiled briefly at the twos antics and competitive spirit before she hit a pressure point on Shampoo's exposed back with her staff causing her to involuntarily shake for a few seconds allowing Ranma to get free of her python like grip. "Enough great-grand daughter while I appreciate your enthusiasm we have more important matters to discuss." Focusing back in on Ranma she asked, "Hello son-in-law how are you feeling?"
Straightening his clothes from where Shampoo had latched on and anxiously looking over at Akane who he was relieved to see was calming down he replied "I'm fine why all the fuss granny? Just 'cause I got knocked out and don't know reason for it ain't a reason for all of ya to come running."
"You were found unconscious son-in-law with this at your feet." Cologne stated before pulling out the jade Rose. "Have you ever seen it before? This could be very important."
Ranma began to sweat the attention of everyone in the premises staring at him. Gathering himself he nodded and slowly stated "Yeah, I've seen it in some weird dreams I've been havin'. Why?"
"I was afraid of that. Did you not think to tell anyone about this? This was this magical artifact attuning itself to you son-in-law!" she exclaimed before hurling the Rose to the ground where it broke into five or six large pieces.
"Tell someone about my dreams? You kiddin' do you know how many weird dreams I have every night?" he closed his eyes briefly remembering his most common nightmare being stuck in the Neko-ken pit until his eyes were gouged. Sighing he continued, "Just 'cause I see some Rose I ain't ever seen before I was suppose ta come runnin' to you!" Ranma stated angrily. "Just get to the damned point alread..."
"Ranma she's just trying to help." Akane stated. "Just hear her out. Ok?"
Turning his attention to Akane Ranma grumbled, "Fine. So what is this thing supposed to do anyway?"
"She said it makes you a slave to its owner Saotome." Nabiki interjected.
"A slave?" Ranma inquired paling slightly.
Picking up the Rose from the ground she had just broken it on Cologne explained, "This is the mystical jade Rose of P'an Chin-lien one of its possible uses is to make a slave of sorts as young Miss Tendo mentioned."
"I ain't nobodies slave!" Ranma exclaimed.
"Indeed the effects seem to be quite weak in you. This is quite fortunate." Cologne replied visibly relieved.
From Akane's arms P-Chan snickered. Seeing his erstwhile nemesis in yet another bind always gave him some pleasure even though he really wasn't trying to actively kill Ranma any longer. Turning to affix the pig with a glare Ranma growled out, "Laugh it up pork chop...".
"Ranma leave poor P-Chan alone. He's been sick." Akane replied cuddling the pig closer into her bosom drawing Ranma's ire.
"Can I see that Rose a minute granny? I'd like to send a certain pig farmer a trained pig." Ranma replied staring at Ryoga. This had an effect as Ryoga as he jumped from Akane's arms and ran out into the yard.
"As...amusing as it may be to use the Rose of P'an Chin-lien on an animal such as that one it only works once in one hundred years." Cologne replied. "I have already tested it and it has been used and it obviously seems to been used on you son-in-law." Cologne remarked before replacing the whole Rose into her robes.
"Wait a minute didn't you just break that thing into a few pieces a minute ago?" Nabiki asked.
"Nicely spotted Ms. Tendo. This Rose cannot be destroyed by normal means. I could throw it into a volcano and it would only reform after a few moments and later be found. I'll need a special magical forge to destroy it for good." Cologne remarked. To herself she muttered, "And I certainly can't wait to destroy it." Before in her normal tone she asked "Where are the two idiots you call your parents by the way? I specifically wished to talk with them regarding a possible solution to this problem."
"Well Father and Mr. Saotome ran off to find grandfather Happosai. Perhaps we can wait for them over a cup of tea?" Kasumi remarked before turning to walk off into the kitchen.
Hearing this Ranma suddenly grabbed a cup of water off the table where they were sitting and splashed himself with it changing into his cursed form. "Can I help Kasumi-oneechan?" Ranma inquired. Kasumi turned around a slightly shocked expression on her and those assembled faces but for Mousse who was still unconscious in the back yard little swans still dancing in his eyes and Ryoga who was running between the veranda, the table, and koi pond in a unnoticed loop.
"Ranma...since when have you helped Kasumi cook?" Akane asked gob smacked.
"I always have haven't I...? Of course I have! I love cooking with Kasumi it's a lot of fun! No wait...I haven't always helped her cook it's kind of girlish." she said a contemplative look on her face before smiling. "Well I am a girl right now..." Horror crossing her face as she realized what she had said. "No I'm not I'm a man all the time!" Ranma began to panic as he continued to ramble slowly falling to the ground clutching her head.
Seeing Ranma in pain both Shampoo and Akane dropped her pet pig and ran forward to embrace the stricken girl. Surprisingly enough Nabiki too ran forward each of them putting their hands on a different part of Ranma's body to hopefully sooth her.
"It's ok Ranma we'll figure this out." Akane promised her hands firmly affixed on her fiancees smaller feminine shoulder. "Airen! Great-grandmother will fix you just fine!" Shampoo fervently exclaimed her arms around Ranma's waist.
Nabiki watching the other girls comfort him her own hands making soothing motions on the smaller girls back. Sighing and cursing her own emotional reaction she calmly stated, "Ranma-kun why don't you go make some tea and cookies by yourself ok. Of course you've helped Kasumi out in the kitchen before right?" To this she felt Ranma's panicked shaking stop and she slowly nodded.
"What are you talking about Nabiki he's never really..." Akane began only for Nabiki to throw her a hostile look and stop short from finishing her statement.
Turning her attention back to Ranma she began again calmly "So it's ok alright. You go make something for us and we'll just talk awhile ok?" Ranma nodded. "You make something good for us or you'll really owe me alright?" she finished with a smile. Again Ranma nodded and standing up and visibly steadied herself. With that the girls all disengaged their holds.
As Ranma walked to the kitchen she turned briefly back to the concerned faces of her friends and stated softly, "Something really is wrong with me ain't it?"
"We'll figure it out son-in-law I promise." Cologne stated. Nodding again Ranma walked into the kitchen.
Crawling into the room hunched over and still in obvious pain Mousse, having procured some hot water from a thermos hidden in his robe, proudly proclaimed, "Do you see my beloved Shampoo? Saotome is no longer the man for you in control of another you well know the Kis.." Frowning at what Mousse was saying Shampoo hit him over the head with a vase that was sitting on the table transforming him back into a duck and knocking him out once again.
Shaking off that distraction Nabiki faced Cologne and put her business face back on. "So I take it Saotome's new hobby...is part of the effect of that Rose thing?"
"Yes...it appears that some behavioral compulsions and changes were made to son-in-law." Cologne stated.
"Why mercenary girl all touchy-feely with airen? You not interested too I hope husband already have too too many girls after him." Shampoo said frostily the unstated threat hanging in the air.
"Ranma's a business opportunity for me nothing more. I can't have him run off, have the person who used that thing on him take him and never come back to where I can make a profit now can I?" Nabiki replied calmly.
"Yes, Ms. Tendo nicely played having son-in-law run off would have accomplished nothing." she stated in a sarcastic tone favoring Nabiki with a knowing smile.
"As interesting as my sister's sudden interest in my fiancé is..." Akane growled favoring Nabiki with an angry glare, "Can we please get back to what is wrong with Ranma?"
"As I've said child this is the Rose's doing. If the person who did this can successfully approach son-in-law and finish the binding ceremony he will be in their power and his personality will change further to whatever they wish it to be."
"That need fire and blood sacr..." Wincing Shampoo coughed and finished with, "Not that Shampoo know anything about too too silly rituals."
"Oh my! That sounds quite useful I could certainly use someone else to help me around the house or to find a nice older man." Kasumi stated perfectly innocently lost in her new fantasy. Noticing that everyone was staring at her with a shocked expression Kasumi asked, "Yes do you want some more tea?"
Shaking off Kasumi's statement Akane stared at Shampoo and bellowed, "Wait a minute! You do KNOW how to do these kind of things! Why would you do this to Ranma?"
Sighing Cologne favored Shampoo with a exasperated expression before redirecting a frown at Akane. "Yes I do indeed know about ceremonies such as these. However, using this powerful and destructive a spell to enslave another is not allowed by my tribe. Knowing how such things are done prevents them from being used against us as they have in the past." Cologne acknowledged.
"Yeah right that's why little Miss bloodthirsty over there has tossed who knows what love potions in Saotome's food all the time." Nabiki stated snarkily.
"Miss Tendo if you are making an accusation come out and say it." Cologne replied icily. Seeing a fight possibly about to break out Ryoga carefully made his way back towards Akane sitting next to her warily as Cologne continued, "Just know that even my patience has it's..."
Before Cologne could finish her threat Ranma re-entered the room carrying a tray almost three times bigger than herself and started placing various pastries and teas on the table. She served Nabiki first a fact that did not go un-noticed and raised some eyebrows. "I hope everyone likes what I made I just couldn't decide what ta make!" Ranma said proudly. "Master really likes to cook and they especially like my cooking so I hope you all do too! Oh and before I forget I made this especially for you little P-Chan." placing a smaller plate on the floor in front of the pig who had simply watched the entire conversation as it had enfolded with interest. "Go on everyone eat up!" Ranma said smiling before dousing herself with hot water from a spare tea kettle and returning to his masculine form. "Ugg...that was hard." Ranma muttered to himself.
"Wait a minute. Master airen? Who you Master?" Shampoo asked.
"Watcha talk in' about Shampoo I didn't say nothin' about no Master." Ranma replied dismissively.
"Yes you did son-in-law." Cologne said studying the teen sitting before her.
Ranma meanwhile was thinking carefully about what he had said. "I did?" Ranma asked in a very small voice.
"Yes Saotome you did. Who were you talking about?" Nabiki asked interested.
Favoring Nabiki with a look of bewilderment he smiled before his vision suddenly cleared and he slowly began to say, "It's..." Gasping suddenly he stopped speaking. His body lost all emotional expression and in a monotone voice stated, "I am not allowed to say it is forbidden." Shaking out of that state he exclaimed "Huh? What did I just say?"
"It is part of the spell son-in-law we will figure this out. Do not panic."
"Not panic...this just isn't rig..." Ranma began plaintively.
"We'll figure this out Ranma. We'll all be working on this together." Akane replied.
Nodding at Akane Ranma looked at those surrounding the table and frowned. "Come on guys I really busted my ass for that food go on eat up."
Shaking out of the seeming non-sequitur she had just witnessed and indeed realizing that Rose had obviously had some effect Cologne placed a few treats on a plate that had been put in front of her Cologne looked at the small pig smelling the food put in front of it cautiously. "Ms. Tendo how long has your...pet been around this time? I know you mentioned he was sick but..."
"P-Chan?" Akane asked innocently between sipping some tea. "Poor guys been sick the last couple of days and hasn't been able to get out of my room." she replied to Cologne before picking up the pig who was still curiously sniffing the food placed in front of it. "He had the oddest fever...I was just about to take him to a vet but he always seems to disappear right before I bring him in for a checkup." With that Akane gave him a small piece of the food Ranma had served him. Not wanting to disappoint Akane P-Chan began to slowly chew it before fainting dead away. "Oh no P-Chan! Ranma what did you put in his food?" Akane asked angrily.
"Huh?" Ranma asked staring unseeingly ahead. Finally noticing Ryoga was knocked out he inwardly snickered before responding, "Oh just a cup or so of wasabi especially for him. Pigs are really fond of it. Guess he's still sick is all."
"Pigs like wasabi?" Akane asked.
"Of course. You should add it to everything you feed the little guy." Ranma stated solemnly to Akane's suddenly enlightened and nodding face.
"As funny as the torture of small animals and ignorance of my sister is can we please get back to the matter at hand?" Nabiki asked disgusted.
"Yes son-in-law do you remember what happened to you this morning?"
Scrunching his face Ranma nodded. "I think so I woke up after havin' another crazy dream. Nabiki-dono..." The use of that specific suffix got a wide eyed stare from most present. Akane began to stare at Nabiki in surprise. Nabiki looked extremely shocked, while Shampoo stared on ignorant of the connotations of the suffix. "...made fun a me as usual. Then I sparred with the ol' man, and ate breakfast. Nabiki-dono left for School after sayin' she'd take me shopping later to impress Master."
Inhaling a few confections Ranma continued, "Akane and I were about ta leave too when Kasumi asked Akane ta stay. I walked away a bit slower than usual hopin' she'd catch up and then Master approached me and..." before cutting himself off and then replying in a monotone pained voice, "I cannot say." shaking his head trying to clear it he exclaimed frightened "God damn it!"
Expecting a response from at least Cologne he found most everyone staring at Nabiki their body language all indicating some hostility. Nabiki meanwhile was only staring at him in some shock. "Why's everyone starin' at Nabiki-dono?" He asked surprised.
"Nabiki how could you? To your own sisters fiancée." Kasumi said in a motherly scolding tone.
"How could I what? I've done nothing. I haven't even heard of or seen that Rose until this morning. You're all overreacting let's just think this through." Nabiki responded calmly in her best 'negotiating' tone.
Although outwardly calm Nabiki recognized that she was in a potentially very volatile situation. While she doubted very much that her sister Akane would physically hurt her the looks she was receiving from Cologne promised immense pain and considering the threat she had almost laid against her even before this '-dono' madness...To make it even better once Shampoo was informed what Ranma had been saying meant considering her history of poor impulse control...Yeah this was probably not going to be her best day ever. Relying upon her wit as usual she tried to salvage the situation. "Ranma we don't have any sort of relationship right?"
Looking at Nabiki as if she had just grown another head Ranma only nodded. "Are you kiddin' Nabiki-dono of course not! I only need ta protect you from any of your enemies and do anything ya say within reason." Ranma said proudly smiling beatifically before frowning and considering what he had just said. This of course was the spark that set of the powder keg that had been slowly smoldering since Ranma had first uttered the subservient suffix.
"What! Was mercenary girl all along! Shampoo save you airen!" With that she drew her war maces and ran forward intent on ending Nabiki's life. To her surprise she was intercepted by Ranma who quite brutally knocked the maces out of Shampoo's charging hands and flipped her over onto her back winding her.
"No one is allowed ta hurt Nabiki-dono!" Ranma proclaimed. Seeing Cologne moving in for a possible assault he let loose with a chop stick he had been holding which successfully hit the ancient Amazon in the leg making her fall over in pain. With that Ranma picked up Nabiki slammed through the closed door and sprung up and over the Tendo compound.
Recovering her wits Cologne attempted to stand but only crumpled to the ground yet again her leg simply refusing to hold her weight. "Shampoo, Akane after them! If she is the one responsible you must stop them before she finishes the spell." Both girls nodded and took off in pursuit. Before they made it outside the Tendo estate Cologne shouted seemingly as an afterthought, "And Shampoo do NOT kill the girl!"
Walking over and bending down Kasumi checked Cologne over for injuries "Are you alright elder?"
"I am fine child." Cologne responded. "Remarkable...he shorted out the ki flows to my leg. It will take me over half an hour to have it responding normally. If the boy is that adverse to us helping him this could get very difficult indeed."
Nearby, a duck and a pig slept on seemingly oblivious to events that had just occurred.
In Ranma's arms with rooftops swirling by at a impressive clip Nabiki considered the situation at hand. While Ranma being her sworn protector and having to do what she said was a relatively pleasant concept; the money she could make with a trained martial artist/model/actress/singer/actor/male model/seiyuu/idol swimming in her head, though she did personally discount Ranma's female forms singing voice as a bit too shrill, she also knew that there was a wide amount of people who would be following her seeking her blood if she disappeared with him. So while her greed drove her one way she reluctantly admitted the situation wouldn't exactly be a win for her.
Imagining all the lost yen screaming in agony as they were snatched out of her hands Nabiki gathered her thoughts beat down her greedy demons and said, "As nice as it is for a girl to be rescued you can let me down Ranma-baby."
"I can't letcha down Nabiki-dono. Shampoo and Akane are after us. While I can easily outrun Akane carryin' ya Shampoo is a trained hunter and tracker. Ya wouldn't believe how hard it is to outrun her. I got lots of experience at it in China the first time we met." Ranma replied.
That surprised Nabiki slightly. Sure she knew Shampoo had been able to keep up with Ranma and his father running along in China she still thought Ranma was quite a bit faster than Shampoo. Whatever, who knew what these crazy martial artists limits really were. Hoping another tactic and Ranma's usual response to a girl asking a personal question would cause him to slip up she icily asked, "Are you saying I'm fat Saotome?"
"Heh...Not at all Nabiki-dono. You're the slimmest of all ya sisters." Ranma replied not even dropping in speed to Nabiki's consternation although for some reason she found herself lightly blushing.
At the same time Ukyo was making her way to the Tendo Dojo. Not seeing any of the Tendo's attend School was quite odd. Even if Akane Tendo had been kidnapped or the Tendo Dojo threatened again, a not particularly rare event, at least Nabiki would have likely arrived to sell information or at the very least called ahead to her information brokers about the kidnapping/challenge/new fiancée. But with even her skipping School for the day and no information forthcoming from the usual sources Ukyo was concerned. Seeing her fiancée jump over her carrying the said Tendo followed closely by a obviously winded and struggling Akane Tendo she quickly jumped up on the roof and caught up with Akane.
"What's up with Ranma-honey today sugar?"
Struggling for breath Akane managed to barely wheeze out, "Ranma...had a spell cast on him. We think it may have been Nabiki. She...needs to...complete it with...blood, bones, and fire we've got to catch her."
"Your sister cast a spell on Ranma-honey!" Ukyo exclaimed shocked.
"I don't...huff know but we've got to catch her."
About two blocks away Ranma was opening up some distance between himself and Shampoo. At this rate he'd be able to lose her within about 15 minutes. However, the weather was not so accommodating to and a quick drizzle later he was in her cursed form. Quite rapidly she began to lose ground.
Looking for a suitable location for a fight she noticed a flat roof with a fence surrounding it and jumped onto it. Carefully placing Nabiki down she placed herself between Nabiki and the oncoming Amazon. Shampoo landed lightly nearby and looked over the situation. Sneaking a look behind her she saw Akane and to her relief Ukyo following her. While she considered herself a proud warrior she knew her chances of taking Ranma on one on one were quite low. Three on one with her rivals however distasteful it was to rely on them were far better and workable odds.
Hoping to delay the coming fight she got out of her fighting stance and stated, "Bring mercenary girl back to great-grandmother Airen and we fix problem. Amazons do so without hurting girl and Ranma happy yes?" She was personally unconcerned with whatever happened to the girl but hopefully this might calm her husband down.
"I can't let ya hurt Nabiki-dono Shampoo." Ranma replied levelly. "Nabiki-dono ain't done anythin'. Please just leave us alone."
"No can do that airen. Great-grandmother give order to bring Ranma and Tendo girl back. Shampoo will." With that Shampoo was pleased to notice the other girls arrive.
Seeing his three fiancées arrive Ranma frowned. "I don't want to hurt any of ya." Staring at each of the girls assembled against her. "This is goin' too far just leave me n' Nabiki alone and I'll bring her back once I know it's..."
"We need to get to the bottom of this Ranma." Akane said loudly interrupting her concern mixing with exhaustion in her tone. "Let's go back and figure this out ok? You need our help."
With his attention focused on Akane he failed to notice Ukyo replace herself with a dummy dressed in the outfit she had been wearing and failed to see her jump off the roof and begin to double around using the adjacent blocks roofline. Ukyo silently sent a prayer of thanks to Konatsu for teaching her some kunoichi tricks as she managed to get to Nabiki and lightly hit her over the head with her spatula knocking her unconscious.
Hearing the impact and a body hitting the ground Ranma spun around to see what had happened and was thus caught totally unaware of Shampoo's thrown mace which impacted with some force the back of her head and sent her to the ground.
Carefully making her way over Shampoo checked to make sure that Ranma was unconscious and otherwise uninjured. Akane meanwhile checked on her sister before carefully lifting her off the ground.
"You didn't need to hurt my sister Ukyo." Akane said curtly.
"I've got no idea what's going on here sugar. You said she cast a spell on Ranchan and we had to stop them. What did you expect me to do?" Ukyo commented. "None of this makes sense."
Shampoo carefully picked up the sleeping feminine form of her husband and replied, "We explain on way back to dojo spatula girl. Great-grandmother know what we need do. Shampoo hopes."
My Obligatory Attempt At a Humorous Omake:
"Wait a minute didn't you just break that thing into a few pieces a couple seconds ago?" Nabiki asked.
"Heh...nicely spotted Ms. Tendo. This Rose cannot be destroyed by normal means. I could throw it into a volcano and it would only reform. I'll need a special magical forge or anvil to destroy it for good." Cologne remarked.
"Mystical magical forges those exist?" Kasumi asked eyes widening obviously interested in the topic.
"Indeed child. The best part is if you destroy certain magical items you get gems of varying quality. And if you're really, really lucky some rare runes!" Cologne replied a maniacal smile beginning to spread across her face. "And maybe this time I'll get that pesky Nef rune I've been looking for. Most of my tribe doesn't like it but they are fools! I apply that to my Bow and using my Chestnut Fist with a variation for arrows...and it will be glorious! Then my tribe can eat the delicacy of bovine in peace and I will also make a tidy profit."
"Aiyah! Great-grandmother think she member of demon-hunter Amazon tribe again...This too too bad time for great-grandmother to relapse like this!"
"Oh my! I've always thought the price of beef had gone much to high after all the nice cows found that pole arm shipment..." Kasumi replied blissfully imagining the recipes she could finally cook.
Ranma meanwhile in the kitchen could only shudder after over-hearing Cologne's proclamation. Memories of his father finding that dead handicapped kids body and Pop's bright idea of using it along with that magical scroll causing her to shudder uncontrollably.
Afterword: And there ends Chapter 2. Yes, yes I know I started it with a "-Chan sequence again". Bad bad Bree what can I say for the horror value for cannon Ranma I like using them. On to more nuts and bolts things I given away some huge clues in this Chapter so I hope you spotted them. If you weren't paying attention shame on you. If you do think you have it figured out no that's not the only bit you need to get the full picture just yet (though how are you sure you have the right clue selected). Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it. See you next time!
Thanks to the Fukufics forum and its members Dumbledork, and Sunshine Temple for their praise. Special thanks to LawOhki/Lawra for the AIM conversations after I posted the piece. I find them very helpful and I hope I addressed some of your concerns in this chapter. Also thanks to my reviewers from the previously posted chapter: Edrik, Franzibald, and Ranma711. Your comments are what made me continue this story at the rate I'm attempting to write it at. Thanks. Please leave a review!