Author's Warning: Want coherent stories and characters acting in character? Then don't bother reading any further. That's what the title refers to - "non sequitur" is the catchword for everyone in this fic. Don't take this fic seriously, I sure didn't when I wrote it - it hasn't been through any self-censorship filters and plotholes were purposefully ignored. Leave your logic and reasoning by the door next to mine.
I can't and I won't deny the obvious influence of Ozzallos's fics... Cabbit Days in particular. Too bad the quality didn't make the transfer as well ;)
Reupload note: With the exception of this note and a few typo corrections, this is unedited reupload of the story from 2006. It is very unlikely that the story will be continued past the second chapter for several reasons.
Disclaimer. No anime/manga series and the characters therein are mine, have ever been mine or will ever be mine. Same applies to any other work of literary art the story refers to. This is a non-profit work of fiction.
Once upon a time in China there was a place called Jusenkyo - the valley of sorrow and the stage for many very very terrible tragedies invariably involving drowning. That day a slightly different tragedy took place at the cursed springs. Two travelling martial artists from Japan, Ranma and Genma Saotome, had come to the springs for the final leg of their journey before returning back to Japan.
Not long after the two had begun sparring on the bamboo poles rising from the springs below them, Ranma scored a good hit, sending Genma flying into a spring with a splash.
"Can't ya do any better than that, Pops?"
As Ranma was gloating over his apparent triumph, the surface of the spring broke as Genma jumped back on a bamboo pole. A second later, another Genma burst from the water.
For a second, Ranma wondered if Pops had again spiked his food. He usually didn't suffer from double vision, except when Pops had managed to hit him squarely in the face. Then again, in that case, both Genmas in his vision should be clad, but now only the other one wore a gi. Whatever the reasons might've been, this silent moment of contemplation was a bad, bad thing, as the nude Genma managed to kick Ranma in the stomach, making him fall off the bamboo poles and fall into a spring below.
As the surface of the spring became still, nothing was heard. The Chinese guide to the springs came running from the distance.
"Misters Customer fall in the Spring of Drowned Twins! Very very tragic story of twins who drowned in the spring waters!"
Only now did the Genmas notice there were two of them. The two stared at each other in silent admiration for a while before the waters of the spring where Ranma had fallen stirred again. Ranma, in his new form, leaped from the spring onto the grass with ease.
"Mister Customer fall in the Spring of Drowned Frog. Oh, the terrible tragedy of the frog that drowned in the spring fifteen days ago."
The guide hastily offered one of his old uniforms to the nude Genma before picking up the small frog that was then trying to wriggle his way out of the guide's hands. To the guide's luck, the boy-turned-frog had forgotten how fast and long a frog could leap. Also for the benefit of both Genmas and the guide, the tongue of the frog did not hurt when it hit them in the face. Unless it hit them in the eye, as the gi-clad Genma found out.
"How do you know a frog drowned there?" the Genma in the uniform asked.
"Each spring curses who fall in to take the form of the creature to drown there. Many many lemmings swarm the valley one week ago. Many many frogs come up from that pond. Many many new Springs of Drowned Lemmings," the guide replied, before taking the three to his shack to explain how the curses worked.
It was a Sunday morning in Nerima. In the family room of his house, Soun Tendo looked outside the window, holding in his hand the postcard his old friend Genma Saotome had sent. He hoped that if the two were arriving today as the postcard said they wouldn't catch cold from the rain outside. He had just told her daughters that Genma and his son Ranma would be coming soon and of the pact to join the two families.
A knock sounded on the door, followed with the soft sound of Kasumi's feet shuffling towards the door. "Father, it's for you," her voice called to him.
"Nabiki, Akane! Come down here!" he called as he walked to meet the guests at the front door.
"Kasumi, won't you be a dear and go get your sisters into the family room?" he asked of his eldest daughter, standing beside the guests.
"Soun!" the two guests hollered.
"Genma!" Soun began, then blinked after getting a better look at the two. Two identical men, the only difference being that one had a white gi whereas the other had a dirty white gi, and that the one with a dirty gi held in his hand an unconscious frog by his legs.
"Please, come into the family room. My daughters are there expecting you."
The three daughters had already sat down on one side of the table in the order dictated by their age. Nabiki had put on her best kimono, Kasumi was in her plain housedress and Akane had not changed out of her training gi just because of a potential fiancé. Soun sat down at the end of the table closer to Kasumi whereas the guests sat down opposite to the three girls.
"Genma, I can see where your son got your looks. Uhm... even to the degree I can't tell which one is you, Genma?" Soun started.
The two youngest Tendo daughters did a spit take. Were they engaged to one of these bald old men? The oldest just kept the smile on her face.
Genmas looked at each others before the one holding the now conscious frog raised it above the table. "Sorry, old buddy, this here is my son."
Soun leaned in closer to look at the frog in the dirty-gi Genma's hand. "Ribbit!" Ranma croaked in disapprovement and swatted Soun on the nose with his long tongue. For the senior martial arts master, this was too much and his brain decided a brief timeout would be most welcome.
"Oh my," Kasumi said.
"It's a toad!" Nabiki exclaimed in disgust.
Akane was now laughing at Nabiki. "And you wore your formal kimono to impress the fiancé Daddy arranged us?"
Nabiki lashed back at her with her sharp tongue. "Well, little miss princess, maybe you should kiss him to see if he turns into a prince?"
The youngest Tendo blanched for a second before her face took a bright red hue - as did the air around her. "I hate boys! And I am not going to kiss - of all things - a frog!"
Meanwhile, Nabiki's comment had sent Kasumi into the la-la land with cotton candy clouds and trees made of licorice. She was sitting by a duck pond on a bench, a golden tiara on her forehead and a frilly creamy white dress, decorated with pink hearts, flowing down her body. Her hands, inside white elbow-length silk gloves, held a red velvet pillow. And on top of the pillow sat a frog; a frog wearing a small crown on top of his head.
"Ribbit! Ribbit!" the cursed prince said to Kasumi.
"Oh my, but isn't that a bit improper?" she replied.
"Ribbit!" the frog said with conviction.
"But how can I trust you with my first kiss?" Kasumi said and turned her head sideways, a gentle blush adorning her cheeks.
"Ribbit. Ribbit," the frog croaked, but now with a lot less life in its voice.
"Please, Mr. Frog, I'm a princess!"
"Rib-bbiiiiiit?" Somehow, the frog had managed the puppy-dog eyes technique, striking through every mental defense Kasumi had.
She lifted the frog to her eye level, took a good look at the frog and gave him a light peck on the mouth. In a cloud of smoke, the frog disappeared. As the smoke dissipated, she saw that on her lap now sat a handsome prince clad in gold-embroidered kimono.
The prince stood up and took hold of Kasumi's hand. With the piercing blue eyes fixed on Kasumi's he proclaimed, "My fairest princess, I thank you for removing the foul curse the evil witch of Western Lands had laid upon my personage. Come hither, and let us go see the minister together so that minstrels shall sing of our eternal love long after our great-grandchildren have passed onto greener pastures."
When Kasumi returned back to the real world, Nabiki and Akane were still fighting with words.
"Mr. Saotome," Kasumi began, "is this frog really a boy?"
Both Genmas nodded. Kasumi blushed before speaking her mind. "If he does turn into a boy, I'd want to be his fiancée." How could she not take this chance - a slice of magical life for the romance-starved young old maid?
This brought the bickering between the two sisters into a halt as they fixed their incredulous eyes on Kasumi and the frog, whose eyes seemed to be bulging even more than is common for a frog.
Soun, who had by now returned amongst the living, looked at the two men next to him.
"Genma? Why is my daughter now engaged to a frog? Where did I go wrong?" Cue the waterworks.
Understanding lit up on Genmas' faces.
"Soun, old buddy, if you have some hot water, we can explain this."
"Kasumi, if you could?" Soun asked her daughter, who then left to the kitchen to get the requested water.
While Kasumi was gone, Genmas briefly explained the training trip they had taken to Soun, Nabiki and Akane. Soon enough Kasumi returned with a tea kettle filled with hot water. After white-gi Genma had first demonstrated how the hot water temporarily cured the curse on himself, he gave the kettle back to Kasumi and motioned her to do the same to the frog, whom Genma had by now set down on the floor beside him on a cushion. 'And I washed that only yesterday,' Kasumi lamented in her mind.
Kasumi poured some hot water onto Ranma. Her eyes widened as the small frog changed into a tall boy with wide shoulders and sculpted muscles. A boy that was completely naked. "Oh my!" she squeaked before she understood to turn away to give Ranma some minuscule privacy. Nabiki opted to let her mouth hang open even after Akane had closed hers and begun screaming about perverts corrupting her sisters and stomped to the dojo to cool off breaking a few bricks after smashing the table on Ranma's head.
Fifteen bricks later when Ranma was again decent, the girls were called back to the family room. There was no mistaking the hostile glare in Akane's eyes, directed at the now gi-clad pigtailed martial artist. Nabiki had an unreadable expression on her face, probably because she herself had no real idea what to think of the situation. However, both did understand two things. First of all, their sister had to be liberated from the engagement to the amphibian. Second, they owed their sister big time for taking the engagement at their stead.
"Pops, what's this talk about an engagement?" Ranma demanded.
"It's for the future of Anything Goes martial arts, boy! My old training buddy Soun and I made the pact to join our families before you were even born."
"Ya gotta be kidding! Who in their right state of mind would want ta marry a part-time frog!"
Kasumi raised uncertainly her hand with a shy smile.
Genma, who had missed Kasumi's gesture, threw the boy into the koi pond outside. The small frog leaped out of the pond, leaving the koi a gi to wonder.
Kasumi frowned. 'No, this is most improper. The prince never changed to a frog for the second time.' She tightened her hands into little fists in her lap, took a stern expression and snapped her chin upwards. 'I shall live a life fit for a fairytale and get my magical prince, so swears I, Kasumi Tendo!'
Her sisters shared a worried glance when they saw Kasumi's expression shift from disapproval to determination and from there on back to the smile of a space cadet.
Two hours later Kasumi looked at the frog now sitting on her desk. In the stories, the prince didn't changed back into a frog, but the two lived happily ever after. No, this was certainly not acceptable.
"Oh, I'm sorry Ranma... I was just thinking if your curse could be lifted."
"Ribbit!" the frog croaked a upbeat reply.
"Well, I'm sure that we can do it, if we just look in the right places!" She just couldn't admit her magical marriage was not going to happen. Magical... this gave her an epiphany.
"You know Ranma, on the market I talk with other housewives about the recent events in Tokyo." This, of course, was an euphemism. In reality, the market was the one true place for gossip mongers. With whom did Mrs. Sakamoto cheat on her husband? Were the Sailor Senshi in reality the daughters of the Emperor?
"I hear that there are real magical girls in Juuban, and with all the evil demons and youma there, the temples in there surely must be well-equipped to handle them!" she gushed. "I'm sure they could be of help to us, don't you think so too, Ranma?"
The frog lowered his head and tried to cover his eyes with his front legs.
"Good day, shrine maiden," Kasumi politely bowed to a young shrine maiden sweeping the stairs in a hurry. The shrine maiden stopped and bowed back to Kasumi.
"I am Kasumi Tendo, and my fiancé Ranma Saotome, here," she patted frog-Ranma on his head, "is cursed to become a frog. Most annoying obstacle for our life together, wouldn't you agree?"
Rei Hino, a 14-year-old shrine maiden at Hikawa Shrine in Juuban, stared at the 19-year-old woman in front of her. Her grandfather had told her to finish sweeping the shrine stairs before she could get back to talk with her friends. The vacuous smile on the woman's face was somewhat unnerving, but even worse was the way she carried a frog in a purse, his head peeking over its walls. The said frog nodded his head at Rei and croaked.
"Yes," Rei answered. She was not a stranger to magic, given her double life both as a shrine maiden and Sailor Mars. But whereas the senshis were real and there certainly was nothing fairytale-like of them, surely a frog who in reality was a boy must've been just a figment of overactive imagination after reading too many Western fairytales.
Rei was thinking. She had had premonitions that the Moon Princess was in reality Usagi, but this didn't sit well with her. She couldn't believe, no, she refused to believe that Usagi was the Moon Princess and she had already taken measures to prove this was not the case. For instance, the last time they had a sleepover at the shrine, she had placed twenty mattresses on the floor on top of each other and a single pea under the two bottommost ones. Then, she asked Usagi to sleep on top of the pile. If she was a true princess, she shouldn't have been able to sleep at all for the whole night.
When Rei had woken up and seen Usagi snoring atop the mattresses, she had been absolutely confident she had now proven to the senshi that Usagi couldn't have been the Moon Princess. Until shortly after Usagi had woken up, that is.
Rei pulled out the two bottom mattresses and searched for the pea between them.
"Rei, what are you looking for?" Usagi asked.
"There was a pea between these two mattresses. Now where did it go?"
"Oh that one? Well, I was hungry and I just knew there was something down there for me to eat -"
"- so you just ate it," Rei finished with a groan.
"sniffle I was not supposed to?"
Well, that plan was foiled. But now, it was the time and opportunity for another plan.
"... so we would be highly grateful if your temple could help us cure him of his curse?" Kasumi had continued speaking when Rei had been buried in her memories.
'If a princess can change a frog into a prince... they might believe that if anyone then the Moon Princess should be the one to do that,' Rei reasoned. And if the woman happened to believe the frog really was a boy, it only made the show more convincing.
"Could you please come with me to see some of my friends?" Rei said before she grabbed Kasumi's hand and escorted her inside the temple to meet Usagi and Makoto. Ami had a caught a cold and was at home, bedridden.
The lively discussion had ended abruptly as the group warily eyed the unknown brunette whom Rei seated at the table, petting a frog on her hand. After the brief introductions were over with, the only sound present was more or less the buzzing of a fly going in circles inside the room.
"Ranma, you really shouldn't ruin your appetite with snacks," Kasumi admonished the frog who had the wisdom to look a bit ashamed of himself.
The senshis wondered how exactly did the frog manage to convey with his croaks such obvious feelings of regret.
"So, Ms. Tendo, could you please tell us of your fiancé?" Rei prompted Kasumi to get the meeting back on track she wanted it to take.
"... and to join the families, I am now betrothed to Ranma here," Kasumi finished her brief explanation of the situation.
"Ribbit! Ribbit!" Ranma was agitated - the incy-wincy detail of the water trigger had apparently escaped her mind in whole.
"So, wouldn't you agree that if Usagi here was a princess, her kiss would remove the curse?" Rei asked.
"Oh yes, but -" Kasumi said before Rei stopped her from telling more.
Makoto was wondering if Rei had read too many romance mangas. Usagi briefly wondered if she had better leave Rei's mangas alone in the future. All three were a bit uneasy before Kasumi's vacant expression.
"May I?" Rei asked of Kasumi, gesturing towards Ranma, who appeared a bit paler than a while ago.
Uncertain of Rei's intentions, Kasumi agreed with a little hesitation. Rei took hold of the frog with both of her hands and looked sharply at Usagi, whose ponytails stood up on end as she realized what Rei was asking for.
She really didn't like this idea, but if this was going to possibly help the boy and also placate Rei a little... She braced herself and moved next to the frog, which tried frantically to squirm his way away from Rei's hands. A deep breath and...
The frog tensed up before going completely limp. Kasumi nodded with approval. It was not right for her betrothed to enjoy being kissed by other women... especially if they were just junior high girls.
Silently Rei handed the limp Ranma back to Kasumi before standing up, a wide smile on her face. "I'll go get something for us to drink," she said and skipped giddily out of the room. As long as none of the other girls got the idea to kiss the frog the scheme would work out just wonderfully.
Only then did Kasumi remember she herself hadn't kissed her prince yet in either form or that she hadn't even told the shrine maiden how the curse was triggered. The latter would have to wait until Rei returned, but the former she could do right now. And oh, how wonderful it would be if he really turned back into a boy as she kissed him, just like in the fairy tale?
Rei returned back to the room with four cups on a platter. "Here is some teAAAAAGH!" she finished with a scream as she slipped on one of the mangas Usagi had left on the floor after reading them when Rei was sweeping the stairs.
Just as Kasumi's lips touched Ranma's, the water magnet frog was doused in hot tea.
Usagi and Makoto were staring at the woman kissing the unconscious frog-turned-hunk before them. Rei was getting up from the ground. She'd have to clean the floor quickly lest the tea stain it and her mangas. Then she noticed the boy in Kasumi's embrace and mentally yelled all the different expletives quite unfit for a shrine maiden to utter, especially in a shrine.
Foiled, yet again. Marvellously.
Kasumi beamed; she was as close to heaven as she had ever been.. The navigators aboard ships over at Tokyo Bay decided it was safest not to make a move until the fog cleared and the location of the new, most unexpected lighthouse was marked on the charts.
Usagi's eyes were sparkling with tears now that she realized she had kissed someone else than Tuxedo Kamen. Both she and Makoto had the same thought on their minds:
"Could Ms. Tendo be the Moon Princess?"
AN. In case you wondered, the mess with the mattresses refers to H.C. Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea".
Where's Minako? She hasn't made her appearance yet at this point.
By the way, I just lied to you about the lemmings.