Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma or IkkiTousen or Veritas, they belong to their respective companies and authors. This story is just for entertainment and no money is been made out of this and one more thing everything else not belonging to above three categories belongs solely to me.
(I have cleaned this up a bit by poof reading it, which to my eternal shame I hadn't done earlier in my hurry to publish the story.)
This is my first publication but not my first story.
Ranma at the moment was stuck in a quandary, on one hand he wanted to beat up Principal Kuno within the inch of his life and on the other hand he wanted to thank him. One might think that Ranma always thought about hurting Principal Kuno so it was nothing, knowing that Ranma was contemplating beating up Principal Kuno at the moment but new thing was Ranma wanting to thank him and anybody and absolutely nobody who knew him would know that Ranma would never thank him, as Principal Kuno had been after Ranma since he had first met him trying to create even more chaos in his life and at one point also nearly destroying his education. To really know the reason behind Ranma's current mood one would have to go way back to nearly 2 years ago, it was there that the animosity between Principal Kuno and Ranma had reached its zenith and nearly caused Ranma losing his education.
**************************Two Years Ago****************************
It had just been a month since the failed wedding and Ranma was currently making his way to school alone looking tired and depressed, the reason for it was that since the failed wedding things in Ranma's life had gone from bad to worse, his other fiancées had been trying to win him over with even more vigor and as such his fight with their suitors had become even more problematic as they too tried harder to eliminate him from their love equation. As if this was not enough even his relationship with Akane was deteriorating and the main reason for that was her blaming him for the failed wedding and later on blaming him for everything else that happened and as a result the love and the trust they had built up was taking a blow with every abuse he had taken from her. It was not as if he was the saint in this scenario, he too was at blame but unlike her he was trying to improve and do good with her but she was taking his good gesture by malleting him and saying he wanted something from her surely something perverted and hence was being nice to her.
Shaking his head Ranma tried to ward away the depressing thoughts as he saw he was nearing the school and was somewhat successful in that quest. Finally reaching his destination Ranma made his way to his classroom and without sparing Akane a glancing he took his usual seat near the window.
A few minutes later the teacher entered and as usual the class slowly quieted down and that was the when the teacher announced.
"Ranma Saotome you have been called to the Principals office." Hearing this Ranma was jolted out of his daydream, not in the mood to argue Ranma got out of his seat and grumblingly made his way out of the classroom and towards the Principals office. Reaching the office Ranma readied himself which was just a precaution absolutely unnecessary as one has to be always ready if they are to survive in Nerima especially a high caliber martial artist like Ranma. When he stepped inside the room he wasn't attacked as he usually was that means no exploding coconuts or any other fruits and that really sent warning bells ringing inside his head.
"Ranma! Good you are here, have a seat." The Principal said gesturing at the seats in the front of his desk.
Hesitantly Ranma took the offered seat.
"Well according to the Japanese Education Laws regarding delinquents, you have been categorized as an delinquent and due to your behavior regarding your school work it has been decided that you will be suspended from gaining education from any institution in Japan for next two years and here is the official order if you don't believe me." Principal said while handing him a copy of the official document and grinning triumphantly at him happy for once being able to get one over him.
Ranma dumbly took the document and silently made his way out of the office, the only way he would be able to confirm the truth of what he heard was by showing the document to Nabiki. Still he had a sick feeling that what the Principal had said had been the truth because he could easily detect a lie after being lied to for so long and the document he was holding definitely looked official enough.
Ranma spent the whole school day silently contemplating the consequences of his suspension.
'Mom is definitely going to be angry as she was the one who wanted me to be manly and for that I have to have a complete education according to mom. Well about others they wouldn't care and my already chaotic life will become hell and the small escape I had being at school will be also gone.' And that thought made him even more depressed.
After school he immediately sought out Nabiki and found her near the school gates.
"Nabiki I have to ask you something privately."
"That will be ¥ 5000." Nabiki immediately replied.
"Put it in my tab and tell me if this is fake or not." Ranma immediately replied not caring the money and handed her the official document.
Nabiki took the document and scrutinized it closely and time went on her eyes widen in shock as she read further. After looking at it for 15 mins carefully and regaining her composure she replied.
"It looks genuine enough and there are signatures of very highly placed individuals, even if I wanted to I couldn't be able to help."
"That is enough for now I will meet you back at the dojo later." Ranma said taking the paper from her hand and jumped on the nearby building and started roof-hopping away.
Even Nabiki being unable help had been a real blow to him; he had gone to Nabiki for confirming the official letter and in hopes that she would be able to help him if it was true. His already bleak situation looked even bleaker.
Stopping at one of the taller buildings in the ward overlooking the whole ward Ranma started thinking which he didn't usually do but after all that had happened in the past few months he had slowly started to use his head more. Now about the current situation.
'After visiting Nabiki it is clear that I will not be able to get out this easily and if I am truly suspended for two years then I will have nothing to do and situation with the Nerima Wrecking crew will get even worse leaving me with no breathing space. The only way I can avoid that is get out of here without anybody knowing where I am going, but the question is how… of course I can go on a training trip and I can make sure that no one follows me by getting mom on my side and getting her to help me. So that means I have to go and meet her and now would be a good time as any and I haven't visited her since the failed wedding debacle anyway.' Having worked out what to do at the moment Ranma immediately got up and made his way to his mom's house.
Reaching his mom's house, Ranma knocked on the door. A moment later he heard the sounds of footsteps nearing the door and soon after the door opened.
"Ranma…." His mom said and immediately thereafter he was grabbed in a bear hug, Ranma immediately stiffened his instincts overtaking him but relaxed a moment later when he felt neither an ulterior motive nor the smothering and nor the possessive quality in hug he usually felt in his so called fiancées hugs. All he felt was an odd sense warmth in his heart and oddly safe and secure. He ideally wondered if this was what a mother's hug felt. Soon they both separated.
"Oh! Ranma it's wonderful to see you here it's been nearly a month since you visited me, come in." Nodoka replied obviously happy at seeing her son and guiding him to the drawing room.
"Sit down I will bring some tea and then we will talk." She replied while hurrying towards the kitchen.
Few minutes later she returned with two hot cups of tea and placed them on the table while taking a seat opposite Ranma and handing him his tea.
"So how are you doing son?"
"I am fine mom." Ranma replied. Nodoka easily detected the tiredness and hopelessness in his voice.
"Mom I have something to tell you and then I need your help."
"Of course son I am your mother I will help in any way I can." Nodoka replied smiling reassuringly at him.
Ranma relaxed even more after seeing her smile and nodded smiling gratefully.
"Mom I was given this by Principal Kuno." Ranma replied as he handed her the document and immediately his relaxed pose stiffened as he readied himself for the outburst.
Taking the document from Ranma's hand while casting a worried look at Ranma's direction and seeing Ranma stiffened up as if ready for something, Nodoka immediately knew that something big had happened.
Reading the document Nodoka's face cycled through various emotions, worry at first followed by shock then contemplation and then comprehension and then finally anger, after finishing reading Nodoka glanced at Ranma anger still in her eyes.
Her anger immediately softened after seeing Ranma flinch at her gaze.
"I am not angry at you Ranma, I am angry at the principal from what I know he has had a grudge against you for a long time and this might by his way of getting back at you. Don't you worry Ranma I will see to it that this order is immediately repelled and you will be back at school within two to three days and that principal will pay the price for abusing his position and falsifying charges." Nodoka replied angry fire returning to her eyes.
"No don't do that mom." Ranma immediately replied completely shocking Nodoka.
"Why son?" Nodoka replied glancing at her son curiously.
"Mom it's a perfect opportunity for me to get away from all the craziness that is Nerima using this as an cover, I was thinking of taking a long training trip to get my life on track and I was hoping you could help keep away my fiancées off my back for the duration of the trip." Ranma explained looking at her earnestly and hopefully.
"Now that I think about it your right you could use this as cover and go on a long training trip to get away from here and piece your life together again, but I am unwilling to let this black mark remain in your record but I will wipe this black mark from your record after the mentioned two years are up and we will add some reason so as you why you were away from education for two years. I too think that it will do you good being away from here for a while." Nodoka replied and looking at relieved and gratefully Ranma she knew that she had made the right decision.
"Now you have visited me after such a long time why don't you stay here for the night and you can accompany me to Tendo dojo tomorrow and till tomorrow I will have surely thought of something that will keep the fiancées off your back for the period of your absence from Nerima. Now enough discussing about depressing matters, let's move on to something pleasant." Nodoka said and went on to talk about few pleasant things that occurred in Ranma's life but only for small time as sadly very few pleasant events occurred in Ranma's chaotic life.
Later Nodoka called Tendo dojo informing them about Ranma staying the night. Later having dinner both of them retired to their respective beds to get a good night's rest.
Next morning both mother and son woke up little early and completed their respective morning rituals and after preparing and consuming breakfast set out towards the Tendo dojo. Reaching their destination Ranma went ahead and knocked on the door. Few seconds later Kasumi opened the door as usual.
"Oh! Ranma-kun your back; Come in." Kasumi greeted Ranma not noticing Nodoka as she was slightly behind Ranma.
Turing around Kasumi announced that Ranma was back and made her way towards the kitchen to bring some refreshments. Hearing her announcement the earlier silent house started to buzz with activity. Suddenly there was thumping of footsteps from upstairs and soon after Akane burst out into the room.
"You were with those floozies the whole night weren't you and you even had the gall to get your mother to call us and lie to us that you were at her house. I knew that I couldn't trust a perverted freak like you." Akane accused while going through the habitual motion of bringing out her mallet.
Before she could swing her brought out mallet Nodoka interfered and it was then that Akane noticed her presence.
"Are you calling me a liar young lady and this behavior is not befitting a lady. Do you accuse everybody like this out of the blue and attack them before letting them have their say or is Ranma a special case. This type of behavior will not be tolerated, if I ever see or hear about you behaving like this with my son without justified reason then I will take some strict action. Is that understood?" Nodoka said giving Akane the dressing down she needed for a long time.
"Now apologize to Ranma for your shameful accusations and behavior." Nodoka said with a glare.
"Apo…apo…apologize to Ra..Ran…Ranma." Akane stuttered not wanting to apologize to Ranma as it would be humiliating and make her feel like she was inferior to him as she always considered herself as superior to him and he was hers and she could do anything she wanted with him anyway were some of delusional thoughts currently revolving inside her head. She was brought out of her thoughts by Nodoka's voice.
"Apologise Now." Nodoka demanded with an intense glare.
"I am sorry Ranma." Akane apologized bowing her head to hide her face which was red from shame, anger and humiliation.
'I will get back at Ranma when he is alone, I will get what's coming to him I will never forget this humiliation.' Akane vowed.
The rest of the family which were always first to rescue Akane from any troubles were quiet due Nodoka's glare which had swept through all the family members that had gathered during Nodoka's dressing down of Akane daring them to interfere.
"Now that this is out of the way let's sit down, I have something important to discuss." Nodoka replied while taking her seat.
Taking her advice others took their respective seats and sat down waiting for her to continue and at that moment Kasumi returned the room with some snacks.
"Kasumi you too come sit down everybody should hear what I have to say."
After everybody was seated Nodoka removed her sword and kept it on the table assuring that nobody would question her during their talks and continued.
"It has recently come to my attention through Ranma that he has been suspended from Japanese educational system for two years for his so called delinquently behavior. Even with all his problems Ranma should have kept up in his school work. Hence he will be punished for this as education is considered as one of the requirement to be a manly man, as it is not a complete failure but a temporary setback I will not carry out the contractual punishment but a punishment is required make him understand his mistakes." Nodoka said as she looked at all the individual present in the room. Akane looked positively happy which disgusted her and she mentally noted to never let Ranma marry her, Nabiki had a neutral expression on her face, Kasumi looked truly sad, Soun looked worried and Genma looked relaxed as he was tensed earlier when she mentioned contractual punishment and had probably relaxed when she had mentioned that she wouldn't carry it out.
"What do you mean, dear?" Genma asked.
"I mean exactly what I said earlier, Ranma's punishment will be that he will be sent away from here and on a journey during which he will contemplate on his mistakes and straighten out his priorities in life and during the journey Ranma will be alone and no fiancées will accompany him and if anyone tries I will revoke their claim on my son completely and make sure that they will never marry my son and to make it clear as of today being the head of Saotome clan I revoke all claims of any fiancées Genma may have arranged to Ranma till date and all the arrangements made by him in future will be invalidated. If any of his fiancées try to contact him during his journey at any point before its completion then I will make sure that they are unable to woe or even marry Ranma." This statement shocked all the members and it took them few moments to overcome their shock during which Nodoka stayed silent.
"You can't do that!" Shouted Akane, Genma and Soun at the same time while jumping up.
"It's already been decided, now shut up and sit down." Nodoka said giving them a fierce glare and to add to the effect she slightly unsheathed her sword and it had the desired effect as the three of them quietly sat down.
"It's not if all of them have lost their chance they just have to follow what I have said earlier and they are good. Now about completion of Ranma's journey will be decided by me, every month Ranma will write or call me and explain to me what he has done past month and when I am satisfied with what I hear I will announce the end of his journey and if not then it will end by default after two years. That is all I have to say, Ranma go up and pack your things you are leaving with me and your journey will start tomorrow and you will be staying with me tonight so that they cannot coerce you to disappear so that you are unable to carry out your punishment so go up and pack your things." Nokoka turned and gestured towards Ranma who silently nodded and left for upstairs and went up to pack his things.
"Nabiki make sure that this ultimatum and these conditions are made known to all Ranma's so called fiancées." Nodoka said while giving Nabiki an intense look.
"And anybody who wishes to say their goodbyes are welcome at my house tomorrow morning and yes Nabiki, make sure they too get this tidbit of information." Nodoka said.
15 minutes later Ranma was all packed and down and soon after both mother and son left leaving a stunned silence behind.
"After they were out of hearing range of the Tendo dojo Nodoka turned towards Ranma and said.
"Don't be angry or disappointed about the punishment thing I said inside it was just a guarantee that they do not think as a simple training trip otherwise they will not leave you alone and in the confusion I was able to revoke all the fiancées claims, they will all think that it is temporary but it isn't it is permanent and when they realize it two years later it will be far too late for them to do anything and my guess that your current fiancées will move by then. I knew that you felt trapped by the fiancées due to your sense of honour and your unwillingness to hurt them. I could have done something earlier but you weren't ready then and neither was there a proper opportunity and even if I had done it earlier there would have lot of objection even from you no don't deny it Ranma you yourself liked the attention back but it is only now that you are understanding that hassle and chaos that it has created and with you understanding and the events that currently happened gave me the perfect opportunity to free you from the fiancées and even send you away from here willingly so that you can get your life together instead of you staying here and your fiancées still pursuing you even after their claim being revoked, I don't think that these are the kinds of girls that will give up so easily if stayed nearby. By sending you away they will think that revocation is temporary and stay and obey the rules I have set up and two years is a long time and my best guess is that some of them will definitely move on and I have full faith that you will gain new experiences and get your life on track."
"Thanks a lot mum." Ranma said his voice full of emotion and he stepped forward and grabbed her in a fierce hug and its was the first hug that Ranma had initiated in a long time while repeating a mantra in his head that men didn't cry.
Few moments later they separated giving each other soft warm smiles.
"Ranma is that all that you are going to carry for your training journey." Nodoka asked looking scandalized.
"Yea." Ranma replied shrugging not knowing what the fuss was about had even less most of the time when he was on a training trip with his father.
"How many changes of clothes you have in there?" Nodoka asked.
"One." Ranma frankly replied.
"What! You are going to need more than that come on we are going shopping." Nodoka replied dragging along Ranma.
They shopped for nearly two hours and Nodoka purchased a lot of things that she thought Ranma would need for two years. They ended up buying 12 sets of clothing which included 2 sets of formal clothing, a kimono, 3 pairs of everyday clothes and all other training clothes which Ranma had to forcefully add. He had also got a brand new mobile phone and had to learn rudimentary use of it like calling, picking up calls and charging it, he had insisted against having one as most of the time during his journey he would be away from civilization and any electrical facilities but she had said that it would be useful when he was near a civilization. They had also bought few basic necessities required for a camp and also enough to last 2 years. They would have shopped much longer if he had not put his foot down; being late in the day they had lunch in the nearby restaurant.
Returning home they had a small nap or in Ranma's case rest and later in the evening they were busy packing for Ranma's journey. Having dinner little early they retired early that night knowing that they had to wake up early the next morning, one to start on a journey of a lifetime where new challenges awaited him and another to send him off with both a heavy and relieved heart.
A/N: Anybody interested in betaing pls. contact me. This is just a prologue I will release the second chapter as soon as I finish it, it may take some time as my exams are nearing.