A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic by Intrasonic
> brackets denote Chinese speech
It was a disgusted look on a disgusting face.
"Aren't you done cleaning the floors yet?"
"Almost... done," Mousse panted, frantically scrubbing with the mop.
"You already cleaned that part," Cologne snapped, the look on her face not relenting one bit.
"Blind idiot," Shampoo agreed, finishing the task of putting away the glasses.
With all his might, Mousse ignored the two, re-aiming his mop to a dirty section of the floor as best as his vision allowed. He consoled himself with thoughts of how this would all be worth it someday. "Someday... I'll marry you, Shampoo..." he whispered.
A normal person would never have heard his whispering. As it was, there were no normal people present in the Nekohanten and the two martial artists heard him perfectly well.
"You never impress Shampoo," the younger of the two laughed.
Cologne smirked also. "She's quite right, boy. Go ahead and keep trying. But Shampoo will never be yours in this lifetime."
"Shampoo only love Ranma. Stupid Mousse not see that."
Cologne's face abruptly grew somewhat solemn. "Great-granddaughter?"
"Come with me. I want to talk with you about something."
Shampoo swallowed and nodded. Steeling herself, she followed Cologne into the next room. All things considered, she supposed this was overdue...
Shutting the door behind her, Shampoo knelt
on the floor respectfully. Cologne eyed her appraisingly for what seemed
like an eternity, the ancient eyes effortlessly dissecting her, piece by
Finally she spoke. "Would you care to guess as to what I want to talk about, Shampoo?"
Shampoo gulped. "Great-grandmother... not happy about Ranma."
"Indeed, I am not. How long have you been trying to snare Ranma?"
The question was rhetorical, and both knew it.
"Shampoo... try harder. She do better-"
"Yes, keep trying harder," Cologne interrupted. "Keep chasing after him. Keep bringing meals to him every day. Keep disgracing yourself with all the skimpy clothing you wear around him. Keep cheapening yourself in his eyes every time you drape yourself over him."
"What's not to understand?"
Shampoo swallowed, her nervousness evident as she reverted back to Chinese. I... I love Ranma, Great-grandmother. If I must lower myself in the eyes of these pathetic common Japanese, in order to get his love in return... that is a small price to pay. >
"Has it gotten you his love yet?"
The younger's head bowed. "Not... yet."
"Well, I suppose you'll have to keep trying. After all, surely persistence will pay off in end, don't you think?"
Shampoo had no reply to that.
"Has it occurred to you, Shampoo, why Ranma hasn't returned your affections?"
"Ranma..." Shampoo swallowed before replying. "Ranma like Akane."
Cologne smirked. "Quite right. That much is fairly obvious. But don't be too hard on yourself. He likes you too. Otherwise he would have sent you packing a long time ago. He's simply not a very decisive person outside of combat. To understate the matter."
A nod. Shampoo still didn't understand what Cologne was driving at. She had been prepared for a never-ending barrage of criticism regarding her continued failure to snare Ranma, and then peace again. This was different...
"In short, Shampoo, Ranma likes you, but he also likes certain other girls. The Okonomiyaki girl, he considers more of a friend, which makes her much less dangerous. The gymnastics girl, we needn't worry about either. But Akane Tendou is still a obstacle to your ambitions. You've done better than you think, but you're at a stalemate."
Shampoo still didn't understand.
Cologne abruptly changed the topic. "What about Mousse, Shampoo? He might defeat you someday."
Shampoo grimaced. "Mousse never beat-"
"He might. Someday."
"Then... Shampoo still not have to marry. And Mousse never beat Ranma!"
Cologne nodded. "Exactly. Even if Mousse managed to get your attention, Ranma is still in his way. He knows this, of course. That's why he hasn't bothered trying to impress you lately. He's concentrating on Ranma first."
Things began to fall into place. "Like Shampoo and Akane... even if Ranma like Shampoo, Akane still obstacle."
"Exactly. Therefore, you must get rid of Akane first."
"Ranma mad if Shampoo hurt Akane."
Cologne chuckled. "If you do things that way, certainly he'll be mad. You still have much to learn, Great-granddaughter. But I have an idea that should give you an excellent chance. It will be up to you to take advantage of it, but..."
It had been a long time since Cologne had actually volunteered to help her out in winning Ranma's heart... "Shampoo listen good."
Cologne's smile grew larger. She hadn't been lying, but even if Shampoo managed to bungle things up... it would still be an excellent source of amusement. "Listen closely, then. And perhaps learn a few things about letting an opponent defeat themselves."
"You're such a jerk!"
"I didn't do nothin', you tomboy!"
Ranma and Akane. Walking to school. Insulting each other as usual.
"You always make me late for school!"
"You're just too slow!"
"I'll show you slow!" Without any further explanation, Akane wound up her fist, preparing to pound Ranma hard enough to render him senseless.
Ranma skipped out of reach easily, landing on the fence. "Nyah! Too slow, you tomboy!"
With a grunt, Akane clamped her hands around the fencepost, yanking it out of its foundations, incidentally sending Ranma sprawling downwards towards the river in the process.
Ranma abruptly found himself yanked to a halt. "Ack!"
"You be careful, Ranma."
Ranma winced. Not now... "Hi, Shampoo."
The Amazon looked at him curiously from atop her bicycle. She was now suspending him in midair by his leg as she balanced atop an undamaged section of the fence. "Nihao, Ranma. Why you try jump in water?"
"That tomboy knocked me in!" he growled.
"Oh, so now you're flirting with Shampoo, are you?" Akane growled.
"I ain't doin' nothing!" Ranma shot back, mustering as much dignity as was possible while hanging upside down.
Mercifully, Shampoo set him down on the sidewalk. "Violent girl listen to Ranma."
"Why should I listen to you?"
Shampoo smirked at Akane. "Ranma beat Akane easy if he want to. He let Violent-girl hit because he not want to hurt."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Akane demanded, irritation growing on her face.
"You weakling, that all."
"I'll show you weak!"
"Shampoo already know weak. She look at weak right now."
"I'm not weak!"
"Ranma," Shampoo beckoned. "Who stronger? Akane or Shampoo?"
Ranma shrugged, his mouth working much faster than his brain, as usual. "You'd beat her easy, Shampoo."
Akane's face began to heat up.
"And Ranma beat Shampoo easy. So Ranma beat Akane too-too easy. So Akane much, much weakling."
"You little-" Without even finishing the sentence, Akane swung at Shampoo.
Shampoo ducked, letting the fist pass overhead. "Akane much, much slow too."
Akane swung again.
Shampoo skipped sideways. "Violent-girl pa-the-tic," she said calmly. "No touch Shampoo. Shampoo maybe hit back?"
"Just try it!"
Shampoo leaned back to avoid a third punch, simultaneously twisting her body up in preparation to unleash a full-force roundhouse kick. "Shampoo try," she agreed.
At the sound of Ranma's protest, Shampoo spun around Akane's fourth punch, withholding the kick and immediately putting several paces between herself and Akane.
"What wrong, Ranma?" she asked innocently.
"You coulda hurt Akane, Shampoo!" he replied.
Akane's face began to go beet-red.
"I only play-fight," Shampoo protested.
Ranma sighed. "I know. But you're way stronger than Akane! She's not as strong as you or me. You coulda hurt her with a kick like that!"
Akane was seething by this time.
Ranma gulped upon seeing that Shampoo was about to go into tears. "Hey, don't worry 'bout it. Just be careful next time, okay?"
Shampoo nodded quickly, producing something from her bike's delivery basket. "Ranma want pork-bun?"
Ranma looked at it, brightening. "Hey, thanks!"
"Shampoo have delivery to do. See later on."
Even as she rode off swiftly, Akane finally lost it. "Ranma, you JERK!!!"
"What did I do?!" he demanded, avoiding her blow so that he was able to finish eating the pork-bun. "I just saved you!"
"I'm a martial artist too!" she yelled furiously. "I don't need you butting in on my fights!"
"A slow chick like you is no match for Shampoo!" he protested.
Ranma set his foot down on the ground as Akane withdrew her fist from where it had bent the metal fence post. "What's your problem?" he asked, finally getting angry. "You're so ungrateful!"
Akane's face was still contorted with rage. All at once, the storm passed, her face calming down. "Forget it, you pervert. I'm not going to be late for school."
Ranma watched her march away in a huff. "Geez," he muttered. "What's her problem?"
The empty street gave him no answers, but he wasn't inclined to press the question at the time.
A deft leap landed him atop a nearby roof, whereupon he quickly began to bounce from roof to roof, heading straight for the school. He had to get to school fast, or Miss Hinako would be downright angry with him. And the last thing he needed was to have another person angry at him.
Akane had started running as soon as she'd
left Ranma's sight, fists whitening as her feet pounded the sidewalk. She
briefly let herself imagine that she was preparing to pummel a horde of
perverted schoolboys that all wanted to date her, just like she'd used
to at one time.
But no, there was no horde. Just a single perverted schoolboy that didn't want to date her. And who she couldn't beat up in a real fight if her life had depended on it. And who had three other females chasing him that she couldn't beat up either. And had a whole crowd of other people trying to kill him that she couldn't beat up-
A tap on the shoulder jarred her from her thoughts. Even as she let herself ignore the fact that she was running at a speed that only a few select people could possibly hope to match, she turned towards the source.
"Good day, Tendou-girl."
Akane scowled. First Shampoo, and now- "Cologne."
The Amazon Matriarch smiled atop her staff as she effortlessly kept pace. "Nice to see you in such cheerful spirits. Please, stop a moment and talk."
The sarcasm was not lost on Akane, but she ignored it. She was already in a bad mood, and the last thing she needed was to deal with yet another person who she couldn't beat up.
"I'm going to be late!"
"I told you! I'm going to be-"
Akane's head rang for several moments as she struggled to regain her bearings. After the stars cleared from her vision, she was able to make out a brick wall in front of her, slightly cracked from some impact...
"I told you to stop."
Akane gritted her teeth, face flushed red. "WHAT?!?"
Cologne was unperturbed. "Come now, Tendou-girl. I think you might want to hear me out on this. I witnessed that little exchange a moment ago between Son-in-Law, my Great-granddaughter and you. I'm not impressed at all."
"Well, excuse me!!!"
"I said nothing about you, Tendou-girl. I was referring to the other two who were harassing you."
Akane finally calmed down a little. A little. "What about it?"
"Such arrogance is unbecoming to them. Especially my Shampoo. A martial artist must learn humility. Would you be willing to help them learn?"
"Do I have to spell it out for you? I'm offering to help you out."
Akane looked suspicious. She knew what Cologne's ideas of 'helping' could entail. She'd been there when the old woman had 'helped' Ryouga. "Let me guess. You're going to teach me the Bakusai Tenketsu?"
"Even better. I'm going to give you this."
On reflex, Akane snatched an object from air as it was thrown towards her. She looked at it curiously. It was a necklace of some sort. A thin gold chain, broken only by a large diamond framed in gold. It felt fragile, but Akane could almost swear she felt power radiating from it.
"What is this?" she asked.
"An old Amazon treasure. Among my people, it's known simply as a Jewel of Power. It's also been known by other names over the years. But that's not relevant now. What is relevant is that it makes a person stronger."
Akane alternating between looking at the jewel and the giver, as though not sure which could be trusted more at the moment. "How much stronger?"
"Much, much stronger, Tendou-girl. On level with me, believe it or not."
That was strong, Akane knew. Perhaps Ranma had faced her off to stand-still before with his Cat-Fist. But the fact remained that Cologne was nothing short of an awesome fighter when confronted. To get that kind of power... "Why would you give this to me?"
"Politics and discipline, Tendou-girl. Shampoo and Son-in-Law have gotten a little too arrogant as of late. It would look rather petty if I were intervene directly. It might not go over well back home, you see. But I see no problem with having a young woman give them a few bruises. Or with you being that young woman."
Akane still looked sceptical.
"I'll tell you what, Tendou-girl. Keep the jewel. Wear it, and challenge Son-in-Law to a sparring match tonight. See what you think, then?"
She finally nodded. "Alright. I'll try it. But I don't owe you anything for this!"
"Nothing at all."
Akane shrugged. "Fine. Assuming this thing even does anything at all."
"That's all I ask. Something for me, something for you. Good day, Tendou-girl. Besides, just imagine what Son-in-Law will of you after this?"
"Why would I care what that jerk thinks of me?"
Cologne nodded. "Of course. Anyway, you'd better get to school before you're late."
The day seemed to pass forever for Akane. She
still wore the jewel, though ever sceptical of it. There was no way Cologne
could be telling the truth. There had to be a catch. The old woman always
had a trick up her sleeve, didn't she?
Math was a wasted class, for all the attention she paid to the lesson being taught. Had she not normally been such an attentive student, she might have actually faced discipline in Literature. Being hit with a volleyball in gym class only brought her back to reality for a moment. Her mind was too occupied to pay attention to the going-ons around her, concerning itself only with trying to unravel whatever plan Cologne was surely hatching.
"Just for today, Yuki," Akane placated. "It won't be the end of the world if I miss ne geography class, right?"
"Are you feeling okay?" her friend asked worriedly. "You've been... really spaced out all day. Did you get in another fight with Ranma?"
Akane flushed slightly. "It's... not that."
"Did you forget a tampon? I have some in my locker-"
"No, no, it's nothing like that. Besides, my period ended a few days ago. I just have some things on my mind. I just need some time to sort them out."
"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"
"It's... okay. I'll be fine tomorrow, okay? I just can't concentrate today."
"If you're sure..."
"I'm fine," Akane assured her friend cheerfully. "Really, I am."
Mousse looked up from his cooking as someone
entered the restaurant. Shampoo and Cologne were both off doing errands/plotting.
Privately, he suspected the latter, but it wasn't as though he could do
anything to stop them.
"Welcome to the Nekohaten," he greeted the new arrival.
Akane. She didn't show up around here very often, no doubt on account of Shampoo. "Hello, Akane. What can I get you?"
"A bowl of mushroom ramen would be nice. Are Cologne or Shampoo in?"
"They're both out right now, I'm afraid. Can I pass on a message to them?"
Akane smiled, though Mousse couldn't have seen it. "No, that's okay. I wanted to talk with you, actually."
Mousse raised an eyebrow. "Me?"
"Yes, you. You're an Amazon too, aren't you?"
"Well, y-yes, I am."
"I was curious about Cologne."
"You're asking me about her?"
"Just a few things. I know she's some sort of matriarch back in your village. I know she's an incredible fighter."
"So what does the first part mean? What does a matriarch do back in your village."
Mousse pushed a bowl of ramen towards her, steaming hot. "She helps rule the village, really. She's one of a small group of woman who are chosen because they're stronger and smarter than all the others."
"I can see that. Stronger, I believe it. Smarter?"
Mousse actually chuckled. "You Japanese seem to think we Amazons are obsessed with strong fighters."
"Only to a point. A strong fighter can do well in the tribe. Shampoo was the best fighter in her age group when Ranma beat her... I suppose you might have said that she was quite popular back home. But fighting strength is only effective to a point. After a certain point, you'll never advance anywhere through fighting alone. That's where other skills come into play."
"That's right. Other skills. Anything."
Mousse shrugged. "An Amazon would understand."
"Well, I'm not an Amazon."
"It's... hard to explain. Use Cologne as an example. Certainly, she's an incredible fighter. Rumour is that she's mastered forty or fifty unique fighting styles. I can believe it. But you might not appreciate that she's also skilled in a great number
medicinal arts. I've seen her speak fluently in three or four different languages at one time or another. She apparently has some university education and rumour back home says that she's even qualified to work on firearms."
Akane's eyes opened wide. "You can't be serious! Why... no one could find the time to learn all that..."
"Has it ever occurred to you that something like Jusenkyou should have been investigated by now? There should have been scientists and researchers crawling all over it by now."
"So why not?"
Mousse shrugged, a small amount of pride finding its way to his surface. "The Amazons forbid it. And the Chinese government doesn't argue."
If such a thing was possible, Akane's expression grew even more incredulous. "The Chinese government?"
"They're afraid of us, Akane. More specifically, they're afraid of people like Cologne. There was a brief war some time back. Neither side talks about it now, but things went very badly for the government, I've heard. As I've heard it told, the heavy tanks gave us some brief trouble, but by that time, there weren't any more acting government officials alive to give orders. The bombers were never able to find our village in the first place."
"Are you... really serious?"
"Completely, Akane. That's what I mean by 'other skills'."
"I see. So... Cologne would be involved in a lot of politics?"
"More than I could ever guess, I'd say."
"Why were you asking?"
Akane smiled. "Just curious, Mousse. Thanks. I think this answers my question."
"Um.... happy to be of service."
Akane's mind was still spinning as she headed
back home. But now she felt that she was more in control of the spinning.
She didn't even pretend to understand why Cologne had given her this jewel.
But she was a little more inclined to believe that the old woman was being
somewhat truthful. There was quite possibly a number of pressing reasons
why Cologne couldn't hurt Ranma or Shampoo herself. So she was acting through
someone else who would be happy to do that?
Akane wasn't sure if that described her. Sure, Ranma and Shampoo were both annoying, the way they both made fun of her fighting abilities. Was it her fault if she hadn't been taken on a ten-year training trip? Or that she hadn't grown up in an Amazon
village? They had no right to make fun of her the way they did. Shampoo was nothing but a bimbo who thought she was superior to everyone else and who thought Ranma belonged only to her.
Akane paused to think about the last part. What did that mean to her? Sure, Ranma was her fiancee. But they certainly weren't in love or anything. All they ever did was fight after he made fun of her. But she didn't actually hate him. He was just... different than what she was used to. If he would only stop making fun of her and being a stuck-up jerk, she might actually be able to make up her mind about him.
And it was possible that she'd been given a way to do just that. If this... 'Jewel of Power' could actually make her stronger, Ranma wouldn't be able to make fun of her during sparring practice. If it really worked, she'd be the one making fun of him! And then he'd have to respect her.
And then, maybe she could finally sort out her feelings about him.
Ranma smiled as he accepted a cookie from Kasumi. "Hey Kasumi."
"How was school today?"
"Ah, same old stuff. Where's 'kane?"
"She's in the dojo, I think. Is something the matter? She came home from school early today. She said nothing was wrong, but..."
"Yeah, I heard 'bout that," Ranma agreed, frowning. "I guess I'll ask her."
"That would be nice."
"Uncute tomboy," Ranma muttered as he walked
slowly towards the dojo. "How come I gotta be the one who asks her what's
wrong? She'll pro'bly just hit me for asking."
As he approached the dojo, he could hear the sounds of someone working out. Akane, no doubt, doing her katas as she often did after school. Honestly, if thought that those pathetic little routines she did were ever going to make her a match for anyone else in Nerima short of Kunou...
He paused a moment in the dojo's entrance to watch her carefully. You could tell a lot about how a martial artist was feeling by how they trained. Akane tended to destroy more objects when she was angry. She also demanded that he spar with her more when she was angry. And then she got angrier when he did. Or when he didn't. A lose-lose situation for him.
Akane didn't seem angry right now though. Judging by some of the moves she was executing, she seemed... experimental, he supposed. He'd never seen her do some of those moves before. Easy for him, of course.
It took several moments before Akane finally realized that he was watching her. "Spar with me?" she asked hopefully.
"How come you left school early?" he asked, deciding to take the direct route, as well as divert her from the question.
She shrugged. "I felt like training."
How about that? Akane had finally decided to put some extra time into training. "Oh."
"Spar with me?" she repeated.
She was persistent today. "Nah, I don't feel like it."
She glared at him. "You scared?"
He smirked. "Of you? Don't make me laugh!"
"Then fight me!" she demanded.
"I don't fight girls," he replied. "You know that."
"Then turn into a girl for all I care!" she shot back.
"You can't even hit me as a girl!" Or as a guy, for that matter.
"I bet you I can today!"
"That's almost funny. I got homework to do."
Akane swallowed. "If you beat me, I won't cook for a week."
Ranma stopped. A small part of his mind wondered why on earth she was so insistent that he spar with her, but the bigger part of his mind suggested he accept an hour of boredom and spare himself a week's agony. "Aw, fine. Just to get a break from your cooking."
"And if I win, you have to eat my cooking for a week," she added.
"Yeah, sure, whatever. Let me get some water."
Akane smiled. "Doesn't matter to me."
As Ranma jogged out of the dojo, Akane's smile faded to one of nervousness as she looked at the necklace around her neck, complete with the jewel. Would it work like Cologne had said? Not that it would be a big change for Ranma not to eat her cooking. He always seemed to make himself absent in the first place. But if this worked, she would never have a chance of getting Ranma to take her seriously. She was fairly confident that it would make her stronger. Even while practising, she had felt more energetic, more capable, more... powerful than normal. But would it be enough to take Ranma down?
It had to work.
Ranma was back in several minutes, in his female
form, whistling cheerfully. Akane permitted herself a small smile as she
looked at the nonchalant expression on the redhead's face. How nice it
must be, to be able to approach a fight like that, knowing that whoever
it was wouldn't stand a chance against you. She'd never entirely been able
to do that, even against the schoolyard perverts she had once dealt with.
It would be more than a little satisfying to wipe that smirk off his face,
"Alright, let's get this over with," Ranma prompted, hands in her pocket.
Akane rushed forwards, vaulting into a jump kick.
Ranma shifted sideways easily, preparing to throw off Akane's balance with her left foot. It would be more than enough to knock her to the floor, but it wouldn't hurt her.
That's when Akane kicked her feet out from under her.
Ranma blinked as she landed flat on her butt. Where had that come from? She'd obviously been daydreaming.
Akane smiled sweetly. "I'm sorry. Are you okay, Ranma?"
The redhead's eyes narrowed. "Like that's gonna hurt anybody!" A quick twist, and she was on her feet again, hands no longer in her pockets. "Just try that again!"
"If you insist."
Akane lunged again, disdaining the jump kick and instead going for a straight-in flurry of punches.
The first few, Ranma easily wove around. The next few had to be knocked aside. Then they came too fast to dodge.
Akane clasped her hands behind her back as Ranma sat on the ground once again, rubbing her shoulder gingerly. "Are you okay, Ranma? You seem pretty slow today."
"Hah hah. Sounds funny comin' from slowpoke like you!"
Ranma was on her feet again, now in a combat position. He would not be caught off guard a third time, he vowed.
Akane kept down the feeling of exhilaration she was experiencing at the moment. The jewel was working! But now would be the real test. Would it be enough to take Ranma in all seriousness?
She didn't have to wait long. This time, Ranma finally attacked. Not all-out, but she actually tried to connect, which was something of a rarity, even as a female.
For Akane, it was something out of a dream. Even as Ranma's fists headed towards her, she was already one with her thoughts, twisting and blocking the lightning-fast strikes. After a moment, she began to realize that it wasn't happening through luck. She was actually strong and fast enough to do it... the thought made her laugh with delight. The jewel was working!
Ranma obviously heard her laugh, because the tempo of her punches increased steadily, as did the randomness of them. Yet Akane continued to defend herself, her body almost becoming a blur as she intercepted or dodged each attack.
Finally, she attacked in return, her right hand giving Ranma a chop on the shoulder that actually knocked her sideways before she rolled into a cartwheel to recover. The redhead flipped back several steps to give some breathing space while she re-evaluated her strategy.
Akane smiled. "Giving up already?" she taunted.
She rubbed her shoulder irritably. "Heck no! Takes more'n a little luck to beat Ranma Saotome!"
Faster still this time. Akane could barely see the punches coming this time. But as soon as she saw them, she was already moving to block them. Frustration began to appear on Ranma's face as her punches and kicks failed to get through.
After enjoying the situation for several moments, Akane finally drove forwards, grabbing Ranma in an arm lock and tossing him to the floor with a relish.
"Maybe you should change back to a guy?" she suggested.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER...
"Serves you right, boy."
"Perhaps you'll respect your fiancee more now."
The crumpled, barely conscious form shifted slightly. "Shaddup! I ain't beaten yet!"
At the entrance to the Saotome's room, another figure was looking on with a small smile. "If you want to try again..." Akane invited.
Soun shuddered. "Akane, dear. Your father is very proud of you. But perhaps you should... let your fiancee recover first."
She smiled again. "Of course. Get well soon, Ranma."
Akane only laughed as she left the room, heading
into her own. Ranma's insults weren't what they had been this morning.
They didn't even begin to bother her now. She knew him well enough to know
that he took losing the way most people took their medication. And he'd
just taken an extreme dose of medication. Perhaps 'losing' was too weak
a word for it.
She'd pummeled him, really. No matter what he tried, she had simply intercepted it and dispatched him. She was amazed that he'd endured as long as he had, really. But it had been no match against her newfound strength.
She glanced at the necklace, carefully concealed beneath her clothing. So Cologne hadn't been lying, after all. The jewel had worked beyond her wildest dreams. Ranma didn't stand a chance against her now.
So what now? Ranma wouldn't be able to make fun of her anymore. What did she do now? Ranma would challenge her again. And again. He would never win, but that would never cross his mind for a moment. He would never give up...
She lay back on her bed with a smile. The Saotome legacy, Genma always called it. A Saotome never lost a fight. Delays and setbacks were acceptable. Even temporarily running away could be justified. But defeat simply didn't happen. Ever.
Ranma was the very personification of that mentality. He was arrogant and overconfident, but no one could ever accuse him of being weak-willed. One of his charms? Or one of his annoying points? Perhaps just one of his little nuances, take it or
So should she take it? Could she? Did she even want to? Perhaps she should keep the option open. Ranma would surely respect her as a fellow martial artist now. He would have to. Things between them would surely change. Possibly for the better. And if anything else happened after that...
...then it would happen.