TRTSS29: The Most Spirited! – By DSWynne
Disclaimer: R ½, SM, ST and other genres belong to their respective owners.
Note: This is a multi-genre story.
Special Note: This story takes place somewhere in present time.
Whenever possible, Mr. and Mrs. Saotome like to take things slow once in a while, in order to get a better perspective in life. That is why this extraordinary couple likes to go on road trips now and again, since being on one reminds them of the importance of being humble. Besides, taking the proverbial scenic route in life did give the couple a chance to spend some time with each other. Unfortunately, even when trying to achieve this most noble of intentions, the lifestyle that Ranma (aka "Mr. Saotome") and his wife Usagi (aka "Mrs. Saotome") tends to preclude such notions of normalcy. In fact, the following is but one example of such an occurrence, when the couple took a detour into the strange and unknown…
"You know, I was thinking, we should go on a real vacation, after we help my cousin and her family settles into their new home," Usagi said, as she and Ranma took a drive a drive into Chiba Ward. They were planning on visiting several places for the next few weeks, including New Tokyo (to check up on Ranma's Sekirei), Tokyo-3 (to check on the Evangelion Project) Konohagakure (to check on their children Kenshin, Naruto, Renata, Genko, and on Ranma's daughter Tsuna, by way of Tsunade). They wanted to check up on those close to them, which gave the couple the excuse to help one of Usagi's cousins to move into her new home with her family. Besides, it did give the couple an excuse to have some quality time with each other…
"What do you call this?" Ranma said, as he continued to drive down the freeway.
"A working vacation," Usagi said, as she leans back in her seat. "An actual vacation would be for us to go to a secluded spot, somewhere in the world, and have no interference from work or from home."
"Ah, got it," Ranma said. "I suppose that could work, after we hit Okinawa."
"Oh, that's right. We have beach house down there."
"Well, then I might as well tell Master Hanzo to expect us, then…"
Usagi was referring to their family sword-smith, Master Hattori Hanzo, the descendant of the infamous shinobi Hattori Hanzo. These days, the younger Hanzo makes his trademark blades while using the guise of a sushi chef as a cover of sorts.
"Yeah, and Kenji would REALLY love us to interfere with his soap opera viewing," Ranma said with a smirk.
Kenji Oba was Hanzo's assistant and blade apprentice. He was bald, surly and prefers to watch his soaps than doing anything constructive. And, he particularly hated having his life turned upside down by strangers coming into the shop for "special training"…
"Don't worry about him, Ranma," Usagi said, as she notices that the traffic was slowing down a bit. "We just catch him at a bad time."
"Speaking of which, it looks like traffic is getting heavy," Ranma said, as he looks about the road. "I'm going to take a short cut."
With that, Ranma switches gears, and get off the nearest exit, one where that leads to a residential area on the outskirts of Greater Tokyo. In fact, the neighborhood looks strangely familiar.
"Ranma, have we been through here before?" Usagi asked, as he looked around.
"Come to think of it, yes, oddly enough," Ranma replied. "But, if we make down this road, we can make it back to the freeway in no time-"
Suddenly, a large, white truck comes barreling down the street in the opposite direction, seemingly out of nowhere.
"Ranma, look out!" Usagi said, as Ranma grips the wheel of the steering wheel.
"Got it," Ranma said, as he swerves to get out of the way of the truck. However, the truck purposely tries to hit Ranma and Usagi's car.
The truck smashes the car, sending it over the edge and into a wooded area below…
"Aw, man," Ranma said, as he crawls out of the smashed car. He then grabs Usagi's hand.
"Owie!" Usagi said, as she held her head. "My head hurts-!"
"Oh, stop it. You can take a direct hit by a tactical nuclear weapon."
"Well…it's the principle of the thing,"
"You ain't going to get any sympathy from me, Usagi," Ranma said, as he looks around. "This place…it looks familiar."
Usagi looks at what her husband was looking at.
"This is…the Chiba Dreamland Park," Usagi said in surprise. "I…I had almost forgotten this place. It was one of those projects that had been built to compete with Tokyo Disneyland, like Six Flags Magic Mountain or Knott's Berry Farm competes with Disneyland in America."
"Yeah, it's been a while," Ranma said, as he looked at the old architecture. "I think our charity foundation still owns this place."
"Funny, how we learned that SOME people thought otherwise..."
"Yeah, the Mishima clan tend to think that," Ranma said with a grunt. "It's hard to believe that Jin hasn't gone jerk on us."
"That's because of Jin's mother Jun, and her influence," Usagi said. "Not to mention that we did our level best to give the boy a stable environment, when Jun…died."
"Usagi, we don't know what happened to her," Ranma replied. "She could be dead, or she could be alive. There was no body where she supposedly died, and none of the usual suspects know the truth. Certainly, Kazuya would be the first to know of what happened…"
"Wait, isn't that Yasuko's car?" Usagi said, as she notices the car that sat in front of the entrance of the amusement park.
"Could be," Ranma said, as he checks out the abandoned vehicle.
"Then, where are they, Ranma?" Usagi said.
"Most likely inside the park grounds with that idiot husband of hers," Ranma said with a smirk.
"Now, now," Usagi replied. "Takashi is a good man."
"Takashi just rubs me the wrong way," Ranma replied. "Reminds me of Kuno, you know."
"Anyway, let's just find your cousin and her family, and get out here. This place gives me the creeps."
"What?" Usagi said with a mischievous smile. "You're scared?"
"No, but I am getting a weird vibe to this place," Ranma said, as he scratches his forehead. "And I sense magic, too."
"You know, come to think of it, I do, too," Usagi said, as she sniffs the air. "In fact, I sense a high concentration of spiritual energy."
"Then we REALLY have to find Yasuko and her family," Ranma said, as he begins to walk through the gate of the abandoned theme park. "It could be nothing but resonance at work, but I ain't taking any chances."
"But you took a chance on me, darling?" Usagi said with a grin.
"Sometimes, I wonder if I rolled 'snake eyes' on that one," Ranma said, just as he receives a slap in the arm. "Hey, I'm just kidding!"
"Humph," Usagi said, as she turns up her nose with indignation, while Ranma grins in jest.
And, with that, the adventurous couple enters the amusement park through the front gates, not realizing that they had just entered a 'shallowing': a place where the immaterial world overlaps the material one…
"Ranma, I'm getting some weird vibes of this place," Usagi said, as she scans the closed shops, but obviously active shops and food courts. The two had cross a dried river bed, and unto the steps that led to a row of shops. For some reason, although there wasn't any activity, the smell of delicious foods wafts in the air.
"I'll say," Ranma said, as he sniffed the air. "They got food, and we haven't eaten in a while."
"You know, you're right," Usagi replied, as she caught the scent. "Let's see if there is a shop that's open…"
Upon walking some more, they see a couple eating food. In fact, they were gorging themselves.
"Maybe we shouldn't," Ranma said with disgust.
"Wait, isn't that Yasuko and Takashi?" Usagi said.
"Well, one of them appears to be a fat-bastard, so you're probably right."
"Ranma," Usagi said, as she shook her head.
"Look, I don't care for Yasuko's husband, but I do care about Yasuko and her daughter Chihiro. And I'll stick to that."
"Fine, let's just…get their attention," Usagi said, as she begins walking up to the couple. "But I don't see Chihiro."
"I'll go look for her."
"And I'll save you a plate," Usagi replied with a smile.
And so the couple separated, as Ranma continues onto to find his wife's cousin Chihiro.
Meanwhile, Usagi goes up to the couple that was gorging themselves with food.
"Um, Yasuko?" Usagi asked. "Takashi?"
"Hey, didn't you guys hear me?" Usagi said, as she taps on Takashi's shoulder.
"Sqeee!" Takashi squealed, as he grunts.
"Ah!" Usagi said, as she steps back. She then turns towards Yasuko.
Yasuko squealed as well, as she continued her gorging.
Usagi observes this scene, and then picks up a roll. She sniffs it, takes a bite out of it, tastes it, and then spits the piece out.
"Oh, no," Usagi said in fear. She should have realized that she and Ranma had walked into the Immaterial world, and that her cousin and her husband were not victims of it. After all, the Immaterial world merely reflects the inner nature of anyone in the Umbra, the "shadow" of the Universe…
She sees a reflective surface, and looks at her face.
"Yep," Usagi said, as she sees her Moon mark. It was a sure sign that she was in a world steep in magic.
"We're in trouble…"
Meanwhile, at the same time, Ranma scans the area looking for Yasuko's daughter. He thought she was a good kid, if a bit of a tomboy.
"Yo, Chihiro!" Ranma yelled, as he approaches a bridged that led to what appeared to be a Bath House and resort. "Chihiro-!"
"Huh?" said a little girl, as she removed her head from between the railings of the Bridge. "Cousin Ranma?"
"There you are," Ranma said with a smile. "You guys were supposed to meet us at the house."
"I'm sorry, but Dad insisted that we explore this place," Chihiro said with a sigh.
"Figured as much," Ranma said. "Look, let's get out of here, so we can finish helping you guys unpack-"
Just then, Ranma and Chihiro noticed a boy staring at them.
"Um, hello?" Chihiro asked.
"Yo?" Ranma replied.
"You, girl, aren't suppose to be here," the boy said, as he points at Chihiro. He then looks at Ranma.
"You ought to know better."
"You know me?" Ranma asked with a frown. He was concerned that if someone knows him, then something terrible is about to happen."
"Nevermind that! Get her out of here, before Mistress Yubaba senses her presence."
"Wait, did you say Yubaba?" Ranma said in alarm.
"She is the mistress of this bathhouse. Now, go, while I hide the girl's scent."
With that, the boy takes some white petals, and blows it into the air…
"Come, kid, let's roll," Ranma said, as he picks up the girl.
"Let's just say that the last time I saw Yubaba, we didn't go our separate ways on good terms…"
And so, Ranma runs back down the street with Chihiro in hand. He then rounds the corner, and sees a spectacular sight.
"Usagi, we are leaving- what the hell?" Ranma said, as he sees Usagi carrying pigs on her back.
"Hi, guys," Usagi said. "Um, Chihiro, about your parents-"
"Never mind that, we can fix them back later. Let's go!"
"What about my parents?" Chihiro whined.
"I'm got them, honey," Usagi said.
"But, don't worry, I'll fix them right back up…I hope."
And, with that, the family flees, only to be stopped by a river that wasn't there before.
"Nuts," Ranma said. "We're trapped…"