Chapter 11 Past Meets Present
Author's notes will be at the end of the chapter this time.
The next morning Genma Saotome found himself feeling an extreme sense of dread. This troubled him because he couldn't figure out why he felt this way. He was confident that yesterday's events had squashed the boy's foolish thoughts about that Chinese bimbo and finally understand his honor bound duty to marry Akane. Yet this was the only thing that he could think would be able to trouble him like this.
'Soun and I need to move quickly and get our children married to each other so we can grow old in comfort.'
At the same time in downtown Nermia, a traveler was heading towards Furinkan High School where it was rumored that Ranma Saotome was a student. The traveler had been searching for him since he had disappeared with his no good father years ago, and the time had come to enact revenge.
Back at the Tendo house, Ranma was blissfully unaware of what awaited him at school today, but that didn't mean he was happy. As part of his 'punishment' for kissing Shampoo, Akane had convinced the family to let her cook all of Ranma's meals for the week. Ranma was just beginning to understand that this sentence was his own private hell on Earth as soon as he took his first bite of Akane's cooking. He immediately spat it back out afraid that he had just tried to swallow poison.
"What the hell are you trying to do? Kill me?" Ranma choked out between gasps of air.
"Ranma you ungrateful jerk, I worked really hard on this" Akane fumed.
"Well whatever you're doing isn't working because this stuff is inedible." Ranma retorted having regained his ability to breathe properly.
Akane had sent Ranma flying through the roof using her giant mallet. Luckily for the pigtailed martial artist he landed on his feet in front of the cat-café.
"Nihao Ranma, it a bit early to be visiting Shampoo no?" Shampoo greeted from the upstairs window having witnessed his graceful landing.
"Yeah but I managed to get a ride thanks to Air Akane." Ranma laughed at his good luck to land at a place where he could eat an actual meal.
"Ranma didn't get breakfast?" Shampoo asked curiously.
"Not when Akane the kitchen destroyer decides to cook." Ranma jokingly informed his Chinese savior.
"Aiyah! She that bad a cook!? Come in and Shampoo fix you breakfast." Shampoo said as she disappeared into the house.
"Sounds good to me" Ranma said chuckling to himself.
Shampoo quickly put together a bowl of her specialty Ramen, and listened to Ranma's tale of Akane's terrible cooking skills. What his story lacked was how Akane had prepared the food in the first place making Shampoo guess it was because Akane didn't know anything about cooking and just made things up as she went.
Once Ranma had finished his third bowl of Ramen the two Martial Artists realized that it was time to head to school and hurriedly grabbed their things and left the Cat-café. Along the way they had to be careful to avoid the old lady that threw water from her bucket onto the street for no apparent reason because Shampoo didn't want to have to use up her supply of hot water to change Ranma back into a male so early in the day.
They managed to make it to the school without incident, but found themselves face-to-face with a stranger as soon as they had arrived at the school gates. This stranger was dressed in a blue boy's school uniform and had a giant spatula strapped on the back of the uniform.
"So we meet again Ranma Saotome" The stranger said venomously.
Ranma didn't say anything while he tried to figure out who this person was that seemed to know him. Ranma kept staring trying to find something to jog his memory. Then he noticed the faint smell of okonomiaki coming from the stranger's clothes.
"Hey you're okonomiaki Uchan! How's it been? I haven't seen you since we were kids." Ranma excitedly said, happy that one of his old childhood friends had showed up.
"You jerk don't you even remember leaving me behind when you left? Ukyo shouted seething with anger.
"Hey why are you mad about that? Pops told me you didn't want to come with us. Why is that even an issue?" Ranma responded confused.
Shampoo just stood there observing the strange scene unfolding before her, trying to find some way to make sense of what was happening. She was saved the trouble when the bell rang for class to begin, prompting all the people still in the school yard to scatter towards their respective classes. In the scramble to not be late the three teenagers involved in the earlier scene lost track of each other and each made their way towards their classroom. The separation was short lived as each Teenager was heading towards the same classroom.
Once everything had calmed down, the teacher started the introduction for their new student. "Class we have a new student today, allow me to introduce to you Ukyo Kuonji."
Ukyo got up waved hello and proceeded to pass out freshly cooked Okonomiaki to everyone in the class except for Ranma of course. Instead, the pigtailed martial artist received a note issuing a challenge that read "Come to the field right after school so we can finally settle this – Ukyo."
'Come on what is this guy's problem? So pops and I left without a proper goodbye, but there's no reason to carry a grudge over that.' Ranma thought not understanding the problem with his childhood friend.
That school day progressed at a snail's pace for Ranma who paid little attention to the lessons and instead was working on trying to figure out what Ukyo was upset about. Shampoo could sense Ranma's agitation and was beginning to become agitated herself that Ranma wasn't talking to her about it.
'What has Ranma so worked up? He usually talks to me when he's not sleeping that is.' Shampoo thought unable to pay the teacher any attention as she focused all of her attention on her friend's behavior. Unable to contain it any longer the Amazon poked Ranma in the side to get his attention and whispered "Ranma what's wrong?"
"Look at this" Ranma answered in a hushed tone trying not to gain unwanted attention. He passed Shampoo the note and added "Uchan is mad at me for something, but I can't figure out what it could possibly be."
"Do you remember how you left, cause from what Shampoo understand that is what seems to be the issue." She asked trying to help get Ranma the answer he was seeking.
"Well Pops and I were heading out of town to head to a new training site. I was sitting on top of some cart and waving good bye to Uchan. For some reason Uchan was crying and running after us" recalled Ranma.
"Panda didn't steal that cart did he?" Shampoo asked starting to understand the whole issue.
"Oh crap that maybe it." Ranma replied understanding what Shampoo was hinting at. "That cart must have been their family cart and Pops took it."
"There more to story than Ranma know, should try and beat answer out of that fat panda" Shampoo suggested.
"You're right but how exactly am I gonna beat it out of him before the challenge? I can't exactly sneak out of here without any trouble." Ranma answered in a hushed tone as he pointed out the only shortfall the plan had.
"Trick him into coming here." Shampoo suggested nonchalantly "It can't be hard to get him here with all that food out in the grounds during lunch."
"That'll work, but we are going to have to use some of the lunch you made as bait." Ranma pointed out.
"Then we are agreed." Shampoo whispered in response.
None of the other students paid any attention to this whole exchange. They were by now used to the fact that the two martial artists were almost always whispering to each other about something and had learned how to tune it out if it didn't concern them. Ukyo had no idea that Ranma and Shampoo were even talking to each other because of their whispers being just low enough to not carry over to where she was seated on the other side of the room.
The two martial artists were satisfied with their plan and turned their attention back to the lesson just in time for the writing portion of their lessons. Most of the class groaned every time they got to this point of the day, because they just wanted to enjoy their lunch break that was set to begin shortly. Shampoo was one of the exceptions to this due to her desire to fix her broken Japanese language skills. The results where only just beginning to pay off and she was making fewer mistakes as a result, though if she were to be honest with herself it would be a long time before she could completely break her bad habits when speaking Japanese.
The studious Amazon took a short look at the newest student while the rest of the class was working on copying the last of the notes from the board. The long black hair of the new student was tied back into a pony tail and it looked as if the boy uniform didn't fit exceptionally well, however the amazon reasoned that that may be due to the giant spatula attached on the student's back. Shampoo could also observe the faintest hint of breasts that were tightly bound. It was hard to pick out, but Shampoo's experience back home in the village where often times some of the girls would wrap their chests in order to play a game where the girls tried to blend in with the boys. It was a game to try and pick out the girls from the boys, but after a few years she realized the game was actually there to teach the girls a way to disappear if a mission called for that kind of infiltration. She had no idea how the guys did their training for that, because it was done in secret and truth be told she didn't want to know.
'This new student is a girl, but why is she trying so hard to look like a boy?' Shampoo wondered as she started piecing her observations of the new student together.
Before she could continue her thoughts, the bell rang and caused all the students to scramble out the door of the classroom to eat their lunches outside on the school grounds. Shampoo grabbed Ranma and the two of them made their way for the giant tree in the back of the yard. Once they arrived, the martial artists began to eat Shampoo's homemade ramen and pork buns, leaving some out in the open a good 5 meters away for the enticing trap they wanted to set for Genma. After that, they jumped up into the tree and Shampoo watched as Ranma ate his lunch much slower than what she had ever seen him eat, which meant that it took Ranma a full thirty seconds to eat his meal rather than the usual five seconds. The reason was because he had become preoccupied with looking for Genma so he could finally have a full explanation to his current predicament rather than just the speculation he and Shampoo had put together to try and explain it, as well as being ready to grab the Panda as soon as he showed his face.
Luck was on Ranma's side as the Panda had chosen the exact moment Ranma had looked up after his meal to make an appearance during an attempt to steal some of the 'unattended' food. The Amazon waited until Genma was in striking range and pounced. She made no noise on the way down and Genma didn't even sense an attack until he was lying on the ground in a daze from a chui strike to the back of his head. This gave Ranma plenty of time to jump down and casually walk over to the confused man and begin his interrogation.
"Pops you've got some explaining to do." Ranma growled.
"About what?!" Genma signed still slightly feeling the effects of Shampoo's ambush.
"About how we left the Kuonji's." Ranma replied, his impatience evident in his tone as Shampoo dumped hot water from her thermos on the Panda's head.
"Nothing happened. Where are you getting these delusions Ranma my boy?" Genma immediately countered as soon as his transformation was complete in an attempt to deflect the question with his lie.
"Oh I don't know. Maybe it's cause Uchan is here and doesn't seem to think that nothing happened." Ranma retorted, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Well now that you mention it our exit was a bit sudden and we never really had a proper goodbye, but I swear that nothing else happened." Genma replied realizing that his first attempt didn't work, so he decided that a half-truth would work better than his original idea.
"Now why don't I believe that?" Ranma asked his patience for Genma's game wearing thin. He was spared having to deal with it any more when Ukyo suddenly joined in.
"Well if it isn't Genma Saotome, time for you to finally get what you deserve you jackass." Ukyo yelled as she wielded her spatula and readied it for a blow.
"Ukyo you've got to understand I had enough trouble feeding the child I already had." Genma pleaded while Ranma and Shampoo looked at each other with smug satisfaction on their faces for finally getting the truth from the old man.
Ukyo however wasn't even listening to his excuse and proceeded to pummel the old man into the ground. She didn't stop until he was nothing more than a head poking out of the ground.
"So pops care to try again? Why did you steal the Kuonji Family Okonomiaki cart?" Ranma asked once he was sure Genma was conscious enough to hear him.
"It wasn't stolen! It was a gift for taking Ukyo off his hands." Genma answered evenly seeing no way to get out of this situation except to tell the truth now that Ukyo had joined in his interrogation.
"Only you forgot to take me with you jackass." Ukyo snorted derisively.
"What a minute! Why was it a gift? And while you're at it, explain the off his hands part." Ranma said totally confused as to what was going on.
"You mean you don't know? Oh this is just fantastic." Ukyo said in disbelief.
"Ranma I'd like you to meet Ukyo, your betrothed." Genma stated flatly sensing an opportunity to take the attention away from himself.
"What are you talking about? Aren't you a guy Uchan?" Ranma asked even more confused than he was a minute ago.
Shampoo couldn't remain quiet any longer and jokingly commented "Ranma not very observant. Uchan is girl."
"Say what?" Ranma responded completely dumbfounded by this point.
"She's right Ranchan, you aren't very observant are you?" Ukyo added still disbelieving what she was witnessing.
"So pops got us engaged?" Ranma asked rhetorically trying to understand what had just blindsided him and essentially turned his whole childhood memories upside down. His answer came in the form of a nodding Ukyo.
The wheels finally clicked for Ranma and he began to slowly understand. He turned on his father still trapped as a head poking out of the ground and pulled what little hair he had on his head to get his attention and asked furiously, "How many engagements did you give me huh? Are there any others I should know about?"
"Engagements! You mean this scum has been two timing my family this whole time and breaking his honor by engaging you to another woman?!" Ukyo shouted furiously as she readied another round of barrages on Genma's head.
"Yeah from what I understand pops here engaged me to Akane before I was even born and then pulled a fast one on your folks. Now correct me if I'm wrong here pops." Ranma stated slightly frightened of Ukyo's anger.
"You forgot about the fact that it's a matter of family honor that you marry the daughter of my dear friend Tendo." Genma stated smugly completely missing the point that he had intentionally screwed over the Kuonji Family all those years ago.
"Shampoo no think he even knows what honor is." Shampoo spat venomously as she too felt anger rising over what Genma had done.
"Yeah, how in the world is it honorable to engage someone, take off with the family business as a dowry and not even have the decency to remember let alone honor the arrangement." Ukyo said in between blows with her spatula to the top of Genma's already bruised head in an effort to alleviate her pent up aggression.
"Pops if anything this makes all your talk about honor worthless because you don't seem to even have a shred honor." Ranma said flatly.
"Don't you dare talk to me like that boy…"
"Or what? You won't do anything 'cause I'll beat the crap outta you and your afraid that I might ruin those oh so precious plans of yours to grow old and fat with Mr. Tendo till the two of you die from old age." Ranma interrupted his father angrily.
Genma could only stare with anger and grumble under his breath at the indignation because of his current predicament. Both girls had had enough after a few seconds and both utilized their blunt weapons to effectively knock the old man out for good this time.
Satisfied with their handiwork the two girls sheathed their weapons. Ukyo's spatula returned to its sling on her back, while Shampoo managed to hide her chui into some secret part of her clothing. An awkward silence followed these actions that lasted until Ranma finally managed to work up the courage to say something.
"So ah Uchan I know that what my pops did was wrong and even though I only just found out I hope we can go back to being friends." Ranma said rather awkwardly.
"Sure thing Sugar, besides it's your jackass of a father's fault in the first place, so I can't really hold any of that against you." Ukyo said smiling for the first time since she had arrived in Nermia.
"Thanks Uchan" Ranma said happily "it's nice to have my childhood friend back."
"So who's your friend Ranma? You forgot to introduce us." Ukyo asked changing the topic.
"Oh yeah I forgot all about that sorry. Uchan I'd like you to meet Shampoo." Ranma said.
"Nice to meet you" both girls said in unison.
"RANMA!" came a scream from the other end of the yard as a cloud of seething anger stomped towards them.
"And who's the angry one headed our way?" asked Ukyo.
"That would be the other fiancé he talked about the, uncute one, Akane." Ranma said rather bored of what he was sure was going to devolve into another shouting match where Akane would refuse to see reason.
"Ranma you were supposed to eat the lunch I cooked for you." Akane yelled upset that her hard work was not going to be appreciated again.
"And I would have if it wasn't poisonous." Ranma replied casually.
"It is not!" Akane retorted anger returning to her voice.
"I take one bite and I have to throw up just so I won't be killed by whatever you put in it." Ranma replied nonchalantly, completely missing the looks he was receiving from the girls. Ukyo's was one of confusion, Shampoo had pity for the poor guy, and Akane was turning beat red with unbridled fury to complement the snarl etched on her face.
The expected fight between the quarreling fiancés never came because the school bell rang at that moment signaling the need to return to class. This put to the problem because Akane just decided to not continue the argument any further and proceeded to head back towards the classroom.
Ranma was happy to not be arguing any longer and decided to catch up on the life of his childhood friend since he had last seen her all those years ago. Ukyo was only happy to oblige as it gave her a chance to rekindle their friendship that she had admittedly missed having during that span.
Meanwhile Shampoo was forgotten by the pair of reacquainted friends leaving her to her own thoughts as she trailed behind them. Her thoughts forced her to focus and scrutinize her newest rival, though she wouldn't admit that was how she actually saw the new girl. The whole exchange had made the Chinese Amazon jealous of the attention Ranma was paying Ukyo.
"It's so greet to see ya again Uchan. I'd forgotten how much fun we had together as kids." Ranma said cheerfully.
Shampoo then felt as if she had just been stabbed in the heart.