I know its short, but I'll make it up on next chapt!
Dummy Perceptio: A what?! A piece of shit?! A master pieces?! A rewritte? X-)
Guest: I think that too :D I think that the fiance-race is pretty much over. He loves Akane. With the others, he's just feeding his ego. I do like that he doesn't interfere when the girls show interest on another guy, though.
The cicada's love song filled the air. Birds chirped merrily in the roof and a koi jumped in the pond. Ranma stuffed his backpack with everything he would need. There was still no sign of the girls but Shampoo said they were going camping. He would search every park and mountain peak of Japan and China if he had to. He would find and rescue Akane.
"You stupid, insensitive jerk. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!"
"But Akane, wo ai ni!"
He cringed at the memory. They all said Akane left willingly. They said the girls loved each other and had ran off together, even Mr Tendo and Pu. Ranma knew they were wrong. Akane loved him.
He turned and found Nabiki leaning on the door.
"50, 000 yen and I get their location for you."
Ranma gritted his teeth and walked towards Nabiki. She didn't lose her cool or that infuriating smirk. Either she was more heartless than he thought or she just knew Akane was safe. Maybe she also thought the girls had run off to merry somewhere. He searched his pockets and removed a total of 50 yens. He presented the coins to Nabiki. The middle Tendo sister stared at them with a raised eyebrow, as if offended somehow.
"It's all I've got."
"You'll own me."
He turned and nodded curtly. Nabiki missed the maniac grin on his face. He would never recognize the debt. He was done playing fair with this bitch. He would let her know of his decision as soon as Akane's location was known.
Akane removed the iron pot from the fire and placed it on the ground in front of her companion with slow measured moves. Tea was served as beverage and a pair of chopsticks provided. Everything was set. Akane folded her arms in her lap and waited.
Shampoo eyed the concoction. It looked suspicious and smelt of burnt rice and vinegar. Intense training had hardened her bones. Her fists and feet could crush stone and vent bars of iron with single solid blows. But her tummy was spoiled, treated with a careful diet of the freshest fruits and vegetables and the tenderest meat. If the test failed, Akane would learn of the great power she possessed against her. She wondered, for the tenth time, why in the world she was subjecting herself to this.
"You follow all instruction, yes?"
"All of it!" Akane stated breathlessly with a wide smile, picking up the scroll Shampoo had giving her that morning with her stained hands. "It was a bit hard, since it's in Chinesse but I managed."
"You managed…Akane, it need be perfect or it no come out right."
"It is perfect. I paid close attention. Please, taste it!"
Shampoo sighed, eyeing the concoction warily. She wondered, for the eleventh time, why in the world she was subjecting herself to this. Closing her eyes, Shampoo took the small pot to her lips and slurped down some of the broth. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Aiya, It work, Akane! This taste good!"
Akane watched Shampoo ate steadily from the bowl. There were none of the usual signs of disgust and nausea. She picked her own bowl and joined her, each bite filling her stomach as much as her heart.
After their late breakfast- that also happened to be their lunch- the girls rested at the shores of the lake. Akane was dozing under the warm sunlight. She had not slept well during the night. When the fire died around midnight, Akane became all too aware of Shampoo's warm body pressed tightly against hers under the blanket. And the bitch slept soundly, like a log, completely unaware of the glistering eyes in the darkness and strange sounds filling the air.
"I can't believe that scroll saved your people from slavery…" She said drowsily, struggling to stay awake.
Shampoo stopped searching the heavens for clouds that resembled earthling things-such as animals, plants or people. Akane's comment reminded her of Mousse and his usual petulance. He had raised a similar point when Great-grandmother gathered the village's children to teach them more subtle technics of the Art of War, ten years ago:
"We are warriors!" He had said. "What business do we have in the kitchen?"
When Great grandmother had redirected her gnarled staff from Mousse's skull to wave it in her direction, Shampoo gave a step forward and obediently recited the reasons behind that particular stage of their training to the rest of the children.
"200 year ago people from outside come wanting take land of Juketsuzoku for selves. They put siege for many year. They block roads and burnt fields. Animal all died after year. Only left to eat was bug and dust. Was time of great misery." She stopped a moment to admire a cloud resembling the Ghost Cat- "But then Soh Hap, great cook of Xiangatzu Clan, create Ultimate Cooking Technic. No matter what put in pot, it always come healthy good tasting food. Invaders go hungry but village have dust and bug to eat forever. They got tired and went home. He save whole valley."
"You said your father's a great cook too."
"Yes, he make menu at Nekohanten. He teach how make all plates."
"You still think he's inferior."
"He is inferior."
"He seems to care about you a lot."
Shampoo smiled. Akane was intelligent. What she had taken for stupidity was simple naivety. It was endearing.
"People only care about selves, Akane. If it seem they care about you, it because they want something."
Akane sat up.
"You don't really believe that."
"If I no believe it, why would I say it?"
"I don't want anything from you."
"Shampoo!" The Amazon laughed merrily. Akane couldn't help a smile. "I can't believe how cynic you are."
"I did bring something that is yours." Shampoo knelt and produced-out of nowhere-a dao neatly sheathed in a blue scabbard. She gave it to Akane. "Get use to always have on self, Akane. Maybe if you have sword Shampoo no almost drown you on lake before."
"I could have punched you in the face."
"Oh, but then you no know how to swing now."
"And using the dao I would have?"
"What dao have to do with it?"
"You just said…Mo, never mind."
"I'll get you a date with Ranma if you do it."
Ukyo refused without looking up from the grill. She flipped several okonomiyakis with a satisfied smile. Without Akane or Shampoo in the way, getting Ranma on a date was no longer an issue. Her days of haggling were over.
"He's taking off." Nabiki said and Ukyo looked up from the grill. "He won't stop until he finds them."
Perhaps she could go with him and offer a shoulder to cry on when Akane broke his heart. But what if it was all a huge misunderstanding and Akane and Shampoo were not lovers? Maybe they were in the woods, hatching a master plan to get rid of her and Kodachi. Ukyo scowled darkly. In that case, she should go too. But the restaurant could not be left unattended for so long.
With a resigned sigh, the Chef nodded. Nabiki snatched a cell phone from the front pocket of her shirt, dialed a number and handed it to Ukyo. She turned and gave Ranma the okay. The boy rose quickly from the table and approached the counter. After two tones, the phone was answered. Ukyo's eyes widened.
"Oh! Yeah, hey…Shampoo…"
Ranma's eyes bulged and he snatched the phone from Ukyo. Before he could speak, Nabiki slapped her hand over his mouth. She hissed angrily at him.
"Do you want to find out where they are or mess this up?!"
He shuddered in anger but released the phone. Nabiki handed it back to Ukyo with a piece of paper. Ukyo's eyes bulged by what it said. She refused to read it and the Tendo sister pointed at Ranma. The Chef sighed again…and her eyes bulged.
"Well, I'm wasting MY time too, you know!?" She gasped. "She hanged up on me! How rude, that little jackass…!"
She was about to jab a finger into the redial bottom when the menu snatched the phone out of her grasp and beat her to it. Tsubasa waited for Shampoo to pick up again.
"Shampoo-samma! Hi! No, you don't really know me but I think you are so brave for doing this!...Is Akane there? Can I talk to her?...Hello, Akane-samma! I think this's so romantic, so…!"
Ukyo snatched the phone back and slammed Tsubasa into the ground with her battle spatula.
"Jackass!" Nabiki tapped one finger impatiently on the counter. Ukyo looked at the piece of paper. "Akane, put Shampoo on…Shampoo, I wanted to tell you that you are a coward for leaving like that. I thought we were going to have a battle of…epic proportions...for Ranma's heart and all you did was turn tails and run like a puss…a coward. Yeah, that's what you are: a coward…"
Ukyo cringed and snatched the phone away from her ear. Shampoo's howling voice thundered from the speaker.
"Oh, yes!? Why no you come here and say that to face?! We's in Takeno Mo…"
Ranma paled. Nabiki snatched the phone from Ukyo's hand.
"Akane. No, we're fine. You left willingly?...Are you serious? Why, Akane, why?"
Ranma snatched the phone from Nabiki.
"Are you fucking serious, Akane?! Ya're always calling me an insensitive selfish asshole and you run away the first chance you get?! And with Shampoo! I guess I ain't the pervert, uh!?"
He stopped, shocked and a bit ashamed by the outburst. He glanced at Nabiki, Ukyo and Tsubasa and walked away. He put the phone closer to his mouth and whispered.
"…Akane…everyone's saying it's my fault….If it really is, whatever I did, I didn't mean to… " He paused a moment, gathering courage. "…I won't let you go like this….I'll find you….If you tell me you wanme to go, then I'm gonna. But, before you choose, remember what we've gone through together…what I- what I said….I-I love you. I don't care about anyone else. I love you, Akane…"
Ranma scowled darkly and snarled into the phone.
"Are ya even listening to me!?"
"Why? Why her and not me?"
The blood drained from his face.
"Sh-Shampoo…uh…hey! Uh….yeah, hum…" He turned to Nabiki and Ukyo for assistance. There was nothing either of them could say. The line went dead."Sha-Shampoo? Shampoo!"