Chapter #04: The Dragons Gift, an escape from Chaos
"Oh wow, so you're really an alien space princess momma?" Bell asked in a state of awe and wonder. "I was once honey, though had things gone a bit different back then I'd have never met your father. I would have probably ended up staying the reclusive bookworm that I had become." Amalia looked over at her husband and chuckled in thought 'He's always so cute when I catch him thinking like that, I just wish could read his mind.' "Ranma my love, what are you thinking about?" "Hmmm… oh sorry." Ranma replied while scratching the base of his ever-present pigtail, "I was merely wondering what missus Tendo was like, I never did get to meet her before she died."
"Oh she was a very kind woman, reminded me a lot of my own mother. She was also very beautiful, a brilliant tactician when her little girls started up with something. Why even at five, little Nabiki had the beginnings of an obsession with money. Kasumi though… that girl was so dang spirited, it was such a shame though when their mother died. All three of them took it incredible hard; Kasumi withdrew into herself attempting to emulate her mother's kindness. Nabiki… she became cold and indifferent to the world, and sweet little Akane… she just became so full of rage. It did not even help them when their father virtually abandoned them to wallow in his depression."
"Yeah, yeah that sounds just like them when I first met them all those years ago." Ranma replied, sounding a bit depressed. "I'll be right back Ranma; I'm going to go call the other girls." Amalia said as she had gotten up to leave. "Alright dear, I'll start on my part of the story then. Oh could you bring me one of the Neptunian Malts please?" "Sure thing love." With that said, Amalia sauntered out of the sitting room while implementing one of her husbands' many techniques, the lazy walk. However, as it had been originally designed for men at the time to throw an enemy off balance.
Once his wife had actively used it against him. Ranma had quickly renamed it to the 'Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, Strut of the Sexy wife!' Thus the name stuck, for Amalia used it against him whenever she could. "Daddy are you gonna tell me your story now?" Bell asked, effectively snapping her father out of his lust-filled trance. "Cough… Yes Bell I am, now like your mother you have known me as both your daddy and the Dragon King, however what you didn't know is that I too," here Ranma paused as his form shifted and blurred becoming that of a slightly shorter though well proportioned, red-headed young woman in her early to mid twenties, "am also your mother."
"Wow… that's just uh, creepy. How'd it happen?" Bell asked, as she looked at fa… mother as he… she appeared to be dressed in a pair of black slacks and a red blouse. Hotaru was attempting to hold her laughter in check. "Well dear, it all started about a year after your mother had met Akane. Your grandpa was obsessed with the martial arts, so much in fact, that he would literally proclaim that everything else was a distraction and thus it was counted as useless and avoided at all costs. It all happened a week after I had turned five, pops had just tricked me into finger-painting on a seppuku contract so he could take me away from my mother.
Well needless to say, she was not happy. In fact, she later told me she had thrown everything at him… including the kitchen sink! However, he still managed to escape with me under his arm all while I was crying and reaching out for my mom. And so for the next ten years, he trained me in all forms of combat. Including a few that crossed the line into torture along with animal cruelty, I don't mind telling you this dear but I'm glad he can't work his paws into you."
Look up into her mother/father's eyes, Bell asked "Paws, grandpa had… paws?" "Sigh, Yes dear, you see it was shortly after I had turned sixteen that your grandfather had taken me to a place in China in order to finish off our so called 'training journey.' Unfortunately, neither of us knew nary a word of Chinese nor could we read it, the place was called Jusenkyo and it had a bad habit of luring people in and altering their very lives. I was born a boy and while growing up with pop being my only role model, well let us just say your mother still finds it hard to believe that I had managed to turn out as well as did at any rate."
"You got that right! Honestly the things he did for the Art." Amalia said as she duck back into their private kitchen. "However, the real story starts just over half a year after I had first met Akane; it was near the beginning of February back in 1994 and I was having one my usual fights with my old friend/rival Ryoga Hibiki. He had this knack for getting lost wherever he went; well he ended up getting lost at one of the hardest to find places on Earth, the Forest of time where the Mushrooms of Ages grow. Oh, don't get me wrong I was pretty upset when he had gone and turned me into a five year old and over such a little accident too.
I had placed the mushrooms in the furo believing it to have been still broken from the last time Akane had walked in on me, what I didn't know was that it had been repaired and the out of order sign just hadn't been taken down yet. Well those mushrooms ended up being destroyed and in his depression, he had forced one down my throat and blasted me out of the bathroom, when I came to a stop I was just five years old again and had been caught by Akane who was at the time my fiancée. Ryoga and I fought a great deal after that, when we had gotten back we were still fighting and during all that fighting our ages had shifted so much that, we both ended up as eight year olds.
We were nothing more than a pair of brats who just couldn't behave; looking back now, I realize just how immature I had been in dealing with the situation. Well Akane had eventually gone and taken the remaining mushrooms and hid them, and like any desperate thou quite naughty children Ryoga and I ended up tearing Akane's room apart looking for them. It wasn't until we had quite literally stumbled upon them that the chaos that had ruled my life for so long had decided to tag-team with Murphy's Law and Ryoga's own warped logic, causing everything to just start snowballing out of control. Of course, when two high-level martial artists rendered bereft of their physical maturity well unfortunately, that just made everything worse…
"Ryoga you Idiot!" snapped a chibi-Ranma as he reared up to tackle Ryoga. Everything had happened to fast for Ranma. Ranma and Ryoga, both 8 years old, sick and tiered of being helpless, had desperately tried to find out where Akane had hid the magic mushrooms. When they did, an argument had broken out between them. Ryoga, being the short fuse he is, snapped and attacked Ranma, toppling the mushroom crop all over the in the process. 'It all gone, it's that idiot Ryoga's fault!' thought Ranma, as an angry red aura flickered around him. He jumped at Ryoga, forcefully tackling him to the ground and punched Ryoga face, as Akane walked in at the very moment.
Akane, with her unclouded and unbiased views on Ranma, decided that the fight and destroyed mushrooms were all Ranma's fault. Pulling him off Ryoga, she flung chibi-Ranma halfway across the room, temporarily disorienting him.
Ranma managed to reorient his senses in time to see Ryoga turning back to his normal age and disappearing across the corner. He quickly rushed to table, only to discover that there were no other surviving mushrooms. 'I'm stuck in this weak body!' Ranma's mind screamed. "This is all your fault you tomboy. You let Ryoga have the mushroom. You stupid flat chest…" snapped Ranma fiercely, only to find his fragile young body flung into the air by a mallet impact. A few hours later, an old lady rushed a small red-haired girl to the hospital across town.
Ranma's dreams: Ranma found himself on a foggy cliff overlooking a valley. The fog shrouded his vision to the extent that he could barely see his small hands. Taking slow steps to reorient himself to his body, chibi-Ranma trudged forward along the side of the cliff. A few miles down the path, Ranma heard a rustle beside him. It seemed to emanate from a forest, which had somehow appeared beside him out of nowhere. It was a remarkable sight. The entire forest was filled by shades of green he didn't know existed! A closer look at the lush forest revealed colorful flowers, trunks, and multicolored butterflies illuminated by the soft light shining through the canopy.
As Ranma nimbly moved through the forest, he heard something that sounded like weeping. Pushing a few bushes aside, he came across a clearing encompass by the forest and a stone cliff. The entire area was breath taking, the ground covered by soft green grass, a large tree across to the right beside the edge of the forest. At the center was a pool partly surrounded by boulders, filled by a small waterfall pouring from an opening in the cliff. Neighboring the pool was a log enveloped by greenery, on which a figure sat. Ranma moved forward to see a woman hugging herself, crying silently as locks of her cascaded red hair floated around her.
"What's wrong?" chibi-Ranma whispered to her in a soft voice that could only spoken by innocent child. The woman slowly moved aside making spare room for him to sit. She then turned to him. "Do you really want to know?" in a voice filled with sorrow. She was beautiful, a soft smooth face and deep blue eyes. She resembled his older girl side, yet looked different…older, more mature. "Yeah lady! I'll help you if I can…" said Ranma cheerfully, hoping to console her. He never liked to see girls cry. "I will show you." she whispered into his ear and moved her soft hand over his eyes. In the next moment, Ranma found himself in floating in the air.
He was watching a girl trudge to the woods bloody and beaten; she only seemed to be to move forward. The woman suddenly tripped and slid down a cliff. She fell and drowned in a pool, located in valley filled by hundreds of small pools and a few bamboo shoots. "It happened almost three thousand years ago." Commented a voice behind him. "You're the girl who drowned in the Nyannichuan?" exclaimed Ranma as she turned to face the red-haired girl. "No. That is the Nyannichuan, made 1,600 years ago…" she said pointing to another pool. "…created by the musk." she spat. "Then what was the pool you fell in called? It…It was the one I fell in."
Ranma wondered nervously. "The guide said it was the Nyannichuan!" "It is a long story." she said in a tired voice, looking like she was about to cry again. Ranma moved towards her and hugged her leg reassuringly. He then took her hand, led her to a small boulder to and sat her down. "I wanna help you!" said Ranma. "I… thank you, I hope you would be able to help me too." she replied softly. "The story begins thousands of years ago. A dragon had appeared in this world, tiered and weary from horrid conflict.
An evil wizard managed to control the powerful dragon to do his vile deeds. He made it do horrible things, kill woman, and children! Hundreds of years later, a group of heroes decided to end the evil wizard's rule. Led by a powerful mage, the group killed the wizard. Thinking that the dragon was helping the evil wizard they cursed the dragon, as they were unable to kill it. The dragon was forced to wander the earth as an immortal but defenseless woman, suffering as the victims of the wizards had. Around 2,900 years ago after escaping from the cruel musk, she drowned in the spring; the magic of Jusenkyo counteracted the curse."
"You were the dragon! That's horrible… I'm so sorry!" commented Ranma "That was a cruel and unjust thing they did to you." he snapped angrily. The Dragon Lady softly smiled as she touched chibi-Ranma's face calming him down. "Thank you," she said gently, "but the story is not yet over. I thought my suffering was over when I died, but the spring trapped my spirit. For almost three thousand years I have been stuck in the void of the spring. I…I wish I could die and be free of the pain…" she concluded sadly. "How… How can I help? I wanna help you." Replied Ranma earnestly. She sadly turned to him and abruptly asked, "Why do you hate me?"
"I…I don't!" Ranma replied waving his hands earnestly. 'Why would he hate her?' wondered Ranma. "You hated your curse, did you not always want to be rid of it, rid of me?" she commented. "No! It's not like that! I don't hate you. I don't hate being a girl, at least not anymore. It scared me! Pops always said girls were weak. Shampoo wanted to kill me first cause I was a girl. Then there was that idiot Kuno. I thought that no one would be a friend with a freak like me. Akane didn't as soon as she found out." The woman pulled chibi-Ranma in a hug "Shh! You will find friends, people who like you for who you really are. You will find love, just wait and see."
"How do I help you?" repeated Ranma looking up to her eye. "When you help me, you will help yourself too, but you will not be Ranma anymore." she said. With a wave of her hand, Ranma turned to chibi-Ranma-chan. "I can't be Ranma? You mean I can't be a man!" he exclaimed, franticly back peddling. "No way, I have to be a man! Just have to!" Ranma mumbled hysterically. "I just said 'you will not be Ranma anymore', never that you couldn't be a man. You would be yourself yet something else, unable to return to your old life. It's your choice, I would never force you." she said sadly drooping her shoulders.
"Is there any reason why you have to stay this way? Has being Ranma brought you any good? You are a child now." "I… I don't know. Mr. Tendo won't care, cause I can't marry Akane and carry on the dojo. She hates me anyway. Ryoga, Mousse, and even Kuno can beat me any time now. If I go back pops will just keep engaging me over and over to fill his fat stomach. I can't see mom cause of the 'man among men' thing. I guess I don't have anyone… You win! I'll do it to set you free." "You are the only one who was kind enough to risk all to help me. Thank you. A good deed deserves one in return." she replied in a rich musical voice.
The Dragon Lady, once called Lorena, glowed and floated off the ground with Ranma. The world then lighted up and turned white for Ranma. In the valley of Jusenkyo located near Bayankala ranges in China, a pool glowed turbulently and then became still as its waters waited for another tragedy.
Chibi-Ranma woke up groggily in the darkness. It was cold, damp and muddy. The wall he supported himself against felt slimy. The place seemed oddly familiar, and so did the strange smell. The place smelled like fish! The he saw it, a dozen glowing eyes in the dark. 'No!' his mind screamed desperately. He was… He was back in the pit, with the c…ca…horrible furry creatures. Just like it happened eight years ago! They were going to bite and claw him again! Ranma looked around franticly hoping for a way out. As the eyes and yowls drew closer, Ranma grew increasingly frantic until he felt a pair of arms wrap around him.
"There is nothing to be afraid of." a soft voice whispered. Ranma felt locks of hair fall around him, red hair. It was the Lorena! "You were a child then, helpless against your father and the cats. You are a child now, but you are far from helpless. You are strong, you can stop this." said the lady soothingly. "I'm not strong anymore, I can't even beat Kuno like this!" exclaimed Ranma, nervous and afraid. "You, Ranma Saotome afraid? You are strong! A Strong honorable person, tenacious beyond ends, helpful and kind. Mousse turns into a duck, but he found a way fight as one. Cologne is an ancient and shriveled dwarf but she is stronger than you!
You turn into a girl, but you defeated the mighty dragon descendent Herb! It all depends on who you are inside Ranma. To get rid of your fear, you have to face it. I believe in you…" said the lady vehemently, nudging Ranma forward. A few nervous moments later Ranma slowly got up. He turned to look at the smiling Dragon Lady and walked towards his worst fears, his aura flickering to life. He was Ranma Saotome! Ranma Saotome never loses! Ranma Saotome never gives up! Ranma Saotome always wins!
It was now three weeks after the accident: If the 'normal' residents of Nerima were asked, they would rename the district 'chaos and destruction'. Most of Nerima showed some damage, parts of it were in shambles. There were destroyed flora, roads, and buildings all over, overextending the abilities of the reconstruction companies over their max. All this was surprisingly caused by one person. To be more specific the lack of that one person. It had been over three weeks since the disappearance of Nerima's most flagrant resident, Ranma Saotome.
His fiancée's anxious over his disappearance blamed and attacked each other, their suitors destroyed property in 'trying to find and bring the vile monster to justice'. The favored fiancée, Akane, was angry with everyone due to the reassembling of the Hentai horde, placing most of the blame on her 'baka fiancée'. Tofu was questioning his sanity for the dozenth time. He had always considered himself a smart, bright man; his medical abilities were a testament to it. He stood at a large park waiting for a notorious group of Nerimians' to appear.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better… much, much worse!" he said to himself recalling the volatile nature of the news he was going to dispel. Tofu watched his guests appear at the park, one by one. He had chosen this somewhat desolate location to spare his clinic and minimize the destruction to other residents, just in case. The Tendo's and Mr. Saotome were the first to appear followed closely by others. In the next few minutes that passed, several fights had started and been broken up. Tofu sweated as he saw the fiancés gathered in a corner, staring vehemently at each other, their auras blazing in multicolor.
The assortment of Ranma's rivals were standing as close to the fiancés as they could without causing severe harm to themselves. Konatsu sat patiently next to Ukyo, as Tsubasa watched her from his mailbox disguise. Mousse, on the other hand, lay crippled in the garbage can where his Shampoo had 'lovingly' deposited him. A sudden cowardly squeal distracted Tofu from his observations. Smiling to himself he turned to Genma, who was shriveling under his wife's harsh gaze. Mrs. Saotome turned and bowed to Tofu, then sat close to Genma, very visibly fingering her katana.
Tofu had invited Nodoka, promising information on Ranma, who, he had said, was hidden from her by Genma. Taking advantage of the momentary silence, Tofu coughed loudly to get the attention of his guests. "A few days ago an elderly woman was rescued from a few thugs by a boy." He announced. After pausing to make sure that he had everyone's undivided attention, he continued. "The eight year old boy who had rescued the lady was unfortunately fatally hurt. He died in the hospital, and was cremated a few days ago." said Tofu, holding up and urn as he finished.
"As the Tendo's and Ryoga know, Ranma had eaten a magic mushroom several weeks ago that reduced his age to that of an eight year old child. The child who died at the hospital was Ranma." Choked out Tofu. He then handing Mr. Saotome the urn, a letter and several certificates. "After the 'Herb incident', Ranma made these 'just in case'." he said, handing each of the fiancés a letter. Nodoka seemed in shock seeing how the Tendo's and Genma react to the unbelievable story. Shaking, she opened the letter, only to break down crying a few minutes later. As Genma moved to comfort her, she flared up at his touch and swung her katana at him.
Missing him, she then started chasing him with it. The fiancés were a bigger mess collectively. Ukyo was being led home by Konatsu, Shampoo by her great-grandmother Cologne, and Kodachi by Sasuke, all of them listlessly clutching their letters. Kasumi was trying to comfort a sobbing Akane, as Nabiki tried to keep Kuno from her. Mr. Tendo had initiated 'wail #123' which concerned the 'Anything Goes' school's future in jeopardy.
"Whoa wait a minute, you died? And you met some strange dragon woman in your head only to have been placed into a pit of starved cats! Please dad, tell me you're just pulling my leg!" Bell practically screamed at her father-turned-mothers face. Placing her hand upon her daughter's head Ranma soothed and calmed her frantic daughter down, "No sweetheart I did not die, and with the help of Dr. Tofu we had essentially faked my own death. The only ones that knew differently were Doc Tofu, Kasumi and my mother after she had… 'dealt' with pops. Now may I continue?" getting a rapid nod in response, Ranma continued as Amalia returned handing her husband-turned-wife the light jade colored bottle of a Neptunian Malt.
Sighing Tofu entered a room after bolting most of his clinic shut. The room was sparsely decorated and only had a small television and a couch at the end of the room. Tofu quietly moved towards the couch, but abruptly turned around startled by a shuffling sound. He turned to a small figure by the door with dark red hair tied into a pigtail and dressed in dark clothes.
The little girl moved smoothly forward, almost floating over the ground. "How did it go?" she said. "Ranma where were you?" exclaimed Tofu. "Had to go retrieve certain things." said Ranma flatly. Noticing Tofu's raise eyebrow he continued. "Just a few pictures, some money amounting to about 200,000 yen. Also got a few scrolls form my worthless dad, and some from home. Picked up a few trinkets that might be useful form Cologne. I then put it all in subspace, part of the hidden weapons technique I learned watching Mousse." "Was that wise?" asked Tofu.
"Don't worry about it. I made sure Cologne blames Mousse; nobody cares about pop, and few photos. Besides Ranma Saotome's dead, I'm just plain Ranma who nobody knows yet. Everything did go off right, didn't it? There no way anyone can trace me?" inquired Ranma. "Yes it did. Even Nabiki wouldn't suspect a thing. Are you sure about all this?" replied Tofu. "No turning back now, like I told you before Ranma Saotome had to go; he was in too much trouble."
"Honey," Amalia broke in, "I thought you said that you didn't die. Yet you clearly told that doctor that you did, were you lying to us when you said, and I quote: "No sweetheart I did not die…" sighing Ranma replied, "Amalia I did not lie to you, our daughter or Dr. Tofu. I told him the truth from a certain point of view, the person I was before I had met Lorena did in a sense die. I had mentally grown up; my aura and physical appearance had both drastically changed when Lorena had merged her draconic heritage with me. I was no longer the same from that time on. Now may I continue?" "Sigh… Yes dear." "Thank you." Ranma replied while giving her wife a kiss.
Tofu thought back to several days ago. He had gone to the hospital to help out a colleague with a strange case. To his surprise, his patient was an eight-year-old Ranma-chan, glowing in a soft blue aura. A few shiatsu points later, Ranma groggily woke up. Ranma seemed very different now, everything form his aura to his attitude had changed, to his astonishment. Ranma had matured by leaps and bounds, which was very ironic, trapped in child's body. Ranma had eventually told Tofu that he wanted to move on. He had no delusions or misconception of his current situation, or, for the matter of fact, about any part of his life. Deciding to take control of his life, he had asked Tofu to help him, who immediately agreed to help his favorite patient.
"It was for the best" said Ranma breaking Tofu's reviver. "My fiancé's will get over it and go on with their own lives now. Don't have to worry about honor and all; I could only marry one of them anyway. The letters will make sure they don't do nothing drastic, my 'last wishes' and all you know. Akane will be happy; she doesn't have to marry a pervert." Ranma said sullenly. "Mom doesn't have to be disappointed by her unmanly son who turns into a girl. She'll make sure pop gets what he deserves." he added with a small smirk.
Motioning Ranma to follow him, Tofu walked to the kitchen. He then handed Ranma a glass of warm water, which Ranma waved off. "Doesn't work anymore." Ranma said with a grin. He then stepped back then morphed with a small glow.
In the place of the girl stood a well-muscled, slender boy who looked around 9-10 years old. His hair undid itself from the pigtail and flowed into a ponytail. It had turned a dark blood red with streaks of black and silver, clashing with his soft blue silted eyes. "H…How?" stuttered a very surprised Tofu. "It's a long story." said Ranma brushing a strand of hair off his eye. "Lets hear it!" said a grinning Tofu, who after recovering form the initial surprise started walking to the couch.
Calming an excited Tofu, Ranma narrated his encounter with Lorena, the Dragon Lady. Ranma explained her predicament, his offer of help, and how she had cured him of his ailurophobia… giving him partial control over the cat fist. Smiling he recalled how 'Ranma had to die' to help her. He was now part dragon; he had part of her essence. She had finally found peace, and passed on beyond the great veil. Her memories and experience of thousands of years helping him in times of need, helping him control his new powers. She appeared to him in dreams and visions, teaching him to manipulate his dragon ki, magic, tact, culture, and the social skills that he lacked.
It was almost like reading a living novel. Lorena was more of a parent to him than Genma and Nodoka ever were. Even after death, she cared and nurtured him, never abandoning him, never expecting anything in return. "But how did you change?" questioned Tofu. "Some dragons are naturally shape shifters. Getting dragon blood from Lorena, it somewhat mixed in with my Jusenkyo curse, giving me control over it. Right now I'm not sure if I can shape shift into anything else cause I'm a kid, and a mere hatchling compared to dragon age. Lorena says that I'm gonna almost stop aging when I'm 18 to 20-something."
"I thought she was teaching you culture and language?" said Tofu with a large smile. "Hey! It takes me time for studying. The baka panda made sure I had no aptitude for anything other than martial arts. Besides Lorena only knew archaic Japanese, English and other languages." muttered Ranma. He frowned as Tofu started laughing. "Don't see what's so funny." he mumbled. "Well I'm just surprised someone actually made you realize that Ranma." replied a smiling Tofu. "What are you going to now Ranma?"
"Leave town, no ones gonna know I'm alive. I guess I'm going to be a nameless ronin adventurer. Lorena knew many places where there were dragon artifacts and dragon burial grounds. It's going to be a wild ride. Only, this time, this trip I'm going to learn things other than martial arts and fighting. Who knows! I might make some new friends, meet someone to love." said Ranma cheerfully. "I could add you to the Ono registry Ranma. You don't have to be a ronin. It doesn't mean we have to stay here. I'm leaving Nerima soon anyway." said a dejected Tofu.
"Thanks, but no. I have to leave all of my old life behind, can't let no one find me. I'll miss you though; you, Kasumi, Ucchan, maybe even Hiroshi and Daisku." Said Ranma. Frowning when he saw Tofu flinch when said Kasumi's name he quickly added "Kasumi's the reason you're leaving isn't it?" "Ka…Kasumi… I…Yes" muttered Tofu hopelessly. "Can't even talk to her. How do I tell her I love her? Does she even feel the same way? I hurt people when I'm around her too, it's no way a medical professional should behave." sadly shaking his head he plopped back into the couch.
"I can help you with that doc." said Ranma as he jumped on to the space next to Tofu and hovered over the ground. He playfully tapped Tofu's glass. "I know she likes you. I know she's hoping to meet the man of her dreams soon and marry him, it's so obvious from all the romance novels she keeps reading." "Really? Sh…She likes me?" Tofu's glasses started fogging up. Quickly shaking his head to calm his self. "It's hopeless!" he replied sadly. "I can help you with that problem…" said a smiling Ranma. "Kasumi deserves a good man for a husband, she's sacrificed enough. Just make sure you keep her happy"
Orange light creeps from the distant horizon, lighting up Nerima. 'Ignoring the destroyed buildings, roads, and running water, Nerima can look both wonderful and peaceful.' Ranma sarcastically thought from a rooftop. Thinking back to last night, he recalled Tofu excellent martial arts potential. He had almost learned the soul of ice in one night! With some practice Tofu would be able to speak to Kasumi without going bonkers. Ranma hoped they would be happy together. Ranma took a deep breath, turning away form the sunrise.
He took one last look at his favorite haunts during last year. The Nekohanten, Ucchan's, Furinkan High, Tofu's clinic and finally the Tendo Dojo. Despite all the problems, the Dojo was the closest thing he had to a home all his life. A few minutes later, a figure jumped from a tall building. Almost gliding in the air and over the rooftops, it quickly headed out of Nerima.
"So, having falsified your own death you escaped from Nerima, while ignoring the whole statement that Lorena had given you about 'You won't be Ranma anymore'!" Amalia said as she continued to sip her tea. "No I did not ignore what she had told me, I learned and grew from what she had told me… and she was right! It was the Ranma I had been before I had met her that I could no longer be. Back then, I had been a rude, foul-mouthed jerk, and when it came to getting a cure from Jusenkyo's death magic, I would stop at nothing to achieve my goals. I had often enough put my own honor off to the side in order to attain that which was always beyond my grasp!"
Taking a swig of the Neptunian Malt in what was once again his hand, Ranma paused a moment to cool his rising temper. For him ever since the merger his blood seemed to boil more readily than it used to. "Ironically enough, after I had left Nerima in search of the first draconic burial ground I had fallen straight into the one lap, which to this day still confuses the neigh immortality right out of me, of the one and only Morgan le Faye!" "Wait!" Amalia screeched, "You're telling me that you met the Morgan le Faye while you were exploring some old dragons' crypt?" Scratching the base of his skull, Ranma replied "Uh… yeah, let me tell you what took place back then. It all started…"
It has been close to a month now since the whole incident with the mushrooms, yet only two weeks have passed since he had made his escape. It was at times like this that the young boy who had at one time been known as Ranma Saotome found himself wondering once again how things in his life had suddenly come to this.
The 'this' at the moment just happened to be him falling through the dimensional barrier's while as a young girl dressed in a pair of children's tan colored khaki's with a lime green leotard and a pair of child sized boots. The fact that she was falling was not the problem, nor did it have anything to do with her current gender. No, the problem as it stands just happened to be that she had no idea just where she was falling to. Ranma knew she had to be getting close to wherever she was falling to, due to the simple fact that the wind that had been mysteriously absent as she fell, had quite suddenly erupted around her causing her decent to slow considerably.
As her red draconic wings unfurled, Ranma was able to get a better view on her surroundings as she passed through the cloud layer. Around for miles was nothing but a densely packed forest, save for a large clearing in which resided a pleasant little cottage made of timber. Off to the right side of the cottage was an impressive vegetable garden along with a respectably sized grape vineyard no more than twenty feet away. However, it was what had been planted over on the left side of the cottage that had really caught Ranma's eyes, they were trees but they sported ridiculously over-sized fruit of every kind.
In the last two weeks, Ranma was not idle in merely getting away from Nerima. No, she had thrown herself into a massive training regiment in order to get used to the more… exotic contributions that Lorena had slightly failed to mention after the fist time they had met. She had to learn how to make landfall with out crashing, how to handle the near overload of information that her senses were now giving out. From the moment she had woken up, she was instantly aware of the three weeks that had passed, by the mere feel of the dirt that was on her skin. From the smell of the antiseptics and ointments, she knew instantly that she had woken up in Dr. Tofu's clinic.
The scents in the air told of the recent visit of Kasumi, her tears though dry now, spoke of great sorrow and the need that begged for her forgiveness. Even now, the sensory load was practically staggering as she differentiated between the thousands of pixels and shades of the green in the trees and grass below her, the grey in the clouds around her and the blue that was the sky above her. Colors that had never even existed to her eyes before were now hers alone to stare at in silent awe. Shifting her vision Ranma could now see the area of magic that blanketed the clearing and the focus of it seemed to be emanating from within the cottage and was heading for the door.
Touching down softly, Ranma hid her wings allowing her to appear more human than she really was anymore, though it did nothing for her eyes as they told just how far she had truly lost her humanity. Quickly pulling a small coat out of nowhere, she had just slipped it on when the front door had opened revealing a young woman who appeared in her early to mid-twenties with her raven hair styled in a braid long enough to be wrapped loosely upon her waist. She was dressed in what Ranma could only describe as a long green dress with long billowy sleeves. "Oh my!" the young woman exclaimed, unknowingly emulating one Kasumi Tendo.
"Umm… you're not from the conclave of wizards… are you?" She asked, sounding quite certainly frightened. Thanks to the language sessions with Lorena, Ranma was able to figure out that she was speaking in English, which allowed her to answer the unique question. "Uh no ma'am I'm not," Ranma saw the woman visibly relax at those words "actually I don't quite know where I am. Oh umm, my name is Ranma what's yours?" "Oh, sorry, I'm Morgan, Morgan le Faye. Would you like to come inside, I can bring out something to eat if you're hungry?" "Yes, thank you!"
"Wait a minute, are you telling us that you willingly walked into the cottage of the Morgan le Faye? Just what were you thinking honey?" Amalia practically screamed as she literally half throttled her husband. "I was thinking like an eight year old little girl who saw someone that was scared and could possibly use a friend." Ranma exclaimed as his head was violently shaken back and forth while his darling wife's hand were wrapped around his throat. "Daddy, just how was someone afraid of an eight year old little girl?"
"Well Bell," Ranma said as he managed to free himself from Amalia's grasp, "I was in a child's body, still relatively new to being a young dragon and I did not have a firm grip on concealing my true strength at that time. So naturally having sensed my arrival and how untamed my powers were flaring, she had thought that I had come to kill her." Amalia had then apologized while Ranma picked up where he left off.
Inside the cottage, Ranma was sitting at a quaint little table enjoying the meal while having a pleasant, if a little odd, conversation. "Mmm this is good, so let me see if I understand this… this world is not a world but a prison." Morgan gave a simple nod, "And this prison is nothing more than a pocket dimension to which some jerk-off stuck you in for the rest of eternity, and now that I'm here I'm stuck too… damn that sucks." 'Morgan le Faye,' Ranma thought, 'I know I've heard that name somewhere before, but where? Hmmm… Let's see, the clues so far are Morgan herself, magic, wizards and the fact that she's dressed like those people at that fair Akane dragged me to last year… hmm.'
"Ranma you look as though something is troubling you, would you mind telling me what it is?" "Yeah sure, I was just wondering where it was I heard your name before… say you wouldn't happen to know some guy's named Arthur and Merlin would you?" "Unfortunately yes, Arthur is my half-brother in which we share the same father; he was shall we say, rather loose with his morals. As for Merlin, well when he was young he did have a decent talent for some slight of hand but other than that, he had literally no real aptitude for mystic arts. I on the other hand am a natural!" "That would explain why the entire area of magic here seems so intent on following you."
"Exactly, well that and the fact that everyone and their dog were unreasonably afraid of me." Ranma paused a moment as she heard and felt the strong depression coming from that statement, "Um I'm sorry far asking but why were they afraid, I mean you seem like a very nice lady who just needs someone to be there and to be a friend." "Thank you for that and you're right I do need a friend. As for why though… I swear, you make one little mistake while reciting a little cantrip, and suddenly you're branded as an evil witch for all of eternity! Just what pray tell did I do that was so… so terrible? Well I'll tell you, I… I sneezed!
I sneezed while I was casting a simple illumination spell to see under the bed when I was nine. Honestly, it is not my fault that the village had been vaporized as a result! I mean at least nobody died, right? I mean sure a few of the more noble ladies that had been passing through ended up a bit freer than they had previously been." Her lips suddenly curled into a smirk as she remembered seeing all those prissy women as their entire bodies went red with sheer embarrassment.
"After that, well the town magistrate had it in for me for a number of reasons. The first just happened to coincide with the events of that night, namely it was those supposedly Noble women that were passing through. The second was because he had been found in an even less than reputable position than his own wife. The old sod just happened to choose that night to visit the one woman in town that made even the filthiest of animals look clean. The third well… I believe it was when I ended up turning the man into an interesting shade aubergine one day after he had made a rather rude comment about the dress I was wearing.
I rather liked that dress, well suffice it to say, that when they saw me and the fact that not only did I still have my dignity intact but also smoke wafting from the apparent blast crater around me, they had the fastest trial and threw me out of the village that vary night. It wasn't until I was about in my twenties that I met that fool Merlin, along side him just happened to be my idiot half-brother Arthur. Unfortunately, the poor boy had little to no inelegance at the time as he just laughed and clapped each time every time the old ingot-behind-the-ear trick was done. Sad thing is he was only a year younger than I was… and I was twenty-three at the time.
Well Merlin had somehow, in a weird sense of warped logic, figured that I was a threat to his plans and bribed/blackmailed some of those on the conclave to banish me from the Earth and I ended up here soon thereafter. Well that is enough about me for now; what of you Ranma, surly you yourself have a sordid tale or two to tell?" "Well yeah, though it's not something I generally like to talk about but I guess it wouldn't hurt. First, I gotta tell ya this isn't my true gender nor my right age, but I'll explain that in a bit. My name is Ranma my parents are Nodoka and Genma Saotome It all started back when I was able to start walking…"
Meanwhile, back in Nerima an air of loss hung heavy throughout the ward. However, for two households in particular, it was truly a scene of opposites. At the Saotome residence, it was very strange as an attractive looking woman with loose dark-red hair was dancing about atop a reasonably new panda skin rug as she sung of the honor and glory that was her child for the honor that had been gifted to him. In her hands, she held a journal, which not only told her the truth of what had happened during her child's life away from her at the hands and occasional paw of her late husband and her child's rivals.
In addition telling of the gift of Lorena and the promise that they would one day see each other again soon. She was no longer dressed in the Kimonos she for so long had favored while waiting for her wayward ex-husband, instead she was attired in a pair of tight fitting blue jeans with a black t-shirt saying 'Red Hot Momma!' For she was Nodoka Saotome, mother to the greatest living legend. However, over at the Tendo dojo all was not well. Soun was in mourning while mimicking the waking dead, he did not eat, did not sleep and he even refused to get out of bed unless it was to use the lavatory. Truly the death of his long time friend and his son had ripped the life from him.
Nabiki had been hit just as hard, but when she saw herself in the mirror she knew it was time for one last death. It would be a small death but to her it would feel just as big, it was now time for the mask of the feared mercenary known as the Ice-Queen of Furinkan High to die. Moreover, she would take a page from the book of Ranma and help those who needed it.
Akane, she was no longer living at home, the day after she had been told that Ranma had died it was then deemed necessary that she be placed under suicide watch after she had finally tasted her own cooking. It was not until a few days later that some young men, dressed in their clean white coats had came and taken her away so she could receive the help she truly needed. As for Kasumi, well it was hard to tell really; on the one hand she wanted to tell her family of what had happened but the letter from Ranma that she had found in her bedroom prevented that. Taking the letter out of her apron she unfolded it to read what the young man she called little brother had written.
By the time you read this letter I will no longer be in Nerima, the news of my demise was greatly exaggerated and for that I am truly sorry. Only you and two others shall know the truth, as the death certificates and ashes are complete fakes. The only things I can promise you are these; one, Dr. Tofu does love you so expect to be asked out sometime soon. Two, now this must remain a secret from everyone else, I will be coming back! I only ask one thing; please get Akane some help, as you know she never did recover from the loss of your mother add onto that the stress inflicted by Kuno.
Also if you are wondering as to how I was able to use the words I did in this well I sort of used a dictionary. Take care Kasumi and please keep that Pig away from Akane.
"…and that's my life in a nutshell." Morgan found herself at a loss for words as she tried, failed and tried again to absorb what she had just been told about the life this kid has led. Placing a hand her to her forehead she sighed while attempting to ward off a headache "Okay let's go over this slowly, one last time and only the highlights." She moaned. "Alright!" Ranma chirped as she drank some apple juice. "Your name is Ranma; you were born male and spent most of your life away from your mother." "Correct, while being trained by my father in the martial arts the whole time to the exclusion of everything else."
"Right, which along the way at six you were subjected to that abysmal training called Neko-ken." "Which, for a long time had left me partially insane and afraid of any and all cats." "Yeah," sighed Morgan "and when you were sixteen you and this Genma came across a place called…" "Jusenkyo." "Thanks, he takes you to a place that's filled with not only chaos but also an insanely large amount of death magic that had been combined with amalgamation spell gone awry. Resulting in over a hundred different springs, which can not only alter ones body on the genetic level but can actually overwrite someone's mind thereby turning them into someone or something else!"
"Heh… yeah, and that was just the first sixteen years of my life! The rest of which contains fights upon fights with inept martial arts styles, and getting so bogged down with girls seeking to marry me or kill me all because I was supposedly sold to them for a meager helping of food!" "And yet here you are, eight years old, female and now trapped in a sub-dimensional prison with a woman portrayed throughout history as being both twisted and evil. That's just peachy!"
"Hey it could be worse." "Oh yeah how?" "You could be trapped with Ryoga!" and at that vary moment Ranma hears the all too familiar words "Where the Hell am I now!""Well speak of the devil and he arrives." "Forget it he's already gone and he won't be back for at least another hundred years or so." Suddenly both Morgan and Ranma give off a jaw-cracking yawn. Morgan looked over at Ranma and smiled "Come on, I'll show you where you can put your stuff then its time for bed. It'll be a long day starting tomorrow as we start on getting you familiar with that magic of yours." "Say Morgan, if this place is indeed a prison than how come he's not trapped here like us?"
That caused Morgan to suffer massive face fault in mid stride, quickly righting herself into a sitting position Morgan proceeded to pontificate about the perils of how much of an ouchy her pour nose had suffered. After awhile and a few well-developed sweat drops on the back of Ranma's head, Morgan stood back up and calmly told Ranma that it was probably due to some botched up trans-location spell or something similar. With that Ranma would quickly find herself in a bit of a constant cycle, learning about the history of dragons from Lorena while she slept and various magical spells, cantrips and curses, along with a bit of proper schooling from Morgan when she was awake.