Author's Note: This is a Ranma One Half and Mahou Sensei Negima crossover taking place after the end of the Ranma series and chapter 89 of Mahou Sensei Negima. I will try to avoid using Japanese outside of specific circumstances, pertaining mostly to Japanese culture, such as suffixes and nouns. This includes "-aru" and "-degozaru" used heavily in some character's dialogue in the native Japanese language. This is not due to inability, but rather personal preference for readability.

Disclaimer: I own neither Ranma One Half nor Mahou Sensei Negima. They are owned by Rumiko Takahashi and Ken Akamatsu, respectively.

Cutting the Gordian Knot

Chapter 1 – Meeting Mahora

The deafening din of the crowd washed over Ranma as he wrote his name on the registration for the Mahora Martial Art Tournament. He hadn't planned on it, feeling his abilities were too far beyond anyone at this school. However, as he was walking around the festival of his new school the announcement that all of the different combat tournaments were going to be combined proved greater than his ability to resist temptation. Sure, the school had its share of national level martial artists, but having defeated a living god, it was hard to get excited about a school festival fighting tournament. The ten million yen prize didn't hurt either.

Taking a slip of paper from the girl at the registration booth he gave a small bow before turning away. As he stepped away from the booth, Ranma couldn't help but reflect on his mom's decision to move the family away from the Tendos.

"What are you talking about, Mom?" Ranma asked, as surprised as he was when she announced he was going to be living with her the first time. Akane and her sisters appeared just as shocked as he was, though Genma and Soun looked resigned, as though this had been decided earlier.

"The Tendos have enough on their plate," Nodoka explained to her son," and it is high time that we returned to living in our own house."

"Isn't that still being rebuilt, though?" Ranma asked.

"That was only a tenement house," Nodoka explained, smiling," and, believe it or not, the owner is pretty happy that it was brought down. We were to be the final residents there before he repurposed the building for storage. We saved him demolition costs."

"So we still don't have a place to stay, then?"

"Not at all, in fact. We have begun leasing a new tenement house in Ota, where your father has taken a job at the Tokyo International Airport. Unfortunately, due to the expense, I have also found work at Canon as an OL." Genma grimaced at the mention of his new job; he had gotten away with small and easy jobs around Nerima that normally left him with plenty of time on his hands to relax at Soun's house.

And that had been that, the goodbyes were awkward, with promises to meet every so often. Genma and Soun had been adamant in their expression to Ranma that the engagement still applied and that this in no way got him off the hook. It wasn't until after they had finished moving into their new house a couple of days later that Ranma was to discover that he would no longer be attending school at Furinkan High School.

The months had moved by slowly since that moment. Settling into his new school, Mahora Academy had been the highlight of his time. However, with the move had come a lull in the action that defined his life up to this point. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he was looking forward to competing in the tournament. It would certainly break up the monotony of his not-so-daily sparring with his father, and the occasional run-in with the ever lost Ryouga.

Ranma checked the ticket in his hand a note to be back at the tournament grounds by dusk. He frowned at the fact that the tournament would not be announced right away. That thought, however, was quickly squashed as the scent of various foods washed over him. There were always other ways to have fun.

Moving to a somewhat secluded area, Ranma checked around to make sure no one was paying attention before giving himself a splash with the water bottle he carried in his backpack. The change was quicker than anyone could notice; the tingle of magic was nearly imperceptible with familiarity. Ranma stowed the water bottle back in her backpack and quickly adjusted her now oversized boys' uniform. If she was going to have fun, she very well couldn't do it on an empty stomach, and after so long having this curse, there was only one way to cruise for eats.

Evening found Ranma wandering back towards the tournament grounds, cotton candy in one hand, grilled squid sticking out of her mouth and an armful of giant plush dolls from the games dotted here and there. She really loved to cut loose and have fun, and walking around the festival like she had been had brought back memories of her time under the burden of the Cat's Tongue pressure point. Even the thrilling thought that a good fight was imminent was present. It was hard to imagine that those events happened only around a year ago.

Looking ahead, Ranma saw a large crowd gathered near the large building that would house the tournament tomorrow, the roar of the crowd's excitement was deafening. As she approached, however, she could hear the voice of a young girl cutting through the cacophony, announcing the upcoming tournament. Ranma could hardly see over the many people gathered, so as she listened to the girl continue to announce the tournament, she weaved through the crowd to get closer to the action.

"…an opening greeting from the sponsor of this tournament, the owner of the school's most popular stand Chao Bao Zi, Chao Rinshen!" The announcing girl shouted as she stepped aside to reveal another girl of the same age. This one Ranma instantly recognized as Chao Rinshen, who she often referred to as simply Chao. How could Ranma not? She frequented the food stand several times a week.

"I bought and revived this tournament for only one reason," Chao began, "whether it is the inner world or the outer world, I want to see the strongest, that is all." Ranma began to tune out the speech as she began to size up the people around her. Most, it seemed, fought at what she would guess to be Akane's level, possibly a few at the level of the dojo destroyer. What caught her eye was a group of middle school aged girls that seemed to be among the best in the group. They were also the ones who were shocked rather than confused at the mention of separate worlds.

Whatever that means, Ranma thought to herself. The girls seemed to be moving with purpose towards some goal, following their gaze it was easy to figure out that they were moving towards another small group. This one made Ranma pause as she took the sight in.

The group consisted of four girls, two who were quite athletic in their appearance, and two very young boys. What made her pause were the ears sticking out of the top of one of the boys' head; dog ears, in place of normal ears. Interest thoroughly derailed from the tournament for the moment, Ranma couldn't help but move a little closer.

"You're all entering?" Shouted the boy with glasses, he turned to the dog-eared boy, "This is bad Kotaro-kun!"

"They'll be good opponents, but I won't lose!" The confidence with which the dog-eared boy, Kotaro spoke reminded Ranma of herself.

"But Ku-sensei is my kempo teacher!" the glasses wearing boy exclaimed, motioning towards the blond girl in the Chinese dress. "And didn't you lose to Kaede-san, Kotaro-kun? You'll get smashed!" Indicated this time was the tall girl wearing a traditional dark blue sailor style school uniform.

"I haven't let up in my training!" defended Kotaro at what was obviously a sore point.

"And if it gets to Tatsumiya-san…" the boy trailed off; obviously his thoughts were completing the sentence as he gazed fearfully at a tall, dark skinned girl in a miko outfit.

"Perhaps, sensei, I am not the one you should be fearful of." The girl, Tatsumiya said as she turned her head to acknowledge her apparent teacher before turning to fully regard Ranma. "Isn't that right, Saotome?" It wasn't until she was brought into the conversation that Ranma realized that she was only about five feet from the group.

"Urk…" was Ranma's intelligent response.

"After all," the dark skinned girl continued as she turned to walk away from the group, past Ranma, "not many have brought a prince to his knees, let alone everything else you have accomplished."

"What do you know?" Ranma asked in suspicion as she passed by.

"Enough to keep an eye on you," the Tatsumiya girl responded, and with that she disappeared into the crowd. Ranma tried to pick her out as she moved through the masses, but despite her height there were many too many other people as tall as, if not taller than, the enigmatic girl. Ranma's own diminished height did nothing to aid the situation, either.

"Excuse me, did she say Saotome?" Ranma turned at the voice, seeing the young boy in glasses.

"Ah, yeah," Ranma said lamely. "That's me, but I don't think I ever met your friend."

"She's a student of mine," the boy explained, "though I'm not sure how well I could help you as far as understanding her, she's pretty mysterious to me as well." The boy gave a shudder as he mentioned that last part, and muttered something about a massacre.

"A student of yours?" Ranma asked, somewhat surprised, though not overly so. His last teacher had the body of a ten year old most of the time.

"Oh! I'm very sorry; I'm the English and homeroom teacher for Mahora Girls' Academy middle school class A, Negi Springfield." The boy, Negi introduced himself with a bow. Ranma sighed a little at the formality of the boy. Negi leaned in a little closer to Ranma and said in a lower voice, "I'm sorry Saotome-san, but did you know that you were under a curse?"

"Ah, yeah, old news," Ranma responded and deflected with, "what were you all worked up about earlier though, what's so bad about Tatsumiya?" Negi seemed to be brought back to the reality of the situation he was in earlier.

"Oh, I guess you could say that after seeing the competition, I'm a little worried about having entered the tournament."

"I hope you haven't forgotten about me, boy," a voice interrupted their conversation. Ranma turned to see a girl about Negi's height. Her unaccented Japanese was at odds with her very foreign appearance, fair skin and blond hair. Dressed in a style more commonly called Gothic Lolita, she nonetheless held a very dangerous air. Either that or it was the doll walking at her side with the very eerie expression, not to mention that it was cackling.

Ranma looked back to see that the color in Negi's face had all but fled entirely. Ranma stepped back as the focus of the conversation slid away from her. Things were becoming lively, just the way Ranma liked it. She watched in amusement the antics of the group for a moment longer.

"Now then," The girl's voice who was announcing before cut through the air. "We will be determining the participants of the main tournament tomorrow with a preliminary tournament. It will be several groups each in a twenty person battle royal. We will be accepting participants up to the beginning of the preliminary round. Participants please step forward and take a ticket, which will tell you the group you will be fighting in. The main tournament is at eight in the morning tomorrow, but the preliminary tournament starts now!"

At those words Ranma made a beeline to the bathrooms. While her girl form was more than enough to breeze through the preliminary tournament, she preferred to have the reach her male form gave her. Ranma returned male once again and approached the line at the ticket table. His heart was pumping, and he could feel the adrenaline begin to seep into his blood as he drew his ticket. Looking down Ranma saw he was in group F.

Ranma moved quickly through the crowd and found the platform with the letter F on the sign. Ranma took his place in the ring with the other participants. Suddenly Ranma was as calm as the eye of a storm. This was it; this was what was missing ever since he had moved from Nerima. As much as he enjoyed the simplicity of being just a student, he missed the excitement that a good challenge brought him.

"Group F," a voice rang out over him, "Begin!"

In that instance, a storm of motion exploded around Ranma, as each fighter chose their first target and struck. In that same moment Ranma had already struck out and launched three of the fighters out of the ring. He did not spar with his father every day anymore, but Genma still had the habit of ambushing him a few times a week.

His skills had not diminished in the few months he was at Mahora. He took the few months of rest to truly take all he had learned from the different sources during his stay in Nerima and make them his own. Every move, practical and obscure alike had been seamlessly incorporated into his art.

After his fourth opponent had fallen, Ranma noticed something, there were only twelve people left standing. There was someone else in this group that was moving nearly as quickly as he was. Two more fell to him as he directed one fighter's fist to connect with another's face rather than his own followed by a swift side kick that rendered the man in the karate gi unable to fight on.

That minor distraction was when it hit him. An unseen force struck him on the chin. It was enough to knock an average person senseless, more of a tickle to one of Ranma's durability. The two to either side of him fell to similar attacks. Ranma looked around and spotted him instantly. Takahata, the district instructor, wore a light smile, and held his hands in his pockets. He was standing next to that foreign girl that referred to Negi as boy. He could feel the aura that Takahata exerted, not visible, but the pressure was there.

The two stared at each other for what seemed an eternity; the intensity of the air between the two froze the action in the ring. There it was; Ranma recognized it instantly. To any other person it was imperceptible, but to Ranma it was a blindingly fast punch, a perfect knockout blow. Tilting his head to the side at nearly the same speed, Ranma let the air pressure from the strike fly by and strike another fighter behind him.

Fighting with air pressure, Ranma thought, just like Kuno. Ranma couldn't keep the smile off his face. With a flick of his eyes around the arena Ranma assessed the situation. There was himself, Takahata, four lower level fighters and that foreign girl he had seen with Negi. As far as he could tell, the small girl wasn't much of a threat. It was time to get to work.

"Hey, you okay there, old man?" Ranma taunted Takahata as he dodged right and left. No one could see the blasts of air pressure as they flew by; the only visible effect was Ranma's shirt being torn at the shoulder as he began moving towards two of the other fighters. "You almost got me with that one, careful you don't hurt yourself throwing those around!"

Ranma leapt over the back of a fighter who looked like he practiced kick boxing, flipping over his head and between him and another fighter. Before the Mohawk wearing kick boxer could react, he fell. Ranma had anticipated the attack perfectly, now to get his tool.

"Sorry, but I'm borrowing you for a bit," Ranma said as he grabbed the left wrist and shoulder of the fighter the Mohawk guy was facing. With a twist the man was lifted off the ground, his shoulder taking the force of another air pressure attack from Takahata. Ranma shoved him through the air towards the instructor, his mass proving no difficulty for Ranma to handle.

The fighter's shirt was shredded as his momentum was halted by a barrage of attacks from Takahata, but Ranma was prepared for that as he was already following in the airborne fighter's wake. A kick propelled the man back through the air before he could hit the ground, closing the remaining ten foot gap quickly.

Ranma jumped over the man as another series of attacks stopped his flight, and came down hard with a kick. Takahata's eyes widened in surprise and he tried to back away from the strike. He was not fast enough however, as Ranma's heel clipped his left shoulder.

"You can give up any time," Ranma goaded the older man, a smirk working its way onto his face, "I'm sure you need to take a breather after that much at your age."

"Not at all," Takahata replied in a matter-of-fact voice, his easy smile never leaving his face, "In fact I'm quite happy that at least someone has trained enough to provide a decent challenge." He rolled his shoulder a little to keep the stiffness at bay from the kick. "If you keep this up, I might have to show you a neat trick."

"You're gonna have to use all your tricks to keep up with me," Ranma boasted as he shot forward, dropping to avoid one of Takahata's strikes and striking out with a low sweep that the teacher hopped over. Another burst of air pressure narrowly missed Ranma as he rolled away, and split the wood where he had just been.

Ranma spared a glance where the remaining fighters had been as he sprang back up to his feet. One down and beaten, the other was laying on his stomach, the small girl holding him there with a finger pressed to his back.

Great, Ranma thought to himself, Just Takahata left. He had long since ruled out taking down the girl. Besides, it would be much more fun to take on Takahata. Ranma landed, leaning to the left as another shot sailed by him. If this was all Takahata was going to do, it was time to push the level of the fight up until he got to see the neat trick that Takahata had hinted at.

"Sorry, old guy," Ranma said, "but I'm not about to pick on a little girl, looks like it's time to take you down." The distance between the two was closed quickly, and Ranma lashed out with a flurry of strikes that Takahata had to move furiously to avoid. What he couldn't dodge, Takahata had to use both hands to intercept.

"Come on," Ranma taunted, "I'm barely warmed up. What's that neat trick you were talking about?"

"Oh, I don't know," Takahata responded, still smiling, "I think you might need to go back and train a little more before that." In response Ranma launched a butterfly kick that forced Takahata to take a step back, followed by an exaggerated axe kick to give the older man time to side step. With the downward swing Ranma pushed nearly a quarter his full power into his foot; causing it to explode through the wooden platform. As the dust cleared, Ranma could see that Takahata had raised his hands out of his pockets to shield his face from the debris.

"If you don't get serious," Ranma warned, his smirk returning, "you might get hurt!" With that declaration he jumped forward fists moving in a quick flurry, a fraction of his true speed, but enough to keep Takahata from returning his hands to his pockets. "I thought so," Ranma announced, "you need your hands in your pockets to do your trick. Too bad for you I won't give you that chance again." The smile was fading from the older man's face, but it did not vanish. By Ranma's estimate Takahata was too focused at the moment to respond… good. Ranma kept the assault up for a few more moments before letting up.

"Still think I need a little more training, old man?" Ranma asked. Takahata's response was to chuckle, his hands up in a placating gesture.

"I suppose so," Takahata responded, "truthfully, if I don't use this, I'd probably lose pretty easy to you. I was just buying time to show Negi, and it looks like he's about done." He nodded his head toward another platform and Ranma followed his indication.

He watched as the young Negi landed a powerful blow to a man with a ridiculous pompadour haircut. As the man fell Ranma noticed that the only two left standing were the child teacher and a thin man obscured by a hooded robe. Glancing around, he realized that they were the only group with more than two people remaining.

"Negi!" Takahata called, "watch carefully, Negi. I had hoped to show this to you if we fought in the finals, but it looks like I have to show it to you earlier than I had hoped." Ranma turned back to regard the older man, who held both hands out and open.

"Magic in the left hand," Takahata muttered, as his left hand began to glow with power, soft motes of light winking in and out of existence within the nebulous energy. "Ki in the right," he said, louder, and his right hand erupted in light. Ranma looked on, curious. The ki he recognized, he used it often enough himself. But the other power put his hair on end. He could feel a tingling from it, it reminded him of when his curse activated. A quick check told him that he was still male.

"Combine!" Takahata shouted as he brought both hands together with a thunderous clap. The wave of air pressure that came off of the teacher as the two powers combined was indescribable. It was a persistent force that pressed against Ranma. "Even now, Negi, I can't reach them; your father and his friends. Their stage is so much further. I noticed your hesitance before the tournament as obstacle after obstacle appeared before you. If you falter here, how will you ever reach them?"

Takahata lowered his hands back into his coat pockets and smiled at Ranma. "You've surprised me, young man. A warning was issued from your last principal to keep an eye on you, but you've been so quiet these months that I had mistakenly assumed they were largely just exaggeration." He raised his hands slightly outward in his pockets, increasing tension between flesh and fabric. "Be careful now, I won't be holding back, neither should you."

Ranma nearly caught the attack in time; the punch flew out of the pocket so fast that even Ranma barely caught the flicker of movement that signaled the attack. He leaned to the side to avoid the blast of air. What he didn't anticipate was the sheer size of the attack, and was struck across the entire left half of his torso. He spun about, dazed in unpreparedness, as another attack struck him in the back, lifting him from his feet.

As he flew forward, still spinning from the first blow his vision showed him that Takahata had leapt up and another attack came. The downward angle of the strike smashed him down into the stage, the supports barely keeping him from passing through entirely to the ground below.

"Sorry I had to be so rough," the educator said as he landed next to Ranma, "but I promised Negi that we would fight one day when he was strong enough." He turned and started to walk away, but was interrupted as Ranma began to chuckle.

"Please," Ranma scoffed as he stood from the debris, "I know a little black piglet that hits harder than that." It was true. Under the Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion, Ranma had been hit by Ryouga so hard that he left a ten foot diameter crater in a mountainside. He rolled his shoulder, mimicking Takahata's earlier motion. "Not bad though, old man. I haven't had a fight this good in a while."

Ranma's form blurred as he shot forward, not his maximum speed, but enough to catch the older man off guard. "So, what's this trick you pulled off? Never seen that 'magic' you whispered about, and I've never seen ki that clearly before." Another massive blast shot toward him, cutting off his questions. He was prepared this time and rolled to the side, landing in a crouch long enough to duck below the follow up attack and a leap carried him over another attack.

Probably should have thought that one through better, Ranma thought to himself as he left himself in midair with no way to dodge the next attack as it rocked through the air toward him. Can't keep all of my secrets, I guess. Ranma reached inside himself and felt out for his ki, and pulled it toward his hands. Channeling his confidence; the energy gained form in his hands.

"Mouko Takabisha!" Ranma shouted, throwing his hands forward, the ball of energy shot forward, tearing through the air and exploding against the approaching pillar of air pressure, enough to stop Takahata's attack in its tracks. Ranma's confidence began to pick up, steeled by the success of his earlier attack. Good, Ranma thought, that new way worked out better than I had hoped!

In the past, Ranma's strength of confidence fueled this attack, and it still did. The difference now was what he was confident in. He no longer based his confidence for the attack on whether or not he felt he could win; the disastrous results of his fight with Ryouga made it abundantly clear that such a method was doomed to failure in some cases. He knew he could pull off the attack, he was confident in the strength he possessed, and in his skill and ability to perform the blast. All of that was there, regardless of winning or losing. The ki blast was not as strong as it could have been, using such a method, but it was consistent in its power, and that was what Ranma needed more than anything.

The expression on Takahata's face was priceless, in Ranma's opinion. It seemed he did not anticipate someone being able to physically harness their ki in such a way. At least, he did not expect to see it here, and not from one of the students.

"I hope you have more tricks up your sleeves, geezer," Ranma taunted," because I can throw these around all day! Mouko Takabisha!" Ranma gave off another yell, not entirely necessary, but he wanted to give Takahata a fair chance to intercept the attack. And what better way to catch the instructor off guard than to begin launching the attack without announcing it, after he became used to the pattern.

He threw that blast with a swing of his arm, launching it with a slight arc, and turning with the swing slightly. It exploded several feet from the older combatant, though, coming into contact with another pillar of air pressure before it could reach him. Perfect, he's on defense now! Ranma thought, and pushed his momentary advantage. He began to announce the attack in rapid succession, his arms blurring to the untrained eye.

Blast after blast rocked through the air, as Ranma launched into a whirling dance that sent the balls of energy flying through the air in varying arcs as he slowly began to strafe around Takahata, closing distance as he did so.

Ranma could clearly it in the older man's eyes and face. He was being pushed, the smile had slipped and it seemed all he could do at the moment was to attack the energy blasts that were coming at him from the skilled youth. A blast would be annihilated and he would have just enough time to reset his fist in his coat pocket before another would already be halfway to him again.

Ranma continued to push the district instructor, his arms not tiring, and his reserves not yet beginning to flag. He couldn't keep up this furious pace forever, though, and it seemed that, while being pressed, Takahata could keep up his defense. Ranma needed to change the game. He quickly began to scan the arena for anything he could use, keeping one eye on Takahata, and continuing to change the arcs in which he threw the blasts, making sure to not make a pattern.

There was that blond girl again, sitting on the back of that guy she had pinned with her finger earlier, he was out cold. She was watching the fight with quiet amusement. Ranma squashed the voice in the back of his head that said it would be easier to take her down right now than it would be to continue his fight with the older man, and he continued to scan the arena.

There, thought Ranma, excitedly. His eyes had settled on the hole that he had kicked through the stage earlier, and all of the sharp debris that was scattered around it. If I can just take his ranged attack out of the equation, I can force him into fighting hand to hand! Ranma altered the route he was moving in, and picked up the pace that he was firing the ki blasts. He needed to distract the older man, or his plan might not work.

Takahata continued his defense, moving rapidly and dodging as many of the ki blasts as he could, and striking out at the ones he couldn't. As Ranma picked up the pace, it would no longer do to just stand his ground and destroy each blast as it came in his direction, in an attempt to wear the boy down. It really did seem as though he could continue to launch the frankly absurd attack all day as he had boasted.

Good, Ranma thought as he was only a step away from a relatively small group of wooden splinters, He's taking the setups. With that last thought Ranma pulled out a fraction more of his strength in the next attack, launching the blast with an exaggerated shout, and stomp of his foot.

Takahata saw his opportunity then, with Ranma abandoning the whirling dance for a firm foundation and stronger attack, probably hoping to overpower his iai strike. He smiled, too bad for the youth; it was time to end this fight. He launched a quick one-two succession of strikes right hand then left.

Ranma was satisfied with the shock on the older man's face as the ki blast continued unperturbed through a strong wind, rather than the air pressure attack he was no doubt expecting. The blast collided with Takahata's already sore shoulder and launched him back through the air toward the edge of the arena.

He lay there for a moment, wondering how his attack had failed. Rolling his shoulder to abate the soreness now settling in, he looked down and noticed that both of the pockets of his jacket had been torn. Clever kid, Takahata thought as he reached down towards his pants' pockets, haven't used these pockets in a while, I won't be used to the angle. He was stopped short, though, as his hands felt the holes tearing through his pants' pockets as well, rendering them useless for his technique.

"That sucks, Sensei," Ranma mocked," I hate it when my clothes are ruined in fights. Too bad that attack you were using needed those, huh?" Ranma launched forward, closing the distance between him and his opponent in the blink of an eye. Takahata rose and met Ranma and the both of them engaged in a series of strikes and parries that only a true master of the art would be able to follow. "You know, old guy, it's been fun, haven't had a fight like this in months." Both men were smiling now, neither able to land a decisive blow.

Takahata spent his time parrying and rolling with Ranma's strikes, while the youth just seemed to melt and flow around each attack. Takahata suspected he might have an easier time trying to strike smoke. Takahata winced, he'd have to use his iai strike again, and there was only one way he'd be able to do it. He rolled his shoulders to the right, avoiding a direct strike to his shoulder. Raising his left hand to his right fist, pressing the two together to make the necessary tension, he prepared his attack. This was going to hurt, but at this range there was no way Ranma would be able to dodge, and he needed to throw the boy off balance to win this fight.

His fist ripped along the flesh of his left palm, and as soon as it was clear his hand sped forward in an imperceptible blur, he almost didn't catch the next words out of Ranma's mouth.

"Quit hitting yourself," Ranma muttered with a smirk and reached his hand out to catch Takahata's fist. The energy of Takahata's attack exploded out of his fist into the pigtailed boy's hand. With years of skill and experience Ranma accepted the energy with a twist of his shoulder and hips, and with a stomp of his foot, added to the considerable power travelling through his shoulders. His own right hand rocked out in a strike that blew through Takahata's defenses and launched him clear of the edge of the ring. Even if he was able to absorb the damage from the blow, it was an unrecoverable flight out of bounds, and that was what mattered right now.

Takahata landed hard; nearly thirty feet from the ring, he supposed he was lucky a few trees had managed to halt his progress through the air. He sat up, his whole body aching. It was not enough to take him out of a real fight, but Ranma remembered the rules that he forgot in the excitement of the battle.

He supposed that it was not too bad a loss, Ranma was a difficult opponent and more than a challenge for the young Negi Springfield, if the two faced off, he was certain that Negi would learn the same lesson he would have learned if he faced him himself.

Takahata looked up to the ring to see Ranma, with that smile still plastered on his face. Takahata couldn't help it; he smiled and gave a small thumbs-up to the youth. He had to agree, that fight was the most fun he'd had in ages. He scooted back to a tree he had just landed shy of crashing through and leaned back to rest for a moment. He wasn't as young as he used to be!

Ranma raised his fist as he turned and examined the tattered remains of the stage he had just fought on. Tattered, as it turned out, was not quite an adequate enough of a descriptor for the state the wooden platform was in now. There was not even a hands-width portion of wood that was not damaged, and Ranma could hear the surface beneath him creak in protest as he walked toward the stairs off the stage.

"Not a bad fight, boy," Ranma's was grabbed by the voice of the young girl who had been watching the fight from inside the ring. "I didn't think there'd be anybody who would have been able to challenge Takamichi here. I'll be keeping an eye on your progress." The girl walked past him, leaving Ranma confused. Why in the world would such a small and young girl remind him of the old ghoul?

End Chapter 1. To be continued…

Author's Note Post Script

And there you have it, the first chapter of a new fic. For those of you concerned, things have been a little hectic lately and progress on writing has been supremely slow for me. Progress is being made on HPDB, but I am having a difficult time with motivation on that particular work, though it is by no means dead. I found myself with a little bit of time recently and was motivated to write this fic. For those of you who don't quite understand the title of this fic, the phonetics of Ranma's name was derived from the Japanese phrase taisou ranma. The kanji for his name were determined after the phonetics, with Rumiko Takahashi settling for wild horse. Taisou ranma means to do something quickly and skillfully, and holds a similar meaning to the phrase to cut the Gordian knot. Google it if you are unfamiliar. Let me know what you think, I particularly enjoyed writing the fight between Ranma and Takahata. I also think that I managed to write the fight in a way that will satisfy most readers. Ranma won but he didn't outright overpower Takahata, in fact the fight would have been far from over if not for the out of bounds.