I own nothing, So don't bother trying to take it away from me. Even if you take half, or all we both are still left with nothing.
(Warning, though I love Kasumi's character dearly, This is not a positive story for her. Not that I need to try something different, just that Ranma would guard against anyone BUT her, so she it is)
Also I uploaded this before running it by my spellchecker and man is she pissed
AlsoIknowmytrackrecord,. I will try to make it as entertaining as I can and hopefully my muse will not leave me for some new console game.
Prologue : 49 days of a curse.
In every world, there is a focus. A being that the world revolves around. Many consider themselves the Focus of any given world, but in the end there is only one TRUE focus there. In some worlds its a girl named after a rabbit, some its a newly formed vampire, and here, its a pig tail martial artist.
Focus's never really die these worlds, they are reborn, to play their role once more. Most of time anyway. As like most realities, this was one of billions that were close to one another. In most other realities, Ranma died around the age of 40, in the 2nd battle with Saffron. In some he died much sooner, killed by his own wife. We shall instead concentrate on one where someone who has had enough, watched enough decided to take matters into her own hands, to remove the treat to her Family. In this world, Kasumi destroyed Ranma, and paid a terrible price for it.
Kasumi silently experienced a new emotion for her. Hatred. She had started to hate Ranma, for all of the damage, to her house, and her family that he had done. She had started to believe what her little sister told her, that the challenges were his fault. It started after the return from China and slowly built through time, after the failed wedding, and into the next year. She had also started to resent her own life, but displaced it to Ranma. 'It was unfair; some small part of her mind told her, 'That HE gets to go to collage, and further HIS dreams while I am stuck where I am, being the substitute for my dead mother'.These thoughts and others like is caused Kasumi to eventually decide that Ranma needed to be out of the Tendo's lives, for good. So she went and looked where she never should have, and found what never should have left Happosai's hands. A scroll with a spell that would work to remove the problem from her home. It took a terrible price to balance it out but she in the end decided that her family would be protected, so that was enough. Her inner voice told her she had nothing to lose anyway, so taking this from her was no true issue.
It started a few days after that. Ranma just seemed weaker. Sluggish was perhaps a better word. Ranma lost the fight that morning to his father, something that had not happened in years. Most of them thought he may be ill, or something like that. Day after day went by, and weaker each day he seem to grow. The weaker he got the more listless he became as well. After 10 days of this weakening, Mousse issued a formal challenge again for Shampoo's hand. When they fought, mouse won. And kept winning, Mousse was not even aware that he was close to killing Ranma, until Cologne interceded and ended the fight. Mousse tried to claim the victory, so issued his challenge to Shampoo, only to have her do the same to him, for harming Ranma. Cologne knew something was wrong with him, but a vague fog in her mind kept sapping her will to find out what had changed. Shampoo knew it as well, but suffered the same problem. Kasumi's curse protected it self awhile longer from those who had the best chance to stop it. It was this day that his own water based curse stopped working. He did not change anymore. 14 days into the curse, Kuno beat Ranma, at the school in the morning. Ranma just looked at him glassy eyed. Ranma was very listless now, moving from place to place, following a routine of doing what was expected of him. He did not even stop Kuno from trying to glomp Akane, he just sat there, dazed and watching. He stayed awake in class, and answered questions when asked about things, but for the most part just sat there. Many folks knew in their hearts that something was dreadfully wrong, but again that fog prevented them from trying to find out what. Even some of their memories of Ranma's past were slipping away. A few were better protected than others, those he was closest too. Only Ryoga would have been able to act against that fog, but he was far more lost than usual, its was again that curse protecting itself from interference. During this time, Kasumi's mood brightened and brightened. She saw the effect the curse was having, and was in fact getting a part of Ranma's core energy that was being drained off of him. Not many seemed to notice this either, except for Happosai, who did not see any changes in Kasumi. While strong enough to defeat Cologne and Happosai's detection on Ranma, it could not hid Kasumi's growing power.
The end started around day 40, when the Hikaru Gosunkugi beat Ranma in a fair fight. Later that day his teacher, Hinako had to take him home, he would not move on his own. For 8 more days he existed there, staying in his room, or where ever his father threw him. On the 48th day, the fog was pushed aside by Cologne enough for her to realize something terribly wrong WAS going on, and that she needed to see him fast. When she found him, he was sitting in his room, unmoving. His Chi was still all present, and had formed a strange barrier around him. She did not know if that was for good or ill but she bet it was for good. A dark wave swirled around that leeching his very soul from him. Something she realized was almost gone. Just the faintest flicker existed. That night, only an hour or so after she got there, she called for Happosai, to get his help. Happosai arrived from where he was collection more for his stash at 2:56 am on the 49th day. At 3:00 am, Ranma rapidly grow insubstantial, by 3:15 he was completely see through. Frantically, they tried to lock him in place, to save him from disappearing. But by 3:49 on the 49th day of the curse, Ranma Saotome faded entirely, leaving behind only his clothes which settled on his bed. Ranma was still the focus of this world, he could not be removed from the world with this small of a spell. But he could be removed from where he was, moved to some other place, where no one would find him. One did find him, eventually, but that was the finders nature against the power of the curse, and the curse was no match.
What happens when you remove the very soul of a man. The curse tried to invade him, yet his chi, his life force itself stopped that. It tried to infect him with an evil spirit, but he was protected as well. In the end to follow its nature it sent him to one who could control him as he stood, an immortal girl who took control of anyone who gazed on her, and made them her slaves, Tomie.
Kasumi was content. Her plan had worked, and while she knew a cost was coming she had almost 2 months to prepare before her own curse would take her. Being dammed was worth the peace she thought this would bring. Kasumi continued her work in the house, full of Ranma's energy, and enjoying the quiet that getting rid of him brought. 15 days after Ranma's disappearance everyone started to feel, for lack of a better word, Grey. This worlds Focus had been taken away, his soul resonated in them making everything pale. It was like no one really knew what their place was now, what they were supposed to do. Cologne was the first to really react, she sent Shampoo and Mousse home. It had taken her 15 days to find out what curse was used, and while she feared Ranma was lost to them all, she would have revenge on who did this, once she found out who did it of course. She once more turned to the one person she hated calling on, Happosai for help. They both needed Ranma, so having him taken from them, and knowing that it could be possible that someone of his caliber could protect himself from possession, even in his state, meant they needed to find him. They needed to find out who first, and even after 4 days of searching the usual problem children, they got nothing. No one at that point even could Begin to think of the eldest daughter of the Tendo's being the one who started this curse. Cologne knew she only had until the 49th day after Ranma disappeared to find who cast this, and in finding it, if she could do so before the day of turning, the 40th day, she may be able to at least get out them if he was alive or not and clues to where he was. On the 20th day since Ranma's disappearance, the pair of elders formally asked Nabiki for help in this matter. Nabiki had already started looking for Ranma's signs as soon as he disappeared, but she did not really know what she was looking for. Her informants would not be able to tell Ranma if they walked past him on the street. Something was bugging Nabiki about this. No one lied to her, Everyone who had a grudge against Ranma was questioned by her personally, and you cannot lie to her. None of them had done it, by the 35th day, even though she was looking into even though in other countries, anyone who MIGHT have a grudge, she still felt it was closer to home. Cologne still waited, looking on her own and growing more agitate as the day of turning was approaching rapidly. She told Nabiki about the curse and why the dates were so important. It was not until the 39th day, early in the morning she had the flash of asking the one person whom she did not ask in the past. 39 days into the curse, it was just before 3:00 am she finally found Kasumi in the Dojo, and confronted her. Kasumi looked down at the floor for a bit, and slowly started laughing. For three mins straights she laughed and at 3 am precisely she told Nabiki the truth. Nabiki was stunned at her sister. Cursing Ranma to become a soulless spirit, and giving her self as the sacrifice to that end. Nabiki tried to slap Kasumi at this revelation, but Kasumi was far too strong for her. To strong for anyone at this point. Kasumi spent the last few days smiling, feeling the curse start to take her away as well, and feeling her heart that what she did was for the best, on the 49th day at 3:49 am, the time of evil spirits, she faded from view as well, pulled by a black hand down into the ground.
Cologne and Happosai knew that Kasumi was gone. Dead to the land of the living. Cologne could also feel that somewhere in the world, Ranma had not fallen to death yet. At Soun's insistence they were to hold a funeral for Kasumi, and called the local Shinto Priest to perform it. Too many folks were stunned at what had transpired, to even object. Akane was kind of robotic, like Ranma was but without the curse. That funeral however was not to be. When the priest started the chants, and waved his prayer rod in the air, the paper wards on it started to burn. The same occurred with the picture of Kasumi, lit by an unholy fire. The priest refused to do anymore saying she was cursed to walk the world as an evil spirit. This was proven to be true a few nights later, when at the cross roads near the Tendo's compound a vision of Kasumi appeared. She stood there all night, mouthing things but no words were heard. Her hollow eye sockets boring into the world looking at the Tendo's. It was the 3rd night that they found how to placate her. A cat had been struck at the intersection earlier that day, and had not been removed yet. The ghost of Kasumi ate the remains, bones and all and faded from sight. After asking the priest again and explaining to him what had transpired, he gave them a solution for keeping her at bay. Thus began Akane's nightly ritual. Near the crossroads, three empty bowls were placed, as well as an empty glass and chopsticks. Every night, her spirit came, and ate nothing from the bowls, and drank nothing from the cups. But left once that was done. All to placate a hungry ghost.
-Soulless part 2 – Tomie and reawakening.
In a normal looking apartment in japan, an immortal girl looked at her latest prey and tried once more to figure out what to do with him. Everyone else she had met, if she chose would fall over themselves, to be her slaves. She especially enjoyed driving them mad, as she fed on that madness. Lust, jealousy and rage were hers to give out, to any and all that took her fancy. Then there was this boy, who appeared in her room a couple of weeks ago. She had gotten nothing from him, when he arrived, he was too weak to even move. Now two weeks later, he is stronger than any male she has met, but there is still no recognition in his eyes when he looks at her. She has seen this look before, when she destroys the sanity of a man or woman, that cold deadness that she could always invoke in another. However here, she had not even started to try and break him yet.
"Boy" she looked at him. His pigtail was the only thing you would have seen with him before. "Boy, have you seen me before?" Tomie had started to wonder if one of the imposters had found him first broken him and lost him before the use could be made of him. That did not quite add up as even he had met with one of THEM, he would still be under her thrall, exactly as she wished. Instead this was like he was hollow, more broken than even she was capable of. He did not fit into either class of humans her grandfather taught her about, he was neither kind nor cruel. He just existed. Like she did.
"Boy, are you listening to me? I asked you a question" Tomie still felt annoyed at this, but a part of her, that part that she started with, felt some sympathy for him. She may be immortal, sadistic and prone to making those who loved her, kill her, but there was a part, from long long ago, that still held out hope for humans in general. That part always lost to the darker side, but it was never fully destroyed. 16 days he had been with her, and not once had he tried anything with her. Even when she walked around in ways designed to seduce any male or female who saw her, he still sat and waited, for a command more often than naught. Everyday though she felt him coming closer and closer to being not empty is all she could put it. Once he was complete he could then be tested. As he was the longest she had spent with anyone since her aging stopped, some small part of her did wish for him to pass the test. But so far, in 200 years no one had.
Ranma stared at the girl, who appeared his age. Right at the edge of consciousness he sat, trying to answer her question. But that required more will than he had at the moment so wait he did.
Several days later Tomie again tried talking to this strange boy in her room. She could feel him more alert than before, and she figured that eventually he would be whole enough for some semblance of life. "Boy, Do you remember your name yet?" She had asked him this every few days, trying to start him talking. It must have been impossible for him to not know who he was. Everyone she had met knew that instinctively. They were on their 25th day together, and he was now about half way sane again. "So boy, do you have a name, I would like to call you by your real name". She was no longer looking at him as some meal, more or less, but her time with him, even as a silent male, had softened her to him some. She knew inside that perhaps she would not consume his mind like so many before, if nothing else for the novelty of a companion, for a time. Being a Yokai who must live with the humans, to survive made one very alone. 200 years of driving everyone around her mad with passion and jealousy made again for a lonely life, though their souls were very filling for her. It was that thought in itself that caused her to figure out something. This boy was a boy without a soul. Somehow it must have been stripped or eaten and he STILL had not died.
"I..." he started" I.. am...Ran...ma" he got out with great difficulty. She looked at him, and switched her view slightly, she could see the beginnings of a soul forming, along with the great power that had never been bound. "Ranma is it? Can you tell me where you are from?" Tomie always loved to find out more about her prey, and that still applied to Ranma until he could prove his worth in her test. Ranma tried again to focus, but all he got out this wast two word : The Art. Tomie sat for a time, thinking on this and then left to placate her current lover/meal. In the few weeks she had spent with him, he had grown from the power of a babe, to something unknown to her. She would watch him more as his facilities continued to grow back inside him.
In another part of Japan, Nabiki sat at her desk, sort of reviewing her daily reports and mostly wondering about the dumb oaf. Kasumi was driving her nuts, but she dared not say anything to her about it, as she saw what Kasumi did to Akane, when the started to do her usual screaming at Kasumi. Kasumi broken both of Akane's arms, and whispered to her that she did what she did to protect Akane, so she had best not argue with her over that. Akane was currently in the hospital, taken there by Kasumi who called the whole thing a "training accident" Nabiki did not know of what fate had in store for Kasumi, nor that Kasumi would be gone in a few days. Nabiki would not have cared much either, She just wanted to stay alive, and right now, that was not the best bet to take. "Where are you, Baka" she said at a whisper. When it came right down to it, she missed him and knew if anyone could have set this all back to rightness, it would have been him. However he was gone, and thanks to her nutcase older sister. One day soon she would shudder when she saw Kasumi, growing cold, until she could no longer take it and leave to go see if she could find Ranma, somewhere, anywhere that her elder sisters spirit could not follow. On that day she would also see Akane give in to her own karma and be bound to Kasumi thorough out her life. Nabiki would once and for all know she had lost two sisters in this, with both ultimately to blame. She could no longer sleep in this house and sometime after dark she would sneak out and head to a hotel, to get away from the darkness and miasma that covered the Tendo compound.
Weeks later Nabiki walked into Colognes place. Gone was the noodle restaurant, now it was just colognes, an old women who watched and waited as the spiritual energy settled down once Akane was tasked with placating Kasumi's spirit. Cologne knew there would be no placating her, She was dammed to walk the earth. Akane herself, and her daughters, and theirs would have to placate the spirit, until the spirit would finally could move down to one of the hells below, to start her cycle again. Cologne was a little surprised to see Nabiki come into her residence however.
"Elder Cologne.. I must ask you for information". Nabiki bowed deeply as she said this to Cologne. The elder listened to what Nabiki requested from her.
Akane watched in disbelief as Kuno, the blue blunder himself, was dissecting Ranma in their fight.
This was exactly like how Kuno always fought, yet Ranma was simply not defending. He was taking it, All of it, no cry of pain, not emotion, just that dead blank look in his eyes. The one thing that seemed different is that he seemed to be being knocked much farther than Kuno should have been capable of. It was like his body had lost mass, without losing the shape or frame of it. She watched as Kuno's current bokken strike sent Ranma into the side of the school, with a almost sickening thud. She saw Ranma get up and walk back into this engine of pain that Kuno seemed to be, taking blow after blow. She heard the snaps of broken bones, as Kuno kept striking him over and over again. She just could not believe what she was seeing and because of that made no move to protect him, her fiance. It took ukyo to enter in and save Ranma's skin, perhaps even his life. Prior to this he was constantly losing to his father. She knew this was wrong. But could not seem to bring herself to do anything about it. Even thinking enough to realize this was wrong, was a chore. So when Uyko picked Ranma up to help his to the nurse, Akane's natural instincts took over and she objected, loudly and physically. In the end this only caused more damage to Ranma, but Akane really could never quite seem to care about him.
It was day 40, and Ranma seemed very human at last. 'Perhaps I should test him now' Tomie thought to herself. In truth she didn't really WANT to test him, she knew everyone always failed. Failure would cost him his mind and eventually his soul, so taking that from him was not something even in her current state was looking forward too. However Today she resolved to get him to tell her what had happened as he saw it that brought him to her apartment.
"Ranma" she had only the slightest seductive quality in her voice then. Her pheromones were cranked down to almost normal female levels. "Could you please tell me about what you remember before you got her?" she smiled, being the very picture of the innocence she did not possess. Ranma looked at her a bit uneasily. He knew she was trying to use the "get free ice cream" trick on him. This time fishing for information rather that hot fudge. Whenever girls did that towards him he kept his distance, even when the request seem innocent, it never was. If he let himself get close to her, he just knew he would feel pain, or worse. Tomie smiled at him again, trying to show how UN-aggressive she was, only to get more of the weird reaction to her. This irritated her, as even a gay man would fall for her when she played this card.
"Ranma, please tell me. I promise not to bite." She looked at him with some exasperation, and started to wonder just what caused him to react this way, so that even SHE could not get him to open up to her.
"uhmmm well" Ranma started, and for the next several hours, he told her.
Several hours later, she got two glasses, and spilled one on him, then the other. 'hmm, his life is screwed up enough to be one of my race' she thought to herself.
"Tell me Ranma, have you ever heard of a Yokai?"
Ryoga had been to the Tendo's and heard about everything. Ranma's weakness, and disappearance. Kasumi's deal with whatever demon she had called forth. He was seriously unhappy about the turn of events. He did not blame Ranma for this, contrary to opinion they were sparing partners and friends. This change in their relationship really started around the time they went to china to fight Saffron. However appearances must be maintained. From the Tendo's compound he called the farm and told his girl that he needed to take longer than normal to come home. He needed to find out what happened. Akari understood, and was not terribly worried about it. She had every part of him bugged so many ways, she always knew where he wandered off too. Except when he left the earth, or this time frame those tended to mess with her bugs.
Ryoga set out to see if he could find what happened to the missing martial artist of course again got him more lost than usual. In fact he went to the Meiji period about the time he walked past the Tendo's front gate.
Soulless part 3 : Into the deep – Much about Tomie
In old Kyoto there was a gate called Rashomon. It was once honored and was the jewel of the region. Now in time modern, it was but a shadow of its former self. Dis kept and plagued with stories of evil spirits haunting it. Many thought that there were Demons living inside it, a Yokai was thought to infest the region. In truth however no Yokai existed there. The feelings of vile spirits however were based on true forces, in that fallen gate. Gates like this were considered gate to the spirits realm. This is why it was often thought that demons would take residence there. Demons would hold the gate, where man fad failed, and keep the gates to hell closed. The realms of the earth were theirs, and the Yurai or as many called them ghosts, could not usurp their control. This gate however had been taken from a demon by a samurai warrior named Watanabe Saotome. Many ages past he was the ancestor to the Focus of this world, (and in his own time, he was the focus of the world) Ranma Saotome. This placed the karma of this left open and undefended gate to hell on the Saotome clan. This balance now would be called to account.
Ranma felt almost well. The girl who was with him was odd, but no more odd than anything else in his life. His dreams however, had taken many dark and terrible turns. All of his dreams now, revolved around seeing Kasumi, crying at a cross roads, her hands covering her face. She was dressed in all white, but the white dress was torn, and dirty. No amount of effort on his part could make him turn from this scene. He would then see Akane bringing out empty bowls, to where Kasumi stood, and empty sake cups. She placed them before the crying Kasumi who still kept her face covered with her hands. The dream Ranma approached closer, and noticed that Akane was wearing a white kimono, with a red sash. Her kimono as well, was dirty, and torn, with the bottom of the helm having a red tinge to it, like there was something that soaked into it. Akane hid her face as well from Ranma, and Kasumi stood with the empty cups and plates around her, still covering her crying face. He approaches closer and reaches out, to turn Akane to look at him, she pulls away, he reaches again and finally makes her look at him. What he sees horrifies him, as her face is there, but half of it is twisted into a spiral, and on that side of her head, part of it shifted off, forming something that looked horrifically like the clouds covering the rest of her head. All in all it made her look like a twisted moon, half covered by clouds. Ranma backs away from her, only to look back at Kasumi, who pulls her hands away from her face, only to show her laughing not crying. Her eyes were empty sockets, her skin pulled tight against her teeth. Her hair falls away from her. He steps back again from the now laughing spirit, and her hands, with growing claws, reach out for him. At 3:00 every morning he would awake form this dream, in a cold sweat. Half of the time his curse would trigger when he woke.
When this had been going on for a few days, Tomie had started to come and watch this in his sleep. It intrigued her, She could tell that his female side had something to do with the sight into the spirit world. ' he must have had some connection due to her since his curse began. She is a spirit after all. But now, that he has been tainted, that connection must be much stronger. I guess that explains our visitor and the demand'. She thought to herself.
Several days before, in her apartment, Tomie has just returned from he nightly push on her lover to drive him closer to madness. He was almost there. Nothing really could stop that path for him now, even if she left and never returned, the madness would come. However that would mean she could not feed on him, and she had grown hungry of late, Very hungry. As she walked into her apartment, The boy was there. As usual her pheromones had no effect on him, her attempts at seduction always failed, and without that giving of himself to her, she could not truly start to effect him. It had been 44 days now, that he had lived with her, and he seemed rational, powerful, and in possession of an amount of chi that was reserved for the Oni or Kami themselves. As far as she could tell, he would pass her test, and while part of that liked the idea, it also disturbed her greatly. He held his own curse, and she had met his cursed half before. That side reeked of death and decay, regardless of how lovely it looked. She of course was better looking, but Hiki as she called herself was also stunning, just as any Yokai would be who trapped others through emotions would be. Because of that curse it was unlikely she would just turn on her out of hand, especially since her and Hiki did not share any reason to destroy one another. Hiki fed on Ranma's spirit. Tomie felt this side of her had been dormant for many years, and the awakening of this in her, was a very recent thing. Perhaps even that whatever triggered him to come to her place also awoke Hiki back to her own needs and abilities. No they were almost alike, two parasites on the earth. Tomie was just a bigger one. Somehow Ranma's own spirit had protected him, and those around him from the true evil of the spirits of those pools. Either that or something local had locked the evil parts of the curses away, leaving something behind that was almost Comical in nature. But no curse should ever BE comical. Certainly not one of the host/parasite nature. Even now, in speaking with Hiki about that part of her self had been returned, she still felt that lessening of her vengeance where Ranma was concerned. Ranma would no longer know what Hiki did, his memory of her would be black spots. However she would not go out of her way to implicate him, nor to feed on his essence like she was wont to do. Her Entrance through those pools should have been one way. A Man falls into the pool, who is drained of life by her, and while he was not in control she would torture the other men in the area who had lovers or wives. She threw herself in, over the spurning of another, and her desire for revenge was strong enough to bind her to the world, and grant her powers to gain it. After her host died, she would return to the pools, and wait for the next one to come and visit her. Ranma should have been tailor made for her, but some outside force minimized her. She had no way of knowing that it was the Musk who changed the pools, or that part of the total Female domination of the Amazons resulted from her specifically. Tomie sighed. Her kind she could deal with but angry spirits were another matter. Generally they could not destroy her, she WAS immortal after all. Even being torn the shreds just meant that one or more of her would regenerate. No it was just they were a constant challenge to her food supply. Many who would draw her attentions could also bring about the wrath of one of the unhappy spirits, or even bear part in their creation. She looked again at Ranma, who was by this time in her musing sleeping on her couch. A small feeling, compassion of sorts, like you would hold for a pet seemed to reside in her where he was concerned.
A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts. She idly looked at the clock, 3:00 am. She grew somewhat more alert as this was doubtful to be her toy, come to visit this hour, and frankly based on the time of the knock, would probably be a supernatural being of some variety. When she opened the door her mood dropped sharply. It was a spirit as she surmised, a spirit formed of pain caused by one of the Others. A girl also named Tomie, by her father who had been a toy for one of the Others, but escaped her grasp somewhat. He lived in constant obsession about the Other. The Other in this case found him again 16 years later, after this Tomie had been born and he had murdered his wife, hiding her body. The Other seduced the girl, as a way to regain control of the father. She regained that control, breaking this Tomie at the same time. The Other could not maintain control of both, and while she fed on the father, this Tomie killed herself, after realizing the secret and power of the Other. Her spirit now followed the Others, and her around, usually trying to harm them, in revenge.
Tomie looked at the ghost with some trepidation. She was just prior to feeding which made her weak, still strong enough to fend this spirit off (She WAS the One after all) but not so strong as to do it easily. The spirit looked at her, and looked at the sleeping boy on her couch, and grinned an unholy grin.
"I come to give you a choice, one you will hate either way." intoned the spirit. "You have taken in one who brought through his actions and inaction, a mighty spirit of vengeance. She will be born in 5 days at Our time." Tomie nodded, she knew what the spirit meant. The spirit continued, "You are not one of us, neither is he. He will leave at her birth at that time as well. The powers below shall insure he cannot be found for a time, to be protected from the new vengeance. You have the choice, travel with him and bind your fate to his, or stay here. Staying will cause you to come into my grasp, and the grasp of the yet to be born spirit. She will be a terrible, mighty force. Travel with him will mean you will have no freedom to feed as you wish, for he is immune to you. Make your choice. You have 5 days to do so." and with that the spirit faded from view.
Tomie was stunned. She had heard from time to time of her kind, or mortals gaining the notice of the lords of hell, but it was never a good thing. That this mortal would be protected by them, from a spirit he helped bring into existence was from her memory unprecedented. Tomie did not yet know that Ranma had gained the notice of them, just as he gained the notice of heaven for the killing of a demigod. She had not idea just how powerful he really was. All she could read was his Chi levels which she incorrectly read as his life force. Tomie spent the rest of the night and all of the following days making her choice.
"Well, tonight is the night" She thought to herself. She must choose, and after careful consideration, that dammed girl was right. She hated both options. Every passing day, Ranma grew more aware of what was around him, became himself again. Every day she found out more and more of his past. Deep down she realized what the spirit meant by "Not being able to feed" around this man. He was too much in love with Honor, and defending the weak. He was also too much to take down, to destroy, but she knew that already.
Her other option was to face the wrath of a Vengeance and the girl who is making her choose, at the same time. At least compared to the alternative of what she meant Tomie hoped that was the meaning. Being enthralled to the ghost girl, after the Vengeance beats her down, well, Tomie wanted nothing to do with that either. There just was no option that she was going to win in this. No option that she would even be comfortable in. Late that night, with only 3 hours left to go, she finally decided to cop out and make someone else decide for her. She would "test" Ranma, if he passed, she would travel with him. If not she would face the Vengeance, and at least try to be true to her nature.
Ranma slept, again dreaming the same dream. Then as the dream started to end, another one started, a new one. Here Ranma appeared in a great hall, with two sides in it. One end contained a beig all in gold and white. But the room itself was dark, and stained with soot. The shifting walls made them appear as black flames, rising to the ceiling. On the other, sat a being surrounded by a black flame, and a crown made of fire. And like the other, this end of the hall was in stark contrast to its occupant. In the center stood Ranma, and before him lay the body of Saffron, twisted and broken. Together the two figures spoke to him. "you have killed a god, and created a new Vengeance to walk the earth. You have saved lives, and protected the weak. You are split, inside and out. You are paradox."
The figure on the dark side spoke to him "will you choose the trappings of light, and give into darkness inside?" The figure on the light then spoke "Or will you chose the light, while accepting the trappings of darkness.?" They spoke together again "God slayer you must chose and chose now. For in three hours, you will leave where you are. In three hours, you will either appear to be pure, while giving into corruption inside, or appear to be surrounded by evil, while maintaining your soul. You will come to one of us, so choose how and when you wish to be judged. In three hours you depart" Ranma, sleeping on the couch awoke with a start.
Tomie chose her outfit carefully. Not going for blatant seduction, but maximizing her youth and innocent look. Her pheromones were tailor made for Ranma now. She knew what scents and how to shape them, for maximum effect. And so the test started.
In the cold reaches, a gathering of spirits had formed. It takes great effort and anger to create a spirit known as Vengeance. Its infectious, and enduring. Most spirits have rules they follow, they do not attack everyone who enters their sphere. Vengeance, Grudges whatever you wish to call them, how, are bound by no such rules. In some cases, it takes few to create, a mother and child for example. In others, a group of spirits are required. This was one such case. There is a place between both heaven and hell, and the world of men. Above houses the guardians of souls, those who guard and protect mankind from the minions of the spirit realm and of hell. On the other end, lies between earth and hell is the spirit realm. Many would think that hell and the spirit realm would always agree, but that is not always the case. A group of powerful spirits come together, to empower a hungry ghost to follow her prey, and bring him to their realm. He is too powerful for their taste, not wishing him either to fall under the influence of heaven nor hell. To be truthful on this, all 4 realms would want him, and his power serving them, though not all 4 of the realms are aware of him yet. Kasumi, who cursed him originally, was this night fed, the essences of many powerful spirits, just to send her after him. Each night she still makes her journey to the crossroads of her karma, to be fed by her sacrifice, Akane. Yet she also was not able to as the time of the spirits approached, be free to hunt after Ranma, to bring him down and drag his soul to the realm of spirits. Tonight was the night of her rebirth, and she relished the new strength she was granted. She also relished bringing Ranma down, destroying him, and turning him into what she was now. It was only fitting for him.
The lords of the spirit realm sent her forth, through an open gate, directly in front of Tomie's door. She could feel the essence of a recently disbarred barrier, one to hold her kind at bay. In though the walls, she manifested, to engulf her prey. What she found was an empty apartment, devoid of anyone. With great anger she returned to her crossroads, while the lords of her realm began looking for the wayward martial artist. Someone had hid him from their view.
Tomie was conflicted. On the one hand she was angry, knowing that her food supply would be drastically cut, and her freedom curtailed. On the other hand, for the first time in her existence, someone has passed her test. Even relying on her best efforts, he did not fall for her, nor try and kill her. He simply pushed her back on the couch and walked to the other side of the room. No anger, or any other dark emotions surfaced from him. Just a sort of compassion, she she was unaware how to handle. She knew that she had based her decision to travel with him or not on that test, but still had expected him to fail. Instead she walked, along side him as they were being led to a hiding place, a place to distance themselves from the vengeance that followed them.
Ranma himself, was not quite recovered yet. The spiritual pressure was gone, but he had lived for almost 6 months in a various stage of possession. To go from normal, to being stripped of his essence, to regaining it caused much more damage than the simple drain of his Chi. It would take time for him to become the overconfident martial artist, if he would ever fully recover even. He could sense the nature of his curse had changed. The female form had become darker, colder. But he still could block her, from draining him. She would not find him so easy to break, as her previous victims had. He did not realize she had no intention of doing so either.
Hiki stayed in the most powerful soul she had ever seen. If she understood the concept of a focus to the world, she would know why he was so powerful, and why he was cursed as often as he was. Instead she could feed on him, lightly, without his objection. Now that she was more awake, she could even start to feel the living and dead around her. She knew the lords of the spirit realm wanted him, badly. She also knew that she would not give him up to them either. Though mild control she made Ranma look at his female companion, and thought about what she would do about this situation. Tomie could feed on him as well. Hiki had no intention of sharing her meal, but she also knew she did not have the control over Ranma to force the issue either. She mulled these thoughts, until a gateway opened before them, one reeking of fire and death. Only Tomie and Hiki could see that gate, for they knew it intimately, the gates to hell. They both also could see that beyond that gate lay not Hell, as they would expect, but another location, one that would help hide them for a time from the gaze of Kasumi and her lords. A town lay there, with guardians, who protected the souls, of those who were not dammed. For a time this place would do.
Nabiki trekked through the wilds, searching for what Cologne had sent her after. A secret temple, long abandoned, that with in it was kept the first book of the dead. It was carved in the rocks of the temple walls themselves, a ward against time, and theft. Too much had been taken from her family, and Nabiki must set this right. She had lost two sisters to the madness, and she had also lost… Something she was unsure how she felt. Either way, she was the last of the family who was able to try and end this mess, so into the wilds of Thailand she went. After almost 2 months of searching, she finally saw the vine covered remains of the temple, and as it was evening, she set up her camp, to try and get some rest. Sleeping fitfully she dreamed of her elder sister, and in her dreams saw her as she was now, a ghost searching to destroy what Nabiki came to protect. Nabiki shuddered when she awoke, feeling the truth of the dream, and wondering how she would deal with a war between her insane sister, and the lost boy she sought to save. After all of the times he had saved her, and her family…
As she started to climb out of her tent, she heard a crash, as a tree fell, pushed by something yet unseen. She jumped backwards to be able to flee whatever creature knocked the tree down.
"Where am I NOW?" came a very familiar voice to her, as a fanged boy stepped towards her "Nabiki? Am I at the Dojo?" asked Ryoga. Nabiki looked around the forest, and ruins of the temple and just shook her head. She really should have expected this.
A scream of hunger erupted from the spirit. It stood almost 2 story's tall, with tentacles for arms, and a half broken mask on its face. On the group, in front it of two children looked up at it, fighting with the creature and watching it howl in pain. One was a red haired boy, who swung a huge rod at the legs of the creature. The other was a girl with black hair who stood silently as she lined a shot from a strange shoulder mounted weapon.
Five new creatures came, joining the first, and continued to attack the children. The children seemed not to worry about this in the slightest. It was not until they felt the gate forming behind them, a gate that bore every similarity possible to a hell's gate, that the red haired boy start to worry. The expression on the girls face was a stoic as it had been before. The gate continued to form, and grow, until the doors started to open. A man and woman appeared as the last of the great creatures fell before the children. The man dressed in a black coat, and wearing a western style hat, examined the gate carefully as it opened. He gripped his cane carefully, with one hand, waiting for whatever was to come though to materialize. The woman just seemed to sniff the air that came from the gate. "whatever is coming" she said" is not a soul. Is smells… human"
The man in black just waited for the presence to come.
In the world between Heaven and the earth held among other things, a control room, with many figures watching feeds, and tracking movements. The Gate's opening, had caused a alarm in the system, a warning that something was being moved, by the Lords of Hell themselves. This was an unusual occurrence in and of itself. That they saw a man and woman exiting the gate, was even more unusual. The biggest part of this event, and the specific one that prompted sending a team down, was that the gate appeared before a very familiar presence to them, an ex-captain, who had fled into exile. Urahara seem to be involved in the summoning of whoever the pair was. As the message was sent through channels, and a butterfly came before a white haired man who could have been a captain in his own right, if he ever chose to, the decision was made, Send a team from the extermination squad to deal with whatever evil had been released on the earth. The squad would find this a much tougher task than any of them thought.
passing the gate
Tomie blinked here eyes to clear the aftereffects of the transit from them. An ordinary looking town was before her, though apparently there was at least one powerful person present, one who could see the otherwise invisible gate form, and waited for them to arrive. She looked at the man, holding a cane almost like a weapon, and a very dark skinned lithe woman next to him. They seemed, off to her. Like she was detecting more beings who held great power, but hid it well. She did feel a great irritation at the woman, she was someone who could and would distract others from being Tomie's meals. However, Ranma would stop that as well. At some point she was going to need to work out a solution with him on this. She had just fed, so was not in danger at this time, but that could and would be coming. They would need to come to an understanding bout this.
The Dark-skinned woman spoke first. "So, to what do we owe the pleasure?"
Ranma looked at the pair, and noticed they both seemed to be in ready stances, like they were expecting a fight from the start. He held up his hands "To be honest, I have no idea. No idea bout a lot right now. I know we are being guided somewhere, by someone but I am really only sort of know what's going on"
The man looked at him, and lowered his cane "Well then, lets go have a cup of tea and cookies and talk about this"
A normal Ranma response kicked in "Food...?" The four of them moved off to sit in Urahara's shop.
A desire to hunt
Watanabe jumped from electric pole to electric pole, looking for his target. He knew the general idea of where it was, but the "residents" of this area tended to have so much strength that spot searching was unfruitful. If he could even find the home of the traitor, he could at least pass that back to get a captain to take him out. However right now, he was trying hard to hide from the substitute, and keep searching for the targets. What he didn't realize was that he was being watched, by a trio of toys, who were trying to figure out what another soul reaper was doing in this area. Watanabe late in the evening gave up, for a bit, and decided to wait and see if the targets left the area. At least then, he could track them.
And who is a threat.
After some food, and talking Urahara had a better idea of what had happened, and it did not please him at all. Ohh he understood it of course, hiding them here would seriously hamper the abilities of anyone trying to search for them. But he did not like the girl, she struck him as something unholy, and the boy, seemed to be made of pure chaos. First the explanation of his curse, Urahara noticed a lot more of the curse then Ranma apparently did, like the fact that his cursed side held its own personality, and seemed almost to be a hollow, close to one anyway. He also noticed that there seemed to be more than just that one curse Ranma had. His irrational twitching around Yoroichi for example. At the edges of Ranma spirit, lay this curse that made him uneasy around Yoroichi. Urahara kept examining him, to get a better handle on his curses.
Yoroichi on the other hand had spent more time wandering than Urahara. She had met something that she could believe was like what this Tomie girl called a "Vengeance". Not spirits like she was used too, not hollows or sinners. Malicious beyond the bounds of anything she ever knew in her work in the Society. A mother and her child, joined together in rage that sought to infect everyone around them. If it were not for her own powers, she could have been drawn into that spirits fold as well, powering the force to new levels. Yoroichi was a firm believer in these spirits, she had learned this the hard way. If Ranma was being chased by one, across japan, then worse things than normal were coming to her little corner of the world. She did on some level enjoy the trepidation that her presence caused Ranma, however she would have liked to had done something to earn that first. Its like he didn't like her specifically for some reason.
"So what your saying is, you have this ghost, that created itself by cursing you to lose your soul. Only the curse didn't work, you regained it, so now she is following after you. Am I right in this?" this coming form Urahara. Tomie just shrugged "Yeah that more or less covers it. He is being chased, I decided to follow him, until I get bored anyway, and Vengeance follows him. If it were not so true this would be comical." Tomie did not know just how she would handle Kasumi, if they were caught. As spirits go Vengeance's are in a whole different level then the spirits that she had ever dealt with. They were not really a threat to her per say, but, they could certainly make her life difficult, while normal spirits she could consume as easily as a broken man, they just tasted of dust and death. Now she had two folks who seemed to exist to deal with spirits, though she doubted they really knew what they were in for if Kasumi showed up. They seemed to only deal with a certain type of spirit, and a certain type of Yokai. It was like somehow the gates had sent them to a different world entirely where ghosts did not operate as they did in her home. She was correct in this assumption, she had left her universe entirely, just to hide them from Kasumi. Hell knew little in the way of boundaries, just as heaven shared the same reach. This was going to be the first of several places they would get shuffled to, before returning to their world.
They stayed with the man in his shop that night. For the first time in weeks he did not dream of broken and despondent Tendo's. He dreamed of fighting, of regaining his skills. He also dreamed of the world he was in, and sparing with the little girl. That last part confused him when he awoke. He had discovered that he would remember all of his dreams perfectly now, and the concept of all out sparing with a little girl repulsed him. Somewhat after dawn he went outside the shop into the empty lot on front of it, and started his morning Kata's. He was fighting his invisible foe, trying to draw himself out, when he noticed that there was the little girl, from his dreams. ' yeah that is Ururu I think, the old mans helper'. She watches him dispassionately, as she has done since they arrived. It was almost like she was watching him to see if he was a threat or not. Her eyes had not seemed to soften once since had seen her. The others in the shop had appear to give her a wide berth yesterday, especially when she had backhanded her brother Ranma thought, named something like junta, he could not remember exactly. But there she was watching him.
Ururu was trying to establish if he was a threat or not. He set off some of her alarms, obviously a outside force, materializing from a hells gate, traveling with an evil (by aura) woman, though she also had not shown a threat. So she just watched Ranma, as he was the bigger threat of the two.
After some consideration she does decide that what he is doing at t his moment, a kata, is not in and of itself a threat, though it did reinforce in her mind that he was a bigger threat than Tomie. So filing that away for reference, and still in her hunter mode, she decides that if he is a threat, learning his techniques would not be a terrible idea, so starts to mimic his kata. She followed him about a quarter second behind him, and matched him. Perfectly. Every move, leap and twist. Ranma for his part was not stopping his kata, but he was trying to figure out how anyone could apparently master his techniques as fast as they saw them. If it were not for his dream about sparing with her, and that she was a fair match for him, he would have stopped. However, instead he increased the difficulty and speed of the kata's, trying to see if there was a limit to her learning ability. He finally found it. He had entered into his own kata's the ones that he never showed to Genma. They were Kata's that combined the Anything goes school, with the amazon and musk techniques he had learned. It even had some of Saffrons moves worked into it. Part of the kata near the beginning, involved simply kicking up rocks in an arc, then catching them with his amazon speed techniques. While she kicked the rocks up fine, she could not match the speed of the Amajuriken. Ranma was pretty sure she could learn it, but it did mean there were things that she actually could not mimic, like special techniques. He smirked with this revelation.
One of the benefits that Ranma had always had in his world was being its focus. It granted him the ability to be the center of things. One thing that he was going to learn here, in this world is that while traveling like this, he no longer had that power. Things Could beat him down. Things like little girls who have been modified to take out soul reaper captains.
It will be a painful lesson for him