Mage of Pluto, Chapter Two
A fanfic by Burning Light

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Standard Disclaimer, Ranma Version.

Ranma Saotome belongs to me. I bought him from some unscrupulous man for
two pickles and a bowl of rice. The man said his name was Genma Saotome,
and he even gave me a book detailing his son's exploits. It's a nice
little book, with more pictures than words, and is very detailed. I
wonder why the book said it was created by someone named Rumiko
Takahashi, when Genma said he himself wrote it... I guess its just some
sort of pen name.

So Rumiko Takahashi is really Genma Saotome. And that means that Ranma
is MINE!

This is a detailed account of Ranma's history. I tried to get Ranma to
write it himself, but his grammar was so bad I had to write it back from
scratch. I made up a lot of parts, too, but he said he didn't mind. He
was planning on going back in time and doing the stuff I made him do,
anyways.

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The morning sun rose over the Juuban ward of Tokyo, bringing with it all
the sounds and signs of an awakening city. Lights came on, birds
chirped, and all was well with the world. Activity quickly filled the
houses, as most of the city's early risers began going about their work.
In one particular house, belonging to the Saotome family, the sounds and
smell of a mother busy in the kitchen quickly became just enough to
attract the attention of a hungry young boy.

"Good Morning!" Ranma cheerfully called to his mother. "When's breakfast
ready?"

"Just a little more time and I'll bring it out." Nodoka's voice sounded
from the kitchen. "Why don't you get your lazy father out of bed? If he
won't wake up, tell him that if he's late to work he'll get no dinner."

"Sure thing, Mom." Ranma yelled, already on his way up the stairs to his
parent's bedroom.

Throwing open the door to his parents' room, Ranma rushed towards the
sleeping form of his father. "Time to wake up, Pops." He whispered into
his dad's ear.

"Nnwnng" Genma grumbled softly, pulling the blankets closer to him.

"Get up, Pops. Breakfast is almost ready." Ranma said, a bit louder.

Genma's replied with a slightly interested "Brkkist?", only to roll back
over and continue to snore.

"For god's sake, Pops, Get up now. You're gonna be late for work." Ranma
yelled at his father, frustrated. Genma's total lack of reaction was
somehow unsurprising. "If you're late to work than mom says you don't
get any dinner." Ranma used the one method he knew would wake his father
up.

This last phrase caused a reaction in his father; with a blur he hopped
out of bed, grabbed some clothes, and rushed into the bathroom. A minute
seconds later, the sound of the shower running could be heard.

It was only ten seconds afterwards that a shout of "Stupid Pajamas!"
rang out through the house.

"Forgot to get out of your pajamas, Pops?" Ranma giggled at his father.

"Shuddup, boy. Go tell your mother I'll be ready in a minute." Genma
grumbled from behind the closed door of the bathroom.

"Sure, Pop, Just try not to put your shirt on backwards this time..."
Ranma replied, laughing the whole way downstairs. Arriving at the table
he saw his mother, already kneeling at the table, ready to eat.

Nodoka smiled at here son, motioning for him to have a seat. "Is your
father ready, Ranma?" She questioned.

"He said he'd be ready in a minute, Mom." Ranma answered, a smile
brightening his face as he added "He showered in his pajamas again."

"Quiet, boy," Genma called from the staircase, dressed in a loose white
shirt and black exercise pants. "Just because I was slightly forgetful
in my hurry to provide for my family is no reason to tease me."

"Provide for your stomach is more like it, pops." The smile on Ranma's
face took most of the edge off of his statement.

"That may be true, boy, but it's still no excuse." Despite his words,
however, Genma was grinning back.

"It's good that you're in such a hurry to provide for us, husband,"
Nodoka began, while passing a plate to Genma. "Because you have about
five minutes to eat before you need to leave for work."

"Oh well," Genma sighed at the thought of all the good food he would
have to leave behind. "I'll be back at five, dear." He said, gobbling
down all that was on his plate and rushing towards the door.

"You forgot you lunch again, dear." Nodoka said, just as Genma was
walking out the door.

Nodoka's reminder caused Genma to rush back inside and grab the lunch
she made for him, calling out a grateful "Thanks, Dearest!" before
rushing off to work again.

Once Genma left, Nodoka turned to her son, a grin on her face. "The mall
will be open soon," She stated, letting just a little bit of her
excitement creep into her words. "Are you ready to go, Ranma?"

"Sure thing, Mom. Let me just finish this." Ranma motioned towards the
last grains of rice that remained of his breakfast.

"Alright, son." Nodoka smiled gently, a single thought passing through
her head.

Today was going to be a good day.

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Standing among the rows of uniforms, each exactly the same as the other,
Ranma Saotome was not having fun. "Aw, mom, what's wrong with the
clothes I have?" Ranma questioned.

"We've been over this before, Ranma" Nodoka let a small sigh of
frustration escape. "The clothes you have are fine to play in, but you
have to have a uniform for while you're at school."

"I know that... but these all look the same. I don't even get to choose
the color." Ranma let a slight hint of disgust enter his voice. "And
what if I, you know, change? What happens when a girl shows up in a
boy's uniform?"

"You don't look that different from a boy for that to really matter,
Ranma. If it bothers you so much, I'm sure we'll think of something."
Nodoka smiled towards her son.

"Having trouble picking uniforms?" A cheerful blonde saleslady asked as
she appeared beside the two.

"Something like that." Nodoka answered the saleswoman.

"I understand; my cousin Akio is the same way." She bowed slightly
towards Nodoka. "I'm Gina. Which school is your son going to?"

"Juuban Elementary School." Nodoka answered.

"Ah. Their outfits are over here." Gina motioned towards a row of boy's
uniforms, consisting of black pants, black button up shirts, and jackets
for the winter. "The silver trim is for Juuban Elementary, while the
white trim is for Shimura Elementary."

"Thank you." Nodoka went through a few, before picking out some that
appeared to be Ranma's size. "Why don't you try these on, Ranma?"

"Fine, mom." Ranma answered in a resigned voice, while walking off
towards the changing room.

"So, is he returning to school, or did he just transfer into Juuban"
Gina asked, smiling.

"He transferred. I've been teaching him a lot at home, and his father's
been teaching him martial arts, but the last school he went to was a
little too chaotic of an environment for him." Nodoka gazed towards
where Ranma had gone to. "I hope he makes some new friends."

"He seems like a bright enough boy; I'm sure he will." Gina reassured
her customer.

"How do I look?" Ranma wandered out of the changing room, a smile on his
face. "This isn't as bad as I thought it would be."

"You look ready for school already. Now all we need to do is buy you a
schoolbag." Nodoka smiled towards her son. "You go and change back into
your clothes, I'll pay for this."

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"We've got your uniform, schoolbag, and your materials." Nodoka took
stock of their bags, before turning to her son with a smile. "I think
its time for a break, don't you?"

"Yeah! All this shopping was getting boring." Ranma's slightly bored
expression quickly regained its usual cheerfulness. "What are we gonna
do?"

"I was thinking of something like, oh... I don't know..." Nodoka
pretended to ponder for a moment. "Ice-cream? There is that shop right
around the corner..." She phrased it as a question, even though she
already knew the answer.

"Ice-cream sounds great to me!" Ranma cheerfully affirmed, making his
way towards the corner as quickly as possible.

"Wait up, Ranma. The ice cream isn't going to run away before we get
there, is it?" Nodoka gently questioned her son.

"Of course not, but someone might eat it all!" Ranma replied, a smile on
his face as he considered doing just that.

"We better hurry then. We wouldn't want someone to get there before us,
now would we?" Nodoka grinned hurrying to catch up with her son.

Ranma turned the corner, smiling. Nodoka's answering smile turned to a
frown at the sound of water splashing against something.

She turned the corner, to see her wet and highly irritated son... now
her daughter. A wet mop was lying on the ground, right next to an empty
water bucket.

"Come on, Ranma," Nodoka sighed. "Let's get some ice cream, you can
change back when we get home."

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"But... Mamoru, Please? Pretty Please?" Usagi begged her boyfriend.
"It's only a block away! Please?"

Mamoru would have liked nothing more than to accept, but there was one
small problem. "I'm sorry, Usagi, but I can't afford another trip to the
ice cream store right now. We'll have to come back some other time." He
answered, trying to sound as firm as possible.

"Just one bowl... pretty please? With a cherry on top?" Usagi pleaded,
her eyes shining with hunger. "I haven't had any ice cream all week!"

Mamoru checked his wallet, coming up with just enough yen to pay for two
small ice creams. "Alright, but only one, and it will have to be small."


"Hurray!!!" Usagi shouted as she raced around the corner, a smile on her
face.

To Mamoru, the smile that lit up his girlfriend's face made it all worth
it. He found himself smiling in return. Walking faster to catch up with
her, he addressed no one in particular. "I swear, Usagi, for a sixteen
year old you can be such a kid at times."

He stepped into the shop, walking to the place Usagi already had at the
front of the line. The shop was fairly empty, with only two other people
inside; a middle aged woman with red hair, and what appeared to be her
daughter. Not surprising, considering that it was about the time people
had lunch, not ice cream.

The kind looking man behind the counter motioned for Mamoru to step up
to the counter. "Ah, it's good to see some of my regulars are coming
back, after the rebuilding; I was worried that the youma attack might
have scared you all off."

"Don't worry, Juichi," Mamoru laughed, placing an elbow on the counter.
"It'll take more than just a youma to scare us off."

Juichi smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. So what'll it be, Mamoru?"

Mamoru grinned. "I'll have a small chocolate crunch, and..." His voice
trailed off, waiting for Usagi to finish the order. He didn't have to
wait long.

"I'll have a small bowl of adzuki ice cream." Usagi finished her
boyfriend's sentence, practically drooling in anticipation.

"Here you go." Juichi smiled, scooping the orders into two small bowls
and handing them to his customers. Noticing Usagi's expression, he added
"It's good to know that all my hard work making this stuff is
appreciated." He smiled as he watched them head off to a table, before
going back to waiting to help his next customer.

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Nodoka was eavesdropping. She couldn't really help it; the ones she was
listening to were sitting at the next table over, and Ranma was too busy
with his ice cream to talk.

"Mamoru, thanks for buying me ice cream. It's been awhile."

"Anytime, Usagi. I just wish I had a little more cash to spend on things
like this."

They seemed like such a cute couple, but... the girl was fairly young.
And no matter how much Nodoka may have believed in manliness, she also
knew that assuming things could lead to embarrassing situations. She
didn't want a repeat of the incident with that Nanami girl... even if
she and her brother had seemed like a couple at first glance.

Nodoka smiled, her curiosity getting the better of her. She had to know,
and there was only one way to find out, right? "It's so good to see a
young man like you being nice to his sister." Judging by the girl's
reaction, perhaps her first assumption had been correct.

"Oh, Mamo-chan isn't my brother, he's---"

"Adopted." Mamoru cut his girlfriend off, knowing the most likely
reaction to what Usagi was about to say. His response wasn't even
entirely a lie. "But that doesn't really matter, does it?"

Nodoka smiled the smile of a woman who loves to meddle. Perhaps they
were brother and sister, but they did make such a cute couple, and he
was adopted, so... maybe while Ranma was in school she could visit with
them. She did love playing matchmaker. "I'm Nodoka Saotome; Ranma and I
just stopped buy to rest after some shopping."

"Shopping?" Usagi's eyes lit up. "Maybe I could talk Mamoru into taking
me later..." She speculated to herself, before remembering Nodoka's
presence. "I'm Usagi Tsukino, by the way."

Mamoru grinned. "Mamoru Chiba, at your service. Usagi and I used to come
here for ice-cream almost religiously, but we haven't visited since the
last youma."

"Youma attacked the shopping mall too, you know! We should visit there
next; we have to show our community support!" Usagi tried to cajole her
'brother' into taking her.

Mamoru turned towards his 'sister'. "You know I would if I could, Usagi,
but..." He trailed off, wanting to change the topic to something that
might be somewhat less expensive. "Is your daughter is starting school
soon...?" Mamoru asked.

Ranma looked slightly angered at being called a girl, but answered. "I
start at Juuban Elementary tomorrow; Room 1-C."

"That's with Shimura-sensei, right?" Usagi asked Ranma.

Ranma's curiosity was aroused. "Yeah, that's the one. How did you know?"

"That's the same class my younger brother is in!" Her excitement toned
down a bit as she remembered something. "You better keep an eye on him;
Shingo's a good kid, but he can be a real brat sometimes."

"I'm sure he and Ranma will get along just fine; Ranma always has been
good at making friends."

"You're probably right, Mrs. Saotome." Mamoru affirmed. "Usagi is only
saying that because he left a frog in her bedroom yesterday."

"Well, he did on purpose, I'm sure of it!" Usagi indignantly defended
her earlier statement.

"That doesn't sound very nice of him, but still, boys will be boys."
Nodoka smiled.

Mamoru glanced at his watch, surprised at the time, before turning to
Nodoka. "We'll, we've got to be going now. It was nice meeting you, Mrs.
Saotome."

"It was nice meeting you too, dears." Nodoka bid Mamoru and Usagi
farewell, before turning to Ranma. "It's about time we were leaving,
too." She gestured to her nearly empty ice cream bowl. "I just need to
finish this."

"Say Hi to Shingo if you get a chance to, tomorrow." Usagi called back
as she left the building.

"Thanks, Usagi, I will!"

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Genma left work as soon as the bell rang, already eager to get to the
meeting place. He walked straight to the subway station, and after a
quick purchase, had a ticket to Nerima ward. When it arrived, the train
was already packed with commuters, but the trip would be mercifully
short.

One stop later, he disembarked, leaving the station and heading towards
the 'The Black Dragon' the bar that he and Tendo had agreed upon
earlier. His old friend was already there, waiting.

"I'm glad you're back, Saotome." Soun Tendo inquired, a smile on his
face. "How was the trip?"

"It complicated things a bit." Genma's answer was less than revealing.

"Complicated? I hope you don't mean the plans to unite the schools." At
his friend's grave nod, Soun continued. "Come inside, Genma. I'm sure
it's nothing we can't work out." Guiding his somber friend inside, he
added, "Besides, you look like you could use a drink or two."

"Too true, Tendo, too true." Genma let himself be led to a table already
set with glasses of sake.

Soun took a seat across from his longtime friend, then asked, "What are
these complications you were referring to?"

"Well," Genma began, before he was interrupted by an approaching
waitress. He scowled at her, before remembering that she was the one
that would be bringing the sake.

"What can I get you two gentlemen?" The waitress asked, seemingly bored
with her job.

"A bottle of Futsuu-shu will be just fine, thank you." Soun answered.

Genma quickly cut in. "Make that three bottles, will you? I see a long
night ahead of us." He grimaced at the look his long time friend gave
him. "Yes, Tendo, things are that bad. Three bottles will do nicely to
start us off."

The waitress left, only taking a minute to grab the needed bottles and
return to the table. She was gone again before they had a chance to
register her presence.

"Well, for one, the boy..." Genma paused, trying to figure out how to
phrase his next sentence. "The boy..."

"Well, out with it, Saotome." Soun told his friend. "No use beating
around the bush, if we want to find a solution." He firmly believed
that they would find a solution... and a little sake could always help
things, right?

"The boy managed to get himself an admirer in China; an Amazon." Genma
reached for a sake bottle and poured himself a glass.

"So? She's in china, right?" Soun questioned, sipping from his own cup

"And her Granny says she'll stay there... but... the way she was looking
at Ranma didn't make her seem likely to give up." He grinned, drinking
from his glass, before adding. "Besides, no one can resist the ol'
Saotome Charm."

"Saotome..." Soun growled, obviously not pleased with his friend's
flippancy.

"I'm kidding, Tendo, just kidding." Genma placated.

"We'll, if she is just an admirer... it's not so bad. What could one
little girl do on her own?" Soun asked Genma, a bemused smile on his
face.

The grave look Genma responded with showed that there was more to come.
"I'd agree with you, Tendo, but this was the least of our problems."

"There's more?"

"Well, the boy has another suitor."

"Another? Genma, you honorless..."

"Now, now, Tendo. Don't blame me; It was the boy's fault." Genma quickly
tried to calm his friend. "He told poor Ukyo he liked her more than her
cooking... after that, she asked her dad for an engagement."

"I don't like where this is going, Saotome."

"When she and her father approached me with the offer of the dowry,
well, I couldn't just tell the poor girl no, could I? It would have
broken her heart, and ruined her self esteem... I had to give the kid at
least a chance at happiness. So I told her we'd come back for her when
Ranma was older."

"And what happened to the dowry?"

"Ranma and I had to eat somehow, didn't we? I sold it."

"Well... it was kind of you to save that young girl from heartache. I'm
sure Ranma and his wife can explain things to her, once she's older."

"Tendo, you are brilliant. A toast?"

"A toast!" Soun answered, pouring himself more sake at the same time.

After drinking another round, Genma slowly stated, "There's one other
problem."

"Genma..." Soun growled. "another?"

"Unfortunately, yes..." He trailed off, looking somewhat sheepish. "Have
you ever heard of the Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo?"

"The cursed springs of Jusenkyo?" Soun asked in all seriousness.

"Ah, so you have heard of them!" Genma proclaimed triumphantly.

"Nope, not a word." Soun pronounced solemnly; he was, by now, quite
drunk.

Genma laughed at this, and then clumsily began to form an explanation.
"Well, they have these springs, see..." He paused to take a sip of his
sake, before continuing. "And they turn you into things... if you fall
in."

"Did you fall in?" Soun questioned, beginning to wonder where this was
going.

"Oh, It's horrible, old friend;" Genma bemoaned his sorry fate. "I
become a panda, and Ranma... becomes a girl."

"I'm not that drunk, old friend." Soun deadpanned.

"It's true, watch." And with that, Genma poured a glass of sake over his
head, idly bemoaning the sacrifices he had to make for his art-and his
future happiness, of course. He quickly became a panda.

Soun accepted this change with the kind of calm that only the very drunk
could manage.

One hot cup of tea later...

"It's only temporary?" Soun slurred. "Well, I have a sol-ution." He
stumbled slightly over the word.

"Whath?" Genma questioned.

"We transfer 'Kane and 'Biki to Ran..." He took another glassful of sake
to help him speak. "To Ran's school. They get to know Ranna better, and
they decide which one gets Ranna..." Soun paused before continuing. "If
they don't know about his curse, then..." He grinned a decidedly wicked
grin, letting his statement hang, either out of drunkenness or for
dramatic effect.

"Good idea, Tendo. Theysh can't help but fall for Ranma." Genma was sure
of this fact. After all, every other girl fell for Ranma, right? And he
had taught the boy everything he knew...

"A toast, to the future of our schools!" Soun proposed, reaching for a
bottle.

"A toast!" Genma grabbed a bottle and downed it in one gulp.

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The lights inside the house were off. This was a good sign. Drawing upon
all his skills as a thief, he stealthily moved towards the door. It was
unlocked. Perhaps he would be able to make it inside unnoticed.
Opening the door silently, he entered the house, hoping against hope
that no one was awake.

The lights came on. Nodoka was blocking the entrance, a bundle wrapped
in cloth at her side.

Genma knew just what was in that bundle. He sobered up. Fast.

"So you've finally decided to come home, have you, Husband?" The harsh
formality of her voice showed that anything he had done to appease her
temper earlier was now forgotten. "Would you care to explain exactly
where you were for the past 4 hours?"

"I was at the Tendo's, dearest. You remember our good friends Soun and
Kimiko, right?" Genma tried to placate his wife.

"Don't you 'Dearest' me, Mr. Saotome. I know you were out drinking with
Soun. Kimiko and I are good friends, after all." Nodoka smiled wryly.
"She called while you were out, and told me exactly what you two were
plotting."

"S-she told you? But how could she know? Tendo and I have been..." He
trailed off, already knowing he had spoken too much.

"Been what, Husband?" She questioned, than answered for him. "Out
drinking, planning for a marriage between our children?"

"Y-yes. That's what we were doing."

"Oh, Genma, How could you! To think, we've been married for 12 years,
and you... you..." Her voice wavered, and tears came to her eyes. "You
go off and plan a marriage for Ranma, and you..." Nodoka took a gulp of
air, trying to calm herself. It didn't work. "You didn't even consider
inviting me, did you?" She asked, her resigned tone revealing she
already knew the answer.

"I'm sorry, dearest. I didn't think you would be interested."

"No you didn't, did you? It's not like you'd think my son's future
actually meant something to me, would you?" Nodoka's sarcastic words
were chilling.

"Of course not, I mean, of course I'd think that... I mean..." Genma
fumbled for the right answer.

"Oh, will you just shut up. I don't care for your excuses, Genma." Her
voice was suddenly weary, tired of having to deal with this. "The first
time you hurt our child with your carelessness, I was really
disappointed in you..." A sob escaped her lips, interrupting her, but
still she continued. "Before than, I had been almost willing to let you
take Ranma on a longer training trip; you both got along so well
together, and I had been so sure that you could handle it." She looked
at Genma, so much emotion expressed within her eyes.

"I... I'm sorry." For what it mattered, he truly meant it.

"I know. That's the only reason I let you continue training him...
because I trusted you enough not to do it again, and..." Another sob
escaped her, before she could finish. "And... and because I loved you."
Her last comment was so quiet, almost unheard.

But he did hear, and he was silent, not knowing what to say.

"And then you come back, and you've managed to curse my little boy..."
Cold steel slowly returns to her voice. "This is your last chance,
Genma. You better not blow it." And with that, she turns her back on
him, returning to her bedroom.

And Genma is left alone.
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Waves crashed against the side of the ship, threatening to capsize it at
the first sign of weakness. Rain flooded the deck, making it slippery
and unsafe. The storm was blowing hard, and it had no signs of stopping
any time soon. Any clear thinking individual would be bellow decks,
battening the hatches and praying to ride out the storm.

Lightning flashed through the night, its brief shine illuminating the
deck. The thunder that followed did nothing to relieve the fears of the
shivering figure huddled in a darkened corner of the ship's cargo hold.

"Airen..." A flash of illumination revealed the figure to be a cold,
wet, and thoroughly miserable young girl.
She grimaced, making an effort to change her language to the one her
beloved spoke. "Shampoo coming for you, Airen." A sickly sounding cough
followed this statement, before Shampoo mumbled feverishly to herself in
her native Mandarin "You better be worth it, husband. I'm trying so
hard..." the voice trailed off, until all was silent, save for the
crashing of the storm.

Another flash of lightning showed the girl to be asleep; her energy
spent just trying to keep herself alive.

The rocking of the boat was not at all gentle.

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Translation Notes:
Adzuki is a small, dried, red bean with a startlingly sweet flavor. It's
rather popular over Asia as an ingredient in sweat desserts, either as a
red bean paste filling for pastries and sweat breads, as a popsicle (the
grossest way to eat it, in which it tastes sickeningly sweet, and
nothing like it does in mochi), or in some other way that I haven't yet
tasted.

Airen means something along the lines of husband/love/fiancée, or so I'm
assuming from it's usage in the anime.

Futsuu-shu means something around 'normal sake'. It is by definition low
quality, and has large portions of alcohol added post brewing. Finer
sake is made from polished rice (the outside is ground away leaving only
the core starches), and less or no alcohol added, and even then only for
brewing purposes.

Non-Standard excuse for not writing #1:
I'm sorry I haven't written in a two or three months, but really, I have
a fair excuse (Yeah, right!). I was out of the country, in China. I was
able to get many things accomplished while there, but writing fanfics,
no matter how much I'm beginning to love writing this one, was not on my
list of priorities. Rest assured that I will write more, the only
question is when I will write it. Now, I'm sure you have something
better to do with your life than to read my excuses, so go do it.
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End Chapter 2, posted Sunday, September 15 2002 @ 7:20 PST