Chapter Seven: Cats, More Cats! And Wait? Even More Cats?
"I'm telling you old friend," Genma said while he and Soun played shogi. "We have got to get Ranma and Akane married."
"I know," Soun said. "However, every time I try to go and see our friends I am told that I've been denied and to wait a month." Genma stroked his chin.
"Hmm," Genma said. "Stronger measures may be needed. We may have to see Kichida." Soun looked in shock.
"It's been fifteen years since we…" Soun said.
"I know," interrupted Genma, "but we have very little choice in the matter now if we wish to unite the families soon. The situation is becoming deplorable. The boy spends an excessive amount of time as a girl and way too much time with his mysterious friends that I have yet to meet. He hardly spends time with Akane. And every time I follow the boy, somehow I lose his trail, or Kasumi and or Nabiki shows up."
"Don't you spend most of your time playing shogi with me?" argued Soun.
"That's beside the point," deflected Genma. "We need to act now, before any more incidents happen that can hinder the marriage."
"You are right old friend," sighed Soun. "We can go see Kichida tomorrow." Genma nodded and moved a piece.
"I win," cheered Genma. Soun groaned.
"So it has been a month since Xian Pu ran off?" asked Saki after they all ate lunch at Aya's house.
"Yeah, and what a month it has been," Ranma replied. "I don't think I have studied so much in my life. Finally my life is beginning to calm down."
"The annual concert was a blast," said Mizuki. "You sang really well yesterday Yuuka." All of her friends nodded in agreement.
"Thanks," Yuuka said with a smile.
"Have your grades improved Ranma?" asked Aya.
"Yep," Ranma said with a smile. "I have almost a B average now. I showed Pops a test grade the other day. I thought he was going to hit the roof." They all laughed.
"Good I am glad," Aya asked.
"Well I better make my way home now," Ranma said sadly. "Pops will probably want to spend hours sparring. I've been learning more of the art teaching you all then I have from him lately."
"Welcome home Ranma-chan," whispered Kasumi. "How was your sleepover?"
"I had fun," replied Ranma.
"By the way," Kasumi said. "A package came in for you earlier today."
"Let me change my clothes," Ranma said. She went upstairs to her room.
"So what kind of package did you get Hino?" Nabiki asked in the living room.
"Do you recognize the markings Pop?" Ranma asked. He handed the package to Genma.
"Let's see it here boy," Genma said. "Can it be? It is something from Jusenkyo? A cure?" Akane grabbed the box and examined the package.
"Unless the cure is something that moves then I doubt it," huffed Akane.
"I wonder what it could be?" asked Kasumi.
"Well open it son," demanded Soun.
"Jeez," mumbled Ranma. He opened the box and out sprang a purple cat. "Cat!" Ranma began to run from the cat.
"Huh?" Nabiki, Akane, and Kasumi asked while the three stared at the spectacle of a cat chasing after the martial artist. Genma looked down in shame and Soun began to cry.
"Aren't you going to do something Old Man?" yelled Ranma. "It's your fault I am like this."
"What is he talking about?" Soun asked.
"Ranma has one weakness. He dislikes cats," Genma said.
"I would say that it's more of a phobia of cats," observed Nabiki. Kasumi grabbed the cat and took it up to her room. She closed the door and came back down stairs. Ranma was now in a corner shivering.
"Explain yourself Genma," roared Soun. His head grew larger and looked down at Genma with menacing eyes.
"Well you see it is like this…" stuttered Genma.
"I wanted to train the boy in the ultimate martial arts; the Nekoken," Genma said once Ranma calmed down. Everyone took a seat.
"What do you have to do?" Kasumi asked.
"Well you take the individual; and um. Well the manual instructs you take a child. You tie them up and tie fish onto him and lower him into a pit of starving cats." Ranma glared at his father, Soun stared at his friend with a shocked expression, Akane and Nabiki's fell face first on the floor, and Kasumi had her oh my facial expression. "After a short while you lift the trainee up from the pit and repeat daily for a month. Ranma was ten years old at the time."
"Some training pops," Ranma said. "I still have nightmares about those horrible creatures."
"Quit your whining, boy," Genma said sternly. He held up his hand in the air. "A martial artist's life is fraught with peril."
"Easy for you to say," retorted Ranma.
"Now, now," interrupted Soun. "Let's calm down. Can I see the Nekoken training manual?"
"Um sure," Genma said. He fished around in his pockets until he found it. He passed it along to Soun.
"Hmm let's see," Soun said. He read it and flipped to the next page. His eyes shot up and he looked at his friend. He tossed it on the table. "Old friend did you read this page?"
[This training manual does not guarantee success in learning the Nekoken. Only an idiot would even bother teaching this to anyone.]
"Um no," Genma said. He scratched his head. "I never read that far." Everyone but Genma fell face first on the floor.
"Figures," snorted Ranma. He stood up and walked to his room. He came back. Akane and Nabiki now sat on the couch. Genma and Soun were playing shogi and Kasumi was in the kitchen.
"Where are you going boy?" Genma asked.
"Out," Ranma said.
"Have a good time Ranma," Kasumi called out.
Kasumi hummed to herself when she opened her door to her room. The purple cat bounded out of her room and dashed towards furo. Kasumi followed the cat.
"Now kitty cat," hummed Kasumi. "You'll get wet." The cat made her way to the furo and jumped in. A very nude Xian Pu stood up.
"Where Ranma at?" demanded Xian Pu
"Oh you have a Jusenkyo curse too?" Kasumi asked. Xian Pu nodded. "Oh Ranma? He left about an hour ago."
"Do you know where he went?" Xian Pu asked. Kasumi shook her head.
"Oh sorry I am being rude. You must have had a long trip. Would you like to take a bath?" Kasumi asked.
"Sure," Xian Pu said.
"I'll let Ranma know that you are here," Kasumi said.
"Thanks," Xian Pu said. Kasumi left the bathroom.
"Have you learned anything about the foul sorcerer yet?" Tatewaki asked inside his private room in his large mansion.
"He is deathly afraid of cats," Hikaru Gosunkugi replied.
"How delightful," Tatewaki said with a smile. "Now I can finally defeat the foul sorcerer and free the black-haired girl and Akane Tendou from his captivity."
Hours later Ranma came home and when he entered the house he saw Xian Pu. (I guess my life couldn't stay quiet for long.) Ranma thought. He walked in and Xian Pu attempted to kiss him, but Ranma held up his hand and pushed her back.
"Wo De Ai Ren," Xian Pu said with her attempt to kiss him. Ranma looked at Kasumi.
"What's this about?" Ranma asked.
"Oh Xian Pu came to visit you Ranma," Kasumi said.
"What's this about boy," demanded Genma who looked up from his game of shogi. He made a turn in his game of shogi.
"Now the families will never be joined," wailed Soun.
"When you did you get here?" Nabiki asked. She came down the stairs.
"I was the cat you met earlier," Xian Pu said. Everyone but Kasumi looked shocked.
"What do you mean by that?" Akane asked.
"Was punishment for failing to deliver the Kiss of Death to female Ranma," Xian Pu said. "Elders give me second chance. They acknowledge the kiss of marriage." She looked at Ranma and smiled and once again, she tried to kiss him. "Wo De Ai Ren."
"Whoa hold on," Ranma said. He held up his hands. "This is getting out of control. He put his arms down and took off running.
"You said it Hino," Nabiki said with a laugh. She watched Ranma run away from Xian Pu. "I think life here shall get very interesting."
"You pervert," yelled Akane. She pulled out her mallet and chased after Ranma and when she caught up to him, she swung her mallet and sent Ranma skyward.
"Why me?" Ranma asked in midair.
Ranma left the classroom and made her way to the girls locker room. Near the doors, someone walked up to her and slipped a note in her hand. The mysterious person walked off. Ranma opened the note and read it.
[I have imprisoned Akane Tendou at the gymnasium. If you wish to rescue you her then meet me there ASAP!]
"Why would someone go and do that?" Ranma asked. "I better go and help her."
"Hello?" Ranma asked. She entered the gymnasium and noticed that all the lights were off. "Is anyone here?" Ranma walked forward and saw a figure on the ground in the center of the room. (Who could it be?) Ranma thought. She walked closer and took a good look at the individual. (The person kinda looks like Akane but they have really messed up the disguise. This must be a trap.)
"Help me," a mysterious voice said. The voice clearly tried to imitate Akane's voice but clearly failed at it.
"What's this all about?" Ranma asked.
"Help me," the mysterious voice said. "Please Ranma." The lights turned on and in walked Akane.
"Ranma?" Akane asked. "What are you doing here?" She walked closer and saw someone attempting to look like her. "Is this a joke?"
"Not sure," Ranma replied. She handed the note to Akane. Someone handed me this note to me and I came here. Akane quickly read the note and laughed.
"Well as you can see," Akane said. "I am fine." The mysterious person moved and revealed himself as Hikaru Gosunkugi. "What's all this about Hikaru?"
"I have you now Hino," Hikaru confidently said. "I know all about your fear of cats." He pressed a button and nothing happened. "Huh?" Why isn't this working?"
"Right," snorted Ranma. "I'll be going now. Are you going home Akane?"
"Um sure," Akane replied. "I am not sure what this is all about."
"Why isn't this working," Hikaru muttered. He tapped the button multiple times. "Come on." Ranma said. The two began to walk off when the floor gave way underneath Akane. She began to fall. Ranma immediately turned around and grabbed her hand.
"Ranma," Akane called out. "I am slipping."
"Hold on," Ranma said. She grabbed Akane's hand tighter and with her free hand grabbed onto Akane's arm. She began to pull her up, but then the two fell into the pit. Ranma landed on top of Akane.
"Ranma?" Akane asked.
"Yeah?" Ranma replied.
"Can you get off me?" Akane asked. "You are crushing my foot."
"Sure," Ranma replied. "Sorry." She stood up, moved, and then offered her hand to help Akane. Ranma and Akane looked around, and after a few moments, their eyes began to adjust to the darkness. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah and you?" Akane replied.
"I am fine," Ranma said.
"Let's find a way out of here," Akane said. The two walked. The two walked on and the only the sound the two could hear was breathing and footsteps.
"Meow," a mysterious voice called out.
"What was that?" Akane asked. The two saw multiple pairs of eyes. "Cats?" Akane looked over at Ranma and saw her shaking. "Don't think about the cats. Okay Ranma?"
"Cats," shivered Ranma. More eyes appeared in the loneliness of the basement.
"Come on," Akane said. "Let's find a way out of here."
The two began to walk in the direction they picked and several moments later, they saw Hikaru. He quickly stuck a fish sausage on Ranma's dress. He backed off and a dreamy smile appeared on his face.
"I have beaten the mighty Hino," giggled Hikaru. He walked off.
"Now I have to clean this dress," muttered Ranma.
"Worry about that later," Akane proclaimed. "The cats are moving closer now."
"Um right," sighed Ranma. The cats began to move at an increased pace towards them and the two were surrounded by dozens and dozens of cats. "Meow!"
"Ranma?" Akane asked.
"Meow," roared Ranma.
"Mizuki. Don't you and Ranma have practice now?" Saki asked.
"We did but…" Mizuki said.
"Practice was canceled today. Akane has been kidnapped. Ranma got the message and has gone to rescue her," Haru said. She walked over to group. Natsumi is telling Nabiki about the incident."
"I see," Saki said. "I hope those two will be alright."
"I am sure that they'll be fine," Yuuka said.
"Mwhahahahaha," Tatewaki said. "I've finally defeated the foul sorcerer. He is forever gone." Many students began to gasp and whisper. "He was defeated by my hand and ingenious plan."
"I'm sure that Kunou is just full of hot air," Aya said. "Ranma wouldn't be defeated by a moron like him. Her friends nodded. In the distance bizarre sounds bellowed from the school.
"What's going on?" a student asked. He looked up.
"I don't know," a girl said. "I think I hear a lot of cats. How strange."
In the distance, cats flew out of the gymnasium, and an uncountable number of them flew out of the building. Cats began to fall down like rain. Akane fell from the sky and made a soft landing on some grass. Nabiki, Natsumi, Soun, Genma, and Kasumi ran up to her. Tatewaki looked up in time and saw the black-haired girl land next to him. Ranma landed on all fours.
"Akane," Nabiki called out. "Are you alright?"
"I am fine," Akane said, "but Ranma. He's acting all strange." The sunlight made a reflection on Genma's glasses and he had an aura of concentration on his face.
"The boy," Genma said, "has entered the state of the Nekoken." This statement grabbed everyone's attention except Tatewaki.
"How does this help us?" Akane asked.
"Look," Genma said. He pointed at Ranma.
"My beloved," Tatewaki said. He made a move to hug her. Ranma looked at him.
"Meow," growled Ranma. "Hiss." Tatewaki moved closer and Ranma swung her arm and struck him. Almost invisible to the naked eye claws appeared. Tatewaki flew into the sky.
"In this state," explained Genma. "Ranma is practically invincible. In order to cope with his fear of cats the boy becomes a cat mentally and gains the fighting style Cat Fu."
"The legendary Cat Fu," Soun said. "No one has seen it in action until now."
"How do we get Ranma out of it?" Akane asked.
"There are two ways," Genma said. "Ranma must either sit on the lap of someone he trusts and fall asleep or be splashed with cold water." Ranma jumped on a tree and began to knead her invisible claws.
"We first need to get Ranma down from the tree," observed Nabiki.
"I'll get him down," Soun said. Soun walked over to the tree and began to climb it. When he came close to her Ranma turned and faced him.
"Hiss," growled Ranma. "Meow."
"Come here son," Soun said. "I am here to help you." He moved a step closer, Ranma struck him, and Soun soared in the air.
"I'll get the boy down," Genma said. He made his way over to the tree and he began to climb it. He stood up and moved closer to her. Ranma growled at him and he backed up a step.
"Easy does it boy," Genma said. "I won't hurt you!"
"Meow," roared Ranma.
"Looks like Ranma does not trust her father," Kasumi said.
"Would you after all he has done to her?" Nabiki asked. The branch shook under Ranma and Genma's combined weight.
"Oh no," Akane said. "The tree branch is about to break."
"Easy does it boy," Genma said. "Here would you like some fish?" He pulled out a fish.
"Meow," growled Ranma.
"You wouldn't want to hurt me now would you?" laughed Genma. He held up his hands in a defensive posture.
Ranma moved to strike him, but the branch fell apart and made a beeline for the ground. She fell towards the ground and she righted herself like a cat. Meanwhile, Genma plunged straight into the dirt face first.
"Where the hell am I now," Ryouga yelled out. Ranma's ears perked up upon hearing her rival's voice and she dashed off towards him. "Ranma?" Ranma bounded towards him, claws at the ready when cold water splashed her. She looked around and saw everyone staring at her. She stood up.
"What's going on?" Ranma asked.
"You were in the Nekoken boy," Genma said.
"And you thought it was necessary to douse me with cold water," shouted Ranma. She advanced towards her father. Genma began to drip sweat. "I wish you had never put me through that infernal training."
"Um," Genma said nervously. "I better go check up on Soun and make sure he is alright." Genma ran off.
"What is going on?" Ryouga asked. Akane walked up to him.
"I'll explain to you," Akane said. "You see…" Akane and Ryouga walked off. The rest of the audience wandered off and Nabiki whispered in Ranma's ear.
"Would you like dry and clean clothes?" Nabiki asked. "I take it you still intend to visit your friends tonight." Ranma nodded.
"Please," Ranma replied.
"Okay," Nabiki said. She handed a bag over to Ranma.
"Thanks," Ranma said.
"No problem," Nabiki replied. "You owe me one." Yuuka, Aya, Saki, Mizuki, Haru, and Natsumi came over to Ranma and Nabiki walked off.
"Ranma are you alright?" Aya asked with concern.
"Yeah," Ranma said. "I don't remember anything that happened."
"You remember nothing?" Saki asked. Ranma shook her head.
"I am glad that you and Akane are alright," Natsumi asked.
"Mizuki, Ranma see you at tomorrow's practice," Haru said. Ranma and her friends said bye.
"Well I am sure that you'll want to forget about this incident," Mizuki said. "Let's watch a movie and train tonight."
"Sounds like fun," Yuuka said. The five friends walked towards Aya's house.