Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Ranma ½, Ah! My Goddess, or any other trademarked/copyrighted product in this fanfiction. They were created by people a lot more imaginative than me. I am also not making any money off of this. This is merely for entertainment purposes.
Note: This story takes place after the Jusendo incident. Ranma is about to enter his junior year of high school. This story starts towards the end of the summer break.
Pursuing a New Path
In honor of the new Ah! My Goddess TV anime being broadcasted…
Chapter 7, Part 1: Poetic Injustice
There are fundamental situations that people want to avoid if they value their health. One of them is jumping off a building. Another would be staying in a furo and dropping a live toaster oven into it. Perhaps truly pissing off a demoness first class should be added to that list.
Mara was angry. Well, maybe angry is not strong enough of a word to use. To say the demoness was merely angry would be the same as comparing a hurricane to being just windy weather. Now one has to imagine why Mara is so upset right now. Sure she had been humiliated and frowned down upon recently, but when 'interacting' with the goddesses in the past the same had happened to her before. The question now was what made this situation different than all of those other times.
Perhaps the answer lies in the simple truth that it was deities who had embarrassed her in those instances. 'Damn them! These mortals think they can talk to me, a demoness first class like that!' Of course, Mara was conveniently forgetting how Keiichi was helpful to the goddesses in foiling her plans as well. It seems that demons and gods are just as prone to selective memories as mortals are. Another explanation could be that it resulted from a breaking point from all of the stress of repeated failures for the past several years. Or maybe there was just something about Nerima that eventually made powerful people want to beat someone up.
Regardless of the reasoning, the truth was that Mara was angry, and she needed to vent that hatred in the worst possible way. In fact, she was doing exactly some of that at the moment by occasionally blasting Kuno's unconscious body with a bolt of black lightning. Although the power of each blast was not enough to kill him, the wannabe samurai was certainly going to feel it in the morning (and maybe several mornings after that as well).
After settling down (it was amazing how cathartic beating up Kuno could be), the demoness began to consider her options in handling certain members of the Nerima Wrecking Crew in addition to that annoying history teacher. The major problem Mara could foresee in any plans for revenge was the need for discretion. Although in her initial rage she desired to neglect such things, now that Mara was calmer the demoness understood that any punishment inflicted by Hild would was not worth the risk of blowing her cover.
Sitting on the ledge of Furinken's roof, Mara contemplated on how she could get her revenge without letting out the fact she was a demoness. One thing in her favor was the apparent weirdness that surrounded the area could be blamed for some of her plots. However, non-subtle curses like, for example, turning Nabiki into a camera, might push the boundaries of everyday Nerima activities. Mara could not help but smile at the thought since it reminded her of the time she turned that Megumi girl into a car. 'Hmm…for Nabiki I could anonymously post obscene pictures of her throughout the school, but that too simple for a demoness of my caliber. Irony is the key to all of the best curses.' Reflecting on that last thought, Mara could not help but chuckle. 'It's surprising how people in this town don't seem to realize the irony in those Jusenkyo curses.'
Another problem Mara realized was on Ranma's involvement. Originally, she considered bringing him in on the fun (it would be good training), but the demoness quickly discarded that line of thought. Although Ranma had ascended into a demon, it did not necessarily change his personality. 'I don't get how he can put up with these people and not break?' Therefore, Mara was faced with the predicament that any ploy of hers might be either detected by his senses or by just putting two and two together. Spells could be camouflaged easily enough, but Ranma (or for that matter anyone with enough common sense) would be suspicious of her for a drastically increased amount of strangeness with her recent arrival.
Leaning an elbow on her knee, Mara cupped her chin and thought, 'The key then is to involve details of their lives so that people won't blame it on me.' After a few moments of contemplation, she added, 'Well, those Kuno siblings won't be too hard. Those two are nuts enough that everyone would think its normal for them. The others are gonna be harder, though.' When no immediate ideas began to form, Mara sighed and decided to head on home. Although Kasumi reminded Mara of Belldandy too much for comfort, she had to admit that the eldest Tendo could make a good meal with Ranma's mother. Jumping off the rooftop, the demoness floated towards the ground. After landing, Mara began her trek home, although as an afterthought she turned around and blasted Kuno one more time just for the hell of it.
Before exiting the gates, Mara considered, 'Maybe I'll get inspired tomorrow' (yes that was foreshadowing).
At the Nekohaten…
Shampoo was becoming increasingly concerned over the events of the past day. Things had started off normally, meaning that there were many a time when she either splashed or beaten Mousse over his unwanted attention towards her. However, the status quo began to rapidly deteriorate when Ranma had landed by the Nekohaten. Suffice it to say, Shampoo was shocked by the changes in his appearance, although she was able to cover the majority of it from her beloved.
The next major twist came about upon meeting Mara. Although having a new fiancée appear was not different from the norm, the girl in question seemed to defy the standards for the typical one. From her peripheral vision, Shampoo was also aware enough to notice the dark lightning crackling along the Mara's hands, but what concerned the Amazon girl the most was the look in the new girl's eyes. Shampoo had to resist shivering again upon remembrance. The hatred in those eyes seemed too natural for the purple-haired warrior's tastes.
And finally, Shampoo had yet another surprise for the day. Ever since her great-grandmother had seen Ranma this morning, she had been uncharacteristically quiet. She was not even cooking the ramen noodles herself, but had told 'Mr. Part-time' to do it. Afterwards, Cologne had just been sitting on the counter with her eyes closed and in seeming meditation. The sight of a motionless three-hundred year old woman did not help the crowd's appetites at all.
Therefore, Shampoo continued to take orders, serve the customers, and beat up Mousse to pass the time. It was after the last of the patrons left and when Mousse went in the back storeroom that Cologne finally spoke, "What troubles you today, Great-granddaughter? You have seemed quite nervous all day."
Shampoo was barely able to stop herself from jumping in surprise. 'It would figure that Great-grandmother would be able sense my emotions without opening her eyes.' Sighing in resignation, the Amazon girl simply nodded.
Hopping down of the counter and onto her cane (so as to even the height difference between the two of them), Cologne continued, "Is this regarding the latest changes in Son-in-law?"
Fidgeting slightly, Shampoo answered in Chinese so as to convey her words fully, "That is partially the reason, Honored Elder."
The Matriarch raised an eyebrow at her descendent for switching to their native tongue. Shampoo only typically did this when something relatively important had occurred and she needed to make sure her great-grandmother understood exactly what needed to be told. Her curiosity peaked, Cologne stated, "Go on, child."
After taking a deep breath, Shampoo continued, "Earlier today I went to my beloved to give him lunch as usual." Seeing Cologne nod in acknowledgement, she added, "Of course, I greeted him in our traditional manner. Then that spoiled rich girl and I got into a brief argument. However, afterwards…" At this point, Shampoo trailed and fidgeted, unsure how to continue.
Watching her great-granddaughter get nervous caught the matriarch's interest. Something big must have occurred to make Shampoo this apprehensive. "What is it, child?"
After collecting her thoughts, the purple-haired Amazon continued, "Then I had noticed a newcomer within the vicinity. Immediately, I had my suspicions as to the reasoning for her being next to Ranma."
Cologne interrupted Shampoo by stating dryly, "In other words, that she was a new fiancée." Sometimes the depth of Genma's stupidity amazed even her.
Nodding, the younger Amazon answered, "It turned out I assumed correctly. In my exasperation, I challenged the girl to fight Ranma for the rights over the engagement.
Sighing, Cologne lectured, "How many times have I told you, Xian Pu, that you need to control your emotions better in these situations? Do you really want to end up like that young Tendo girl?
Bowing her head slightly, Shampoo apologized, "I'm sorry, Great-grandmother, but these engagements become so tiresome when dealing with them time after time."
'Well, she does have a point there,' Cologne told herself. Speaking out loud, she said, "Go on, Xian Pu."
After clearing her throat, Shampoo sheepishly added, "When she rejected the offer, I, uh, challenged her to a duel." Before the elder could berate her great-granddaughter again, she noticed a drastic change in the warrior maiden's demeanor, shifting from one of slight guilt to one of anxiety. "When I next looked into her eyes…I don't really know how to describe it. After shuddering slightly, she continued, "They were like two red pools of hate…and that black lightning which crackled along her fists.
Unnoticed to Shampoo, Cologne stiffened slightly at the references to red eyes and black lightning. In a controlled, measured voice, the Matriarch inquired, "Did you perchance obtain her name, Great-granddaughter?"
Frowning slightly in thought, Shampoo answered after a moment, "Mara Demonica, Great-grandmother."
After rubbing her chin with one hand while still balancing on the stick with the other, Cologne began to hop back into the kitchen. Before entering, she asked a final question offhandedly, "By the way, Great-granddaughter, did Ranma still have the new changes to his looks when you last seen him?
Puzzled at the peculiar question, Shampoo nonetheless replied, "Yes, Great-grandmother.
Raising an eyebrow, Cologne stated, more to herself than to anyone else, "Interesting, I think that I would like to meet this Mara Demonica." Facing her descendent directly, the elder authoritatively said to Shampoo in Japanese, "Perhaps we can continue this conversation at a later time once I think more on the subject. For now, I expect this room to be cleaned up quickly, Great-granddaughter."
Recognizing the tone being used, Shampoo straightened up and stated, "Yes, Great-grandmother, Shampoo make sure eating room be all nice now." Immediately, the purple-haired girl set about her assigned task.
Sighing, Cologne wondered why her great-granddaughter never tried to improve upon her Japanese in all the time that they stayed here. To be truthful, she thought that it made her sound like a ditz. Shaking her head of such thoughts, the matriarch hopped back in the kitchen to prepare in straightening out the kitchen. 'I wonder what 'Mr. Part-Time will do with the information he has learned now…Then again that should be obvious.'
Indeed out in the storeroom, the Master of Hidden Weapons Mousse had left the door open slightly and was listening in on the previous conversation. His reaction was to be expected. Fuming in anger, Mousse was once again cursing the one whom he thought was in his way towards happiness. 'Curse you Saotome. Again you sneak behind the back of my darling Shampoo to add another member to you harem. And someone who scared my sweet Shampoo too!' Seething, Mousse neglected to admit to himself that Shampoo is actually a part of that 'harem' as well. 'I shall not forgive either of you for these outrages, Ranma Saotome and Mara Demonica!'
At the Tendo Dojo…
Dinner was a quiet affair for once at the dining table with each of those present lost in their own thoughts. Mara was daydreaming on how sweet it was going to be seeing those who tormented her being emotionally brought to their knees. It was taking a lot of willpower from laughing maniacally at the thought. The two Saotome men were too busy concentrating on eating to be having any side-thoughts, although they did slow down a bit after a disapproving look from Nodoka. The Tendos seemed to be content in consuming food at a normal rate.
Well except for Nabiki, who while on the outside seemed to be expressing her usual cool, indifferent self, was actually a bit anxious in her thoughts. For now, she was having second thoughts on taking those pictures of Mara and selling them to Kuno. In her greed, Nabiki realized that she had blinded herself to the fact that not all martial artists were gullible jocks like Ranma. In fact, the middle Tendo girl was kicking herself for making such an amateurish mistake. This was especially true with what her flunkies described at the confrontation between Mara and Shampoo as well as Kodachi.
However, it was too late for regrets and all Nabiki could do was damage control. Obviously, the rest of the pictures she had would not be sold to anyone else for the time being (Kuno having been the only person to obtain some photos so far). They would need to be securely stored away where Mara would not find them. Hopefully, Kuno would be responsible enough to hide them away from his psychotic sister. The minute that thought entered her mind, Nabiki almost sweatdropped. Kuno responsible? 'Yeah right,' was the sarcastic reply to herself. Maybe she could somehow get Ranma to protect her from any possible wrath that Mara might exact. That demeanor of his from before must have been a fluke.
Perhaps if she said that enough, Nabiki might actually believe it.
Of course, the calm at the dinner table could not last forever. After Kasumi went into the kitchen to fetch more drinks (lemonade in this case), she returned carrying a tray loaded with filled cups. As could be predicted, she stumbled on a recent indentation in the floor. Fortunately, the Tendo matriarch was able to prevent the cups from falling. Unfortunately, the motion caused liquid to splash out of them and unto the resident gender-bender. The results were obvious.
Nabiki and Akane watched the transformation with rapt interest (the new form was still new to them) rather than the shock being displayed by the rest of those present, except by Mara and Ranma obviously. Even an "oh my" did not escape Kasumi's lips this time.
Finally Nodoka was able to break out of her stupor and put the pieces together (with respect to what she had been told). Turning towards her child, she asked, "I take it that this was another 'side-effect' of your recent training?"
Nodding nervously, Ranma replied, "Um, yeah. Sorry I forgot to tell ya, mom, but, uh, things have been sorta hectic lately."
After examining her son closely for another second, Nodoka closed her eyes and sighed. Focusing on Ranma again, she smiled to alleviate his worries. "It's okay, son. I suppose I can understand considering the circumstances. Now wait a moment while I go and heat you up some hot water."
Sighing in relief, Ranma stated, "Thanks, mom, but I can get the water."
With a smile still on her face, Nodoka responded, "Nonsense, dear. Just go and finish you dinner." Turning towards the two elder men, she frowned at their continued gawking. "And that goes for you two as well." This caused to the two men to gulp in nervousness, but nonetheless resumed eating, albeit hesitantly while occasionally glancing at Ranma.
Nodding in satisfaction, Nodoka turned and walked towards the kitchen, pondering the latest development. 'Yes, things seem to be changing now…but for the better or worse, I'm not sure.'
The next day…
Breakfast was rather typical for the Tendo household. Almost miraculously, Ranma avoided getting wet again, for which most of the residents were thankful since they were not yet used to the changes in his Jusenkyo curse. As usual, Nabiki left ahead of everyone so as to set shop for the days' operations.
As the day before, Ranma, Akane, and Mara found themselves walking along the same path. Eventually, Ukyo met up with them in passing and they all continued in comfortable silence. Of course, Mara was mostly quiet due to her plans of revenge, which consisted of comparing the personalities of those she had met with the brief descriptions given in the report on Ranma. 'Okay, Shampoo is some sort of Amazon…Figures though…Athena's followers were always headstrong. Those Kuno brats are obviously spoiled rich people who think they are superior to everyone since their auras did not show any signs of trauma. They probably believe that they should always get what they want, Tatewaki because he thinks of himself as a samurai and Kodachi for assuming her beauty and refinement are beyond compare. Hell, laughing like Urd is reason enough for some sort of punishment. Nabiki seems to get a kick out of being some sort of puppetmaster, manipulating people to her whims.'
Mara could sympathize somewhat with the middle Tendo girl's predicament. She cared for her family and obviously helped keep the dojo afloat with her machinations. The demoness also somewhat respected the methodology which the girl controlled situations since she herself have been known to use people in various plans. However, Nabiki seemed to have become somewhat overconfident in her position. Of course, it was Mara's duty to teach the little bit-,um, girl her place in the grand scheme of things. And then there was Masamichi Fujisawa, who, well, ah hell he just pissed her off.
And soon the demoness would be able to set her plans into motion. Already Mara had an outline of what to do to with several individuals. Now it was only a matter of time.
Eventually the quartet made it to their destination. Upon entering the schoolyard, three of the four were surprised to not to see the "Blue Thunder" around to give his morning speech (Mara, however, had a slight smirk on her face), especially considering the way he reacted to the changes in Ranma the other day. It seemed as if the morning was going to be quiet for once.
As if…for a newcomer screamed two words which made not only Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo cringe, but the rest of the school as well.
Hesitantly, everyone turned towards the voice, only to discover that their fears were justified. Well, all of the people except Mara were nervous at latest arrival. She was more confused as to what made the entire school populous anxious about this figure. Although upon closer inspection, the demoness could make some guesses.
The man in question wore Hawaiian attire and on his face were dark-shade sunglasses. In each hand were a large bag and on his head was a small…palm tree!?!
'This place just keeps getting weirder and weirder,' thought Mara in exasperation while studying the other figure. He seemed to have been hiding in some bushes to the side of entrance from the twigs stuck on his clothing. Curiously, the man's attention seemed to be focused almost solely on Ranma.
"Dis be a new year for the big kahuna with de troublemakers. I be sure to enforce da rules this time. Especially sure in getting rid of dat pigtail." As if to emphasize his point, Principal Kuno brought the bags up as an implicit threat.
Whispering down to her companions, Mara asked the obvious question, "Okay, who is this nut?"
Sighing in obvious agitation, Ranma nonetheless provided her with an answer. "That unfortunately is Principal," the lack of respect was apparent in saying the title, "Kuno, the headmaster of the school. And before you ask, yeah, he's that idiot's father." It did not need to be said which idiot he was referring to.
Mara shook her head in amazement at the variety of characters in the area. 'This place is really full of nutcases compared to that Nekomi Tech campus.'
The conversation did not go unnoticed by Principal Kuno, but in fact brought his to the newcomer at Furinken. "Oh, der me a new keiki here. And she be having da long hair as well. Well, da big kahuna just knows what ta do in dis case." Putting the bags downs, the headmaster brought out a remote control, causing all of the students to become tense. Mara simply looked more confused than before, but there was also a note of wariness as well.
After pressing the button, various smoke bombs exploded from the grounds, causing the students to panic. Then during the confusion, a voice rang out in seemingly everywhere.
"Hundred Clipper Shave!"
To Ranma, Ukyo, and Akane, their trained eyes saw the shavers flying towards them from all directions and easily deflected them. Mara, however, was too flabbergasted by the idea of someone actually throwing shavers to really move. Fortunately, the martial artists present were close enough to redirect them away from her, well except for one which flew by her bangs. It was the couple of strands of hair floating in front of her eyes which snapped Mara out of her daze. Almost hypnotically, she viewed the strands as they floated down to the ground.
As the smoke cleared, the principal was found laughing at the same position he was before. "I be trainin' in Martial Arts Barbering da last month, keikis. You be not stoppin' me dis time around." His laughing continued afterwards until a hard punch to the stomach caused him to wheeze. The fist still imbedded in his stomach was attached to the arm of Mara, whose head was bowed in seemingly contemplation. The occasional shaking of her shoulders gave away her current feelings, that and the black miasma of power surrounding her.
One should note that losing a couple of strands of hair might not be amongst the most important things to worry about. That is not so for someone who took especially good care of it. Therefore, it was an angry Mara which raised her head and screamed out, "Baka!" This was followed by an uppercut that launched the lunatic headmaster into the Nerima sky. Much sweatdropping amongst the students ensued.
"Uh, Mara?" a hesitant Ranma asked towards the demoness, who was breathing heavily more from her anger than any apparent effort in sending the principal on a free trip.
Before even the demoness could respond, another voice rang throughout the schoolyard. "Ranma, how dare you flirt with my Shampoo again!" Mara suddenly found her torso wrapped in chains. Looking towards the source of them, she noted a Chinese teenager in white robes with glasses perched on his forehead.
"Mousse, you idiot! That's not me!" retorted Ranma towards the myopic fighter.
Walking towards the figure in his grasp without letting the tension in the chains go, Mousse used his other hand to put his glasses back on and closely examined the person. "You're not Ranma!"
"Gee, whatever gave you that idea." Instead of speaking with hot anger, Mara's voice was cold and collected. Truth be told, it scared many of the students more so.
Ignoring the warning signals in his head, Mousse noticed how he had not seen this person before and was able to put two and two together. "Would you happen to be Mara Demonica?"
"Yes," Mara stated coldly. Some of the students backed up at the tone of her voice.
Of course, this re-ignited Mousse's previous anger, and he subsequently shouted out, "Mara Demonica, how dare you…"
However, before the Hidden Weapons master could complete his sentence, Mara calmly brought up one hand, took hold of the chains surrounding her and sent black lightning through them towards Mousse. This obviously had the effect of electrocuting the male Amazon into unconsciousness. Smoke could even be seen wafting from his still body. The sudden release of tension in the chains allowed them to fall from the demoness' body.
Brushing off some imaginary dust from her clothing, Mara then straightened out her clothing, being the picture of calm and collected. After standing there for several seconds, she took a deep breath and suddenly shouted out, "Does anyone else got a problem with me, huh!?!" Pointing towards a random nearby student, "Do you wanna fight!?!" Suffice it to say that the person in question emphatically shook his head in the negative.
Ranma, Ukyo, and Akane walked up to Mara and tried to diffuse the situation. The okonomiyaki chef was the first to speak. "Calm down, sugar. Don't those jerks start getting to ya."
"Yeah, that hair-crazed principal is always trying some stupid scheme to shave our heads," added Ranma. Tapping his chin thoughtfully, he continued, "Ya know, I'm starting to think that the more we fight him, the nuttier he gets."
That seemed to give some pause to those present.
Shaking her head, Akane spoke regarding the other nuisance. "Mousse probably heard out what happened with Shampoo. He's pretty obsess-, ur, protective, of her." The shorthaired girl blushed a bit with her slipup.
Sighing loudly, Mara pinched the bridge of her nose and simply said, "Let's just go to class." Without waiting for a response, the blond walked towards the entrance of the school building. 'How the hell do these people put-up with this crazy place?'
Looking at each uncertainly, they decided to shrug the incidents off and followed Mara's example in heading to class, leaving a smoking Mousse on the ground.
After all, it was Furinken High.
Later in the day…
Many students dread classes for certain reasons. Some think of the material as boring, while others do not like their teachers. Mara was one who hated her history class for both bases, that and the fact that Masamichi Fujisawa seemed to have an inherent dislike for her. 'Well the feeling is mutual,' thought the demoness. These contemplations were interrupted by the teacher's latest tirade toward her.
"Miss Demonica, how many times do I have to tell you to pay attention in class!?! Or do I have to send you out in the hall again?" After melodramatically sighing, he continued, "How do expect to learn the material if you keep daydreaming? Does this class mean nothing to you?" Slapping the desk with the palm of his hand, Mr. Fujisawa added, "Without history…"
Mara yawned noisily in order to interrupt whatever drivel was going to come out of the teacher's mouth. Before he could regain his bearings, she decided to add her two cents. "You're not going to say something corny about how we need to learn history so that it does not repeat itself." The sputtering that was Fujisawa's reply said more than enough.
Snorting indignantly, the demoness continued, "Oh please. Human beings think that they have changed so much in their meager existence. That they have become an 'advanced' society as compared to the days of Babylon." Standing up, Mara continued, "People haven't changed, only the 'toys' that they use."
The demoness began to make slow, deliberate steps towards the front of the class, each one making the teacher more nervous than the last, while the class watched in quiet anticipation. "History is nothing but a biased story where one's heroes are another's villains. Everyone, including those whom you have probably looked up to, has their dirty little secrets that they keep hidden." Smirking darkly, "It makes you wonder how people would react if those skeletons came out of the closet."
Being only a couple of feet away from Fujisawa, Mara was able to make out the slight trembling of his body and she knew that it was not from anger. Smiling in satisfaction, the blond woman turned around and was confronted by the wide-eyed attention of the entire class, including Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo. Sweatdropping, Mara thought, 'Maybe I overdid it a little.'
After regaining some of his bearings, the teacher yelled out, "Miss Demonica, go out into the hall right now!" Said student directed a superior smirk towards the man, but nonetheless complied, although at a slow pace. Before she closed the door behind her, Fujisawa thought that he should get in the last word in order to save some face. "Although you may be right about how some people don't deserve as much praise as they do, we can't know for sure what they did or did not do. Therefore, we only look at their accomplishments." Nodding to himself in satisfaction, Fujisawa allowed himself to smirk and added almost as an afterthought, "We'd have to ask them ourselves to even possibly know the truth."
With her face obscured by the opened door, no one noticed the slight widening of Mara's eyes or the evil smile that formed. Instead of retorting at the teacher's statements, all the demoness did was calmly exit the classroom.
Despite having been punished so recently (although quite frankly it was more of a hassle than anything else), Mara's mood was getting better. Fujisawa did not even take it upon himself to give her detention, probably so as not to seem petty in front of the students. Most importantly, however, was that all of the pieces to the puzzle were coming together.
For the blond demoness, it was quite easy to come with appropriate punishments for Nabiki, Shampoo, and Kodachi. However, now she had to deliver her own sense of justice upon that hair-cutting nut of a principal and that near-sighted fool Mousse. And, of course, there was Kuno. No, Mara did not forget about him by any stretch of the imagination. For all of the degradation that he had put her through, the kendoist needed a more personal humiliation.
And so, Mara had been sitting in her literature class, mostly contemplating her revenge plans, while keep a small amount of focus on the actual lecture. However, at the end of the session, the teacher's next words got her full attention.
"Okay, class, for tomorrow I want you to write a report on what you think is the main theme on the classic story 'The Emperor's New Clothes,' which starts on page 50? Also, talk about how it relates to modern-day issues. Be sure to give appropriate examples and references from it."
While most of the class grudgingly accepted the assignment, it being a bit easier than what they expected for the day, Mara was holding herself back from smiling. 'Well, it looks like school can be a fountain of ideas after all.'
The procession towards the Tendo Dojo was uncomfortable, at least to Ranma and Akane, while the demoness seemed to be lost in her own thoughts. When passing Ucchan's, the okonomiyaki chef said a quick and awkward goodbye, retreating into the sanctuary of her restaurant.
Finally, Ranma decided to break the ice in his usual, blunt matter, "So, uh, nice speech you had going there in history."
This caused Akane to almost facefault, but the shorthaired girl was fortunately able to avoid in doing so. Nonetheless, that did not stop her from muttering, "Baka," with regards to his lack of tact. When the blond gave no response after a few moments, the two blinked at each other, before shrugging and returning on their way home.
The reason being for Mara's silence was obvious. Currently, she was deciding upon the best way to execute her plans. In addition, the blond demoness had not figured out a suitable punishment for that Mousse idiot. These thoughts occupied her mind upon reaching the Tendo grounds and entering the home. After saying a casual, "Hello," Mara went to her room still deep in thought with a wary Ranma and Akane watching after her. The two shrugged off the unusual occurrence and went about their own business.
Eventually dinner came and everyone ate one of Kasumi's gourmet meals yet again. It was afterwards when the family was flipping through the television channels that Mara got inspiration. "Hey isn't this some old gaijin cartoon?" questioned Akane.
Rubbing his chin thoughtfully, Ranma commented, "Y'know, pulling those bombs out of nowhere kind of reminds me of Mousse's hidden weapons technique." Everyone looked at the pigtailed boy strangely at this statement.
Sighing, Akane shook her head, "Ranma, does everything have to relate to martial arts to you?"
To this Ranma blinked and responded, "But it does look like it." It was then that Soun and Genma entered in to the argu-, uh, discussion. Throughout it, however, Mara kept a hidden smile to herself. The planning was done; now only the implementation was left.
Finally, night came and everyone living at Tendo Dojo save one was sound asleep. In an exaggerated display of drama, Mara was currently standing on the house's roof with her arms crossed underneath her chest. Smiling darkly, the demoness simply said, "Commencing stage one."
Jumping into a CD strategically placed on the rooftop, Mara faded away only to suddenly reappear next to a music collection within the bedroom of a certain middle Tendo sister. Walking up to the bed, she glanced over the peaceful face of Nabiki Tendo. Smirking, the blond quietly commented, "Well, you sure look different without the smug expression on your face."
Placing her hands just above the prone Tendo girl, Mara silently chanted, "Remove the mask from which the senses filter. Let all hear the inner voice." A slight glow briefly enveloped Nabiki's body. Looking around the room, the blond demoness found the desk and searched though it. Frowning at her lack of success, Mara continued onto the closet. After another short search, she scowled in annoyance.
Glancing at the still prone form of the middle Tendo girl, Mara suddenly smirked as another idea came to her. Stretching out an arm towards the bed, her hand glowed with a dark light, which then encompassed bed. After mentally lifting it at a slow rate, the blond walked over and looked under it. Smiling in triumph, Mara removed the packet taped to the bottom and opened its contents. Seeing the photos and negatives made her smile widen.
Briefly looking through the photos, Mara saw ones of her, Ranma-chan (before and after his ascension), Akane (which were more tasteful than the first groups), and finally Ranma's male form. The latter ones even made her blush a bit. Raising an eyebrow at the slumbering Nabiki, the blond commented, "You naughty, naughty girl." Nonetheless, with a wave of her hand the pictures on all of the photos and negatives disappeared, leaving only blank space.
Putting them back into the packet, the blond returned the contents to their original location and lowered the bed. It was risky destroying the pictures, but there was no way in hell she was going to let those perverted photos be available. With a wide grin of satisfaction the demoness turned around and teleported through the nearby CD.
Appearing out of a stereo system, Mara took a look around her surroundings and almost immediately grimaced in disgust. Along the walls were various pictures of Ranma-chan and Akane, a couple even being poster-size. The demoness' anger grew at even seeing some of her. With a fierce wave of her hand, all of them became blank. Mara repeated the gesture to a nearby bookshelf containing photo albums since she had no doubt what the contents in there would be.
Walking up to the bed, the blond saw the slumbering figure of Tatewaki Kuno, who still had a few bandages here and there from the previous attacks. Resisting the urge to blast him again, Mara quietly snapped her fingers and an elaborately decorated box appeared next to the bed. Holding out one hand, the demoness quietly chanted, "For one who refuses to see the truth, let only your eyes see these fabrics of reality." After the brief glow that subsequently surrounded Kuno and the box faded, Mara grinned evilly.
With a flip of her wrist, a piece of paper containing various outlined facts appeared. Scanning the contents to recall the location of her next target, Mara phased though the walls in the appropriate direction, eventually reaching her destination. The Hawaiian design of the room was just as the demoness expected. There were even several fake palm trees scattered throughout the area.
Gliding over to the bed, Mara looked down towards a sleeping Principal Kuno, who was clutching a pair of clippers like a teddy bear. Once again repeating the gesture, the blond raised her hand and spoke quietly, "Let the instruments of your shearing hobby return to their owner in showing his folly." This time the glow surrounded the principal, the clippers in his hands, and a large bag situated next to the bed labeled, "Me babies."
Smirking at the latest success, the demoness took out a flask from her front and took a few swigs from it. After putting it back, Mara muttered to herself, "Ah, that hit the spot. I'll need all the energy I can get for the next one." Looking over the direction at which Kodachi's room would be, she continued with an wicked smile, "But don't worry your pretty little head over it. I have different plans for you."
With yet another flip of her wrist, a crystal vile containing a clear liquid appeared in Mara's hands. Not bothering to find a CD, she transported out of the Kuno compound, only to reappear in a quaint room that was much smaller than those of the mansion. Quickly scanning the room, Mara found a small make-up table and mirror in the corner. Zooming over there, the demoness took the vile and poured its contents in the perfume bottle. Not wasting any time, she immediately transported out of the room. A couple of seconds later, the door loudly opened and hopped in an anxious Cologne, who seemed to be warily scanning the vicinity.
A weary Shampoo woke up and looked at her great-grandmother with sleepy eyes, "What wrong, Great-grandmother?"
After closing her eyes for a few seconds, the matriarch looked at Shampoo and replied, "Nothing, Shampoo, go back to sleep." Too tired to ask anything else, the Amazon girl simply nodded and laid back down. Cologne took a few more glances around the room before closing the door behind her.
Floating across the street from the Nekohaten, Mara smirked at a job well done. From the files, the demoness knew that Shampoo's great-grandmother was the matriarch of that Amazon tribe. Therefore, she also knew that the elder would most likely be able to sense the energy from the teleportation and that it would be a good idea to only make a quick stop in the restaurant. Both Mousse's and Kodachi's punishments could wait for later using some of her other resources.
'Now there's only one more stop to make,' Mara noted to herself. With another teleportation, the demoness arrived in a plain apartment that screamed bachelor. The only thing that seemed to standout was a bookshelf that was filled with various history subjects. Fujisawa himself was sprawled out across a simple futon and snoring quite loudly. After gliding to the bed, Mara then looked upon the sleeping form. Snorting quietly, the demoness began her latest chant, "For one studying the past, see that which is not seen in the present until the nearby future." Once more a glow surrounded the victim of a spell. Smiling in satisfaction, Mara commented to herself, "Let the games begin," and subsequently teleported back to the Tendo dojo for sleep.
End Chapter 7, Part 1.
Deep below the surface of the Earth, an ancient evil was stirring. Soon it would be free to wreak havoc upon the world, destroying everything in its pa-…
"Wrong story!" a voice outside the screen exclaimed.
Ahem. (The author quietly changes the scene to that of a theater.)
The red curtain in the backdrop of the stage was still closed, and the audience, whose features remained indistinct in the dark, watched in hushed anticipation of the events unfolding.
"Get on with it already!" a second voice added.
… (The author grumbles, but does so.)
As the house lights dimmed, the spectators clapped politely when two figures entered the stage. From the left strolled in Mara and from the opposite end Ranma appeared. Both were in chibi-forms and wore attire typical for themselves. The demoness was dressed in low-cut shorts combined with a halter-top and a leather jacket. Showing his lack of fashion and style, Ranma wore a red silk shirt and black pants combination.
"Hey!" the demon in question shouted indignantly.
Mara snickered behind her hand, stopping when the boy redirected his glare. Clearing her throat meaningfully, Ranma grumbled, but nonetheless complied in bringing his attention back to the audience.
After seeing this, the blond continued, "Today, we bring you the first installment of…" pausing for dramatic effect, "Demons for Dummies!" The curtain lifted into the air, showing the title in obscenely large letters, below which was located a monitor.
"The purpose of this short series is to give you the audience a better understanding of the information Ranma will be learning from the book," sagely stated Mara.
Scratching his head in confusion, Ranma noted, "I thought that this was just filler material because the author is too lazy to put it into the story." Of course, at the end of the pigtailed boy's statement, a lightning bolt sent from above electrocuted him.
The demoness whispered to her stage partner, "Never piss off the author in an omake." Clearing her throat and ignoring the smoking teenager on the floor, Mara continued, "Anyway, today's lesson is the roles of demons, humans, and gods in the multiverse." After snapping her fingers, the blank screen suddenly showed a group photo containing Hild, Mara, Ranma, and Velspar (cursed child form before feline reincarnation). "First, let's start off with demons. Now unlike what most people tend to believe, demons are not intrinsically evil people."
The pictures on the screen change to various scenes from the Ah! My Goddess manga, including the Mara, Ninja Master, Queen Sayoko, Hild, and Rind arcs. "Demons are basically beings of chaos whose job is to destabilize Midgard." A picture of Earth in the Midgard plane appears. "Think of the world as one big business market with the demons and gods continuously trying to take the largest share for their side. In the case of demons, we do this by manipulating events or making contracts with humans such that promote chaos." Wagging her left index finger for emphasis, "Now, chaos is not in itself good or evil, because if there was none, there would be no change in the universe. However, human society labeled most incidences of large-scale disorder under a term called 'evil,' which eventually led to mortal's current perceptions of demons."
The screen changes once again to that of Hild. "Many people in the audience might be thinking about 'the look' for which Hild-sama is known, the one which can cause even amongst the strongest of gods and goddesses to shake in fear." After crossing her arms and attempting to an all-knowing look, Mara continued, "Now, although 'the look' may be described as the epitome of evil, it would probably be more accurate to say that it portrays her utter ruthlessness."
Almost as afterthoughts, the demoness elaborated, "Hild-sama will do anything she sees fit to achieve her goals. Even the destruction of the world would be possible if there would be adequate compensation. All mortals, demons, or gods are pawns to her schemes…"
A loud ringing interrupted Mara's speech. Blinking in surprise, the blond suddenly realized what she was saying and grew increasingly nervous. Tentatively reaching down her front (to the audience's pleasure), she took out a phone and flipped it open.
Sweating slightly from anxiety, Mara put the phone to her ear and said, "Uh, Boss?"
A sweet and yet sensual voice simply stated on the other end, "Ma-chan, we WILL have words later. Have a good time on the show!" The connection was subsequently cut off.
Whimpering quietly, Mara could look at the phone with increasing horror.
A smoking Ranma stood up from his position on the floor. Dusting himself off, the pigtailed boy glanced in the direction of his co-host and promptly sweatdropped. "Uh, Mara?" Getting no response, the demon waved his hand in front of her face. Still getting no response, Ranma shrugged his shoulders and turned back towards the audience, saying "I, uh, guess that's my cue."
The monitor now showed a picture of Urd, Belldandy, Skuld, Peorth, and Rind on it. "Well, gods and goddesses are basically…"
A voice interrupted Ranma's talk. "I think it would be better if I handled this." Blinking in surprise, the pigtailed demon looked at the screen and saw the picture of Urd being animated. Winking at the boy, the goddess leaped out of the monitor in chibi-form and landed to the other side of Ranma. Also dressed in typical clothes for her, Urd wore a long blue dress with high splits on either side up to her hips in addition to showing a generous amount of cleavage at the top.
The arrival of the goddess seemed to have snapped Mara out of her self-imposed trance. Angrily, the demoness shouted, "Urd, what the hell are you doing here!?! You're not even part of the main storyline yet!"
Shrugging indifferently, Urd calmly stated, "The audience keeps asking for my sisters and me, but since we're not going to be introduced for a while yet, I got another cameo role to make them happy. Do you have a problem with that?" To emphasize her point, the platinum-blond smirked arrogantly.
Seething quietly, Mara crossed her arms but nevertheless let Urd continue.
Smiling in triumph, the goddess turned back to the audience. "Gods and goddesses have basically the same job as demons and demonesses, but with respect to order instead of chaos. Whereas the latter is important for change, order is needed to prevent Midgard from being altered too rapidly…"
Interrupting Urd, Mara smirked and said, "Of course, some goddesses are better at doing a demon's job than their own."
With her twitching eye slightly, the goddess asked, "And what do you mean by that!?!"
Smiling widely, Mara snapped her fingers and on the screen showed various scenes of failed attempts from Urd in getting Keiichi and Belldandy together. In response, Urd indignantly shouted out, "Hey, some those were Keiichi's own fault for using my potions!?!"
"Details, details," lazily added Mara.
Twitching in repressed anger, Urd shot back, "Oh, yeah, well two can play at this game!" Snapping her fingers, the pictures changed to various failed schemes of Mara. "Your plots ended up doing nothing but bring Keiichi and Belldandy closer together." Smiling quite unlike a goddess should, Urd continued, "So, who is doing who's job?"
Black lightning forming around her fists, Mara growled out, "Why you…"
White lightning gathered similarly around Urd. "Bring it on…"
Sweatdropping from the impending violence, Ranma discretely stepped away from between the two. Yes, the Saotome Anything Goes Martial Arts Final Attack comes in handy every now and then, demon or not. He may have been ignorant about many things in the world, but Ranma was not stupid.
"Hellfire Thunder Blast!"
Of course, the result of the explosion was a burnt goddess and a scorched demoness. Seeing that the two were okay, except for being unconscious at the moment, Ranma continued, "Ah, I guess it's my turn." The picture on screen switched to a conglomeration of the assorted mortals from the Ranma ½ and Ah! My Goddess universes. "Humans are neither beings of order or chaos and are free to choose their own paths." After blinking several times, Ranma exclaimed, "That's it! No pictures, video, or anything! What a rip-off!" The pigtailed demon continued to mumble to himself for several seconds about cheap-ass lines and lazy authors. Of course, this resulted in another lightning bolt striking down on Ranma.
Due to electrical difficulties, it comes to the author to wrap-up this segment. Tune in next time for another exciting episode of "Demons for Dummies!"
Well, it's been a long time. Sorry about the infrequent updates, but I don't really write to a schedule. I have not abandoned any of my fanfics, it's just that I have no clue as to when I work on them. As can be seen, this part was only half of the original chapter. I still have some scenes to work on in the second part. However, to alleviate anyone's worries about me being 'dead,' I decided to post this section.
Some corrections were made to previous chapters:
-The methodology on how invisibility works (prologue).
-Saffron's abilities (prologue).
-The use of fiancé and fiancée (all chapters).
-A while back, had a problem recognizing '…' and put in '.' instead. This problem should be corrected with the re-upload of the chapters.
With regards to this chapter, I thought that I had better elaborate on some of the material. Some might be thinking that the Tendo and Saotome families have accepted Ranma's changes too easily. Genma and Soun's only main concern would be if the changes would affect the joining of the two schools, which it won't (at least from their perspective). Kasumi's character is easy-going and can accept these situations without difficulty. As was mentioned in the story, Nodoka is putting up a brave front for her son.
As was previously mentioned, Mara's teleportation medium are CD's; however, it can be done without using the medium, it just takes more power in doing so. I plan to elaborate later on how teleportation works and the specifics on mediums in a later "Demons for Dummies" omake. Mara was basically conserving energy in the beginning since it was going to be needed later (e.g., at the Nekohaten for a quick escape). Secondary energy sources (i.e., alcohol in Mara's and Ranma's cases) only works so far.
The "Demons for Dummies" omakes that will be posted at the end of the chapters give my take on how the AMG god and demon universes work. I plan to have several more of these particular omakes in the future to elaborate on some other issues like the one above. Well, that's about all I have to say on this chapter. Thank you to all of the fans for my works in being patient for updates! Comments and criticism would be appreciated.