While all this was going on in the dining room of the Tendo´s home, Akane was training at the gym. A little voice, lighter than a whisper, a strong memory, was nailing her brains: "Do not marry anyone... do not get married ever".
The girl responded each word, punching the wall with her fists full of pain and frustration.
-What happened, Akane? Why are you hitting this with such a fury? Did Ranma said you something inappropriate?
Akane accommodated her kimono, trying to hide a bit what she was doing but Kasumi stood beside her with tender eyes.
-Did you remember her again?
The girl lowered his head, a sure sign that was remembering a painful thought, a gesture much more eloquent and sincere than a "yes" shouted from the rooftops.
-Do you understand it, sister? Mother's last words?
-You know it was not her. He had lost the north by the disease. I´m sure about it. If you wish to marry Ranma, that should not be an obstacle. You could at least explain to him what is going on inside you. Your fiancé should know at least what prevents you to open up your feelings.
-I´m not sure, Kasumi. To me, she seemed quite lucid: "Never forget how to cook from the heart", "Tricks in the end always turns against you" ... To me it seems more than appropriate and deep phrases for both of you ... but mine ...
And she said no more. The face full of tears and a so contorted expression that Kasumi could not help but embrace her with all her might. It was not much, really, but enough to make her feel, that even as sister, she could occasionally take the role of the missing mother.
Around them, there was nothing but silence, rare occurrence in the Tendo Dojo but understandable given the new situation. Ranma had self-imposed a vow of silence in a childish attitude -given what she had to endure-, but quite logical since he knew nothing of the secret.
Kasumi, meanwhile, continued his role of silent and eternal witness of each family conflicts. Certainly, no one could imagine, then, that she also kept their problems and that in perspective, she carried the heaviest pack of all: to bear it with a smile. And all would have gone like this forever, between a visible comedy and an undergroud tragedy. But, suddenly and unexpectedly, one of the dance steps of the comedy accidentally stumbled a little door of the tragedy and some of the family pain came to light. It started on the side least expected: on the mouth of Ranma.
-Look, Ranma. It´s on autopilot, now.
-Whatever. What I want to know is where we are going. I thought I would be manipulated at home ... well, I'm not complaining. Since we are far away from Akane´s training spot...
-Beeep: Akane is also my best friend. She surely, would help me better...
Nabiki did not need the book to read all the secrets of his pre-brother-in-law, tattooed on his face. Ranma was a typical boy: sincere and reserved. Easy to interpret. Without intricacies nor twisted ideas. Linear and concrete as any man. Shy, unbearably shy, but without malice or double meanings. Of course if she was Akane had already gotten a confession of love at the first hurdle. Poor little sister, -she thought- she still knows nothing about people and their inner world. Less than cooking, indeed.
-Ok, Ranma, if that's what you really think ... if Akane can help you better than me ... we will tell her everything now.
Ranma took his arms to the neck and tried to hide his feelings of uneasiness. Vain gesture that could not hide the shaking in the knees or the incipient pallor that was taking over his cheeks.
-You're lucky, Ranma. Here we are. Sato's study, the great detective. He will tell us where did this device came from and how to use it properly.
-Properly? What do you mean, Nabiki?
-Perhaps you have not noticed earlier but the book is full of buttons and levers. As if it were a small tablet. Maybe it can be configured to do other things. Why do I want a junk revealing your secrets...? If I already know them all! What I really, want is to be able to use it without restrictions, with whoever I choose.
Ranma scratched his head. He was a bit egocentric to accept that Nabiki's response was sincere. So he was looking at the facade of the study of Sato trying to find the trick.
-Are you sure that here works a detective as good as you say?
-Beeep. I would love to live with Akane in a house like this. We will have three children. Ranma Jr…,
Nabiki closed the book while wearing a finger to his mouth.
-Shhht. You had better shut up. You are embarrassing even me.
-It´s your fault.
-Beep, Akane is so beautifu…
-Sht. I'll ring the bell.
-Beeep. You should break down the door with a sledgehammer. That is how every girl should enter in a new place...
-Okay, you win. I hate seeing you as red as a tomato falling into a salad. Look. This button is to turn off the gadget. Will you stay quiet now, playing in a corner and let me talk to the man? Mommy will not take long.
Ranma thought: "You don´t need to get yourself into that ironic plan" but remain silent. He had to do something more important: to explain one mysterious thing, that strange feeling of happiness that sprang from his stomach and reached to the tip of his nose. A sort of jumbled vapored joy that warmed all his body as it went up from his larynx. Was it possible that the book made him feel like that? Hearing those words -the word he thought-, although it was not strictly his speaking, would serve him to purify his soul?
Very close to the Sato study, in the Tendo Dojo, Kasumi was trying to comb Akane´s hairs.
-Let me do it, please. I know you do not like this things but I help me to calm down. I also remember her, you know? Even more than you. In fact, I'm the oldest. The one who spent the most time with her.
Akane sat on a chair and nodded. She was not crying anymore. From a small pocket of her apron, Kasumi took a comb and began the work.
-Do not worry, Akane -whispered in her ear-. No one will see us.
-How do you take it so well, sister?
Kasumi soften her face again. They had not talked about her in years. Nor performed a purely female act like combing each other.
-Thank God -thought Kasumi- the Tendo-Saotome war have taken a day of truce to let us talk.
-Do you know what is catharsis, Akane?
-Yes, I learned in the drama class in high school. It is when viewers purify their own traumas seeing the characters experience them. It's a way to letting the ghosts that live within us, leave.
-That's right, sis. You should try it, occasionally. If you keep all your pain for you, in the end it will destroy you from within. Promise me you will talk to him. Do it for me. If I see you two together and finally agreeing, I think my shadows also will be filled with light. Try to be radiant for once.
Akane looked in the mirror. The surface reflection that stared back was shocking. Beautiful, solemn, adult. She was not a girl anymore.
-Come on, Kasumi. I want to meet the new detective who's on TV. If it's as good as they say, maybe he could help me interpret the ultimate meaning of the words of mother.
-A detective? Are you sure? Would not it be more productive to go to a psychoanalyst?
-Detectives, psychoanalysts. They are all the same. Looking for clues and finding things that we cannot see. I would rather entrust it to someone famous. Someone who can, as he is on the subject, find out about the prophecy...
-Ahhh, again with that? I get it. Well, if it cannot be remedied, let´s go. But be warned: he must be very good to solve the mystery of mother´s gift. I do not know what was she thinking when she gifted a sledgehammer to a three-years old girl nor what the prophecy meant, but you have to accept the possibility that it was just her sick head doing...
Akane jumped up with a big smile on his face.
-Come on. Now, I'm in the mood to try to find out.
In Sato´s study, Nabiki and the detective left the booklet on a large table full of utensils. Flasks, test tubes, beakers, scalpels, acids, microscopes and many more tools.
Ritsuko, the secretary, took the boy to the kitchen.
-You better not bother them. When these two get together, their mood transformed. Above all, the boss, does not stop giving orders. By the way, I do not know if I have said it before but you're pretty cute.
-Beeep, I have five official promised: Kasumi, Nabiki, Akane, Shampoo and Ukyo. And a wild crazy witch chasing after me. If I have to hide from another one, my head will explode, I swear.
Nabiki´s face appeared from the little room next door.
-Stop it, Ranma! Shut up. No one could work like this. And you -pointed at Ritsuko-, stay away from him. You're wasting your time. He only lives and breathes for my sister!
-Really? I don´t think so. I´m sure that he almost blushed when he saw me.
-So, do not you believe me? Ok, Come here, both of you. I will show you something very interesting.
Ritsuko joined Sato in the laboratory grabbing Ranma´s arm -well, what was left of Ranma, because he seemed a ghost full of shame.
-Look, lovebirds. This is the volume knob. If we turn it up, we can hear exactly what he's thinking without speaking.
-Beeeeep. Akane... Akane... Akane... Akane... Akane...
Ritsuko dropped his arm away.
-My god! You're obsessed, boy. I don´t like the obsessives ones. Goodbye.
-Beep. If you knew how beautiful she is, you'd understand.
By now Ranma was curled up on the ground and resting his back against the wall under a table. Bobbing his hair with his owns thumbs and trying to cover his ears with the palms.
-Stop it, please.
-Beep, stop that please.
Nabiki and Sato looked at him with compassion. The boy was, obviously, suffering more than he could bear.
-Young man, you want to get rid of this curse, right? You only has two paths. To mature until your words and thoughts always match up or...
Ranma looked up.
-Beep. Or ...?
-Or fill the machine to cause a reset by information overload. Now repeat after me: "I have no secrets."
-I have no secrets.
-Beep. Secret number one. I love Akane. Secret number two, every day, when I´m ready to finally confess, I see her even more beautiful than before, and I just can´t say a single galant word. Secret number three...
-How about if we go to have a coffee, Ms. Nabiki and speak about the other case in more detail? I think this will take long.
And so, Sato and Nabiki left Ranma alone in his catharsis room.
The ill fate, destiny, misalignment of stars or all at once, made Akane and Kasumi to arrive at the studio half an hour later and when Nabiki and Sato had not yet returned.
Ritsuko attended them as usual, i.e. politely until she heard Akane presenting herself by her name.
-Hmpf. So you're ´that´ woman? Well, I think that comatose wreck in the lab is yours -said Ritsuko to them. I leave you alone. I have to do some shopping.
Akane had no time to really understand what was happening or why the secretary was using such an aggressive vocabulary because the sound of a machine running at full steam reached her ears.
-Beeep. Secret two hundred thirty-two. Akane is even more beautiful with short hair. Secret two hundred thirty-three. Kimiko Tendo is alive. Today I have seen her again.
-What is this, Kasumi? -cried Akane- Why have I heard the name of mother? What were you hiding to me all these years?
End of chapter two.