Authors note: an explanation.
This was the hunter. WAS. See the problem was that hunter had two distinct stories in it, one that I was trying to write, and one that was added by not following the first.
The on again off again weirdness with teaching the scouts etc. and suddenly dropped school etc. was all fluff and needed to be gotten rid of. And an entirely new idea needed to be fleshed out. So I gave up and decided to start again.
I would take hunter down but everyone always complains at me when I do that, so instead Ill just rewrite this as a different story and guide it to the end from the beginning. It does mean I should dislike the ending less than before.
So those folks who can't seem to grasp simple terms, here is the gist when I have seen stories that other authors have done similar things, needing a rewrite or a different path on a story all together.
Rewrite of the hunter. Check
A lot of the first couple of chapters will be in parts or bulk already been published in hunter. Check
It is not plagiarism to copy ideas or stories from yourself. Even if parts are word for word. Check
Two figures sat looking at two displays, peering into the working of a world. Behind each of them were large displays showing the respective existences they had come from. One was a creator, and one an infector. Both held tremendous power over the dimension they examined. They had fought before, twice, and both times the infection won over the creation. Creation was here to try again.
YOU DO REALIZE THIS IS POINTLESS
YOU CANNOT WIN, HAVE NEVER WON AND NEVER WILL. YOUR POWERS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO STOP ME
Perhaps, but that does not mean I will not make the attempt. You were one of my creations as well once.
IWAS NOT CREATED BY YOU. I WAS FORMED, EVOLVED INTO THE PERFECT BEING. PERFECTION CANNOT BE STOPPED.
You and I have vast differences in the idea of what "perfection" is.
THAT IS WHY YOU LOSE. PERFECTION IS SIMPLY PERFECTION. YOU FIND IT SUBJECTIVE; WICH WOULD NOT MAKE IT PERFECT.
The two examined their screens. One area of particular interest appeared before them was the city of Tokyo, as they watched for events to take place.
I HAVE CHAMPIONS THERE. LET US FIGHT IN THIS PLACE.
I however do not have any champions in that city. I would need to bring them and we would have to set some boundaries.
OF COURSE. BRING YOUR CHAMPIONS, AND YOUR TERMS. NOTHING YOU DO WILL BE ABLE TO VARY MY PATH OTHER THAN DESTRUCTION OF THE PLANE.
The spirit of creation thought to herself for a long time.
Just a few champions, their leader from this world, a few years ago. Some closely attached to your champions, but not of them. Our champions do not themselves interact, other than the one we choose as our direct avatar.
AGREED AND THE WINNER SHALL BE DETERMINEDON IF MY CRYSTAL CITY SURVIVES ONE THOUSAND YEARS.
Ok, let us begin then.
"Time to die" screamed Saffron, god of the phoenix peoples. He grew weary of the insects that had stood against him today. He was reborn, and these 'creatures' dared to try and stand against him.
"I am a god, you cannot stand" Saffron continued his assault against the boy with the black pigtail.
"Shut UP!" roared back the heir of the anything goes school, Ranma Saotome. Ranma was starting to slow down. His life force bore more and more of the brunt of the fight. Even with the power of the Gekkaja he was channeling life forces that were far beyond what should be humanly possible. Beyond the brightness of his aura, a different type of energy became visible. It was the energy of his life, causing him to look like his body was starting to be made from smoke.
'Losing it here' Ranma thinks to himself. On the edges of his chi, it was starting to ripple faster around the edges as Ranma was getting closer to collapsing. The Gekkaja twirled in his hands, faster and faster trying to fend off the flames of the fire god.
"Give up boy. You are done" screamed Saffron. "This was the only conclusion. You Lose!"
"I" *block* "Never" *thrust* "Lose!" Ranma screamed back over the sounds of the winds, flames and ice. Through the swirling mass of the powers being released Saffron's flames Ranma could see a ball of fire forming. Responding to this Ranma started to form his own sphere of ice forming around his own body.
Ranma fell deeper and deeper into his soul of ice, ignoring everything else. Ranma impaled Saffron with the Gekkaja and tried in vain to overcome the fires of the phoenix with the ice of his being and the magic of the Gekkaja. Flames and Ice danced and intertwined building up the energies of the magic's and compressing them.
A singular explosion occurred, spreading light across the sky, and was visible for hundreds of miles.
Here was the crossroads. For all that destiny and free will reacted to the forces of the world, any true god would trump the power of a mortal, no matter how powerful or skilled he was. This was the point when Saffron would make his decision about how this reality would proceed. For all of the power Ranma had exerted, he still was not a god. Saffron was the one who would choose.
There were as always three main options here. In the one in most multiverses he selected would be to try and kill Akane to hurt the boy who was soon to end his life. Various outcomes came from this with all of them ending with Ranmas death usually at the hand of Akane. Another one would be that he opts for self-destruction rather than target anyone in particular. This often ended in everyone other than Ranma himself perishing, from the resulting power. The last would be to put all of his energy into continuing to try and engulf Ranma until the end. This was not usually the chosen path, as it meant not giving into pride, and simply fighting till the end. When that option is picked by a dying Saffron, usually it meant that in his last burst both him and Ranma would be consumed.
This is a different ending however, with a much smaller chance of probability that the others. Here, some random factors come together, and a new ending is forged. Creation has found it leader.
Far from here, the fight between Ranma and Saffron was blinding Lady Pluto and the Time Gates to something she was actively looking for. The Fights eventual ending used so much Chi and magical energy that any scrying throughout the world was showing only their fight. It would take weeks for Pluto to even establish that the event she looked for, the resurrection of Serenity, had actually taken place when it was supposed to, more or less. When she looked though for any cause however all she could find was this blinding energy, and the reborn egg of saffron. The other half of the fight appeared to be gone from the dimension entirely.
Saffron feels the cold of the attack attempt to overcome him. His form is shifting as much as Ranma's as the power bleeds out of them both. He is a god, he will not back down. He will take this mortal with him, into the blackness. Powers and attacks roll off of each other, building as each form bleed more and more out. They were reaching the absolute focus and death would soon claim the lives of both warriors. Saffron has made his choice; he will fight to the last, to win. Ranma knows no other way to exist.
In Tokyo something that should have happened 5 hours later instead happened then. An overflowing wave of magic was released into the world with the sound of a newborn princess's first cry. Magical beings would assume this to be a side effect of the battle underway and they would be wrong. Serenity has been reincarnated and her birth would push just enough magic into the world right at the moment of focus. The Magic's being tossed around the mountains of china were enough to bring her into being just a little early. The magic of her birth fed itself back to the war over china. A champion for one of the great beings, through her perfection was to be attained.
The last wave had completed, and the burst of the energies spread out around the mountain. The mountain started to buckle under the strength of the energy release. This would have soon consumed the lives of all present. The magic of the birth reached the energy spout that was forming over the mountain causing all the energies to ripple back into themselves. The force of energy this held caused the bindings of the dimension itself to be shredded creating a portal. The gate pulled all of the excess energy into it. The falling body of an unconscious Ranma, dropping from his dancing point in the whirlwind was pulled into that energy tornado, and pulled through the gate.
Saffron's form would glow, shimmer and dissolve, leaving behind the golden egg from which his next body would be born.
No one was able to see the boy as he fell and then disappeared. They could only see the blinding light, that reached across the heavens and filled the sky of Asia. In the following years this would be called the Byankala event.
The deaths of Ranma and Akane fell hard on the families in Nermia, but time heals all wounds, more or less.
For 15 years, everyone would think that Ranma was dead. No one could ever find his body, until much later. Everyone reasoned how could he have survived? 15 years was time enough for the pains of his loss to be lessened, for most anyway. There were several funerals falling from that event. While the loss was keenly felt by many of survivors of the NWC for years, eventually they all would move on. Only one person would ever maintain hope that Ranma would be found one day, Cologne, who felt if anyone could have found a way to survive he would. She felt the opening but was never sure that the Saotome boy had escaped the final blast or not.
15 years later, the 2nd event took place. A similar light appeared across the sky, this time centered in Tokyo. Those who survived the fight in China felt that another great fight has happened, and later events of that day would give everyone more reason follow that idea. It would be weeks before most of them realized that he had returned.
The light flared across Tokyo and at its center stood a boy and girl, both appearing to be teens. One was a boy wearing a black shirt and pants of Chinese design. The silver bracers he wore along matched a silver metal tip on his pony tail. A great silver dragon wrapped around his left shoulder. Next to him, a smaller girl who was desperately clutching his hand stood there. She also had long black hair, and wore similar outfit. Her eyes glowed softly red however, and if you examined hard you could see just the tips of horns poking out from the hair.
"Saiel kos dun illma Cassy." Spoke the boy.
The girl nodded
"Saiel kos dun gre unar" she replied bowing her head slightly.
The Boy looked around, taking in his surroundings.
"Unar vel kol erun?" the dark haired girl asked the boy.
"Cassy, xia vol Nippon ul urth." He replyied.
The girl looked annoyed somewhat. "But why daddy, I hate it when you make me talk like this"
"Because Cassy. I think we have come to my home." He looked around, seeing what he knew in his heart was Tokyo. He was not sure what district, but it felt like home to him. "I don't know WHEN we are but I know where. This is the city I used to live in."
The girl looked around as well.
"Yes that it is." The boy responded. "You will need to remember to address me by my name here. No one would understand how you could be my daughter"
The pair started walking down the street. Other pedestrians were starting to move as well. No one had noticed them appear thanks to the flash of light in the sky.
"Dad..er Ranma, why would they not understand that. Anyone could see I am your child by just looking at us" the girl glanced around. She still held his hand, unwilling to let it go. As they moved, Ranma kept looking for some sign to clue him in on where he was exactly.
"Its because they do not have succubus's here, Cassy. You are the gift of Kosh. They don't have anyone or anything like Saiel or Kosh here. Humans rule here, not gods. Remember I told you, the last god I saw here, I killed"
Chibi-Usa was feeling nervous.
Actually that was only one of the many emotions she felt at the present time. Nervous, anxious, dread hope each of these feelings played out in her mind. She knew the event of the light and knew what it heralded, sort of.
'I love Pluto dearly but I wish she had been reborn already.' She thought to herself as she replayed what she knew of the Event in Tokyo. The great light signaled the coming of the Hunter. It also signaled that the minions of the Thirst were not far behind. The Senshi would know little about this until the thirst started to move against the residents of Tokyo. Then there were all of the possible events. Pluto may or may not have directed the Senshi to attack the hunter. The future Pluto could tell the current Pluto to attack the Hunter and that this would lead to a disagreement between her mother and Pluto. The Current Pluto could decide that it's wrong and not attack the hunter. There could be two Pluto's here at once. All of this she knew could have happened, or something else entirely. She was not as good at reading the possibilities of the gates yet. She also knew that the Pluto from her time was thoroughly out of her mind.
Chibi-Usa was alone, so could release the glamor she kept around her and wander around a bit. Contrary to her glamour, she did not in fact have pink hair, it was a deep red. While she did have fond memories of her original color, the darker red as she grew older just suited her much more. She knew she could not tell the current Senshi of what the real situation in the future was, that would damage them too much. Maybe one, but that remained to be seen. She also knew that this was a very dangerous time for the scouts, from dangers within. Without external monsters, they turned again on each other.
The secret she kept was that in Chibi-Usa's time Pluto had lost her mind. Too much time and memories for Pluto to bear. Chibi-Usa had been researching what records existed on the nature and function of the Keeper of Time ever since she had first made her trip back, and realized that there were some massive differences of the Pluto of old, and the one she grew up with. In examining the silver millennium records, she found that as the Heir of the throne she had greater access to records than she had originally thought she would. She was able to put together how things were designed to work, and realized just how much her Pluto had screwed up things in the kingdom.
Until her mother, Queen Serenity the V, there had always been oversight of the time gates by the queen. It maintained the power of the queens. They had a watcher of the gates so constantly scan them and they examined the gates as well so that they could decide for themselves what was needed if anything. Pluto always acted as watcher. From lifetime to lifetime it was always her that acted as watchdog. The real problem was that Neo-queen serenity was not very well prepared to take over as queen and at an early age learned to trust Pluto implicitly. Pluto had nothing but the best at heart for what was to take place, but do to the nature of the gates, and the lack of the oversight of an active queen monitoring her watcher all of Pluto's information came from her future self. The same future self that Chibi-Usa had decided that age and time had gotten the best of.
The Pluto in the future was ignoring one of the main flaws of the time gates. That flaw was the user could only see into the gates as far as that user lived in the upcoming years. In crystal Tokyo Pluto had only one possible future to look at because her time was near to the end. This flaw was always worked around by the Queen monitoring the gates as well. Unless in some chance point both the Queen and Pluto perished at the same time there would be overlap. The Pluto of the future, gave the Pluto of the past the idea of a lasting utopia if they would only push for this one future. Nothing however is forever. The Pluto of the past should have known better.
If the Neo-Queen were paying watching the gates she would see what now was going to come because of her lack of action. Instead she had spent almost two thousand years trusting in the dictates of her time guardian. And now 800 years after the founding of Crystal Tokyo, its end was approaching.
Chibi-Usa however knew what was specifically could be coming and that Pluto had magnificently failed. Chibi-Usa needed to try and fix things before not only the earth was gutted, but perhaps the entire universe, thanks to creatures known as the Thirst. She also knew that the gates never seemed to survive more than a few years beyond the current Pluto's life, at least from her perspective. She knew that there were key beings that effected what was in the past as well as what will be. One such individual held more effects in him, than anyone other than Lady Pluto herself, and that Lady Pluto would do everything in her power to stop and destroy this man. Usa knew there was a chance that she would be VERY close to him, but that path, and means was hidden from her. What she did not know was that she too had been chosen by creation, and he would be more would be her leader, even if he never became her lover or husband. All she was allowed to see was the possibility that he could be her mate. But that she was not the only one, who could be.
"Oh man now I have to track down someone who I may or may not marry in my time, to protect him from a Time guardian who may or may not try and have him killed. And that he is here to deal with a threat that may or may not end the universe. I wish the gates kept a cliff notes version of itself around."
Chibi-Usa continued to walk down the street, looking for something that seemed out of place. As chance (or the will of creation) would have it she was only three blocks from where Ranma and Cassy were walking that she unfortunately got distracted by her one true weakness. Ice Cream.
Cassy had seen her father do many amazing things over the time that she had existed. He had become the avatar of both the Hunter of the Twisted and the Dark Lady of Corruption. He destroyed the many of the minions of the great spider type being who wanted to feed in the Realm. Then when his time was done serving Kosh he was given the spirit form of his daughter, Casselia. She knew that once he received his gift from Kosh, Ranma moved against the corruptors of innocence, and became Saiel's living avatar. He served her well too and was gifted by her this return to his home. He was not the greatest of all Avatars, but he had been seen as a powerful Hunter of the realm, and served two of the Great ones with distinction.
"There we go" Ranma said aloud as he finally found a train station, and with that the location he was at. "Juuban district. Close I guess" he turned to walk towards his old home, knowing it would take him hours to get there. Ranma was not as flashy as he used to be. While he still had the appearance of his old form. For one never aged in the Realm, and he had no real concept of how long he had been in the Realm. Time did not exist there as such. He knew that to him he had been gone for some period of time. His body just never changed in that place.
Val 'En looked out across the field to where the line of foes stood. 'Now, is a good time to die' he mused to himself. Val 'en was the Avatar of Kosh, Hunter of those who were called the Thirst. The realm bordered the lands of the Thirst and it was that border that the Elder one sent out his forces to hunt.
The Thirst itself had no ruler per se. The strongest of the creatures was the Ungoll, a great energy mass that looked similar to a thousand legged spider that was the size of a mountain. From the Ungoll came the threads that formed the land of the thirst. The smaller minions of this realm were man sized spiders, which were fairly weak in comparison to the more powerful denizens. All of the demons that fed off of the life force and blood of mortals came from this realm, with those that on the earth would be called Vampires and Succubus's being the top of the food chain so to speak. Succubus's were the more dangerous of the two to the hunters, as they fed on the energy of the hunters, making them weaker over time. Usually one hunter team would be sent after a single Succubus. If the avatar was with them, then they could possibly go after two, though succubus's had thus far never worked together. The avatar on his own could fight one to a standstill. Only a single one though.
Val 'En looked across the field to the magnificent trap he had walked into. His hunting party had come after a succubus who had been raiding across the border. They had followed her, into a large party of the least of the minions. That pack however had forced them back closing off their escape route. At this Val 'En was unconcerned, it would take time but those minions were little threat to them. It was as they continued to cut through the minions that they saw the real reason for this. A group of six Succubus's who were coming after them.
His men could see them, and they too knew that this was the end for them. The lesser minions were the only thing keeping them alive at this point, acting as a buffer that time would eventually eat away, and the succubus's would then feed.
Val 'En had served Kosh to the best of his ability. He was satisfied with his service and only regretted that this would mean he would no longer be able to return to the wheel and be reborn. Nothing Val 'en knew of would be able to help them defeat this enemy.
As he had these thoughts, and prepared to rally his hunters once more a ball of fire formed in-between him and the attacking forces. It grew into a horizontal pillar of the most intense flames ever seen in this world. Val 'En could see the rip in space occur, and beyond it, nothing but flames. After a few moments the flames died and Val 'en realized that his opponents were now nothing but ash.
On the ground in front of him lay a boy seemingly dead. Slight movement in his chest shed Val 'en that he was in fact alive. Val 'En motioned to his men, who picked up the boy and they returned to the Realm. As they were picking up the boy, Val 'en noticed a shining sphere, lying on the ground in the ashes of his foes. Picking it up he decided to present it to his lord Kosh alone with the boy. The ball was warm to the touch and pulsed in time to Val 'En's heartbeat.
They walked along and Cassy finally let his hand go. She had a small contented smile on her face as she processed the energy that her father had given her. They walked along and she started asking him no end of questions about the place they were, and what she should expect. This is how they made their way across Juuban.
Cassy enjoyed the walk and the talk with her favorite person in any world, her daddy. She knew that for a succubus she was very different than most. For one, she was the first one that could stand in the light of Saiel without burning. Ranma had explained it to her once; she lacked any corruption in her so Saiel would not burn her. She had fed from daddy ever since her creation. He was such a huge food source that all she needed was to hold his hand, or be close to him and her hunger subsided. He spent a lot of time making sure as well that she never grew hungry enough to become what her kind was. He trained her, taught her and in general protected her from almost everything in the Realm.
Ranma did not want to rush this trip, he was afraid of what he would find. He knew that if nothing else everyone would have thought him dead. He had seen the end, what other response could there be. Hiding was not his style, but a selective use of the arts final attack felt more comfortable to him. He also rationalized to himself that this could be good for Cassy. Give her a chance to acclimate more to the world. It was just another excuse really, and deep down he knew it.
As they walked farther along he saw signs pointing up a grand stairway, that lead up to a shrine.
'This would work, shrines always needed help and often gave shelter to those in need'
"Cassy, we will go and see if we can stay here tonight." Ranma nodded up the hill. They walked up the stairs, with Cassy asking him about the statues, and the great gate that they passed under. At the top was a central temple, with a few smaller building around it and a great yard in the front. There was an old man sweeping the yard, and he smile when he looked up.
"I am The local priest here, Hino-san. What services can we provide to you today" said the old man smiling.
Ranma explained to him what the situation with them was, how they were on their way to Nermia, and they needed a place to stay that evening. He also said he was willing to work to cover their stay, and would be happy to help in anything the temple needed help with. Hino gave him a list of things to start on but was agreeable to the idea. Ranma spent the next several hours, fixing the roof, and making sure of the tiles.
The old priest there seemed to give Ranma and Cassy odd looks through the evening that Ranma noticed. Ranma for his part took care of several more odd jobs that the temple needed as payment for the nights hospitality. He introduced Cassy to the concept of a furo. This type of bath Cassy was thoroughly enraptured by.
The old priest made them dinner, a simple one of rice and broth.
After dinner they all adjoined to the court yard to sit in the calmness of the deepening shadows. Cassy had discovered something else new to her, fireflies. She in her childlike fashion started chasing them to see if she could catch one.
"That girl is refreshing to watch. I have never seen someone her age showing me the world in such a childlike manner" said the priest of the temple to Ranma.
Ranma smiled "Hino-san, she is a child. And she acts exactly as I expect she should. She is just a child who looks far older than she is"
The priest looked at him. He knew the boy had introduced himself as Ranma Saotome but there was no way this young man could be THAT Ranma. 'He must be a relative I guess' Hino thought to himself. 'That was over a decade ago.'
Still the priest wished that his granddaughter were her so he could introduce them. Something about the young man revealed quiet power. A lot of it. And the priest could tell from watching Ranma and Cassy that there was a deep capacity for kindness and love there as well.
"I am sorry that my granddaughter is not here to help on this she is a much better cook than I am" The priest said to Ranma as he looked back to the girl chasing fireflies. "She should be back soon; she was at her study group tonight".
Ranma nodded to him. "As long as you did not have an agreement with an idiotic martial artist offering his son in marriage to her, I would be honored to meet your granddaughter, Hino-san"
Hino again blinked. Something about that statement reminded him of the stories the other Saotome told him when she came to him for counseling. No-Chan talked about a lot of magical things about her son, and that statement seemed to be so similar to her stories.
Hino heard the phone ring and talked to his granddaughter on the phone, she was staying out tonight, at one of her friends place. Hino sighed. So much for this introduction.
After more idle conversation, Hino showed them to a room for the night. He did ask Ranma to come back and stay again sometime, on the grounds that he had a lot of things around the temple that he could not get done alone, and Ranma has said he may be looking for a place to stay. Ranma thanked him for his hospitality
The morning sun was warming and filling. Blue skies had the hint of clouds, white cottony ones. Cassy could see birds in the air, and sitting on poles that appeared to be tied together. Cassy had never seen anything like this morning the in Realm.
"Selan unvos, alalch me tir de ungar, alach me undas tir" she said softly.
"Selan unvos cassy, yes it is beautiful. I had forgotten just how beautiful this world could be" replied her father.
After more chores and another light breakfast, Ranma and the priest looked over his work and decided that Ranma would stay on one more night, so he could fix some of the electrical issues in the side houses. At lunch Hino-san stopped them, and handed Ranma a small package of money.
"Ranma you have done very well, more than I expected. You should take your daughter out and show her some of the sights, maybe get some ice cream. Just remember Rei should be back tonight, and dinner will should be made by her rather than this old man." Hino smiled at the younger man who looked at him somewhat uncomfortable.
"I could not take your money, Hino-san. This is for.."
"A job well done, Ranma-kun. Take it and make an old man happy" said Ranma to him.
Ranma called Cassy over and he led her down through the stars and to the city below.
! #$%^^&^%$# !
Yuzu was walking down the street, sniffling. The 7 year old had lost her older sister Karin, and had no idea where to go. She wanted home, or Karin, or Ichigo, or daddy. She wanted someone to make her feel safe, and she was anything BUT safe right now. She was alone, walking through the streets, and lost. Walking towards her she could see a man and a woman dressed all in black. The woman was pointing and laughing, making the man laugh with her and seemed to be explaining to the woman about what things are them were.
Cassy saw the little girl, and saw she had been crying. She went over to the girl and ask "Hi, I am Cassy. Whats your name?"
Now normally Yuzu would have not told her anything. Karin always gave her a hardtime about talking to strangers. But this woman seemed so nice, and Yuzu alsmost felt safe in their presence.
"Yuzu… I am looking for my big sister, Karin"
Ranma looked on the two "Well yuzu we will have to go find her then, what does she look like?"
Yuzu's face scruntched up in trying to figure out how to describe her. "She is about as tall as you" (pointing at cassy) and she is the prettiest girl in the world. The nicest too!" yuzu said in her child-type enthusiasm.
Ranma grinned 'yeap, young girl all right. Lets go find us a sister.'
! #$%^&*&^%$# !
Karin was frantic. Yuzu was gone. Too many things could have happened that would be bad, and they had wanted to do was go get some ice cream. Down each street she ran, looking down each cross street until in the distance she saw Yuzu, walking with a man and a woman.
"Hey, Yuzu!" she called out.
Yuzu turned around and ran at her sister happily, Once their hug got over, as went back to the man and woman and bowed low. "Thank you for taking care of my sister. I am in your debt."
Ranma smiled at her. Cassy responded to her saying "our pleasure. Daddy was taking us to get ice cream, you want to join us?"
Karin just boggled at the word daddy, and looked around she didn't see anything or anyone around. "we would be honored to join you."Introductions were made and Karin felt comfortable with the Cassy, who she later found out was more of a girl than a woman, though Ranma intimidated her to some point
'he just seems so strong. Like Ichigo, just more so. He sure is cute thought' she flipped back and forth between being afraid, and turned on by Ranma. Ranma being Ranma was just clueless,
Ranma had missed Ice-cream and was past the notion that only girls ate it. Problem was in the Realm, ice cream was not to be found. He went inside, saw several patrons, and a little soda/coffee car that had a couple of folks sitting at. Not really meaning too he went up fairly close to this one girl with red hair who was sitting at the bar alone to order. Ranma had of course forgotten something fairly important about this.
He looked the menu over, and said politely to the guy working there "I would like four chocolate ice cream cones please.
The guy behind the bar nodded, and started to make them up half way through finishing getting the fourth one ready when he said to Ranma "that will be 350 yen please"
'Yen? Crap, money I haven't had to use money in a long time.' Ranma fidgeted. He had left the envelope thinking he would not need it and planning on sneaking the money back into the donation box. A plus B still did not always equal c in his mind. So not through malice but negligence he found he was unable to pay for the cones he had just ordered.
The girl who sat near him heard someone say
"I would like four chocolate ice creams please." And she looked up and Usa saw Him. The boy she was looking for. Well she thought he may be the one. Either way Ranma was a dead ringer for the boy she was looking for. The outfit was right. She had seen those bracers before, in the gates. His voice even sounded familiar if younger than in the gates.
Ranma sighed "I am sorry sir but I have forgotten my money, so I will come back and get these another time." Ranma bowed his head and turned to leave. The man at the bar was annoyed of course, until he heard someone else say "Wait; I'll buy them for you, on one condition."
Ranma turned and took a close look at the girl sitting there. He could honestly say he had not seen anyone like her so it was unlikely at best that she was some sort of fiancée.
"Some old man did not promise your hand in marriage to a young martial artist did he?" Ranma was not normally one to turn down free food, but the time in the Realm had taught him a fair bit about asking first and not assuming things.
"No, I can't see my father doing that, not to a marital artist anyway". Usa replied. After Usa had learned started looking into the gates functions, she suspected that she was not really from her own time, and that she was being treated like glass in the kingdom. She also felt that there was someone else, sometimes that folks referred too when they talked about her. Someone who was never in the same room with her at the same time. After her limited understanding of how the gates worked however, she was starting to get an idea of who it was they were refereeing too, and why no concept of relationship or Dating was ever brought up about her.
"Well then, since you're not some scheming fiancée I'll be happy to answer you" Ranma smiled. If Usa had not been so desperately trying to hide her wince at that, she would have blushed. Instead she tried to act the princess she suspected she not yet was.
"If you tell me why you need four, and what your name is" Usa replied, trying to make sure she had the right guy or not.
"Well, there is this little scared girl who needed someone to talk too, and I figured ice cream for her. We found her sister, so she was with us as well as my daughter Cassy, and I would wanted to get Cassy some ice cream before I took her to meet the rest of her family." Ranma himself often forgot quite how things sounded, even though he told Cassy not to say she was his daughter, he kept calling her that. Ohh and my name is Ranma Saotome"
Usa wondered to herself what he meant by "daughter' but kept her mouth shut
Ranma noticed his own slip and thought to himself.' Hmmm maybe that idea won't work. Not if we are both calling her my daughter. Just have to come up with a better excuse or something. Locked Jusenkyo curse maybe?"
Usa also was thinking to herself 'Bingo. Cassy was a name I saw, as was Ranma. Now I just have to keep tabs on him'
Usa dug in her pocket and pulled out 400 yen. Pocketing the change she looked at Ranma, again. "Maybe you can let me meet your daughter sometime Ranma. My name is Usa Tsukino, if you ever feel like chatting, let me know." She quickly wrote a number down, and handed it to him.
Ranma felt he knew where this was going 'at least I got everyone ice cream.'
"uhmmm Sure I guess" he replied. Usa smiled at him. "Hey it's just to talk. I don't meet many single guys who know how to care for daughters your age." She winked at him and walked off hiding her own blush.
The guy behind the coffee bar looked at Ranma "Never tell them you have a kid, boy it's like blood in the water too them."
"To who?" asked Ranma.
"Unattached females. Best aphrodisiac there is. Unmarried men who can handle children."
Ranma just shook his head and went back to take the girls their ice cream.
! #$%^&*&^%$# !
Cassy and the girls had been talking about all of the "crazy" things that had happened in each other's lives, and by the time Ranma got back everyone was in a much better mood. The Ice cream was good too. After a bit more talking Ranma realized he needed to do something about going back to the Tendo's.
"Ladies, I have enjoyed our time together but Cassy and I need to get to our family, as Cassy has not met many of them and we are expected." Ranma bowed to the girls.
Ranma and cassy were able to leave, and start back to the shrine, though he was not unscathed by the experience. Another slip of paper, with another set of numbers was soon placed next to the first.
Ranma was sweeping the yard when a girl with long black hair walked into the yard, and past him. She seemed like she owned the place, so Ranma figured that she was the granddaughter of hino-san. He continued his sweeping.
Rei was tired if not satisfied. She had spent the night with Mammaru and had that warm feeling that accompanies such activities. Was it right or honorable? No, but she enjoyed it anyway.
Some part of her brain noticed the cute boy sweeping the yard but for some reason her mind could not attach on it. Something made him seem like a ghost, like he was not really there. She went to her room, and stayed there for the night. Even when called for dinner she just made an excuse to stay silently in her room. Anyone who knew her would have thought she was acting strange. Well other than any of the other scouts who would have joined her and sat quietly waiting for someone to leave.
Ranma finished the chores laid out by Hino-san and headed back to the furo. Cassy had already been there for an hour, and loved every second of it. When dinner was ready, Hino-san apologized for his granddaughter, who said she was ill. Dinner continued more or less like before, light conversation and fielding many questions from Cassy.
Ranma was insistent on doing this his way. His last memory from before he came here was fighting and killing a god. Some lousy spider creature was not going to get the best of him.
From outside the training pen, Val 'en watched the newest summoned of Kosh train against a captured type 1 thirst. These were the weakest of the creature that came from the Web, and were often captured to help train those new to the path. All who came thought they knew how to fight these being. Very few had come knowing how to in truth.
Ranma threw his best techniques at the thing, only to have most of them absorbed. If anything the spider seemed to be growing larger the more he attacked. Especially his Chi attacks the thing seemed to relish.
And this thing drained him. The longer he spent in the company of it, the more tired he became. This was not like anything he had ever fought before.
Val 'en just waited. Kosh had already shown him that this was a needed path to take, the path of breaking him down a bit, before teaching him. He was too confident in himself. The Thirst in many ways meant to sacrifice one's self to the task.
In the ring the spider was not completely inactive either. It needed do almost nothing to drain this one. It was offering its own life willingly. But it was busy trying to absorb the energies offered to it, so that it could grow. A few more minutes and it would have evolved enough to advance. His meal would then lose its usefulness, for it would require massive amounts for its next incarnation.
Val 'en watched Ranma slow down rapidly. Just like the last three times he had tried his best, but Val 'en needed to stop the type 1 before it could advance. Val 'en pulled his blade and signaled the other hunters to enter the ring and cut the creature down.
They helped Ranma leave the ring, just as they had the last few times when he trained. Val 'en once more asked Ranma "Are you ready to learn how to fight them?"
Ranma glared at him "I CAN beat these things. I will figure it out without weapons."
Val 'en just shook his head. HE would teach Ranma when Ranma was ready to learn. Until then he just needed to watch and wait. 4 more times Ranma would fight these things before he was willing to learn.
*end of flashback*
After more idle conversation, Hino allowed them to return to the guest room for the night. He did ask Ranma to come back and stay again sometime, on the grounds that he had a lot of things around the temple that he could not get done alone, and Ranma has said he may be looking for a place to stay, after his meetings. Ranma thanked him for his hospitality and early in the morning, when the dew was still covering the ground, they left to finish their trip to Nerima
They turned the last corner and down at the end of the block was an old familiar manor. The Tendo Dojo. Ranma sighed and wondered how this would go. They were family to him but he was not the same person as before. He felt so much older than the time that must have passed before he came back. Looking at himself Ranma thought it could only have been a few days he thought but to him it was so long. It was just odd that he really could not figure out how long he had been in the Realm. Sometimes he felt that he did everything all at once, that time itself was not a factor there. That he had learned under Val 'En at the same time as watching him return to his home while at the same time being given Cassy as reward for serving Kosh "**"time for being his avatar.
He looked over at his daughter though and smiled softly. She was his pride and joy. She was proof to him that everyone had a choice. She was a Succubus, a demon and she chose to not give into her nature, and maintain a good and honest heart. She gave him hope that even his own karma could be avoided beaten and that only he really could choose what happened to him.
'Maybe that was why Kosh gifted her to me in the first place. 'Thought Ranma
Cassy looked around expectantly. She has heard stories of this place from Ranma and was on the lookout for bicycles flying through the air or blind men throwing training potties (she was not sure what those were but they sounded fun) or evil little trolls to be jumping around everywhere. What she found though was calm and serene houses and this deep feeling of a kind energy coming from the house they were walking towards.
As they got to the gate Ranma noticed the sign on the front. "The Tofu heath center"
'Tofu?' He thought. Another much more worn sign hung below it
"Ono school of Martial arts. Visitors welcome"
Ranma looked at Cassy "Cassy dear, something is odd here, do you mind sitting by the pond over there while I check this out?"
Cassy nodded and started walking around the house where there was a pond. She sat and started looking at the fish, marveling at their movements. Behind her she could hear a "thump thump" noise and she turned startled. She saw two younger children playing with a brightly colored ball that they were throwing it back and forth. One was a boy with dark brown hair, cut short, who wore glasses. The other was a girl who looked much like him, even to be the same age with a lighter brown color to her hair. Cassy had no idea how to judge ages in humans and really would not have cared anyway. They both smiled at Cassy and the girl threw the ball at Cassy.
"You want to play?" asked the girl.
"Sure it sounds fun" smiled Cassy. She never got to play with anyone but daddy and catch was a fun game.
The boy picked himself up a bit "My name is Tamaki Ono" He bowed. "pleased to meet you". And the little girl bowed also "I am Ranko Ono. Welcome to our home"
Cassy smile and bowed back a bit clumsily since she was not used to doing this "I am Cassy Saotome. Pleased to meet you as well" she looked at the pair and tossed the ball back to Ranko "Catch!"
The Three of them continued to play out in the yard. Out of the window upstairs a face watched the scene play out, but she could not hear the voices of the children below..
Ranma knocked on the door, and another girl with the name tag "Akane" in a pin-strippers outfit answered the door.
"Ohh please come in and have a seat." She smiled at Ranma brightly.
Ranma looked at the name tag, and at the girl. There was no chance that this was the same girl, she had light brown ponytails in her hair for one and she was WAY too young. 12 or 13 tops. Ranma nodded and was led into a waiting room, that appeared to be about half of the old living room. There were two couches here and two chairs. The Akane girl handed him a medical form along with a pen and asked him to fill this out while the doctor was finishing up the treatment with her other patient. Ranma idly finished up the form. Most of the questions were standard medical questions, with a few odd questions here or there, though a few were very odd
"Have you eaten anything that seemed to be alive and was either moving away from you or trying to eat you first?." Have been hit on the head with a mallet more than twice week" and last one at least gave him hope that he going to see someone he knew "do you have a water based shape changing curse?"
Ranma filled out the form anyway, and gave the clip board to the pin stripper. She glanced down at the list and turned a little white yelling ""Mom!" One of the doors opened. Ranma looked up into the eyes of an older women, in her mid-thirties who looked at him and said "Ohh My! Ohh My!" No one who knew her had ever heard something to rate TWO "Ohh my' s" together in one breath before. Her eyes rolled back and Ranma watched as an obviously much older Kasumi fainted dead away.
From the direction of the Dojo, Ranma noted, came a crash and then a brown haired blur in a white gi rushing into the "clinic "the boy looked around, his eyes settling on Ranma and screamed "what did you do to my mother!" Ranma blinked again he also looked to be 12 or 13 and reminded himself of well, Him when he was that age. His movements definitely showed some of the Anything Goes form, though not as clean and precise as Casey's form. It also seemed more grounded to the earth than the Saotome style. From examining him, he would have to say that this style was an actual practiced form of the Tendo School. The pin striped girl turned to the boy and said "Ran-kun, Read this" the boy read this over while Ranma examined them, and thought to himself 'Ran-kun?'
"You have got to be kidding me. Hey Cassie get in here." Ranma yelled out into the yard. Cassie looked up at her playmates, smiled and ran in to see what her daddy wanted. She came into a room with a girl helping an older woman to recover, her daddy just standing there against the wall and a Very pale shaking boy try and get some understanding of what he was reading. The boy slumped back against the wall looking up at her daddy just like she would look up at 3 or 4 denizens of the Thirst.
"You are Ranma?" the boy asked.
"Yes" replied Ranma. "I bet your Ranma too aren't you?"
"Yes. You are back?"
"You brought back a wife." The boy looks at Cassy.
Cassy blushes bright red and shakes her head.
"No, she is my daughter"
Ran-kun looks green a bit "Ok why not? A Daughter"
"You look just a little bit older than I am" Ran-kun still continues in shock.
"Certainly does look like it." Ranma was starting to enjoy this. He could see the boys brain starting to melt.
Ran-kun sat all of the way down on the floor. "They ALL said chaos followed him, I never pictured what they meant"
Ran-kun looked at Ranma again.
"You are The Ranma Saotome?" Ran-kun stressed each word.
Cassy piped up "And The Cassy Saotome!" She smiled brightly at this new boy
"Grandmaster of the Anything goes school of martial arts?"
Ranma looked a little surprised at that one. He was not grandmaster that he knew about anyway.
Ran-kun looked over at Cassy, then back to Ranma "The Ranma who killed the God-king Saffron?"
Ranma sighed and shook his head sadly "Yes that one".
Ran-kun could not process anymore it was just too much for him. Brain started partial reboot.
"Nice to meet you Uncle" he said in a daze "I have to go train. Yes train. Training Will help with my dreams. Dreaming is hard." He stumbled back towards the dojo.
Cassie gave her father a look questioning him.
"Yes Cassy, that is a Tendo" Explained Ranma.
"Wow, he seemed… Weird." Replied Cassy.
"You have no idea"
! #$%^&*&^%$# !
Across town In an office, just finishing up her day was a fairly heavyset woman. She was once again putting her papers away, and preparing to deal with her evening. Nabiki Tendo was once more fulfilling her more or less empty life of making money, and trying to get through each day.
For a time after the event she was a wreck. But through some hard work of her sister, she had come out of it, to some extent. She worked in a stock firm, brokering information and making money from the trades.
The only thing she really looked forward too was time with her nephews and nieces. They made her almost happy again. Every Sunday like clockwork she would stop by and spend the day at the old family home, connecting with them, and remembering what it was like to not be alone. Today was Saturday and in the morning she would head over.
But tonight was not Sunday. It was Saturday, and once again she would spend her time in the bar, drinking by herself, and being unconscious by the end
Another day in her life, being where she wanted to be, and what she always said she would. Too bad she feels like she had not won at all.
The laws of the Hunters
"Kosh has summoned us to serve in his great hunt. As the thirst draws all life into itself, by hunting we disperse that life back into the wheel. Our lives are forfeit to the greater needs of life. We were summoned by Kosh, from the edge of death, and our pasts are forgotten, we take a new path, and all our brothers."
"Kosh takes his own council when choosing an avatar. The avatars lead the hunters, but not always have the most power. They are what Kosh needs right then. HE has sent them into the Web, and he has sent them to other realms, if the thirst will be there, they will always find hunters to stand against. "
"Kosh summons Hunters all pasts, good and evil, chaos and order. Remember to treat them with respect, as Kosh has found them worthy. IF a hunter find himself moved by Kosh to another realm, then the thirst is coming there, and the hunter needs to train others to hunt."
"Not always are being of thirst counter to Kosh's will. As he once chose a part of the thirst act as his avatar he shall do so again. He knows his needs, we exist to serve them."
"'Always offer forgiveness to any who ask. If they are true, then they are an ally against the darkness. War and purity are not the only paths on the hunt."
"If one releases another, from a just hunt then they are responsible for what the hunted does. They must protect them, Guide them and put them down if they fall. The hunted can be forgiven the hunt only if the hunter is willing to join unto it'.
"A life that is given freely is a life that is to be respected. If that life had been lost in some measure it is now back in the fold of the light. It is easier to give your life for friends and loved ones than it is for to give it to those who you have reason to fear or you have wronged. All can choose their fate. We must respect that."