A Certain Cursed Martial Artist
A Ranma 1/2 and To Aru Majutsu No Index crossover fanfiction
Written by some madao
Ranma 1/2 is the creation and property of Rumiko Takahashi.
To Aru Majutsu No Index is the creation and property of Kazuma Kamachi.
From the stories she'd heard of the city, she'd been expecting flying cars, warp points, and robots that could shoot laser beams from their eyes. The robot she'd just now appropriated for her personal transportation hardly fired any sort of laser beam. It just zoomed on forward in whatever direction she leaned. It, the city, was all a bit of a letdown. Of course, that wasn't to say she'd previously encountered robots, but perhaps she still retained too much optimism. She'd need to further train herself in realism.
Anyway, the robot she was just now borrowing. Probably no one would notice it missing. It was just uselessly picking up trash, anyhow, right?
She had a piece of paper in her hand, which had an address. However, she hadn't a map. She didn't know where she was, except in the general cosmic sense of feeling right at home wherever she might be. She sighed, and then languidly said, "Welcome to Academy City." She replied to herself. "Glad to be here."
Her name was Ranma Saotome. She was, succinctly, the best. At what? Everything, possibly.
She lowered the paper to where the robot had a pair of eyes-looking thingies. "Know where this is?"
The machine seemed to understand. It then jolted forward as though it was on a quest.
"Whoa! Whoa! Slow down!" She held on for dear life. The surroundings were fast becoming a blur. She was witness to the robot leaving a car behind. She felt common sense had been forgotten somewhere back there, too, but she quickly reconsidered that, as nothing had been common in her life for quite some time. Whatever had been left behind was probably something she didn't need.
The robot hit something. It stumbled, but Ranma was thrown into the air. 'Crap!' was her thought.
She landed on something, breaking her fall.
It took a moment to process what'd happened. It wasn't something she'd hit, but somebody.
"Uh, sorry 'bout that," she said to the guy she was sitting on. It was a bit of a compromising position, really. She was sitting on his chest, and his face was near her... She quickly slapped the guy's face with both hands, and then sat up, her face turning red. "Ah, ha, ha! Really sorry!"
The guy was blushing (and now bruising), too, but he rallied his senses. "Ah, no, it's okay." He sat up, and then looked at a grocery bag he'd dropped. There was egg yolk dripping from it. "Figures. Such bad luck." He ran his hand through his spiky hair.
Ranma offered her hand to him to get up off the ground. However, when he touched his right hand to hers, a shock ran up through her hand to her shoulder. It burned like fire! She ripped her hand from his, and fell back onto her bottom. She quickly massaged her arm, which slowly dispersed the pain. She looked at her hand. Nothing. No burn, and no injury. It still hurt like heck, though!
"What happened? Something wrong?" the guy asked, concerned.
"Felt like my arm was gonna explode," said Ranma.
"Huh?" the guy looked at Ranma's hand, and then his own. "It's never done that before..."
"Something special about your hand, then?"
"It nullifies powers," said the guy.
"Damn near nullified me," said Ranma. She wondered, if his hand could nullify powers, why didn't it reverse her curse? Maybe her curse was too powerful? Or maybe the magic was... alive, and shocked her with the pain to make her let go? Both were possible, she felt. She had deep suspicions about this curse, but they could wait.
"I'm Ranma Saotome, by the way. Who are you?" she asked the dude.
"Touma Kamijou," said the guy. "Your arm okay?"
"Dunno. I'm under a curse, and I'm thinking that's what caused this," Ranma said, shaking her arm, trying to get the pain to lessen.
"Yeah. You might not believe me, but I was born a guy," said Ranma.
"Eh..." Touma appeared a bit nonplussed, but he was mostly doubtful.
"Hey, it's true! I know I'm a really cute and pretty girl right now, but before I used to be a handsome hunk of a guy! So don't fall in love with me, or you'll get your heart broken." Ranma said, without even blushing. "I fell into some cursed pool in China, and got transformed into this. Haven't been able to turn back, since."
"Um..." Touma started backing away, as though he didn't believe Ranma and wanted to get away from her, or the story was just so incredible that he had to go share it with others. "Well, I gotta head home, now. Got homework to take care of, and all..."
"Wai... wait!" Ranma shoved the paper with the address into Touma's face. "Know where this is?"
Touma studied the paper, and then seemed startled. "It's my dorm."
"So, you're the one I'm looking for?" asked Ranma.
"No, this room belongs to a classmate of mine," said Touma, obviously relieved.
"This is good, then. Maybe your classmate can cure me of this stupid curse!" Ranma grabbed Touma by his left hand, and began to run, dragging him. "Point the way, man!" She ignored his screams. He'd just have to get used to travelling at superhuman speeds.
"Wha... what the hell are you?" Touma asked, when they'd reached his dorm. He seemed a bit rattled by the experience.
"I'm an awesome martial artist," replied Ranma. "The best, in fact."
"I don't think being good at martial arts would explain how fast you were running," said Touma. "Are you an esper?"
"Nope. I'm just a superhuman, I guess." Ranma shrugged. The details of her 'powers' were probably boring and unimportant. It wasn't worth worrying about.
Touma showed Ranma to the room on the address, which he mentioned as being residence to one Motoharu Tsuchimikado. He then stumbled into the room next door, as though he was exhausted for whatever reason.
Ranma knocked on Motoharu's door. She waited.
Slowly, the door opened. A maid peeked her head out. "Hello?"
"You Motoharu Tsuchimikado?"
"Nope, I'm Maika Tsuchimikado," said the maid. "You part of his family?"
"Yes, I'm his sister, for now," the maid said, happily blushing.
"Okay. He in? I got a question to ask him." Ranma then remembered to introduce herself. "Oh, I'm Ranma Saotome, by the way."
"He's currently out, but he said something about somebody possibly showing up." Maika appeared a bit doubtful. "I don't know if he meant you, but there shouldn't anything wrong with giving you this." She handed Ranma a sealed envelope. She quickly tore it open.
Ranma read the letter: "Hi there, cursed victim! I won't be in for a while, but I can meet with you after I'm finished with some other business. I'll take a pre-payment of you cos-playing for my neighbour next door, as he's been a bit down lately cause of his bad luck."
"Do you think it's for you?" asked Maika.
"Cos-playing?" asked Ranma, her expression a bit sour. "Well, a martial artist's path is fraught with peril. And I did promise I'd do anything to reverse this curse."
"I wonder if this is the one my brother meant?" Maika asked, bringing out an angel costume.
"But I won't wear that!" shouted Ranma, slapping the costume from Maika's hands. She noticed Maika's expression of fear and surprise. "Ah, ha, ha! Cause I'm hardly an angel, you know?"
"Oh, then there's no need to worry," said Maika, picking up the costume to show Ranma it more closely. "It's a fallen angel costume!"
"And what's the difference?"
"It's the love-love!" said Maika, seriously. She pulled Ranma into the room. "We'll get you changed right now!"
"Wait...!" The door slammed shut, cutting off Ranma's objection.
Ranma stood before Touma Kamijou's door. She sighed. She raised her hand to knock, and then lowered it.
Wearing the angel was pretty embarrassing. The skirt was frilly. The pure white colour of the blouse just didn't match her personality. And the wings...? Bad memories, there.
Also, she had an audience. Maika was standing nearby, watching her intently with an expression of anticipation. She wanted to speak with the younger girl, to let her know this wasn't some shoujo light novel, with 'muddy, sticky romance' as she heard it explained just earlier in the room next door.
No, this was more of a screwball comedy, and Ranma's life was the main joke.
She sighed. She again raised her hand to knock, and then paused. She looked at Maika, whose expression seemed to be ever more anxious, as though awaiting the beginning of something stormy and furious, and liable to end up on the top of the Empire State Building, for some reason.
Just get it over with! She knocked. She waited. She knocked again. She waited.
"He isn't home?" she asked, incredulously, after waiting long enough.
"There he is!" shouted Maika, pointing down to the street.
Ranma looked, just in time to see Touma stepping onto a city bus. Maika grabbed Ranma's hand, and started pulling her.
"Hurry! You have to chase him!"
"Eh?" Ranma didn't have a chance to object, as the little girl was tougher than she seemed, possibly from the trials of maidhood.
Maika quickly pulled her throughout the building's staircases and walkways to ground level, and gave her a push out onto the sidewalk. "You can catch him, Ranma!" she said, absolutely sincere in her belief of Ranma's ability to chase down an automobile.
Ranma started running. After a moment, grasping the thread of thought that'd been lost for the past few moments, she wondered, why? Why was she chasing down a bus ferrying a guy she'd just met at the urging of some maid with a brother complex? Her cheeks reddened. She wondered a bit more. Why was she chasing down a city bus while wearing an angel costume, while there seemed to be an ever growing audience of onlookers? Her entire face was now red.
Argh! For whatever reason, she couldn't even hazard a guess, now, as she was too deep into this fiasco, she just had to catch that bus. Her pride wouldn't allow her to abandon this challenge. But, not for the first time, she wished she could abandon her pride.
A garbage collector robot pulled up beside her. It beeped, as though trying to get Ranma's attention.
Ranma jumped onto the robot, and then it sped forward. She could catch the bus, now! Except the garbage bot crashed into a fire hydrant, and Ranma was sent flying into the air.
This is really familiar for some reason, she felt, before crashing down to earth. She wondered how her landing appeared to onlookers? Was it magical? She hoped not, as she landed on a spiky haired guy who'd just stepped off the bus, and they both fell and tumbled about in a crumpled heap.
It couldn't be considered a miracle, though, how it was she landed on him. She straddled his body. She gripped his arms as though holding him down. She could just bend down, and kiss him so easily...
Instead, she slapped the boy with both hands on each of his cheeks, and then jumped up, and then looked about to see who was watching. It was only everyone.
"You again?" asked Touma. The oblivious idiot! At the very least, he could be blushing, too! Now, it'd appear to the audience she'd been desperately chasing him, which she had been, technically, but...! Not like that!
"Why are you dressed like that?" asked Touma. She couldn't say, for you, cause it'd cause a misunderstanding. Cause it was simply a series of events.
"It's just how things worked out," said Ranma. "I'm doing a favour for your neighbour."
"Tsuchimikado..." Touma sighed. "It sounds like something he'd do. So, what you gotta do?"
Ranma tilted her head, looking at Touma. She was to cheer him up, but she couldn't say that. She crossed her arms, and tried to think of an excuse. She couldn't, and so tried the old trick of misdirection. "I couldn't say. So, anyway, what are you doing right now?"
"Getting some eggs," said Touma. He sat up, but then looked panicked. He pulled from his pocket his bus pass, but not... "My wallet. Forgot it."
Ranma tried to wear a genuine smile, but it was probably a bit forced. "It's okay. You can get some more inna bit, right? Just a quick trip back home."
"Forgot my keys," said Touma. He sighed.
"Ah, ha, ha! Man, that's some bad luck." Ranma slapped Touma on the back. "Well, cheer up, okay? This angel'll give you hand breaking into your place."
"No, that's okay. I can just ask the dorm manager..." Touma found he had forgotten his cell phone, too. He hung his head. "I don't know the phone number."
"No problem. I'm an expert when it comes to sneaking into places," said Ranma. "It shouldn't be a problem to get in from your neighbour's place if you left your balcony door open."
"How come an angel's an expert at breaking into homes?" asked Touma.
"Sometimes an angel's gotta make do the best they can in this world," replied Ranma. "One can't get by on their looks in all things."
"If you're a guy, originally, it'd be almost impossible to tell, " said Touma.
"It's adapt, or go insane," said Ranma. "I still don't accept this fate, though, so I'm trying one last cure."
"You know, it'd almost be a waste if you become a guy again," said Touma.
"I know, right? So many hearts will be broken. But this great Ranma must return to the rightful destiny of becoming the heir to the Saotome school." She wasn't blushing.
The walk to the dorm was longer than necessary what with Ranma being stopped by twice by camera-happy otaku who requested to take pictures.
"What kind of angel charges to have photos taken?" asked Touma, after arriving at the dorms.
"One that's been around the block," said Ranma. She'd bought herself an ice cream.
"Kami-yan, I see that you've found yourself a pretty angel," said a guy, shouting down from a few stories up.
Looking up, Ranma saw the guy, who was wearing sunglasses and a summer beach-style shirt. He was standing near Touma's apartment door, waving as though completely familiar with her current partner.
His name was Motoharu Tsuchimikado. "So, Ms Saotome. What brings you to me?" he asked.
Ranma handed him a letter. "It's a referral from a doctor in Nerima. About my curse."
Motoharu read the letter, and then as though thinking how to state the difficult, leaned back, sighing. "Jusenkyou, eh? You're in a difficult position. In fact, an almost impossible situation if you're serious about returning to your true form." "You're taking her claim seriously, Tsuchimikado?" asked Touma, who was waiting for Ranma to finish her meeting so she could break into his dorm room.
"Of course, seeing as I am descended from Onmyouji priests," replied Motoharu. "Besides, it's not only me who believes her, right?"
Ranma glanced at Touma, who was studying his right hand.
"Anyway, Saotome, how far are you willing to go to reverse this curse?"
"I'm willing to do anything," said Ranma.
"Even kill? Not just one life, or two, but thousands, or even millions?"
"Tsuchimikado!" said Touma, growling, but was stayed from further interruption by the absolutely serious expression on Motoharu's face.
"What? No!" said Ranma.
"Jusenkyou is a mysterious land that is of great interest to Onmyouji. It's a rare natural magic seal, which gives the waters there its power. To break the magic spell it casts, you'd have to destroy the entire land," said Motoharu. "However, would the people living there allow you to destroy their homes without a war? And even then, would all that break the curse you're under? I don't know. That's my superficial conjecture, and I could be entirely devastatingly wrong. The variables of an enigma are difficult to ponder. Lifetimes would have to be spent to unravel even the minutest of Jusenkyo's mysteries."
Ranma sat, quietly. Eventually, without breaking into tears, she said, "I guess I'm finished, here. Thanks. I'll open up your apartment for ya, now, Kamijou." It took a moment, and quickly, she rejoined Touma out on the commons balcony.
They stood on the balcony.
She was still wearing the angel costume, but she didn't feel like changing out of it. Maybe after she found a place to crash.
"So, what are you going to do now?" asked Touma. He'd invited her to stay for dinner before she left.
"Dunno. Feel like I had all the wind taken outta me."
"There's probably something out there that can change you back," said Touma.
"I used to think that," said Ranma. "I was cursed quite a while ago. It's been about a year, now. Tried a bunch of half-baked cures. And then switched to completely baked ones. And now..." She sat back, trying to relax. "I should register for school. Get in touch with my parents. Let 'em know where I am." She tried to laugh, but it sounded forced. "It's a relief, really. So much pressure, gone now!"
Touma placed a bowl of ramen in front of her. He didn't say anything, for which Ranma was grateful. She ate, quietly contemplating, but her thoughts kept circling back to, what am I gonna do?
She finished the meal, and then thanked Touma. "I should get going," she said.
"I'll walk with you," said Touma.
"It's okay. If you're thinking about trying to protect me, you won't need to." Ranma showed him her punch. "If anyone tries anything... I'm actually hoping somebody does." She cracked her knuckles.
"Um, that's why I'm gonna come along. Better if nobody gets hurt by you, right?" asked Touma.
"You know, you're really sweet. You'll make a real girl happy someday, you know?" replied Ranma.
It wasn't a crummy hotel they'd found, and Ranma could afford the price. Ranma got Touma's cell number, and his school information, just in case she needed a hand with anything.
"Stay safe, okay?" Touma said, as he bid Ranma a good night.
And then, she was alone. She lied down on her bed. It would be hers for a week. Hopefully, by the week's end, she'd be enrolled in a school, or working, somewhere.
Touma had alluded to the placement tests being held by most of the schools in the city, and if she ranked decently high, she could possibly be scouted by private school's. However, he didn't have much information on that, being a 0-ranked esper, and enrolled in a no-qualification public school.
Che! She clicked her tongue. What was the point of the past year? All her effort, for this end? The lights flickered, then turned off. The power was out. She walked to the window, seeing the city itself had shut down from a bad thunderstorm. Maybe she'd get some sleep, then. Think about her life in her dreams.
Maybe tomorrow would be a new day.
Jusenkyo. It was all laid out before her. Thousands of pools far as her eyes could see.
Jusenkyo. How could this be? She'd left it all behind, long ago. She couldn't have returned so quickly. This had to be a dre...
"Miss, you must leave from here. There is no use staying," said the guide to Jusenkyo. He appeared at her side.
"I know. You already told me so many times I could throw up your words from my ears," said Ranma, not facing the guide. "And don't call me miss. I hate it."
"You must go. Is not safe."
"I'm just waiting on my pops."
"He says you must go. He will follow."
"I want to see him," said Ranma.
"Don't... call me that!" screamed Ranma, angrily.
There was movement from the pools. A panda was jumping from pole to pole to Ranma and the guide's position. It landed in front of them.
"You're here!" said Ranma, relieved. "Tell this idi..."
The panda reached a paw out to Ranma, and patted her shoulder. The panda looked into Ranma's eyes, as though trying to impart something it could not speak. "I don't understand. I wish you could speak," said Ranma.
The panda sighed. And then it brought its other paw up in a roundhouse punch, knocking Ranma out.
Ranma woke with a jerk. She felt disorientated, and lost. She sat up, trying to figure out where she was. It all came quickly flooding back.
No cure. No past.
She took a pillow, and then screamed into it.
Chapter One End
Hello, reader. Some of ya may recognize this story from a ways back. Took it down to revise it, but lost it due to loss of OS, and backup. Fortunately, a reader had a copy of the story which they sent to me. My sincerest gratitude to this reader, whose pen name is Haibara-san.
Anyway, there are some minor changes to the text. There is also a new scene.
Finally, let's all hope for a speedy release of the next part. Unfortunately, I've been whittling away at a different story for the past week, which might instead see release soon. A preview of that story is at my blog: some madao's gutter seat.