Lots of names but hopefully they convey these characters enough to guide you through this short story...
Ranma 1/2 Part 2 - Chaos in Shikoku
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to the wonderful Rumiko Takahashi and her licensees (Viz Communications in North America). This work is strictly for the non-profit enjoyment of fans. No copyright infringement is intended.
Akane smiled as her friend and housemate Shinobu Kusarikyan returned from the makeshift bar and offered her a drink.
"Thanks," Akane said over the music to the taller dark haired girl. Lightly tapping her plastic cup with her friend, both cheered "Happy New Year" before taking a sip. She winced slightly at the strong alcohol of the poorly mixed cocktail.
Shinobu sat down with a sigh beside Akane, adjusting the thick chain she wore as a belt for her modest blue winter dress over her thickly muscled frame.
This party was not the most traditional way Akane had spent New Years, her mind skimming through times with her family eating soba, watching the 'red vs white' song contest on TV, and visiting a shrine at midnight. And in the most recent three years had those events plus fighting with her fiance, fighting a ghost cat with her fiance, or being caught by her sisters making out behind a the shrine with her fiance. Swallowing the lump in her throat with another mouthful of cocktail, she smiled and focused back to the crazy year now ending.
She had considered skipping going out but her friends had urged her to join them coming to one of the dorm parties. Several of the dorms on the campus for Shikoku university were holding parties and Akane and Shinobu had picked this one as the least of the evils. Actually it was more of a balancing act as Akane had found this dorm had been least annoying for her as far as being asked out by its members, and Shinobu had thought some of the boys here looked tougher to her.
"So is Boshi coming to meet you?" Akane asked over the loud music in the student dorm common room.
"Boshi left a voice message dumping me. Big baby," Shinobu said angrily before gulping her entire drink.
"You watch your drinking. We are not getting in trouble at the temple because you got drunk to get over breaking your latest boyfriend," Akane warned and rolled her eyes, wondering how things had gone this way.
"Easy for you to say, as a freshman you get voted campus queen..." Shinobu began.
"I never even put my name in for that." Akane defended, not for the first time.
Ignoring her, Shinobu lamented on. "... and you've got some mysterious fiance coming back to you." The alcohol was obviously making her a little more belligerent over this touchy subject for her friend and house mate.
Noa Nakoda waved to her male companion as he headed to the makeshift bar to get another drink when she saw Akane glaring at Shinobu and sauntered over.
"Hello girls," the brown haired young woman said, moving behind the couch the pair sat on to reverse hug each in turn. "So why aren't you dancing? There are plenty of cute guys here tonight."
Shinobu shook her head, "You don't see them asking us do you? I'm a freak and Akane has rejected every guy on campus."
"You're not a freak," Akane said instantly, annoyed with her friend putting herself down, though admittedly the larger girl did make Akane wonder how she was ever called a tomboy. "You just haven't found the right guy."
Again hugging Shinobu from behind, the always affectionate Noa kissed her on the cheek. "There is nothing wrong with you, you just like to play rough with your toys. That Boshi was just a wimp."
Rolling her eyes at the captain of the university Sumo team being called a whim, Akane nodded in support. "Trust me, the right guy will come along and want you for you."
Noa smiled as her date returned with a drink for her, "Oh honey, could you get my friends a drink each too?"
With a blissful smile the young man headed back to the bar, as Noa looked to Akane. "So this mystery fiance of yours is the right man despite leaving you alone to move to a different city on a different island for a full year?"
Akane shook her head. "I chose to come to Shikoku island because Satoko-sensei offered me a scholarship after my fiance had to go back to China. And that was only nine months ago."
"Only?" Nao said raising her voice. "Only nine months? What could be so important that he had to leave you for that long? It doesn't sound like he cares that much about you."
Akane glared back. "He loves me, and it is important to him. Really important. Besides his father left his mother for a ten year training trip..." Akane's glare shifted accusingly to her drink the instant the words left her mouth that she knew she shouldn't have let that slip.
"Ten years! Please tell me you are never going to wait ten years for a guy! These are the best years of your life!" Nao exclaimed.
"Well of course not," Akane denied.
Once glance in Akane's eyes told Nao she just might. 'I am going to get you a man, Akane Tendo.' Nao thought to herself.
The arrival of a fourth girl got the first three's attention, Shika Sasaruranpu rushing behind the couch the three were on and kneeling down to shyly hide her curvy figure. She looked at the two martial artists with her big doe eyes pleading. "Akane-chan, Shinobu-chan."
The two martial artists glanced around the room once before looking at the pink haired girl. "Where is he?" Akane asked, knowing purely from Shika's tone her personal stalker must have turned up.
"Dibbs," Shinobu said, the look in her eyes making no bones about wanting to blow off some steam.
"He's outside," Shika stammered, "And Tiger is with him."
Akane frowned and considered finishing her drink before putting it down on a table. One of the great joys of leaving Nerima had been losing any contact with a certain annoying delusional rich boy who had a hard on for thinking he was a samurai and wanting to date her. Then on her first day in Tokushima City, she had somehow gotten the attention of local annoying delusional rich boy Tiger Tanaka, who had a hard on for thinking he was a superspy and had started asking her out, 'as a matter of national security'. True, she could beat him, in truth he was closer to Kodachi in skill with a bunch of tricky gadgets, but he was always weaving conspiracy theories around her and getting involved in the other challenges that life seemed to heap in her way.
A beeping had Akane reaching for her cellphone, checking the message. "...Great. An end of year pick on Akane party and everyone's invited."
Nao and Shinobu frowned as Akane stood up and patted down the Chinese dress she wore before starting to roll her shoulders and neck in mild stretches.
"Akane?" Nao asked.
"I've been challenged to a fight in the park outside." Akane said before looking to Shinobu. "Stay close to Shika, you play defense so I can be offense."
The air had a faint taste of salt from the sea breezes, as Akane stepped into one of the more lit areas of the park, aware of the small crowd at the balcony above from the party she just left. She kept her eyes on the beat up old white van parked in one of the parking spaces on the road, when a second car arrived, a bright red BMW convertible pulling into a disable parking space.
"Ha ha haha ha," crooned a feminine voice, causing many to cringe but Akane found it significantly less annoying than Kodachi Kuno's laugh back in Nerima. Climbing out of the red BMW, the long white hair of Yuzuki Shimakouhi shined like moonlight in the night, as the slender statuesque heiress pointed at her rival.
"Akane Tendo, thank you for promptly coming to your own defeat. Today your annoying usurping of my true place as queen of Shikoku University comes to an end. You'll never show your face again after losing tonight. I present, your demise."
Akane was half expecting her to roll out an army, but actually got more nervous as a single male figure confidently got out of the passenger seat of the car. From the mouth up his face and hair were covered in a simple black cloth mask. His movements were confident as he craned his neck and rolled his shoulders in simple stretches while approaching. She guessed the thick hoodie jacket he wore with black pants hid a medium and well muscled build.
Unhealthy laughter began from the van as a young unkept man climbed out, Akane feeling his creepy gaze go straight past her to her friend Shika. "Shika-chan, I did it, I found someone who could get rid of this obstacle to our love."
Ignoring Shika again telling her personal stalker, Goro Chikankari, to leave her alone, Akane felt without seeing Shinobu move in front of Shika to protect their friend, letting Akane focus on the new threat.
"So that is what this is? Goro found a mercenary and you supplied the money Yuzuki? And you," Akane demanded at the martial artist as he walked out ahead of his employers. "You're such a dishonorable martial artist that you would take the money to bully others?"
"Gotta make a living," he said with a gravelly voice. "And the way these two went on I figured you for some feminist beast that blondie wanted me to shave down a notch, and psycho wanted out of the way of true love. Still, they only put up two hundred thousand yen, if you are in the right and can match that much, I'll let you win."
'No," Akane said so firmly that even Goro and Yuzuki stopped half formed accusations at their treacherous employee.
"You sure?" the gravelly voiced fighter offered again, his voice turning lecherous. "I'll let you work it off?"
The air around Akane cooled twenty degrees. "Two hundred thousand yen won't cover the hospital bills I'm about to cause you."
"How dare you speak so to Akane-chan!" A new voice put in, a slender young man with a shock of dark blue hair rushing the mercenary martial artist. "I'll never let you touch my girlfriend!"
Akane glared at her very bothersome classmate as Takeshi Hitteki rushed forward, "I am not your girlfriend!"
Rushing in fist first, Takeshi swung his body hard to deliver his specialty punch, only for the target to fall back just before it landed.
While Akane didn't want to see Takeshi hurt, her eyes narrowed on the newcomer to see what skill and style he displayed, her concern spiking as the fighter dropped and spun with breathtaking speed, sweeping Takeshi's legs from under him and springing up to slam a knee into Takeshi's body in the air.
With one hand, the mercenary martial artist caught Takeshi by the throat, holding him aloft. "So if you are her boyfriend? Tell me something, is she one of those girls who will turn to putty in your hands if you nuzzle behind her ears?"
Akane's face flamed as she took a step forward, "No, I'm not, he isn't my boyfriend, and you aren't paid to pick on him! Lets do this."
"You're lying Tendo, I bet your one of those nasty girls who thinks perverted stuff all the time," the mercenary said, shaking Takeshi like a shield between them, stopping Akane from launching a charging assault. Seeing she wasn't going to baited into reckless action, he dropped Takeshi to the ground and undid his jacket. Unclasping the zipper, he revealed he wasn't wearing a shirt underneath, his muscled frame, lightly tanned and well defined. Dropping his jacket on Takeshi with an idle 'hold that', he reached for a bottle from his pocket, and began to pour liquid over his chest and shoulders.
"Akane Tendo, I bet you're wound so tight, just the sight of my muscles with this cold water makes you weak at the knees."
Akane glared, appalled at the gall of this ass. Even Ranma wouldn't have been this bad! Well, unless he found his cure...
Her jaw on the ground, Akane took at staggered step forward, then a second, the smirk on the man's face suddenly so very familiar. Finally she could see the mirth filled blue eyes through the mask and rushed the final steps, stopping just shy, one hand tentatively reaching for his chest, touching the pectoral over his heart, feeling the indeed cold water.
Everyone froze as Akane Tendo pressed her lips to the stranger, jumping into his arms as he spun her around.
"No no no," declared a new voice jumping in, a man with slicked back hair wearing a western tuxedo steeping out from behind a tree. Tiger Tanaka pointed his hand at the couple. "We hired you to defeat her and then let me save her from you! Not to make out with her!"
The hired mercenary shrugged while still kissing Akane.
Tiger knew better than to try and get too close, Akane Tendo having forced his own tazer in his mouth last time he tried to show affection. His idol never had this problem getting ladies. Fortunately like his idol, he did have a toy to get rid of the hired help trying to come between him and his future partner. Tiger opened his hand to point his palm at Ranma.
Ranma snapped off the kiss from Akane as he snatched a tiny dart from the air. "Woah! Awesome, I never even saw him throw it."
Glaring back at Tiger, Akane shook her head. "He didn't, it's like an air gun under his forearm. His name is Tiger Tanaka and he is like Kuno but over James Bond and spies instead of samurai."
"James who?" Ranma asked, causing Akane to roll her eyes and start to kiss her pop culturally challenged man again, her legs joining in hugging him as he lifted her up in his arms.
"Ha ha haha ha! Imagine that, little miss wannabe queen is a common dog in heat." Yuzuki mocked.
Ranma held out one hand, ki surging into it for the moko takabisha, only for Akane's hand to cross over it, her ki joining in, pink and golden swirls, turning from Yuzuki before firing.
With a crash the front of the red BMW crumpled in from the heavy impact. Yuzuki shrieked. "My car! Are you crazy?"
The pair ignored her to keep making out, till suddenly Akane tilted back and kicked her partner hard in the face, driving him away.
"Where have you been!" Akane yelled as she stalked after Ranma. "You haven't written in three months!"
Falling backwards into a one handed hand stand, Ranma flipped to land on one knee, one hand tearing off his hood as the other pulled something from his pocket. Working his jaw, he shook the ringing out of his ears, muttering of how he expected to be hit, just not that hard. "I've been busy! It isn't like they just let strangers wander through North Korea these days."
With a glower at Ranma, Akane was about to run and kick him again when Ranma held up a small box, open to reveal a small gold ring with a clear stone. Standing up in time to catch his stumbling fiancee, Ranma smirked as her eyes were glued to the ring. Her fingers reached in to pull it out, confirming it wasn't another trick pill box.
"That a yes?"
Quickly sliding it on, then nodding, Akane pulled him in with her hand to kiss him again, yanking his head to an angle so she could look over past his cheek at the new adornment.
"No no no no no!" a formally speechless tux wearing Tiger decried. "You can't do this!"
Whether he was talking to Akane or Ranma was anyone's guess, but the pigtailed martial artist broke the kiss to speak. "Technically, we were already engaged for years by our parents. I figured it was bout time to ask her myself and give her a ring so that's our engagement when we get married."
"You used the advance we paid you with to buy that ring?" a reeling Yuzuki cried. "You said it was for a secret weapon!"
"It stopped her didn't it? She's speechless and trust me, that's rare!"
Glaring through her wet eyes at Ranma's gibe, Akane was torn between hugging and kissing her returned fiance, or admiring the ring she never thought she'd get out of Ranma Saotome. That's when for the first time in her life, Ranma reminded her of his father.
"Ranma, is there a reason you want to get married now?" she asked faintly.
Slumping in disappointment, Akane shook her head. "What did you do?"
Before Ranma could answer, he could see the cogs working behind those pretty brown eyes.
Akane's voice was drowing even as she started to glow faintly. "No, someone's coming. That's it isn't it? Who? So help me Ranma, if you have Shampoo chasing you again, I will stick this ring so far..."
Ranma backed up waving his hands. "No, I wrote to you bout that, Shampoo is still married to Taro from that time after the failed wedding when we set him up and tricked her into giving him the kiss for beating me. She's already pregnant with a second kid! But that was your and Nabiki's plan so really you should take some of the responsibility for this."
A small accented chorus of distance female voices rang out. "Ranma!"
Muttering a curse at his bad luck, Ranma turned to see a small tour bus pull up. As the door opened a series of Amazon girls piled out, and while they ranged in shape and size, none managed to step off the bus without giving a bounce Akane couldn't compete with up top.
"No kisses of marriage or death yet, this isn't really my fault," Ranma put in again.
Glaring suspiciously at Ranma, Akane moved so she could maintain the glare and keep an eye on the advancing Amazon war party. "Explain."
"We got rid of Shampoo alright but Nabiki didn't count on Taro being a ruthless dick. I'm kind of piecing this together but basically once they got back to the village, Taro started challenging the other men in the village and beating the hell out of them. The weird rules say that a man challenging a man is fine, but if a woman challenges a man, that his wife can take the challenge. So Shampoo has been accepting all the challenges from even the Elder's who want to put Taro in his place."
Ranma gave a glance to approaching half dozen women and started to speak faster. "But Shampoo was pregnant, so every challenge that could stop Taro under Amazon law is on hold till Shampoo has the kid and recovers. That's their rules. Before she fully recovered however, she got knocked up again, like right away. In the meantime Cologne has used Taro's bullying to propel Shampoo and herself into Amazon leadership, and as long as Shampoo stays knocked up, no one can oppose the three of them."
Akane winced, at both hearing of Cologne's machinations and working out the result, "So they want a husband who can beat Taro? Like you."
"Got it in one. But it isn't all bad, Perfume and one of the others just want to follow me around till I fight someone nearly as good as me, and I figure if I can just avoid fighting the rest till we're hitched we got no problems."
Giving a confident smirk that left Akane breathing faster, Ranma turned to the oncoming girls and gave a wave. "Hey Perfume!"
The young woman at the rear of the approaching pack of girls, waved back. Akane's eyes widened seeing that this tall Amazon with a shock of orange hair needed no help standing out, because while Akane was sure this woman didn't have quiet the perfect proportions Shampoo used to flaunt, at six and a half foot tall this woman could probably hide children from the rain under the voluptuous chest she had.
"Looking good Perfume," Ranma called, making the other five Amazon's glare angrily at their tall companion. An instant later the six girl's were fighting.
"Let's go," Ranma said, taking Akane by the hand and running.
The running stopped almost immediately as their path put them in view of the disheveled Goro who was trying to talk at the doe eyed Shika past the hulking Shinobu, who was keeping herself between the stalker and her friend, the chain that had been her belt accessory swinging in her hand.
"Crap, forgot about him," Ranma muttered before running Akane behind Goro. "Grab his arms."
Suddenly but not for the first time pinned by the strong arms of Akane Tendo, Goro began to spout about his love for Shika, when he saw Ranma take Shika by the arm and lean in to whisper something in her ear.
Shika had no idea what the handsome martial artist, who had appeared out of no where to propose to her friend, had planned but she obediently stood where Goro could see her and looked at the creep who haunted her life.
"Okay buddy, this is your one chance. Look at your girl, really see her, and then think every feeling you have for her, really let her see it in your eyes and see if you can touch her heart."
Goro smiled as he was finally given this chance to prove himself, and looked lovingly at her glorious face and form.
"Do ya want him?" Ranma asked Shika who immediately shook her head.
"Argh!" Goro cried as Ranma's hands jabbed into his neck, face, and scalp.
Akane shook her head recalling this technique, and turned Goro to face Ranma. Ranma moved back to make sure Goro was looking away from Shika before clicking his fingers in front of Goro's face. "Hey, focus, does it really hurt?"
Blinking, Goro shook his head, as fast as it had appeared, the pain was gone. Behind him, he felt Akane release him and he began rubbing his head at the odd vanished sensation. "No, but it did."
His hands stopped as Goro realised he was free, turning back on Shika he was about to speak when pain shot through his head again.
Ranma shook his head and turned Goro to face him again. "Yeah, you don't want to look at her, or even think about her. Think of it as a challenge, to teach yourself to not think about this Shika girl. Ever. Again." Seeing the horrified lost look on Goro's face and figuring the point was made, Ranma glanced towards the Amazon's who were already down to only three standing.
"Let's get out of here before they finish infighting and start after me again," he said as he took Akane's hand.
Snapping out of old memories of Nerima, when after the failed wedding Cologne inflicted those pressure points on Ranma to drive him from her, and the humiliating yet successful method Happosai forced her to use to break him free, Akane nodded. That Ranma was then able to use the same points to drive the Kuno's away was almost as gratifying as how many barriers between them had come down back then.
Nodding, she gripped his hand tightly. "This way."
Dashing just in time, the young couple just managed to get inside as the train doors shut.
Taking in the empty carriage at a glance, Akane pulled Ranma ahead and shoved him onto a seat. She moved to sit beside him, only for his strong hands to pull her onto his lap.
She began to smile just before Ranma kissed her again.
"Miss me?" Ranma teased.
"I was getting ready to go to China and drag your jerk face home," she breathed before kissing him again, not caring about the public venue.
Ranma was more prepared this time as her eyes flashed and he caught an arm she tried to use to force against his chest to pin him down.
"You are cured, right? This is it, you'll keep your promise?"
While Ranma nodded about being cured, he pursed his lips too long for Akane on the second part of her question. Her wet eyes let him know he was not getting out of this.
"You promised when you left Ranma."
"Yeah yeah, I promise, no more training trips without my tomboy," he said with his most charismatic grin.
Akane smiled and kissed him, but didn't let up. "And the rest. You said you'd study, pass the exam, and go to university."
Frowning, Ranma rolled his eyes and sighed in resignation. "Yeah, okay. I promise to study and get a teaching degree. As long as you help me."
Smiling past her tears, Akane kissed him again. "Thank you Ranma, thank you so much. You have no idea how much I missed you."
"Heh, the hell I don't. When Kiima showed up pretending to be you, I almost kissed her before she had a chance to seduce me...ack!"
Pulling at the forearm moved up from his chest to his throat, Ranma pushed Akane back far enough to breath. "She tried to seduce me, she didn't succeed and I didn't kiss her."
The tone of the command from his fiancee was enough for Ranma to realize he needed to pick his words carefully. "I was sneaking out of Musk territory when she showed up in travel gear, claiming to be you, looking for me. I went walking up ta her to kiss her thinking it was you and she went on about missing me. I instantly knew it wasn't you."
"Really?" Akane asked suspiciously.
"Heh, if I wasn't in pain or had you crawling on me in seconds, I knew it wasn't you."
"Baka," Akane replied as she kissed her man again.
"Besides," Ranma continued next breath. "After what happened next I screwed her hard."
Ranma just dodged a fist that left a dent in the train wall. "Woah, I said it wrong! I never touched her!"
Her nerves already frayed by the eventful evening, Akane glared but held off further attack.
"I meant I messed up her plans. It's the reason I'm cured."
Akane frowned but sat down again, patting the chair beside her. "How did her plans make you cured."
"I don't get it all, but from what I heard from the Amazon's and Herb, the Pheonix people are kind of a 'generational problem'. See with them being useless at night cause they can't see well, and not being great at ground fighting, they can't hold the best farm lands around that part of China. Except when Saffron is all powered up and then he can really bully everyone up to a day or two's flight from Mount Jusendo. So they cycle between being all bad ass and then losing ground to the Amazons, Musk and others. Everyone was getting ready to withdraw and let the Phoenix have those lands back, but when I beat him, I changed the pattern."
Akane frowned at his tone, so used to knowing he was scarred by how far he had to go to save her life that day, but that seemed to be gone now that he had crossed paths with the Phoenix again.
"So they all moved back into those disputed lands, and with Taro in the air the Amazon's even stood up to the Phoenix people flying around. Apparently they pushed the Phoenix people too far though as they broke out some backup ritual they have for instantly raising Saffron to full strength, but they need to drain the strength out of someone of comparable strength. So they they trussed me up and tried to drain me."
Akane frowned. "I thought you saw through Kiima's disguise? How did they catch you?"
Waving a hand idly, Ranma shrugged. "Imagine fighting like a hundred Kodachi's with her roses," he replied, hoping she believed him as it sounded better than he ate a drugged pie he found cooling on a stump in the woods.
"Back to the important bit," Ranma said moving on, "They tried to drain all my chi but I had just spent time going to everyone who knows anything about Jusenkyo and what I learned is how it is related to chi. So as they started draining me to baby Saffron, I fed them the curse. He pops up looking like I used to, and in the confusion I broke free and ran for it. As far as I know, he is stuck as Ranko or a kid."
Akane hugged her smiling future husband, so happy for him that he has stumbled into his cure at last.
Leaning back, she dodged him trying to kiss her again. "But you never did anything with anyone else? No kissing, no touching, nothing?"
"Nothing. I dodged a lot, but I figured that I only managed to not accidental touch anyone because you weren't there to catch me looking bad."
Akane smiled despite herself, debating weather to hit him or kiss him, when a new voice intruded.
"You touched me, Ranma-san."
"Qimi!" Ranma cried in surprise.
Both martial artists jumped to their feet as they saw a young woman in a flowing white gown striding into the carriage. Behind her two other young women dressed in some kind of ceremonial handmaiden garb with sheathed short swords in their hands closed the door from the next carriage behind them.
"Qimi?" Akane asked, "As in from your letter?"
"I am Qimi, Princess of the Light. The one who truly loves Ranma Saotome." The melodious voice came with a tinge of accent that let Akane remember the rest of the letter.
"This is the Korean Princess that Herb was in love with?" Akane demanded. "Why is she here?"
"I am here to show my true love," Qimi put her hand on her stomach, the flowing material of her gown conforming to show a pronounced belly.
"Ack, Herb's wife. Herb's kid. I never touched her!" Ranma defended, inching away from Akane.
"She just said you did!" Akane demanded, her voice fraying.
"While this child was conceived with another, it was done with my love for Ranma-san. He touched my heart and taught me of love," Qimi said, putting her hand over her heart.
Akane's eyes crossed and she snorted out a laugh, finding the very idea ludicrous. "How?"
"Hey," Ranma complained, his feelings hurt. "Herb has never dealt with women before and was head over heels for Qimi, I just gave him a few lines to express his feelings for her. She really does love him."
"Ney, it is you I love," Qimi decried, only for Akane to completely ignore her.
"You know lines to help someone woo a girl?"
"Hey, I might have screwed up a lot but I did learn a thing or two," Ranma defended, failing to add that he might have read the girl's journal and told Herb to say stuff he thought Qimi would want to hear.
Akane shook her head in disbelief, then glanced up at Ranma as a further ramification arose. "Herb isn't going to be happy his wife is here, is he?"
Shaking his head, Ranma shrugged. "But see once we're mar..."
The hiss of the train's door opening at the next platform interrupted Ranma's words, followed by the sound of five sets of heavy boots marching as one onto the carriage, drawing the occupants attention. Four hefty men wearing drab brown suits that were cut and starched to near uniform precision, surrounded a short but pretty young woman in a tight cut brown powersuit and tall boots. A riding crop twitched in her hand and she pulled aviator glasses off before smiling at Ranma.
"I told you, Ranma Saotome, I get anything and anyone I want."
Akane was looking open mouthed at the Korean accented new arrival, who was hungrily looking at her fiance. Behind her, Qimi moved up. "Kimi! What are you doing here!"
The new comer sneered. "Stay out of my way, cousin!"
Ranma shrugged and charged into Akane, diving with her around Qimi and her handmaidens and to another door, just as it began to close.
Pulled upright on the station platform by Ranma, Akane stumbled a little but didn't release his hand. "Who was that?"
Holding up his other hand in supplication, Ranma waved her off. "Eh, dark princess of Korea. Long story. Which way to your place from here?"
Rolling her eyes Akane pulled him along to lead the way. Reaching the exit turnstiles, she glanced back at Ranma. "Since when does all of Korea have royalty?"
"Yes, there! Put it there!" Tatewaki Kuno crowed, watching as the sign was hammered into the front lawn of his new estate. "Ah, my Uncle, were you but here to see. Am I not now responsible."
The diminutive ninja Sasuke smiled for his master's success and comeback from the edge of insanity to his normal mental state, fighting clear from the pain tsubo technique Saotome had inflicted on him a year ago.
Searching for the words to show the gravity of his new success, Kuno looked over the front of the building. Renovated from an old boarding house, it lacked the grandeur and prestige of his former family home, along with its size, security, dojo, furo, art, and room for his full collection of samurai literature and prints of his two loves, but it was his.
And though his Uncle had fought him to use his own money in purchasing a new residence in Shikoku, as part of his continuing quest to find and reclaim his loves, or at least Akane Tendo who was said to attend a school nearby, he had succeeded.
"Yes Sasuke," Kuno said to his lacky as he finished putting up a sign saying rooms available. "Maison Kuno shall prove to all, but especially to my Uncle, that I am an adult and I am responsible with money."
A short screech of tires drew the attention of the pair to the road, where a mini-bus had suddenly stopped, several sets of eyes looking out of the windows at the sign.
A statuesque woman with long orange hair pushed the bus door open and leaned out, speaking in a heavy accent. "You rent rooms?"
"Deal with them Sasuke," Kuno declared before turning his back on them. "I must train and meditate on my quest."
Sasuke sighed as he was left to the responsibility of taking care of more things for Master Kuno. He nodded to the woman and explained the terms of the lease.
Parking the bus, six girls all piled out, bringing weapons and travel packs, smiling despite looking a little road weary and recently bruised.
"We take two rooms," the tall orange haired one said before starting to count out money.
"I mean it Ranma," Akane said sternly as she dragged Ranma along. "Be polite to Satoko-Sensei. She is the head of the physical education department at Shikoku University, and she lets a few of us board at her dojo. That is a lot cheaper than having to get our own place. So be nice."
"When am I not nice?" Ranma defended with a smirk. "She's the one that's been training you?"
Smiling slightly, Akane nodded. "How did you know?"
"You're more fluid, and your switching from defending to attacking is better."
Smiling, she leaned back and gave him a peck on the cheek, only to get caught in Ranma's arms and brought into a deep proper kiss.
"Has she been teaching you to cook as well? What about to swim?"
Akane's eyes darkened. "My cooking has improved," she replied curtly.
Taking that as a big no, as Akane would be more evasive to surprise him if her cooking was better, Ranma shrugged. "I just wanted to know if I get to take you to one of the local beaches to teach you to swim after winter. I'm all cured now and really the last time kicked ass."
Cheeks flushed red, Akane instantly recalled the summer when they had first gone all the way. "For us maybe, not for Ukyo."
Ranma sniggered and shook his head. "She was desperate. Can you blame her, we'd been caught making out at school like every day for a month leading up to that trip."
"I don't blame her for being desperate, but when was an Okonomiyaki bikini a good idea?" Akane demanded, slapping the back of her hand into his stomach. "All those seagulls..."
"You weren't complaining about my banana sunday in your bed a month later," Ranma said, indicating to his junk.
Akane winced. "I did after! I've never seen Kasumi so horrified as when she worked out what we had been doing on those sheets. You're lucky she kept it secret and didn't tell our parents."
Before Akane could swat him, he slipped in behind her to hug her. "So this new teacher, you stay at her dojo, right? Is is she going to have a problem with me being in your room?" Ranma asked in a lustful tone.
Pulling off his venturing hands, Akane failed to keep a grin off her face as she straightened her dress. "Just don't be an obvious pervert. She's nearly eighty but she's not strictly traditional. She lets a perverted weasel foreigner called Gordon stay, and if he was much worse I'd think he was Happosai reincarnated. For the most part she has let people have boyfriends or girlfriends stay over but nothing long term."
Ranma shook his head, reminded of the late founder of Anything Goes Martial Arts. At least they assumed he had died by now, he had vanished not long before Ranma went to China. The mystery of what happened to the old goat was deepened with his room all packed up and his pipe left behind.
"Come on, it's just around the corner."
Turning the corner, the young couple came into view of an old property wall on a hill, the outer wall tall but the traditional dojo on the hillside within still looked over it.
A clash of steel on wood drew them to look at the property gate, where an old white haired woman with a bo staff blocked a sword from a young woman. That sword was apparently aimed at a young red haired Caucasian man on the ground.
"Akane Tendo, what has gotten into you?" the old white haired woman demanded.
Akane and Ranma looked at each other, then rushed forward, seeing that the sword wielding woman was wearing ornate metal armor, a cloak, and Akane's face.
"This man assaulted my companion," the faux Akane said, glaring at Gordon on the ground, while pointing a finger at the short red headed girl in a heavy cloak behind her.
The real Akane didn't call out lest she make her sensei and landlady drop her guard, but walked straight into the fray. "Hello Kiima, I'm kind of glad you came to town."
All four of those at the gate looked up in surprise at the appearance of the second Akane, giving more than enough time for Ranma to drop in from above and simply kick the sword from Kiima's hand.
"Saotome!" the doppelganger phoenix woman hissed, raising her guard against him but leaving her wide open against the bigger threat.
The real Akane's fist caught her in the side of the face. "Yes, Kiima that is my fiance, and that is for trying to seduce him."
Dodging a lashing kick, Akane jumped in and punched Kiima again. "And that is for seducing anyone with my face."
Ranma smirked at his angry fiancee as she knocked the phoenix warrior down with less effort than he expected. He turned to the familiar faced red head standing near impotently nearby. "Hey Saffron, how's it feel being an adult? Looks like ya got used to standing up with those chest melons?"
The real Akane face palmed at her fiance's embarrassing choice of words, "Does she still have all his power?"
Shaking his head, Ranma jumped beside Saffron-chan, taking her in a headlock and giving her a noogie. "Nah, she could barely walk before. All the power of a toddler in the body of a teenage girl. I doubt she could start a fire with dry kindling."
"I'm not a girl," cried Saffron. Frustrated but no where near strong enough to get away from the bullying, he tried to look up at Ranma. "Tell us how you twisted the ritual and the people of the Phoenix will leave you in peace."
Ranma's smiled dropped as he pointed the redheads face towards Akane. "Remember Akane? She was the girl turned into a doll to save me from you, and then you tried to keep me from saving her. Remember her now?"
Saffron kept struggling against Ranma's grip, "Another foreigner who chose to interfere in my ascension. Now you endanger her again by refusing to... ow!"
Worried at the anger behind Ranma's eyes as Saffron implied she was endangered again, Akane watched at the red head slumped.
"What did you do to Lord Saffron?" Kiima demanded, getting to her feet.
"No idea," Ranma said, laying the redhead down and showing the dart he had shot at him earlier by the crazy wannabe spy was now in the back of her Saffron's neck. He looked at Akane. "What does it do?"
Rolling her eyes at Ranma's irresponsibility, Akane shook her head. "She'll be knocked out for a few minutes at most."
Ranma looked disappointed, then looked to Kiima. "For a guy who reincarnates, how has he never learned to keep his mouth shut and not only fight to get everything he wants?"
Akane looked open mouthed at Ranma.
Wearing Akane's face, Kiima shook her head. "He is Lord Saffron, he is not of a mortal mind."
"Well then maybe being a girl and not a lord will help him grow a brain?"
"So you won't show us how you cursed him?" Kiima asked.
"Your ritual took it from me," Ranma pointed out. "And he didn't even try to apologize to Akane. Neither have you. Now take your boss and leave. I can't help either of you."
Kiima seemed about to say something but the cold eyes of the opponent before her held her tongue. Retrieving her sword and sheathing it, she moved to collect Saffron.
Watching as Kiima picked up her leader, Akane finally grabbed Ranma and turned him to the pair behind them. "Satoko-Sensei. Gordon-san. This is my fiance, Ranma Saotome. He just got back from China. Kiima, is from China and she tried to kill me a few times and used cursed water she drowned me in to make herself look like me. If you throw hot water on her she'll turned back to herself."
"That's nice dear," Satoko said in her soft voice. "But will she be staying around, it will get confusing?"
"What does she look like in her other form? Does she have a boyfriend?" Gordon put in with the lust in his tone competing with his American accent. Images of having a willing Akane Tendo and another hot girl in one body, dancing around his head.
Ignoring Gordon as she oft did, Akane turned back to her doppelganger picking up the unconscious redhead. Standing straight, Kiima looked at the pair, "I'll not return to my people without the power to restore Lord Saffron or to lift the curse you tricked onto her! Er... him!"
Whipping about her cloak, she jumped off a parked car to springboard to a house across the road and dart off into the night.
"She's staying," Ranma said simply, then looked at the old wrinkled white haired woman. "Yo, you must be the old sensei who has been teaching Akane, right?"
Satoko looked her old eyes over the young man as he dodged an elbow from his embarrassed fiancee. "And you can only be the uncouth child of Genma Saotome."
"You know my Pop?" Ranma asked in surprise, before his shoulder's slumped. "What did he steal from you?"
Giving a light laugh, Sakoto shook her wrinkled face.
"Nothing I wouldn't given had he asked, but between how his father raised him and the influence of that wretched pint-sized master, I harbor no ill will over his acts." A hint of anger broke through with the word 'master', but it vanished as quickly back to her sweet white haired demeanor. "In truth the only thing of value he took was a gifted student, one he brought with him when he stopped by over a decade ago."
"Ranma trained here?" Akane asked in surprise at the revelation the old teacher hadn't shared with her when she had spoken of Ranma in the past.
Ranma frowned and looked at the old Dojo beyond the wall, then back at the woman who looked slightly older than those old timbers. "Nope, don't remember it."
Akane nearly fell on her face.
"But hey, I know Akane has been liking what she's learning from you, and since I got a couple annoyances after me who might come after her as my fiancee, I'm gonna need to stay close to Akane to protect her. So any problem with me shacking up in her room?"
Gordon's jaw hit the floor as Akane leaped to choke her tactless fiance, but the old woman simply turned for the gate. "I need a bath. Akane...No, Gordon-kun can you please get our guest something from the kitchen as a snack. After I have contemplated on this, I will test you Ranma Saotome. If you succeed you may stay."
Sasuke sighed he finally got the first six new tenants into the two rooms they requested. Already he was getting a headache from rapid fire Chinese the girl's spoke, about who was going in which room, and what, he suspected, were complaints about bad feng-shui. Fortunately they had argued among themselves so he hadn't had to offer different rooms, thinking it prudent they be put at in the larger units on the ground floor, furthest from Master Kuno's 'managers' apartment on the second story.
A ring of the doorbell below was followed by an angry yell from above. "Sasuke, answer the door!"
Flipping down the stairs and rapidly off the walls, he reached the door a second later, seeing a tall Korean woman with a protruding belly and two white clad women in waiting behind her.
Sasuke briefly wondered if he should reject her because of the difficulties a pregnant woman could represent, not that he knew much on the subject. But the fear of Master Kuno reacting chivalrously and taking it out on his hide made him think better of it. At least Master Kuno's Uncle had insisted on only accepting three month leases to start with, expecting Tatewaki to fail before then.
"You couldn't pretend to remember her?" Akane asked with a hiss as the knelt at the low table in the main room of the building attached to the dojo.
"What, it wasn't like I said, 'Oy, old bag, can I stay over as Akane's futon'? Besides, she wants to test me at martial arts? Come on, if this is about skill, she may as well be making my bed already."
Akane really wondered what she saw in her fiance at times, and looked for when Gordon might show up with a snack to shove down Ranma's throat and shut him up. Hope for such was shattered at a woman's scream.
Letting Akane take the lead, Ranma was right behind her down the hall and around a corner, then through two doors into a bathroom. Almost too late, Ranma realized that the first door was to a change room, and he didn't want to have Akane mad at him for seeing some chick in the bath first day back.
Closing his eyes, he held at the door and listened for what was happening when a chilling voice came up. "Sweeto, little Akane! Give Happi a hug!"
Opening his eyes and rushing in, Ranma saw the tiny wizened form of the founder of Anything Goes again in the flesh, this time leaping from the bare flesh of some dark haired young woman at his fiancee.
Akane dropped low, flicking her hand to whack the aged master clear of her and back to Ranma.
"Ranma too!" Happosai crowed, as he landed on his feet before the pigtailed martial artist and blocked an opening punch.
"You're meant to be dead!" Ranma declared as he struck at the old man.
The toothy grin of the old letch showed confidence as he danced around Ranma's strikes. "You expect me to stay dead when my some of my favorite girls are all here? You, Akane-chan, and Sato-chan?"
Akane swung her eyes to the dark haired young woman who had been screaming, now covering herself in a towel and looking in shock at her arms and hands. "Satoko-sensei?"
The old eyes that looked from the youthful face back at her were all the confirmation Akane needed.
"I'm cured old man!" Ranma cried, striking again, only for the old man to whip out a metal smoking pipe and hook the young man's wrist.
With a tug, Ranma Saotome was flung past the women towards the furo.
"Ranma, NO!" Was all Akane got out as Ranma splashed into the water.
Angry at falling for for such an old trick, Ranma got to her feet and stood up out of the surprisingly cold water, hesitating at Akane's horrified expression and Happosai's smug one.
Puffing his pipe, Happosai sneered. "I was only able to rest because you spent the night with Akane as a girl last year. Do you think my soul could rest while you weren't whole, Ranma-chan?"
"What Akane and I ever di..." Ranma-chan stopped speaking, panting at hearing a familiar higher octave in her voice. Pressing her hands to her returned breasts, her head turned enough to see the red hair of her braid, and look at the water in the tub.
"I would have thought it harder to find some Spring of Drowned Girl water, but I guess it was destiny, Ranma-chan." Happi said cheerfully. Turning from his stunned student to the near naked brunette, Happi leered.
"You look better than ever, Sato-chan. Now you can go out dancing that fine behind with your great grandson here."
Ranma, just about to unleash a hell storm of violence over being re-cursed was suddenly short-circuit by the idea that this other woman was his father's grandmother. "Meemaw?" Ranma asked hesitantly as a distant childhood memory flooded back.
Holding up a pair of baggy panties, Happosai shook his head and incinerated them a push of chi. "No more wearing things like this Satoko. You've got a lot of pretty ladies in this town to compete with. I think I'm going to like it around here," he added with a grin and some waggling eyebrows, before bounding out the door.
"Come on, how hot was he?" the muscular Shinobu asked rhetorically to Shika. "Do you think that really was her mystery boyfriend come back from China?"
Shika nodded. "Akane has turned down every hot guy on in town since becoming Campus queen. He might have been weird but she was crawling on him. He's obviously her type."
Glancing over her shoulder, the nervous doe eyed Shika pursed her lips. "Do you think she'll take him back to your place? Didn't you say the walls were real thin? Didn't Satoko-Sensei chew you out because you brought that guy from the sumo-club over when you were dating him?"
Shinobu frowned as she recalled two weeks ago with the gutless wonder who dumped her by phone tonight. "I wish she had caught us before he stayed the night," she lamented, before her eyebrows shot up realizing that Akane's fiance would have no where to go in town if he just came from overseas. "I guess so, and yeah the walls are real thin. Akane might be her favorite student, but Satoko-sensei would pitch a fit if Akane was... wasn't discrete at least."
"Well if you hear anything, you have to tell," Shika teased.
Shinobu was about to retort with a joke when a movement in an alley caught her eye. Taking a stance in front of Shika, she looked into the darkness. "Who's there?"
Shuffling into the light was a little black piglet.
"Aw, poor baby," Shinobu said, changing gears to concern at the dirty and tired, but cute looking animal. Checking around the bandanna it wore for any kind of collar or owner contact information, she picked the little animal up.
"It's a piglet, not a dog, Shinobu," Shika pointed out.
"So, it still needs love. Not like I have a hunky fiance to lavish some affection on," Shinobu retorted before holding the piglet up to her face. "But little baby here would like some affection, wouldn't you."
The tiny piglet that was Ryoga Hibiki nodded slightly, too tired to really resist. It had been an awful year since Akari dumped him. He had been wandering nearly aimlessly. The last three weeks alone he had been stuck in this form and kept being thwarted from finding hot water.
He had promised himself never to betray a girl like he had Akane by again doing the pet act. But as long as he didn't peek or sleep in the same bed, and just tried to find hot water, it wouldn't be the same, would it?
Pulled into Shinobu's chest, Ryoga sighed and promised himself he wasn't enjoying it.
"Will Satoko-sensei let you keep him?" Shika asked.
"If Akane gets to keep her new boy, it would be unfair to not let me," Shinobu replied with a grin.
Shutting the door to the furo behind her, Akane left her sensei to play with the hot and cold water and get used to the shock of her new curse. She winced looking at her fiance, still in his cursed form, looking in the mirror.
"I'm sorry," was all Akane could think to say.
Nodding, Ranma turned to look at Akane, her blue eyes trailing down to the ring on her hand. "Do you want to give that back?"
Akane paled and stomped up to her currently female future husband and grabbed her by the pigtail. "Baka, Baka, BAKA! Never suggest that again. Ever!"
"Ow! Okay!" Ranma replied with the ghost of a relieved smile.
Releasing the red hair, she hugged Ranma. "Honestly Ranma, it never mattered. Not to me."
The way Ranma swallowed and the wetness in her blue eyes, was all Akane needed to see before she hugged her tight again.
"You're thinking of going back to China, arn't you?"
Ranma was silent for a long moment before she sucked in a breath. "You gonna let me out of my promise?"
Akane winced and closed her eyes. "No. I can't. It hurt so bad missing you."
Leaning back so she could look at Ranma in the eyes, she smiled past her tears. "I'll come with you."
Ranma's eyebrows shot up, and then she smiled and shook her head. "Nah, I made a promise. I'll stay here. Gonna need time to work on what I learned before Saffron stupidly cured me. Till then their ain't anyone in China I know of who I didn't already talk to."
Akane cried out and then kissed the redhead in her arms.
"Hhhhhhot," came voice from the door, Gordon looking at the pair of girls making out. One glare from Akane made him duck his red haired head back out into the hall.
Ranma wiped her eyes and runny nose on her sleeve, "This place seems as bad as home, Tomboy."
Akane giggled and squeezed her fiance harder. "I'll put up with it to have my baka back."
Sasuke sighed he moved downstairs again.
The layout of Maison Kuno put four apartments on the ground and first floors, the doors laid out into an inner entrance hall with the stairs going up at the end. The second story was just a railed walkway corridor on each side from the stairs to the two apartments, while the stairs continued up.
While the Korean woman in white had claimed one first floor apartment and her followers the one beside it closer to the stair, the only time he had not seen one of the pair of handmaidens standing in front of their leader's door, was when she had been called inside.
Shortly after, a second Korean woman, this time much shorter and wearing a brown power-suit, arrived to lease two rooms. Like the woman in white, she had taken the room opposite on the first floor, while her four followers had moved into the last first story room, at all times two of the men were in front of their leader's door.
Six of the eight available rooms leased in one night, and New Years Eve at that. Far better than they had hoped. Though assuming they didn't get any more, Sasuke hoped he might even be able to claim the tiny ground floor apartment with the utilities and hot water service in it for himself.
Looking around, he pulled out a crowbar and headed for the front yard to take the sign down.
Opening the door, he came face to face to a pretty woman, wearing full ornate armor, with white wings outstretched behind her, and holding a drowsy toddler.
Sasuke had barely opened his mouth, when the also winged child turned to look at him. "The Emperor of the Phoenix needs your best room." The child said in a surprisingly deep voice.
Sasuke held still for a long moment before asking, "Just the one room?"
"Bweee" Ryoga sighed, keeping his eyes closed as his latest benefactor stripped off in the outer chamber of bathroom.
Shinobu smiled at the funny little pig, now with its eyes closed as she stripped down from the dress and underwear she had worn to the party.
Picking up the piglet she frowned at the still full tub with plastic storage tub lids over it and a sign saying 'DANGEROUS'.
Satoko-sensei had looked disheveled when Shinobu had arrived home. And when Shinobu had headed for the bathroom, the old woman warned her to not go near the furo, that the water inside it was cursed and had to be disposed of carefully.
Rolling her eyes, she sat her new pet down beside her and started to wash off, using cold water to wash herself and then her pig. Glancing at the furo, Shinobu shrugged her wide shoulders and reached for the hot water tap to warm up.
With his eyes closed, Ryoga never saw her turn the tap.
Shinobu fell back off her wash stool as an adult man appeared before her, just as undressed as she was. Her eyes crossed before she let her chi flow down her arm into her fist and drove it into his stomach.
Not really surprised by being hit, Ryoga kept his eyes closed and his hands over his privates as he used his elbows to force his body out of the crater in the wall. "Um, I know this looks really bad..." he began stammering as he edged for the door.
On her feet, Shinobu was about to attack again when she suddenly realized that her best blow and being knocked into a brick wall had not even made this well built man breath hard or open his eyes. Also he was edging near the covered furo.
"Stop. My master said that water is apparently cursed."
Ryoga didn't know much of the world but he had learned the hard way you don't mess with cursed water. Opening his eyes, he immediately began to back up. "Wow, thanks. I..."
Ryoga looked down at where he had backpeddled right into a pair of soft somethings on an otherwise rock hard body. Turning around, he managed an 'ack' at seeing all of Shinobu, before blood spurted from his nose and he collapsed.
Shinobu frowned, then raised one eyebrow.
Entering into his room, Gordon had no clue what was going on with the new guest and Satoko-sensei's weird behavior, but then again all he could really think about was Akane Tendo making out with that stacked red head. That was hot. Just add himself and it was a threesome of hotness waiting to happen, he imagined.
Turning to his bed, he smelled the acrid smoke before he spotted the tiny old man in the center of the room, puffing on a pipe and thumbing through one of the adult magazines Gordon had hidden in his closet.
"Boy, what is more important, pretty girls or martial arts?"
Gordon blinked at the riddle from the intruder, but as this was about his two favorite subjects, he couldn't not answer. "Both."
Happosai grinned a toothy smile.
Ryoga blinked awake at the tickling of his nose, his eyes crossing to focus on the fingertips of the girl sitting on the same futon he was laying on. Trying to sit up or more only got held back, the muffled chinking of chains explaining why his legs and arms refused to move, and the weight over chest and knees that kept him down. At least a blanket had been draped over his otherwise naked body.
He really had no idea how to take the odd look on the woman who had taken him in, shown affection but then ended up showing him a lot more in the bathroom, and now had bound him down.
"Um, I am so sorry. It's a curse. I really just wanted to use your hot water, not abuse you... deceive you. I swear I didn't do it to peek on you. Not that you're... I mean I'm sure real perverts would... er arg. I swear, I'm not a pervert."
Shinobu looked down at the young man with the cute little fang teeth babbling over his words. She lamented the irony of getting a cute strong guy in her room and he wasn't interested in her as a pervert or anything else.
A knock on the door made her look up, fearful at being caught by Satoko-sensei, but Akane's voice carried through, calling her name.
Opening the door barely half way, to block off anyone in the hall seeing what was in her bed, Shinobu frowned at the smeared makeup and disheveled appearance on her training companion.
Red faced, Akane held up her pinky finger. "Have you got a condom or two spare?"
Shinobu's eyes went wide at seeing this new side of Akane, but reached for the top of draw of her dresser beside the door and pulled out a strip of protections from the box in the back.
Akane's eyes lit up seeing six condoms. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, this will get us through to the morning when the chemist opens."
Flushing at Shinobu's eyes widening, Akane shrugged awkwardly. "Well, I, he may be a pervert but he's my pervert, and now I need to remind him that he is mine."
Trembling in the futon at what he had heard, Ryoga tried to work out if he was having a nightmare or not, his mind recalling in too much detail his ideal sweet innocent Akane in contrast with the horror at Akane Tendo speaking so... so...
Ryoga broke off from dark depressing thoughts as he felt fingers running across the blanket over his leg. Looking up he saw the woman whose bed he was in, had again sat beside him, and was pursing her lips.
"Say, do you have a girlfriend?"
"Ack,' Ryoga said as blood spurted from his nose and he passed out.
Shinobu looked vexed at the unconscious young man.
Stepping over to her cabinet, Satoko reached for her medication pill box before stopping and looking at her old hand. Sighing at the sight of the weathered digits, she looked to the glass of water on her cabinet, and tipped it up on her head.
Just as Akane had explained, the Jusenkyo curse changed her instantly, her eyes going straight to her hands that were now smooth and pale and young. With a moan of pleasure, she slowly rolled her wrists, feeling not a twinge of arthritis.
Despite the idea of being a teenager again threatened a migraine, this part wasn't much of a curse.
Ignoring her medicines, Satoko moved over to her closet, pulling out a small wooden box from the top shelf. Placing it on her cabinet, her hands deftly manipulated the catch on the front to pop the lid open, and expose an old scroll.
Unrolling the paper, it showed a branching tree, spreading from a trunk. From the central trunk and out, each branch had the label of a name, tracing artistically the lines of the spreading family.
Satoko's eyes travelled the familiar path to her own name, and that of her daughter's and her son-in-law's where the line became Saotome, and her grandson Genma Saotome and his wife Nodoka, and down to the last, Ranma Saotome.
She idly wondered if she should add Akane-chan's name beside it but held off, looking to the other branches and wondering what would come.
So this is as far as this one goes, it started as just the challenge scene then it needed context and more chaos till it is this messy choas bomb ready to explode, and that is where I will leave it.
It is the January of my new years resolution to post something every month. ML should be around March April, I am still struggling with some subplots after I pulled a big one out.