Crossover Fan Fiction / Pretty Cure Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ On Thin Ice – Part 1.5 ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Alright, we have gotten to the point where we can go into detail and its corresponding fight scenes with the Golden Pair of Kolhotz High School.
 
But before I can continue with this author’s note, I want to apologize for both the lateness of this update as well the poor appearance of the last version.
 
For the former, let us just say that I had gotten the mother of all writer’s block when I had finished the last part of this chapter last year. I even had to make what I would have thought to be a “never to be published story” just to get my writing mojo back.
 
Even then, I still posted “Flight of the Intruders: Seeds of Freedom” so I could at least entertain you readers while I get this hopefully final revision online within the year.
 
But enough about me, in this part of the chapter, I will now introduce our three new cameos who would be showing up from time to time in the course of this story.
 
So say hello to Taichi Yagami, Hikari Yagami, and Sora Takenouchi of Digimon Adventures and its sequel, Digimon 02.
 
Yuka is the aunt of both Yagami siblings since their father, Susumu Yagami, is her older cousin from her own father’s side of the family.
 
Sora is there to keep an eye for the younger Yagami’s bouts of sickness and keeping an even bigger eye for the elder Yagami’s wacky antics.
 
In the Digimon continuity, this chapter has happened a full year after the fight with Parrotmon in Hightown Hilton which is also located in Nerima so expect some childish pranks in the near horizon.
 
I would also like to apologize that I cannot keep everyone in this story in character for long.
 
The reason behind this is that this story’s plot will only run parallel with the canon plot after the earlier divergence time-wise in the first chapter thus the character’s personalities may end up different as a result of it.
 
Even then, any suggestion to circumvent this problem is most appreciated.
 
Like you, I too wanted to keep the characters as close as I could get without ruining the story or ruining the anime as a result.
 
For now, please read and enjoy this action packed second act of the fifth chapter entitled…
 
 
Chapter 5b – On Thin Ice Part 2
 
Following the apparent kidnapping of their pet mascot – P-Chan, Ranma and his friends had scoured the whole Nerima ward in the hopes of finding their missing friend.
 
The group had split further into three pairs in the hopes of that they could cover even more ground that way.
 
Ranma and Akane had headed north, roof hopping along the way. Daisuke and Yuka had borrowed some bikes in the nearby bike rental shop as they had headed west.
 
Finally, Hiroshi and Sayuri had jogged to the eastern end of the ward, which is the nearest to rink that is their starting point.
 
Ironically, it was the last pair who had found the brown haired girl, that they were looking for, entering a ramen shop. The said shop is only two kilometers from the municipal rink where P-chan was taken from.
 
Sayuri had sent a message to Daisuke’s beeper via the nearby phone booth. Daisuke himself had already caught up with the martial artists while Yuka was trying to contact them herself.
 
It had taken ten whole minutes before the rest of the gang had arrived in the said ramen shop’s doorway. After a bit of greeting, the whole group had gone in the said business establishment.
 
As soon as they had gone inside, Hiroshi had spotted their quarry still holding the struggling black piglet in her arms.
 
The girls had taken the lead in confronting the light brown haired skater while the guys had stayed back a few steps behind.
 
None of the guys were actually interested in watching a cat fight especially that close.
 
“Gimme back our pet pig,” Akane said as she had made a grab for the dark skinned farm animal. “I promise we won’t press charges if ya do.”
 
“Asuza won’t give Charlotte to anyone,” the girl had replied as her arms had tightened around P-chan’s little body. “See this brooch around her neck proves that Charlotte is Charlotte.”
 
The piglet had struggled even more to keep the girl from smothering him accidentally. The newly worn necklace with the said moniker had jingled wildly in the piglet’s movements while the girl was showing him to the other three females.
 
“Listen up, little girl. In case you forgot, this is our pet pig and his name is P-chan.” Yuka had added as she too had neared the possessive teen.
 
She had ignored the side comments from the guys that “Charlotte” is a better name for the piglet that was squealing back at them in anger.
 
“You have no proof that Charlotte is yours since you cannot even get her name or gender right,” The skater had replied rather repeatedly as she looked up at her tormentors. “By the way, Asuza has name, you know.”
 
At the mentioning of the skater’s name, Sayuri had suddenly gasped as she had finally remembered who she and her best friends were actually talking to.
 
Yet even before she could even speak, a blond teen about their age had interrupted the girls’ heated conversation.
 
“You must forgive Asuza, pretty ladies.” The well dressed and lanky blond said as he had stood up from a nearby table. “She’s a very possessive type that gets what she wants if you know what I mean.”
 
Seeing the blank looks at the girls’ faces as they had looked back at him, the blond then introduced himself with a slight bow. “My name is Mikado Sanzenin. May I ask yours?”
 
This time, the three young men had stood up and would have gotten into their battle poses when they had realized that by doing so would make them look silly.
 
As for the girls, they had enough experience with the opposite sex to know a smooth talking player when they see one. They did introduce themselves and the guys politely though.
 
Mikado was a bit baffled to see that his charms had not worked on the trio of cute girls. He had taken this setback as a challenge to get a kiss from each of them.
 
Otherwise, his reputation as a Romeo on ice would be ruined.
 
So to further improve his chances of getting the coveted triple kiss, he had grabbed the squealing piglet that was currently involved in a tug of war between the blue haired girl named Akane and his skating partner – Asuza.
 
The blonde Cassanova then gave the puzzled piglet to Akane and her friends to their surprise and his skating partner’s dismay.
 
Finally, getting the moment that she was waiting for, Sayuri then hesitantly said to her friends. “Uh everyone let me introduce you to Asuza Shiratori and Mikado Sanzenin or as the skating world would call them as… the Golden Pair of Kolhotz High.”
 
The light brunette had already known about the Golden Pair’s reputation in the ice rink. Furthermore, she had heard rumors about the said pair’s reputations outside of the rink.
Seeing the star struck expressions in the three Furinkan girls’ eyes, Mikado had added with a theatrical bow. “Since you now know who we are, let me give you the pleasure of becoming my dates this coming Friday.”
 
Whatever coolness that the blonde skater had gathered was lost by his little partner’s whacking him on the head through various means (and objects) as she had demanded him to return her “Charlotte”.
 
“Will ya quit doing that, you little brat?” Mikado had thundered on the smaller girl.
 
“Mikado, big dummy.” Asuza had retorted as she had slammed a steel chair on the blond’s head.
 
She then turned as the taller blond had landed on the tiled floor roughly before adding. “If you no return Charlotte to Asuza, then let us fight for Charlotte in our school’s rink a week from now.”
 
“I’m game,” Akane had replied to the short teenage skater with her arms akimbo. The action had shocked her friends so much that Sayuri had whispered her anxiety in her blue haired best friend’s right ear.
 
“Hey, Akane. Are ya sure about this?” The brown haired teen had said with a bit of fear creeping in her voice. “I mean those the Golden Pair did win 950 ice skating matches in a row.”
 
“I’m sure, Sayuri.” Akane had whispered back. “Their egos are begging to be pegged to the ground.”
 
“That and she tried to get Ranma too…right?” Sayuri had retorted with a sly grin as she had remembered the earlier incident in the rink.
 
“Yeah, right.” Akane said in reply, even though her reddening cheeks had said otherwise.
 
Yuka had figured out why her other best friend was blushing like that and had even sneaked a quick look at the booth about two meters behind them.
 
It was in that booth that a puzzled black haired martial artist had looked back at her with his eyebrows raised in puzzlement. He also seemed to be keeping his chopsticks holding on to some noodles that were just centimeters from his mouth.
 
The other two young men seemed to be having a good time as they had also eaten their noodles with gusto.
 
In fact, the trio of beef bowl enthusiasts had already ordered three more bowls of ramen and seemed to be ignoring the brewing cat fight a few meters away from them.
 
They did watch the recovering blond stand up from his unscheduled nap with interest though.
 
The said blonde was holding his head with his left hand while mumbling about spoiled brats that needed a good spanking.
 
After shaking his head of bad thoughts, Mikado then straightened himself up to in preparation for his usual tactic of charming the three attractive young ladies off their feet.
 
A flying fish cake had spoiled the whole effect as the girls did notice him but were laughing at the added decoration to his right cheek.
 
The said morsel had fallen back to the floor after it was peeled with an audible pop by the irate skater and thrown away.
 
The lanky blonde then slowly walked towards Ranma with an air of arrogance mixed with grumpiness. He then stopped in front of the table where the male martial artist had finished off his meal in a jiffy before standing up himself.
 
“Very creative way to issue a challenge,” Mikado was saying with a bit of venom. “Very well then, I’ll accept.”
 
“Ya forgot tasty,” Ranma had replied with his usual arrogant grin before it turned into a scowl. “Lemme tell ya somethin’.”
 
“Oh, and what would your tiny brain actually come up with?” The skater said with a smirk. He was so distracted that he did not notice that Asuza had grabbed the fish cake and have even called it Francoise.
 
“I’m laughin’,” Ranma was saying with a straight face as he had kept his temper in check. “Coz’ you’re real hilarious without even sayin’ a word.”
 
Before Mikado would bring about another round of insults as his pale face had turned lobster red, Ranma had beaten him to it by saying.
 
“A few words of advice – Akane’ll kill ya with her cooking; she’s built like a brick with wide hips, and even use ya as a punching bag when she’s pissed off.”
 
The various looks ranging from that of surprise, horror, and righteous anger was transformed into confusion when the pony-tailed martial artist had added with a dangerous smile.
 
“Yet, I’ll still kill ya if you even git yer filthy paws and lips on her.”
 
“Oh,” was the collective response with some teasing smirks and knowing winks thrown in a now blushing Akane’s way.
 
This time, it was Mikado’s turn to grin as he had answered. “And what if I don’t?”
 
“If ya don’t, then I’ll kill ya myself.” Ranma had replied as he had grabbed his sparring partner’s right arm and hurriedly left the restaurant with an irritated yet surprised Akane in tow.
 
Their friends had followed the two martial artists out of the restaurant, each one of them sporting various knowing grins.
 
All four teens had realized that they had just witnessed something close to a declaration of love from the still peeved male martial artist without him even knowing about it.
 
Hiroshi had also paid his and the other guy’s meals as they had already shared the payments just before Ranma had confronted the male skater.
 
As for P-chan, who was all but forgotten in the stare down, he had used the given distraction to take off to parts unknown.
 
-oOo-
 
“Hey, Ranma-lapi.” Flappy had said from the depths of Ranma’s mind as the six teens were walking through downtown Nerima to their respective homes. “Sounds like you jus’ confessed your true feelings back there-lapi.”
 
Both Daisuke and Yuka had returned their bikes after they had caught up with the brisk walking pair of Ranma and Akane which is why they too were walking back home.
 
`I did,” was the confused reply of Ranma as the said teen had suddenly stopped in his tracks making the others do the same or make an impromptu domino effect.
 
“Look at Akane’s face and you’ll see what I mean-lapi,” the flower spirit had retorted with a short laugh.
 
Ranma did as he was told and saw that Akane’s face was beet red and her fists were clenched tightly. Thankfully, Ranma was holding her left arm or he would felt his fingers going numb after Akane would squeeze them to breaking point.
 
“See, I told you so-lapi.”
 
`Oops, my bad.’
 
A sickeningly fake sweet voice laced with acid from behind Ranma then said.
 
“Ranma, I hope that Flappy’s tellin’ you what I hope he’s telling you coz’ if he doesn’t, I’ll give ya both a massive headache.”
 
“Um, he, he.” Ranma had replied as he had let go of Akane’s arm and braced for the incoming overhead impact in perfect tandem with the flower spirit. “He did…Bye.”
 
As soon as those words had come out of Ranma’s mouth, a rooftop chase had ensued towards the Tendou compound.
 
“Now that’s what I call- a lover’s trek home,” Daisuke said with a wide grin.
 
“They ain’t lovers…yet.” Yuka said in reply after groaning from her boyfriend’s weird sense of humor. “Since Mr. Big Mouth over there isn’t figure skating ready at the moment, we’ll have to give him the needed lessons and fast.”
 
“I read you, Yuka.” Hiroshi said as he had led the rest of the gang home. “This would either be a lot of fun or one helluva headache.”
 
-oOo-
 
The next day, Hiroshi and Daisuke were teaching Ranma on how to skate in the municipal rink.
 
It was rough going at first since the martial artist had trouble maintaining his balance throughout the said lessons.
 
Adding to the chaos was the arrival of Ryoga who had claimed to be a master of the ice. He had even called himself – Hyena of the Ice in response to Ranma’s own announcement that he is the Wolf of the Rink.
 
While he was speaking, the chain with the fancy reddish nameplate had swung lightly with the bandana boy’s slight movements.
 
Of course, as what had happened before, both martial artists’ faces and backsides seemed to be keeping more in contact with the ice rather than the blades on their skates.
 
`Some ice skating masters they turned out to be-lapi,’ Flappy thought as he had watched the whole embarrassing scene from Ranma’s eyes. `I could skate better than either of them only by using my hind paws-lapi.’
 
Little children were seen to be laughing at woeful martial artists as the former had passed the latter by without slipping even once.
 
Hell, even an upright panda bear had passed them by with these words written on the wooden sign on its right front paw – Give up while you still have your pride.
 
After a slight flip, it had even added – You boys both suck at skating.
 
The raccoon’s bigger cousin would have been beaten up too if Ranma’s and Ryoga’s jaws had not hit the ice first in their mad scramble to get up and skate after the now fleeing panda.
 
“If you guys don’t quit with the `I’m better than you so ha’ routine, neither of you can even hope to win the match against the Golden Pair.” Daisuke nearly screamed at the bickering teens as he had watched the others help both martial artists up on their feet.
 
“Daisuke’s right, you guys.” Akane added as she had lifted Ranma to his feet with less grace than the other two girls had done with Ryoga. “We’ve already had enough hot air to actually melt the whole rink in minutes. We don’t need any more of it.”
 
The two boys then looked at each other and had ended up trying to outdo (and out punch) the other in the process while trying to keep upright the whole time.
 
As for the rest of the group, they had given up and thus headed for the rink’s refreshment stand instead to wait for the dueling skaters to cool off for a while.
 
Yet the sight of the Golden Pair, along with about a hundred boys – all of them wearing ice hockey masks and protective gear like gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads, had made them all rethink their strategy.
 
The said mob was also carrying their hockey sticks with them to be used as their bludgeoning weapons in their upcoming fight.
 
“If that is how you practice skating then the coming match is a piece of cake,” Mikado had said with smirk upon seeing the tangle of limbs about five meters away from him.
 
Akane and the others had come back both to untangle Ranma and Ryoga from each other as well as to see what the Seisyun High School students were up to.
 
What Ranma and the others had seen instead was a brief show of ice skating mastery by the Golden Pair as they glided around the whole rink.
 
The hundred or so hockey players had acted as the sparring opponents (more like “victims”) to the tandem of Mikado and Asuza.
 
Whatever attacks the larger group had tried were either blocked or evaded easily by either the lanky blond or the spunky light brown haired girl.
 
Punches, kicks, knee jabs, and even elbow jabs were exchanged in close quarters between the mass of fighters.
 
A few hockey sticks were also seen being either swung towards the skating champions or were sent elsewhere via the air route.
 
Within the said mass of limbs, the Golden Pair had proven what Sayuri was warning her friends just the night before.
 
Not only was the two ice masters skating in perfect harmony, they were also kicking major ass all over the place.
 
Their grand finale was a full spin that had sent the remaining eleven hockey players to different sides of the rink.
 
It was when the last masked attacker had landed back first in the farthest wall of the rink that the fight was over.
 
One of the fallen players had stopped the stopwatch that he had drawn from his right pocket. The time for the whole massacre was said to be just less than five minutes.
 
Ranma and his friends were awed at the display of power and efficiency that was made for their benefit. It had taken awhile for them to regain their senses.
 
Even the flower spirit’s jaw had slightly fallen at the sight of the massacre.
 
A few claps from the sidelines had brought them out of their stupor. But for Akane, it was too little too late as Mikado had used the said moment of weakness to come close to her and try to steal a kiss- keyword being try.
 
The blue haired girl’s instincts had issued a series of warnings to her brain thus she had used something to keep her lips as virgins.
 
She had quickly grabbed Ranma from behind and had used him to shield her from the incoming skater.
 
Unfortunately for a certain aqua-transforming marital artist, his lips were no longer virgins as of that very moment.
 
The two young men had belatedly realized the embarrassing situation that they had found themselves to be in and jumped back as far away as they could.
 
Right after leaping away from each other, both teens were spitting their disgust on the ice below upon landing on their feet.
 
At least, Mikado was since Ranma had again slipped on the ice in mid-spit. This was how the pony-tailed martial artist had gotten a bit of the icky stuff on his red Chinese style shirt.
 
On instinct, Ranma had tried to wipe away the disgusting stain on his shirt with both hands to no avail.
 
“How dare you steal my 999th kiss you cretin?” Mikado had said with a scowl as he had wiped his mouth with his white costume’s long sleeve.
 
“Look who’s talkin’,” The pony tailed teen replied as he did likewise with his shirt’s short sleeve. “That asshole, I’ll kill him for kissing me full on the lips.”
 
“I agree,” Flappy added as he too had felt disgusted by the sudden turn of events. “I’d rather have Choppy kiss me there rather than that…that human.”
 
“You will pay for your insolence,” the male half of the Golden Pair said as he had charged at Ranma, smooth hands clenched into fists.
 
“Bring it on, fem boy.” The martial artist had retorted as he too had charged at the incoming skater.
 
-oOo-
 
A good fifteen minutes later, the battle had finally ended with the victor being pulled back to the gate, where he and his friends could exchange their rented skates for their shoes, while getting an earful from his female companion that was pulling him by the arm.
 
At first glance, Ranma was having problems with keeping his balance while Mikado was trying to tag him with his bare fists as well as the blades of his skates.
 
Still, the pony tailed teen had persevered as he had evaded most of the attacks while dishing a few of his own.
 
In the end, Mikado was forced to use his secret technique – The Dance of Death.
 
He then spun on the front edge of his right foot’s blade’s front edge just below the toe pick while waiting for Ranma to charge headlong into the attack.
 
In the mini-twister created by the skater’s rapid spin; both fighters were punching each other’s lights out as fast and as much as they could.
 
From the point of view of most of the audience, it would seem that Ranma was losing badly.
 
Only Ryoga and Akane knew better as they had watched the battle with experienced eyes. The latter martial artist also seemed to be counting something under her breath.
 
Akane had already counted past one hundred when Sayuri had noticed her doing so.
 
The dark brown haired girl had reined in her curiosity until the fight was over as a show of respect for her long time blue haired friend.
The boys, on the other hand, were speechless at the speed in which the fist fight was being made.
 
Like most of the others, they had pretty much stayed on their places on the wall nearest to the door leading out of the rink as they had watched the said battle.
 
Yuka herself had watched in complete awe the high speed duel being made with neither combatant even moving from the spot that they held.
 
It had somehow reminded her of her older cousin’s favorite anime – Dragon Ball Z where fighters could move so fast that they could be invisible to the naked eye yet not even move an inch from their spot.
 
Soon, Ranma was launched out of the deadly twister only to land on his back with a grace of a fishtailing truck. The blond skater had remained standing on the ice as he had slowed down from his spin.
 
It was while Akane was pulling the pony-tailed teen off the ice that Sayuri had gotten the courage to ask about what her friend was counting under her breath earlier.
 
Before she could have asked though, Asuza said that Mikado must have won the duel. Akane had disagreed as she said that Ranma had won instead.
 
Yuka and Sayuri could only watch in amazement when the diminutive skater had tested her partner’s reaction only to find none.
 
The light haired female teen had to be pulled by the waist by her darker haired boyfriend. Daisuke had also told Yuka that it was possible for someone of Ranma’s caliber to deal the same kind of punishment.
 
Ryoga had grunted his agreement at the stated fact as he held onto both Hiroshi’s and Sayuri’s on their way out of the rink since he could not do so on his own.
 
“He fainted,” the pink leotard wearing collector said to no one in particular as she had pulled out a marker pen from somewhere. “Let’s doodle on him.”
 
The recovering hockey players had roared their approval as they had joined the female skater in “defacing” the statue like Mikado.
 
-oOo-
 
Later that night in the Tendou compound, a sour faced Ranma was being asked by Nabiki as to why he was sulking even after eating their dinner.
 
Both Soun and Genma were at the public baths and may come home late as they were thinking on trying out the newly opened karaoke bar downtown.
Kasumi had paused on picking up the spent plates to also study the still brooding teen.
 
Akane was dosing some patching up on the various cuts and bruises that her fiancée had gotten in the earlier fight with Mikado. She had even mumbled something about men and their fragile egos.
 
“None of your business,” was the given reply from Ranma.
 
“Considering that I’m paying for whatever damage you and my dear little sister had caused aroun’ here, I’m can make it my business, you know.” The middle Tendou sister had shot back with a calculating stare.
 
“Ok, cool it.” Akane said as she had stood up before pulling a surprised Ranma towards the training hall for some needed privacy. “He’s just upset that he got kissed.”
 
“Oh,” both older girls said with fingers covering their lips in surprise.
 
Nabiki had recovered first thus with a casual wave of her left hand she had told her younger house guest.
 
“That’s no big deal. Considering how much of a beef cake you are, any girl except moi of course would like to kiss you senseless.”
 
Kasumi had also recovered, partly by the insinuation of the words that her younger sister had just said and partly on her own accord. She had hid whatever reaction to the spoken insinuation perfectly.
 
“Oh my,” the eldest Tendou sister had said with her slightly open mouth again covered by her right hand.
 
After a moment, she had added. “Still, Nabiki does have a point since it’s not that much of a problem to be kissed by a girl.”
 
“Um, Kasumi.” Akane said as she had stopped at the engawa’s threshold thus giving Ranma a chance to stand up and walk away from all of them. “It wasn’t a girl.”
 
This time, her sister’s facial expressions had turned from shock to full fledged teasing grins in the course of a few seconds.
 
Akane was not surprised to hear raucous laughter as well as a few barely suppressed giggles coming from the family room that she had just left.
 
She then continued her search for her sparring partner with the first aid kit still in her right hand.
 
-oOo-
As expected, Akane had found her erstwhile fiancé and sparring partner in the training hall.
 
What she did not expect was the fact that Ranma was sitting beside the dojo’s western wall with his arms on his knees and his head lying on his exposed arms.
 
`Jeez, he just got kissed by mistake and now he acts like it’s the end of the world.’ Akane had thought as she slowly approached the moping martial artist.
 
`Then again, I had to keep that skating pervert away from me anyway.’ She had added mentally in her defense.
 
As she was close enough for her to actually touch the still unmoving figure, Akane had chosen to let the next moment to be a little lighter in tone.
 
Thus, she had tapped him on his left shoulder before saying. “You’re kind of wide open, you know.”
 
Ranma had slowly gotten up as soon as he had heard his fiancée’s teasing voice. While he was still standing up, he replied acidly. “Yeah, yeah. Yuk it up, why don’t cha.”
 
Akane did laugh at how grouchy her fiancé had become, only for Ranma to say. “Who’re laughin’ at?”
 
“You, I mean who else is here.” She replied while stifling yet another giggle. “Also, aren’t big strong martial artists like you supposed to handle anything that life throws at us?”
 
“I hope that you do refer to yerself as well since you’re a martial artist too, right?” Ranma said with a smirk of his own.
 
“Alright, you’ve got me on that one.” Akane said quickly so as not to give her one and only sparring partner a chance to flip the teasing back to her. “Still it’s just a kiss. There’s nothing more to it.”
 
“Well, how would you feel if a girl had kissed ya full on the lips?” Ranma replied with a bit of disdain. “Unless, you’re a real tomboy, that is.”
 
“Hah,” Akane said while she had let out a derisive snort. “For your information, I’m 100% woman. I just don’t like to be known as a girly girl type.”
 
Before Ranma would make another wisecrack at her own words, the blue haired martial artist had hastily added. “This is the liberated nineties, Saotome. Thus, most girls are not limited to their traditional roles and would rather be considered equal with the male population. “
 
“Oh goody, my fiancée’s a true blue feminist.” Ranma said while trying to keep himself from laughing out loud.
 
“And proud of it too,” Akane answered with a similarly “straight” face.
 
Both martial artists did laugh heartily when they had jointly realized how stupid they had been acting in the last ten minutes.
 
Still, Akane had wanted to prove that all that happened earlier in the rink was just a lark.
 
“Alright,” the girl had said with a brief nod before following up with. “So how about when a girl kisses you instead?”
 
“Like who?”
 
“I dunno; me for instance.” Akane said with an unreadable look.
 
Ranma’s face had a look of pure shock etched in its features as the spoken words had gone through his head. It was temporary though as it had reverted to a more neutral one.
 
His shaky voice had also showed a bit of the hesitation that Ranma was trying to hide when he said. “I don’t know, Akane. Wouldn’t yer dad actually freak out if we do?”
 
Seeing Akane’s confused expression, the pony tailed teen had added quickly. “I mean, I know that we’re engaged and all but they never would actually try ta hook us up for no reason at all, y’know what I’m saying.”
 
The blue haired teen had let out a deep sigh before saying. “Not all of it, but just enough to see that you’re actually afraid of us bein’ together even as close friends.”
 
As she had turned around, Akane then added. “I can see where this would be coming from but still…excuse me.”
 
Before the girl could even take a step further towards the door, a large calloused hand had caught her own just as the latter appendage had reached its highest point of the swing behind its owner.
 
Akane had turned her head around just long enough to see Ranma let go of her right hand.
 
The fact that the blue haired teen still had felt some goose bumps from the said brushing of hands had told her a lot of her slowly emerging feelings for the young man in front of her.
 
But Akane still shook those thoughts off as she had mentally reminded herself that Ranma did not see her in the same way.
 
`He probably let me go out of embarrassment,’ she had thought acidly after a minute.
 
Yet before Akane could continue on her merry way, Ranma had finally found the courage to actually speak up.
 
“Akane, look at me.” He said with a bit of hesitation in his voice.
 
“Why?”
 
“Just…because.”
 
“Ok,” the girl replied as she had turned to face the boy once again.
 
What had surprised Akane was the sight of her sparring partner about to kiss her before stopping midway through the said action and come back to his former position.
 
Akane was about to close her eyes in preparation when she had seen the sudden movement away from her.
 
“Chicken,” The blue haired martial artist said with half-grin with her arms crossed over her chest as she had fully opened her eyes.
 
“I am not,” the pony tailed boy replied with a bit of a pout. “I’m jus’ nervous that you might pop me a good one fer trying to steal a kiss from ya.”
 
“Ah, so we finally arrive at the heart of the matter.” Akane had said as she had lowered her arms.
 
She did momentarily raise her left hand though to cover her amusement at the sight of her fiancé’s immature expression.
 
After a minute of composing herself, Akane then continued evenly. “I know Dad and Kasumi are as traditional as they could get but even they would roll with the times if the situation had called for it. Besides, I am your fiancée, am I not?”
 
“Alright, you’ve got me on that one.” Ranma said as he had made a show of being disappointed before coming back to invade the girl’s personal space.
 
“So how `bout you, I’m sure that you’re scared stiff when I tried to surprise you earlier.” Ranma then added with a smug grin on his lips as he had leaned back for the second time.
 
“You said so yourself,” the blue haired girl had answered with a bit of pink visible on her cheeks since she was surprised twice within a minute no less. “You’ve got me by surprise thus the reaction was normal.”
 
Seeing Ranma’s raised eyebrow, she had added with a huff. “Even then, I half expected you to go through with it before I do `pop you a good one’ jus’ as you said.”
 
“At least, you now understand how I felt you suddenly grabbed me from behind and used me as a shield.” The pony-tailed teen said with an “I told you so” tone.
 
“Well, I had to protect myself of course.” Akane had replied in a matter of fact tone as she was really annoyed at her new best friend’s preaching one.
 
Just to be sure, the female martial artist had tried to keep her temper in check so that she would be able to counter act each of Ranma’s verbal jabs and twist it to her own advantage.
 
“Since you wanted ta get kissed so much, how about we do it right now,” the male martial artist had said with mocking smile. He was hoping to get a rise out his new best friend and turn the tables for once.
 
“You’re just doing this jus’ because I called you a chicken,” Akane had replied with an angry tone as the insult had hit an emotional sore spot deep within her.
 
“Since I am not nor in any way a coward, I’ll call yer bluff and see if you’re as brave as you say you are.” Ranma said huffily as he had stood up with his arms crossed.
 
“You’re on,” Akane replied as she had imitated her sparring partner’s defensive pose and body language.
 
Both teens then waited for the other to move for a few seconds as they had awaited the other to blink first in their latest battle of wills.
 
Being the impatient one of the two teens, Ranma was the first to speak up.
 
“Shouldn’t we be doin’ this with our eyes closed?” The boy said with a bit of hesitation once again evident in his tone since he would lose the battle of wills unless he had coaxed Akane to kiss him.
 
“Alright, but you’re supposed to do the kissing since I’ve heard that you’re oh so good at this stuff.”
 
“I’ve no problem with that since you’ve finally gotten something right so far.”
 
Both teens had closed their eyes and began to lean towards each other for their first kiss when they had both heard the distinct whir of a video camera.
 
Suddenly, the couple had opened their eyes while turning with their backs to each other instinctively. Both martial artists were shocked at the sight of the rest of the Tendous and Genma Saotome, who was in his panda form at the time, watching them from the threshold of the dojo.
 
Nabiki, who was holding a brand new Sony video camera with both of her slender hands, had even said. “C’mon and kiss already. This thing’s already on half power.”
 
Genma was holding a wooden sign that said. “Go for the gold, son.
 
After a slight flip, it then said. “Make me a grandpa.
 
Soun had seen the characters written on the wooden sign and whapped his best friend’s fur covered head accordingly with a black Bo staff that had somehow materialized in his right hand.
 
He had even remarked to his old friend and fellow master of the Anything Goes School after the surprise blow. “My hand must have slipped, old friend.”
 
Genma had written in his sign after rubbing the sore spot. “Your brain must’ve slipped as well, old friend.”
 
The panda then made yet another sign saying that it was only written in jest while the black haired patriarch had only snorted at the given explanation as he had kept one of his favorite weapons out of sight.
 
Kasumi had just sat there and covered her slightly opened mouth with her right hand, her brown eyes wide in shock.
 
She had even mostly said to herself. “Oh Ranma, Ranma, Ranma.”
 
The teens’ cheeks had burned blazing red at the words “spoken” by the panda.
 
`I guess I have no other choice,’ Ranma was thinking to himself. Out loud, he said. “This is Akane’s idea not mine, so leave me outta this.”
 
“W-what?!” came the surprised and sputtered shout from the blue haired practitioner of Anything Goes.
 
“You heard me; I didn’t even want to kiss ya since you would just kick my butt afterwards.” Ranma said with his arrogant smirk. “Besides, who would even want ta kiss a hot tempered macho chick like you anyway?”
 
“You want a butt kickin’,” Akane’s brown eyes had blazed in brown fire as she said this. “You’ve got one.”
 
The next few minutes had the spectators leaving the scene entirely with bowed heads.
 
They were disappointed that a romantic kissing scene had turned into an adrenaline filled fight scene complete with battle cries and sounds of limbs colliding in mid air.
 
That and that the fight scenes themselves were getting old anyway as they were already a daily occurrence in the training hall.
 
-oOo-
 
It was around midnight that Mikado had finally regained consciousness as he had entertained dark thoughts about his last opponent.
 
He had never even thought about the various graffiti that was written on his clothes and on his exposed body parts like his face, hands, and arms.
 
“Ranma Saotome, you will pay for humiliating me in the match five days from now.” The playboy skater said to no one in particular.
 
This was because there was no one else in the rink at that specific time to even hear him burst in maniacal laughter anyway. Even the late shift janitor had left a good five hours before.
 
People passing by outside the rink did hear the said laughter and had left quickly since they had thought that the laughing skater was a ghost.
 
The night guard of the rink had also heard the commotion and had made a mental note to ask for his boss for a week’s vacation starting the very next day. He had also left his post temporarily for a needed drink.
 
Back in the Tendou compound, Ranma had sat up briefly from his futon, shivering as he does so. He had also ignored the snoring lump of fat sleeping beside him.
 
`Hey, Flappy.’ He said mentally. `Did you hear that?’
 
“Hear what-lapi?” came the sleepy response from the mental guest.
 
`I dunno,’ Ranma said while giving his father a good whack in the head for bringing him both barrels of his snoring. `Someone laughing loudly in a creepy manner, I guess.’
 
“It’s just your imagination-lapi,” the flower spirit replied as its own eyes had closed on its own. “Go to sleep, Ranma. I still have to catch Choppy in that grassy field when you had woken me up.”
 
`Alright,’ Ranma had thought with a smirk before yawning himself. `Good night, pal. Wish ya luck with your crush.’
 
There was no response rather than the sound of air rushing out of the flower spirit’s nose that Ranma had duplicated as he too had fallen asleep once again.
 
-oOo-
 
The next five days had gone in a rush as the training for the upcoming skating tournament had continued. This time, Ryoga had not joined the gang for some reason or other.
 
During one of the few ten minute breaks that Ranma had relished by the third day, he had told everyone that the yellow bandanna wearing boy must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and had gotten lost yet again.
 
“I hope he’s alright,” Akane said from her seat as she had imagined the Lost Boy on some dangerous places like mountains and jungles. “I mean, it sucks that he couldn’t even go where he wanted to.”
 
“Yeah, well.” Ranma had replied as he had rubbed the back of his head with his right hand. “He’ll be fine. Remember, this is Ryoga `The Tank’ Hibiki that we’re talking about.”
 
“Oh yeah,” Akane said with a fit of giggles at Ranma’s way of making their sometime friend into a sort of sumo wrestler or its western equivalent. “Let’s do one more round, Ranma. I can see that you’re getting used to this.”
 
“Hey,” Ranma said with his arms akimbo as he had shakily entered the rink. “I havta know everything that has martial arts in it, y’know. That is one of the tenets of the Anything Goes style.”
 
“Then let’s get to it since we’ve got homework to finish,” Yuka said happily as she had gingerly glided on the ice upon her own entry.
 
She had ignored the groans from the other teens as they had started their practice run.
 
-oOo-
 
By morning of the contest itself, Akane had woken up first before Ranma did or so she thought.
 
The blue haired girl was excited to see the frowning face of the childish ice diva after she and her partner would win the Charlotte’s cup.
 
In her mind, a win would make a good advertisement for the School of Anything Goes and thus more students for the Tendou Training Hall.
 
It was this daydream that the said martial artist had gotten lost into when Ranma had shaken her awake after nearly bumping into each other in the second floor hallway between their rooms.
 
“Hey `Kane.” The pony-tailed teen was saying as he had stopped shaking his sparring partner since Akane was showing signs of getting out of her daydream. “You ok?”
 
“Yeah, guess I was daydreaming back there.” The girl said with a slight blush.
 
“Ah no worries then,” Ranma said with a slight smile as he had picked up the bath supplies that he had dropped earlier. “Still, we havta keep our focus since Sayuri said that the Golden Pair don’t play around in the ice.”
 
“Sure, sure.” Akane had replied as she had gone back to her room to pick up her own bath supplies, her daydream all but forgotten.
 
-oOo-
 
While the challengers were psyching each other up for the nearing competition, Asuza was greeting her um…collection (for want of a better word) a pleasant morning.
 
Given that she had given them an equally pleasant goodnight would mean that the items mean a lot to her, that’s for sure.
 
She had already prepared two more spots in her spacious bedroom for her recent finds.
 
The first of the said spots was for “Charlotte” which she had caught just days earlier but had lost for some reason or another while the second spot was for the one that she had endearingly called “Andrea”.
 
It was Andrea (or Flappy if you prefer) that was the subject of her present thoughts as she was saying good morning to her butler- Pierre.
 
`I wonder where Andrea and Charlotte had gone to,’ Asuza had thought sadly as she was taking a special bubble bath with “Zachary” – her yellow rubber ducky that her late mother had given to her ten years ago.
 
`That girl Akane must’ve taken Andrea with her since she had jumped to her arms rather quickly,’ the girl skater said with a bit of venom. `Andrea should be mine, not hers. Mine!’
 
The diminutive skater’s thoughts had drifted to how she would defeat the loud mouthed blue haired girl and take both Charlotte and Andrea back to where they belong – in her loving arms.
 
The said daydream had lingered on until one of the maids had told Asuza that the whole bath was done and that it was time for the small childlike (and childish) skater to change into her competition outfit.
 
-oOo-
 
After arriving at the Kolhotz High School’s front gate, Ranma and his friends had asked the guard stationed there on where the school’s ice rink is located.
 
The middle aged guard then gave them the needed directions towards the said building.
 
Along the way, the group had passed the school’s own junior Olympic pool. Oddly enough, the said artificial body of water was placed just to the right and slightly downhill of the building that had housed the rink itself.
 
The group had entered the building with Ranma leading the way as always. They then separated quickly so that both Ranma and Akane could change into their skating costumes that Kasumi had made days earlier in their respective changing rooms.
 
The rest of the gang was also hoping that they could find good seats in the bleachers.
 
-oOo-
 
When Ranma had entered the boy’s dressing room, he had noticed that his opponent seemed to be wiping his face frantically for some reason.
 
Mikado then looked back at him with a smug grin that the martial artist had replied with a disgusted one.
 
“So what’s the deal, Nikado?” Ranma said while trying to look serious (and failing) as he was on his way to the empty booth.
 
“It’s Mikado, you ingrate.” The blonde skater said with a snarl. “As for the deal as you cleverly put it, I will get my 1,000th kiss from Miss Akane when I win this contest. Her friends’ lips would be a well deserved bonus.”
 
“Like hell I’m gonna let ya get away with that.” This time, it was Ranma’s turn to snarl as he said while stopping just in front of the booth. “Like I said before, touch my fiancée’s lips and I’ll kill ya.”
 
“Hmph. Brave words from someone who’s going to lose badly in the next half hour,” Mikado had said under his breath.
 
“What was that?” Ranma said from behind the curtains.
 
“Nothing,” the skater answered as he had left the room. “You must be hearing things.”
 
In the girl’s dressing room a few rooms away, a certain blue haired girl had sneezed loudly.
 
“Was somebody talking about me?” Akane was saying to herself as she was putting on her costume. “Nah it couldn’t be…could it?”
 
-oOo-
 
Fifteen minutes later, both Ranma and Akane were in the rink proper. Both of them along with the audience were waiting for the Golden Pair’s grand entrance.
 
The martial artists were also examining their matching red costumes and white skates in case someone would even think of sabotaging them.
 
They had given a sympathetic look at the struggling black piglet that was chained at the winner’s trophy at its own wooden table.
 
The piglet was reportedly seen by Asuza on her way to Kolhotz High early that morning and was easily knocked out.
 
To Ranma and Akane’s credit, their red costumes with green Oriental dragons snaking from the bottom part of their shirt or leotard to their shoulders were not even that bad looking.
 
Kasumi had done a great job in sewing the matching costumes and it showed at how the costumes were well made and had fit the marital artists’ bodies perfectly.
 
Their ice skates were also brand new (and branded to boot) since they were bought by Nabiki as her support for the heirs of the Anything Goes Martial Artists in this competition.
 
Of course, the pair and later joined by the rest of their friends had to do some risqué pictures in order for them to pay the middle Tendou sister back for the full cost of the said foot ware complete with interest.
 
Still, it was a small price to pay for the chance of getting Ryoga’s freedom as well as some nearly free advertising for the Tendou Training Hall.
 
Everyone had gone quiet of all a sudden before the home crowd of Kolhotz students had let loose a thunderous cheer for their skating champions.
 
The girls were either swooning or shouting “Be my boyfriend” at the smirking blond in his usual white pant suit and black bow tie as he had led his smaller partner around the rink.
 
As for the boys, most were already out cold at the sight of Asuza’s ensemble of a dark yellow leotard with frills at the waist and similarly colored stockings…the perverts.
 
It is safe to say that, these guys would be out of it until the mid contest intermission, that is.
 
As the Golden Pair had stopped their grand standing right in front of their enemies, both of them had studied their rivals from head to toe. The same could be said for the peeved martial artists.
 
As soon as the introductions were given and the match had begun, the four competitors had paired up to form dueling pairs as they had skated all over the rink.
 
The duel seemed to be done in style as spin kicks and punches were done with grace and precision for the most part.
 
The guys had also added a bit of bumping each other off so that the other pair would end up in a nasty spill and be open for a secondary strike.
 
Akane had to sneak a look at Ranma once or twice in their match since he seemed to be a bit unsteady for the most part of their paired match.
 
This was not lost on their friends who had offered some good advice from the sidelines before they were shushed by the irate crowd on the Kolhotzian side of the rink.
 
The Furinkan side had joined in the heckling in the defense of their schoolmates. There were even some name calling and other traded insults between the slowly agitated crowds on both sides of the rink.
 
Thankfully, the male announcer had calmed the crowds down before the audience themselves would join in on the “fun” as it were with some roundhouse punches or kicks of their own.
 
Even then, there were those students from both schools that had crossed over and had gotten into a bit of a scuffle before being collared and escorted outside by the home school’s guards.
 
The faint sounds of splashing (and some equally faint whistle blowing) in the pool outside had confirmed the thoughts of a few that the fistfight was still going on and was even joined by the accompanying authorities.
 
Back in the rink, Asuza had led her opponents to a corner after having evaded and counter-attacked in tandem with her partner.
 
Before Ranma or Akane could figure it out what the hell had happened, the young skater had grabbed the blue haired girl’s ankles.
 
This had forced the pony-tailed teen to hold onto his partner in order to keep each other still upright.
 
The blond Cassanova had by then lifted the other three off the ice with great effort as seen on his sweating and strained face.
 
Mikado then spun himself with his right foot’s skate’s edge just below the toe pick being used as his axis once the others were clear of the ice.
 
The announcer had called the attack as the legendary “Goodbye Whirl” where couples were forced to let go of each other and thus break up soon after. It was this technique that had earned the Golden pair’s second (and infamous) name – the Couple Cleaver.
 
Too bad for the Couple Cleaver, both Ranma and Akane were equally stubborn as the female martial artist had asked her partner to let go only for him to do the exact opposite.
 
After a good two minutes of constant spinning, the female half of the Couple Cleaver had to let go since she was beginning to feel dizzy herself.
 
Both martial artists had gone sailing towards the farther wall when Ranma had suddenly twisted in mid-air to use his body as Akane’s shield from the coming impact.
 
Ranma was able to do so before he and Akane had hit the concrete wall at roughly twenty to thirty miles per hour.
 
The loud crunch that followed at the moment of impact had everyone in the rink wincing at the imagined pain that the pony-tailed boy would have felt when his back had made full contact with the wall.
 
Flappy did not need to imagine it as waves of pain had already buffeted him within his friend’s mind.
 
At that moment, P-chan had felt a sudden surge of power that it had used to break free of its shackles and escape without anyone noticing him.
 
-oOo-
 
Hiroshi was about to charge into the rink from his second row seat when he had spotted the crouching Ryoga on the steel span that was just above the unconscious Ranma and the worried Akane.
 
The Lost Boy had just placed a bucket full of water in the said structure before pulling a dark green blanket from behind him.
 
Ryoga had prepared for this moment so that he could take Ranma’s place as Akane’s skating partner.
 
It was a glint of light that was reflected from the shiny red locket that had gotten the light brown haired teen look at Ryoga’s direction.
 
Rather than standing there like a fool, he had pulled a surprised Daisuke through the crowds towards the bleachers nearest to the fallen martial artist. Hiroshi had also told the girls to stay put so that they would not lose their seats.
 
The girls had realized what Ryoga was up to upon seeing Daisuke look up at the spot Hiroshi was pointing too and thus followed their boyfriends accordingly.
 
-oOo-
 
When the blanket was tossed aside by the bandana wearing teen, the sight of the mortified pair of Ryoga and Ranma standing side by side, the latter in his cursed form no less, had brought mixed reactions to the crowds surrounding them.
 
For the Furnikan crowd, the excited shouts of “Yo, Flappy” and some sarcastic yells of “Nice going, Ryoga” had intermingled with feminine squeals and some high pitched calls of “Come here, Cutie.”
 
As for the Kolhotzian crowd, dead silence had permeated the air for a good three seconds or so but it was later pierced with hoot calls and even more high pitched squeals.
 
Even then the loudest squeal of all had come from the light brown haired that had glided excitedly towards the nearly catatonic stuffed animal, oops, make that flower spirit.
 
Said stuffed animal had recovered just in time to evade a bone crushing hug from the little woman through a well timed double leap.
 
Shouted and amplified reminders to continue the match from both Mikado and the tournament announcer had fallen on deaf ears as Asuza had continued to chase the similarly gliding stuffed toy slash flower spirit around the whole frozen battlefield.
 
Ryoga and Mikado had joined in the chase for two different reasons.
 
The fanged boy’s reason was to get some revenge since it was his face that was used as a springboard by the escaping stuffed rabbit in the latter’s escape from Asuza’s clutches.
 
Mikado’s reason was less clear cut since he had only wanted the match to continue and maybe win it as well.
 
Both male teens were also knocked out for even more varied reasons.
 
Ryoga was kicked in the nuts and even bonked on the head by an angry female skater for trying to throttle “Andrea” while Mikado was punched out of his wits by an angry Akane for nearly stealing a kiss.
 
Speaking of Akane, she was earlier caught by Daisuke and Hiroshi after being mistakenly thrown aside by the fanged martial artist along with the spent blanket minutes earlier.
 
An accidental touch on her backside had caused her to slap Daisuke hard in the left cheek and even add a scathing remark to never do it again.
 
The said teen had quickly apologized before his newly arrived girlfriend had wound up for her own open handed strike.
 
As soon as the blue haired martial artist had gotten back to the ice, she was suddenly accosted by a happy Mikado that had broken off from the rat race with the others.
 
A left hook in the bread basket followed by a right upper cut in the jaw was all it took to shake the Ice Casanova out of Akane’s sight.
 
Ranma had managed to evade nearly everyone chasing him in the rink as he had narrowly missed Asuza’s latest airborne grab for him.
 
The cursed martial artist then leapt to safety in his beloved’s waiting arms while the female skater had slid on her stomach right in the middle of the rink.
 
Both Ranma and Akane had ignored the perfect one point landing of Mikado in somewhere near the middle of the rink.
 
The girl then threw the blushing stuffed animal to Hiroshi, who had also picked up Ranma’s costume after Ryoga had thrown the rumpled clothing in his and Daisuke’s direction prior to the chase.
 
The cursed martial artist had also stuck out his tongue at the steaming female collector before he and his friends had disappeared in the hallways beneath the bleachers.
 
Asuza had tried to chase the teenaged boys that had made off with her Andrea but was cut off by Akane’s blocking of her way to the gate.
 
The light brunette skater then confronted her rival thus elegantly executed kicks and punches were exchanged between them once again.
 
-oOo-
 
A good five minutes after the boys had gotten in the male dressing room; a soft knock was heard on the said room’s door.
 
Daisuke had quickly laid his shoulder on the door while his best friend had poured on the hot water on their cursed friend.
 
Hiroshi then joined the dark haired teen on the door while Ranma had changed into his still rumpled costume.
 
“Daisuke, you dummy.” A muffled female voice had said through the wooden door’s thickness. “Open the door, it’s us.”
 
“Who’s us?” Daisuke had answered back since he had feared a well sprung trap from the Kolhotz students.
 
Hiroshi’s body had also tensed a bit as he had moved slightly back before getting into a defensive stance along his best friend.
 
Behind them, Ranma had already gotten into his skating outfit and was about to ask what was going on when a second female voice had spoken up.
 
“Yuka and Sayuri, who else would we be?” It had said in an annoyed tone. “Hope you’re ready, Ranma since Akane’s in big trouble out there.”
 
The embarrassed black haired teen had unlocked the door before jumping back a few feet along with Hiroshi.
 
Both male teens had slipped and fell on to their backs as soon as they had landed awkwardly on their feet.
 
As Daisuke had expected, the door was slammed in to the room and two nearly breathless girls had come in quickly.
 
“Like I said before, we’d better head back PDQ.” Sayuri had said in between gulps of air.
 
“Gotcha,” Ranma said as he had run past his surprised friends and out the door. “Try ta keep up, will ya.”
 
“We’d better help Saotome since I doubt he knows how wild things are back in the rink,” Yuka said after shaking away her stupor as well as stemming her own frazzled nerves.
 
“Alright,” Hiroshi had answered with a devilish grin as he and Daisuke had helped each other up. “I’ve got a plan but one of us should chase Lover Boy for it to even work.”
 
“Leave that to me,” Daisuke said before his light brown haired friend started to discuss his abridged plan.
 
As soon as Hiroshi had finished his explanation of his wild plan, everyone had hot footed to their respective positions.
 
-oOo-
 
Daisuke was thanking the gods above for his running ability as he had caught up with Ranma just as the pony-tailed boy was about to put on his skates.
 
Years of running from angry girls as well as (and even more so) from their much angrier boyfriends, right after being caught peeping at their make out sessions, had honed the dark haired teen’s legs into a runner’s pride and joy.
 
Daisuke then debriefed the martial artist on his role in Hiroshi’s newly formulated plan while keeping an eye at the feuding girls on the ice as well as the now waking up boys.
 
Ranma had taken a quick look at the rink himself before nodding his assent to the plan.
 
The pony tailed martial artist then tied his skates’ shoelaces into a perfect square knot before waiting for the first phase (of what he privately had thought as a hare brained plan) to begin in earnest.
 
He could already see the girls running towards the topmost part of the bleachers behind their schoolmates in preparation for their own roles.
 
-oOo-
 
As Ryoga and Akane were launched towards the farther wall through another Good Bye Whirl, the overhead lights had suddenly gone out.
 
Only the sunlight coming from outside had given some illumination but even then it was spotty for the most part. Some janitors had to be called from the school building to turn the lights back on.
 
When the lights had gone back on after a few seconds, only Ryoga was lying face down on the ice nearest the wall while Akane was lying on Ranma’s arms.
 
The pony tailed teen was already sliding to a stop a good meter from the knocked out Ryoga.
 
The surprise on the aforementioned girl’s face was simply priceless when she had realized where she was lying on upon opening her eyes.
 
Ranma then called for a five minute time out while he had carried his blushing sparing partner to the receiving box where both Daisuke and Hiroshi were waiting for them.
 
The girls, in the meantime, had eluded their possible pursuers by sitting in the packed bleachers nearest to the rink’s electrical panel for the overhead lights after they had turned off the circuit breakers for the said lights as instructed.
 
Ranma then doubled back to carry his sometime rival, sometime friend out of the rink.
 
Hiroshi was also carrying Akane’s nearly folded dragon costume after Yuka had given the items to him earlier.
 
She had explained that the Kolhotz Fashion Club had left the clothing to her and Sayuri after they had given a change of costume to both Akane and Ryoga.
 
After the second change in costumes was done, both part time instructors of the Anything Goes had once again faced their opponents in the frozen battlefield.
 
-oOo-
 
This time, the battle was for keeps as both sets of competitors had worked together to finally bring down the opposing pair. They had exchanged elegant blows that looked like figure skating moves to the audience.
 
There was even a time when the Kolhotz Golden Pair had done their own version of the Pamchenko Twist.
 
The success of the said maneuver depended on years of practice and complete trust of each other between the skating pair that are using it.
 
As it turned out, Azusa was turned into a human wrecking ball as she was spun at an obtuse angle by Mikado who was holding her by the legs.
 
The attack itself was a failure since Akane had told Ranma to separate from her as soon as the Golden Pair was nearing them.
 
The martial artists had immediately joined up behind the confused pair and resumed their own offensive.
 
The now dizzy brunette had tried to hold onto something but had ended up tripping her partner instead.
 
On the other hand, Mikado was trying his hardest to swing his partner while evading the combined attacks of both Ranma and Akane when he had lost his balance.
 
The resulting crash had gotten both Kolhotz skaters unconscious upon their ungraceful fall on the ice thus the announcer was forced to tell everyone that the winner of the Charlotte Cup are – Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendou of Furinkan High.
 
The announcer then called for a search group to look for the missing prize despite the growing number of snickers from the Furinkan side of the bleachers.
 
It was in the midst of this chaos that Asuza had woken up and started to berate the now waking up Mikado.
 
A heated argument between the Golden Pair had followed with their schoolmates being silenced by shock.
 
What had shocked them even more was the fact that the brunette skater had used her mallet (probably named Mallory or something similar), that she had drawn from empty space, on the taller blonde to devastating effects.
 
When I said devastating effects, I meant that whole rink had cracked in several places by resulting shockwaves. The said shockwaves were made by massive pounding that Mikado had gotten on the noggin.
 
Akane had fallen in one of the larger cracks along with Ranma as both teens had been weaving through the unstable ice towards to the gate where their friends were waiting for them.
 
The others had panicked and thus had jumped in as well after pulling out their running shoes.
 
Ryoga had to stay behind since his cursed form is useless in the said situation but he had promised Sayuri that he would pull everyone out as they had surfaced near the edge of the rink nearest to them.
 
None of the rescuers had actually thought of getting hypothermia due to the nearly zero degree surface temperature of the water.
 
Maybe they did thought about it but saving their friends but it was still worth the risk.
 
Soon, a wet and shivering Akane was brought to the icy surface along with a coughing stuffed animal.
 
Although, Ryoga’s curse was triggered along the way thus some more students had helped out as much as they could.
 
The shivering group was sent to a local clinic where they had spent the night in blissful slumber.
 
As for the Golden Pair, Mikado was sent to Intensive Care Unit in the nearest hospital since his partner had added a broken nose to the blond skater’s list of head injuries after they had fought over a pink blanket that was draped on him by the First-Aiders following his earlier knockout.
 
Asuza, on the other hand, had gotten a suitable yet temporary replacement for both Charlotte and Andrea.
 
One of the said replacements was the pink blanket that she had “gotten” from Mikado (Bianca) and a panda bear that must have escaped from the local zoo (Josephine).
 
The aforementioned animal had made a rather human sigh of disappointment due to the clown costume that he would wear for the rest of the night and throughout the next day.
 
-oOo-
 
About a week from the skating match, Ranma and Akane had trained themselves even harder in the Art right after returning home from school.
 
As for Genma, he had actually ended up being locked up in the Shiratori mansion until his “daring escape” on the second night of his stay.
 
In reality, he was caught by an alert night guard mooching in the kitchen just before he was kicked out of the said house on his furry rump.
 
Both teens had realized that either of them could have been hurt badly in their latest fight thus the stepping up of their training.
 
Of course, they still did as much homework as they could with their friends’ help.
 
The other teens had often come by after dinner to discuss homework, pop quizzes, and such before leaving the Tendou compound at around ten in the evening.
 
That is to say that they had taken some breaks every once in a while.
 
The girls’ conversation had often drifted to the latest gossip going around the school while the boy’s conversation were more on the latest gaming craze (like the Sega Saturn, for instance) and even some martial arts techniques for self defense.
 
Both Daisuke and Hiroshi were careful not to talk about taboo subjects like sex or other girls for fear of being beaten up or worse…being given the cold shoulder by their girlfriends for a whole week.
 
It was around that time that Yuka had told the heirs of the Anything Goes style that she would be bringing two more students to Mr. Tendou’s Saturday morning classes.
 
Ranma then asked the girl on who the children would be from where he was sitting with the guys.
 
In his mind, it was not unlike his light brunette friend to just bring in two more students that would be taught martial arts just for the sake of self-defense.
 
“Actually, one of `em is a nephew of mine who’s just as active as you are, Ranma.” Yuka had answered him with a sly grin. “His first love’s football but ever since he saw me doin’ some sparring matches with Sayuri, he and his best friend would like to learn some martial arts as well.”
 
“Alright,” Ranma said as he stood up from his place in between the guys before giving his seal of approval through a smile. “I’m game with a kid that likes ta get physical.”
 
“You guys will love `em for sure,” Yuka had added as she had beamed at the given approval. She then headed over to the guys so that she could do some needed tutoring the pony tailed teen on his English lessons.
 
Akane had sighed at the fact that she may have to keep watch over the new additions to her father’s class and get them to feel at home with the other six year olds.
 
She had also mentally wished that one of the newcomers was a girl since there were slightly more boys than girls in the lone Beginner class.
 
This had meant that she had been getting fewer students than Ranma would have in their respective Intermediate classes.
 
-oOo-
 
Around seven thirty the next day – Saturday, Yuka was standing in front of the Tendou compound’s front gate. With her were three children, a boy and two girls.
 
The only thorn among the roses has spiky brown hair with similarly shaded eyes. He was wearing a blue shirt and khaki short combo with rubber shoes completing the sporty outfit.
 
The older of the two girls had worn a yellow sleeveless shirt and blue pant combo. As with the only male in the group, she too had worn sneakers.
 
The youngest, at the tender age of four, was wearing a pink T-shirt as well as a skirt that went down to her knees and leather shoes.
 
Yuka was carrying a green duffle bag with her when she had arrived with each of the children carrying backpacks of their own.
 
The boy’s backpack is blue, the older girl’s red, and the youngest’s backpack is pink.
 
After ringing the newly installed door bell twice, the brown gate was opened by Ranma himself.
 
As the gate was slowly opened inwards, the pony tailed teen had studied the newcomers with a keen eye.
 
Ranma was impressed with the two older children’s wiry bodies thus giving him the impression that both kids were as active as Yuka said they were.
 
Yet, when he had turned his attention to the youngest visitor, Ranma had felt dismay at the fact that the little girl with short light brown hair was a bit sickly. The said child had even coughed a bit to further prove his point.
 
“Uh…hi, kids. Name’s Ranma Saotome and I’ll introduce ya to your teacher shortly.” Ranma said while subconsciously rubbing his nape with his right hand.
 
Yuka then lightly nudged the little boy at the side so that he could introduce himself. She had hoped that the other two children would follow the boy’s lead.
 
“Um…ah,” the boy had fumbled with his sentence for a second before he had gotten a second nudge, this time from the reddish orange haired little girl. The second nudge had given the boy the needed push in the right direction.
 
“My name’s Taichi Yagami and I’m seven years old,” the boy said with his chest puffed up in pride. “I love to play football with my best friend Sora and I would also like to learn the cool moves that Auntie Yuka does sometimes with Auntie Sayuri when they muck…mack…play fight.”
 
The reddish orange haired girl had cleared her throat for a second before jumping in the conversation. “And I’m Sora Takenouochi, Taichi’s best friend. I’m just as old as he is but much more mature.
 
“And how `bout you, squirt.” Ranma said as he had knelt down before the youngest child. “Don’t worry, I won’t bite. I jus’ wanted to know yer name.”
 
“I am Hikawi Yagami,” the youngest girl said right after turning her back at the surprised teen. “I am now fouw yews old.”
 
Yuka then knelt down herself so that she could give Hikari a reassuring hug. Sora and Taichi had followed suit soon after.
 
The little girl had felt the comforting warmth from the group hug while Ranma simply smiled at the touching scene before him as he had stood up.
 
It was this scene that Akane had found them in when she had arrived at the gate. Thus, her first words upon arriving were this. “You guys, alright?”
 
“We’re fine, Akane.” Yuka said as she had looked up at her other best friend. “Ok, guys. It’s time to introduce yourselves to Auntie Akane since you’ve already done so to Uncle Ranma earlier.”
 
The three children did as they were told. The obvious difference between both introductions was that Hikari seemed to be more confident in her introduction to Akane in comparison to her earlier introduction with Ranma, not that the pony tailed martial artist had actually minded anyway.
 
Then again, maybe the pony tailed teen did mind a little since he did not like to be known as an aloof oaf to the younger generation.
 
“Well, let’s not dawdle.” Akane said before standing aside to let the rest through. “Come in and meet your fellow classmates.”
 
-oOo-
 
As Akane had expected the night before, the new students were greeted a little coolly by their new classmates.
 
The blue haired young woman had hands full keeping Taichi from getting into a fight with a six year old boy named Keio who had boasted that he could knock out the slightly older boy with one hand behind his back.
 
Akane had scolded the black haired youngster for his arrogance as she had let Sora handle her enraged best friend with some soothing words, an assurance, and a half nelson that her detective of an uncle had taught her a year before.
 
Thus, Keio was left cleaning the wooden floor of the training hall in between classes after Soun had heard about the near fight from his youngest daughter.
 
The elder Tendou himself had arrived ten minutes late since he had wanted to show his class some old martial art diagrams that he had kept in a cedar chest in his room.
 
Ranma was carrying most of the said diagrams along with some duct tape for good measure as he had followed the master of the Tendou Training Hall to class.
 
-oOo-
 
The class itself had begun in earnest with Taichi and Sora being brought up to speed with a combination of lectures and demonstrations made by both the students as well as the assistant teachers – the teen martial artists themselves.
 
Yuka was staying in the main house to keep Hikari well rested and entertained for the rest of their shared stay in the Tendou home.
 
Kasumi (and surprisingly, even Nabiki) had helped entertain the young guest in between chores and business deals.
 
The young brunette was obviously enjoying the attention given to her by the older girls as she had sat in family room watching some anime and some foreign cartoons for the most of her stay.
 
Daisuke, Sayuri, and Hiroshi had arrived at one in the afternoon for their own weekend lessons with the intermediate classes that were handled by their friends.
 
Yuka had left Hikari in Kasumi’s hands as she too was among the students of the said classes as they had been taught enough by Ranma and Akane privately to learn the advanced katas and techniques.
 
Even then, the teens were the oldest in both classes since the other students were only ten years old at best.
 
The advanced classes were divided into two sections with Ranma handling the boys and Akane handling the girls.
 
Moreover, most of the students in the advanced classes had already studied in other dojos or even martial arts disciplines before signing up for the Tendou dojo.
 
This time, the two newcomers had asked to be included in the intermediate classes as well but only as observers as none of them were in the same league (or age for that matter) as the other people in the room.
 
Hikari was with Sora in Akane’s female class despite the objection raised by Akane, Sora, and Yuka because of the little girl’s weak constitution.
 
The little girl had simply replied that she really liked to see her Auntie Yuka and Auntie Sayuri in action and that she would only watch the show.
 
Akane did have Sora stay close to the youngest Yagami just in case as she had conducted her lesson plan for the day.
 
In addition, Kasumi had shown up a few times at the training hall’s doorway during Akane’s classes to parlay her own worry for the brown haired child.
 
As for Taichi, he had stayed with the guys in the second afternoon class that started a good ten minutes after Akane’s class was done.
 
This was to provide enough elbow room for the advance classes to spar and for Ranma, to demonstrate some of his taught techniques without hitting someone by accident.
 
All in all, the day had gone pretty well since there were no sudden entrances by Ryoga or some whacked out visitor who was looking for Genma or his son or even both.
 
Even Asuza and Mikado had not made an unannounced visit to the Tendou compound recently.
 
The same could be said for the Kuno siblings, which had made both Ranma and Akane breathe a sigh of relief.
 
Actually, fate was just biding its time as it had diligently prepared for its next curve ball.
 
After all, patience is a virtue and it is one that brings good results to those who abide by its strict rules.
 
Sorry, I had to cut this one into two separate chapters since it was too long to post as a single chapter. I mean, its file size was above 600 kilobytes (CartoonMiner’s upload limit).
 
I will just post the last (and larger part) at a later time, like July of this year.
 
 
 
 
On Thin Ice – Part 1
On Thin Ice, Part 2